My three boys are rarely home at the same time — but this past weekend we were all together. We had a lot of laughs and spent plenty of time smiling. My favorite moment was watching the boys throw the football together in the front yard, with Tess our Australian Shepherd trying to simultaneously herd them and catch the ball. It was a fleeting moment – by Sunday afternoon two of them were on planes and my son who is a senior was writing college essays.  It’s hard for me to let them go.

Amy's boys

Positive psychologists would advise me to capture the joy I felt laughing and watching them relish being home together as a way to boost my happiness levels.  Taking photos (this one is now my screen saver), sharing stories with other family members (I made of point of going for a long walk with my sister today) and rather than analyzing our time together find ways to let the emotions; love, pride, joy, awe, and curiosity, of the weekend soak in.

By replaying our happiest memories in detail (writing is a strategy that works for me) allows us to feel more open and aware, rather than shut down. It’s an opportunity to grow happiness in new ways rather than choose to view absence as a loss.

Getting past the silence

Beautiful Fall LeavesAs I sat down at my laptop to write this newsletter in an utterly quiet house, I was struck by what a bright, sunny fall afternoon it was. The foliage was clearly at it’s peak….red, orange, green and golden yellow leaves shimmering, waving and flying through the air. I was reminded how deeply I value the beauty in nature and being open to recognizing beauty in a moment brings me much happiness.

What do you consider beautiful?

It’s an important question to ask yourself every now and again.  Especially when life gets a little quiet, and the days grow shorter. Try remembering a truly happy moment in rich detail.  See if it doesn’t help open your heart and your mind to the beauty in the present.

Psychologists have found that people who open themselves to beauty — are more likely to find joy, meaning and profound connections in their lives.

Soon only the evergreens in our area will have leaves. It’s part of the cycle of life. The days will grow shorter and darker and the temperatures will drop. Yet, in the stillness, there are many opportunities. The secret is to be open to them. Connecting with positive emotions including humor, gratitude, joy, and happiness is a lens that helps us to see the bright side in the moment.

Halloween 2011Last year it snowed in October and predictions soared about how tough the winter would be. This photo I took last Halloween makes me smile, especially knowing it was one of the warmest winters on record.

Even nature can have a sense of humor at times if you choose to see it that way.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Amy Tardio

For a complimentary coaching session, contact Amy.