Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Happy Things for 2012

From RUE Magazine


(Note: Lovely piece by Heather Clawson. Nos 1 to 12 taken & lifted per se from her blog Habitually Chic.  I just felt like inserting photos & captions that kinda ran through my mind while reading this, for added impact!  So allow me to indulge myself in an exercise in visual aid...enjoy the read, friends!)

Positivity psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky point to 12 things happy people do differently to increase their levels of happiness.  (Check out her book The How of Happiness.)

1.        Express gratitude. When you appreciate what you have, what you have appreciates in value.  Kinda cool right?  So basically, being grateful for the goodness that is already evident in your life will bring you a deeper sense of happiness.  And that’s without having to go out and buy anything.  It makes sense.  We’re gonna have a hard time ever being happy if we aren’t thankful for what we already have.
I get a welcome (back) hug from Wilmar, Siargao 2009.
Pic by Charlie Gomez
celebrate birthdays...
my nephew Auggie's 3rd bday photo by Charlie Gomez

and be always thankful for what is given us

2.        Cultivate optimism. – Winners have the ability to manufacture their own optimism.  No matter what the situation, the successful diva is the chick who will always find a way to put an optimistic spin on it.  She knows failure only as an opportunity to grow and learn a new lesson from life.  People who think optimistically see the world as a place packed with endless opportunities, especially in trying times.

Tara sharing her camera w/ the village kids. Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte.

Beau & Triton Oida. A newborn baby is the most "optimistic" thing I can think of!

no harm in putting pep talk where you can see it, right? :-)

3.       Avoid over-thinking and social comparison. – Comparing yourself to someone else can be poisonous.  If we’re somehow ‘better’ than the person that we’re comparing ourselves to, it gives us an unhealthy sense of superiority.  Our ego inflates – KABOOM – our inner Kanye West comes out!  If we’re ‘worse’ than the person that we’re comparing ourselves to, we usually discredit the hard work that we’ve done and dismiss all the progress that we’ve made.  What I’ve found is that the majority of the time this type of social comparison doesn’t stem from a healthy place.  If you feel called to compare yourself to something, compare yourself to an earlier version of yourself.

4.       Practice acts of kindness. – Performing an act of kindness releases serotonin in your brain.  (Serotonin is a substance that has TREMENDOUS health benefits, including making us feel more blissful.)  Selflessly helping someone is a super powerful way to feel good inside.  What’s even cooler about this kindness kick is that not only will you feel better, but so will people watching the act of kindness.  How extraordinary is that?  Bystanders will be blessed with a release of serotonin just by watching what’s going on.  A side note is that the job of most anti-depressants is to release more serotonin.  Move over Pfizer, kindness is kicking ass and taking names.

james channelling Shel Silverstein

Volunteer artists & designers who painted the PGH Pedia Ward 2009

JP Ong with Waves for Water water filtration kits.  Sent to help Typhoon Sendong victims in Iligan
(from Coast Thru Life facebook page)
Dumaguete, Typhoon Sendong relief goods distribution
(Pic from Jericho Rosales official facebook page)

Rhycel helping teach kids w/ cancer how to have some puppet-making fun :-)

Roxy, Kev, & Cel helping out at the Christmas party

paper bags c/o Pan De Manila! (Thanks Pam G!)

5.       Nurture social relationships. – The happiest people on the planet are the ones who have deep, meaningful relationships.  Did you know studies show that people’s mortality rates are DOUBLED when they’re lonely?  WHOA!  There’s a warm fuzzy feeling that comes from having an active circle of good friends who you can share your experiences with.  We feel connected and a part of something more meaningful than our lonesome existence.

Dako, Siargao 2010.
photo by Charlie Gomez

watching TV with friends. My cousin Charlie who took this photo said it was a soothing sight...he's right.  

La Union, "A Coasty Weekend" Nov 2011
photo by Allen Aligam

6.       Develop strategies for coping. – How you respond to the ‘craptastic’ moments is what shapes your character.  Sometimes crap happens – it’s inevitable.  Forrest Gump knows the deal.  It can be hard to come up with creative solutions in the moment when manure is making its way up toward the fan.  It helps to have healthy strategies for coping pre-rehearsed, on-call, and in your arsenal at your disposal.

7.       Learn to forgive. – Harboring feelings of hatred is horrible for your well-being.  You see, your mind doesn’t know the difference between past and present emotion.  When you ‘hate’ someone, and you’re continuously thinking about it, those negative emotions are eating away at your immune system.  You put yourself in a state of suckerism (technical term) and it stays with you throughout your day.

(so friends, no hating please. That's SO 5 years ago. Literally. -- Nina *wink*). 

8.       Increase flow experiences. – Flow is a state in which it feels like time stands still.  It’s when you’re so focused on what you’re doing that you become one with the task.  Action and awareness are merged.  You’re not hungry, sleepy, or emotional.  You’re just completely engaged in the activity that you’re doing.  Nothing is distracting you or competing for your focus.

in the zone, in the newly renovated office.
Grupo Santamaria Interior Design

9.       Savor life’s joys. – Deep happiness cannot exist without slowing down to enjoy the joy.  It’s easy in a world of wild stimuli and omnipresent movement to forget to embrace life’s enjoyable experiences.  When we neglect to appreciate, we rob the moment of its magic.  It’s the simple things in life that can be the most rewarding if we remember to fully experience them.

Annika "Kikay" Yap, Baguio.
I remember when a simple "tetrapak" like this could give me so much bliss!
take a walk in the woods/ beach/ mountains/  jungle & enjoy the planet!
my Kuya Marc & Pelle, Fall 2011. Photo by Charlie Gomez

ndp joy-diving into the pool one Coasty Weekend
photo by Allen Aligam

Friendship & loyalty. The most simple joy indeed!
Carlito & Marama, Siargao.
pics by Charlie Gomez

Ocean in the Ocean. 'nuff said!
photo by Pongky Gozun

My lola Charito at Charlie's birthday. :-)

Well,  i'd like to think this is my future puppy!

10.    Commit to your goals. – Being wholeheartedly dedicated to doing something comes fully-equipped with an ineffable force.  Magical things start happening when we commit ourselves to doing whatever it takes to get somewhere.  When you’re fully committed to doing something, you have no choice but to do that thing.  Counter-intuitively, having no option – where you can’t change your mind – subconsciously makes humans happier because they know part of their purpose.

Guess how far Charlie made it? Hehe...

11.     Practice spirituality. – When we practice spirituality or religion, we recognize that life is bigger than us.  We surrender the silly idea that we are the mightiest thing ever.  It enables us to connect to the source of all creation and embrace a connectedness with everything that exists.  Some of the most accomplished people I know feel that they’re here doing work they’re “called to do.”

Sto Nino Parish Church, Cebu
pic by Charlie Gomez 

12.    Take care of your body. – Taking care of your body is crucial to being the happiest person you can be.  If you don’t have your physical energy in good shape, then your mental energy (your focus), your emotional energy (your feelings), and your spiritual energy (your purpose) will all be negatively affected.  Did you know that studies conducted on people who were clinically depressed showed that consistent exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft?  Not only that, but here’s the double whammy… Six months later, the people who participated in exercise were less likely to relapse because they had a higher sense of self-accomplishment and self-worth.

my thin-spiration...Behati! :-*


Allow me to leave you with more HAPPY THOUGHTS & (cliche, definitely) things-to-do for 2012:

climb a tree
ride a bike

hangout w/ kids...I guarantee your world will be brighter!
treasure every moment as they come.
our nephew Pelle (cuteness overload) at his Kuya's bday party

build sandcastles...or if that's too much work, maybe just look for hermit crabs :-)
photo by Dibs Trofeo

Yum! treat yourself to your favorite foods...don't wait for a special occasion. :-)
Sutukil, Cebu. 2010

do a handstand

or balance on a tightrope...

and don't be afraid to fall
all photos above by Charlie Gomez

or better yet, SLEEP to your heart's content!

Try new things & always wonder like a child...
pic from Jericho Rosales official Facebook page. 



laugh, and...

LAUGH some more! Kim "kileg" with the new board!
photo by Buji Libarnes, Coast Thru Life.  

Be silly sometimes. With Ito in Bali, 2008

Surf, surf, and surf!

"When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other."
Ecclesiastes 7:14

"Be a source of joy. And let the critics and haters complain about the world"
Paolo Coelho

and my all-time favorite...

"Happiness is an attitude.  We either make ourselves miserable, or happy & strong. The amount of work is the same"
-Frances Reigler


  1. Love the list Nins! Fitting for the new year!

  2. added more photos. Thanks for being part of my happiness you guys :-)

  3. abby, I was supposed to add a "fly a kite" photo but couldn't find any of our kite pics. I'll rummage thru old files and add it soon! ;*

  4. omg. this is my favourite post of yours ever. im bookmarking it!!

  5. thanks Kim! yey you like it!!! :-) ah mishu & your mokong laugh!