Your Happiness Factor:celebrating happiness, prosperity, hearth and home, good health.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Find Your Spiritual Buzz With Beliefnet

English: Tibetan endless knot Nederlands: Tibe...Tibetan endless knot  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Find Your Spiritual Buzz With Beliefnet

Beliefnet is a large and very up-beat multi-faith e-community that provides a forum for religious information and inspiration. 

The site includes prayers, meditations, other spiritual tools,and discussion groups. Beliefnet provides information about the whole range of religious and spiritual beliefs from Christianity to Zoroastrianism. It interviews religious figures as well as offering articles and blogs on various creeds.

Beliefnet has received a Webby as the best religion and spirituality site. And, as well as information, it offers entertainment, eCards, quizzes and "Soulmatch". 

Discussions are oriented toward specific groups of people, such as couples and teens with topics ranging from abortion to sexism, and dozens of religious faiths. Specific discussion boards exist to ask questions about religions and engage in interfaith dialogue as well as debate and criticism. The boards are hosted by volunteers and supervised by Beliefnet producers.

It is a US site and Christianity predominates. But there is a weath of material here if you are interested in investigating new spiritual paths

Here is the link;
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Thursday, 28 June 2012

Bay Leaf Tea and The Joys of the Bay Tree

I have a most wonderful bay tree in my garden but I didn't know anything about Bay Leaf Tea until I found this lovely video from Meghan Telpner. She has a fantastic website and here she is speaking from St Lucia.  I don't think life can get any better....

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

4 Myths about Comforting Friends

 I found this useful and interesting post by Maura Kelly on the Marie Claire website!

4 Myths about Comforting Friends

In two recent posts, I've talked about the advice grief educator Val Walker gives on how to help friends who are dealing with the end of a relationship, whether from a breakup or the loss of a loved one. Those posts have focused mostly on what to say. Now, let's talk about myths surrounding the art of comforting — and about a few things you should (and shouldn't) do if you want to help.

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Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Public Speaking, Personal Confidence, and the ‘Shy Extrovert’

Today we have a special guest post.  To make it really useful to you, it includes some very personal experience so on this occasion I'm not going to publish the name of the writer.  But she has my very grateful thanks.

Public Speaking, Personal Confidence, and the ‘Shy Extrovert’

Forget chicken soup for the soul, one of the best cures for lack of confidence and some forms of depression could in fact be public speaking.

Usually the benefits of becoming a competent public speaker are seen as advancing your career prospects or building your reputation, if you are in business! In fact it is seen as being good for any cause you want to promote. Public speaking is a ‘skill’ but I would like to propose that it can also be a great ‘medicine.’ Just as exercise is recommended for increasing serotonin levels in the brain, getting your mind and body to perform under pressure can also give you a high! As for me, well, I found that beating one of my worst nightmares was actually far better than talking to a therapist.

Susan Cain, author of The Power of Introverts("Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking"recently criticised the culture of modern society in which the ‘pressure to sell ourselves…keeps ratcheting up,’; that the introvert’s skills are neglected in favour of the extrovert who sounds convincing, passionate and engaging to listen to. However it seems just a touch ironic that Cain herself appears on the popular ‘ideas worth spreading’ website, the YouTube of motivational speeches,TED,to sell her bid for the introverts (see link below).

Cain also points out, quite rightly, that the introversion/extraversion spectrum is different to being shy or lacking in confidence. Something about this really hit home! I think for the best result to be achieved with public speaking, the ideal patient if you will, is the extrovert lacking self esteem. Yes, they do exist. I’m one. I’m one of the people who was anxious for months before a 5 min school presentation! I would work out a strategy not to be there! There are those of us who hold a secret desire to be on stage, but only make it as far as the choir.  Even then I’d probably mime the words on the night, as the sound just wouldn’t come out.

When I was approached to join a ToastMasters club to hone my public speaking skills, I thought there is nothing more I would rather shy away from.  But, how good it feels for that emotion now to be a memory! There’s a certain energy and positivity I’m left with, after each meeting. Ok, I’ll go so far as call it a high. And I think the reason for that is that I get my energy from other people, and there is nothing more appealing for the extrovert than having an audience to engage with.

The structure of ToastMasters means that in every meeting there is time for all to deliver a one-minute impromptu speech on randomly chosen topics. This is great as no preparation is needed; it catches you off-guard, with no exit strategy. It’s about learning to react with confidence, even if inside you  are quaking.

Then, there are prepared speeches, and there was nothing more rewarding than an alcoholic beverage in the pub after my first five minute ‘ice-breaker’ speech. It was a point I thought I would not actually get to!  But the support of other people at ToastMasters was near to elation inducing. The specific remit of our ‘Society Speakers’ version of the club is aimed directly at people who want to speak on behalf of charities they represent. As a result, there’s a really encouraging atmosphere, and you leave propped up with praise after every meeting. People evaluate your speech on the day, so you get verbal feedback, and then members send written notes on your performance, if you deliver a prepared speech.

Essentially, of course, this is great for self-esteem. Everyone loves a compliment, and positive, frequent, insightful reinforcement of the positive aspects of your personal delivery style can only be a good thing.  But it doesn’t just stop there. I know what you might be thinking; it sounds very “Californian”. It is all very worthy, and a little cult-like! But here are my top reasons why you should give public speaking for pleasure a try:

My Top Five
1.       Doing one thing every day that scares you - Yes, this is a quote from ‘Wear Sunscreen,’ but that song hit a nerve with us all, and this snippet reminds us to accomplish a little of something outside of your comfort zone, because the short term pain will most definitely be a gain for your long-term wellbeing.
2.       Sell yourself and your sales pitch becomes the truth – There is no way to deliver a speech without a positive message, whether that’s selling yourself or a product. My advice is to deliver a short ice-breaker speech about yourself – in doing so you’ll be forced to find something interesting to entertain your audience and you can rediscover your own USP! Enough practicing the positive messages and you begin to believe what you say.
3.       You can be comfortable with your voice/ find your adult voice/finding yourself – When I began ToastMasters, part of me felt like Vada in My Girl when she gets up to read a poem about ice-cream in front of a mature audience reading serious poets.  A friend of mine pointed out that finding your inner confidence is essentially about finding an adult voice that can talk with authority. Incidentally, she’s looking to find hers for her mother’s 60th birthday speech via ToastMasters.
4.       All the support of alcoholics anonymous without any need for an addiction! Public speaking is 20% skill and 80% confidence, and with the supportive network of interesting people you meet at ToastMasters there’s something very energizing working up to that level.
5.       Learning how to structure your thoughts – People with depression or lack of confidence often get their thoughts fixed into negative patterns. Getting up to do a prepared speech helps the mind to focus and structuring thoughts is great for creating a sense of inner control over your own thoughts

People have commented that they got things from ToastMasters which they would never have expected,.  I would thoroughly recommend a little of what might seem the thing you would least like to do with your evening. It might surprise you, and even, strangely, make you happy. And if it doesn’t, well, that glass of wine after the event might just do the trick instead. 

You can find a ToastMasters club near you at this link

Monday, 25 June 2012

Monday Quotes – Time Management

Monday Quotes – Time Management

  1. Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed, nothing else will be managed. Peter F. Drucker
  2. You must master your time rather than becoming a slave to the constant flow of events and demands on your time. And you must organize your life to achieve balance, harmony, and inner peace. Brian Tracy
  3. I learned that we can do anything, but we can’t do everything.. at least not at the same time. So think of your priorities not in terms of what activities you do, but when you do them. Timing is everything Dan Millman
  4. Perhaps the very best question that you can memorize and repeat, over and over, is, “what is the most valuable use of my time right now?" Brian Tracy
  5. Choose the time of day or night when your energies are highest and conduct business at that time. The Mafia Manager
  6. One cannot manage too many affairs: like pumpkins in the water, one pops up while you try to hold down the other. Chinese Proverb
  7. Time is a versatile performer. It flies, marches on, heals all wounds, runs out and will tell. Franklin. P. Jones
  8. He who know most grieves most for wasted time. Dante
  9. To everything, there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. A time to plant and a time to harvest that; which is planted. A time to break down and a time to build up. Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8
  10. Do not wait; the time will never be just right. Napoleon Hill

Want to be a Confident Networker? Join my free teleseminar on 26thJune 2012

Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach.  She helps people have the confidence they need to be successful at work and to change career while maintaining a good work/life balance. You can email her at wendymason

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Friday, 22 June 2012

Networking can be very good for your health!

Networking can be very good for your health!

Networking is good for you. So we are told all the time!

You know already that you should network if you are looking for work and, oh yes, of course you must network if you are starting up a new business.

But for some of us, the prospect of networking can be quite daunting.

Now why should that be so? Let us think a little about networking and what it is really about. Networking is about finding and building new relationships. It is about meeting new people and finding an opportunity to make an exchange, be it simply an exchange of friendship. We go somewhere to meet someone new. We exchange information and then test out whether they are interesting to us and in return we hope to be interesting to them. 

Most of us do it all the time in our private lives. But when it comes to networking for work, many of us feel much more diffident because we are not just looking for friendship. We are hoping this new contact will give us something. Will they become a customer or provide us with information about a new job opportunity? That can make us feel embarrassed.

In fact, we want to make a fair business exchange. We can be kind and supportive to the people we meet in business, just as we can in our private lives. We can give time and attention and share the information that we have. At the very least we can listen attentively and offer advice, if it is requested.

There is always something we can offer in return. Even if it is only our very sincere thanks for an opportunity they have given us. I can't think of anything nicer than the thank you letters I have received after giving a reference or passing on a contact. They can brighten up a dismal day no end.

But we still feel diffident. I started out as a very nervous networker. I was very lucky, I met someone who was prepared to train me in how to go about business networking. That made a huge difference.

If networking was not good for your business you wouldn't find such a long list of business networking organizations in existence and business networking events. And I found that from my business networking events, I was making some real friends; friends that I value in my private life as well as in my business life.

Networking does require confidence, particularly when you are new to it. So, I would be delighted if you would join my free teleseminar about Confident Networking. You can find out more about it at this link,

Want to be a Confident Networker? Join my free teleseminar on 26thJune 2012

Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach.  She helps people have the confidence they need to be successful at work and to change career while maintaining a good work/life balance. You can email her at wendymason

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Thursday, 21 June 2012

So you have always wanted to know more about art!

So you have always wanted to know more about art! 

So you have always wanted to know more about art and you have always wanted to find the time to visit galleries but you don't know where to start.

Well here is a place to play.

The Google Art Project is a collaboration between Google and 151 incredible collections of paintings, drawings, sculptures, historic and religious artefacts, photographs and important manuscripts. They come from 40 different countries.

You can explore the exhibits right down to the brush strokes.

You can take a tour of the gallery or museum or you can build and share your own collection. There are 30,000 works of art with more to come.

All kinds of things are there from the White House collection to the Rock Art Museum in South Africa.

There are notes on the work of art but you can usually find out more with a web search if you need to. You can see where to find the piece in your own city – and it even tells you where in the gallery you will find it.

The education section has simple tools to learn about the artwork featured in the Art Project. And you will find audio commentaries on some works (although they are a little too reverential for me).

There is a Youtube Channel at this link

To get started select a museum or gallery from the homepage. You can then choose to “Explore the museum’ or ‘View Artwork’.

Once you are in the main site for the museum you can use the drop-down menus or the side info bar to navigate between artworks and museums.

Finally create and share your own collections online.

You can dive into the Look like an Expert sections and test your visual acumen or get creative with the DIY projects.

If you want to learn more the “What’s Next” will point you to some of best art and art history tools on the web. 

Want to be a Confident Networker? Join my free teleseminar on 26thJune 2012

Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach.  She helps people have the confidence they need to be successful at work and to change career while maintaining a good work/life balance. You can email her at wendymason

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Wednesday, 20 June 2012

How to stop crying in front of people!

crying emoticonecrying emoticone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How to stop crying in front of people!
Crying is a great way to release emotions when you are upset.  There are many people who feel better after a “good cry”.  And it is quite natural to cry when we have suffered a great loss, for example, on the death of someone close to us.  
If you can’t stop crying or have repeated bouts of crying for no obvious reason, it is best to seek help from a doctor or a counselor because that may be a sign of depression.
Even though crying is good for us, there is a time and place for it.  In general, it is best done alone or with very close friends or family. It is usually not a good idea to cry at work.
Unfortunately, a lot of the old prejudices still hold sway and many managers find it really difficult to deal with people who burst into tears.  This is sad and it says something about the limitations of many managers!  But it is still a fact of life.
So what to do when tears threaten at work?  Well if you can take some time out – smile (not easy) and excuse yourself.  Then head for a room with lock on it or somewhere private and not overlooked in the open air– if all else fails head for the washroom.  But treat the washroom with care.  Being found crying in the washroom isn’t the greatest thing for your reputation and it can feed the rumor mill.
Once in your private space, take some long, slow, deep breaths.  Now focus hard on
(i) if the thing making you cry is work related –something positive that happened recently at home or
(ii) if it is home-related – on something positive at work. 
Make your memory really detailed and full of colour. Now make yourself smile and imagine yourself in armor ready to go back there and start again.
If you cannot get out of the room to find a quiet space, still take those long, slow, deep breaths. Take a sip of water if it is available and some people recite a favorite poem to themselves or remember a favorite joke.  All of this works to distract you.  If all else fails try my favorite trick and claim an allergy.  It can account for the wet eyes.
But remember tears are a natural response to some emotions.  And with those who know you well, you should be able to tell them the reason for your tears and they should feel privileged that you are able to cry in front of them.  I hope they realize that for most of us the best medicine for crying is a good old fashioned hug!

Want to be a Confident Networker? Join my free teleseminar on 26thJune 2012

Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach.  She helps people have the confidence they need to be successful at work and to change career while maintaining a good work/life balance. You can email her at wendymason

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Dealing With a Bully

English: this is my own version of what bullyi... (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dealing With a Bully

What is bullying?

Bullying can mean many different things. According to Childline, these are some ways children and young people have described bullying:
  • ·         being called names
  • ·         being teased
  • ·         being pushed or pulled about
  • ·         having money and other possessions taken or messed about with
  • ·         having rumours spread about you
  • ·         being ignored and left out
  • ·         being hit, kicked or physically hurt in any way
  • ·         being threatened or intimidated

Bullying can also be part of other forms of abuse, including neglectemotionalphysical and sexual abuse and on-line bullying is already notorious.
But of course bullying doesn't happen just to children, although children and the elderly are particularly at risk. 

People can be bullied for all sorts of reasons or no particular reason at all.

Sometimes people who bully others pick up on a small thing that makes someone stand out and they use it to hurt them. This might be the way someone looks, the things they like doing or even what kinds of clothes they wear. It can be homophobic, racist, against someone who is disabled or for some reason that just isn't obvious to anyone but the bully. Often bullying just helps the bully to feel powerful.

Being bullied is painful and it can be frightening.  Don’t ignore bullying – it won’t go away on its own and it may get worse.

If you think your child is being bullied try the  Childline link.

You will find very good advice on dealing with adult bullying here

If you think you are being bullied at work ACAS provides free, confidential advice on employment relations problems including bullying, They provide a free helpline Monday–Friday, 08:00–20:00 Saturday, 09:00–13:00 tel  08457 47 47 47;  Minicom users:  08456 06 16 00 Their website is here 

Want to be a Confident Networker? Join my free Teleseminar on 26thJune 2012

Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach.  She helps people have the confidence they need to be successful at work and to change career while maintaining a good work/life balance. You can email her at wendymason

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