Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

Sandra Bullock Trades Hubby for Oscar

Sandra, James & Oscar

Sandra, James & Oscar


“The Sandra Bullock Trade
by David Brooks (NYTimes.com)

Two things happened to Sandra Bullock this month. First, she won an Academy Award for best actress. Then came the news reports claiming that her husband is an adulterous jerk. So the philosophic question of the day is: Would you take that as a deal? Would you exchange a tremendous professional triumph for a severe personal blow?…Marital happiness is far more important than anything else in determining personal well-being.”

……………..

How ironic is it that in the very year that a female director Kathryn Bigelow cracks the glass ceiling to win the Oscar for Best Director, the real headline-grabber is a female actress whose husband’s mistress is caught with her pants down – revealing “White Pride” tattoos – or sleeveless, sporting a swastika armband? Brooks suggests that Sandra Bullock’s success tipped her husband into the arms of his Nazi-tattooed tootsie – and by implication, that a woman who enjoys “tremendous personal triumph” is headed for a “severe personal blow.”

Really? Ms. Bigelow seems to be weathering the storm of success quite nicely, thank you.  And isn’t Ms. Bullock’s husband, Jesse James,  a bad-boy biker with a history of breaking the law?  Was he really the guy-most-likely to hold a lady’s umbrella on the red carpet and keep his private urges in check?  Is it Oscar’s fault? Don’t thousands of women who don’t win Academy Awards or enjoy a “tremendous professional triumph” have cheating husbands?

Re: “Marital happiness is far more important than anything else in determining personal well-being.”  Actually, all social bonds – including friendship, community, family, non-marital love and commitments (plus marriage) are what’s important in determining happiness. Excluding non-married people (singles, widows, divorced people, gays, lesbians, celibates, etc.) from feelings of happiness and legitimacy creates unhappiness.  It’s not being married or unmarried that counts – it’s what you do with your life and how you feel about yourself and your relationships.

Ms. Bullock’s academy award is a very real achievement – and a sense of accomplishment can bring happiness.  As a teacher, I give my students gold stars when they successfully complete their assignments. We all like acknowledgment – on and off the red carpet. Unfortunately, Ms. Bullock’s husband’s behavior – the consequences of which are vastly magnified by the glare of public scrutiny is, to say the least, non-supportive – but should hardly come as a major shock. When a girl marries a bad boy, she gets excitement – but that may not add up to slippers-by-the-fireside security.

Other famous women have dealt with this issue.  Lucille Ball, whom I interviewed for my book Queens of Comedy, had a passionate, but troubled marriage with her first husband Desi Arnaz, a handsome, magnetic, touring bandleader whose babalu charm was catnip for the ladies. Did Lucy’s enormous public success bother him and contribute to his womanizing? Maybe. After their divorce, she picked a second husband who allowed her to be the star in public – but provided a safe haven in private.

If a woman is talented and ambitious, must she give up either her career or all hopes for a happy relationship?  I think either choice leads to frustration – and is not one that Mr. Brooks would consider for himself.  Feeling that she must make this trade-off (success vs. personal happiness)  is very undermining to a woman’s confidence and ability to achieve and enjoy her success.  I think it would be better to encourage women and men to live out their dreams – and look for partners and friends who support them.  Jesse James is not the only fish in Ms. Bullock’s pond.

It takes thought, negotiation, and a bit of luck to combine public success with a happy private life. Success and public acclaim can breed envy in our nearest and dearest.  This is true whether we win Oscars or flattering attention at a party. Sometimes, it’s possible to share the spotlight or not drag our partner/friend/relative into arenas where we shine and he/she is in the shadows. It’s not easy. Some relationships are keepers, and sometimes it’s better to throw that fish back in the water.  Sailing our fishing boats through the turbulent waters of relationships is a challenge – an “if.” That is what it’s all about  – how to be happy if…

Happiness Habits

  • Cultivate and value positive relationships and accomplishments.
  • If you like the spotlight, pick a partner/friend who is happy to let you shine
  • Share the glory and thank your supporter(s).
  • If you don’t like/don’t get public attention, remember – your behind-the-scenes support is crucial – a loyal partner lets you know that.
  • Undermining the “star” by bad behavior tends to backfire. Are there other ways to get what you need?
  • Question what you read/hear/see in the media – and test the opinions of experts (including mine) against your personal experience.

“No matter what the music, learn how to dance!”
Dr. Susan Horowitz (aka Dr. Sue) is a Motivational Speaker, Media Host, Singer-Songwriter “CD: Dr. Sue “Keys of Love” , Author of “Queens of Comedy” (Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Ellen DeGeneres etc.) “Read with Me” (Children’s Book of the Month Club), “I Am Loved” (Inspirational Poetry) “Blog: HOW TO BE HAPPY IF” Twitter: @howtobehappyif
copyright 2010 Dr. Susan Horowitz (aka Dr. Sue)

THE BIG TWEET: Twitter, Facebook, Oprah, “Women, Food and God”

Maxing out your joy and minimizing the impact of upsets are learned skills. My blog is based on the belief we can learn from the experts, each other, and our own experiences. Circumstances may differ, but they often reflect common basic truths. Happiness is a Habit…we can learn how, practice, and have fun! Post your questions and comments, and I’ll try to show you how to be happy if…

THE BIG TWEET: Twitter, Facebook, Oprah, “Women, Food and God”

I’ve been reading Oprah Winfrey’s’ web interview with Geneen Roth, author of Women, Food and God ( featured in O Magazine). Geneen and Oprah (who finished the book in one gulp) believe that food addiction is an attempt to fill an emotional emptiness.

“Oprah: I think this book could have been called “Women, Shopping and God, or Women, Meth and God, or Women, Gambling and God,” since food is just one of the things we use to deny our own worthiness—for love, for godliness, for peace.”

Whoa!  That’s a lot of addiction! From chocolate to Jimmy Choo shoes! From pizza to Prada – from Meth clinics to online gaming sites!

So I started to wonder – am I an addict?

I have all the symptoms – dark circles under my eyes, disconnect from reality, trembling hands, the obsessive hunt  for a hit.

It’s true. I am addicted to… Facebook!

At first, I was in denial. I told myself I was a social user.  But the truth hit me in at 2 am – the dark night of the soul.

There I was, clicking away in the wee small hours of a Manhattan morning,  adding Facebook friends with all the frenzy of the cyber-friendless. Then I hit a snag. I spotted a tiny photo of a middle-aged (okay, my age) woman and clicked “Add as Friend.”

Soon after that, I read her response on my Facebook wall: “Do I know you?”

Now, I was not ready for this heavy-duty conversation. I mean,  does anyone really know anyone?…not only in the philosophical sense, but more importantly, in the Facebook sense.

I don’t like to waste my Facebook time on unrequited friendship, but I thought I’d give her another shot.

Her Facebook page said she lived in Florida, so I shot back.  “Maybe you know my sister. She lives in Florida.”

I thought that was fair and specific. I mean, Florida is just a state and has what – a  measly 18  million people? Facebook has 350 million registered users!  That’s a country! A big one! With a stable government!  I mean, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is president for life – and look at the trouble Obama is having!

But that Florida woman would have none of it.  Politely, but persistently, she kept trying to find out if we knew each other.  I wanted to say, “Know each other? In the Biblical sense?”  But this was Facebook, where (like the Holy Book) every remark is recorded for eternity.  So I bit my tongue  (or rather, clenched my typing fingers) and politely suggested that she might feel more comfortable being friends with people she knows. “Knows” means she has actually met them.

Not that I cared about actually meeting anyone.  By now I was deep in addiction.

And Facebook was only the gateway drug.  After a brief spell of weak-willed resistance, I joined Twitter.

Soon I was tweeting away – and thrilled to discover I could accumulate followers!  Followers? On Facebook all I got was friends. On Twitter I had followers!  Like I was some kind of guru!  Like Gandhi! But, of course, better dressed – and fed.  I mean, later for the loincloth and protest fasts!  As Oprah and Geneen remind me, it’s “Women, Food (or Shopping) and God” – not Women, Self-Denial, and God.

Oprah says that what women are really hungry for is not food – but “love, godliness, and peace, divine connection.”

Now I totally get this.  Why else would 350 million plus people be up at all hours of the night – clicking and tweeting away unless they were hungry for unconditional love and peace – the kind you can only get with cyber-friends – who don’t know you, don’t want to – and don’t make demands?

What about the hunger for godliness?

Twitter allows only 140 characters. That’s less than a blog, less than what’s on most Facebook walls – and way less than the average sermon.  No wonder more people visit Twitter than attend church!

Twitter asks only one question – “What are you doing?”  Now that’s marketing genius!   Unlike “Do I know you?” everybody can answer that question, because, well,  you’re always doing something!

Plus, Twitter inclines toward a refreshing frankness and lack of pretense. Ashton Kutcher, Top Tweeter on Twitter (5000 followers)  – says in his bio, “Actually I make up stuff, stories mostly, collaborations of thoughts, dreams, and actions. That’s me.”

In today’s techno world, we want our gurus to make stuff up, get to the point, and be doing something.

And gurus are certainly godly – at least to their followers.

People are hungry to twitter – to be each other’s gurus.

If you tell me what people hunger for, I’ll tell you what they worship .

Right now it looks like what people worship is — the BIG TWEET!

Can we find godliness, a.k.a. compassion, connection and inspiration in each other?

That’s what this blog is all about – helping each other learn how to be happy – based on our own real experiences.

But enough of these 2am thoughts.

A few hours later, I gulped coffee and headed for my English class.  I have admit that while I was teaching my students English grammar and poetic techniques, I was mentally obsessing about my Facebook friends and Twitter followers.

As I made my students turn off their cell phones,  I was counting the seconds till I get back to social networking.

I felt guilty but what could I do?  My addiction was out of hand. What was worse, I was coming down with a cold from lack of sleep.

So now I’m in rehab.

I make myself turn off my computer an hour before I go to sleep.  I’m exercising my body – not just my typing fingers. And I’m reminding myself that a real friend offers face time not just cyber-space time.

How can this help us be happy?

Happiness Habits

  • Face your addictions – that’s any habit that 1. you can’t control  2. interferes with your ability to lead a healthy, productive, enjoyable life
  • Find positive alternatives to addiction – like exercise, friends, and family.
  • If you get caught up in fantasy connections – to gorgeous celebrities, to cyberfriends, followers, and romances – take it for what it is – an exciting illusion. Your feelings may be intense – but they may not have much to do with what the other person is really like.
  • Enjoy your life – in and out of cyberspace!

“No matter what the music, learn how to dance!”
Hugs 2 U Dr. Sue
Dr. Susan Horowitz (aka Dr. Sue) is a Motivational Speaker, Media Host, Singer-Songwriter “CD: Dr. Sue “Keys of Love” , Author of “Queens of Comedy” (Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Ellen DeGeneres etc.) “Read with Me” (Children’s Book of the Month Club), “I Am Loved” (Inspirational Poetry) “Blog: HOW TO BE HAPPY IF”
copyright 2010 Dr. Susan Horowitz (aka Dr. Sue)

TIME MANAGEMENT: De-Stress Your Life!

Dr. Sue's CD "Keys of Love"Maxing out your joy and minimizing the impact of upsets are learned skills. My blog is based on the belief we can learn from the experts, our experience, and each other. Circumstances may differ, but they often reflect common basic truths. Happiness is a Habit…we can learn how, practice, and have fun! Post your questions and comments, and I’ll try to show you how you be happy if…

“Time is a Vast Ocean of Opportunity – Learn to Sail!” – Dr. Sue

TIME MANAGEMENT: De-Stress Your Life!

Have you ever thought about how much stress comes from lack of time?  Feeling time pressured makes us impatient, accident-prone, irritable, a pain to others – and ourselves.  We make hasty, poor decisions, misplace and lose things, miss opportunities, and don’t enjoy the luxury of the time we do – or can have.  Here are a few tips to manage our time – and have a happier life.

“Last grain in an hourglass – more precious than gold!” – Dr. Sue Happiness Habit: Time Management

Prioritize what needs to be done – your deadlines – and do that first. “Do what you have to do so you can do what you get to do.” – a wise father’s advice from the film The Great Debaters

Make a Goals/Task List: Write down your Goals. Under each goal, write the tasks you need to do in order to accomplish it – your To-Do list.  If you don’t do it immediately, write it someplace that you will check or where there is a pop up reminder.  That way it won’t prey on your mind while it’s waiting to get done. When you do each task, check it off, and turn your To-Do into a To-Done. When you get your goal give yourself a treat and celebrate!  To-Do – To-Done – Ta-Dah! – “Mile by mile, it’s hard to smile; yard by yard – still feels feels hard; inch by inch – it’s a cinch! ”

Start Early: Allow extra time for you and everyone else to make mistakes. Things can go wrong – and will! Technical glitches, traffic jams, stalling trains, not being able to find your keys or glasses, accidents – expect the unexpected – and allow extra time so you won’t get stressed. If you finish early, you can always do something else while you’re waiting, or just relax and enjoy a treat.  Booking early allows you to take advantage of early bird deadlines and save money. Making your deadlines on time or early endears you to teachers, bosses, clients, and publishers.

Get Your Stuff  Together: What ingredients, clothes,accessories, work materials do you need – to get out the door, keep that appointment, take that trip, and get that job done?  Put the stuff together that goes together – not scattered in unrelated bits – it will be easier to find. Get it all together and lay it out in advance. You’ll find out what you need and what you need to fix – with a whole lot less stress. As the scouts say, “Be prepared!”

The Magic of While.… Set one thing in motion while you accomplish something else. For example, start your laundry before you do something else, when you’re done, it’s done. Mail letters and packages – even Emails, then do something else. Many people love crock pots and slow cookers for this reason – it’s doing its thing – and ready when you are!

Multi-Task: You know that Indian goddess with multiple arms? These days she would be on her cell phone closing a deal, doing a power walk around the coffee table,  zipping up, writing on a Facebook wall, Tweeting, and microwaving a dinner (to be eaten in front of  the computer). If you see yourself in any one of these multi-mirrors, than you’ve already figured out that multi-tasking gets you more bang for your buck, time wise.  The trick is when to turn it off.  That means – no cell phones while driving. (Think about it – do months in the hospital as a result of a traffic accident really save time? Is the guilt and remorse over injuring or killing a driver because you were too distracted to concentrate really worth it?) Also no cell phone in public spaces where other people want to focus on other things – like the performance on stage or screen, the classwork, the view – or the romantic date who wants to look deep in your eyes…and is distracted by the blue tooth in your ear!

Take stuff off your plate – If you don’t need to do it and don’t want to do it – don’t!  This means sometimes saying no to friends, family members, co-workers, social acquaintances, etc.  Set limits without guilt, arguing, blaming, or sighing like a martyr.  Yes, I know it’s a challenge. So ask yourself a few questions – Is this necessary? Is this helpful? Is this really my job? Is this fun?  If not – clean your plate!

None of us manage time perfectly, including me. When you slip – don’t forget to laugh at yourself and at rigid rules about time  (or anything else)  and customize my tips for yourself!

“Punctuality – a Point of View” by Dr. Sue

The early bird get the worm – this I have often heard

The early worm gets eaten  first –  isn’t that absurd?

Is being punctual so wise? It’s all in point of view –

If you’re a bird – yes indeed! If you’re a worm – not true!

Hugs 2 U Dr. Sue
Dr. Susan Horowitz (aka Dr. Sue) is a Motivational Speaker, Media Host, Singer-Songwriter “CD: Dr. Sue “Keys of Love” , Author of “Queens of Comedy” (Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Ellen DeGeneres etc.) “Read with Me” (Children’s Book of the Month Club), “I Am Loved” (Inspirational Poetry) Blog: HOW TO BE HAPPY IF (https://drsue3.wordpress.com)

copyright 2010 Dr. Susan Horowitz (aka Dr. Sue)

CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT(Cell Phones/Interactive Learning)

Dr. Sue's CD "Keys of Love"Maxing out your joy and minimizing the impact of upsets are learned skills. This blog is based on the belief we can learn from the experts, our own experience, and each other. Circumstances may differ, but they often reflect common basic truths. Happiness is a Habit…we can learn how, practice, and have fun! Post your questions and comments, and I’ll try to show you how you be happy if…

CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT

Cell Phones

I don’t like cellphones to interfere with the lesson – or my happiness – so I don’t allow them int the classroom – but I don’t like to be a grouch about it.   I teach college so many of my students are adults – which allows for both discipline and banter.   During my last class, a young man was doing his presentation in front of the class when his cell phone went off – twice!  I asked him for the phone, and he gave it to me.  It rang again! I opened the phone and cooed sweetly into it, “Helloooo…”

It turned out there was no one on the phone  – so no trouble for anyone…and no more cell phones rang in that particular class. However, nothing changes overnight…

A few classes later, his cell phone ring again. It turned out he had plugged it into the wall socket to charge, but forgot to turn it off.  He fumbled with the phone, got up to give his presentation to the class – and it rang!  I took the phone away from him and saw there was  message from “Julie.”  As he started his presentation, it rang again!  A new name came up: “Theresa.”   I told him I would hold onto the phone – I was dying to talk to Julie and Theresa!   The student did his presentation – quite well as it turned out.  At the end of class, I gave the phone back but told him to turn it off – unless he wants me to have a chat with Julie and Theresa. His cell phone doesn’t ring anymore – at least not in my class.

I don’t think what I did with the cell phone is taught in an education course. In fact, it might get some teachers in trouble.  Teaching is a communication/art form and depends on personality, rapport, etc. Education takes place in subtle ways. I hope that I taught my students that there are ways to set limits and rules (like no cell phones) without confrontation, anger, or humiliation in a spirit of common educational goals and fun!

Interactive Learning

  • Students Participation is key to learning – they stay alert, learn better with less stress and more enjoyment
  • Find out what they already know and teach them something new
  • Give them a way to review what they know and ask questions to clear up confusion

Here a proven technique  to encourage student participation…

  • Write all the terms students need to know on the blackboard, flip chart, PowerPoint, etc.
  • Ask students to pick out terms they know and define them.  When there is a satisfactory definition, check off the term. Since it is voluntary, no one is embarrassed. If there is confusion, you can correct it on the spot. If there is a term they don’t know, you can teach it with examples. By the end of the class, you have checked off all the terms. They can measure what they have learned and so can you!  More techniques to follow in other blog posts…

Happiness Habits

  • Pay by the rules (no cell phones) …and don’t forget to play!
  • Use Teaching Techniques that are interactive, encourage students to participate and allow shine, and have measurable results
  • Review and check what they already know – and teach them something new.

“No matter what the music, learn how to dance!”
Hugs 2 U Dr. Sue
Dr. Susan Horowitz (aka Dr. Sue) is a Motivational Speaker, Media Host, Singer-Songwriter “CD: Dr. Sue “Keys of Love” , Author of “Queens of Comedy” (Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Ellen DeGeneres etc.) “Read with Me” (Children’s Book of the Month Club), “I Am Loved” (Inspirational Poetry) “Blog: HOW TO BE HAPPY IF”
copyright 2010 Dr. Susan Horowitz (aka Dr. Sue)

KIRSTIE ALLEY (“My Big Life:) / OPRAH WINFREY

Maxing out your joy and minimizing the impact of upsets are learned skills. My blog is based on the belief we can learn from the experts, our own experience, and each other. Circumstances may differ, but they often reflect common basic truths. Happiness is a Habit…we can learn how, practice, and have fun! Post your questions and comments, and I’ll try to show you how you be happy if…

KIRSTIE ALLEY (“My Big Life:) / OPRAH WINFREY

As a blizzard blankets New York, I think about layers of meaning for the word “snow job” Besides the flakes of white stuff whirling past my window and providing employment for street cleaners, “snow job” reminds me of the blather of celebs hawking their latest products and shows. To wit – yesterday on Oprah Winfrey’s talk show, Kirstie Alley – who is mainly famous for being fat – was spokesmodeling her personal weight-loss system. This system includes chicken wings with skin (where the fat is) and a green drink.

Immediately after these revelations, we broke for an infomercial, where experts informed us that obesity leads to diabetes, heart disease, and other revolting developments.  Who am I to believe? The medical experts – or celeb spokesmodels like Ms. Alley?

Ms. Alley also has a new TV reality show “My Big Life”, where, as a dateless single mom,  she raises kids, looks for a man,  and gives diet and decorating advice – like how to decorate a bedroom for romance.

Whoa! Talk about multi-tasking!  And what does this say about pop culture and celebrities?

Is celebrity itself a qualification?  Does Ms. Alley’s career as a sitcom star and former spokesmodel for a weight loss product (Jenny Craig) provide the credentials to tell people how to lose weight and gain romance?  Does her life in a romantic desert (with dessert) qualify her to advise the public?  I guess so – at least if you want to take the advice.

I know this blog post is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but, staying on focus with my theme “How To Be Happy If…” here goes –

Happiness Habits

  • Do what you love  (in this case, watching talk shows)
  • Make room for the occasional treat – like dishing celebs and pop culture
  • Learn from everyone – I have to admire Kirstie’s spunk and the way she makes the most of what she’s got

“No matter what the music, learn how to dance!”
Hugs 2 U Dr. Sue
Dr. Susan Horowitz (aka Dr. Sue) is a Motivational Speaker, Media Host, Singer-Songwriter “CD: Dr. Sue “Keys of Love” , Author of “Queens of Comedy” (Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Ellen DeGeneres etc.) “Read with Me” (Children’s Book of the Month Club), “I Am Loved” (Inspirational Poetry) “Blog: HOW TO BE HAPPY IF”
copyright 2010 Dr. Susan Horowitz (aka Dr. Sue)

HOW TO BE HAPPY IF…It’s Storming (The Wizard of Blizzard)

Maxing out your joy and minimizing the impact of upsets are learned skills. My blog is based on the belief we can learn from the experts – and each other. Circumstances may differ, but they often reflect common basic truths. Happiness is a Habit…we can learn how and practice. Post your questions and comments, and I’ll try to show you how you be happy if…

How to Be Happy If It’s Storming (The Wizard of Blizzard)

Starting a blog about happiness on a day of spectacularly “bad” weather seems both ironic and appropriate – since I believe that happiness is an inside job. Of course, it sometimes seems to take “magical” thinking to transform the negative into positive. That’s why I call it “The Wizard of Blizzard.”  Like any magic trick, we get better with practice – so I decided to practice on the weather – and on my students.

When I walked into my classroom, one of my students looked at the snow swirling outside the window, made a sour face and said, “Look at that disgusting weather!”   I said, “Nice to be inside!” The students had to agree – it was!

Then I told them a story about two friends of mine who sent me Emails comparing their sunny, warm weather to my snowstorms. I Emailed them back – “Cold outside – warm inside!”  (I guess my friends got their happiness from a touch of schadenfreud – the German word for delight in the pain of others.)

One of my students said that when she goes on vacation, she sends her friends postcards comparing her fabulous, sunny weather with the cold back home.  I said, “Well if that makes you happy, I’m happy.”

Now, I don’t actually write my friends about how my vacation weather is superior to the cold back home – I figure they don’t want to hear it.  But I do like to think about it – so, while it’s not nice to admit, maybe I have a touch of schadenfreud too!

I think that a positive attitude takes practice – if we practice on little things like the weather, we’ll have the mental muscle for bigger things.  Also, I don’t believe in denial – the weather is cold and snowy – but we can decide where to focus – on the cold weather – or on our good fortune in being inside, having warm winter coats, gloves, hoods, hats, earmuffs, boots, etc.

Anyway, I came home to a warm cup of spiced tea and smooth jazz while the blizzard roared outside.

As the song goes: “The weather outside is frightful, but in here it’s so delightful…let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…”

Happiness Habits

  • Remind yourself that happiness is an inside job – you can’t change the weather – you can change how you feel about it
  • Shift focus – denial doesn’t work – but you can shift focus from what you don’t like to what’s positive in your situation
  • Practice an attitude of gratitude – warm clothes, warm home, warm tea – not bad in a blizzard!

“No matter what the music, learn how to dance”

Hugs 2 U Dr. Sue

Web: http://www.drsue.com 

Keys of Love” –  positive songs on CD Baby – http://www.cdbaby.com/drsue

copyright 2010 Susan “Dr. Sue” Horowitz