Hi there! Welcome to Euphoria, a little site all about happiness, optimism and positive thinking.

The reality is that everyone is fighting a hard battle in one way or another - it's just that not all of us show it - therefore despite all the things that happen, I hope that you'll be able to see the little ray of sunshine in your life. There is always an opportunity of happiness in our day - it is just up to you to see it. Therefore, my goal is here is simple: to bring a smile to your face. I hope that when you leave Euphoria, you'll feel that your day is just a little brighter. The sun is always there, even on a cloudy day.

I hope you have the most beautiful of days and I hope that Euphoria can do something for you.


Random Facts About Happiness

More random things about happiness -- notice I didn't say facts

Though I'm definitely not a professional of any sort, I thought I'd give these, er, whatever-you-want-to-call-them, their own section so there is a distinct separation between facts and things-that-aren't-facts. To get the idea of this separation out there, the below will seem quite personal and opinionated - but I promise that's intended!


Aside from the fact that all smiles are beautiful - have you ever seen a smile that wasn't? - smiling can affect you physiologically. The act of smiling releases endorphins and serotonin. Other physiological effects smiling has is that it reduces stress and lowers blood pressure.

But wait -- what are endorphins? Endorphins, or endogenous opiates, are neurotransmitters found in the pituitary gland - or to put it simply, they are natural chemicals in our bodies. They can act as a natural painkiller but more importantly, they make us happy. That happiness we feel can, surprisingly, last up to 12 hours.

So what's serotonin? Serotonin is also a transmitter that is generally found in our central nervous systems. Serotonin is the chemical that is said to cause the 'happiness' we feel and can help regulate our mood. Therefore, it makes sense that low serotonin levels can affect you and your body negatively.

It's no surprise, then, that smiling can improve your health. Research has shown that smiling can boost the immune system. Not only does smiling boost your immune system, but being positive about a situation and being optimistic can also make you feel better physiologically - an example of this is the placebo effect. Through self-perception, I noticed that when I stayed positive on getting better when I was sick, I was more likely to feel better sooner - perhaps this is due to chance, but it made my time being sick not as horrible.

There is a fact or myth - I myself am unsure of which - that says that even fake smiles can have positive effects. Whether it is true or not, genuine smiles, which can be referred to as the Duchenne smile would be more effective against stress and negative feelings.

How can you tell them apart? The Duchenne smile involves more parts of your face - there will be movement in the corners of your mouth, cheek muscles and the areas around your eyes. The limbic system, which is a group of structures in your brain that have a role of emotion regulation (as well as other things), brings about the Duchenne smile. They are also spontaneous - sometimes you don't even realize that you are smiling.

What about fake smiles? Fake smiles, or forced smiles, are called Pan-Am smiles, which involve the voluntary movement of the muscles for smiling. In contrast to the Duchenne smile, there isn't movement around the areas around your eyes when you do a fake smile.

So, the next time you feel down and stressed, stop for a moment and think of something positive. Think of a happy memory and wait for the Duchenne smile to come to your face. Maybe watch a funny video - have you all seen Pink Fluffy Unicorns Dancing on Rainbows? That always makes me laugh. And even though you may feel like you aren't in the mood to smile or being happy - remember that feeling better and a brighter day is always within reach. It's just a matter of taking a step forward and trying.

But of course, happiness does not mean smiling all the time. Smiling is just a small aspect of how to improve happiness. Happiness encompasses so much more than smiling every day and conditioning your own behaviour to be more optimistic - but, it can begin with a smile.


Knowing Your Enemy

You may wonder - why would you have a section on stress when this is supposed to be a happiness site? I think it's important to understand this sort of thing, particularly when stress is now very common in our lives. I think it's important to understand and know more about stress so that you all are aware - to understand something gives it an entirely new dimension. You wouldn't tackle an assignment without doing research first, right? That's why I've written this section on stress - so you know how to tackle and cope with it.

Stress: We are all familiar with it - stress is the new-age virus. As you may know, is that feeling of pressure, strain and frustration and can affect us mentally, emotionally and physiologically. Stress is incredibly common now-a-days, and sometimes I feel there is this ludicrous fad that you should project stress on others to illustrate how busy or motivated you are. What many people are unaware of is that stress can cause many long-term problems, therefore, despite what makes us stress may be beyond our control, we should all do our best and all we can to minimize stress.

Let's talk about stress a bit more - stress is ultimately the body's response to a perceived threat. Our body then undergoes a process in which we cope with stress - let's call our body's reaction stress response. What stress response basically does is to prepare your body with resources in order to cope with the perceived stress. Cool, right? There is one problem though - production of these extra resources disrupts homeostasis in our bodies.

But wait -- what's homeostasis? Homeostasis is a state of equilibrium in your bodies - in other words, your body does this so that everything in your body is balanced. Our body has many complex interactions that are important in making sure that your body is functioning properly. Disruption of homeostasis can lead to very dangerous consequences.

How does stress affect homeostasis in our bodies? Let's have a look at Seyle's General Adaptation Syndrome - we'll call it GAS for short. Seyle's GAS model describes the sequences and reactions your body undergoes when presented with stress.

The first is alarm. When we perceive a threat, our body goes into an alarm state and your body's system is activated, thus an increase of energy levels. Ever felt that very brief feeling of alarm and fright after turning on music, only to find that, the music was incredibly loud? You may notice that, very soon after, you would have recovered from the alarm - this is because stress response varies depending on the duration of the stress.

The second stage is resistance. This is when your body attempts to provide resources to cope with the presented threat, particularly if the stress or stressor continues.

Finally, the final stage is exhaustion. This is when resources, provided to cope with the threat and stress, have been drained; as a result, this will deplete your energy. If you guessed that this can lead to very serious consequences, you'd be right - exhaustion can lead to long term effects on your body and even collapse - I've experienced this first-hand and if I could go back and do what I could have done to minimize the stress I had undergone, even at the cost of a scholarship mark I achieved, I would. Such level of stress is nothing to brag about, it's not ideal, it's not clever, and it taught me a valuable lesson. Never push yourself to this limit.

So from the GAS, what does this tell us? Stress is in our lives - it's very common now - and it can be more serious than what people think. Stress affects you physically, psychologically and can also affect your behaviour. But there are ways to minimize the effects of stress.

Coping

We all know coping to be a process in which we deal with a situation. For psychologists, however, coping is the process where someone takes action to manage, manage, take control over, tolerate and reduce demands that may cause stress. People have developed different types of coping strategies, as everyone will have their own way of coping with stress.

One coping strategy is called emotion-focused coping; this may be when, after having a bad day, you may approach a family member or friend and tell them about it to ease your feelings. As mentioned earlier in my 'random things about happiness', writing down stressful events can help you relieve stress - people who commit themselves to this will have benefits behaviourally and psychologically. Remember, social support is a good way to relieve stress - talking about it will help.

Another strategy is called proactive coping. It is to anticipate stressful things in the future and therefore do something to minimize that stress later. For example, you know that during the school year, you won't have enough time to have a part-time job; therefore, you spend your summer holidays working to make up for it. In the end, you end up taking action and minimize the amount of stress that you feel in the future.

However, the strategy that is most effective - to most - is problem-focused coping. Put simply, problem-focused coping is to solve any stress-related problems. Problem-focused coping consists of planning, gathering information, making decisions and taking action - this will generally result in the problem or situation changing, which can decrease stress.

Of course, given the coping strategies above, it all seems rather broad. Take a moment and look back on a time that you coped with stress and ask yourself: did it work well for you? Did you cope with the stress well and did the stress persist after? If you did not cope with the stress, think about something that is causing you stress now - how would you go about coping? Are you going to confront that person? Are you going to prepare and anticipate something that may happen in the future? It's important to have a good think about this - spare five minutes and think about what will work for you and work out, in the future, what you could do.

I should emphasize that coping is not something that you can immediately learn to do - yes, like all habits, coping is something that you learn over time. I implore you to give one of the strategies a go next time - assuming that you all are lovely young people, to practice coping and to learn how to minimize stress can be incredibly beneficial for you when you are all older.

Let's move on to something lighter now - something that doesn't involve a lot of learning - but it does require thinking! But you'll leave this page feeling much better if you follow the next procedure through - I promise!


Ready? Let's go!

Set One

1. What was the weather like today? State something positive about it. Even if the forecast was something you didn't like, think about nice in relation to it - do you remember a nice memory associated with this forecast?
2. What was something positive that happened and made you happy? Why did it make you happy?
3. Think about another nice event that happened - was someone with you? If so,who?
4. In relation to the event above, what happened? Why did it make you happy? It can be something small and simple, such as talking to a friend or eating with them.
5. Think about that person you were with. Even if you do not know them very well, how have they affected you positively? Did they cheer you up or did they compliment you?
6. Now think about something that didn't go so well. To appreciate the good things, we must acknowledge the not-so-good. Tell yourself that despite what happened, you come out as a stronger person - go on, tell yourself that. I'm not joking.
7. Think about an aspect of your day today that you appreciate. It can be simple and small or it can be big and significant. Why do you appreciate what happened?
8. What was something that made you smile?
9. What was something that made you laugh?
10. Before you go to sleep tonight, think about the happy and wonderful things that happened to you today. Even if the happiness is mingled in stress, focus on the good things, rather than the bad things. Learn to appreciate the small things, because those are the things that will be special to you.

Set Two

1. Who is someone that makes you happy?
2. Remember a particular memory when you were with them that made you feel happy - why did it make you feel happy?
3. Name a person that you can always depend on.
4. Think about someone who always makes you feel better, no matter what.
5. When was a time when the persons you named in #3 and #4 helped you? What happened and how did you feel after their help?
6. Name a family member, or someone that you consider family, that always makes you happy.
7. Recall a time where you were with them and you were happy. Does it bring a smile to your face?
8. Think about your closest friend - who are they?
9. Why is person mentioned in #8 special to you? Recall a special memory you have that you share with them.
10. Think about the people you mentioned in the last nine questions. Next time you see them, appreciate them. Give them a hug, tell them that you love them, tell them that they're awesome. Go on, do it now. Text them, IM them, call them. It'll be worth it.

Set Three

Imagine the best day in the world. You'd be:
1. Where are you and what is the weather like?
2. Who is with you?
3. What would you eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
4. What would you do on that day?
Think back to a day that is significant to you that made you happy - or the best day of your life so far.
5. Where were you and what was the weather like?
6. Who was with you?
7. What did you eat that day?
8. What did you do on that day?
9. Looking back, do you feel happy remembering this memory? Why?
10. Compare the answers that you wrote for your imaginary perfect day and the day that actually happened. Think about it - it is all that different? For those of you that had similar answers for both days, pay attention to those answers that are similar - what does that tell you? For those of you that had quite different answers, a 'perfect' day is possible - you just have to make it happen.

Set Four

1. What is one of your favourite physical traits?
2. What is one of your favourite aspects to your personality? Everyone has inner beauty - think about it.
3. What is one of your talents?
4. What is a quality that you like about yourself?
5. When was a moment that you were proud of yourself? Why did it make you proud? It could be a time you worked hard for something and achieved it or you did something great.
6. What is a long-term goal for you? Also, why is this goal important to you?
7. Name something you want to accomplish sometime in your life. It doesn't have to be a big accomplishment - just something you just want to do one day.
8. What's something that you appreciate in your life?
9. What is something physical that may be seen as 'undesirable' but you love yourself for it?
10. What is something you used to dislike about yourself, but have come to love?

The sets after this have no common theme - they're all at random. Enjoy!

Set Five

1. What is your favourite kind of ice cream? If you don't like ice cream, what's your favourite dessert?
2. What's your favourite food and why?
3. What was something new that you tried out and turned out loving it? What happened and why did you love it?
4. What is your favourite thing to do with your friends?
5. Name someone you hung out with within the last week. What did you do and how did you feel after?
6. Who was the last person to make you smile?
7. What do you enjoy the most about in life?
8. Where is a place that always makes you happy?
9. Think about the last time someone complimented you. What did they say?
10. What was the kindest thing that someone has ever done for you?

Set Six

1. Where is one place where you'd love to travel to one day?
2. Think about your culture - what is something that you love about it?
3. What is the most important quality in a friend?
4. In relation to #3, who is a friend that has that quality?
5. What was the best gift you had ever received? When was it?
6. What is a quote that always makes you feel happy or gives you strength?
7. Who is your real-life superhero?
8. Take a quality of yourself and turn it into a superpower. What would that superpower be called and what does it do?
9. What is something small that you appreciate more than anything?
10. What's your favourite song and why?

If you have any ideas of a set or would like to submit your set and spread the love and happiness, please neomail me!

http://www.mightyape.co.nz/daily-deals/


Here's a compilation of some quotes that, I hope, will you be more optimistic and be more positive!

Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstance.
- Benjamin Franklin

Whatever you are, be a good one.
- Abraham Lincoln

The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else's highlight reel.
- Steve Furtick

Now and then, it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.
- Guillaume Appolinaire

Be grateful when your mood is high and graceful when it is low.
- Richard Carlson

By deeply living in the present moment, we can understand the past better and we can prepare for a better future.
- Thich Nat Hanh

The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things.
- Henry Ward Beecher

Don't let your search for a happy ending get in the way of a happy life.
- Unknown

Keep high aspirations, moderate expectations and small needs.
- William Howard Stein

We are limited, not by our abilities, but by our vision.
- Unknown

Whatever the past has been, you have a spotless future.
- Unknown

Tough times never last; tough people do.
- Robert Schuller

Failure teaches success.
- Japanese proverb

Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald

Success is good fortune that comes with aspiration, desperation, perspiration and inspiration.
- Evan Esar

Choices, not circumstances, determine your success.
- Unknown

What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.
- Ralph Marston

Problems are the price of progress.
- Charles F. Kettering

Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
- Veronica A. Shoffstall

Growth begins when we begin to accept our weaknesses.
- Jean Vanier

I have done my best. That is all the philosophy of living one needs.
- Lin Yutang

The problem is not that there are problems; the problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.
- Theodore Rubin

If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
- Maya Angelou

Believe you can, and you're halfway there.
- Theodore Roosevelt

The best way out is always through.
- Robert Frost

Failure is success if we learn from it.
- Malcolm Forbes

Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.
- Colin Powell

See the positive side, the potential, and make an effort.
- Dalai Lama

Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black curious eyes of a child - our own two eyes. All is a miracle.
- Thich Nhat Hanh

If a bird is flying for pleasure, it flies with the wind, but if it meets danger, it faces the wind, in order that it may fly higher.
- Corrie Ten Boom

Dreams are renewable. no matter what our age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty waiting to be born.
- Dr. Dale Turner

Live your life each day as you would climb a mountain. An occasional glance towards the summit keeps the goal in mind, but many beautiful scenes are to be observed from each vantage point.
- Harold Melchart

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.
- Corrie Ten Boom

A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.
- John Augustus Shedd

A smile does not equate to happiness. It equates to strength and healing.
- Brooke Robinson

When you do something noble and beautiful and nobody noticed, do not be sad. For the sun every morning is a beautiful spectacle and yet most of the audience still sleeps.
- Laissez Faire

This section is under construction! If you want to contribute to a quote that means something to you, please neomail me!


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