219: How to Cultivate Surroundings for Everyday Contentment



welcome to the simple sophisticate podcast or intelligent living is paired with signature style I'm your host Shannon Able's and whether you're listening on your commute exercising working in the garden or sitting down with a hot cup of tea or a cafe la thank you for tuning in let's get started welcome to the 219 episode of the simple sophisticate and this is the last Monday in July can you believe it holy cow aha next time we're gonna meet on this podcast it will be August anyway I am excited because in August before I get into today's episode is the third annual simply luxurious life French wheat we're gonna kick that off on Sunday August 12th and I have a full slate of posts and episodes of the podcast interviews for you so if you want to know a little bit more heads up about what's gonna be on the docket I guess you could say for the simply luxurious life French week be sure to sign up for the weekly newsletter because next Friday or this Friday I should say this Friday I'm gonna share a few of those bits and pieces of news of what to expect giveaways things like that and I'll have a link for that on today's show notes but to today's episode we're gonna talk about how to cultivate a life for every day contentment and it was inspired by an interview with an author that wrote the Blue Zones the the Dan Buettner wrote a book and he's wrote subsequent books about the Blue Zones of happiness and I was listening to his interview with Marie Forleo and he just talked so clearly and succinctly about the reality of what surrounds us having such a huge impact on our happiness so I'm going to use his pillars and then dive deeper into that and expand it to examine it through the lens that we have here of the simply luxurious life but before I get to that today's petite please here is a film that I recently saw some of you may already know what I'm talking about and I highly recommend you go see it if you can't find where it's showing or at least wait for it to pop up on Netflix or Amazon or wherever these films go after they're no longer the theaters and anyway I'll share with you why I enjoyed it so much and why I would recommend it at the end of today's episode but let's get into our topic today I want to begin with a quote with regards to our environment and happiness from Dan Buettner the blue zones of happiness he states your environment where you live and how you shape your surroundings is the biggest most important and most impactful thing you can do to favor your own happiness now when I read that quote and heard him talk about this eyes owned in on this whole concept of shaping our environments and I'll explain more on that in a minute have you ever said to yourself if only I lived insert your dream destination I would be happier first of all that is normal that is perfectly human and it's actually partially correct according to Dan Buettner author and researcher that he is shares in his books and his website Blue Zones they dial into these blue zones of happiness that while indeed where we live does make a difference to our levels of happiness as we adapt or become conditioned to the habits and ways of life around us so to do the following things that he shares on his website which I've linked on the show notes he shares a list of six things that beyond where we live these six things affect our happiness first one and I don't believe therein any necessary order but these are the list of them number one trust in other words he states can you trust your neighbor so relationships – is tolerance he states can I live out my values and we'll talk about more about what that might look like in our episode today three is community do you have strong social connections four is a healthy life expectancy five is your GDP in other words money does matter to a point and six is your freedom do you have the freedom to do the work that is right for you in other words do you get to do what fulfills you do you get to and maybe it will to break that down more specifically in a minute but the freedom to choose the freedom to be free and able to do what you can do and are willing to work hard to do so those are his six things that he shares on his website with regards to Blue Zones what you could do to increase your happiness beyond where you live and I'm gonna provide a link to that because he dives deeper into all six of them and you can find that link on the show notes but let's dive into it with regards to living simply luxuriously as I look around my surroundings and Bend I am examining asking and then answering these questions for myself those six that list of six things can I trust my neighbor can I live in my without my values do I have strong social connections and so on and so forth and as well I'm also doing the same thing with places that I've loved to travel to and have considered okay what I want to live here such as the English countryside the French countryside as both of these excursions to these countries saw my happiness peak for a variety of reasons and some for the same reasons and then there were other reasons why the French countryside piqued my interest but also why the English countryside is still just really resonating with me when I traveled there I'll provide links to both of those if you want to see more of my trip and why really spoke to me so I asked myself these questions as I'm sure you're going to do when you think about your dream place to live or the place you currently live and I think that's very important where you live right now can you do these things are these things there but the key is that we can't just pack up tomorrow and head off to Devon England we can't do that now some people could I shouldn't say that it's a big decision and it's not always possible simply because we're not feeling content where we are doesn't mean we can't feel content or as happy as we want to be where we are making a decision to move isn't something that's done lightly or swiftly by most people but what we can do no matter where we live is tend to what surrounds us right now and that's what I'm gonna talk about today keeping in mind the lists that we just talked about I'd like to break those down in more detail today paying the special attention to specific areas in our lives that we can look at more closely and discover that indeed we can make some improvements to elevate the overall quality of our everyday lives no matter where we call home so let's do that I have 10 different concepts or ideas I want to look at because like I said as much as we may be able to move even often we just need to make some changes right at home so let's look at number 1 which is understand how to cultivate healthy relationships the only person we have control over is ourselves but it is imperative that we find a community in which we are accepted and supported as we are able to be ourselves within this community this is where you can cultivate and honor the ability for others to be themselves as well and I've written a detailed post about sharing seven ways to build healthy relationships and I'll include that link on the show notes but the key thing here is no matter how much socializing you need we all need it and the healthier it is the better it is for our happiness and so just examining that and understanding how to build those healthy relationships if we want to improve them or we want to begin to create more of them so that's number one number two is to invest in your social well-being now I talked in detail about this in episode 92 so a few years ago and I'll provide a link to that on the show notes but basically it's this concept first of accepting and loving who you are so-so being your best friend first and then investing in the social networks this does tie in with number one and not feeling the need to absolutely always have to be in a romantic relationship understanding that you can be completely content and at peace on your own and that shouldn't change whether you're in a relationship or not and that's really our responsibility as individuals and I I go into each of those concepts in this episode that happened a few years ago 92 if you're interested in checking that out with regards to social well-being then we have number three which is with regards to our surroundings we want to keep tribalism to a minimum now thinking about what we just talked about cultivating a strong social well-being if we only spend time and only live and only congregate with people who think just like we do look just like us and do not engage in healthy disagreements or observe others engaging in healthy disagreements meaning we're seeing other people engage with people with different ideas but seeing that they can work together and be together we are not practicing tolerance of other ideas cultures and people that live differently than we do while there is a limit to what each of us can tolerate to understand what is most important as we get to know others outside of our tribe so to speak we need to focus on I think these particular concepts regardless of all the differences we may see or perceive examining someone's kindness compassion right examining their ability and our ability to respect others rights and their boundaries so respecting them as as simply as a human being and then the ability for individuals to become self actualized and what I mean by that is regardless of the culture regardless of their belief system with regards to their their spirituality or their background or anything at all do they believe that other people should have the right to be self actualized should they choose so it's this idea of of just diving deeper into well what is it that is is keeping me from engaging with people why am i so whatever so trying to step outside that tribalism which has been a hot topic word I guess you could say as of late and I think it's important that we examine are we doing that ourselves and if we are maybe that's part of our unhappiness because we're really stuck just in that small little group and we're not considering that there are other people out there that may be perceived as different and we may perceive that difference as bad when in reality is just different and they want so many of the similar things that we do peace calm equality acceptance and to be loved so that's number three keep middle keep tribalism to a minimum number four is examine your health and finesse your diet and fitness routines now this is something we've talked about quite often on the podcast and on the blog but with regards to number four of Dan butler's list healthy life expectancy if we have good health if we're living well and our body is being treated like a temple then we can be happier because we can fully engage with life and and really seize those opportunities when they present themselves so I've included four different either episodes or pod episodes or blog posts that you can dive into one is about the six pillars of good health we talked about that recently in episode 212 I also have really specific topics about a walking regimen for your fitness how to feed your body well and designing an at-home strength program which was episode 201 so that's number four five with regards to examine in your surroundings to improve your happiness is to build and strengthen your income and financial future happiness does tie to how much money we make to a point as Dan Buettner said in 2012 a study came out that it was is $75,000 a year obviously that depends on where you live in the country and in the world but but based on the United States that's what they found to be true if you if you could bring in $75,000 a year how so could bring in that much money in the average American home you would be content and what they mean by that is beyond that it really didn't make a difference in your happiness is what they were saying you can make that much more they say that's fine but it's not gonna the money income is not gonna make you happier that's probably changed a little bit since it's been six years ago but I think understanding that we're being paid for what we're what we're pay so know your value know your worth know what you're contributing not being afraid to step up and say hey you know this is what I would like this raise or this is what I feel I've contributed you know whatever arena of a career you're in making sure that number one you're being savvy with your money letting it work for you you're mastering it it's not mastering you and that you really stepping into your full potential and that's a different answer for every single person but I do have a few posts and I'll include those in the show notes of how to take control of what you can control and make the most of it number six is to cultivate a sanctuary that truly feels like home one of the aspects of my recent trip to France was that I chose rentals vacation rentals that would enable me to feel at home as much as possible since I was so far away from my own home and I would be away for quite some time now details do matter less but better matters and choosing decor and and furniture that enables you to live the life within your home that is not only functional but comfortable when we do what we love is important it really does have effect on our happiness and our contentedness and so some takeaways for me what I'm gonna be focusing on maybe this will spark some ideas for you but some things that I'm going to be considering cuz I really have not I really haven't dove into the decor and my rental that I've been staying in the past three years I early sold my home that I had invested a lot of time and energy and money into over the last nine years and I took with me what I loved and what I could keep and I just decorated it basically immediately when I walked in the door and it worked out very well but I've been throwing myself into so many of the things that my decor has been it hasn't been a priority but I'm gonna shift that because what I've noticed on this trip that I just took is it had a huge effect on me and it was very positive I'd included a link to one of the rentals that I stayed out in Gord France and if you haven't checked it out I encourage you to do so I stayed there for a week and it truly felt like home in so many ways so a few of the things I'm going to work on adding to my home over the next few months is simply adding more framed photos of the travels that I've had the opportunity to take recently and images with my dogs I'm also gonna try to add some more warmth to my rental with more curtains specifically linen curtains things that I can actually take with me should I be moving to another rental or buying a home soon so that it's still an investment item it's still something that I love and I don't have to leave it behind and also I've been doing this this was the one thing I have been doing it over the past few years I've been making sure my kitchen is stocked with the utensils but I need to cook the meals I love and I've just been adding a few things as of late as I prepped for the first season of the simply luxurious kitchen and just stepping into that kitchen when you know that you have the tools that you need to make the food that you enjoy eating it's just it's a comfort and that's so that's one thing I'm continuing to do and I'm also going to be considering furnishing my deck with comfortable furniture for those quiet pursuits such as reading in the morning or the evening in the summer and also more of a welcoming environment for dinner parties out on the deck in the patio in the summertime I love those kind of gatherings so just some ideas that I'm thinking about and you two can think about your home and think about how where do I feel more at peace most at peace why don't why don't I feel at peace in this this room or in this space and what can I do to spruce it up and I'll provide a few links to give you inspiration on cultivating a living space how to make simple home touch-ups those are very specific posts that I've written in the past and they'll be on the show notes for you to check out if you're interested you can also if you have my first book choosing the simply luxurious life a modern Woman's Guide I have dedicated an entire chapter to cultivating your sanctuary so if you haven't picked up that book and want to dive deeper into it that first book is linked on my blog it's also on Amazon and in local bookstores and you can check that out so that's number six cultivate a sanctuary that feels like home number seven spend time regularly enjoying hobbies that enable you to be fully present when we engage in hobbies that will allow separation from our work world even our social worlds as much as we personally need we actually are giving our mind and our being a rest and when we let our minds rest we reduce our stress and thereby increase potential ideas and problem-solving to happen naturally I've included an episode that I did last year on the importance of having deliberate rest regularly in our lives and I've included that link on today's show notes under number seven because the power of rest is often sometimes dismissed and it shouldn't be it's something that it's free fuel I guess we could say that really helps improve the quality of our lives so that's number seven number eight be conscious of the media that you expose your mind to so again that's environment that we we are in can either help us improve our contentment or not and what I mean by this is we may not be able to control the world around us but we can control whether or not we put ourselves in a situation to consume information that isn't what we know will increase the quality of our lives last week I wrote a post about giving our brain a chance to calm down regularly and ideas that I'm doing in my own life with regards to taking in the news and information and maybe some suggestions that you're gonna maybe want to incorporate into your life because the more we're aware of what those outside sources do to us the more we can make sure we tailor them to be most beneficial number nine is come up with daily weekly seasonal and annual rituals you enjoy and will look forward to now I have talked about rituals throughout the many years that we've talked on the blog Austin in the last four years that we've had this podcast so daily rituals holiday rituals weekend rituals afternoon rituals morning rituals to help start your day while designing a great week and how to savor the reasons for the seasons all those are individual posts for you to dive into to help you see maybe how you could finesse your days your weeks your months to really work the best for you and again give you something to look forward to that's number 9 number 10 last but not least take time to explore what you are truly capable of and then can offer that to the world the easiest way I have found to grow is to follow my curiosity after all when we follow what catches our attention and we wish to learn more about it doesn't feel like effort it feels like play in many ways in fact such efforts may actually fuel us and when we find what we love what we enjoy doing our contentment Rises Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers neighborhood once shared about people who were successful quote the thing I remember best about successful people I've met all through the years is their obvious delight in what they're doing and it seems to have very little to do with worldly success in quote and if we can find a place in this world whether it is in the town we currently call home or if we have to move to make such a career possible our happiness will soar so figure out what it is that you will love doing are capable of doing and can offer to the world it doesn't mean you won't face obstacles to make it a reality but you will be able to work through those obstacles because you sincerely care and and our passionate and enjoy what you're doing number 10 I think is often the hardest want to do really hone in on but once you figure it out it's the easiest one to really turn your world into a very contented place because you have a direction you know what you want to do and give and you have a idea of what your role so – so to speak in this world is now that may change from time to time through decades through different chapters in your life but in when you threw yourself into that it's it's truly this intrinsic happiness this and that's why I like the word contentment it's it's something we cultivate within ourselves and we just keep diving into it and be and gaining more energy and more fuel from it alright so today what what I would really encourage us all to do including myself is consider what is surrounding us structurally look around and see what is surrounding you with regards to the house you live in your physical workspace look around socially what surrounds you the people you spend time with the concepts and ideas that are swirling about around you the media and also what you see and what you read examine also the ideas that are shared by others and the culture you call home does it work with you can you be tolerant enough to really be who you want to be and offer what you want to offer and be yourself and and what you have accepted that's out of your control are you okay with that often much of what is in our control can be improved simply by being conscious of what influences our environment and so often it is the stepping away from our everyday environment whether because of a weekend getaway or a trip to another country because when we do those step when we do step away when we return we see the differences or we see wow I I blindly was accepting or allowing this happen and it really does have an effect on me and we realized that life can go on in a variety of different ways and go on very well or not very well and we have the choice to accept those things that are working well and not let those other things that aren't working well stay in our lives so remember the power that you have to construct how your world unfolds on a daily basis you probably will find you have more control than you realize and when you realize that more contentment can be yours I hope you've enjoyed today's episode I've been thinking about that whole concept over this past week on the blog a lot I love Bend I moved here for a reason but there were a lot of things whenever I travel that I bring home and I could wait a second there are a few more things I can do to improve this and I don't need all these other things I did it you don't have to step away that that in that way often it's just that we have to remind ourselves to take a conscious look and hopefully today is that opportunity to do that I have included three different episodes and blog posts that tie into this concept to offer some deeper examination so seven ways to become what you truly were meant to be I have another episode 163 that's about how learning how to truly savor everyday moments and watch it every and elevate your everyday life and also a post just about the concept we're talking about here what surrounds you what truly surrounds you alright I'll be back in just a bit with this week's petite please here so this week's petite busier is a documentary that was released just a few months ago and it's focused on mr. Rogers neighborhood the PBS children's show that aired from 1968 to 2000 and the film is called won't you be my neighbor I recently watched this and uh well let me play for you the trailer and then I'll talk about my thoughts on the other side a television program for children made it's an auspicious debut on station WQED in Pittsburgh it's host Fred Rogers they're killing me you take all of the elements that make good television and do the exact opposite you have mr. Rogers neighborhood low production values simple set unlikely star yet it worked I've always felt that I didn't need to put on a funny hat or jump through the hoop to have a relationship with a child who's always trying to get a message across in every show a week on death but does this a summation me a divorce some people get married and after a while they're so unhappy that they don't want to be married anymore he was radical I know everyone says everybody was from radical they didn't want black people to come and swim in their swimming pools by being on the program was a statement for Fred a neighborhood was a place where at times that you felt worried scared unsafe would take care of you he had a singular vision of khandhas and love love is at the root of everything all learning all relationships love for the lack of it children have very deep feeling it's just the way everybody does there must be times when you do feel blue I'm not feeling blue right now there or should be my neighbor well I suppose it's an invitation it's an invitation for somebody to be close to the greatest thing that we can do is to help somebody know that they're loved and capable of love so won't you be my neighbor is the documentary that is our petite please here today but on my Instagram feed I'm I shared that I went to the film this last weekend and so many of you shared your own comments and experiences with the film but also your experiences with Mister Rogers as a child and so I just wanted to share with you what I wrote on my Instagram feed and I'll include a link to it on the show notes if you'd like to check out the comments I'll just read you my caption yesterday afternoon this was last Friday talking about last Thursday I took in a matinee showing of a documentary I had been wanting to see since I learned of it a few months ago won't you be my neighbor takes viewers behind the scenes of the publicly broadcast children's show and its creator Fred Rogers which debuted in 1968 and aired its last show on December 1st 2000 as someone who watched Mister Rogers neighborhood as a child it was one of the two shows my parents let me watch as a young impressionable child I do remember Daniel the Tiger who was the most gentle soul and all of the other make-believe puppets watching the film sharing the songs and now listening to them as an adult brought tears to my eyes multiple times as the concepts that he valued accepting one another exactly as we are love being the strongest and most powerful emotion of our world if only we would let it shine knowing that each of us is special just by being ourselves as the film explains the being special is not that we are entitled but that we matter and that all people matter a love for all humanity and a love for ourselves an acceptance in other words as well as the importance and value of silence and solitude in our lives our concepts I have found to be fundamentally true if only we have the courage to embody and thus exemplify them in our everyday lives if you have the opportunity to see the film I highly recommend it and be sure to bring a few tissues with you I want to say thank you mister Rogers for being exactly who you were we needed your lessons as children and we will continue to need to be reminded of them as adults look for this film in your theaters it did it actually did show beyond just our boutique theaters here in Bend it showed in our major theaters so it may hop into the major theaters in your area as well but it's been in the theaters for about two months now so it may be soon moving into a video format I'm not sure I'll provide a link to the primary homepage of the video though so you can check that out and see if you can find it in your area I hope you've enjoyed this week's petite pleaser where each week ideas are shared to make the every day all the more enjoyable tune in at the end of each Monday's podcasts where I'll recommend a book a film or a recipe anything that has a simple pleasure to satiate your sophisticated tastes thank you for tuning in today I also want to share one more bit of information or news we just began production I say we we as me and the boys production just began though on the simply luxurious kitchen which will premiere for its first season on Saturday September 8th it's a vodcast of a video podcast you can subscribe to it separately on I tune that's already up for subscription if you're interested so you don't miss an episode I'll be sharing more about it in the coming weeks but I'm having so much fun and I cannot wait to share with you have a wonderful week and thank you very much for tuning in thank you for tuning into the simple sophisticate podcast where intelligent living is paired with signature style for more ideas and inspiration throughout the week stop by the blog the simply luxurious live.com or preorder a living the simply luxurious life making your every day's extraordinary and discovering your best self which will be released on November 13th 2018 you can also pick up my first book choosing the simple luxurious life a modern woman's guide which is now available in paperback as well as ebook and audio versions on audible iTunes and Amazon or wherever ebook and audio books are sold to stay caught up on the most recent episodes of the podcast blog posts and to receive exclusive news as well as an extra dose of inspiration to jump start your weekend subscribe to the simply luxurious life's weekly newsletter which arrives in your inbox each Friday to enjoy with a hot cup of tea or a morning cup of coffee until next Monday I'm your host Shannon Able's bonne journée

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