Happiness

This just in: There was a bit on CBS this morning about happiness.  I thought I would look into a few other studies and summarize my takeaways today.

First of all, what stood out the most for me was the absolute absence of Material Wealth in any study.  I could not find anything that said the bigger your house, the happier you are.  The “I got more so my happiness is greater” type of thought is a belief in something that just isn’t true.

We tend to worship the Trumps of the world because they have wealth and thus, power.  I’m not one to get biblical but this, to me, is akin to Worshiping False Idols.

What does cause happiness?  In no particular order…

  • Spend time every day being grateful.  A lot of effort is not necessary but more seems to be better.  For example, before you go to bed a night, think of just 3 things you are grateful for.
  • Spend time socializing.  This means spending time with other people, in the flesh.  Texting is not the type of socializing the studies refer to.
  • Perform random acts of kindness.  Hold open a door.  Give a compliment.  Whatever it is, make it spontaneous.
  • Change your perspective.  You have everything you need to be happy, right now.  You are in the right place with the right people, or lack thereof.  To be happy you need to only change how you are looking at things.  I know this can sound impossible.  How can I be happy when I am in mourning from losing a family member or pet?  Maybe the “happiness perspective” is to acknowledge how strong the love was that could result in such grief.

There are several other things but to me, they are all variations of the short list above.

There is one last step…

Don’t expect to be happy by accident.  Sure, it can happen and does happen all the time.  However, if you find you are unhappy, the above steps are “action” steps that can take you from where you are to where you want to be.

Time to save the world…

Up, up and away…

J

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Don’t “resist” but “replace”

This just in:  I read an article in the NY Times the other day about “replacing” instead of “resisting”.  I strongly agree with this and have been practicing it for some time.

The idea is that, for example, if you are on a diet, don’t sit on the couch trying not to eat a donut.  Instead, get up and eat a cucumber.

I was talking with a friend the other day that is withdrawing from heroin.  When I asked how she was doing she said, “I’m just sitting around the house trying to not think about using.”

Bad idea.

What we resist…persists.

My advice to her was to roll three pair of socks into three balls.  Then, turn on a YouTube channel and learn how to juggle.

My idea was based on “distraction” but from another perspective, it was actually about replacing a craving with an unrelated action.  Same idea.

Basically, it comes down to “action”.  There are things we can actually do that promote behavior we want.  There are things we can do that replace behavior we want to leave behind.  Action is stronger than words or thoughts.  Yes, things begin as thoughts then migrate to words and finally into action.  My recommendation is that we maintain this train of progress all the way through the “actions.”

A couple of weeks ago, I woke up in a hotel in the middle of the night and couldn’t go back to sleep.  This rarely happens.  If sleeping was an Olympic event…I’d be on the podium.  However, on this one night, I couldn’t sleep.  My mind went to the thought, “What am I doing with my life.”

I don’t typically ask myself this question.  I have a gifted life with very little to complain about.  Still, the question is valid.  Just because I can afford my car payment doesn’t mean I’m accomplishing what I want to accomplish.

So, I got out of bed and made a list.  This list contained things I wanted to do every day.  It includes things that would benefit me physically, mentally, intellectually and spiritually.  For example, one item is to contact a friend or family member.  Another is to play my didgeridoo for 5 minutes. 15 minutes for reading.  View a 30-minute educational video.  Eat a salad. Go for a walk.  Don’t eat desert. Meditate.

So far, I have 18 items on this list.  I track my progress every day.  On one day I did all of them.  After 2 weeks, I found that I usually do about 12.  Writing this blog post is one of those items.

This list helps me commit to action that puts me on a path that suits me.  Interestingly, I find that I’m waking up every day looking forward to putting a check next to as many of these as I can.

Maybe this will work for you…maybe not.

What’s important is that I found something that works for me.

I’m replacing “nothing” with “action”.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

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