Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Good Life

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I was listening to the MSNBC on the radio the other day when a feature came on entitled, ‘The Good Life’. They proceeded to discuss a $14,000 dessert being offered in Sri Lanka that included, amongst other things, an aquamarine. No kidding. This is how MSNBC characterizes the good life. It struck me how in our culture we define the good life more in terms of the consumption of material goods than in relationship to any other quality.

Simply listen to the vast majority of contemporary music on the airwaves these days for confirmation. I have two teenagers in my house so I know all too well: Cristal champagne, expensive cars, first class jet airline seats, bling…the list goes on and on. This is what our kids are being taught: the good life is about having things, not about who you are as a human being. Where are these values coming from? I believe it is a trickle down effect from what they see being honored in our society.

So if the good life is about having things, how is it that so many people who have so many things have lives that lack so much satisfaction and meaning? I am not saying that having money is not a good thing, quite the contrary. We all need financial security. We need to know that we can provide for our families and be free of the pressure of struggling to make ends meet. We all want to live a comfortable life. But where is the point of no return?

“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”
Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955), (attributed)

The Worldwide Institute in its 2004 State of the World report explains:

Societies focused on well being involved more interaction with family, friends, and neighbors, a more direct experience of nature, and more attention to finding fulfillment and creative expression than in accumulating goods. They emphasize lifestyles that avoid abusing your own health, other people, or the natural world. In short, they yield a deeper sense of satisfaction with life than many people report experiencing today.

What provides for a satisfying life? In recent years, psychologists studying measures of life satisfaction have largely confirmed the old adage that money can’t buy happiness—at least not for people who are already affluent. The disconnection between money and happiness in wealthy countries is perhaps most clearly illustrated when growth in income in industrial countries is plotted against levels of happiness. In the United States, for example, the average person’s income more than doubled between 1957 and 2002, yet the share of people reporting themselves to be “very happy” over that period remained static.

So if growth in income has not made people happier than obviously they are not living the good life. In order to clarify what the good life is, I do an exercise with clients that involves seeing themselves at some distant point in the future where they are finally who they want to be, they have what they want to have and are deeply satisfied and happy. In other words, they have achieved the ‘Good Life’.

Nearly one hundred percent of the time, without fail, clients do not have visions of extreme wealth. They really don’t talk about wealth at all, at least not in terms of money or possessions. They do not talk about living in a house with every known convenience and luxury. They do talk about a home located in a beautiful setting, perhaps by the ocean or on a lake in the mountains. There is always talk about a place that gives them a feeling of peace and serenity…a place they were meant to be.

They never discuss possessions…ever. No talk of cars, televisions or fancy clothes. It just never comes up. They may mention that they are free to travel but certainly they do not say first class.

They describe themselves as a person who no longer fights feelings of depression, dissatisfaction or dissonance in their lives. They speak of a feeling of acceptance of what is. There is love in their lives although they don’t necessarily mention a specific mate. Just love. There is discussion of deep wisdom accumulated over the years. There is also talk of being surrounded by the people who they hold dear.

Often, if they have children, they will say that they are happy that they have been able to help their kids but more often is the description of children who have grown into responsible, loving and fulfilled human beings. They describe with pride children who are contributors to the world. I hear about pets in the house and perhaps grandchildren. These are folks who have discovered what truly has meaning for them and what they really value.

“Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values.”
Ayn Rand (1905 - 1982)

Values. What are the things to which you attach value? What is important to you? If you had to create a list of the top five things that you value, what would they be? Would it be money, possessions, power, stature and authority? Would it be love, family, integrity, freedom and compassion? Or a combination?

“Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value.”
Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

We have all heard the adage about what the epitaph on our tombstone will say or not say. Will it say that she had a powerful job, she flew first class, that she had a Mercedes-Benz and wore only couture? More often you will read on a tombstone that she was a loving Mother and Wife, a charitable person and an outstanding member of the community. Think about how you would like to be remembered? What would you like to hear people say about you at your funeral or memorial? Will it be on how much money you made or how much you consumed? Doubtful.

I remember the funeral of a very dear friend who died suddenly while he was still in his fifties. The Rabbi said that all we have in the end is our good name. Who we were, how we lived, how we loved, our empathy and compassion, service to the world we lived in and the legacy we left to our children and their children.

My own personal take on the good life, at least for me, involves the following: I want to be a person who possesses a deep appreciation for everything that I have: to be grateful. I want to be able to live without the fear of not being able to take care of my kids and myself and yes, I do want to live well. Living well for me is a lovely home in nature; it is being free to travel; it is having the ability to help my kids get a good start in their adult lives; it is having enough money to be able to take good care of myself and to also be charitable. I want to have a life that is filled with meaning, with a deep connection to the world around me.

What is your Good Life? Take the time now to give thought to the life that you want to live, the life that you would describe as the Good Life. Make certain that it is aligned with your values and your passions and to so you must connect with your values and passions. What are they? Think long and hard about what brings you real joy and fulfillment. Remember those times in your life when you were the happiest…what resonated for you in those moments? Consider how you want to be remembered, how you want to look in your children’s eyes. What traits do you admire in others and how can you adopt some of those traits? What have been peak experiences in your life and what was it about those experiences that made them so special?

These are the kind of questions that beg our attention. These are the questions that will ultimately lead us to the Good Life. Not the $14,000 dessert but a life well lived. With meaning, love, comfort, joy and fulfillment.


Simple Ways to Have Happy Experiences

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Happiness is a ‘now you feel it, now you don’t’ emotion. I know this from personal experience and from hearing of the experiences of others. Sometimes I’m very happy, other times, sad, joyful, contented, frustrated, and sometimes very neutral.

Several years ago I had no reference point for the word happy. I knew technically the meaning of the word, however the experience eluded me. Joy I could do, happy for some reason, no.

One day during a workshop the word happy was demonstrated to me with much laughter from the audience. Now I not only get ‘happy’ but remember it also as a fun experience.

There are many small things that can make me happy as well as give me endless joy. I’ve listed seven simple ways toward experiencing a happy moment, but first check you have a reference point to the word happy. Find out what happy really means to you?

1. Remember or create a ‘happy’ moment. When you live the experience of ‘happy’ your mind and body will remember. Feel the happiness in all parts of you, expand this feeling if need be. Practise this daily.

2. Access the Present moment. Notice what happens to you when you’re totally focussed on a comedy show on television, when you listen to light hearted music or when you dance - even if it’s on your own. I sometimes groove to a tune in my office when no-one’s looking – it makes me feel good, cool, gives me a break from what I’m doing and I laugh at myself!

3. Invite friends over for some play time. Organise paper, crayons, paint, and coloured pencils, whatever you can think of and do some drawings or paintings. You could also ask each person to bring along a plate of food.

4. Spend time with nature, go for a walk down the beach or park; observe wildlife in your area or visit a plant nursery. Notice your mood when amongst the spirit of nature.

5. Take something with you that gives you great pleasure such as a book, journal for writing or your MP3 player and sit and ‘Be’ under the canopies of trees for a few hours.

6. Learn something totally new such as another language; pottery or painting or start your meditation, personal or spiritual development program. You’re only ever limited by your own imagination.

7. Join a club or group that you have an interest in. You can then expand your friendship base with other like-minded souls.

With any of the above activities assess what and how you’re feeling as well as where you feel the emotion and how much are you laughing, grinning, or smiling? Remember them totally by living the experience and you will then be able to recall this memory when you want to.

Include to memory your experience colours, smells, sounds and tastes – all the better for remembering your happy time with.

Quiet time spent alone can open the door to the possibility of connection to that most amazing and magical part of you that is your true self, the spirit within.

From my experience the key to a happy life begins with remembering who you are, know what gives you enjoyment, be present, and know that regardless of your circumstances no–one can take away your thoughts or dreams, they are yours to keep for as long as you wish.

Reap Your Own Happiness

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One of my favorite expressions is that "you reap what you sow". While I often hear it used negatively by someone who expects some "chickens to come home to roost" I prefer to think of it as something positive. How comforting to think that all our hard work and toil will be rewarded with a crop of something good? How wonderful to think that putting love and care into some project or person will indeed be rewarded.

Of course, while most Americans give lip service to the notion of our right to pursue happiness, all too many people do not really believe it applies to them. Many people simply believe they don't deserve happiness. And even those few who do believe it seem to accept unhappiness as simple bad luck.

Every person does indeed deserve happiness and what is more happiness is contagious. The more happy people there are around then even more people will find happiness. We owe it ourselves to work on our own happiness and we owe it to society as well. Our own happiness will help others and inspire others to find happiness. If we are unhappy then we are likely making others unhappy as well (even if unintentionally) and it is extremely unlikely we are doing much to contribute to the happiness of others.

So how do you become a happy person? You simply reap your own happiness. But how? Take these four simple steps:

Step one -- Ready Yourself For Happiness

You can accomplish this step by first determining that you want to be happy. Part of being happy is wanting to be happy. Once you have committed yourself to the course of finding happiness for yourself then you must rid yourself of the notion that happiness is luck or based on possessions or persons. No thing and no one can make you happy. Happiness comes from within yourself.

Step two -- Envision Yourself As Happy

Every day when you first wake up and at various points during the day spend some time envisioning yourself as a happy person. Picture yourself laughing, smiling, relaxing. Imagine yourself as happy. The more you can fix this image of yourself as happy in your mind then the easier it will be for you to truly become happy.

Step three -- Assume You Will Be Happy

Many people tend to assume that they will spend much of their lives either unhappy or at least not really happy. However we have all seen those people who do seem to be genuinely happy with their lives. They smile frequently, laugh often, and seem to be in good humor most of the time. Yet this is not because they are richer or more successful. Sometimes these people were just born with the good fortune to have an optimistic outlook that life has not yet knocked out of them, but often these people have simply chosen that they will be happy and they recognize that there is always something about their lives that makes them happy. You know this is true of yourself as well. Concentrate on the areas of your life that give you happiness whenever you feel unhappiness seeping in and no matter what assume that you will be, you can be, a happy person.

Step four -- Pursue Your Happiness

Happiness is rarely a wonderful accident of fate. Happiness is rarely found by accident. While you may find happiness in unexpected places you must first open yourself to the possibility of happiness and prepare yourself to accept it when you find it. Some people are so miserable that they step right around happiness when they encounter. Don't let this happen to you. What is more, don't simply sit at home waiting for happiness to come knocking on your door. Go out and live life. Think about what currently makes you happy and spend time in those activities and think about what might make you happy and spend time experimenting. The more time you spend actively living your life then the more likely that you will also lead a happy life.

Remember, you deserve a happy life and you can lead a happy life, but in the end you reap what you sow. If you are sowing happiness in your life then you will reap happiness as well.

Unique Ways To Make Someone Smile

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7 Unique Ways To Make Someone Smile

Do you want to put a smile on someone's face? Maybe make their day a little bit brighter? It doesn't have to take much time or money on your part. In fact, many things can be done as a part of your normal routine and cost little or nothing. You won't know how many people are encouraged by your kindness because smiles are contagious. Try out one or more of these 7 ways today to put smiles on their faces.

1. Write an encouraging note to others that have encouraged you or that need encouragement. Handwritten notes that are given to encourage, not just for thanking someone for a gift, are rare. That makes handwritten notes even more special. Start a new practice of sitting down and writing an encouraging note on a regular basis. You just might start an epidemic!

2. Take a friend out to lunch or invite her to your home for a meal. You will get to know each other even better than you do right now. If you feel like being more adventurous, throw a party for several of your friends and put smiles on a multitude of faces.

3. Give someone an inspirational book to read. You will feel good doing it, reading the book will change the person, and they will think of you every time they read it.

4. Ask a friend or relative if you can take care of their kid(s) for a day or evening. If you have been a parent, you know the value of being able to have a few hours of "adult time" without worrying about the children. Don't wait to be asked to baby-sit when it is required. Offer to do it at a time when the parent can do something fun and relaxing.

5. Deliver a meal to someone you know that is sick or having a rough time. We have all been sick and know the last thing you want to do is be out of bed. There are also times when life is tough and it is hard to do all of the daily chores. You can be a tremendous help by providing a meal that can be enjoyed.

6. Volunteer time to supporting your local church or charity. Every minute you dedicate to a church or charity will cause many smiles. You will put a smile on the face of each leader just for helping without being asked. You will also be putting smiles on the faces of those that are being helped through the organization.

7. Thank everyone that supports you throughout the day. The list of those that you come in contact with is endless. Remember family and friends, secretaries, co-workers, teachers, Sunday school teachers, pastors, store employees, janitors, gas station attendants, those that deliver your mail and newspaper, and servers at restaurants.

I know this is a list of 7 ways to put a smile on someone's face, but there is one more way that can't be ignored. Reveal a genuine smile to everyone you meet. You will experience how easy it is to get others to smile!
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10 Ways To Find Happiness In Retirement

Retirement is not the end but is merely the beginning of a new life, a new you. As such, it is nothing that should be dreaded or something that should cause you unnecessary stress. Instead it should make you happy and can bring you a new sense of pleasure, if only you let it. In this article, we’ll discuss ten ways that you can find happiness in retirement.

1. Be open and receptive – Change your attitude and you’ll change your life. Retirement is simply a new phase of your life one that you can succeed and enjoy if you’re open and receptive to doing so. It is a time to pursue your dreams, aspirations and make your dreams come true.

2. Plan physical and mental activities – A busy mind is a happy mind. By staying physically and mentally active, you will lift your spirits and will be happier.

3. Laugh and have a fun time. Don’t take yourself so seriously. By having fun and not taking life too seriously, you can lift your mood and make yourself and others happy .

4. Don’t be too introverted. Share your burdens with those who love and care about you. This isn’t to say that you should be a worry wart but by revealing your innermost thoughts and feelings, you can positively affect your mental state.

5. Pursue stimulating activities. Figure out the things that you enjoy doing and do more of them. For instance, if you enjoy spending quality time with your grandchildren, plan play dates or other activities with them.

6. Brush up your knowledge – An educated mind is a happy mind. By expanding your learning horizons, you can become happier.

7. Spend quality time with loved ones – Now that you’re retired, you have even more time to spend with those you love. Plan lunch dates or throw a party for family and friends so that you can spend quality time with the people that mean the most to you.

8. Remember the little things mean a lot – Do something nice for someone and you’ll feel good about yourself. Take some time to write someone a note telling them how much they mean to you. Spend time with a friend or ailing relative or engage in some type of volunteer activity.

9. Fulfill your dreams – Consider fulfilling those dreams you had shelved on your way to building a career for yourself. This can be very satisfying.

10. Maintain a positive mental attitude – Do not vegetate just because you have retired. This is the fastest way to breakdown. Maintain a youthful attitude. Take up some hobby and remain active, mentally and physically.

In conclusion, retirement is a time when you can be tremendously happy and fulfilled. You can ensure that this is true by maintaining a positive mental attitude, fulfill your dreams, remember that little things mean a lot, spend quality time with others, brush up on your knowledge, pursue stimulating activities, don’t be too introverted, laugh and have a great time, plan mentally engaging activities, and be open and receptive to experiencing the good life after retirement.

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20 Ways To Make Someone Smile

Do you want to put a smile on someone's face today? Maybe make their day a little better. It won't cost you a single penny or much time to do just that. And because smiling is contagious, it probably won't just be one person you make smile today.

Here are 20 ways to turn that frown upside down.

1. Send some flowers to your partner at work.
2. Compliment a friend or work colleague on their appearance.
3. Donate something to charity.
4. Take a friend out to lunch.
5. Let someone know you miss them.
6. Make a surprise telephone call to your partner at work, just to say hi.
7. Hold a door open for someone walking behind you.
8. Hug your partner for no reason.
9. Leave a joke on a friends answer machine.
10. Send a card to a friend letting them know what a good friend they are.
11. Give up your seat on the train to someone when there aren't any left.
12. Share your umbrella on a rainy day.
13. Ask a friend if they need anything while you're out shopping.
14. When it's raining, plan an indoor picnic with your children.
15. Leave a love letter somewhere where your partner will find it.
16. Send someone an unusual and unexpected gift like chocolate, flowers or sex toys.
17. Tell your child you're proud of them.
18. Tell someone you thought about them the other day.
19. Cook a surprise meal for your partner one night, especially if they normally do the cooking.
20. Tell your partner you love them.

Did you know it takes only 17 muscles to smile, but 43 to frown. Why waste all that energy frowning when you could just smile.

Here are 5 more facts about smiling.

1. Women smile more than men.
2. Smiling releases endorphins that make us feel better.
3. We are all born with the ability to smile, it's not something we learn from others.
4. A smile is a universal expression of happiness.
5. A smiling person is thought to be a more pleasant, attractive, sociable, sincere and competent than a non-smiling person.

Just remember, smiling is the easiest and cheapest way of improving your looks.

Find Happiness By Giving Happiness.

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Have you ever heard this quote?

“There is a wonderful, mystical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life- happiness, freedom, and peace of mind- are always attained by giving them to someone else.”

It’s so true, isn’t it? I don’t know who it was who first said those wise words (if you do know then please tell me), but I have no doubt they lived a very happy life, because they have discovered one of the secrets to happiness.

In fact, the secret to success in all endeavours is found in this quote. No matter what you desire, give first and you will receive.

If you want to receive love, then give love. Not exclusively to one person, but to everyone and everything. Express love to your life, your circumstances, your friends and family, and even the people you pass in the street. If you love all, you will receive love back, and you’ll become the kind of person who attracts that special person, and those special relationships, and a life of blissful love.

If you want to get rich then don’t do it through the dog-eat-dog world of competition and win-lose deals. Give increased value to others. Wallace D. Wattles talks about this in his book Science Of Getting Rich better than anyone else I’ve come across (see the Resources Page on my website to get a free copy). You get rich by providing more in use-value than the cash-value you receive. You get rich through co-operation rather than competition. You get rich through providing win-win deals. You get rich through providing others with the opportunities to improve their own lives. Once again, give and you will receive so much more back.

The same applies to happiness. If you want to be happy, give happiness.

Turn your focus around. It’s not all about you. Look out into the world and find opportunities to give happiness.

James Matthew Barrie said, “Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.”

The great Mark Twain said, “The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.”

Give happiness and you will get happiness. It’s the only way.

Who can you make happy today?

Who can you go and see, just to hang out together?

Who can you phone to tell them you miss them?

It doesn’t take much. Smile to someone who is feeling down. Hold a door open for someone behind you. Compliment someone on their clothing. Thank someone for a job well done at work.

Happiness is so easy. Just give it to someone else, and you’ll find more than enough is magically left behind for you.

Give happiness. Be happy. And smile!



Tips To Become Happier & More Empowered

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Tips To Become Happier & More Empowered

In a search for happiness, many people look for it in other people and not within ourselves. Many people feel that things like money, a better job, better relationships..etc will make them happy. In reality, to find true contentment you must look inside yourself and learn to be your own best friend. That means you have to trust, love, and care for yourself just as you do the people you consider to be close to you.

Following are steps that you can incorporate into your life that will help you to feel more empowered and happy about yourself!

Begin to lift yourself up, not put yourself down. If you don't like something about yourself, work to change it. If you can't change it, simply accept it. Don't beat up on yourself with negative self-talk. You're not likely to change for the better when you fill yourself with negative thoughts.

Give yourself positive rewards. When you do something that you are proud of give yourself a small reward. Try not to wait for others to praise you because you may grow resentful if the praise doesn't come. Pat your own back, it is a great feeling that can stay with you for a long time.

Forgive yourself. I doubt that you would keep scolding a child over and over for making a mistake so don't do that to yourself. Give yourself the gift of forgiveness when you make a mistake. After that, work to figure out what lesson you can learn, and use it to make better choices the next time around.

Enjoy your successes. Most people can remember all of the details of depressing, painful or even embarrassing events that happened many years ago. What if you did the same thing with all of your wins? Try to remember all of the triumphs and accomplishments that you've made and keep that memory with you and think about it at least once a week.

Always remember to celebrate your wonderful qualities! You will soon discover that the more you love yourself, the more you will be able to give love to others - and the more others will be able to love you!

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Tips On How To Eradicate Depression

This article is all about beating depression. I am a person who suffered from long bouts of depression, however after deciding to change my whole outlook on life, I now have a much happier, successful and stress-free life. I will explain how I went about achieving this new life.

As I grew older and especially when I was in my early twenties, I used to always compare my life with other people I knew, for example my friends. It seemed to me that my life was so much more of a struggle than what their's was and that most of these people had so much more going for them and so much more to look forward to than I did.

I was not happy at the hand of cards I had been dealt and would regularly be down in the dumps, feeling sorry for myself. I had a number of issues in my life which had a major impact on my self-confidence and self-esteem, which would also lead me into depression. This issues including a weight problem, a stutter, a bald patch on my head and I am quite short in height compared to the average man.

I was in a regular state of depression and found it very difficult to pull my self out of it. The stress for example of socialising when you have a stutter and trying to gain employment would take a lot out of me. My hair started to turn grey when I was only twenty-one years of age.

I was not content at always being depressed and at the age of twenty-two, I decided to attempt to change my whole life. I had to have a whole new approach and a totally different thought process, in a nutshell I needed to chill out, think in a far more positive way and learn how to de-stress.

This was not going to be easy however it was essential to do. I started to read many self-help type books and books about eradicating depression. I learnt many things such as worrying about a situation makes it even harder, not easier and that in life all you can do is to try your best, therefore whatever the outcome you can feel proud that you gave it your best shot. It is also important to remember that we only live once and that that life could come to an end tomorrow, therefore we should treat every day as if it is the last and to enjoy ourselves.

The main change I made was that I started to think and compare my life to people I was reading about in the newspapers or watching on the television instead of comparing my life to my friends for example. From learning about countries in the third world and reading about certain disasters and terrorist acts, I realised what a fool I had been and that I was actually one of the lucky ones. If and when I start feeling down or depressed, I quickly switch on the news and it soon shakes me out of that temporary depressive state.


True Happiness

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Most people look outside of themselves as the cause of their unhappiness or frustration. After all, wouldn’t life be practically perfect if the significant people in our lives would simply do things the way we want them to or do what we think is best for them? Actually, this is the kind of thinking that perpetuates the misery!

I agree that most of today’s unhappiness centers on important people in our lives not cooperating with us. Can anyone relate to that? Have you ever had a child who makes a decision that puts them in serious danger? Have you ever had a significant other decide to relocate or make an employment decision with which you were not in agreement? Did one of your parents ever say something critical to you that rocked your confidence? Ever had a supervisor who micromanaged your work and never gave credit for your good work performance? I think you get the idea. Any one or combination of these things can be a source of unhappiness for us and I’m sure you can add several others to the list.

While we are in situations such as these, it sure feels like if the others in our life would just cooperate and be the way we want them to be, and then our lives would be so much better, happier and more fulfilling. While this may, in fact, be true, what I also believe is this. While we are busy trying to get those significant others in our lives to do things our way, the behaviors we typically engage in to move others in our desired direction are exactly those behaviors that damage, and ultimately destroy, our relationships.

You know the behaviors I’m talking about: punishing, guilting, complaining, nagging, threatening, criticizing, “the silent treatment”, and if we are particularly savvy, rewarding to control, otherwise known as bribing.

If you are one of those people whose first choice of action is to negotiate and open the doors of communication, then you are rare. Ask yourself what do you typically resort to when negotiations fail?

I know one of my more polished behaviors is nagging. I am a world class nag---just ask my children. You know the drill. “How about cleaning up your room today?” Thirty minutes later, after the child is still in front of his video game, “Are you going to get to that room today?” Maybe two hours later, several decibels louder, “What about that ROOM?” Then, as a last frustration, it’s “Will you get off your lazy a*# and clean your blankety blank blank room!!!!” Ever been there? Did it work to get the room cleaned? In my case, it usually didn’t.

However, I’ve have had some parents tell me that repeated nagging does work but then my next question usually has a different answer---At what cost? What was the cost of getting that room cleaned? First, there was the cost of you losing control and being a person you probably don’t want to be and secondly, there was a definite cost to the relationship between you and your child. Do you believe that after an exchange such as that one, the two of you will be ready and willing to have a meaningful discussion about life or anything else about which you may like to talk? Probably not.

What I am about to say probably goes against what you have believed the good majority of your life and that is that you, and you alone, are responsible for your own happiness. If you are waiting for someone to do something differently or for a particular thing to manifest itself in your life in order for you to be happy, then you are operating from the outside in instead of the inside out.

I am not here to tell you to stop what you are currently doing. If you want to hold on to your beliefs that when your husband becomes more affectionate, your children more obedient, your wife more supportive, your boss more appreciative or you to get your education, pay off your credit cards, buy your first home, etc. in order for you to be happy, then go ahead. But for those of us who want to practice inside out thinking, we don’t like to give the power to others to control our happiness or any of our other moods or emotions. We know that we are responsible for ourselves and no one else.

What I can help you with is learning how to be the person you want to be, feel the emotions you want to feel by changing what you do and how you think about things. There is a quote I want to leave you with from Jimmy Dean. “You can’t change the direction of the wind, but you can adjust your sails.” This is representative of true inside out thinking. People and events are going to be what they are around us. There is very little we can do to impact other people’s behavior and the uncontrollable events in our lives but there is always something each of us can do to manage those things better.

Three Inspirations for Happiness

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The following three inspirations were adapted fromA Daily Dose of Happiness, and they represent three key ways to increase our happiness.

1. FORGIVING FOR HAPPINESS

We like to think we are better than our friends below us in the food chain, such as the octopus and the snail. After all, we have love. We feel happiness. We have empathy. We have a conscience. We can reason.


We can also hold onto grudges.


Grudges are, in fact, prickly little creatures that worm their way into our hearts. Holding onto them is a self-defeating exercise.


Fortunately, forgiveness is also uniquely human. Forgiveness cleanses the spirit. Forgiveness let's us get on with enjoying our lives instead of being preoccupied with someone else's. Forgiveness opens the door to happiness.


2. SUPPORTING FOR HAPPINESS


When things seem to be very bleak, it does not take much to lift someone's spirits. Sometimes all it takes is to let somebody know they are not alone.


That is why it is so important to smile at people, especially if they look down. And if you know what is weighing the person down, let them know they are not alone. Don't go burdening them with all your miseries, but let them know you have been there.


Guess what? You will feel happiness for having helped them, too.


3. ACCEPTING FOR HAPPINESS

There is no such thing as happiness if you are not at peace with yourself. Too many people just don't know how to make peace with themselves.

Peace begins with acceptance. Whether we agree with everything we do (like the environmentalist who sometimes throws out a recyclable container), it is important to accept what we do.

Do we always make the best choices? No. But they are the choices we make.

Do we always treat people with the most respect? No. But it is how we treat people.

Can we improve? Yes, and we should. But that is a project for the future. First we must accept who we are now, rather than condemning ourselves. Then we can move to improve the person we will be tomorrow. Both acceptance today and improvements tomorrow will increase our happiness.
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The Seven Day Life-Changing Happiness Challenge!

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You are about to discover a simple technique for creating massive changes in your quality of life.

Do you want to be happier? This technique can help.

Do you want more time to spend with your family or friends, or even just time to relax by yourself? Then this seven day challenge is perfect for you.

And best of all, it’s really easy to do.

What is it?

For the next seven days, turn off the news!

Do not watch any news on the television.

Do not listen to any news on the radio.

Do not read the newspaper.

And do not have a news headline website as your browser’s home page.

Seven days! No news!

Can you do it?

Reducing exposure to the negativity of the news has produced massive changes in my life. It can and will do the same for you. However, please don’t take my word for it. Try it for just seven days and see for yourself.

The time will pass very quickly, so what have you got to lose? Worst case, you’ll miss a bit of news. Best case, you’ll be happier and more excited about your life. So, let’s give it a go!

Why does this work? Simply because one of the fundamental laws of nature is that our thoughts produce our reality. If we focus our attention on the negatives in life, we will give power to the negativity, and it will grow.

If we remove that negativity from our lives and focus on the positives, we will tend to create more positives.

The news is extremely negative. And the fact is that exposing yourself to most of this negativity adds NO value at all to your life.

Simply put, turning off the news shields you from the onslaught of negativity and leaves you with time to fill your life with positives.

So what you do with the extra time you now have available?

No, do not just watch other TV!

You want to replace this time with positive experiences which add value to your life.

Spend some time alone considering your life. Find out who you are. Find your life’s purpose, or your higher calling. Set some major goals for your future. Where would you like to go? Who would you like to go there with? What would you like to do for a living, if there were no limitations?

Spend some time with the people who are important in your life- your family and friends.

Consider getting back to nature. Take some time out for a relaxing walk in a park. Or sit at the beach and watch the waves. Relax!

This is not just hiding from reality, and living in a fantasy land. I don’t expect you to forever hide from what’s going on in the world, especially in your local community. Just cut out all exposure to the negativity for seven days and then consider whether you feel happier and more excited about life.

Once you’re aware of this alternative, happier way of living, you can then find a balance between being aware of current affairs, and your need to maintain separation from those issues.

There is absolutely nothing to be gained by worrying about what’s going on elsewhere, especially when it’s outside of your sphere of influence. When you understand that, you can then choose what you listen to or watch on TV. You will regain control.

If there is something that you need to know, trust me, someone will tell you anyway.

And you will have more time available to experience a positive and friendly world.

If you like the improvement this brings to your quality of life, then perhaps you could consider this is just a start. Why not also eliminate other TV which adds no value to your life.

Seven days, no news! The results will be life-changing.

It’s easy to do. However it’s also easy to not-do. Which will you choose?

Even if there’s only the smallest chance of this working, wouldn’t it be worth trying?

I know you can do it. Go for it!

Lance Beggs.



The Secret of Happiness

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The Secret of Happiness

What does happiness mean to you? There’s a lot of searching going on these days for the elusive emotion of “being happy” --where do you find it, how do you create it, even what it actually is.

But I’d like to share a little secret with you -- happiness is not just for a lucky few who were born with it.

You see, happiness is not something you can reach out and touch or put in the refrigerator and take a sip when you need it. Happiness is not found on a beach in Hawaii (really!) or in a perfect body. It’s not even in that perfect relationship that Tom Cruise tries to sell us in the movies.

Yet from the images bombarding you every day, it’s easy to make the mistake that happiness will arrive on your doorstep when you have the latest car, the best clothes, a fancy home, isn’t it? It’s easy to get caught in the trap of thinking that if you could just find the right person, they’d arrive with a box of happiness attached to his/her hip. But all this does is convince you that happiness is something to be found outside of yourself.

And that’s where you get off track. Because the secret is that happiness is simply a by-product of creating and living a life that works, a life that you enjoy -- whatever that is. Happiness comes from doing what you what, where you want to do it, who whom you want to do it with.

And yes, I can hear all of you -- “But I can’t get the job I want because I’d have to go to school for 8 years, and I have to live here because I can’t afford to move, and what do you mean “who I want to do it with” because I want to hang out with Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey or Bill and Hillary Clinton”.

And thank you all for making my point for me.

You see, happiness starts by believing you have control over your life; and grows by making choices that will give you a sense of well being, satisfaction. Happiness comes from deciding that you *will* go to school for 8 years if that’s what it takes. That you *will* organize your life until you can afford to move. And that YOU decide who to hug, how much to smile, what music you listen to, and who you hang out with, even if it’s not Bill and Hillary.

Happiness is about making the best choices you can about who you spend your time with, how you making your living, how much you learn, what you put into your body. Because when you feel good about the space you’re in, when you’re with people you admire and respect and they admire and respect you, when you’re working on a project that’s meaningful to you -- happiness will shine right through.

And that’s no secret.

Decide today to stop chasing happiness, and instead choose three things that you love to do, that contribute to your feeling of well-being and satisfaction. Schedule time for them, every day if possible, every week at least. It doesn’t have to be for a long time, just 10 minutes a day will help you create the happiness that you’re looking for. Guaranteed.

And that’s no secret either.

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The Secret to Happiness and Maslow’s Hierarchy.

“The secret to happiness is contentment”
(Dali Lama)

If we are content with what we have, and where we are, then we are happy.
This means not grasping for attainment of material objects or even spiritual understanding, but being content and just allowing life to happen.
How does this help us to achieve the things we “want”?

I’m glad you asked! This brings me to Maslow’s theory on the hierarchy of human “needs”, the answer to that question is revealed within the following explanation and its accompanying story.

Maslow, was an eminent Psychologist who developed a theory on the psychological need of humans; it is often demonstrated in the form of a pyramid, and referred to in relation to Education, Motivation and Sales training.
A summary of his theory would be: that we humans have “needs” that must be satisfied in an order of priority, before higher ideals can be achieved the lower ideals MUST be met.
The order of these needs doesn’t change from individual to individual, they are as follows:

1. PHYSIOLOGICAL NEEDS, air, water, food, rest, exercise, etc
2. SAFETY NEEDS, shelter, job security, retirement plan, insurance
3. LOVE AND BELONGING, children, friends, partners
4. SELF ESTEEM (1), fame, recognition, reputation, dignity
5. SELF ESTEEM (2) Confidence, achievements, FREEDOM

If we don’t meet all the needs in the lower levels we will always be in deficit and be trying to meet them before we can obtain the highest levels of complete self actualization and FREEDOM.

Here’s a story I wrote to illustrate Maslow’s theory in a practical situation, it’s illustrated in a negative context because most of us will understand it better this way. Note: (L5) means level 5 as per above.

The following is based on a true story; some details have been changed to allow for publishing here.

A Person’s car breaks down on an old dirt road in the Barclay plains it’s a scorching 44 degrees in the shade, but there aren’t any trees to provide shelter, he’s in the middle of nowhere, outback, Australia.
He was on his way to Darwin to give a lecture on Self Defence. He had been giving these talks for some time now and really enjoyed sharing his knowledge, not for the respect that others gave him, but because he is a master of the subject and it felt good doing it. (L4/5)
At first he wasn’t concerned about the situation and he allowed his mind to be free and ‘take in’, the beauty of the landscape, he started to reminisce about his friends and family, wondering what they’re doing at that time, then he turned on the radio and drifted off to sleep.
When he woke up he realized that he was feeling lonely and would love to have someone to talk to. (L3)
After a few hours he started to feel a little uncomfortable and realized that he could be in some danger so he tried to think of a plan for his safety.
After some time he decided to head off in search for help.
It started getting dark and he became really worried; his senses were tuned into every sound. (L2)
Then he realized that he hadn’t eaten since breakfast and that he was hungry and thirsty. (L1)
After two more days his only thoughts were about finding water to stay alive, he wasn’t concerned about eating because his body knew it could survive for weeks without food, but only a few days without water.
So then his immediate concern was for the basic need of water.
SUDDENLY!! Someone jumped on him from behind, and started to choke him he couldn’t breathe! Then his need for air was stronger than his need for water!
It was only a joke; his best friend had come looking for him when he didn’t show up in Darwin on time.
He found the car then tracked his mate to where he found him, looking pretty rugged. Then as all good mates do, he decided to play a practical joke to give him a fright! They are still good friends today.

The end

The simple lesson here is this:

This story shows a person who had met all his needs and was at the highest level. He had truly manifested his dream into reality and how he quickly went into “Needs Deficit” (ND)
Clearly we must walk before we can run, If we can’t breath we aren’t worried about water, we NEED air, our ND is air; this is a very basic example.
To look at it another way we could say that; trying to be a highly regarded successful whatever (4/5) will not be possible if we are in ND of (1, 2, or 3).
Our ND needs attention first; this doesn’t mean that if we don’t have a house and family we can’t achieve our dream ambitions.
On the contrary it means that we should, let go of our graving, yearning and striving to achieve success at any cost type of attitude, and maintain our lower levels of needs so that we can open the path to the higher levels.
Many of us, myself included have been guilty of forgetting about our needs for friends and family when we are trying to obtain the higher ideals of success.

This area can be a particular problem with the internet, because it uses up so much of our time and attention.
If we maintain our basic needs we will be able share our dreams and talk about them and believe in them and be content and happy about them.
Thus allowing our dreams to manifest into reality.
Doesn’t it make sense that with this kind of thinking we will all be able to move on to the higher levels of self actualization?

Maintain your ND and believe in your DREAMS the rest will happen!



Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Happy as You Want to Be

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Happy as You Want to Be

Almost everyone have heard the hit single 'Don't Worry, Be Happy' by Bobby McFerrin. The song has a very catchy way of conveying its message of being happy to everyone. Bobby Mcferiin's simple message surely made a lot of people by telling them not to worry.

Living a happy, resilient and optimistic life is wonderful, and is also good for your health. Being happy actually protects you from the stresses of life. Stress is linked to top causes of death such as heart disease, cancer and stroke.

One of the better things ever said is - 'The only thing in life that will always remain the same is change', and in our life we have the power to make the necessary changes if we want to. Even if we find ourselves in an unbearable situation we can always find solace in the knowledge that it too would change.

Social networks or relationships are essential to happiness. People are different, accept people for who or what they are, avoid clashes, constant arguments, and let go of all kinds of resentments. If arguments seem unavoidable still try and make an effort to understand the situation and you might just get along with well with

Happiness is actually found in everyone, increasing it is a way to make a life more wonderful and also more healthy.

To be happy is relatively easy, just decide to be a happy person. Abraham Lincoln observed that most people for most of the time can choose how happy or stressed, how relaxed or troubled, how bright or dull their outlook to be. The choice is simple really, choose to be happy.

There are several ways by which you can do this.

Being grateful is a great attitude. We have so much to be thankful for. Thank the taxi driver for bringing you home safely, thank the cook for a wonderful dinner and thank the guy who cleans your windows. Also thank the mailman for bringing you your mails, thank the policeman for making your place safe and thank God for being alive.

News is stressful. Get less of it. Some people just can't start their day without their daily dose of news. Try and think about it, 99% of the news we hear or read is bad news. Starting the day with bad news does not seem to be a sensible thing to do.

A religious connection is also recommended. Being part of a religious group with its singing, sacraments, chanting, prayers and meditations foster inner peace.

Manage your time. Time is invaluable and too important to waste. Time management can be viewed as a list of rules that involves scheduling, setting goals, planning, creating lists of things to do and prioritizing. These are the core basics of time management that should be understood to develop an efficient personal time management skill. These basic skills can be fine tuned further to include the finer points of each skill that can give you that extra reserve to make the results you desire.

Laugh and laugh heartily everyday. Heard a good joke? Tell your friends or family about it. As they also say -'Laughter is the best medicine'.

Express your feelings, affections, friendship and passion to people around you. They will most likely reciprocate your actions. Try not to keep pent up anger of frustrations, this is bad for your health. Instead find ways of expressing them in a way that will not cause more injury or hurt to anyone.

Working hard brings tremendous personal satisfaction. It gives a feeling of being competent in finishing our tasks. Accomplishments are necessary for all of us, they give us a sense of value. Work on things that you feel worthy of your time.

Learning is a joyful exercise. Try and learn something new everyday. Learning also makes us expand and broaden our horizons. And could also give us more opportunities in the future.

Run, jog, walk and do other things that your body was made for. Feel alive.

Avoid exposure to negative elements like loud noises, toxins and hazardous places.


Happy New Year - Dare To Live Your Life To The Fullest

How have you lived your life until now? Have you lived very safely and in a structured way? Do you do what you are “supposed” to do, go to your job, take care of your friends and families, support those around us and all the while put your desires on the back burner to be taken up for when the time is “right”. Your busy routine continues day in and day out. You trade self-fulfillment for “security” and ignore that persistent voice inside of you that refuses to go away, that voice that reminds you that you are not living your fullest life. You ignore those “aha” moments when you catch a glimpse of all the possibilities available to you, the moments that cause you to remember that life could be and should be a lot more exciting, adventurous and purposeful than it is.

When New Year comes around, you swear to yourselves and others that you going to go out on a limb that year and live the life you know was meant for you, but then you find yourselves caught up in the motions again. “There must be more to life.” I hear people say. Well there is and what better time than now to make some changes. What better way to start off this New Year than by paying attention to your inner voice? That voice tends to stick around reminding you that you were meant for something much larger than that which you may have settled for.

In 2006 would you dare to take the plunge and unlock all your aspirations by making the decision to live unconventionally? Have you ever wanted to cut your hair short, go red, learn Spanish, enroll for a degree, join a painting class, take a trip to an exotic place, support a child in Africa, or learn how to tango?

If a cold climate does not suit you why not make plans to move to a warmer one, fix relationships that need fixing and get professional help if need be, find your soul mate – yes it can be done and for once and for all do not allow yourself to work a minute longer than you have to in a job that is destroying your confidence day by day. Update your resume, put yourself on the market and get some valuable recruitment advice.

Quite simply, for this year stop being the victim of your own life. Make the choice to live more freely, live with spirit, and stop being the good little student and experiment with your life. Go out on a limb and see what happens. Open your heart more, feel more and live with passion. Forget about always trying to be in control. Instead do what feels right and what makes you happy.
Whose standards customs are you going to conform to in 2006?
Why not be your own pioneer and allow yourself to live an amazing life.

Quote of the week

“Nobody can go back and make a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” Mark Robinson

A new years poem (By Jerry, 1993)

It's New Years again, and I would expect
It's time for agendas, and time to reflect.
A time to take inventory, of the year just past,
And a time to confront, our errors at last.
A time to recall, those no longer here,
A time to remember, a time to revere.
A time to resolve, for the year now new,
To change or adjust, those things we will do.
A time to change habits, and really we should,
convert them all please, from bad ones to good,
A time to thank God, who made night and morning,
To see a new day, and enjoy a new dawning,
It's time for us all, to seize the gold fleece,
Release sparkles of stardust, of love and new peace.
A time to embrace, all those we hold dear,
To hold them, and wish them, "A Happy New Year!"

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Happiness And Health Are The Two Most Important Things In Life

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Happiness: The Ultimate Birthright

The key to happiness is both simple and complex. It is the sum total of more than 2,000 years of philosophy, psychology, speculation, and discussion about the meanings and sources of happiness. From Aristotle in 340 B.C. through to the modern thinkers, speakers, and writers of today, this key to happiness has hardly changed. It is the same for virtually all men and women in every country and all walks of life. The key to happiness is this: Dedicate yourself to the development of your natural talents and abilities by doing what you love to do, and doing it better and better in the service of a cause that is greater than yourself.

This is a big statement and a big commitment. Being happy requires that you define your life in your own terms and then throw your whole heart into living your life to the fullest. In a way, happiness requires that you be perfectly selfish in order to develop yourself to a point where you can be unselfish for the rest of your life.

YOUR HAPPINESS MUST COME FIRST

In Edmond Rostand’s Play Cyrano de Bergerac, Cyrano is asked why he is so intensely individualistic and unconcerned with the opinions and judgments of others. He replies with these wonderful words: “I am what I am because early in life I decided that I would please at least myself in all things.”

Your happiness likewise depends upon your ability to please at least yourself in all things. However, most people are reluctant to use their own happiness as the standard by which to judge the events in their lives. This is primarily because we let others define or affect what brings us happiness. And we often believe it is more important to make other people happy than it is to make ourselves happy. This is nonsense.

Human beings are happiness-driven organisms. Everything we do in life is oriented toward maintaining and increasing our level of happiness. We are psychologically constructed so that it is impossible for us to be any other way without making ourselves mentally and emotionally ill. The fact is that you can’t give away to anyone else what you don’t have for yourself. Just as you can’t give money to the poor if you don’t have any, you can’t make someone else happy if you yourself are miserable.

The very best way to assure the happiness of others is to be happy yourself and then to share your happiness with them. Suffering and self-sacrifice merely depress and discourage other people. If you want to make others happy, start by living the kind of life and doing the kinds of things that make you happy.

LET HAPPINESS BE YOUR GUIDE

Make happiness the organizing principle of your life. That is, compare every possible action and decision against your standard of happiness to see whether it would make you happier or unhappier. Soon, you will discover that almost all the problems in your life come from choices that you have made — or are currently making — that do not contribute to your happiness.

There will of course be countless times when you will have to do little things that don’t make you happy in pursuit of your larger happiness. However, as Earl Nightingale said, “Happiness is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” You feel really happy only when you are moving, stepby- step, toward the accomplishment of clearly defined goals that you feel will enhance the quality of your happiness.

Since you can’t be truly happy until you are clear about your inherent possibilities, it’s important that you take some time on a regular basis to analyze yourself and identify your strengths and weaknesses. There is an old saying, “Success leaves tracks.” You can look back on your life and identify who you really are and what you should be doing with your life. One of the best ways to do this is to constantly ask yourself this powerful question:

“WHAT ONE GREAT THING WOULD I DARE TO DREAM IF I KNEW I COULD NOT FAIL?rdquo;

Imagine that you are absolutely guaranteed success in the pursuit of a particular goal, big or small, shortterm or long-term. Imagine that you have all the money, all the time, all the education, all the contacts, all the resources, and everything else that you could possibly need to achieve any one big goal in life. What would it be? This is a very important question because when you remove the limitation from your thinking, you often get a very clear idea of exactly what you should be doing with your life. Your greatest dream is an indication of your natural abilities and of what is really important to you.

All successful men and women are big dreamers. They imagine what their fortune could be, ideal in every respect, and then they work every day toward their distant vision, goal or purpose. Step-by-step realization of their ideal makes them genuinely happy.

LIFE’S 4 CATEGORIES

Dr. Viktor Frankl, who wrote the book Man’s Search for Meaning, said that you can divide the thing you do in life into four categories. The first category consists of the things that are hard to learn and hard to do. An example for many people is mathematics. Many of us struggled with math in school and still struggle with bookkeeping, accounting, financial statements, and tax returns as adults. If you find mathematics hard to learn and hard to do, this is the sort of activity for which you are clearly unsuited. No matter how much of it you do, or how good you get at it, you will never achieve any lasting satisfaction or happiness from it.

The next category consists of things that are hard to learn but easy to do. Riding a bicycle, driving a car, and tying your shoes are hard to learn but easy to do once you’ve practiced enough. These are seldom the sort of activities that cause you to feel terrific about yourself when you engage in them. They do not demand your best.

The third category consists of things that are easy to learn but hard to do. Physical labor falls into this category. Digging a ditch with a shovel and chopping wood with an ax are easy to learn but they are hard to do, and never get any easier.

The fourth category is the key. These are things that are easy to learn and easy to do. You seem to have a natural proclivity for them. When you are engaged in this sort of activity, time flies. The things that are easy for you to learn and do are the sort of things that you should be doing with your life. They indicate where your natural talents and abilities lie. Engaging in these activities with your whole heart, and committing yourself to become better and better, will give you all the joy, satisfaction, and happiness you could want in life.

HAPPINESS IS NOT AN ACCIDENT

Everyone has an area of excellence. Everyone has something that he or she can do in an outstanding fashion. It may take weeks, months, or even years for you to develop yourself in that area so that you can really perform in an extraordinary fashion, but you will be strongly attracted to that sort of activity from the beginning. You will enjoy reading about it and talking about it and thinking about it. You will find yourself admiring people who are outstanding in that area. You will look longingly at that field and wonder what it would be like to be in it and to be successful at it. That is very often your heart’s desire. That area of activity where you can become excellent is probably what you were put on this earth to do.

So resolve to persist until you succeed. The first part of courage is the resolve to launch in faith toward your objectives; the second part is your willingness to endure in the face of the inevitable disappointments and setbacks you will encounter on the road.

Happiness is not an accident. Happy people are those who deliberately do the things that invariably lead to happiness. Happy people are those who know what they want and then throw their whole hearts into using their unique talents and abilities to make a contribution to the world in the achievement of their goals.

You are put on this earth with a special purpose, programmed with unique talents and abilities that have not yet been fully tapped and utilized. When you focus all your energies on unlocking your true potential, you can claim your ultimate birthright: happiness

Happiness And Health Are The Two Most Important Things In Life

The world is becoming obsessed with money and all things material. From the size of your house, the type of car and even where you travel on your holidays, some people are trying to go one better do their friends and family.

For me these people are quite sad. I have a friend who is similar to the people above, he is always thinking of money, always talking about money. How to earn it, how to spend it etc. He is part of a lottery syndicate, there are about fifty people in this syndicate. When he goes out on the Saturday evening, he always takes with him a piece of paper with the numbers on and a little pen. At around nine o'clock he phones his girlfriend and she tells him what the numbers are for that particular night. He then spends around twenty minutes checking the numbers, and then re-checking to see if he has any winning lines.

He then returns from the toilet area and is asked by other members of the group about how much he has won/lost. He has yet to have any major win to this point, this does not deter him however and for the next hour, he will start a debate, asking different people how they would spend their winnings, if they ever won the lottery.

For me the two most important things in life are health and happiness. These are two things which money can not buy. A number of years ago, my father became very ill. He had to spend around five months in hospital and he was only fifty seven. I feared the worst, even though I was trying my hardest to think and stay positive. I remember thinking, if I could give those doctors everything I own in the world, it still would not help him.

Happiness is the same, at times I have had lots of cash in my back pocket, however have been quite depressed. At other times I have had next to no money and have been extremely happy.

Happiness Is About Connection And Gratitude

People complain. They’re complaining all the time about everything. As a child, I was innocent enough to believe what people were saying. I really thought there were plenty of valid reasons to complain: the weather (most often), lack of money (runner-up), the neighbors, husband or wife, the children (me, in this case), civilization (or the lack of it), bad health, etc. I assumed the world just turned out to be like this and there was nothing much we could do. It was called “fate” or something.

The thing to do was to pray. Not to ask for a better life. No! I learned to pray to ask God to forgive me for my sins. I was a nice little girl, doing very well at school, polite with the neighbors, helpful at home, so it was rather difficult to keep finding sins for our weekly confession. But because human beings are profoundly sinful by birth, they told me, I had to go confess anyway. The nuns at school came up with a solution to help us out: they “prepared” our sins for us. Every Wednesday, on confession day, they gave us a pink paper with our “confessions of the day.” I remember feeling sorry for the poor priest, hidden in his little black cabin, spending the entire day listening to the confessions of 600 little girls, endlessly repeating the same sins over and over…

Growing up, I figured something was missing. Pretending to be sinful by repeating sins someone else had cooked up for me, that could not be what life is about. I refused to further confess sins that I had not committed. I refused to believe that I was the cause of my misery, and that I had to pray every day without things getting better!

When I was 26, I went to Africa. There I met my husband (he’s from Belgium) and together we had a wonderful time, with plenty of sunshine and plenty of money; circumstances people usually don’t complain about, right? According to my childhood logic, people only complain for a reason: lousy weather (too cold, too much rain), lack of money, etc. But what I discovered over there seriously opened my eyes! My “white” friends just went on complaining: about the weather (too hot), about the service (5 servants and still they were complaining) or about how things were too expensive – while they were earning 5 times as much as before!

I discovered there and then that the complaining was not based on any objective reasons. I also noticed that the black people, who were living in their villages with close to nothing, were not complaining. I got interested in this phenomenon: they had nothing except a big smile on their face, while we had everything and were still complaining! How could this be?

It became crystal clear to me that the complaints had nothing to do with the outer circumstances. It was an attitude, a habit. Next, I wanted to find out where this habit came from. So I examined the way of life of the local people and compared it with our way of life. When I finally came up with the explanation, it changed my life forever!

There are two important differences between them and us. The first difference is that they have a social network to help everyone in the village. They stick together. They don’t push out people who don’t fit the norm. In our society, everybody who is a bit different is sent to an “institution.” An institution is a place to collect those individuals who cannot follow the fast pace of society and thus fall out of the boat. Most institutions have great walls to prevent us from “seeing” that these people really exist. They look more like a prison than a shelter.
Who are these people that don’t fit in our society, put away behind walls so we don’t have to confront them? They are the disabled, the diseased, the dangerous ones, the mentally retarded or disturbed, those who are too slow (they go to special schools), too difficult to handle (they go to educational institutions) and those who are too tired and too old (we put them in expensive homes).

There in Africa, everybody stays in his own village and is accepted and taken care of (except the really dangerous ones, they go to prison). Everybody has a natural social network and access to help. You are not isolated from society merely because you cannot walk or because you are mentally slow. They stick together. I figured out that inner loneliness and isolation is one of the main reasons why we are complaining so much.

The second difference is that all of these people are connected to something “greater” than themselves. They have a strong faith in a god who takes care of them. They spend a lot of time performing rituals to please their god(s) and get good health and harvest in return.

I gave these two differences a lot of thought and concluded that creating social networks of people and a solid relationship with something bigger than ourselves, are vitally important fundaments of human happiness.

It’s all about “connection.” Connection to each other. Connection to the Universe. In the meantime I found out that good things can happen only when we stay connected to each other and to the Universe. I started studying the Laws of the Universe and spent a lot of energy helping people establish a connection to each other and to the Universe. In fact, this became the very purpose of my life.

Many people think they are alone, without help, and have to do everything by themselves. This is not the case. You are guided, you are loved by Something Greater than your little personality. Try to feel this connection. Take time everyday to connect to the Source. Do like the African people I was lucky to meet so many years ago: create a real connection between yourself, the Universe and people around you, without being overly dependent on others. You will never feel alone again and you will be able to spread a lot more love around.

Living this kind of “connected life” will make you forget about your former complaints. What’s there to complain about? Your complaints will be replaced by gratitude! Say “thank you” to the Universe for all the things you already have, and for all the wonders that may still cross your path. Express your sincere gratitude for all the love you have received and will keep receiving throughout your life. Be grateful for the clean water coming out of the tap by a simple gesture of your hand, while many people spend six hours every day to get a little bit of water, and others die of thirst. Be grateful for the light you switch on with a simple flick. Large parts of the world have to do without electric power! Say “thank you” for the variety of food that is available to you every day – a lot of people have to get by on one scarce meal a day, or are simply starving.

There is so much to be grateful for. I felt so ashamed there in Africa, at 26 years old, hearing my white friends, bathing in luxury but still complaining, while my black friends, who had close to nothing, were laughing, friendly, grateful and most of the time quite happy with the little things in life.

It’s all in the mind. Gratitude and happiness are an attitude, a state of being. It has nothing to do with circumstances. The attitude is gratitude.

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Happiness is the Path to the Productive Workplace

According to the American Dream Project, the average American works between 43 and 51 hours per week. Does that make us more productive? No. In fact, the United States is ranked 8th in productivity behind countries like Norway, Italy, and France. Yet people in those countries work fewer hours. So what will make us more productive?

First, it is important to understand that the average person is only productive 5 hours a day, yet our average workday is 8 hours with fewer people taking breaks and vacations than ever before. Second, it is also important to differentiate between the higher living standard of Americans and happiness. Our higher living standard is due mostly to our long work hours and higher spending patterns, yet that standard does not make Americans more productive, nor does it make people happy. In fact, it only serves to make us more exhausted. The American Dream Project goes on to explain that this exhaustion decreases our productivity while pushing us into activities that are not necessarily correlated to happiness, but just escapism.

So how can employers maximize productivity while decreasing stress? Focus on your employees. According to the Great Place to Work Institute, the companies with the happiest employees are also the most productive. However, contrary to popular belief, money does not buy happiness in the workplace. In fact, there is very little correlation between making over $50,000 per year and happiness in general. For most people, happiness is about low stress, trust, and a feeling that they matter.

If happiness comes from trust and a feeling that they matter, then what are some things an organization can do to foster those feelings? Primarily, a company needs to have a management team that builds that sense of trust and caring. One way to bring about the caring environment is to provide services that enhance the employees’ lives, like a concierge service.

Concierge services provided as an employee benefit gives employees a tangible view that their employer cares about their personal needs as well as their productivity. This promotes loyalty and productivity. It is a useful and inexpensive way to provide for employees needs, and it will help in lowering employee’s stress levels. In fact, one company funded a study that showed 62 percent of employees would like help in getting things done and believed that the help would lower the stress in their lives. Also, 50 percent of those surveyed would pay to have more time with their families.

Those statistics reinforce the American Dream Project’s assertion that happiness is not necessarily tied to money, but to lifestyle. If you feel like your company could use a little boost in productivity and employee loyalty, then maybe it is time to really look at what your employees need. Check out concierge services to add just a little light into your employees’ lives and see how your work environment changes to a positive, productive workplace.

Happiness Takes Work: 5 Choices to Create Happiness

All of us have met people who just seem to be happy most of the time. Perhaps you have assumed that these people are just naturally happy, or that they are the lucky people who have an easy life, or they had really loving parents. Most of the time, nothing could be farther from the truth.

Happy people are making specific choices regarding their thinking and behavior. Happy people consciously choose to think and behave in ways that result in happiness. Unhappy people are unconsciously thinking and behaving in ways that create unhappiness.

Following are five of the specific choices that happy people make:

OPTIMISM

Happy people see the glass as half full, while unhappy people choose to be pessimistic – to see the glass as half empty. Optimistic thinking does not just happen - it is a choice regarding how you see life. Optimistic people are optimistic because they CHOOSE to be optimistic. Instead of allowing their ego wounded self to be in charge with all its doom and gloom, happy people put their loving adult self in charge and open to the wonderful possibilities that life has to offer. Happy people realize that their thinking is the beginning of a creative process that leads to manifestation. By thinking in positive ways, they move themselves to act in ways that manifest their dreams.

KINDNESS

Happy people choose to be kind and compassionate toward themselves and others. Happy people have learned that how they treat themselves and others determines much of how they feel. Happy people do not wait to be happy before being kind to themselves and others. They realize that their happiness is the RESULT of their caring behavior, not the CAUSE of it. They are kind, caring and compassionate whether or not they feel like it. They have chosen this way of being, and their happiness is the result.

FORGIVENESS

Happy people do not harbor resentment toward others, even others who have been mean and hurtful toward them. They realize that resentment makes them unhappy, so they choose to allow people their humanness and forgive them their hurtful behavior. Because happy people tend not to take personally others’ uncaring behavior, they don’t get their feelings hurt in the same way that people do who take others’ behavior personally. Happy people recognize that another’s behavior is really about that other person, so they move into compassion toward themselves and others rather than into judgment.

ACCEPTANCE

Happy people realize what they can control and what they can’t. They live by the Serenity Prayer, accepting the things they cannot change and changing the things they can. Unhappy people are constantly trying to change people and circumstances and do not accept their lack of control. As a result, they are constantly frustrated. Happy people realize they cannot control others and outcomes, so they focus on what they can control – their own thinking and behavior. Acceptance of what they can and cannot control leads to happiness and inner peace.

GRATITUDE

Finally, happy people are consistently grateful for what they have, rather than complaining about what they don’t have. They notice the many gifts and blessings that come their way and they frequently express gratitude for the everyday things in their lives – the beauty of nature, the food they eat, the smile on a friend’s face, their ability to see, hear, walk, talk. Even many disabled people who may not have the blessings of eyesight, hearing, speech or legs are often happy people because they focus on what they do have and what they can do, rather than focusing on what they are missing out on.

If you want to be happy, then you need to recognize that happiness is the result of your thinking and behavior, not the cause of it. If you choose to focus on becoming conscious of what thoughts and behavior make you feel happy, you can become a happy person – regardless of your present circumstances. Happiness does not just happen – it takes work!


Happiness Versus Pleasure

We are a pleasure seeking society. Most of us spend our energy seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. We hope that by doing this, we will feel happy. Yet deep, abiding happiness and joy elude so many people.

There is a huge difference between happiness and pleasure. Pleasure is a momentary feeling that comes from something external – a good meal, our stock going up, making love, and so on. Pleasure has to do with the positive experiences of our senses, and with good things happening. Pleasurable experiences can give us momentary feelings of happiness, but this happiness does not last long because it is dependent upon external events and experiences. We have to keep on having the good experiences – more food, more drugs or alcohol, more money, more sex, more things – in order to feel pleasure. As a result, many people become addicted to these external experiences, needing more and more to feel a short-lived feeling of happiness.

Thomas sought my counseling services because he “had everything” – his own successful business, a lovely wife and children, a beautiful home, and time to enjoy life. Yet he was not happy. While he had momentary feelings of happiness while watching a ball game or socializing with his friends, he also felt anxious and depressed much of the time. In fact, the anxiety had become so bad that he was having almost constant stomach pain, which his doctor told him was from stress.

As we worked together, it became apparent that Thomas’s main desire in life was to have control over people and events. He wanted others to do things his way and to believe the way he believed. He was frequently judgmental with his employees, wife, children and friends, believing that he was right and they were wrong and it was his job to straighten them out with his judgment and criticism. His energy would become hard and tough and he would be like a steamroller in his efforts to get his point across and get others to do things his way. When it worked and others gave in, Thomas felt a momentary pang of pleasure. But the pain in his stomach kept getting worse and worse, which is why he decided to consult with me.

Thomas also wanted control over his own feelings, and would often judge himself as harshly as he judged others in an effort to get himself to perform well and feel okay. He especially judged himself harshly when he felt rejected by others, frequently telling himself that he was an inadequate jerk.

As we worked together, Thomas began to see that happiness is the result of choosing to be a kind, caring, compassionate and gentle person with himself and others – quite the opposite of the judgmental, controlling person he had chosen to be. Thomas learned that happiness is the natural result of being present in each moment with love and kindness toward himself and others, rather than with being attached to the outcome of things and trying to control the outcome regarding events and others’ behavior. He discovered that he felt deep joy whenever he let go of control and chose caring instead. The anxiety in his stomach went away whenever his intention was to be a kind and caring person rather than a controlling one.

It is not easy to shift out of the deep devotion to control and become devoted to love and compassion toward oneself and others. Our ego wounded self has been practicing control since we were very little. Yet the moment our intent is to control, our heart closes and we feel alone and anxious inside. Our intent to seek safety and pleasure through controlling others, outcomes, and our own feelings leads to an inner feeling of abandonment and emptiness. We abandon ourselves when we are trying to control our feelings rather than be kind and compassionate with ourselves. Our anxiety and feelings of emptiness lead to more seeking outside ourselves to fill up with pleasurable experiences. The momentary pleasure leads to addictive behavior.

When the intent shifts out of controlling and not being controlled to becoming loving to ourselves and others, the heart opens and joy is the result. Deep and abiding happiness and joy are the natural result of operating out of the spiritual values of caring, compassion and kindness.

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Be Happy! Why Worry?

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Be Happy! Do Your Duty Happily without Attachment to its Results

Happiness is not living in a fool’s paradise. It is not living in oneself oblivious of outside world. Life is not a bed of roses. Here one has to struggle and fight for justice. All our actions are with a view to some results. But often we fail to achieve that result. Sometime we get even opposite results than our expectations. For example, when we do a good turn to somebody and instead of being grateful to use the person accuses us. Failure in achieving our goal often leads us to unhappiness.

What is the solution to it? Gita, the Hindu religious and philosophical text, which is perhaps the only religious book in the world that was delivered amidst battlefield, has a beautiful solution. It says,

‘You have right to action only, never to its results; never be attached to the results of your actions; but don’t take to inaction also.’— Gita (2.47)

How beautiful and unique!

In essence it teaches us that one should do one's duty without being unduly concerned about its results. It does not mean that one should do whatever comes to one's fancy without regard to its consequences. In fact, duty means prescribed duty. Its results cannot be undesirable. But the action may result in success or failure. We should not be unduly concerned with this. The cause of all unhappiness is thwarted desires. This does not teach us to be indifferent to the results of our actions and do them indifferently. It teaches us to do our best. If then the results are not as we had expected, we should have faith in God.

Mind you, all this preaching about detachment from the results of one’s action is being taught at the battle field of Mahabharat when a great war is just to be fought. This war is between cousin brothers, and near relatives are fighting on the opposing sides. Arjun has said that he did not want to fight a war in which he has to kill not only near relatives but elders and teachers. Krishna is trying to tell him that it is his duty to fight. The reward is a great kingdom. Yet Krishna is talking of fighting a war at the cost of dying or killing one’s near and dear, and yet doing so without attachment to its results!

Yet, if you come to think of it, it is the best theory about life. Attachment brings uncertainty, worry, and tension. In fact, this non-attachment to the results is very psychological too. Too much worry about the results of our actions affects the latter negatively.

BE HAPPY!

Be Happy! Happiness is just a Matter of Mind

Though one could be infinitely happy by just enjoying the nature and family and all the human-made things, there are still millions of people who are unhappy. In the developed countries there is very fortunate circumstance of having both God-given and man-made things. Still majority of people there are unhappy. In the developing countries, where for millions there is a real scarcity of even basic needs, people seem to be happy. There are some people who are engaged in difficult tasks and in warfare, and even incarcerated in prisons, and are still happy! We have just discussed the factors of happiness. Millions of people have them, still they are unhappy. There are millions of others who don’t have them, yet they are happy!

You would realize that the mere availability and abundance of God given and human-made things is not enough. There is something else which should be right to be happy. Of course, it is our mind that must have right attitude towards and capacity to be happy.

Milton in Paradise Lost says,

'The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.'

One can give various examples of how mind can influence our body::

• Pavlov’s dog starts salivating at the sound of the bell without any food in sight.
• If we are tense we often get headache, backache, and spondylitis, etc.
• Heart attacks are directly linked to worry and tension.
• Right mental attitude helps in curing many bodily maladies.
• By self-talk, motivation, and positive attitude we can become happy and successful.
• Through hypnosis one can have command over another person’s mind and body.
• Through meditation one can have a healthy body and extra sensory abilities.

Mind has extra-ordinary powers and as far as happiness is concerned it has the ultimate power. We should, therefore, have a positive attitude towards life. Instead of concentrating on bad things in life and people, we should concentrate on redeeming features in them. We should not keep on thinking about past failures and bad experiences but be encouraged by our past success and good experiences. Similarly, we should not be unduly anxious about future as our anxiety is not going to have a positive effect, but we should plan and work hard for the future.

In whatever circumstances you are, you can never have total lack of God-given and man-made happiness. You cannot completely take away nature from somebody; you cannot take away all man-made things from somebody. Even if everything is taken, one’s family and friends are there. One’s precious body is there. And, even if you chain somebody securely in a dungeon, one’s mind is free. One is free to be happy in one’s mind! Mind is difficult to be mastered by oneself, but it is impossible to be vanquished by anybody, any authority, or whatever conditions or situations.

Abraham Lincoln has beautifully expressed it: “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

BE HAPPY!

Be Happy! Home is the Happiest Place to Live in

“The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family.”—Thomas Jefferson.

The world may be a dreary, dreadful, and dangerous place to venture into. There may be cut-throat competition in which survival of the mean, cunning, and bully only is possible. It may not be a place for gentle, honest, and kind person like you. It is full of murderers, criminals, rapists, and swindlers. They are ready to snatch away the loaf of bread from your hand. You need a sanctuary from them. You need a place where there is love and care, understanding and compassion, give and take. You need somebody who could guide and protect you. You need somebody who could be equal partner in your joys and sorrows. You need somebody upon whom you could shower your love and care. You need a home and a family.

Parents sacrifice a lot and endure great hardships in up-bringing their children. They are selfless in their love and can even lay their lives for the protection of their children. A spouse is a life time partner in your days of sunshine and rain. Brothers and sisters are your friends and supporters. Your children are your life time fans who love you unconditionally. The love, care, and support of family is a great happiness. Blessed is the person who has got a family. And who amongst us has not got one? But we take family for granted. We don’t recognize it as a great source of happiness. The more happiness you give to your family the more you extract out of it.

You are born into a family and grow up within a family. A family not only provides comfort, enjoyment, and security, but it also gives emotional and spiritual bliss. In fact, one may find so much happiness within family that he or she may not need to search it outside it. The love and care of mother and father, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters, wife or husband sustain us. Though love is one and the same yet the love of each is so different too. A family may extend beyond these immediate relations and may include grand parents, grand children, in-laws, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, and other relatives.

Can all the money of the world buy the love and affection of one’s parents? Can one be happy without them? How much enjoyment and happiness they add to our life? Similar is the case with brothers and sisters. At a later stage of life husband or wife becomes practically the sole arbiter of our happiness. Man or woman’s happiness nearly entirely depends on his or her spouse. At a still later stage sons and daughters become a great source of happiness. Bertrand Russell said, ‘I have found the happiness of parenthood greater than any other that I have experienced.’ Family relations give happiness, but at the same time to be a relation also gives happiness. It is happiness unlimited to be a son, a brother, a sister, a father, a mother, a husband, and a wife.

When you kiss your child, don’t you get a kiss in return?

When you hug your sister, don’t you get a hug in return?

When you love your spouse, don’t you get love in return?

Be Happy! You have your family which loves you!

BE HAPPY!

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Be Happy! One of the Greatest Sources of Happiness—Nature

Nature is one of the greatest sources of happiness. In fact, humans had lived in the lap of nature for millions of years and their stay in modern cities is comparably very very short. Still now majority of them lives in close proximity to nature. In fact, human race is dependent upon nature for its very survival (plants recycle carbon dioxide into oxygen; our food is a product of nature; and we can survive under a very limited range of variables of nature like temperature, etc.)

Nature is all free! It is there for everybody to stand and stare and derive happiness and solace from. It does not distinguish between rich and poor, strong and weak, man and woman. Silvery sun is free, golden moon is free, cool breeze, warm seashore, imposing mountains, smooth flowing rivers, dark and inviting forests, all are free.

It is free, not because it is cheap, but it is rather priceless.

How much would it cost to make only an artificial island with rivers, forests, mountains, and surrounding ocean?

Billion dollars, zillion dollars?

Can one make it? And if one can and afford, will he give it to humanity free to enjoy? Will he not charge some entrance fees? How much?

When we see the moon, we see it in its entirety, no matter how many millions of people are seeing it at the same time. Has God made a separate moon for each of us, or is it only one moon which each of us somehow sees as his own individual moon? And similarly, the sky, the sun, the ocean, rain and sunshine, all are there for us to possess fully. Each can stare at the sky and claim all of it for his or her happiness. It is all his or her.

Nature understands your moods. If you are sad, it is also sad with you. But it does not make you sadder. It does not lead you to further despair. It applies gentle balm to your wounds. It sits besides you like a mother, spouse, brother or sister, or a friend and embraces you, talks to you, listens to you patiently, empathizes with you. Slowly it lifts your spirits, makes you to see your little woes, worries, and wounds in the right perspective of infinite time and space. You smile; you laugh; and you are happy again!

I am sure, you are keeping your money in the bank and this bank balance gives pleasure and happiness. Even when this money is lying idle or tied down in investments. Sometimes it is money just on paper, as, for example, the value of shares and bonds. When you need something, you withdraw the money and exchange it for some pleasure and happiness. Well, all this is good.

Yet do you realize that infinite beauty and happiness is lying around you in the form of nature?

Do you appreciate this fact and draw happiness out of it?

BE HAPPY!

Be Happy! There is Great Happiness in Human-Made Things

God created the world. Humans in their own insignificant way are also creating things. The urge to create is inborn in human beings. God created the world for the happiness of humankind. Humans are creating things for their happiness, enjoyment, comfort, and survival. The common thread in all human made things is happiness.

There is a vast field of music and art and literature. One can devote one's entire life to any of them and be supremely happy. Humans have made some things expressly for happiness—games and sports, food and drinks, TV and motorcars, ships, and planes. And, of course, there is money and all the things and services one could buy with it.

A single genre of literature, a single instrument of music, a single school of dancing, is enough to fill us with happiness. We know of persons who have made a single aspect of the world their passion and devoted their entire life to it and derived success and happiness out of it. It may be bird watching, white water rafting, tennis, football, poetry, or films. In fact life is too short to enjoy all the happiness it offers to us through all its aspects. The problem is not that there is not enough of happiness in the world. But it is the opposite. There is too much of it.

Fine arts, whether it is poetry or prose, fiction or non-fiction, painting, music, or dance, has the power to engross us and make us infinitely happy. In fact, one may live in the world of fine arts and be ever happy. I am perfectly happy sitting under a quiet bower beside a calm river under the serene sky with a book in hand, or lying in the bed under a cozy quilt on a rainy day listening to great classics.

Take for example, literature. It gives mental pleasure that is superior to the worldly pleasure. It does not require external favourable conditions, except a book. There are many books in the world that I consider everybody must read. It is not necessary that one reads only the best or the most serious books only. One can take occasional bad book with good books. As a starter, I would recommend that you go to your neighborhood library, and get a good book according to your taste. It need not necessarily be serious literature. Get a detective novel or romance book or even comics. In the evening cozily settle down in the bed or sofa and read. May be next week read another book. Once the habit is formed try to read serious literature. Make reading a life long habit.

I find sports a great source of happiness. You derive great happiness and peace of mind playing any game. You also get exercise which is good for your body. But there is another benefit. While you are playing your mind is far away from worldly problems. You don’t think of them while you play. I believe that playing is a sort of meditation.

“The secret of happiness is this: let your interest be as wide as possible, and let your reactions to the things and persons that interest you be as far as possible friendly rather than hostile”—Bertrand Russell.

BE HAPPY!

Be Happy! Why Worry?


Worry is a silent killer. It is like a slow poison. It is a chronic illness. In fact, it is an illness which is many fold dreadful than the physical illnesses. Worry not only affects our body but our mind too.

If you think seriously, you would find that it is really no use worrying about anything. It is really foolish to worry about past or future. Nobody can change the past. Whatever has happened has happened. Why worry? How can something that has yet not come to pass affect us? How are we so certain that the future is so bleak? Things may turn out well. Why worry then? Worrying just tires us and diminishes our capacity of clear thinking and planning. It promotes negative thinking. Instead of worrying we should use positive affirmations and resolutions.

If worry could solve the problem, everybody would worry as much as possible. Problem solving requires clear thinking and planning. But worry makes us incapable of clear thinking and planning. Many things, if they are going to happen, will happen regardless of our worry. If it is going to rain, it will.

We worry for small things. The worst-case scenario may not even be bad enough to worry. You have made your boss angry. You worry that he may fire you. What of it? That is not the end of the world. You are still alive. Perhaps you would get a better job. You dread to go to the office next day. You think of sending in your resignation letter. Worrying you reach office. The boss calls you. He apologizes. It was his mistake!

Not only we should not worry about little things, but we should also not worry about seemingly big things. The things that seem today very big and important will seem trifle tomorrow. In your student life you must have worried for days about the wrong answer you gave, even though you knew the right answer, to an objective type of question carrying just half mark. How much you worried about a dress on a special occasion, meeting a boy or girl whom you fancied, or the change of residence of a friend’s family? Do these matter a bit today? Why worry about spilled milk, or a broken glass, or a missed bus?

Of course, no body worries for the sake of worrying. Worry just comes into mind and then never leaves. But many people never worry. It seems that worrying is a sort of bad habit. As all bad habits the habit of worrying is also difficult to get rid of. So, in the first instance, never make worrying a habit. Secondly, try to divert your mind. Think of positive things. Get busy with some physical activity. Keep yourself away from people who are habitually worrying type and who always see the negative side of a thing.

Instead of useless worrying, one should take positive action—

BE HAPPY!


Be Happy!--For Happiness Universe and Life were Created Against Impossible Odds

Let us start our search for happiness from the very beginning. That is from the beginning of the universe.

The most plausible and widely accepted theory of the creation of the universe is the “Big Bang” theory of creation. According to it, the universe is created from an explosion in the super condensed material and consequent expansion of material. However, even if all the conditions for the creation of the universe were right at the beginning, many factors had to be right for the consequent formation of the universe. For example:

• Our universe is expanding like a polka dotted balloon which is being blown out. Each dot (representing a star or a galaxy) on it is distancing itself from each other. Now, if the rate of expansion of the newly created universe had differed even very minutely from what it were actually, there would have been no universe. A little slower and the cosmos would have collapsed back, a little faster and the cosmic material would have long ago completely dispersed.

• If the density of the universe were a little more, the universe would not be expanding but, due to the force of attraction of atomic particles, contracting, ultimately collapsing. If the initial density were a little bit less, then the universe would be expanding far rapidly than now and no stars and no galaxies would ever have formed.

• Both the mass and the volume of a proton are incomparably larger than those of an electron; but strangely enough, these two particles have equal (though opposite) electrical charges. Because of this fact atoms are electrically neutral. If the atom was not neutral electrically, each atom would repel the other and the entire universe would explode.

• The four fundamental forces in the nature, in decreasing order of intensity, are—Strong nuclear force, Weak nuclear force, Electromagnetic force, and Gravitational force. The difference between the strongest and the weakest is about 25 followed by 38 zeroes. Still within that great range the individual and the comparative magnitudes of the forces are delicately balanced otherwise the universe would not have existed.

If the creation of the sustained universe was a miracle, the evolution of life on it was also the same:

• Had our sun been 30% larger it would have been burnt out in four billion years, too short a time for intelligent life to evolve. Had it been smaller—95% of stars are smaller than the sun—other difficulties would have followed. Similarly, had the sun not been a source of steady energy for billions of years, had the orbit of earth around sun been a bit narrower or wider, had planet Jupiter been too close or too far to save earth from the rain of steroids, had moon not been so improbably large to stabilize the tilt of the Earth’s axis to around 23 degrees, had the solar system’s position in the galaxy been too near the edge or too close to the middle, advanced form of life would have been impossible.

• Carbon based molecules can only survive between the limits of 120° and -20° C and earth is the only [planet whose average temperatures fall within those limits. When one considers the universe as a whole, coming across a range of temperatures as narrow as this is quite a difficult task because temperatures in the universe vary from the millions of degrees of the hottest stars to absolute zero (-273° C).

• Nearly all of the radiation emitted by the sun falls into a single band that is 10-25 of the whole spectrum. Radiations which are necessary and conducive for life fall in this narrow band. This is also the only radiation under which photosynthesis works and our eye is able to see.

• Water also has extraordinary properties conducive for life—below 4° C it expands (so that even if ponds etc. are frozen at surface underneath water is not), highest latent heat, high thermal capacity, high thermal conductivity while that of ice and snow is low, high surface tension, and viscosity, etc.

The first step to happiness is to realize this happy but impossible odd of creation and life. We are extremely lucky to have a universe even more so to have a universe full of life. Since life is so improbable earth may be the only planet on which there is life. In living beings to be born as human being is the happiest thing which could ever happen to anybody!


BE HAPPY!

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