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Happiness feels good, looks good and also allows us to live a better quality and much longer life. Research at the University of Missouri has come up with a formula for happiness! They use a measure called “Subjective Well Being” (SWB).
SWB = HIGH Positive Mood + LOW Negative Mood + HIGH Life Satisfaction (As self reported since it is SUBJECTive Well Being)
All 3 typically move in tandem (trandem?)
Is SWB Real? YES
The researchers codified positive emotions from diaries of nuns in the 1930’s, the nuns were in their mid 20’s. The researchers could predict the lifespan of the nuns based on their happiness (SWB).
The Amazing Results:
Most cheerful (top quarter) of nuns: A staggering 90% were still alive at age 85!
Least cheerful (bottom quarter) of nuns: Only 34% were still alive at age 85!
“I didn’t ask to be here, but here I am anyway. And I’m not going to be here forever. I’ve been given inherited talents and weaknesses. I had no say about my genetic capacities. I’m a product of my past- my inheritance and my experiences. I can’t change that. However., I do have some say about how I act now.
I am not who I was years ago, I am not who I may be sometime in the future, and I may not be who others want me to be. I’m not even who I have believed I am. Like it or not, I am exactly who I am. And I’d like to find out who that is and who I could grow to become.
I do have some choices and because I do, I can chose to take risks and experiment to find out what I’m capable of. I can try on different attitudes that seem to offer more than my familiar attitudes. I can behave differently, in new ways that seem preferable to my habits.
I will concentrate on my strengths, instead of trying to hide or compensate for my weaknesses. The only way I can discover what I have to offer is by exploring various activities. It’s up to me to locate my wellsprings of talent. I can experiment until I find those pursuits that make me feel better about myself and come to me more readily than other activities.
And since I have control over how I do whatever I’m doing, why not do the best I can? Maybe what I do and what I accomplish is less important than how I do it. Perhaps it is less important to do the right things that to do things for the right reasons. I’ll earn self-respect automatically. And the more difficult the thing I try to accomplish, the more self respect I’ll earn.
If I’m good enough to succeed at something I feel good about, then not only will I earn self-respect, I’ll also feel fulfilled. If I fail despite my best efforts, I’ll still have self-respect.”
We have grown up in a world where we have to justify why we feel bad, thus making it a shameful emotion to be avoided, except we can’t Not feel bad, that would mean we have lost all our feelings. Our feelings are guides and signals to us that we are not living our truth and are “playing small”.
The fields of psychology and psychiatry have done us a grave disservice in separating feelings out of their trades. It makes sense as feelings are messy and difficult to put a label on.
Bad Feelings show us where our spirit is in pain
To find your way out Dr. Rusk suggests the following attitude.
“If I hope to be loved and loving, to discover and develop my talents and to find meaningful ways to use my time. i must stay attuned to my spirit and allow it to guide me in my decisions. That means paying close attention to my feelings, because they are the medium through which my spirit is revealed to me.
I’m going to stop seeing myself as defective when I feel bad. Instead I’m going to try to figure out why my spirit is in pain. keeping a notebook and writing down what I’m feeling when I have strong feelings can help me learn to understand what my feelings are telling me.”
This is pretty deep and I find it very comforting and loving to our inner child who is afraid and small. We all need to be more empathetic and less judgmental of our feelings (especially those that feel bad).
If you are not assertive memorize the 1st ones, if you are aggressive memorize the 2nd ones.
- I have the right to be treated with dignity and respect.
- I have the right to decide what is best for me.
- I have the right to have and express my own feelings and opinions.
- I have the right to ask for what I want and need.
- I have the right to say “NO” without feeling guilty.
- I have the right to be listened to and taken seriously.
- I have the right to make mistakes.
- I have the right to all my human weaknesses and limitations without guilt or shame.
- I have the right to do what is necessary to protect my physical and mental health even though this sometimes requires non-assertive or aggressive behavior and discomforting of others.
1) Change What you DO Not What you have: Forget “I’ll be happier when I get ____” (raise, new car, new position, etc.). Also change “HOW” you do things (vary them). Example: Volunteer, Big Brother/Sister2) Pursue intrinsic goals for self-concordant reasons: Goals that mean something to you and that resonate with your values and who you are. Goals are VERY important. They are a way to travel to the future we want! Pursue goals out of interest, not pressure. Expressing your identity, not your guilt.
3) Strive to be your Authentic/Unguarded self in social settings: Those whose social self is closest to their “true” self live the happiest. Have the courage to be yourself and see the magic as others reflect authenticity.
4) Balance your time across the day: Don’t do too much of only one thing, mix it up.
5) Manage your life so that you feel autonomous, competent and connected:
Humans have 3 basic psychological needs:
A) Autonomous: Doing what you choose.
Fortune Cookie: “Do not depend on others to make you happy, you can do it yourself.”
B) Competence: Whatever you do, do it well.
Fortune Cookie: “To guarantee success, act as if it were impossible to fail.”
C) Relatedness: Connect with others.
Fortune Cookie: “Your friends and family are the key to your happiness.”
1) In terms of each of the following life areas, rank your level of satisfaction RIGHT Now (in this moment, don’t over-analyze) with that area in your life 1 to 10 where 1 means that area is completely unsatisfactory to 10 being completely and utterly over the moon.
Satisfaction (Out of /10)
My Relationship with family __
My Realtionship friends __
Significant Other __
Fun and Recreation __
Personal Growth __
Physical Environment __
So any areas at or below a “5” should definately be focused on for you to live a fulfilling life in 2014.
2) Look forward to the end of 2014, you are writing out what an incredible year it was.
- Imagine that it is one year from now – you’re feeling especially gratified and thankful. You are looking back over the past year with a sense of satisfaction and pride. It has been a fabulous year of growth and personal achievement – a year that spoke to your heart. You sit down to write a letter to your closest friends, describing the year,
- What are the highlights? You begin: “This has been a most extraordinary year for me…”
What are the obstacles you had to overcome?
There is an underlying theme for the whole year – a thread that was woven through it all. What was that thread?
Who did you have to be in order to get to that place?
3) What experiences on your bucket list will you endeavour to experience/accomplish?
These should get you started!
Since this is 2014 I thought I would share with you some questions you may want to ask yourself to learn and gain insight from 2013!
I use these with my coaching clients
1) What was/were my biggest breakthrough(s) in 2013 in terms of:
My Relationship with a) family and b) friends.
Fun and Recreation
2) What was the biggest challenge I overcame in 2013? Who did I have to become to do so?
3) What were my 3 greatest accomplishments for the year (think about if you will remember them in 10 years time)?
4) What experiences did I have that were on my “bucket list”?
5) How am I different than I was January 1st, 2013?
6) What personal Milestones did I accomplish (example: ran a 5K race, saved $5,000, took my scuba diving licence)?
7) What difficult choices did I make to be authentic and live my values?
Next Week we will get focused on 2014!
I came across this wonderful parable that celebrates our deficiencies, you read that right, the things you hate about yourself could be gifts to the world, give that one a second thought.
“A water bearer in China had 2 large pots, each hung at the end of a pole, which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot was only half-full. For a full 2 years, this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots of water to his house.
Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect for what it was made to do. The poor cracked pot, on the other hand, was ashamed of its imperfection. It was miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it was made to do.
After 2 years of feeling a bitter failure, the poor cracked pot spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you. i have been able to deliver only half my load because this crack on my side causes water to leak as you walk all the way back to your house. because of my flaw, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get the full value of your efforts.” , the pot said.
The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there are flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side. That’s because I have always known your flaw. So I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day, while we walk back, you water them. For 2 years, I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.”