Happiness Helps Us Live Longer

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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

-Self reports agree with family and friends
-Happy people have better and longer marriages
-Happy people have more career success and income
-Happy people live longer!

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).

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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!
So get happy!
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Increasing Your Self Acceptance / Self Worth

  
Finding/Increasing Your Self-Acceptance/ Self -Worth
From the fabulous “Get Out of Your Own Way” book by Dr. RuskOnce concern about self worth is set aside, awareness of your mortality will help make each moment more valuable.

“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.”

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Getting Yourself Out of the “Bad Feelings are Wrong” Mind Trap

This article is derived from a great book, “Get Out of Your Own Way” by Dr. Tom Rusk
We all have times when we feel bad. When we are below the #8 (Boredom) on the emotional scale. Feeling bad can mean we feel fearful, powerless, depressed, jealous, grieving, angry, pessimistic, worried, blaming.  These emotions don’t feel good, far from it. Worse yet is we usually make ourselves wrong for feeling bad too! So we feel bad, and feel worse about feeling bad.

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).

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5 “Prescriptions” For Happiness

        No matter how much you have, you could always use more. Even the happiest person could want even more. This week I will cover some phenomenal research (scientific) on happiness. There are over 800 books on “Happiness” out there, very few (a handful) are actually research and science based information. As such so many happiness cookbooks are of the “Grandma always said” or simply the opinion of one person having “found” it after suffering. I’d like to thank Karl for sharing this with me so I can share it with you. 
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.”

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The Cracked Pot

“A New life , is a new mind”    James Allen
Back to School/Work  Reality
The summer of 2013 is in the books and we are all back to some combination of work, school and a little more structure. Before we launch on into busyness, as we are all so “BUSY”, sometimes focusing on the urgent and ignoring the important.Remembering Good is the enemy of Great.

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.”                                             
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Defeating Depression: Two Wolves

Defeating Depression: Two Wolves Fighting
We have a mind whose scope and magnitude have NEVER been tested. Used correctly our minds are amazing instruments of power that can transform our lives once we learn to harness them.
Negative thoughts are like a cancer as they attract other negative thoughts, which destroy success vibration.
There is a great Native American story of a grandfather speaking to his young grandson who is learning his way in the world. The grandfather says,

“Imagine 2 wolves. They are fighting a great battle in your mind. One wolf, the good wolf, represents courage, love integrity, grit and compassion. The other wolf represents fear, hatred, dishonesty, weakness and heartlessness. the fight continues until one wolf wins.”

The grandson, curious, asks, “Which wolf wins the battle?”

The grandfather smiles and answers, “Whichever wolf you FEED.”  

If you feed your anger and sadness, you will create more anger and sadness. If you feed your love and courage, that is what you will get.

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“The Black Door”

This week I thought a short story and analogy would best summarize the decisions most people make between fear and freedom, they choose fear and its tragic.

In a far-off land there once was a general that captured a spy. The spy was to be killed by firing squad for the crimes he committed against the country.

As the firing squad was ready to implement its deadly duty the general went to privately speak to the spy.

The general said to the spy, “You have 2 options, 1) you can be killed by the firing squad or 2) you can choose to go through the black door.”

The spy hemmed and hawwed in agony at this final bit of torture. But he was already resigned to his death and said to the general “I choose the firing squad”

The firing squad did it’s grim task and fired and kill the spy. The general’s aid came up to the general and said to him, “General, what was behind the black door?”

The general replied, “Behind the black door was freedom. You see most people are more afraid of the unknown than anything else. What is known even if it is horrible and deadly is often better than the unknown for most people”

We get so comfortable in our lives even if they are toxic and deadly and painful to us we often choose to stay with the unacceptable rather than the unknown.

Instead of making choices to be free how many black doors to freedom have you ignored or chosen not to look for?

How much smaller is your life because of it?

I dare you to choose the unknown, push yourself try different things get out of your comfort zone just because it’s comfortable doesn’t mean it’s right it’s just familiar. if you need my help as a Life Coach, reach out.

Your life will thank you.

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Social Media = Relationships “Light”

In this day and age most people can’t go 2 hours without the smartphone or any of the forms of social media (I won’t mention their names as their lawyer budget beats mine!) as their electronic soother!

I thought for my piece this week I would look at some of the challenges of communications that we are experiencing society today.

Let’s look at the book of faces for a moment. What is it?

When’s last time your car broke down the side of the road and you were able to connect with somebody on the book of faces to help you? Not often right?

This is not to say that social media doesn’t have any uses especially for those geographically separated by great distances.

However in my humble opinion these tools are used as a tool to manage risk of exposure to relationships. We control how much of a person we connect with and when. These have very little to do with the real face-to-face interaction of a traditional functional relationship.

We are becoming a society of people who don’t know how to relate to each other with problems spanning all life areas. We are seeing an unwillingness (and worse) an inability of young folks to have full relationships that include the inconveniences of being present.

We live in a time when social media has given us promise of being more and more connected with everyone. What I’ve noticed is more people that are more lonely and isolated. people who are so “busy” doing very little of true importance in their life. A life of significance is a life where we push ourselves and do what’s important and often it’s not at the end of an electronic tether. I met someone last week who had closed his book of faces for a week and he mentioned how liberated and free and productive he was. Over the last 2 months i have been involved in a business requiring face to face and phone meetings, the quality and experiences have been incredible.

So how to do we be constructive about this ?

Limit your time using the social media. You control the time when you want to interact with it and HOW. Turn off the aspects of it that send you emails every time somebody makes a comment. many these conversations are really self focused, selfish, trivial and all about glorifying a life that often is less than average.

A life of significance requires real presence and humanity.

I dare you to take a 1 week hiatus from social media, who knows you may never come back! See you in the flesh!

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Attitude Clues

This week I talk about clues to those with unwaveringly great attitudes. I’m still working on mine every day and I can say i’m improving but have so much more to do!
Remember: “When the attitude is right the facts don’t count!”
People With Great Attitudes Have/Are (How many of these are you consistent with?) 
1. High energy: always ready to go
2. Problem Solvers:  Complaining and blaming is easy, most fools do it constantly
3. Can tolerate confusion: Break into parts and prioritize
4. Loyal to team purpose/cause
5. Committed to themselves
6. respond rather than react
7. Winning is a habit , they are never lazy (they love what they do)
9. At peace with themselves since they know why they are here, their purpose
10. Do what they said they would do (have integrity and high principles, example in my case: I return emails or calls within 24 hours no matter what)
“Winners are either “Up” or “getting Up”!”

Attitude Stealers/Destroyers
1. Detail “itis”, focus on the problem not the big picture
2. Procrastinate: Think if they don’t do “x” then they don’t have to do “y”
3. Overly sensitive: personalize everything, not realizing its not for them
4. Ask “Why” Questions: Why questions assume/create victim status
5. Double Minded: Unfocussed. because being successful comes with responsability, so they self-sabotage
6. Compare themselves with others/jealous: Not with themselves in the past. Interestingly: We compare our insides with others’ outsides!
                                                                                         “The trouble with doing nothing, you never know when you are done!”
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Perspective

Did you ever wonder why some people experience similar events but react completely differently? Well I do very often. I cam across some material this week that clarifies just that relationship.
 
C + P = E
Here is the formula:                                                Circumstances + Perspective = Experience 

In life we don’t control our circumstances nor our experience BUT we DO control our Perspective of events.

This brings us to failure: Our society simply has too negative a view of failure to the point where so many don’t even try or risk anything.
Too many people consider themselves a failure if they fail. This crushes them. Most people care more about what others think than our success.

A much superior and true perspective is that:

Failure is an Event Not Who You are! Winners keep stringing failures as they learn!

So when you have what you consider a failure or mess up, use this very supportive language: “That’s not Like me!” as it sends a message to our subconscious that this is unusual and NOT the status quo.

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