Analysis or Cognitive?

I see so much about how people are spending years in psycho-analysis in order to be happier. I really do not get it. I am not saying there is no place for it, but what is it that you want?? To understand why your life sucks, or who you can blame for the way you are? Or do you just want to be happy anyway?

Then there are the folks who are in Cognitive Therapy. I sort of wonder what that is about as well. Really all it seems to be about is to decide what you really want and then make a plan to get it! I know it is a bit more than that but it is pretty practical and focuses on outcome. You only need to look at the why question to see if it can happen again. If it can, develop a means to handle or avoid it. If it can’t, ….!!

What we really, really, really, REALLY want is to just be happy anyway! What has happened is done. At worst, it is a trail that you can still see. It does need to equal the future. What might happen is in the future. If we can really control it, make plans and deal with it. If it is not in your control, just get on with today!

So, how do we be happy anyway? There are so many books and courses on this I am always surprised that we are not all just plain happy. Actually, most of us, most of the time. We instinctively know what to do to be happy. We just loose track once in a while. Here are a few focus reminders to consider:

  • Intend to be happy.
  • Look for the good, even in bad things! Lessons learned.
  • Expect good things to happen – be optimistic.
  • Hang around happy people.
  • Give yourself time to be angry, sad, to grieve. But decide when to look for the happiness again. Set a deadline! Limit the time.

There are lots of tips here at this site and around the world. Look for the good ones that make sense to you. Remember the outcome you desire – to be happy anyway!

Be Fit – Be Happy! :)

I have said it before, what we all really want is just to be happy. There are several post here about some various things to consider. Right now I want to address one more issue. Weight – specifically overweight and obesity and the potential health problems related to those conditions.

Here are a couple of things that I found that demostrate the problem and what we might want to start considering:

Facts from World Health Organization.
http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/publications/facts/obesity/en/
FACTS:
Globally, there are more than 1 billion overweight adults, at least 300 million of them obese.
Obesity and overweight pose a major risk for chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke, and certain forms of cancer. (emphasis added)
The key causes are increased consumption of energy-dense foods high in saturated fats and sugars, and reduced physical activity.

Scientific American Magazine
By David H. Freedman January 18, 2011
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-to-fix-the-obesity-crisis
style=”text-decoration: underline;”>Modern epidemic: For millennia, not getting enough food was a widespread problem. Nowadays obesity is a global burden that affects one third of Americans. Another third are overweight.
Obesity is complex: Researchers have developed key insights into its metabolic, genetic and neurological causes. But this work has not amounted to a solution to the public health crisis.
Behaviour focus: Using techniques that have proved effective in treating autism, stuttering and alcoholism may be the most valuable for either losing weight or preventing weight gain.
Next steps: Behavior studies show that recording calories, exercise and weight; adopting modest goals; and joining a support group increase the chances of success.

It really does come down to the quite simple idea of less intake and more output. As we age we loose lean muscle mass and fat increases. The reason fat increases is that we need less calories to maintain our weight as our muscle mass decreases (and/or our activity decreases) yet we tend to keep taking in the same amount of calories. The unneeded calories convert to fat and stay with us. We look for a magic pill or “diet” to solve our problem. We try joining a gym or some such thing to “burn it off”. All to no avail. We end up hating it and avoiding it. We “fail”.

Wrong!!! We don’t fail. We are just doing the wrong things because that is what we have been told to do for so long. It really does just take about 7 minutes three times a week to get in great shape. That is what 7 Minute Workout is all about. But it is about much more. It has great sessions to help us learn about how our bodies really work and how the food we choose to eat makes a difference. No preaching – no threats – just information and answers to questions. It also includes a great support network which, as you see from one of the items listed above, greatly increases the likelihood of success. There are also tools to record your progress and share it as you feel you want to.

Join me in stopping the trend to overweight and the health problems that come with that. First us, then our family, then our friends, and then their friends – and so on. Let’s change the world, one step at a time.

Another Year. Make it Happy!

This is a magical time of the year and it has been for thousands of years. The crops are all in, the fields have been readied for winter, food stores have been set aside. Supplies have been brought in to survive the winter months. The days have been getting shorter. Now, the days are getting longer and we look forward eagerly to the future once more!

This has been going on forever. Peoples have been celebrating this time as a time to review our past, to be grateful for what we have and to plan with eager anticipation our future. Take some time for this. Put your feet up and think for a while.

The stuff about crops and supplies for the winter and so-on is no longer literal in our society but it is in many others (and was in ours not all that long ago!). Our current calendar puts this time of the year at the end of the year so it is a great time to reflect and set goals for the coming year.

Be gentle when you reflect on this past year. Some bad things happened and you may feel guilty at even thinking about being happy or making plans. Acknowledge that, reflect back to the better times and seize on those as the better memories to hold in mind. Think also about all the good things that happened. Keep them also at the front of your mind. How did you do on your goals/resolutions from last year? Mentally celebrate the achievements and decide what to do about the ones you did not quite achieve. Let got the ones that don’t matter and plan what to do about the others (if any).

Here is a quick side note. Do you have a store of little things that bring a smile to your face or make you laugh? I have a little “fun things” file that I put stuff in as it touches me. When I am feeling a bit down and want a lift, I turn to this file and just “reach in” randomly and see what comes out. It is always good to at least shift my mood. Like the fellow who was marvelling at how a thermos can keep things cold or it can keep things hot. “How does it know?” 🙂

After you have reviewed the year, putting the good things in the front of your mind, let’s now be grateful for all that we have. I keep saying that we were so smart to choose this time and this place to be alive. We, in North America, are better off than the vast majority of the rest of the world. I personally have a great family around me that care about, and for me. Great friends to share ways to change the world for the better. Comfortable surroundings and time to do things. I have people around me that let me help them ( a true blessing). What about you? What are you grateful for?

Perscription: Live on purpose in 2011.

Now, look ahead to the coming year. Call them resolutions or goals or whatever, but, decide what you want to get done in 2011. Just go ahead and set down in writing for yourself what it is that you intend to do. It can be a give up goal or a get it done goal. Be specific. Then be sure to write out in as much detail as you can the reason this is important to do in 2011. If you cannot do this, you are not convinced so you might as well let it go now. Which is the most important to you right now? What can you do right now to start? Do it!

Repeat often during the year and have a wonderful 2011!!!!

Live Well

As far as I know, no-one gets out of life alive. We all die. We all hope to live for a very long time before we die. Do we give it much more thought than that?

It is very helpful to think about our own mortality once in a while. I have mentioned in other posts that it is useful to think about how you want to be remembered. It is essential to think about what you are passionate about and make sure you build that into your life. We should set aside time each day to focus on what it is that we are grateful for that day. Remembering that what we think about grows, we should think about what we want, not what we don’t want or fear. When bad things happen to good people, look for the good and lessons that we are being given. Look up and forward.

There are lots of cliche’s in that paragraph but cliche’s are useful because there are truths in them. We live our lives mostly in stages. I think there are three main stages that keep us moving through life and sometimes result in us being so busy that we loose focus on living well. The first third of our life is developmental. We are busy learning to be independent and acquire knowledge and skills to be able to excel in life. We acquire the tools to “make a difference” and we can’t wait to get out and apply them.

The second third of our life is achieving. We are busy applying our knowledge and skills to achieve great things. We are having a family and teaching our kids how to be just like us (or better!). We are developing great relationships that help us in our ventures, whether business or raising our families. Some continue to learn but mostly to enhance our building a good life. Sometimes we are so busy building the good life, we forget to live it (too busy to travel, too busy to enjoy outings with family and friends, too busy to spend a quiet evening with the love of your life – all of those things can be done a bit later!).

The third stage of our life is the time we start to review what we have done and to think about leaving some sort of legacy behind so we will be well remembered. These are the sunset years. This is when we usually reap what we have sown during the previous parts of our lives. Often we have regrets that we feel are too late to do anything about. We should have spent more time with our kids. We should have paid more attention to our spouse. We should have stopped more to “smell the roses”. I should have gone hang gliding when I was younger.

I want to tell you that it is never too late or too early to learn to live well. What I mean by that is to live your life in the full knowledge that you get only one chance to live your life. Make choices that lead to contentment and happiness all along the voyage. Do not fall into the trap of living a “very safe” (boring) life so that you can live a very long time. Always remember that it is not the years in your life that are the measure of happiness, but it is the life in your years. LIVE! NOW! CARPE DIEM!

I am not advocating recklessness. Rather, I am saying, don’t put things off. Find ways to do them now. Live today while still planning for tomorrow. That also means you need to know what it is that you really want to do. Check out your dream list. Make plans. Act!

The Nature of Happiness

I have been pondering the nature of happiness for years. What can be defined as happiness? How does one know if one is happy or not? Can one be happier? Is there a limit? Is happiness fickle? Can you lose happiness once you tell yourself that you are happy? Lots of this sort of thought.

Do any of these sorts of questions really matter? Isn’t happiness an individual and internal thing? How I might define happiness is very different from how a person living on the streets might define it. Different from how a person living in the jungles of the Amazon might define it. Different from how a teenager might define it. Different from how a person who has been diagnosed with a terminal disease and has months to live might define it. Happiness is a very subjective thing indeed.

BUT! There are certainly some basic similarities in all cases. People generally want to feel like their existence makes a difference. That there is some purpose to life in general and in their life in particular. What many of us do during our lives is motivated at least in part by this generality. What is missing is an idea of what you want the picture to turn out like. I will address this again a bit later.

Remember Maslow? His depiction of the hierarchy of needs? People strive to fulfil needs in a hierarchy that he described in his works. The most basic needs are food, water and shelter. Then social needs and so on. I think that when one feels one has met the absolute basic needs, only then can happiness be considered. In other words, even homeless folks living on the streets can, and do, enjoy periods of happiness. It may be a brief period of time but they experience it and aim for it when the absolute basic needs are met. A good argument for addressing basic needs for everyone. We all want to live in a state of general happiness.

So, what can we do to live in a state of general happiness? It has been a secret that has been revealed once again. The Law of Attraction! Not a secret at all. It has been studied and written about lots in the past hundred years or so. Before that it was written about and shared amongst the leaders of the world (political, business and religious). Now it is widely disseminated. Do we get it yet? Napoleon Hill wrote about people becoming what they tink about. Earl Nightingale popularise that in his ground-breaking recording “The Strangest Secret”. Even the Bible says that “as you sow, so shall you reap”. What you think about expands and grows. Focus on what you want – not what you do not want.

I said I would come back to the idea of how you want things to turn out. Happiness becomes a state of living if you are living a life congruent with your view of living a worthwhile life. How can you feel secure in that unless you know the end from the beginning? If you know how things will turn out, you make choices along the way that lead to happiness during the voyage and certainly near the end when you look back. Let there be no regrets. Think about what you would like people to say about you at your funeral. What would you like friends, family, business associates, employees and so on, say? What do you think they would say if you were to die today? See a gap? Make the changes you need to make so they can say what you would like to be remembered for and be happy anyway. Live a worthwhile life incrementally achieving worthwhile goals.