What’s the Point?

It’s a question we find we ask ourselves at difficult times in our lives. We know intellectually that we will die at some point and all that we know will be no more for us. So, what is the point?!

Incredible opening for my blog that focuses on being Happy Anyway isn’t it? But really, it is the issue at its very basic level. Can we really be Happy Anyway? Why not? What is happiness all about? It is about now. It is about enjoying the very moment we are in, not the past which cannot be changed and not the future which has not happened yet. Now.

But wait a minute. This feeling of “what’s the point” is very real and all consuming at times. Especially when the news you just got is not very good at all. Bad news focuses our attention enormously. As I have said elsewhere in this blog, you need to acknowledge and experience the feelings that are happening with no guilt. BUT, you also need to set up a deadline for when you will move on and return to the state of happiness. Sounds weird but I mean that you need to set a time when you will look at your new reality and develop some plans to put you back on the journey that you have been on.

What is it that we all really really really really REALLY want? When you start to answer you need to put the question why in at each stage. Money? Why? So that I can have a nice place to live, drive a nice car, dress well, eat out at fine dining places and so on. Why? So I can help others to experience these same things. Why? It makes me feel good. Why? I like to help others and live a good life. Why? It gives me a purpose and a reason to get up each day. That is what makes me happy, having a purpose – a reason to be.

So, back to that tough question – what is the point? It is different for each of us and it is even different for us at different stages of our lives. But it boils down to; “What is my (current) purpose”? It can be to get that promotion and earn more money. It can be to give my children all the help and experience that I can so that they can have a good adult life. It can be to retire with comfort and security. It can be to see grandchildren graduate. It can Never stop doing your thingbe to make sure the house is cleaned and organized from top to bottom before I die. (That is a story I recall about a person who was told that she had about a month to live. So she decided to make sure her home was spic and span for the wake. It took her some 10 years to get it just right!)

We simply cannot be happy if we are not actively living on purpose. We need a reason to get up each day that means something to us. Please don’t get caught in the trap of “should“. I am not talking about what you and/or others think you should have as a reason to get up. Rather, what is it that YOU feel is right for you? And then take steps along that road. It is your journey after all. Enjoy it.

Be Happy, Live Well and Laugh Out Loud Every Day!

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!

How can you be happy anyway after something like this?

I just read a story in the paper about the suicide of a young man (17 years old). He was a great son and brother and friend who seemed to be lively and full of living. He joked around lots and was a great person to be around. Yet, there were signs that there may have been problems in the background. This young man decided he had had enough and chose to hang himself the day after the wake for a friend who had also committed suicide. The note he left behind was moving and upbeat. He said that he had just had enough!

The suicide and whether it could have been averted are not the issues I want to dwell on right now. This story seriously challenges my premiss that you can be happy anyway! How could you be happy anyway if you were the parent or brother or friend who had to face the reality of this loss? The short answer, of course, is that you could not! Not in the short-term. Time has to be allowed to grieve. Time has to be allowed in order to feel the remorse that you did not personally stop it. Time has to be allowed to think about all the things that will not happen now and to fondly start to remember the wonderful things that were a part of this lost life.

Only then can you start to turn towards happiness again. The plea of the young man was for those he left behind to have only fond memories of him. Good advice. It is what we choose to focus on that will determine how we feel. If we stay lost in the grief, we have only grief in our lives. Start as soon as you can to think of the good memories. Bring them to the front of the mind.

But what if there are no good memories that you can call up? Wow. That is a lesson right there. Focus on what can be learned. In a time-line of eternity, perhaps this life was lived just to teach one lesson. What was it? Do you see the thread here?

Look forward again. Remember the good things but look forward. There simply are not enough tears in the world to bring back the lost. Recall the good. Learn the lessons that may present themselves. Then, look forward to do things that will continue to focus on happiness. It may be to take care of others at risk. It may be to take care of yourself and get help for your depression or what ever may be bothering you right now. It may be to start a new activity. It may be to go for a walk in the park!

Grieve, of course! Remember the good, of course! Look forward and enjoy planning to live well, love always and to laugh out loud every day, of course!