GIGO – Remember that?

In the early days of computers and computer programming, there was a popular expression – Garbage in – Garbage out – GIGO. I recall this being particularly appropriate when building data bases that needed to be able to generate useful reports.

GIGO is a term that very much applies to our everyday lives as well. Imagine all the stuff we see and hear each day as input to our brains, and therefore, to our feelings of happiness. It is not much of a leap to see that if you are constantly focusing on bad stuff, negative news, violent games or shows, fear and the like, you will feel those emotions. Why not shift focus?

We are reflections of what we experience and put into our minds. If we follow good mental nutrition, we will be healthier and happier. We will be able to weather downturns and keep a good perspective. The downturn will also pass!

Just for a week or two, turn off the news. Don’t read the headline news reports in the papers. Unplug. Play with the kiddies. Go for long walks in parks. Smile for no reason at all. Concentrate on how you are feeling. Enjoy it.

Yes, I know that you have lots of problems that will not go away or get better if you don’t pay attention to them. Of course, you need to work on those at the same time! But, work on them with an outlook that it is going to get better. You can and will make the necessary changes and adjustments that will move you to where you want to be. You can develop a plan of action much better when you block out the noise of the world out there and just focus on what it is going to take to improve your own life. Smile!!

One more time, I am going to remind you that a goal with no action plan is just a dream or wish. An action plan with no real action on your part is just delusional. Develop you plan and act! Now!

Block out the noise of the frantic and apocalyptic world for a while. With the 24/7 news channels around generating panic on every little thing, you don’t need to worry. There will still be lots to panic about when you look at the news again in a couple of weeks. However, you will have a better perspective and will see it as the industry generating interest to capture viewers so the advertisers will pay them to air more panic-inducing items – and the circle continues. Stop putting garbage into the brain for a while. Give it a chance to clear out the garbage.

Feed yourself good things and pay attention to what makes you feel happy. That is your own personal happiness GPS at work. You KNOW what makes you feel happy and at peace. Go there.

Organise and Choose

I hope you have a huge dreams list by now. I also hope you did not edit or limit the list in any way. Did you enjoy the process? If you study the list a bit I know you will see some common themes in the items on your list. So let’s organise the list a bit before we do much else.

Look for items that have commonalities. Group together those items that relate to family, social, material, finance, spirituality and any other main heading that you may want to group together. We are not limiting the list here at all. We are just putting items in an organised system. OK?

Now is where we start to really get excited and put a plan together for a life that has happiness as its central theme. Looking at the main groupings that you have identified and filled with dreams, which is the most important to you right now, at this very point in your life? This will change through the journey you take in life but one of the main headings will be the highest priority right now. Do not think about what others think it should be or what you think they expect. Focus! What do YOU think?!

Great. Now, what is number two for you right now? Three? And so on ….

I bet you can guess what comes next. Right. Do the same exercise in each heading to prioritise each dream in each heading. You have now done something that most people never do. You have built a true dreams list, organised it and made decisions about which are more important TODAY. What will you spend spare time on now?

Next time we will actually focus even more and develop plans that will very naturally lead to a happier life.

Live Your Dreams

 There is a great resource available to you right now. If you just click here you will be taken to an offer of a great course. Even before you decide on the course, you can download a free e-book just by registering. Have a look and see what you think. It could just be the thing to set you on your way to whatever it is that is missing in your life. Good luck and enjoy.

Start thinking about how you handle outside events. I will write on that a bit next time.

Music Makes You Happier

The idea that music can contribute to your happiness is something we probably all know intuitively. There are studies out now that conclusively prove the co-relation between listening to music and happiness which in turn contributes to much better health, especially in relation to cardio-vascular health.

I caught a news report on TV about these studies just now and decided it was a great time to bring this forward in our quest for happiness. It seems that studies show that listening to music relaxes stress and opens arteries and the like. That has the effect of reducing the impacts of negative stress. It has the effect of taking us out of ourselves and our immediate worries. It helps us to allow our subconscious to promote within us the reality that where we are right now is not permanent and all pervasive (concepts that lead us to depression often). Endorphins and that sort of thing get generated and released into our system when we listen to music.

So, … what sort of music should we listen to? Do we need to listen to classical music to get the best effects? What if we really like to listen to rock music, will that work or does it lead us to be more stressed because of the upbeat tempo? Interestingly, the studies have shown that it does not really matter that much what music we listen to as long as for us it is music that makes us feel great. If Brahms makes you feel great, listen to it (if it makes you feel bored or restless or fidgety, don’t listen to it for relaxation and diversion). If head-banging music makes you feel great, go for it! Music, apparently is like art. The beauty is in the ear of the beholder.

I will add a personal caution that just makes sense though. Always keep in mind that what we are putting into ourselves is what will come out in time of stress and challenge. If we are filling ourselves with messages of hate or violence, that is what becomes our response to situations and it will certainly not lead to happiness. Violent Rap music is weakening. Uplifting and positive Rap music is strengthening. Yes the words are important. Pay attention and listen to uplifting music and songs.

Another thing that just makes good sense to me is that the music you listen to will have an impact on your mood and relaxation levels. If you are going to be retiring to bed soon and you are listening to heavy duty rock and roll, you will likely be a bit wound up with enthusiasm and be less able to get to sleep. Rather, as you get ready to think about going to sleep, and you want to listen to some music (or even read or watch a TV show) think about making choices that will calm the spirit and put you in a better frame of mind to drift into a restorative and deep sleep. More about getting ready to sleep another time.

Music is great. Don’t inflict your choices on others unless it is desired by the others. Keep the volume within reason so you do not damage your hearing (watch the volume on your personal headphones and ear-buds!). But, by all means, plug in and listen to more music. Whatever kind you enjoy and makes you feel great and/or relaxed.

What is Happiness?

This is a question that you need to get firmly in your mind. Without a clear picture of what Happiness means for you, you will never be able to enjoy happiness as a way of life.

My “Concise Oxford Dictionary” defines happy as “… contented with one’s lot; …”. That comes close to how I define it for myself. Happiness for me is essentially a warm feeling of peace and contentment. A smile is not far from the surface. Happiness allows me to be able to see the wonder and joys that are all around us all the time. I feel enthusiastic about most things. I love to think about how things interrelate. Happiness is a sense of wonder in all things.

I will be going into this much more later on but it is key to start thinking about this as early as possible. So, what does it mean to you to be happy? What is your definition of happiness? Share it with us. When you write it down, it solidifies things in your mind so you can better understand right away what may be getting in the way of your happiness.