LIFE and HAPPINESS

COPING WITH DAY TO DAY SITUATIONS SOMETIMES THREATEN TO OVERWHELM US.  HERE ARE A FEW POINTERS TO HELP YOU COPE, TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR LIFE AND HOPEFULLY ENJOY IT.

1.Take one day at a time.

2. Allow extra time to do things and to get to places.

3. Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time; don’t lump the hard things all together.

4. Separate worries from concerns . If a situation is a concern, find out what God would have you do and let go of the anxiety . If you can’t do anything about a situation, forget it.

5. Live within your budget; don’t use credit cards for ordinary purchases.

6. Have backups; an extra car key in your wallet, an extra house key buried in the garden, extra stamps, etc.

7. K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut). This single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble.

8. Do something for the Kid in You everyday.

9. Carry a book of poetry with you to read while waiting in line.

10. Get enough rest.

11. Eat right and try not to spend too much time on your bottom. You’ll lose weight, beat disease and never have to break a sweat.

12 Get organized so everything has its place.

13. Listen to a tape while driving that can help improve your quality of life.

14. Write down thoughts and inspirations.

15. Every day, find time to be alone.

16. Having problems? Talk to God on the spot. Try to nip small problems in the bud. Don’t wait until it’s time to go to bed to try and pray.

17. Make friends with Godly people.

18. Keep a folder of favorite sayings on hand.

19. Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hope is often a good ‘Thank you God.’

20. Laugh.

21. Laugh some more!

22. Take your work seriously, but not yourself at all.

23. Develop a forgiving attitude (most people are doing the best they can).

24. Be kind to unkind people (they probably need it the most).

25. Be careful of whom you give the power to make you feel bad.

26. Sit on your ego.

27 Talk less; listen more.

28. Slow down.

29. Remind yourself that you are not the general manager of the universe.

30. Every night before bed, think of one thing you’re grateful for that you’ve never been grateful for before. GOD HAS A WAY OF TURNING THINGS AROUND FOR YOU.

And remember that more things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.

 

The Surprising Power of Happiness

If you had to choose a theme song for your life, would it be, “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” or “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”? Great news if you picked the latter: You’re less likely to have a heart attack.

New British research has found that the more satisfied you are with your life, the lower your danger of coronary heart disease.

If you stay positive and increase your happiness, you will have a healthy heart….and greater overall health.

Happy Life, Happy Heart
While it’s long been known that negative emotions, such as depression and anxiety, put you at risk for heart disease, there’s been surprisingly little research on whether positive emotions prevent coronary trouble. To find out, scientists asked nearly 8,000 people to rate their satisfaction in seven key areas of life: jobs, family, love, leisure, standard of living, sex, and self. Those who scored higher-than-average satisfaction in all categories had up to 13 percent less risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and angina. That’s major.

People who were happier in four areas — jobs, families, sex lives, and selves — also had healthier hearts. But feeling content in just the other three areas — leisure activities, love relationships, and standard of living — didn’t have a significant impact. Figure out what makes you happy and start doing it, pronto.

C’mon, Get Happy
While it’s not yet clear exactly how feeling good about your life helps your heart, it’s well established that happiness is vital to your health. Studies have repeatedly found that happy people produce fewer stress-related hormones, have stronger immune systems, live longer and that happiness has a huge impact on your health, from your arteries to your heart, from the glow in your skin to the pep in your step.

Happy feelings influence your brain and body chemistry in ways that make you better able to cope with pain and stress and to fend off colds, flu, heart disease, and even cancer. The effects of happiness on your health can be even bigger than the effects of quitting smoking. If you’re happy, you’ll likely live longer and definitely live younger!

And being happy isn’t just luck. You can make yourself happier, day in, day out.

Ready to turn that frown upside down?

1.  Listen to music. Whether you love Bach, the Beastie Boys, Latin or Reggae, music that makes you feel good increases your heart and breathing rates and makes your brain release dopamine, a lovely feel-good neurotransmitter. (Music can lower your blood pressure, too!)

2. Hang out with upbeat friends. Your chances of happiness increase by 15% if someone in your immediate social circle is happy. One on one or group activities like playing card, they all help.

3.  Take a joy break. Don’t worry if you’re among the 80% who say their jobs don’t thrill them. Even a few minutes of doing something you love (singing, hiking, watching a sunset) can reduce anxiety and improve your mood.

4.  Talk nice to yourself. Is your inner voice quick to snap out things like, “How could you forget that, you idiot?” Trade put-downs for encouraging words; they set you up for success.

5.  Connect. Talk — really talk — to people you care about; you’ll both benefit by connecting. Get physical, too; hugs stimulate oxytocin, the “cuddle hormone,” spreading a feel-good boost. Lovemaking does, too, in steady relationships (those couples report the highest happiness levels).

6.  Keep a gratitude journal. Simply writing down what you’re thankful for makes you healthier and more optimistic.

7.  Don’t sit around. Physical activity is a significant happiness booster. Get a hobby, learn something new, walk, play table tennis, just get moving for 30 minutes a day and it does not have to be all at one time.  Whatever you do, respect your age, don’t go overdoing the physical activity. Remember, moderation in all things.   It will add real quality to your life.

8.  Meditate. Learn to meditate. It’s easy. The easiest form is to spend some quiet time by yourself just being aware of your breathing. It eases stress, improves sleep, strengthens immunity, and measurably increases happiness (in one study, by 20 points on a scale of 100).

9.  Help others. In any small way you can or a big way if you have the time and the inclination e.g. volunteer at a soup kitchen, hospital, or shelter. Giving back adds more meaning which is essential to happiness in your life.

10. Go outside. Spending time with awesome Mom Nature makes you feel alert, enthusiastic, energetic, and, simply happy.

 

FRIENDLINESS HELPS

The motivation for today’s message was actually inspired by one of my neighbors. I’m not sure she’ll be happy to read this today, as it’s her unfriendly behavior that moved me to write this! In short, this woman never acknowledges me when we pass in our neighborhood. I wave and smile every time I see her, just like I do with all of my other neighbors, but she simply continues to ignore me as she passes by. So today I would like to direct your attention to the topic of friendliness.

In my opinion, the world would be a vastly better place if we were all a bit friendlier to each other. I mindfully practice friendliness daily with both friends and strangers. I do this by smiling at people I see in public, saying hello to those who make eye contact with me and acknowledging gestures of friendliness sent my way. It only takes a moment to be friendly, and the practice is physically and mentally good for both parties. So my suggestion to all of you today is very simple: Join me in my very small attempt to create a friendlier, kinder world by practicing friendliness.

 

A BETTER LIFE IN THE MODERN WORLD

They strive for the relaxation, happiness and long life that come from sharing. Dr. Pearsall counsels people about how to do better with their relationships and how to have a more healthy and pleasurable life in today’s world by learning from the Polynesians. And it’s exceptionally good advice.

Pearsall describes the five principles that make up aloha.

They are five terms that we don’t even have in English that describe their simple, harmonious and gentle take on life:

Ahonui: This means to be patient, but to persevere in that patience.

Lokahi: This is unity, but in the sense of harmoniousness.

Olu’olu: To be pleasantly agreeable.

Ha’aha’a: This means humility, with a sense of careful modesty.

Akahai: A gentle kindness that includes tenderness and consideration toward everyone.

When I think about those, I realize that virtually every person I’ve ever had a problem didn’t have those things. They didn’t have patience, they weren’t agreeable, they didn’t have humility, they weren’t kind. And you know, you run into that a lot.

Most of us will live longer than our great-grandparents, but how are we getting there? Did you know that how you feel about yourself and how well you expect to live may be more important than any assessment made by a doctor?1

It’s true. In one study, people who thought of their health status as “poor” died early at almost three times the rate as those who said they felt their health was “excellent.”2

And in a review, researchers looked at 30 studies on self-reported health and how well people lived. They found that self-reported wellbeing can actually control how other risks affect you.

It seems the ancient Polynesians knew this.

They have developed their own “health care” system for living together, solving problems, and finding pleasure in living that you and I can emulate.

Here is Dr. Pearsall’s prescription for how to have a better, longer and more pleasurable life the Polynesian way:

1) A Penny For Your Patience: To Polynesians, the secret to a joyful life is to realize that you don’t develop patience because you have time to spare. Rather, you realize you have more than enough time because you have patience.

Here’s an easy way to learn to be persistent in your patience. Put three pennies in your pocket. Every time you become irritated or impatient with someone else or even yourself, put your hand in your pocket; gently turn one of the pennies while you count to ten. Then take out that penny and leave it for someone to find.

At the end of each day, see how many pennies you have left. If you have any, add them to the three you put in your pocket the next day. If your pocket jingles by the end of the week, congratulations! You’re developing a good sense of ahonui.

2) Listen To The Message: The Polynesians believe that all things on earth think, feel, and communicate in ways we haven’t discovered yet and maybe can’t even imagine. There is no separation, only unity.

To have a greater sense of harmony with others, try to spend five minutes each day sitting quietly with someone. Don’t try to make a connection, just let it happen. Then talk about it, and you’ll see how powerful nonverbal communication can be. You’ll be on your way to building lokahi.

3) Confess Instead Of Express: In the West we hear often how good it is to “express your feelings.” But Polynesians believe that how much pleasure you get out of life is in direct proportion to how little anger you show.

To help your body and mind deal with times when you’re angry or feel anger coming on, write it down. Write down what your mind thinks is the source of your anger, then stop. Go back a few days later and read it when your mind is calmer. This is confessing your anger, instead of expressing it.

Ancient Polynesians knew that anger has a long fuse, and you have to let all the hormones that build up inside you diffuse before you can look at what happened. No one is ever happy after they’ve been angry. The pleasurable life is one with olu’olu, which you’ll have room for when there’s no more anger.

4) Share Some Humble Pie: A strong self image isn’t necessarily the best way to health and happiness in today’s world. The Polynesians feel you need a core of stable features instead. They include accepting your appearance and respecting your family and origins. That way, you can fill several roles in your community, and grow through those in which you might not be as good while still succeeding in others you excel in.

To gain humility, Polynesians have an exercise where they go the entire day without saying the word “I,” “me,” or “mine.” You can substitute something else, or say nothing at all. You’ll notice it’s tough in modern society.

But at the end of the day, you might discover it was one of the most stress-free days you’ve ever had. You might also find that as you use those pronouns less, so will others. You may start to feel a greater sense of ha’aha’a, but also more connected to others (lokahi) and more kind and considerate, which is the fifth principle of aloha, called akahai.

5) Try A Little Tenderness: This part of aloha is about giving and helping, sharing the breath of life, and being considerate and altruistic.

There are four ways to do this:

  1. Help strangers – Commit to helping one person you don’t know each day.
  2. Make personal contact – Help people one on one. Don’t mail in your donation.
  3. Build your core, give your energy – Take care of yourself so that you have energy to help others.
  4. Be a partner – Help for help’s sake. Helping is giving.

You don’t have to fix, or be the rescuer. Caring enough to be there is what makes people feel better. That’s akahai.

Aloha until you visit again.

5 Minute Tips That Will Change Your Life

Got 5 minutes? Read this, practice it and enhance your life.  These days we’re all typing away on our laptops and smart phones too busy to notice everything going on around us. Yet, all that time spent on our digital devices seems to draw us further apart, not closer together. No wonder we are so stressed and overwhelmed these days.

According to the American Psychological Association’s (APA) 2010 Stress in America survey, chronic stress is up. In fact, the APA is considering it a public health crisis. Only 40% of Americans feel their health is very good or excellent. Fortunately, being more connected and relaxed does not necessarily mean taking huge chunks of time out of your schedule. In fact, it can take just five minutes. Here are five things you can do in five minutes, but over time can lead to lasting bouts of pure happiness, joy and healthy living.

Take a tree shower

Clinical health psychologist Maureen Lyon, Ph.D. and associate research professor in pediatrics at George Washington University says she often recommends her patients take a tree shower. Find a tree and for five minutes, sit under it, notice what is going on in your body and breathe deeply.

Breath

Most of us breathe the wrong way. According to clinical health psychologist Amanda Withrow, Ph.D., you may be unconsciously breathing into your chest. But the proper way is to breathe through your diaphragm. Slow breathing through your stomach is a great stress management tool. iTunes has a Long Deep Breathing app for $0.99 which teaches and helps you practice deep breathing throughout the day.

Mindfulness

Engaging all of your senses can help bring you back to the present moment. And present moment focus can help relieve stress and take your mind off of constant worrying.

To plug back in to your life, spend five minutes noticing five things you see, hear, feel, smell and taste. Withrow says, “It kind of forces you to pay attention to the current moment and stop thinking about what happened two hours ago. And stop worrying about what’s going to happen two hours from now.”

Hugs

According to recent research, giving and receiving four hugs a day could increase your life. And besides that it just feels good. But if you do not have a significant other to fulfill your quota, don’t worry. Lyon says that dogs and cats count too.

Don’t Be Cruel

How many times today have you called yourself “stupid” or “dumb” today? An easy way to prevent stress and depression is to begin paying attention to negative self-talk. Notice when it happens and then practice self-compassion.

 

HAPPINESS CAN PREVENT HEART ATTACK

A recent study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health was conducted at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and published in the July issue of American Journal of Cardiology found that having a general sense of well-being, and being happy with your life may reduce your risk for heart attack.

I know what you are going to say.  C’mon, be realistic, who can be happy all the time. With all the problems and hard times some of us have to face….all that stress. No wonder we get heart attacks!

I know, I know.  But you can help yourself to be happy by your approach to life.
Some of us are just natural worriers and fretters.  It takes all types to make up the world we live in.  But just think, if you want to enjoy your life, as the song says “Don’t worry, be happy”.  As a matter of fact listen to the song, listen to music(that helps to make some people happy). And if you are one of those who frets about most things and you want to change, read the book – “Don’t sweat the small stuff”‘. It just might help if you have an open mind.

The study used data from projects that have been going on for over 25 years at Johns Hopkins. The researchers analyzed 1,483 participants who had a family member that was diagnosed with heart disease before the age of 60.

The participants completed surveys that measured well-being; these measurements included factors such as, mood, concern about health, relaxed or anxious disposition, life satisfaction and energy levels. The average follow up time was 12 years. The researchers counted 208 heart attacks, sudden cardiac deaths, and surgical events (bypasses) among the participants.

The team found a positive link between well-being and heart-related events. The study found that well-being (being happy) was linked to a one-third reduction in heart problems. Among the participants who had the highest risk for heart related problems, the risk was reduced by 50 percent when linked to positive well-being.

According to assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Lisa R. Yanek: “If you are by nature a cheerful person and look on the bright side of things, you are more likely to be protected from cardiac events.”  That means if you are interested in minimizing your risk for heart related problems, you should try to have a positive attitude and be happier. The make it sound so simple, don’t they.

But follow my advice as I said earlier, cool it and “Don’t sweat the small stuff”.  You would stop stressing out those around you and, who knows, you may even prevent those around you from getting heart attacks.  Just think!  Happiness is contagious.


3 Responses to LIFE and HAPPINESS

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