10 Basic Ways to Find Happiness

We all want to feel happy, and each one of us has different ways of getting there. Here are steps you can take to bring more happiness into your life:

  1. Be with others who make you smile. Studies show that we are happiest when we are around those who are also happy.
  2. Hold on to your values. What you find true, what you know is fair, and what you believe in are all values. Over time, the more you honor them, the better you will feel about yourself.
  3. Accept the good. Look at your life and take stock of what’s working, and don’t push away something just because it isn’t perfect. When good things happen, even the very little ones, let them in.
  4. Imagine the best. Don’t be afraid to look at what you really want and see yourself getting it. Many people avoid this process because they don’t want to be disappointed if things don’t work out. The truth is that imagining getting what you want is a big part of achieving it.
  5. Do things you love. Maybe you can’t skydive every day or take vacations every season, but as long as you get to do the things you love every once in a while, you will find greater happiness.
  6. Find purpose. Those who believe they are contributing to the well-being of humanity tend to feel better about their lives. Most people want to be part of something greater than they are, simply because it’s fulfilling.
  7. Listen to your heart. You are the only one who knows what fills you up. Your family and friends may think you’d be great at something that really doesn’t float your boat. It can be complicated following your bliss. Just be smart, and keep your day job for the time being.
  8. Push yourself, not others. It’s easy to feel that someone else is responsible for your fulfillment, but the reality is that it is really your charge. Once you realize that, you have the power to get where you want to go. Stop blaming others or the world, and you’ll find your answers much sooner.
  9. Be open to change. Even if it doesn’t feel good, change is the one thing you can count on. A change will happen, so make contingency plans and emotionally shore yourself up for the experience.
  10. Bask in the simple pleasures. Those who love you, treasured memories, silly jokes, warm days, and starry nights—these are the ties that bind and the gifts that keep on giving.

Happiness is within your grasp, but sometimes just out of reach. Understanding what works best for you is the first step in finding more of it.

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These Are the Things That Define You – Part Two – The Importance of Love

The biggest threat to any type of relationship is
misunderstandings.

Misunderstanding ourselves
and
misunderstanding others.

When you don’t like something then express it. Most importantly do it without trying to hurt someone because they hurt you. Instead, try helping them feel what you feel, expressed by both your words and actions.

When people understand
they usually do not judge.

The better you know yourself,
the better you can know others.

Spending time with a person is how you get to know them.

In the same way you must build a trusting relationship with yourself. You need to spend time getting to know more about you. You can never get to know yourself if you are surrounded by lots of noise, friends, and family, or if you are always preoccupied with things to do.

Being around others is vital.

We learn from their experiences and perspectives. It is just as important spending time alone, in peaceful surroundings. Peaceful surroundings doesn’t mean absolute silence. It means the absence of interruption and other distractions.

If you’re always listening to others,
you’ll just become the sum of
everyone else’s ideas.

Your deepest reflections cannot be heard unless you make time for them to be heard. Without really listening to yourself, you won’t have anything to keep you grounded. You’ll fall into all types of emotional traps. Most important you’ll find it difficult to resist the negative influences of others.

Of all the judgments we pass in life,
none is more important than
the judgment we pass on ourselves.

You may also want to use this opportunity to consider your life goals in all aspects: physical, mental and spiritual. You need to sit with your emotions and spend the time to distinguish them and label them. In the questioning process, ask yourself what your values are.

 

 

Core values will be things like compassion, honesty, love, kindness, loyalty, etc. Clarifying your core values will give you an exact picture of who you are.

  • Find out what makes your heart sing.
  • Find out what keeps you excited.

It is important your actions are supported by your core values and fundamentals. If not, you will find yourself in self sabotage. The ability to reach your highest potential is severely limited when you are busy self sabotaging!

Find out what inspires you. These are the things that define you.

Being with nature is also a good idea. You tend to connect better to your inner being, when you are more relaxed. The answers that you seek, while in a state of mental relaxation, surface more easily. You become clearer and clearer, in the intents that you sent out to the Universe(God). Because this intent is in perfect alignment with the real you, you do not experience any conflict or sabotage.

Time alone to
meditate and reflect
is productive time.

You cannot expect to function well physically everyday, if you are out of balance in other aspects such as mentally and spiritually. Very importantly, consider putting aside “me” time on a regular basis. I choose to spend “me” time meditating, reading books or simply just be with myself.

You must guard your personal quiet time and really make use of it.

This is your alone time with the Universe (God).
This is inviolable sacred time.

  • This is when you connect with your soul.
  • This is when you learn how to be at peace with the storms of life.
  • This is where you’ll find comfort and guidance.

This is what defines you.
This is when you know the importance of love.

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These Are the Things That Define You – Part One – Journey of Self-discovery

The term “Journey of Self-discovery” refers to a series of events whereby a person attempts to determine how they feel about spiritual issues or priorities, rather than following the opinions of family, friends or peer pressure.

Self-discovery is the capacity of humans to exercise introspection,
The willingness to learn more about their fundamental
nature and purpose.

If the only emotion concepts you recognize are “I feel good” and “I feel bad” you’re not going to be very emotionally healthy. But, if you’re able to distinguish the more specific “I feel alone” from merely “I feel bad” you’re able to deal with the problem.

Examining your life under a microscope can be uncomfortable and gruesome.

You will be grateful for starting the process of self discovery, because rewards unfold when you know more about yourself. Understand how you make improvements to your behavior, thoughts and emotions. Uncovering answers will help peel off layer-by-layer the negative thoughts that have imprinted in your mind. These negative thoughts and beliefs are your obstacles to inner growth.

You’ve probably never thought about learning words as a path to greater emotional health.

Words Seed Your Concepts
Concepts Drive Your Predictions
Predictions Regulate Your Body
Your Body Determines How You Feel.

The greater your vocabulary
the more precisely your brain can calibrate your body’s needs.

People who exhibit higher emotional expression

  • Go to the doctor less frequently
  • Use medication less frequently
  • Spend fewer days hospitalized for illness

[Tweet “The greater your vocabulary, the more precisely your brain can calibrate your body’s needs”]

This insight is directly connected to your relationship with others. Most importantly it’s also connected to our relationship with the Universe (God). What we believe about the Universe (God) and it’s expectations for us is vital to what we believe about ourselves.

Self discovery is not an a one day or a one week affair.

It can take a lifetime of building a relationship with yourself. Note that your inner self is not going to stay constant either. You are evolving all the time. Based on your self discovery at any point in time, you make conscious decisions for changes. Additionally, as you mature, you gain insights that make up the new you.

Self-discovery is about being mindful of who you really are, instead of what culture says you should be.

It is important to ask yourself what you want out of life and work towards it. Aligning with your soul’s’ purpose brings about fulfilment. Without a purpose and direction, you are going to feel like a ship which is going nowhere. I can assure you that if you don’t go through this process of evaluation on what your purpose is, you are going to experience regret while on your deathbed.

You need to confront your emotional issues and weaknesses
because they reveal the separation from the real you.

The real you is authentic, loving and nurturing. The process of self discovery is not just about unearthing nasty stuff about yourself. It is about honoring your strengths and abilities. As you become more aware of what you are good at, you lessen the list on weaknesses.

Learn to forgive yourself.

Negative beliefs tend to invade every aspect of your life. If you have feelings of low self worth, then you are likely to carry them in the relationships you have at home, in the office, with your friends, relatives and loved ones.

You, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. When your outer self is aligned with your inner being, you will feel happy and free!

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Important Things in Life

I’m sure you have experienced a wake up call at some point in your life. Events such as a divorce, a new baby, a firing, a terrorist attack, or a near-death experience tend to hit us like a ton of bricks and are not easily forgotten.

Personally, what I find interesting is that implicit in the idea of a wake up call is that we have, in some sense, been asleep. What is it that we have been asleep to? When I think of wake up calls, the word that comes to mind is “priorities”. Wake up calls tend to make us stop, pull back from the runway of life, and consider exactly what it is that is important to us. Very often we realize that we have had our priorities upside down. Perhaps we have spent too much time at the office, too little time with our kids, or have neglected our health. So to answer my earlier question, it seems to me that many of us travel through life asleep to what really is important.If you are in a slumber, the following are some ideas to help you wake up and remember the important things in your life:

Connect to Your Own Mortality

Some may find it depressing to think about death, but it can actually be a great technique to improve your life. Try, for example, to imagine laying on your deathbed. What could potentially give you cause for regret? Would it be all the money you didn’t make? Or would it be the friendships you didn’t nurture, the time you didn’t spend with your family, and the places you didn’t see?

Now, consider if the way you now live your life will give you cause for any regrets when you do actually come to lay upon your deathbed.

Steve Jobs was a famous advocate of connecting to your own mortality. In his Commencement Speech at Stanford University, he said: “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important thing I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life, because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”

Write a Personal Mission Statement

I admit to being one of those people who normally skips the exercises in self-help books. I did, however, decide to follow Stephen R. Covey’s advice in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and write a personal mission statement. In short, a personal mission statement is an individual statement of who you are, what you are about and what you value. The process of writing such a statement helps to clarify your inner-most thoughts and feelings, and once finished is something you can turn to for guidance.If you are interested in writing your own personal mission statement, I recommend Dr. Covey’s Mission Statement Builder.

Have a Meaningful Conversation with an Older Person

As you grow older, you naturally acquire experience and knowledge of what is important in life. For example, is there anything you could tell the “you” from 10 years ago that would make life easier? I’m sure there is. A great way then to acquire the wisdom that comes with age is to seek out an older person, such as a grandparent, and have a meaningful conversation with them. Ask them about their life, what they have learned, and what they would do differently. You may just find they experienced many of the thoughts and feelings you are currently when they were younger.

Meditate

Usually the problem is not that we don’t know what is important in life, but that it is forgotten as we get caught up in the everyday tasks that form life. One of the best methods I have found to overcome this problem is meditation. Meditation is a great way to relax both your mind and body. Such a state is ideal for gaining a better understanding of who you are and what you value.

Volunteer

It is easy in life to become consumed with your own sense of self importance. A very effective way to step back and see life in a greater context is to volunteer. For example, helping those with less than yourself will help you realize just how fortunate you really are. So often we act in such a way that we don’t already have the important things in life, when actually they are right under our nose

My Personal Mission Statement

Just as each person is unique, so will be their personal mission statement. That said, I believe we can find inspiration in the statements of others. The following is my personal mission statement.

  • I will be loving and proactive in building and maintaining my relationships with family and friends, so that I may be considered a successful husband, father, son, brother, uncle, and friend.
  • I will always act with integrity and never compromise with honesty, so that it may be said that I am a person who stands for what is just and right.
  • I will approach life with a curious nature, so that I am someone who continually strives to better understand both my inner and outer worlds.
  • I will look after my health by regularly exercising, eating well, and limiting the intake of anything that may be harmful to my body.
  • I will treat money as my servant, not as my master. I will seek financial independence over time. My wants will be subject to my needs and means. I will spend less than I earn and regularly save and invest part of my income.
  • I will try to help others live a better life by writing articles for my blog that are both inspiring and motivating.
  • When times are tough, I will remember there are still countless reasons I have to be thankful. As such, I will give something back to the community, via donation and volunteering, so that those less fortunate receive a helping hand.

Even just now, after having rewritten my personal mission statement above, I feel a sense of clarity and direction about my life.

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“My Name is Lisa”

The best part of my job is sometimes the saddest. Sometimes when you find a gem it’s beauty is momentarily obscured by the rubble that surrounds it. I found this short film and was deeply moved. I offer it as an example of fine work on an extremely difficult subject.

“My Name is Lisa” is a short film about Alzheimer’s Disease, which is one of many serious and devastating diseases still without a cure. Alzheimer’s causes gradual memory loss.

This film was made for YouTube’s Project: Direct and it took 3RD PRIZE in the International short film competition

“My Name is Lisa” is a short film from SheltonFilms.com

My Name is Lisa

is the:

BEST SHORT FILM OF 2007 – YouTube
3RD PRIZE WINNER of PROJECT: DIRECT
SEMI-FINALIST IN NOW FILM FESTIVAL

Just like the rest of our bodies, our brains change as we age. Most of us notice some slowed thinking and occasional problems remembering certain things. However, serious memory loss, confusion and other major changes in the way our minds work are not a normal part of ageing. They may be a sign that brain cells are failing.

The brain has 100 billion nerve cells (neurons). Each nerve cell communicates with many others to form networks. nerve cell networks have special jobs. Some are involved in thinking, learning and remembering. Others help us see, hear and smell. Still others tell our muscles when to move.

To do their work, brain cells operate like tiny factories. They take in supplies, generate energy, construct equipment and get rid of waste. Cells also process and store information. Keeping everything running requires coordination as well as large amounts of fuel and oxygen.

In Alzheimer’s disease, parts of the cell’s factory stop running well. Scientists are not sure exactly where the trouble starts. But just like a real factory, backups and breakdowns in one system cause problems in other areas. As damage spreads, cells lose their ability to do their jobs well. Eventually, they die.


For more information on Alzheimer’s Disease please visit http://www.ALZ.org

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5 Ways to Develop Independent Thought

A classroom full of 10-year-old students is asked to solve a problem with children crossing the street on the way to school. The children come up with ideas that have been used successfully in other places: traffic calming devices, overpasses, fluorescent jackets and speed limits. All these ideas are conventional, exactly what the teacher wants to hear.

Except for one. A student recommends that the school board sell the property and move the classroom online. This is not what the teacher was expecting.

This idea may not be practical, popular, or even possible, but when it’s ridiculed by the class it might be the last independent thought that the student dares to express — the death of another independent thinker.

Independent thought is not popular — it is absolutely rare. Nothing you read about in the papers or see on the television is independent. Whatever we take in from the popular media is regurgitated conventional knowledge. There is nothing independent about most of the world.

This is a tragedy — independent thought is essential for progress. Conventional thinking moves us forward gradually at best (at worst it pushes us backwards). Independent thinking is required to achieve any substantial jump in performance.

Logically, when we think like everyone else is thinking, the best we can expect is to achieve what they’re already achieving. If our aim is to over-achieve, we need to avoid the same banal influences and think impossibly. We need to become independent from conventional wisdom.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be particularly intelligent or well educated to think independently. Consider small children. Conventional wisdom says that shoes are for wearing and bananas are for eating. Independent thinking allows children try eating the shoes and wearing the bananas on their feet. Their lack of conventional wisdom and utter disregard for how others view their decisions allows children to experiment without anxiety. In this case they may be wrong, but in other cases they can be shockingly right.

Using these 5 strategies you can develop your independent thinking ability.

1. Disconnect from sources of conventional thinking

Instead of plugging into your TV, PC, or library for answers, think for yourself first. Without cutting yourself off from the world, you can increase your capacity for independent thought by limiting the conventional opinion you absorb. This means reducing the media you consume and the level of devotion you give to it. Independent thinkers aren’t necessarily contrarian, but they don’t agree with the status quo by default. They devise new criteria for perceiving the world rather than seeing everything through the screen of their computer.

2. Immerse yourself in experiences that conflict with your current perspective

Instead of substituting a new conventional thought for the old one, deliberately seek out experiences that challenge your views. These experiences may exist in foreign cultures, unusual subcultures, or between the pages of a book you disagree with. The point is not to adopt a new train of thought, but to disrupt the conventional railroad.

3. Watch the process from a distance

Leaving your normal life behind can give you the freedom to see issues from another perspective. Watching the world instead of eating it up gives you the peace of mind to think for yourself. Standing still from time to time gives you the opportunity to ridicule your own beliefs and explore new angles.

4. Randomize your sensory inputs

Instead of visiting the same places, eating the same foods, and talking to the same people, you can actively pursue new experiences. Many people cling to the familiar to simplify decisions and create a sense of security. If you truly want to think independently, you need to get outside your comfort zone.

5. Practice disbelief

Without becoming a cynic, you can develop the habit of instinctively distrusting thoughts that rely on conventional wisdom. Instead of assuming that these “truths” are self evident, suspend judgement until you’ve have confirmed that there is reality behind the logic.

If all of this sounds too difficult, consider what can be gained from independent thought. Even microscopic steps towards thinking independently will increase your contribution to the world. You will see opportunities and solutions that others overlook. You will obtain a competitive advantage over less creative thinkers. Most importantly, your thoughts will be your own and not just recycled media.

Think independently and you create a world of limitless opportunity. But don’t take my word for it…find out for yourself.

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