Thursday, September 30, 2010

Daily Happiness Tip #4: Be Spontaneous

Life seems to be ruled by schedules -- work tasks, household chores, family demands, and so on.  Today, break out of your schedule, even for five minutes, and do something you want to do but didn't plan on.  For a bonus?  Include the nearest family member or friend in your spontaneity.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Daily Happiness Tip #3: Renew a Friendship

In Tip #2, I suggested chatting up someone new.  Here is a twist.  Renew an old relationship.  Take the time and call someone who has fallen off the radar.  Call the friend you barely see or the relative you only speak to at family events and emergencies.  The groundwork has all ready been laid.  It just needs a little work to spark up the relationship anew.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Daily Happiness Tip #2: Chat Up Someone New

Talking helps.  But talking with new people gives you new perspectives, new ideas, and new conversation.  Try chatting up someone new--a stranger in line with you, a classmate, someone sitting next to you at the hairdresser's--to inject some fresh conversation and insights into your life.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Daily Happiness Tip #1: Ditch the Negatives

A recent study shows that hearing words that describe pain activated the areas of the brain that process pain.  So, using negative words make you feel more negative, and in process, you end up hurting yourself more.  Spare yourself the pain:  ditch the negatives and pick the positive instead.

SourceWebMD Health News - Words Really Do Hurt - by Jennifer Warner 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Declare War on Your Unhappiness - Part Two - The Reward Strategy

Introduction:  Sometimes it helps to put a face on our happiness and unhappiness, to see them as states diametrically opposed to each other.  Looking at it that way, unhappiness makes war on us, our happiness; so, it is time to take the war to our unhappiness.  How do you do that?  By following the advice of the war expert, Sun Tzu.  That is, "to kill the enemy, our men must be roused to anger; that there may be advantage from defeating the enemy, they must have their rewards."  Let's break this advice down into two parts.  The first part is covered on my Hub Page article.  This blog post covers the second part, that of "rewards".

The Reward Strategy:  The Art of War commenter, Tu Mu, added something important to Sun Tzu's advice quoted above.  That is, "Rewards are necessary in order to make the soldiers see the advantage of beating the enemy; thus, when you capture spoils from the enemy, they must be used as rewards, so that all your men may have a keen desire to fight, each on his own account."

Considering that advice, your incentives are the spoils of your success.  To put it another way, your incentives lie in the answer the following question:   

"What will I get from being happy?" 

The answer should include both tangible and intangible rewards.  For example, "By being happy, I will find more things in life that excite me.  By being happy, I will be able to do more of these things with the people I care about.  I can find hobbies and activities that are fun and excite me.  I can spend more time with my loved ones having good, quality fun.  By being happy, I find time to schedule family walk time, including our dogs.  By being happy, I find time to take pictures with my camera, train my daughter on the camera, and create a scrap book we will treasure for generations to come."

For you see, being unhappy prevents you from activities, opportunities, and the things that make you happy.  The spoils go to your unhappiness.  But by working on your happiness, you claim these rewards for yourself.  

Conclusion:   Using our emotions--rousing ourselves--so we want to defeat unhappiness boosts your energy to fight.  But for long-term endurance in a prolonged battle against your unhappiness, you must follow the above strategy.  This way, you strip unhappiness of its power and empower your way to happiness.  Best of all, your rewards are guaranteed with each success.  So declare war on your unhappiness today, and let me know how it goes for you. 

For more advice:   Read Part One of Declare War on Your Unhappiness (The Rousing Strategy) on my Hub page.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Some Changes

This blog is undergoing some changes.  Noticeably, the Pursuit of Happiness results have been removed.  This is to sharpen focus on you guys out there, instead of on me.  I'll keep you apprised of any other changes as they occur.

Sun Tzu and the Art of Happiness: How to Declare War on your Unhappiness Today

Photo by vlasta2, found on Wikipedia,

Never thought Sun Tzu, the ancient war expert, had advice to share on happiness, huh?  Truth be told, he didn't directly.  But indirectly, his concepts on war can be launched against the enemies of happiness.  Specifically, this week, I am looking at the following idea:

. . . though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays.

How do we apply this advice to a war against unhappiness?  By deciding upon one simple thing--you have to find your happiness before the enemy and war's fatigue takes it away.  How do you do that?  Well, I wrote an article about motive statements for writers that can be adapted to life in general through answering two questions:

  • What do you want to do?
  • Whom do you want to do it for?

The second question is easily answered--you do this for yourself.  The first question, however, is tougher and involves examining closely your drives and desires.  But once you find the answer, you can attach your happiness to your motives, and it will be like the horses pulling Sun Tzu's chariots--not only has your happiness come along for the ride, it is being carried into the war against its enemies.

So take some time this week to uncover your motives.  I will post articles and exercises periodically this week to help you do just.  That way we both can harness Sun Tzu's advice and take the war to unhappiness and conquer it.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Invite a Sense of Mystery into Your Life

A little mystery is a good thing.  It ties into acceptance, into letting go, into believing in something beyond your own normal perspective and beyond rationality.  Into opening your mind to possibilities.  All survival skills for everyday life.

So, how do I do cultivate a little mystery in my life?  I like to read about weird things.  I read about the Loch Ness Monster or miracles.  I read about ghosts or angels.  Prophecies or tall-tales.  Whatever the subject you read about, don't try to rationalize or discount it.  Just pretend for one moment it is possible; just end the piece with two simple but powerful words:  "Maybe so."

Adopting that stance toward life can lead to happier mental climates.  Doesn't matter if the mystery is true or logical or not; that is not the point of "maybe so".  "Maybe so" isn't about truth; rather, it is a key to opening up a world of possibilities you never bothered to see before.  Such a mindset sees possibilities instead of impossibilities.  Such a mindset allows happiness in.

Try on a little mystery today, and let me know how it goes for you.
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