Optimizing Health Part 3: Happiness
Are You Happiness Deficient?
I'm delighted to announce that my book, Three Steps to Happiness! Healing Through Joy, is now available on Amazon.com as a Kindle Edition eBook, and also from our EndFatigue store as a PDF file for those who don't have a Kindle reader.
To celebrate the occasion — and celebration is definitely a cornerstone of a joyful life — I've provided below some highlights from the "Three Steps" that can help you feel happy, even if you suffer with chronic illness!
And feeling happy is just as important to optimal health as eating and sleeping well. In fact, happiness is so health giving, it can extend your life. When Dutch researchers analyzed 30 studies on happiness and longevity, they found that happy folks lived 10-40% longer than others! They called the effect of happiness on longevity "remarkably strong." And more good news? Being happy can help you heal. So you will actually want to live longer ;-)
So let's add more of that remarkably strong "happy medicine" — which is free and has no side effects — into your life. Starting today!
Step 1: Feel All Your Feelings Without Resistance
If you don't truly feel whatever you're feeling, two things can happen.
You get stuck — because a feeling stays with you until you actually feel it. If you don't feel your anger, for example, you may find yourself simmering for decades. And if you're like most people, you'll think that anger is caused by the stressful situations that life delivers every day. But what's actually happening is that your suppressed anger has accumulated into a giant reservoir that spills out into your thoughts and feelings at the slightest provocation.
You turn mountains into molehills. After a bout of anger and sorrow, your psyche automatically helps itself, regaining its natural state of happiness and ease. But when you deny a feeling, your psyche magnifies it, to make it bigger and clearer to you, so you'll feel it and be done with it. If you keep denying the feeling, it grows bigger and bigger: blues turn into chronic depression…angers turns into a constant attitude of hostility…worry turns into anxiety and panic.
How do you know when you're done with a feeling? Well, it actually feels good to fully feel anger or sorrow or fear — that's why we call a session of much-needed, unrestrained sobbing a "good cry." And who hasn't experienced the joy of a good, self-righteous hissy fit? On the other hand, when it no longer feels good to feel sad or angry — which is how you can tell when the feeling has been fully experienced — you're done. Time to move on!
3 Steps to Happiness also teaches you how to let go of old feelings and emotional traumas — even very severe ones.
Step 2: The No-Blame Lifestyle
There is a simple attitude that can help you live happily: a willingness to let go of blame.
Yes, blame. Finding fault with yourself and others. Judging yourself and others. Feeling guilty about something you did. Expecting yourself or someone else to do something a certain way — and feeling angry if you or that person fails to do so. Comparing a behavior, person, or experience to another behavior, person or experience — and finding one lacking.
But blame isn't a big deal. It's a mental mirage. It's imagination. It's nothing more than a bad habit. When you catch yourself playing the "blame game," remember that it is a habit you have now chosen to break. So simply, continually, and repeatedly drop the blame in midthought and shift your attention to something that feels good. Having trouble doing this? This book will teach you how.
Step 3: Pay Attention To What Feels Good
Here's a simple but profound truth: What you put your attention on tends to create your reality. Would you prefer to put your attention on happiness rather than unhappiness, on joy rather than joylessness? You can do so by choosing to keep your attention on what feels good.
Life truly is like a buffet with many options. Think of it like watching cable TV with 1,000 channels. Even if you hate 990 of them, just click off those and stay on the ones you like.
When you are in alignment with who you truly are and what is authentic to you, whether you call this your psyche, your soul, or God, you're going to feel good. When you aren't, you feel bad. It's really that simple!
If I feel good — if I'm centered and happy and joyful — I know that I am connected to my soul and its desire, and that I am as close to being authentic as I know how to be. If I feel bad, I know that I am not attuned to what my soul/psyche prefers. To say this in another way (because it is so important to understand): If, from a centered awareness, what I am doing or paying attention to feels good, then I am being true to myself.
As Abraham Lincoln used to say: "People are about as happy as they choose to be." I think Honest Abe hit the happiness nail on the head!
Here's how you can choose to be happy, no matter what!
To Purchase the eBook for "Three Steps to Happiness!"
For those who would like the book, but don't have a Kindle reader, you can buy a pdf version from EndFatigue.
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