Category Archives: Habit

Habits & Happiness

Contributed by Denise Daub

9 Bad Habits That Get In The Way Of Our Happiness

by Sarah Bogdanski

Habits. They are so ingrained in us that we do them without realizing it. They are second nature, and we can live our whole lives with destructive and harmful habits, scratching our heads wondering why we aren’t happy or successful. We don’t even realize that are in a continuous loop of doing the same things over and over again, yet expecting different results.

And while it’s not easy to get rid of a bad habit, it is possible to create healthier, better habits, that will make all the difference in our happiness and success.

Here are nine common habits that get in the way of our happiness:

Read more here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sarah-bogdanski/9-bad-habits-that-get-in-_b_10684866.html?utm_hp_ref=healthy-living

The Creative Mind (Part 2)

by Michael Rice, LISAC, CTRTC

hobby-1642907

Many people have learned to use their creative thoughts and behavior to resolve any frustration or unhappiness that comes their way.  They use their creativity to overcome their sadness and depression, anxiety, anger, and to deal with important people in their lives that matter to them.  There are also those who use their creativity to resolve conflict with others in ways that may only slightly ease their unhappiness and frustration but cause other problems in doing so.  We see these behaviors manifested in such ways that are being called, Obsessive Compulsive, relying and becoming addicted to drugs/alcohol, anxiety attacks, mood swings (Bipolar), and other behaviors that seem unusual or “crazy” to anyone who witnesses these behaviors.   Others don’t often see what another person is facing with their frustration and unhappiness.  Nor do they understand that the person’s odd or unusual behavior is serving the purpose of easing that frustration and unhappiness, even if it is only slightly, and created as a result of their “Creativity.”  You can hammer a nail with just about any other hard object if you don’t have a hammer.  Using something other than a hammer is a person’s creativity to get a desired result.  Unusual behaviors are creative behaviors utilized by those who haven’t created a more effective tool to ease their frustration.

Our creative abilities allow for our general happiness.  Some create effectively and others create maladaptive behaviors because it’s all they created at the time.  Our creativity can get us out of many unhappy situations without the need for counseling or therapy or prescription drugs.   Those who have created ineffective behaviors to resolve their unhappiness are diagnosed and judged as someone needing psychiatric help in the form of “brain meds.”  These types of medications inhibit a person’s natural ability to be creative and to be able to create ways to resolve their unhappiness.

When you have weird or strange dreams at night or even dreams that make sense . . . that is your brain being creative.  So if you have dreams that don’t make any sense, does that mean you’re mentally ill?  If your brain is capable of creating when you are asleep, it is also capable of creating when you are awake.

CREATIVITY . . . it’s behind most of our choices of behavior . . . logical and illogical.

Reflection: Take the Second Step: Use Your Brighter Lights

By Debbie Crinzi         

For a driver, bright lights are helpful to illuminate the road so it stands out clearly on dark nights. Road debris can be avoided.  You can see details much better with your brights. Use these lights when you don’t have a clear map for where you are going and when you sense anxiety rising. You also need them when feelings plummet and your body is tired—when emotions cloud your mind.

In the last blog we talked about turning the bright lights on. This involved relaxing your body and calming your mind. The truth is that our mind becomes our worst enemy. When problems arise, the mind creates a lot of chaos trying to out-think the problem. In order to hear even ourselves, we have to quiet the mind all the stories we are creating that increase anxiety and despair. We turn our lights on by relaxing our facial muscles, neck, shoulders, arms and hands. We concentrate on our breath – breathing in and out — until only the breathing in and out occupies our brain. When sneaky thoughts filter back, set them aside and go back to focused breath. After you are able to concentrate on your breath despite stray thoughts distracting you, it is time for the next step. Now bring into your thoughts something beautiful and meaningful.

chair-beach

Step Two involves switching lights into brighter lights by reminding yourself that you have much to appreciate and be thankful for. Your worries are just one piece of a whole life. Take your calmed mind and focus on something beautiful or peaceful. For some people it is the image of the object of religious worship; for others, it will be a close person or a pet who is special to them; for yet others, perhaps a place such as a personal garden, the ocean or the mountains – a place representing joy and beauty. For someone else it will be saying an inspirational chant, prayer, song, or poem.

Which is it for you? Take some time right now. Choose something that makes you happy. Relive the experience in your mind, dwelling upon the things that make you smile. Acknowledge these positive memories. Surround yourself with them. Again, you are in charge of your mind. If sneaky, anxious thoughts creep in, consciously set them aside and go back to these joyful memories.

Until you take charge of your thoughts, it is difficult to think rationally without strong emotion tearing you down. You need this time of calming, then of rejoicing, before you are ready to listen to yourself reflect and work out issues and concerns. So take the time. Remember, controlling your mind instead of allowing it to control you is a habit that only occurs through practice. You don’t need to wait for crises to rain down upon you to practice. Take a moment each day to relax yourself, focus your mind on breath, and then fill your mind with happy experiences.

Your New Year’s Resolve

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

We are close to the end of January, the month that many of us decide to make life changes and resolve to improve habits, thoughts and tendencies. How are you doing?

Anybody feel like your motivation is waning? Is the excitement you felt as you anticipated changing your life for the better harder to call on? Are you finding it more difficult to get going or to keep going in your new direction? Is it too easy to find an excuse or reason to slide backwards instead of continuing forward?

Let me offer some thoughts and advice to help:

Change is never easy!

Our usual patterns and behaviors are well worn paths and organized patterns in our brain. Any time anyone does anything new it’s harder than the old way.

For instance, how many times this year have you written or typed 2015 instead of 2016? You got into the automatic pattern of of writing 2015 after you practiced enough times. It’s going to take time, thought and practice for you to be able to write 2016 automatically.

This small habit that you changed in 2014 has only been part of your life for a year. And yet  you practiced this habit enough so that now it takes concentration, thought and time to change. This habit is in an area that is not very important in your life. And still the old habit sticks making it harder to start the new habit.

When you are attempting to change another area in your life, an area that has been your habit and practice for years, it’s going to take a lot more time, practice, concentration and forgiveness when you fall back on old habits. It is not easy to change any organized, automatic behavioral habit. Add patience, kindness and self-forgiveness as you go through the process of changing any habit you have been practicing for a long period of time.

Resolve to start doing something, not stop doing something!

If your New Year’s Resolution describes eliminating a behavior you are headed for failure unless you add what you are going to do instead.

Choice Theory psychology explains that all behavior is purposeful, even those nasty and unpleasant habits you want to change. The purpose of ALL behavior is our best attempt to act on the world in an attempt to get what we want to more effectively meet our needs. Even though the habit you want to change is not ultimately helping you be the person you want to be, it is helping some, meeting some need slightly. This is why you continue behaving as you do because it works!

(Maybe it doesn’t work well, or maybe it works for one thing and interferes with another; people who worry that they will gain weight if they give up smoking cigarettes, for instance.)

canstockphoto0012473Rather than resolving to stop doing something, resolve to start doing something. If you simply resolve to stop yelling at the other drivers on the road, what will you do the next time a driver cuts you off, or turns without using his blinker, or passes you on the right?

You’re still going to have the urge to yell, swear, or honk your horn. However, if you resolve to say loudly with feeling, “I bless you (or thank you if you prefer) as we to travel together safely on our journeys” you have a much greater chance at succeeding with your resolution. You don’t have to mean it with loving kindness. Just shout the loving and kind words, changing your road rage slightly.

Whenever there is a difference between what we want and what we are getting we have an urge to do something. And for many drivers that something is to shout angry words, flash finger digits and honk the horn. With your new resolution you are probably still going to encounter annoying and irritating fellow drivers. You will still have the urge to rage. So resolve to transform your anger into gratitude and thanks. You will be doing something. And you will have transformed the something you do.

Keep your BIG picture desire, dream or wish in mind when your motivation starts to droop

Remember why you’ve decided to stop eating all the white things (flour, sugar, salt)? You want to feel healthier and have more energy. Keeping this in mind can be useful and helpful when you are faced with a hot-out-of-the-oven, freshly baked biscuit.

Remember why you’ve decided to join the local athletic club and work out more? You want to be able to play with your children, bending, stretching, getting down on the floor with them and getting back up again, playing tag and all the other glories of play. Remember this the next time you wake up earlier than you want because you promised yourself you are going to the gym this morning, not rolling over to sleep just fifteen more minutes.

Remember why you’ve decided to call your brother every week, even for a quick hello and catch-up chat? You want to connect regularly and frequently instead of letting your relationship drift apart. Keeping this in mind on those days when calling feels like a chore and an inconvenience.

You chose this New Year’s Resolution because you have a picture in your head of what you want. Go back and look at this picture regularly and frequently to keep your motivation high and constant.

May you keep practicing your New Year’s Resolution
bringing you greater Mental Health & Happiness!

Happy People Rituals

Contributed by Denise Daub

7 Simple Rituals Happy People Do Every Single Day

canstockphoto0374035The things that we do to help ourselves only have ongoing positive effects if we make them into habits. Positive change is even more profound and more permanent when those habits become rituals.

But what’s the difference between a habit and a ritual? A habit is something you do on a regular basis without the need to force yourself to do so. A ritual is something that you’re compelled to do because it’s meaningful to you, and you feel a deficit in your life when that ritual goes missing.

If you’re seeking permanent overall life improvement and happiness, try these seven rituals for every day of the week.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/yourtango/7-simple-rituals-happy-pe_b_8682662.html?ir=Healthy%20Living?ncid=newsltushpmg00000003

New Year’s Resolutions anytime of the year

Contributed by Denise Daub

There’s No Need To Wait For The New Year To Make A Resolution

Jan1stAlmost half of all Americans make New Year’s resolutions, and exercise and weight loss is always at the top of the list. That’s no surprise, considering that two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, and less than half get the recommend amount of exercise needed to stay healthy.

But a future plan to exercise can be used as an excuse to curl up in a ball of blankets and hibernate through the holidays, which could explain why some folks go into the new year with a little added heft. A 2000 study of 195 Americans found that people who were already overweight or obese gained an average of five pounds in the six weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and that for all who gained holiday weight, these extra pounds made up more than half of the total weight they gained that year.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/theres-no-need-to-wait-for-the-new-year-to-make-a-resolution_5654dab4e4b0d4093a599c6c?ir=Healthy%2BLiving&section=healthy-living&ncid=newsltushpmg00000003

Transform Your Habitual Thoughts

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

What time did you wake up this morning? Was it the same or close to the same time you woke up yesterday? Did you need to set your alarm, or do you automatically wake up at about the same time every morning?

What did you eat for breakfast this morning? Was it the same or similar to what you ate for breakfast yesterday and the day before? How about your lunches? Are they close or similar to the same things you eat most days?

What time did you go to bed last night? Was it about the same or similar to the same time you usually go to bed?

How about your wardrobe? Do you wear the same or similar things for work, for play, and for leisure time activities?

None of this is surprising or unusual. We are creatures of habit. And for very good reasons. It is easier to do the same things, eat the same things and follow the same habits repeatedly. Just take a moment and imagine that everything you do, eat, and arrange all day long and each day is a brand new creation. You would be exhausted before the middle of the day!

thinkingwoman

However repeating the same things over and over again can become monotonous and boring. Every once in awhile it’s refreshing and helpful to change some things, like your usual diet or your usual bedtime or your usual route to work. This change can enliven us, wake us up and add some much needed sparkle to our habitual routine lives.

Would you be surprised to learn that your thoughts and thinking patterns are also in this same kind of habit, rut and routine? Whether you are conscious of it or not, chances are very good that you think the same thing every morning upon awakening. Whether your habitual thought is Ugh, morning came too soon today. When is the next time I can get some more sleep? or Good Morning! Today is the start of another glorious day. I wonder what great adventures await me it is more than likely that these are the same things you say to yourself every day.

The same is true when you receive good news or receive an unexpected bill in the mail. Your thoughts of appreciation, gratitude or grumblings and complaints are also well ingrained habitual thoughts.

Did you know that you have the magical powers to change your level of Mental Health & Happiness simply by cultivating new, happier and healthier thoughts and thinking patterns? The same way you can change your diet, your bedtime or your wardrobe, you can also change what you say and think to yourself. However, this is much easier said than done.

Try this experiment. Change the placement of your kitchen garbage container. Keep the new placement until you can throw garbage away without going to the old place and can now automatically go to the new place. Keep track of how many days this takes. William James, founder of modern psychology postulated that it takes 21 days to change a habit. Try your own experiment to see if that is true for you.

Now conduct another experiment. Change one habitual thought during your day. It could be your grumblings of complaints about the other inconsiderate and incompetent drivers on the road, or you internal accusations about your lazy co-workers, or your impatience with your dawdling child. You must first be aware of the habitual thought that you think. Now compose what thought or statement you want to make instead.

Here are some examples:

Transform: Get your blinker fixed you idiot driver

Into: We all drive cooperatively to get to our destinations safely 

Transform: For once could you do your job instead of leaving it for the rest of us to complete.

Into: I do my work with an open heart and willingness to serve. I appreciate my co-workers who are doing the same.

Transform: Get a move on kiddo so you don’t make me late again.

Into: We have all the time in the world and will each arrive safely with time to spare. 

Remember though, for improved Mental Health & Happiness you must practice your new thought or statement for a minimum of 21 days (or longer) before it becomes automatic and habitual.

Transforming you habitual thoughts will transform you Mental Health & Happiness!

Stinking Thinking

Contributed by Denise Daub

Have you ever met someone for the very first time and seconds later you cannot recall their name? Or maybe you have had the all too common experience of arriving in your garage with little recollection of the journey home. All these everyday common occurences indicate that the average person is spending a large portion of their lives lost in thought.

It’s often been referred to as the monkey mind and many people can probably relate to the analogy of a playful child. The truth of the matter is that your brain loves to play. It is “on” every moment of the day. And if there is nothing entertaining in the outside environment it often resorts to playing indoors.

But what’s it playing with? You might be surprised to know it’s largely negative and useless thoughts. There are seven typical thoughts that commonly capture attention and steal it away from the important things in life.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-pearse/7-types-of-thinking-to-give-up-immediately_b_8130848.html?ir=Healthy%20Living?ncid=newsltushpmg00000003

New Gadget, New Habit

By Susan Maese, LMSW

Living alone can test the resolve of good eating habits. Add long work hours, economic concerns, or lack of sleep and often the choice becomes pizza delivery. Then frustration of having chosen less healthy options sets in, and a litany of negative thoughts was apparently delivered along with the cheese & pepper. Maybe you have a thought to eat more fresh food. Perhaps you tell yourself you will make better choices…tomorrow.

Today is yesterday’s tomorrow.  How about your choices today?  Is there a way to make better choices fun and entertaining?  What foods do you like?  Are there foods you are interested in trying?  Is there a particular technique you’d like to explore? Where would you start? Would you learn new things or meet new people in the exploration?

vegetablesConsider that fresh food resolve. Pinterest is a great cache of fun ideas. Let it spark your creativity in cooking new foods or cooking old favorites in new ways. Seek new spices or oils.  Comb the internet or grandma’s old cookbook for recipes.  Explore your local farmers markets, discover regional specialties, or search for sources of foreign cuisine ingredients.

A new gadget gets you in the kitchen to play with food, learn new techniques.  A new spice wakes up the sense of smell and taste.  Savoring the results reinforces the change in choices.  Choosing a positive action encourages positive thoughts.   Choose healthy, choose happy!

Routines: A Comfort and Mind-Numbing

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

Presently my life is undergoing a complete change. I feel as though I’m living in a snow globe that has been turned upside-down. Much is getting turned upright again, but the snow is still swirling about me attempting to settle into new patterns and routines. I’m about to start a new job and move into a new home. As a result my everyday routines are now completely altered and upended.

What are your daily patterns and routines? Do you go to bed about the same time every night? Is your morning ritual consistent? Chances are your answer is “yes.” We humans tend to create then follow the same routines and rituals in many aspects of our lives. These routines and habits help us to meet our need for safety and security, the psychological component of the basic need for survival. And these habits allow our brain to go on automatic so we don’t have to spend a lot of focused energy making a thoughtful choice at every turn during our days.

For instance there are probably many more habits and routines in your life than you are even aware of. Ever take a class and discover that the same students sit in the same seats week after week? This same pattern is evident at church or temple services, company trainings, meeting and workshops, and other similar times and places where the same people gather in the same places on more than one occasion. Choosing the same seat without making any kind of a conscious thought about this decision is what most people do to feel safer and more secure.

You probably park in the same general area when you visit your usual grocery store. Both the store and the parking spot is a habit you developed that saves you time and energy. You probably travel the same route and roads to and from your job. It is very rare that you consult a map or choose a different route unless some new construction is slowing down your travel.

At the same time these habits and routines help you meet your need for safety and security, they can become tedious and monotonous. In fact the joy and delight of taking a vacation or trip is the opportunity for a great adventure. Now you must get out of your routines and habits. During these times you actually are more alert, awake and fully  present in your “now” because you have to be. You are taking new roads, choosing new seats in new restaurants and theaters. You can’t allow your mind to click into auto pilot. Since everything is new your full attention is required.

But having everything new for too long a period of time can become overwhelming and stressful. I am in this very spot now. I’m craving the mundane, routine and habitual. And I’m fully confident that a month from now I will have found the rhythm in my new job. It may take a bit longer to get unpacked and settled in my new home. But I trust my desire for safety and security will lead me to eventually create the home where I feel settled and safe.

If your Mental health & Happiness is not at a pleasing or satisfying level for you give one of these alternatives a try for improvement:

  • Create more regular routines and habits. Just as following the same patterns and rituals can help settle and calm a baby, the same can happen for you. It is routines, habits and regular patterns that can help meet your need for safety and security. Emphasize these habits now to see if that improves your feelings of safety and security leading to improved Mental Health & Happiness
  • Change your regular habits and routines. If you always travel the same route to and from work, go a different way. If you always shop at the same grocery store, visit the same library, regularly eat at your favorite restaurant, go in search of a new grocery store (perhaps of a different ethnicity) visit a local independently owned book store instead of your library, and go in search of one more restaurants to become your next favorite. Or go on vacation, someplace you have never been before! It may just be time to get out of your comfort zone, stretch your feelings of safety and security, expand your adventures to meet your need for fun and learning! See if this improves your level of satisfaction and Mental Health & Happiness.