Tag Archives: attention

Happy for no reason!

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

 

laughingdogAh, the joys of feeling happy for no reason! Isn’t it the best? You wake up feeling full of hope, a smile on your face with enough energy to handle all problems, challenges, and tasks you encounter. Life is good and you feel good in your life.

Unfortunately you, like me, may not experience this special kind of day of grace as frequently as you would like. These happy for no reason days feel like random gifts given to us by the gods, angels or pure chance.

Perhaps it is because I’m a greedy person, but I want to see if I can change this dynamic. Instead of feeling happy for no reason, I want to start cultivating a different attitude. Can I practice being happy for lots of reasons! After all, why should Thanksgiving be celebrated only one day a year?

Of course there are many secular and religious holidays on the calendar set aside to bring our focus to gratitude, appreciation, meditation of love and goodness, increasing our kindness and generosity in all forms. In fact this year December 1, 2015 has been declared Giving Tuesday. We are encouraged to come together around the world for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

My plan, starting NOW, is to collect all the reasons I can find to be happy. I know I will find lots of reasons to be happy if I will only change my focus and pay attention. My brain will automatically inform me of all the ways life is out of order:  from my awareness of my physical well being, to the well being of my bank account and my personal relationships. And then there is the long list of grievances and dissatisfactions I feel about my professional life.

This means that my daily job, my Mental Health & Happiness work, and my intention for well being must be focused on hunting for and discovering all of the delights, sweet moments, natural beauty and personal encounters that I find pleasing, satisfying, and reasons to be happy.

Top on my list is I’m accepting the task and the hunt to discover all of the reasons to be happy today. Next on my list is that some smart, generous and peace-seeking people have declared December 1st to be our International Day of Giving! And today there is the joy of seeing the sparkling white snow coating my world with the bright sunshine sparkling every crystal beneath the deepest, bluest Colorado sky!

Please join me in being greedy. Instead of waiting for the random miraculous days when you feel happy for no reason, start collecting all the joys you can find to cultivate your own personal happiness. Start today, continue tomorrow and carry on the search to discover how to be happy for lots of reasons.

Shame & Guilt: The Happiness Destroyer (Part 1)

 

By Michael Rice, LISAC

All of us have done something in our life of which we are not particularly proud.  And there may be some who may have even had some things happen to them by someone else that they are keeping secret.  In either case, the basis for keeping these things secret and not wanting others to know about them will be rooted in two things:  Shame and Guilt.

shame

Shame and guilt can be the core of most, if not all, of one’s unhappiness.  Yet both shame and guilt are not always bad.  There is such a thing as healthy shame and guilt and these are the principles which keep many people from breaking laws, harming others, or performing deeds that would affect others in negative ways.  It could be said that healthy shame and guilt keeps our innate urge to be selfish or harm others in check.

I don’t believe we know about shame and guilt until we have been taught what is proper and what is not proper when interacting in society and in our families of origin.  And while we are known to be products of our environment, there are some individuals who have not been taught about what may be right or wrong and therefore may possess minimal shame and guilt, if at all.  And there are some parents who use shame and guilt to “control” their children . . . to manipulate them to behave the way they want them to or to get from them what they feel they are lacking.  Playing the martyr is an example of how this is utilized by a parent or spouse to get love and attention that they feel that don’t have.  They suffer or pretend to suffer to instill shame and guilt in someone so that the other person will show them some pity and attention. . . .another form of external control.

It is toxic shame and guilt that destroys one’s happiness and peace of mind.  Toxic shame and guilt consist of the following beliefs:  Guilt is: I DID something wrong.  Shame is: I AM something wrong.

We often hear, “We’re as sick as our secrets,” and to this I must agree.  It takes a tremendous amount of energy to keep from being “found out.”  One must be ever vigilant and looking over their shoulder to keep others from finding out whatever it is they don’t want others to know. Shame and guilt affects all of our genetic Basic Needs of Survival, Love and Belonging, Power, Freedom, and Fun.

A leading cause of substance abuse is found in what is referred to as the Shame and Guilt Spiral.  Drugs and alcohol put to sleep what would make a person feel bad.  As long as they are high or buzzed, the things that normally tend to cause one to feel bad go away, albeit temporarily.  What happens next is the spiral.  Once sober, they begin to feel badly about what they just did (drinking or using) on top of all of the other things of which they feel bad.  They just added another 5 pounds of shame and guilt in a 3 pound container.  The quickest remedy?  Drink or use some more.  This behavior continues to spiral downward until they either get help or die.