Tag Archives: habits

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

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

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.

Driving to Mental Health

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

At his point in my life, I figure I have been a passenger with at least 100 different drivers. Some are happy and entertaining while they maneuver through traffic. Some are conscientious, safe and good drivers. I only have to apply the imaginary brakes on my side of the passenger seat on rare occasions with very few.

canstockphoto0012473What I find the most astounding, however, is the large number of drivers who are outraged by other drivers. Without hesitation some drivers let fury, scorn and abuse fly at the other drivers sharing their road and route. I am amazed at their level of hostility, anger and scathing opinions they have of these other drivers. Most of these folks are family members or dear and close friends. This aspect of their personality only comes out when they are driving. I would wonder, How can this dear person allow other people’s driving to dictate her feelings, mood, and happiness? 

That is until I moved to a new region of the country. I have now become one of those unhappy, impatient, and screaming drivers. The common courtesy and rules of the road that I practiced in New England are not the same in the Rocky Mountains. Too often I find myself arriving at my destination furious and blustering about the other incompetent drivers on the road. “Don’t people know how to drive in this state?” I complain but no one seems to sympathize with me.

I also realized sound just like my brother-in-law did when he moved from New Jersey complaining about all of the incompetent drivers in Rhode Island. At the time I thought he was nuts. Now I’m becoming the same nut! And Jack has since moved to Georgia where he is complaining about how poorly people drive in that state too!

I have been recently reading my niece’s Facebook entries. She lives in South Carolina and has made the conscious choice not to drive a car but to use her bicycle instead. And she is bitterly complaining about the dangers and cavalier attitude of drivers toward bicyclists! This became my final straw.

In order to improve my own Mental Health & Happiness, I’m changing my ways. I know for sure that I cannot change the way other drivers drive, or cyclists ride, or pedestrians walk. I can only control myself. It is time I followed my own advice.

When I look for the other drivers who are driving cooperatively, safely, and considerately I always find them.

I’ve started a new habit. Every time I get behind the wheel, before I start driving, I thank my fellow drivers for driving cooperatively, safely and considerately. I vow to do the same. Let’s work together to arrive at our personal destinations safely and filled with love. 

So far I have been amazed how much more considerately, safely and cooperatively the other drivers have become!

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What’s Your Habit?

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

How often do you brush your teeth? If you want to keep your mouth, teeth and gums healthy hopefully you aim to brush twice a day. How long do you need to maintain that practice? My dentist told me I only need to do that as long as I want to keep my teeth and have a healthy mouth and gums.

How often do you make nutritious food choices? Do you make these kinds of  choices only while you are on your weight reduction program? Perhaps that isn’t the best example since too many people make crazy and unhealthy choices when they are trying to trim down. When following the best advice about developing, improving and maintaining good, strong and healthy bodies, we’re told to choose good, healthy and nourishing foods every time we eat. . . for our lifetime.

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How often do you follow an exercise program? Do you practice yoga once every six weeks and consider that the best practice for your body? Do you go to the gym once a week hoping you can maintain some level of being in good shape with this level of commitment? There are some who are able to develop a routine, habit and practice of physical exercise that they maintain all of their lives. Still others of us get into a good habit, something disrupts and stops us, so we need to start again. The goal, however, is to find and maintain some kind of physical activity we enjoy, that benefits our bodies, and that we can do forever.

How often do you follow a Mental Health & Happiness practice? If you only think about and do something that supports your Mental Health & Happiness occasionally you will get limited results and benefits. Imagine only following an occasional routine for your oral, nutritional, or physical health. This too would result in limited results and benefits.

In order to develop, improve and maintain your Mental Health & Happiness you need to set your intention and develop a daily habit or practice. Doing something once while hoping for positive results is not a good habit or practice. Following a Mental Health & Happiness habit needs to be part of your daily routine and practice in order to get the positive results you want.

Since this habit is something you will do regularly, it is best to find the practice that you enjoy. You are more likely to follow this routine until it becomes an automatic habit if the routine is  pleasurable and enjoyable. After all, eating cod liver oil may be a practice that supports your health. But if you find it unpalatable, you won’t swallow it.

There is no difference when developing a Mental Health & Happiness habit. If your have valiantly tried to keep a journal, but just find the practice tedious and onerous there is no good reason to make that your practice or habit. You won’t do it.

For those of you who have signed up for the Mental Health & Happiness daily challenges, you have been offered many suggested strategies. When you signed up for this website, you also received a list of even more strategies you could try.

Why not make today the day you will set your intention to find the Mental Health & Happiness habit you enjoy and can commit to following daily. If you found one, but as sometimes happens have been slacking off in the follow-through recently, make today the day you pick up that practice again.

After all, developing, improving and maintaining Mental Health & Happiness is something you can choose to practice every day.

How is that working for you?

By  Dr. Ken Larsen

I was first exposed to Dr. Glasser’s thinking in the late 60s.  Someone had given me a cassette tape (remember those?) of him talking.  I can’t remember exactly his topic, but one major “take away” for me was the way he encouraged people to self evaluate.  He pointed out that it was OK to realize that some of what I was doing was not working and that it was OK for me to recognize that and make some changes.

We all face challenges and frustrations.  What Dr. Glasser helped me learn is that I had a choice in how I faced and dealt with those difficulties.

I came to realize that some of the ways I had learned to cope with life were not working.

And I came to see what was meant by “not working.”

We all have basic needs.

  • The need to love, be loved and to belong
  • To enjoy freedom to explore life’s possibilities.
  • To be free to have fun throughout life’s journey.
  • To have a sense that I can do worthwhile things.
  • To survive to live another day.

As I saw the ways that I was able to meet those needs, I could see that what I was doing was “working.”

As I saw the ways that I was not able to meet those needs, I had to recognize that what I was doing was “not working.”

quote3The first temptation was to find someone to criticize, blame and complain about how they were making me angry, frustrated, depressed or whatever unpleasantness I was experiencing as the result of not meeting my needs.

Then I had to learn that blaming and trying to change others wasn’t working to help me get my own needs met.

As I applied the process of self evaluation that Dr. Glasser recommended to achieving those needs, I came to some new insights into myself.  I had to recognize that I had to grapple within myself with old tapes and habits and dogmas that were no longer helping me move forward in life.

I realized that I had to learn some new ways that were more effective, that “worked” for me in helping me get what I wanted in life.

I also came to see that while learning new ways of thinking and acting, I had to let go of some old ways.

Just like playing draw Poker.  You have to discard the cards you don’t want before you draw new ones.

 

 

 

 

Go Outside and Play

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

When I was a child my mother use to say, nag, plead and shout Go outside and play. Now, all these many years later I spend time with my grandchildren who say, nag, plead and shout at me to go outside and play. Hmmm. Maybe somebody knows something I don’t.

In fact there is emerging research (our newest barometer for what is true or not) that being outside in nature improves our mood, lessens our anxiety and enhances our thinking and problem solving abilities.There is even more research touting the benefits than what is mentioned here. Do a Google search to find more if you want.

Whether it’s sitting on a beach, watching and breathing to the rhythm of the waves or sitting in a meadow, watching the breeze dance across the wheat field while blowing clouds along the sky, or dipping your bare feet into a bubbling brook, going outside and connecting with nature will  change you.

If you’re looking for solutions to help with feelings of anxiety, depression, unhappiness, anger or stress, go outside and play. This won’t take away your negative feelings all together. It will improve your physical and mental health. This shift in body, mind and spirit will help you handle these negative feelings more effective.

Turns out my mother and my grandchildren all know what they are talking about. I’m making a resolution to start a new habit. I will Go outside and play every day.

Changing Habits

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

Could you list all your daily routine tasks? What is your morning ritual? How about your evening  process getting ready for and going to bed? Easy, right. Yes, these habits probably change slightly or perhaps more dramatically when you are on vacation or away from home. But most of us have a solid routine we follow throughout our day, whether we are conscious of it or not. We are creatures of habits.

Following these routines in fact, helps us to meet our need for safety and security, accomplishing these necessary chores and tasks mindlessly and thoughtlessly. Being thoughtless and mindless is not a good practice in all areas of our lives. But it is for the daily mundane and necessary habits that take up much of our daily hours.

Take a moment and consider your regular and routine thoughts. Do you know what they are? These habitual thoughts change from time to time as your plans and events change. For instance, you might be considering all you want to accomplish before you take your summer holiday. It is unlikely that you are spending much time and energy thinking about your Christmas or Hanukkah celebration now. But it was only 6 or 7 months ago these habitual thoughts probably filled your thinking.

Just as you can change your morning ritual by brushing your teeth before you eat breakfast (although I don’t know why you would want to) you can also change your habitual thinking. But before you can change it, you need to first be aware of what you are thinking and telling yourself.

For instance:

 When you think about your sibling(s) what are your thoughts? Happy and pleasant?  Sad  and worried? Angry and disconnected?

When you think about your job, your boss or employees, your colleagues, your pay and benefits, what are your thoughts

When you think about your:   children?   finances?   spouse?  friends?  neighbors?             political representative?  weather?

What are you worrying about? How are you spending your thinking time? Are your habitual thoughts contributing to your Mental Health & Happiness? Maybe it’s time to change your thinking habits and switch to joy, appreciation and love. When you spend more time in grateful thinking, your actions, feelings, and physiology will also improve leading to improved Mental Health & Happiness.

Supporting

By Kim Olver

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Supporting is the second healthy relationship habit. When I talk about supporting, I like to use a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “The true measure of a man (and I add or a woman) is not where [they] stand in times of comfort and convenience but where they stand in times of challenge and controversy.” This means it’s easy to support people when they are doing what you want. It’s not as easy to support people when they are choosing things that cause you difficulty or pain.

I remember the day my youngest son, Kyle, came to me asking me to sign him into the US Army because he wanted to go fight the war in Iraq. The last thing in the world I wanted was to support this request! I had spent the last almost 18 years of his life keeping him safe (and he didn’t exactly make that easy), and now he was telling me he wanted to go where people would be shooting at him and trying to blow him up! No way!

However, because I valued our relationship, I knew I needed to look at how to support this decision. Kyle enlisting in the Army and going to war would cause a lot of worry and concern on my part. That is my problem, not his. I needed to support his decision and then look at what I was going to need to be all right during the time he would be defending our country.

I chose a couple of things. The first thing I did was turn off the television. I didn’t want to hear about every skirmish occurring in Iraq. The next thing I did was develop some new self-talk for myself. I told myself that even if the worst thing happens and Kyle is killed, at least I will know he died doing something he really wanted to do. I also told myself I had the opportunity to make the decisions for my life and now was the time for Kyle to make his. I stayed in close contact with his girlfriend. This helped me remember I wasn’t alone in my love for Kyle and supporting her helped me forget some of my own pain.

To date, this was the most difficult thing I have had to support but I am so glad I did. My son and I have a great relationship and he knows I know how to take care of myself regardless of the things he chooses to do.

What are some decisions you are supporting that challenge you?