Tag Archives: happiness

Sex in heaven?

By Dr. Ken Larsen (Originally posted 4/29/14)

I suspect that question got your attention just as quickly as it got mine. In the last century I opened a book by Peter Kreeft entitled “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Heaven… “ As I scanned the chapter headings I came to the chapter with the question, “Is there sex in heaven?”

As I read the chapter the author pointed out a couple of interesting insights. One was that “sex” doesn’t start with what we do, it starts with who we are. He goes on to point out that the ideal in sexual connection is a form of ecstasy, which, in this case, is losing oneself in caring for the other.

He encourages the giving rather than the getting in intimate union, pointing out that our greatest happiness lies in getting out of self to care for others.

Dr. Glasser told us that “addictions, violence and unloving sex” were activities of those that were not getting what they needed in relationships. The opposite is certainly true. As we care FOR another, we find an enhanced sense of self-worth which boosts our mental health. The happiness that comes from knowing we have given deeply and intimately to another just makes life better for all.

After reading Kreeft’s book I gave a presentation to a group of physicians on this subject. To my surprise I received a standing ovation, which said to me that we are all hungry to learn more about how we can more deeply care for one another.


After the talk a young Jewish Doc came up to me. She told me about her experience in Israel. She said that on Friday afternoons, the florists were very busy as men came in to buy flowers to take home for the conjugal celebration that is part of the Jewish Sabbath. Once again the focus was on the man caring for and serving his lady. [She recommended a book that I enjoyed, “The Jewish Way in Love and Marriage” by Maurice Lamm]

Mike Rice recently reminded us that Einstein, when asked about our purpose in life, answered “to serve others.” I believe this can be true in our most casual relationships all the way into our most intimate encounters with one another.

In closing, let me quote from Kreeft’s book where he suggests that a connecting and caring FOR sex life Is a foretaste of heaven on earth!

“This spiritual intercourse with God is the ecstasy hinted at in all earthly intercourse, physical or spiritual. It is the ultimate reason why sexual passion is so strong, so different from other passions, so heavy with suggestions of profound meanings that just elude our grasp. No mere animal drive explains it. No animal falls in love, writes profound romantic poetry, or sees sex as a symbol of the ultimate meaning of life…”

[For a Judeo-Christian view on human sexuality and the intimate relationship between God and humanity, read the “Song of Solomon” sometimes titled “The Song of Songs” In the Bible. ]

Happiness Key

By Dr. Ken Larsen (Originally posted 12/14/13)

Happiness is not something ready made.  It comes from your own actions. — Dalai Lama

I gained a bit of wisdom when I first realized that happiness was a byproduct and not something to be sought for itself.

happinesskeyDr. Glasser points out that if we are connected to people we want to be with and are getting our needs met in those relationships, we will probably be happy.  He also points out that if we are not getting the good feelings of happiness that come from needs satisfying relationships, there is a tendency to turn to addictions, violence and unloving sex.  These describe efforts to feel good when feeling bad and often involve seeking pleasure as a substitute for happiness.

Mike Rice, a seasoned Choice Theory therapist, underscores the difference between the right kind of happiness and the isolating efforts to feel good through the pleasures of addictive substances.  He works to help his clients see the difference so they can make better choices that lead to better relationships and a better chance at happiness.

Mike offers a helpful distinction between pleasure and happiness.  He points out that pleasure can be found in isolation, not needing anyone else.  Happiness is a byproduct of needs fulfilling relationships with others.

In his first book,  Reality Therapy, Dr. Glasser gave us a succinct statement of what we need to be mentally healthy and happy.  He said that we need to fulfil our basic need to “love and be loved, and to feel worthwhile to ourselves and others.”

It seems to me that the key to happiness lies in understanding our need for one another.  Then we need to find ways to relate to one another in ways that bring us closer together.  Finally we need to learn to avoid the kinds of things we do to separate ourselves from one another.  [There are articles on this web page that discuss the seven deadly habits and the seven caring habits.  Refer to them for more.]

The wisdom in the Golden Rule transcends time and cultural, ethnic and religious differences.  Our challenge is to learn to apply that golden rule in all that we do.

If you are looking for more of the kinds of thinking you are seeing here, I recommend reading Dr. Glasser’s  Choice Theory. If you have already read it, read it again.  I guarantee you’ll gain fresh insights each time you read it .

The Anchor for the Happiness Explosion

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable. —  Seneca

Have you noticed how much talk, press, advice and media attention happiness is getting these days? If you google the word you will get thousands of hits and leads to follow if you want to learn more. You can even find articles and advice about the differences between joy, pleasure and happiness.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about happiness:

Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being defined by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. A variety of biological, psychological, religious and philosophical approaches have striven to define happiness and identify its sources. 

How fortunate we are to be the recipients of all this talk, research, and media attention on happiness. You can find lots of advice and ideas, including our contributions here on Mental Health & Happiness.

choosehappiness22485059I encourage anyone who is interested in increasing your sense of mental and emotional well-being and positive, pleasant emotions ranging from contentment and intense joy to learn more as well as research and experiment more for your own happiness sake. Yes please, I want more of that too.

We here at Mental Health & Happiness invite you to go to a deeper level regarding your happiness. When you look for the positive, the good in each life experience and each person you meet, your level of satisfaction may increase, but only to a limited degree. If you’ve ever tried giving this kind of advice to a friend or relative who is suffering with severe depression you may have quickly discovered the short coming and potential offense of this idea. Simply focusing on the positive is not enough. Why? 

Glasser, founder of Choice Theory psychology suggests that all human beings are born with five genetic instructions or basic needs. From birth to  death, all that we do is an attempt to effectively meet our needs for safety, (survival,) love, power, fun, and freedom. Understanding and attending to these needs is what anchors or grounds your positive focus and habits resulting in deeper contentment and happiness.

When you connect your discovery of the positive or your gratitude with one or more of your basic needs you have a much greater sense of satisfaction and pleasure. As you read and learn of specific strategies to grow your Mental Health & Happiness become intentional about which of your needs is satisfied with each activity. At the end of the day if you realize you have satisfactorily met your need for power, but still are not feeling connected nor are having fun, you can choose an additional strategy to meet those needs. This leads to successful Mental Health & Happiness. Your happiness, joy, satisfaction and contentment is anchored and grounded in your basic genetic instructions and needs.

When you practice gratitude, getting enough rest, getting and giving a hug, generosity of spirit and laughter you will increase your Mental Health & Happiness. And when you connect these habits with your genetic instructions to be safe, loving, powerful, free and fun you anchor your happiness in the genetic instructions you were born with. Power, fun, freedom, love, and safety is the port we are always sailing to, including in our pursuit of happiness.


One Perfect Strawberry

By Dr. Nancy Buck

You cannot raise happy, secure, well-adjusted children, revel in a fabulous relationship, and work a sixty-hour week. You want to. I know. So do I. But it is physically, emotionally, and spiritually impossible. — Sarah Ban Breathnach

With all of the information that is more readily available through social media about what friends, family and acquaintances are doing there is also the potential to create and fall into your own unhappy trap. Are you good enough?

Is someone else doing a better job at their life than you are in yours? Are they happier? More successful? Do they find the time to create fabulous pinterest pages while you’re still trying to get yesterday’s breakfast dishes in the dishwasher before tonight’s dinner?

For some Martha Stewart and the Kardashians are an inspiration. But for others, these women strike fear and dread into the heart of the woman who yearns to but knows she can never successfully measure up.

Simply surrender to the knowledge that no one can have it all if your expectations for all are so out of proportion. No matter what your education, socio-economic status, race, gender or religion, we each are only given 24 hours in our day. No matter how you learn to improve your time management you still cannot create more time in the day.

Surrender your unrealistic expectations and find relief not disappointment.

Aim for making and keeping balance in your days. Balance those things that you care about, that are important to you, that bring you joy, mental health and happiness.,

You get to decide. Does having it all mean finding one perfect strawberry to eat with great ceremony and delight. Or will you race through this day finally falling into bed exhausted without one thought, memory or recollection of anything that you ate. Will you surrender to the best of what you can have or continue seeking a life that is the best one posted on Facebook that day?

Garbage In, Garbage Out

By Dr. Ken Larsen

Back when computers needed programmers to make them work, before Microsoft and Apple took over the computer world, this expression, abbreviated to “GIGO”, described an essential reality.  What we got out of computers was only as good as what we put into them.  I believe that this is essentially true of our minds.


Dr. Dan Siegel has given us his definition of “mind”:  “A core aspect of the mind is an embodied and relational process that regulates the flow of energy and information.”   We experience this flow of energy and information as ideas and thoughts.  We use the ideas in our mind to form our thoughts.  What I’d like us to think about is how do our ideas get into our mind?  And, then, how do the thoughts that we form from those ideas affect our mental health and happiness?

Many of our ideas come to us through our experience of life.  In our early years we experience pretty things that fly.   This experience forms the idea of birds and butterflies.  We can then recognize new kinds of birds and butterflies and have thoughts about them as we learn more and more about the world and how we function in our world.  This process continues to bring new ideas into our mind.  At some point we learn that we can add the ideas of others to our own, expanding our range of thought.  It is this voluntary intake of ideas that can help us find mental health and happiness or we can take in ideas that form thoughts that are not healthy or happy.  I am particularly concerned about the ideas that come to us from what we choose for entertainment.

As the gumball machine illustrates, we can only draw from the ideas that are in our mind.  If we allow ideas into our minds that are foolish, or hurtful or destructive, there will be a price to pay in decreased mental health and happiness.  This can have an impact on our relationships.  Dr. Glasser has warned us that ideas that generate criticism, blaming, complaining, punishing, threatening, nagging and bribing will drive us apart from those we need in our lives.

I’d like to gently challenge us to be more reflective about what we put into our minds and the minds of our children.  Plato encouraged us to seek the “good, the true, and the beautiful.”  With ideas shaped by those qualities, our thoughts will lift us and connect us in ways that will enhance our mental health and happiness.

If you’d like some “homelearning” related to this discussion, seek out and study Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave”.  For an old Greek, he sure had some profound insights into the human condition.

Best Valentine’s Day Gift

Best Valentine’s Day Gift Ever: Happiness

by Noelle Nelson, psychologist, author and speaker

Oh, you thought I meant his/her happiness? As in making your honey happy with cards and flowers or wearing that sexy lingerie or going to that incredible restaurant? Not! All that’s very nice, but it’s YOU being happy that is the best Valentine’s Day gift ever.

Because let’s think about it: What are you like when you’re happy? For one, you’re not complaining about every little thing. You’re not seeing problems and hassles everywhere. And you’re certainly not blaming anyone for anything, especially not your honey. And whining? When you’re happy, you’re “fuggetaboutit.”


When you’re happy, you’re a joy to be around. Not only that, you are more appreciative and grateful of your world, your life — and your sweetheart. Because happiness does that. Just like when you’re depressed all you can see around you are more reasons to be depressed, when you’re happy all you can see around you are more reasons to be happy.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/noelle-nelson/best-valentine-gift-ever-_b_9194412.html

Find Your Happy Place

Contributed by Denise Daub

by Ari Adams

For many, a new year brings about a host of happy and hopeful thoughts and feelings. We set these lofty resolutions and feel so much more refreshed and ready to take over the world. Unfortunately, however, this time of year can also be pretty overwhelming for some as we carry over hang ups and disappointments from the previous year, or even the failed attempt at those lofty goals we set just a few weeks prior.

While I’ve tended to identify with the latter group most years, I was blessed this past holiday with the ultimate miracle that will forever change my outlook on life, love, faith, opportunity, and fulfilling my destiny. As the saying goes, there’s no better time than the present to break this cycle and bring about a change in your life and outlook.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ari-adams/10-ways-to-find-your-happy-place_b_9111424.html?utm_hp_ref=healthy-living


By Gloria Smith Cisse, LPC, LMSW, CTRTC

Happiness is not simply the absence of sadness.   Happiness is much more.  It is a place of peace, comfort, quiet, beauty, and contentment.  It seems the thing we are always chasing is a kind of excitement that comes from getting something that we felt we have always wanted or needed.  This can be synonymous with drug addiction or thrill seeking.  I have never really enjoyed roller coasters and I don’t believe emotional roller coasters are any different.

A few days ago while I was in my car driving from one work site to the next, I thought about happiness.  Questions like: What is happiness for me?,  Am I happy right now?, and How would people know I am happy? danced around in my mind.  It occurred to me that I had not been “happy” in some time.  It also occurred to me that I was also not sad.  About a week before Thanksgiving 2015, I lost my mother.  I should be sad, right?

Some of my sisters and I communicate with each other on an almost daily basis. It feels like they are having a much harder time adjusting to life after our mother’s death than I am.  I was thinking that maybe there was something wrong with me because I was not as sad as they appeared to be.  I had made a choice to not depress.  I had not told them that, I don’t know if they would have understood.  I made the choice years ago because I had already spent too many years of my life being “clinically depressed.”

I have made a choice to get off the happiness – sadness roller coaster.  I can enjoy the happiness more because I experienced, understand, and appreciate the sadness.  I have learned to respect and give sadness its time because I know that it does not last forever.   As a matter of fact, I choose to not depress.

veronica-balanceSince that night alone in my car, I have decided that neutral, a place of balance, peace, contentment, and weightlessness, is a great place to be. It takes effort to remain balanced.  Anyone who has ever tried yoga will tell you, it’s hard!   I am not chasing happiness.  The mental picture I have is one coasting at my own pace and being surrounded by the things and people I enjoy.  This does not mean that I will avoid happiness.  It means that for now I will do my life and enjoy the peace that comes from simply doing my life.   I will choose the amount of time I spend sad.  I will not live on an emotional roller coaster.

I prefer to think of it as living like a “weeble wobble.”  Some of you may remember, “weebles; wobble but the don’t fall down.”  I can wobble from side to side but I will not remain in any one place too long,  except neutral…smile!


What am I doing?

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

Be the change you want to see in the world — Gandhi

We are only a few days into the new year and I’m feeling weary. The temporary respite of the political bickering, name calling and finger pointing is at an end. What happened to the declaration and feelings of



I know spending time on social media is not helping. One person declares that his position is right and honorable, while another declares the same about her opposite position. How surprised I am to be so actively involved in arguments and bickering between so many people even though I live alone. It’s not like the good old days when I could simply go into another room when my children were “going at it” with each other.

Amazingly, I continue to choose to read these posts. I open my Facebook page to connect with the wider world and discover what’s going on! Whew. What I discover leaves me feeling upset and disheartened.

I deicide that I’m just not going to engage.

That doesn’t help though because now I’m missing all the moments of laughter and joy while seeing pictures, stories and announcements that delight. These treasures are buried among the terrible grumblings and demands that this person disagrees with a certain politician, don’t I agree?


My new resolve is to respond differently, whether this is simply a private thought or an actually written comment I publicly share. I’m going to ask myself these questions:

  •           What am I doing to contribute to the problem?
  •           What am I doing to contribute to the solution?
  •           Can I do anything to tolerate, honor and respect other people’s  alternative belief and position?
  •           Can I do anything to help people tolerate, honor and respect other people’s alternative belief and position? 

Ah, this feels better. 

And I can always choose to disconnect or hide a post I simply do not want to read.

Such simple actions to improve my Mental Health & Happiness today.

Happy New Year

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

We are all born with five basic psychological needs that drive our behavior:

Safety & security, the psychological aspects of survival
Love & Belonging

Mental Health & Happiness can be developed, improved and maintained by spending conscious time, energy and intention every day meeting our basic needs. How? Responsibly and effectively:

Being safe
Loving and connecting with self and with the important people in our lives
Being powerful with others and through personal competence

This time of year, the time we say good-bye to 2015 and welcome in the New Year 2016, is a perfect time for some self-evaluation.

Reflection: How are you doing meeting your needs for safety?

for love?
for power?
for fun?
for freedom?

Release: Are there any ineffective or irresponsible behaviors you want to release, let go, or eliminate? You might find it helpful to determine which need or needs you are                 attempting to meet with destructive behaviors. Now you can start a new, different,               more effective and responsible behavior to meet the need or needs.

Restore: Are there any habits or behaviors that you have let slip or dropped, even though you  know these habits helped you meet one of more of your needs? What need or needs     do these lost behaviors or habits help you meet? Now is the time to restore those               habits, routines and behaviors that are helpful, responsible and effective in meeting             your needs.

Renew: Now is a perfect time to renew your commitment to improving and maintaining your  Mental Health & Happiness. Spend conscious time, energy and intention every day responsibly and effectively following your instructions and meeting your needs.


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