Tag Archives: improved mental health & happiness

Levitation For Improved Mental Health & Happiness

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

Do you know the expression “You can’t see the forest for the trees?” It suggests that when you are too close to the situation, it is difficult to see it as it is. Each person’s perception is biased and inaccurate from each individuals point of view alone.

canstockphoto0512675Have you ever noticed when you are in a difficult situation with someone, you frequently jump to conclusions because you are telling yourself a story about the situation and the other person? Although this process is human it just doesn’t help. In fact it often makes the situation worse.

Essentially you are looking at your own tree in the forest while the other is looking in the same forest but at a different tree. Or perhaps the other is looking at the same tree but from a different angle.

Here’s an idea from Buddhism that just might help. This process just might help you levitate above the situation to change your perspective. This suggestion is based on a brief YouTube interview with Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk. He was answering a teenager’s question where she stated she felt sad because her friends didn’t seem to like her. This is what he said:

Oh, that’s just a feeling. And this feeling is based on a misperception.

          Ask yourself, “What am I misperceiving? How can I perceive it differently?

Here’s the process:

Once you recognize that you are feeling sad, bad, angry, dissatisfied or any other uncomfortable or negative feeling STOP.

Tell yourself that this is just a feeling. Remind yourself that this feeling is based on a misperception (your own alone).

Now ask yourself what you might be misperceiving.

Ask yourself how you might perceive things differently

Essentially this process allows you to look down at the problem from a distance, a different point of view. With this change in position you may see how much of the problem is of your own making. You will get a new perspective on the issue. This may allow you to rectify your part of the problem.

Since I heard this simple process explained by Nhat Hanh I have been practicing this process regularly. I’m amazed how powerful and effective it is.

Give it a try. As you levitate over your current life’s challenges you just may  understand how much easier it becomes to improve your mental health and happiness by putting it in a new perspective.

What does Fido do?

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

A recent New Yorker Magazine cartoon I read showed a psychiatrist asking his patient if he had tried taking long walks. Upon more careful inspection it is revealed that the psychiatristis a dog.

Perfect!

mansbestfriend0373668Although not an original thought, lets consider the lessons a dog can teach us about improved Mental Health & Happiness.

  1. Take long walks dailyAlthough daily exercise does not need to be only long walks, getting up, out and moving not only helps our physical health, it also lifts our spirits, shifts our focus and does wonders for improved Mental Health & Happiness
  2. When reunited with a loved one, always greet them Are you lucky enough to be living with a dog right now? If you are then you know the glory of coming home after an absence of short or long duration. The dog greets you with unbridled joy and delight. Now imagine regularly giving and receiving this same level of enthusiasm, love and affection when greeting and reuniting with all those you love. Just imagining this scene improves my level of Mental Health & Happiness. How about you?
  3. Get lots of rest Even if youre living with a puppy you know you dont have to ask your dog to nap, rest or sleep. It is true that some dogs need some help and encouragement to lay down and calm down when they are overly enthusiastic. But every dog will nap, sleep, and sometimes dream on the hardest floors, in the coldest drafts or most ragged make-shift dog beds. Dogs are champion sleepers, resters, and nappers. Following this lead can help our physical and mental health and happiness.
  4. Show compassion If you have ever lived with a dog you know their remarkable instinct to come near you when you are upset, distraught and sad. They seem to know that their very presence, that might also include a full body leaning into you or putting their head on your knee or in your lap, will help to offer you some comfort and compassion that you sorely need. I want to be able to do the same with the people in my life who are experiencing unhappiness and sadness. Just as a dog knows the best therapy at this time is being close and silent, I want to be the same.
  5. Listen more than speak Even if the dog you hang around a lot is a yippy dog, I bet she listens more than she barks. This is a lesson Im concentrating on learning and incorporating into my life. I am a talker. But just as a yippy dog can become tedious, I know my talking can rub people this same, wrong way. My Mental Health & Happiness will improve when I can listen more than I talk.
  6. Love unconditionally Has your dog every told you that she loves you but just wishes you would stop clapping your hands when you call her or start feeding her the better, more expensive dog food? Have you ever told your dog that you would love him more if only he were a little softer or more obedient? My experience is that the closest most human beings will ever get to unconditional love is in their relationship with a dog. Dogs dont ask us why we didnt call when we promised we would. Dogs dont accuse us of loving the cat more than them. Dogs dont hold a grudge against us for skipping todays long walk because of rain. Dogs simply love and adore us, are happy when we play catch with them, and will happily sleep at our feet or on the couch if we will let them. I want to learn to give and receive love as unconditionally as a dog. I know this would be great for my Mental Health & Happiness and my relationships.

What Mental Health & Happiness lessons are you learning from your dog or cat? Please share. . .