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Tag Archives: happiness

10 Things Science (and Buddhism) Say Will Make You Happy

monks having fun

 

By Guest Writer Bodhipaksa

I’m a science geek as well as a Buddhist geek, and recently when I was leading a retreat on how to bring more joy into our lives I found myself making a lot of references to an article published in Yes magazine, which touched on ten things that have been shown by science to make us happier. It seemed natural to draw upon the article because so much of the research that was described resonated with Buddhist teachings.

So I thought it would be interesting to take the main points of the article and flesh them out with a little Buddhism.

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7 Simple Strategies to Turn Family Holiday Stress Around from Dr. Charlotte Reznick, PhD

holiday stress

“The Holidays” is a perplexing statement in the US – on any given day, it can conjure up either warm feelings of family, gratitude, and tradition — or it can cause stress, headache and sleepless nights. And it’s no wonder – the average American spends 42 hours a year on holiday activities. That’s one standard work week spent shopping, wrapping, and returning presents, attending holiday parties, and traveling from place to place, and often these extra activities are squeezed into already busy schedules.

Before holiday stress and depression ruins your holiday, take a mindful minute to consider these great strategies and simple tips from Dr. Charlotte Reznick to keep the joy alive:

(1) Visualize a heart-filled holiday.

You can do this one at the dinner table. Have everyone in the family close their eyes, focus on their heart, and imagine what kind of holiday will bring joy into their hearts. Then share your ideas around the table. This helps kids feel listened to, cared for, and included.

(2) Give the gift of calmness.

Ancient wisdom and modern research point to the calming effects and health benefits of slow, deep breathing. Make a regular practice of taking 1 to 5 minutes each day of relaxing “balloon breathing.” Breathe in to a count of 3 about 2 inches below the navel, imagining there’s a balloon filling up with air, and out to that same slow count. It’ll center and rebalance every family member to face the joys and inevitable disappointments of the holiday season.

(3) Offer distress a voice.

If this is your child’s first holiday without a loved one – grandpa passed away, or big sister is in Afghanistan – younger family members may feel a deep sense of loss. Or maybe your child is feeling the stress of a recent divorce. Give her paper and markers, and ask her to draw whatever is making her sad or mad. Then ask her what the picture wants to say out loud. Often, putting a face on an emotion and letting it “speak” makes a child feel better – and gives a parent a way to understand what’s going on inside.

(4) Sweat is sweet.

Kids (and adults) can get all pent up during holiday time. Surprise little ones by clearing the furniture out of the center of the room, turning on some fun music, and dancing vigorously for 10 minutes. Or bundle up the family and take a wintry walk while playing “I Spy.” Exercise releases feel-good chemical and is one of the fastest ways to chase away holiday blahs and instill a sense of togetherness.

(5) Blow out negativity, light up hope.

Create a family ritual of hope. Have two candles for each family member: one lit, one not. Have each imagine what they’d like to let go of – what no longer serves them – and say, “I’m going to toss this out (anger, worry, meanness to my sister) when I blow this candle out.” Then light a new candle and share, “I hope to bring in (kindness, faith, cleaning my room) as I light anew.” Let go of the old and bring in the new. You can use one candle to symbolize all, or light up your whole home with several.

(6) Be grateful for who you live with.

Avoid some of the little and big jealousies that crop up from comparing who has a bigger present or counting how many gifts go to whom by starting early and giving gifts of appreciation – to each family member. Take the rest of December and every day have each person share something they appreciate about another (big brother allowing younger sister to hang out in his room). Make a running list and post on the fridge or in the family room to remind each other when stresses build that you really do care about and love each other.

(7) Spread the joy around.

The time-honored tradition of helping others can shift priorities. If kids or teens are moping around or showing signs of stress, take them to the local soup kitchen to serve meals. Visit a nursing home with hand-made cards or offer a free concert. Helping others gives kids a feeling of more control and a sense of being both useful and appreciated.

We hope that these strategies will help you and your family have a wonderful, stress-free holiday this Christmas.

Charlotte Reznick Ph.D., is a child educational psychologist, an Associate Clinical Professor Emeritus of Psychology at UCLA, and author of The Power of Your Child’s Imagination: How to Transform Stress and Anxiety into Joy and Success (Perigee/Penguin). As the creator of Imagery for Kids: Breakthrough for Learning, Creativity, and Empowerment, a positive coping skills program, Dr. Reznick has pioneered therapeutic interventions, combining visualization and meditation techniques to help children realize their full potential. In addition to her private practice, she creates therapeutic relaxation CDs for children, teens, and parents, and teaches workshops internationally on the healing power of children’s imagination.

 

 

 

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Tiny Time Machines

Tiny Time Machines Stealing Time Back

by Garni Sohrabian.

once upon a time, before clocks told the time

not yet tomorrow, after yesterday
the time is now, the day today

the clockmaker made a big noisy clock
strange it was and said tick tock tick tock

the time bandit, one noisy day
heard so much noise he could not play

he broke the clock to be free
and made it look like infinity

Garni Sohrabian started a shoe company with a friend right after college. It grew into into nineteen countries and everyone thought he had it all on the outside, but deep inside something was missing. After seven years, he sold his ownership in the shoe company to travel, write, and do some soul searching. After finally finding his soul again, he started tiny time machines with his fellow time bandit friend Armen Mahdessian. Now they break clocks and remind people to be here now. Or as they call it, “steal time back” from the clockmaker!

Be sure to check them out on Facebook.

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Take the plunge, marry yourself. Proclaim that you are fabulous!

Self Wedding 1Go on, take the plunge!

Marry someone who completely deserves your unconditional love… yourself!

Glad.is friends and all-round wonderful human beings Jeffrey Levin and Bonnie Powers, want to spread more love in the world, and have set out to get people to “take the plunge and marry yourself.”

Having conducted a number of self-weddings, this husband and wife team are out to grow this idea in as many ways as possible. They see the self-wedding idea as a movement that spreads happiness.  ”Love doesn’t start with the idea of waiting for the right one to complete you. Love starts with completing yourself. Realizing you are the right one,” says Powers. “The more you love yourself, the better able you are to love others.”

The Self-Wedding In-A-Box comes in a fabulous vintage-modern blush and mint colored kit with a sterling silver or 14k solid gold unisex ring designed by Levin, the ceremony verbiage, vows, and affirmation cards.  Their kit has all you need to create your own ceremony, including a self-wedding ring and vows.

I Married Me Self-Wedding In-A-Box is a genuinely inspirational practice. It reminds you, as you wear your ring, that the simplest thing you can do to make for a happier, more content life is to LOVE YOURSELF!

Help support this idea, and the campaign to raise funds on Indiegogo!

I Married Me from I Married Me on Vimeo.

Follow the Love:
Contact:Jeffrey Levin, Ring Maker: jeff at imarriedme dot com, 310.207.8899Bonnie Powers, Wedding Planner: bonnie at imarriedme dot com, 415.305.8973 

 

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Self Diagnosis: 10 Signs You May Have Mentally Healthy Happy Person Syndrome (HAPs)

happiness test

There are hundreds of terms and criteria used in mental health professions to define and diagnose mentally unhealthy persons. Yet even today, despite the explosion in self-help, there are very few standards or guides to formally categorize happy people. The media magnifies the problem by focusing on diagnosing our unhealthy habits and behaviors, and even our :30 commercial breaks are littered with messages of terrible conditions you may be suffering from, and pills you can take to cure them.

So why not change the paradigm and use the same clinical standards to diagnose happy people?  Barry John Johnson, a mental health practitioner specializing in mindfulness, set out to do just that. It seemed very appropriate to share his happiness diagnosis tool here. Enjoy:

In the field of mental health, for the purposes of diagnosis, we use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, a.k.a. the DSM. At best, this fat book is a general guide to help categorize features belonging to certain mental health disorders for the purposes of diagnosis and treatment (and meeting insurance company requirements). On the other side it is often criticized for creating overly simple and perhaps harmful labels for complex human beings. In general, the DSM is a downer. It’s based upon a disease paradigm. It focuses on the negative. And nobody really wants to meet any of the criteria spelled out in there.

That got me thinking of the opposite, that there is no DSM discussion of which criteria might delineate a grounded, mentally healthy, human being. This might create something positive, something to strive for and treatment plans and programs could focus on helping individuals fulfill these criteria.

So I am taking a stab at it, trying to stay away from too much clinical language, and certainly not labeling it a disorder, even though it may be more uncommon, than common. In the style of the DSM…

Mentally Healthy Happy Person Syndrome (HaPS)how to tell if you're a well balanced person

Generally characterized by a pervasive and persistent pattern of positive cognitions and attitudes; a solid sense of self; stability and calmness in stressful situations; often serving to help others, as indicated by meeting seven or more of the following criteria:

1. Practices universal self acceptance, does not tie personal value to external factors including material objects, or the opinions of others.

2. Demonstrates humility, a natural offshoot of gratitude, never being self important, judgmental or thinking less of others.

3. Displays Self Identity Constancy, being the same person at work, home, play or generally within differing social groups. Is not chameleon-like.

4. Has the ability to be alone, while not being anti-social; can enjoy quiet time without distraction or interaction with others. May be seen meditating.

5. Able to accept criticism, evaluate it and process it appropriately.

6. Demonstrates emotional regulation skills, never denying or suppressing emotions, but mastering what is taking place within their own body and selecting the appropriate expression of those emotions, including basking in positive feelings.

7. Features a tolerance for uncertainty, setting intentions and goals but not trying to totally control all outcomes, situations or the opinions of others.

8. Engages in proactive problem solving versus letting issues fester.

9. Cannot tell a lie.

10. Has a sense of humor about life and themselves; often seen laughing, dancing, playing.

Have you, or someone you know been self-diagnosed with HaPs?  Wonderful.

About:

Barry John Johnson is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego, California. His practice is mindfulness informed specializing in helping people with anxiety, life transitions and enhancing personal happiness. Barry is credentialed in conflict resolution and is a former CEO/City Manager of local governments. His great joys are meditation, intuitive arts and independent spiritual studies.

 

 

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Tiny Time Machines

Tiny Time Machines Stealing Time Back

by Garni Sohrabian.

once upon a time, before clocks told the time

not yet tomorrow, after yesterday
the time is now, the day today

the clockmaker made a big noisy clock
strange it was and said tick tock tick tock

the time bandit, one noisy day
heard so much noise he could not play

he broke the clock to be free
and made it look like infinity

Garni Sohrabian started a shoe company with a friend right after college. It grew into into nineteen countries and everyone thought he had it all on the outside, but deep inside something was missing. After seven years, he sold his ownership in the shoe company to travel, write, and do some soul searching. After finally finding his soul again, he started tiny time machines with his fellow time bandit friend Armen Mahdessian. Now they break clocks and remind people to be here now. Or as they call it, “steal time back” from the clockmaker!

Be sure to check them out on Facebook.

Share
Comments ( 0 )

Take the plunge, marry yourself. Proclaim that you are fabulous!

Self Wedding 1Go on, take the plunge!

Marry someone who completely deserves your unconditional love… yourself!

Glad.is friends and all-round wonderful human beings Jeffrey Levin and Bonnie Powers, want to spread more love in the world, and have set out to get people to “take the plunge and marry yourself.”

Having conducted a number of self-weddings, this husband and wife team are out to grow this idea in as many ways as possible. They see the self-wedding idea as a movement that spreads happiness.  ”Love doesn’t start with the idea of waiting for the right one to complete you. Love starts with completing yourself. Realizing you are the right one,” says Powers. “The more you love yourself, the better able you are to love others.”

The Self-Wedding In-A-Box comes in a fabulous vintage-modern blush and mint colored kit with a sterling silver or 14k solid gold unisex ring designed by Levin, the ceremony verbiage, vows, and affirmation cards.  Their kit has all you need to create your own ceremony, including a self-wedding ring and vows.

I Married Me Self-Wedding In-A-Box is a genuinely inspirational practice. It reminds you, as you wear your ring, that the simplest thing you can do to make for a happier, more content life is to LOVE YOURSELF!

Help support this idea, and the campaign to raise funds on Indiegogo!

I Married Me from I Married Me on Vimeo.

Follow the Love:
Contact:Jeffrey Levin, Ring Maker: jeff at imarriedme dot com, 310.207.8899Bonnie Powers, Wedding Planner: bonnie at imarriedme dot com, 415.305.8973 

 

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DBG: March 16

A great reminder, when balancing relating to co-workers…friends…family. We often hold ourselves back, worried about what other think.

via Ralph Marston, The Daily Motivator

Let the joy flow

You don’t need to control others, because you can exercise
full control over you. You don’t have to gain advantage over
others, because you have the unmatched advantage of being
you.

Read More…

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