Living a happier life

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”

– Dalai Lama


Happiness seems to be the ultimate goal for so many of us, but the question always comes up, HOW?  How can I live a happier life?  I get asked this question in workshops and by friends when I talk (sometimes ad nauseum!) about living a happier life.  So I did some research about how to answer this basic question.

On one of my favorite website, Daily Good, there was a post recently by Action For Happiness. Action for Happiness outlines the 10 Keys to Happier Living.

These keys are simplified by the Acronym: GREAT DREAM

Giving – Do things for others;

Relating – Connect with People

Exercising – Take care of your body

Appreciating – Notice the world around you

Trying-out – Keep learning new things

Direction – Have goals to look forward to

Resilience – Find ways to bounce back

Emotion – Take a positive approach

Acceptance – Be comfortable with who you are

Meaning – Be a part of something bigger

For each of these ten keys –  there is information, questions, resources and a range of suggested actions to help you apply them in your daily life. It is well worth exploring this wonderful site!

Interestingly, as I researched this more, I was taken back in history, to about 300 BC, to the work for a man called Epicurus.  As an aside, I was quite drawn to his name, interestingly, because on the Enneagram, I am a Type 7 – The Epicure or The Enthusiast.  If you are not familiar with The Enneagram, it’s a model of human personality, which divides personality into 9 Types.  I slot quite well into Type 7 – I’m a planner and I have a need to be happy!

In the healthy state, the need to be happy induces Type Sevens to explore the world and genuinely appreciate what they find. They derive great happiness as a result, thus their need is satisfied and a balance is reached.

At the healthiest level: Assimilate experiences in depth, making them deeply grateful and appreciative for what they have. Become awed by the simple wonders of life: joyous and ecstatic. Intimations of spiritual reality, of the boundless goodness of life.

Of course there is the unhealthy, obsessive side to this as well.

In the unhealthy state, the basic fear of being being deprived can cause Type Sevens to numbly seek new and different sensations and adventures without truly appreciating the experience. This means they will derive little happiness from all the highs, which further increases Sevens’ feeling of emptiness and basic fear of being deprived. The cycle continues to build up.

Type 7s also have a history of debauchery and addiction . . .

Desperate to quell their anxieties, Type Sevens can be impulsive and infantile: do not know when to stop. Addictions and excess take their toll: debauched, depraved, dissipated escapists, offensive and abusive.

But that is another story!  I digress . . .

Back to Epicurus.  At the heart of Epicurus’s Philosophy is a simple thought – that we aren’t very good at knowing what will make us happy.  He boiled happiness down to three basic ingredients:

  1. Friends
  2. Freedom/Self-Sufficiency
  3. An Analyzed life

The 10 Keys and Epicurus echo each other in many areas – the main one being that we need friends and connection.  And they both reflect the Dalai Lama’s sentiment that Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.

I want to close with Epicurus On Happiness, well worth the 20 minutes to watch and to help answer the question How Can I Live a Happier Life?

 

I’d love to hear about your thoughts on Epicurus and his philosophy of happinss, and how you live a happier life.  And as always, thank you for stopping by, I appreciate it.

 

 

Trusting Your Gut!

“Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you are doing. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself.”

– Alan Alda


I just returned from a trip down to Dunedin to help get my son settled into his new flat.  It was a wonderful experience.  Incredibly busy, but really wonderful.  My favorite piece of the trip was our long, fantastic, heart-warming, intellectually-stimulating, emotionally-connecting dinner at Etrusco.  We spent 3 hours talking and sharing on such a rich and deep level.  It was one of the best nights of my life!

One of the many things we talked about was some new research that is out:  multiple Brain Integration Techniques (mBIT)

“The latest scientific research shows you have three brains!  You have complex and fully functional brains in your heart, your gut and your head.”

At 55 years old, I would have to say that the most important learning I have done in my life is learning to Trust My Gut!  I have learned that I have to leave the city of my comfort and go into the wilderness of my intuition, as Alan Alda so eloquently puts it, to truly live my life to the fullest.  The latest neuroscience findings about multiple brains and what they have to offer for increasing intuitive abilities, helping to make wiser decisions, and generally living a fuller more connected life seem to echo my experience.

Even Richard Branson, super successful businessman, has echoed this sentiment:

“I rely far more on gut instinct than researching huge amounts of statistics.”

I think one of the great goals of life needs to be integrating these three intelligences. One of the things I have emphasized repeatedly to my own children is to learn to listen to their gut,  to pay attention to what their intuition is telling them.  School does a decent job of developing the intellect, the head brain.  But it sorely neglects the heart and the gut.  So as a mother, I want to nurture my sons understanding of integrating the three.

I want to close with a fabulous TED Talk by Mae Jemison. Mae Jemison was the first African-American woman to go into space. She has become a voice for a new vision of learning that combines arts and sciences, intuition and logic.

 

I’d love to hear about your experiences with Trusting Your Gut, and how you integrate your three brains.  And as always, thank you for stopping by, I appreciate it.

 

 

Be Do Have

“You have to be before you can do and do before you can have”

– Zig Ziglar


I hear so many people say – When I have A, then I can do B, and then I’ll be C . . .

For example – When I have more money, then I can travel, and then I’ll be happy. Or When I have more time, then I can exercise and feel healthy, then I’ll be happy. Or When I have a boyfriend, then I’ll go dancing, and then I’ll be happy.  (Note the Be Happy is usually the end result desired.)

But as Zig Ziglar points out, the best way to get what you want is to BE what you want first!  In other words Be Happy NOW!  In the award winning movie, HAPPY, director Roko Belic travelled around the world and asked people – What do you want most in life?  And the ultimate answer from everyone they interviewed in every part of the world was that they wanted to be happy. Simple as that.

Laurence Boldt explains the phenomena well in his best selling book, How to Be Do or Have Anything.

It’s an easy thing to say, but not as easy to embrace.  Gretchen Rubin is working hard to help people start living a happier life with her Happiness Project. 

One of the things Ms. Rubin recommends is making your own Twelve Personal Commandments.

One of the most challenging—and most helpful and fun—tasks that I’ve done as part of my Happiness Project is to write my Twelve Personal Commandments. These aren’t specific resolutions, like make my bed, but the overarching principles by which I try to live my life.

After reading quite a bit by Ms. Rubin, I made my own Twelve Personal Commandments.  I’d like to share them with you:

My Twelve Commandments

1. I AM (Intention Attention Memory) Everyday

2. To Thine Own Self Be True

3. Golden Rule – Be the way to others that you want them to be to you

4. I Will Act Now

5. Be Love in every way

6. Pay Attention!

7. Pay it forward

8. Be the change you want to see in the world

9. Be Happy Now

10. There is only Now

11. How do I want to be remembered?

12. Enthusiasm for Life!

I encourage you to make your own.  They help me keep important personal principals in my consciousness.

I’d like to close with a beautiful TED Talk by Matthiew Ricard, called The Habits of Happiness.

I’d love to hear about what makes you happy.  And if you decided to make your own 12 Commandments, I’d love to hear about them.  And as always, thank you for stopping by, I appreciate it.