54 Affirmations That Will Help You Break Free From Anxiety And Manifest The Life You Want

See ThoughtCatalog Article Here
By Brianna Wiest

1. I am allowed to feel however I feel today.

2. It is okay to be upset. It is okay to break down. Resisting it is only making me suffer.

3. I am willing to see this change. Even if nothing I have tried has worked before, I am willing to believe that change is possible.

4. I can honor my feelings, but not trust them.

5. I have been anxious before, and nothing bad happened. That’s because there’s something wrong with how I think, not how I am, or how my life is.

6. I am closer than I think I am.

7. I have come farther than I give myself credit for.

8. I will look back on this time of my life and miss it.

9. I am not scared of the future, because the future hasn’t been created yet. My fear is not a crystal ball.

10. The minute I choose to not believe my worry, I dissolve it of its power.

11. When I worry, I attract more worrying to myself. That’s why I always worry about catastrophe, but never actually experience catastrophe. I am focused on fear, not on tragedy, and that is what I am getting more and more of.

12. What I am feeling is normal.

13. How I am responding to these circumstances is the same way anyone in my shoes would.

14. I am not broken, I am just someone who is more aware of what they do and do not want to feel.

15. I do not need to be happy all of the time.

16. I do not need to force myself to stay calm.

17. I am capable of changing the course of my life for the better.

18. I can’t control what thoughts and feelings come up in my body, but I can control whether or not I act in spite of them. It is not my thoughts, but my behaviors, that define my life.

19. I am self-critical because I care about myself. I know I am capable of great things, if I would just step out of my own way.

20. I seek out the worst case scenario because, deep down, I am trying to protect myself.

21. The sooner I allow these feelings to wash over me, the sooner they will pass, and the energy within me will be transformed into motivation and renewed vision.

22. Even if I feel anxious, that does not mean I am off my path.

23. Sometimes when I’ve felt more anxious than ever, I was actually more on the right path than ever. I just didn’t realize it until I looked back.

24. When I start to go after what I really want, I get resistant and stressed. That’s because I know I am vulnerable. It doesn’t mean I am a failure, or that I am incapable.

25. Whatever the opposite of my worst fears is is what I am destined to experience in this life.

26. What would I be like if I weren’t anxious? What would I do today if I weren’t feeling bad? That’s what I will do. That’s how I will be.

27. I forgive myself for anything I haven’t let myself feel.

28. I embrace that every emotion serves an important purpose in my development, with the exception of shame.

29. I understand that shame is a feeling that was created by human beings in order to control one another. Realizing that it does not serve me, I let it go.

30. My thoughts about anxiety are scarier than my feelings. When I really focus on them, I realize that my feelings are only bits of tension that I can definitely withstand.

31. I am allowed to do whatever I need to do to get through this day.

32. I will not shame or hate myself for doing what I need to do to get through this day.

33. I am allowed to rest.

34. I am allowed to change my mind.

35. I do not owe anything to my younger self, or anyone who knew me before this point. I do not have to live up to past expectations to be successful.

36. Nobody else is thinking about me the way that I am thinking about me. In this, I find a sense of freedom.

37. I am not an anxious person, I am someone who experiences anxiety. It does not have to define who I am.

38. I will show up today, as much as I can.

39. When I regain my energy and feel more comfortable in this new chapter of my life, I will be more revitalized, focused and driven than ever before.

40. I allow my body to release that which it has been storing, and does not need.

41. I invite deep, complete healing into my life.

42. I command every cell in my body to release any threads of illness, tensions or disease that are not serving me.

43. I am as healed as I believe that I am.

44. I will retrain my brain to not panic when I feel anxious.

45. I understand that I am not inherently broken, I am traumatized.

46. I understand that though my trauma is not my fault, it is still my problem to deal with. 

47. I am in charge of how my life unfolds.

48. I am responsible for how my life turns out.

49. I do not need to fight feeling anxious. I only need to relax into it, and let it pass on its own.

50. “Feelings, once felt, will change themselves with time.”

51. I will not be anxious forever.

52. But I will always embrace anxiety when it arrives.

53. I am not fighting myself anymore.

54. I will not resist myself ever again.

We Looked Into The Real Benefits of Acupuncture

See Vice Article Here
By Markham Heid

In 1991, on a trail high in the Austrian-Italian Alps, two hikers stumbled onto a man’s 5,000-year-old corpse. Now known as “Ötzi” the Iceman, the corpse bore more than a dozen clusters of skin tattoos.

Experts first assumed the tattoos were ornamental. But researchers have since noted that many of Ötzi’s inkings are located in places along his back and spine that correspond with traditional Chinese acupuncture points—points targeted for the treatment of digestive disorders. An analysis of Ötzi’s gut turned up the remnants of parasitic worms, and Ötzi’s pack contained a fruit known to help treat GI problems.

Experts broadly agree that acupuncture has been around since at least 100 B.C. While controversial, the Ötzi tattoo researchers say their findings suggest that a “treatment modality similar to acupuncture” may have existed more than 5,000 years ago.

If nothing else, acupuncture qualifies as a “time-tested” form of therapy. And while many conventional doctors and scientists dismiss it as pseudo-medicine, it’s hard to believe acupuncture could have persisted for millennia if there weren’t something to it. The research to date, while incomplete, suggests acupuncture may provide real therapeutic benefits.

What is acupuncture?

Traditional Chinese medicine holds that a sort of vital energy or life force—known as a person’s qi (pronounced or also known as “chi”)—flows through the body along defined pathways or “meridians.” Diseases are believed to cause (or be caused by) disruptions or “disharmonies” in the flow of a person’s qi. The needle pokes we all associate with acupuncture are meant to correct or influence these disharmonies.

Some contemporary acupuncture practitioners play down the stuff about qi and meridians. Also, acupuncture comes in many shapes and sizes: for example, some acupuncturists incorporate electrical stimulation. But needle insertions in specific points are a universal trait of the therapy.


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From the perspective of conventional medicine, a therapy doesn’t “work” unless it both outperforms a placebo and does so via an identifiable “mechanism of action.” Like a high schooler taking a math exam, it’s not enough to for acupuncture to come up with the right answer—it also has to show its work.

A lot of researchers have gone looking for evidence that acupuncture “works,” but experts disagree in their interpretations of the study results. “There have been several recent meta-analyses [on specific conditions] that concluded acupuncture had a statistically significant benefit,” says Vitaly Napadow, an acupuncture researcher and director of the Center for Integrative Pain Neuroimaging at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. “But depending on who you talk to, you’ll get different answers about whether they believe in specific acupuncture effects or if they think the role of placebo effect or expectancy made the difference.”

Napadow’s take: It’s not a panacea that will cure all ills, but there are some areas where acupuncture is promising and, given its safety profile, should be recommended. “I think its mechanisms depend on the disease it’s trying to treat,” he says.

For nausea- or pain-related conditions, acupuncture may activate nerve receptors in the skin that modulate levels of nervous system chemicals or signals involved in these ailments, he explains. Meanwhile, for conditions like arthritis or tendonitis, the micro-injuries caused by acupuncture pin pricks may draw blood and its healing elements to the affronted area—causing a temporary reduction in symptoms, he says.

But as of today, all these mechanisms are speculative and need to be confirmed by more research. There’s also debate over whether the stuff about qi or meridians is useful. Some studies that have compared sham acupuncture—basically, needles stuck in at random—to true acupuncture have failed to find a difference in patient outcomes, while others have concluded that legit acupuncture outperformed the sham procedure.

To sum all this up, everything to do with acupuncture is controversial. But for some conditions, the existing research suggests the practice may confer real and meaningful benefits.

Does acupuncture work for pain?

“This is the area where we have the most data,” Napadow says. And the results are encouraging.

A comprehensive 2018 review found that, for patients managing chronic pain, acupuncture outperformed a sham procedure and “standard” care, which usually meant pain pills. “If our study had been on a drug, we’d say the drug works—there’s a statistically significant effect there,” says Andrew Vickers, first author of that study and a biostatistician at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

Vickers’ study focused on patients suffering from pain associated with four common ailments: back and neck pain, arthritis, shoulder pain, and headaches. Acupuncture was similarly effective for each of these conditions, his study found. Also, acupuncture’s benefits were durable: After a year of treatment, the average patient reported only a minor drop it its efficacy.

“It could be that acupuncture is just a very effective placebo,” Vickers says. But when you consider the lack of good treatment options for long-term pain—and the risks associated with prescription pain pills or surgeries—acupuncture is “a reasonable referral option” for patients with chronic pain, he says.

Can acupuncture treat gut disorders?

The evidence on acupuncture for gut problems is mixed. A 2017 study inAnnals of Internal Medicine found that, for patients suffering from severe constipation, acupuncture significantly outperformed a sham procedure when it came to improving the frequency of bowel movements. But more research is needed to assess the long-term effects of acupuncture, that study’s authors write.

Meanwhile, a 2013 review from a group of Chinese researchers found evidence that acupuncture may beat out some common prescription drugs for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). But the authors of that review say the studies they turned up were generally of “low” quality. A 2007 review from a German team linked acupuncture with significant improvements in quality of life and “disease activity scores” (a measure that determines whether symptoms have reduced) among patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis—the two most common forms of IBD. But the authors of that review say the studies they turned up were generally of “low” quality—meaning the design or execution of the studies was poor, and so the results are shaky.

Long story short, the jury’s still out.

Does acupuncture work for fertility?

Proponents of acupuncture have long recommended it for female menstrual health and fertility. And a 2014 research review from Australia found “preliminary” evidence that acupuncture could help regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle and “assist” healthy ovulation.

How (in the hell) could it do that? Some research has hypothesized that acupuncture may help stimulate and also regulate uterine and ovarian blood flow, which could help thicken the lining of a woman’s uterus, which in turn could facilitate embryo implantation and successful pregnancy. But all this is theoretical.

2018 study, also from Australia, tracked more than 800 women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF). It found no significant uptick in successful births among those who underwent acupuncture versus those who didn’t.

Can acupuncture treat depression?

Again, the research is all over the map. A 2010 review found “insufficient” evidence backing acupuncture for the treatment of depression. But, more recently, a team of UK academics determined that there was “promising” clinical evidence showing acupuncture could help treat depression—enough to warrant further research.

It’s probably worth noting that, even when it comes to prescription antidepressants (namely, SSRIs), there’s considerable expert disagreement about whether these pills outperform placebos. While the data on acupuncture for the treatment of depression is inconsistent, some studies suggest it’s “at least” as effective as prescription drugs.

Does it work for anything else?

Pick a medical condition or mental health disorder, and there’s probably some evidence suggesting acupuncture may help treat it. But the reality is that, as of today, experts are still trying to wrap their heads around acupuncture and its role in medicine.

There are two things that can be said for acupuncture: It’s relatively inexpensive, and it comes with very few side effects, Napadow says. If the alternative is an expensive procedure or pills—especially opioids or other medications with serious side effects—you lose very little by giving acupuncture a try first, he adds.

Morning People Really Are Happier, According to Science

See Author Article Here
By Michelle Darrisaw

image

GETTY IMAGES

You may want to rethink hitting your snooze button in the morning. According to a new study, the time you decide to rise and shine could impact your overall mental and physical health.

Jacqueline Lane, an instructor of medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, recently conducted a sleep study and published her findings in the Nature Communicationsjournal. In an interview with TODAY, the professor revealed that early risers are essentially happier and healthier than nighthawks. Lane observed that those who wake up early have a specific genetic component that lowers their risk of developing depression and chronic illnesses.

“Individuals who tend to be happier tend to be morning-type individuals,” Lane said.

The population sample for the study was comprised of two groups: 250,000 people in the U.S. who used the DNA and ancestry services of biotech company, 23andMe and 450,000 people in the U.K. who enrolled in the biorepository Biobank across the pond. Lane and her team of researchers used sleep timing measures to evaluate circadian biology as it relates to genes.

They separated the group by those who identify as morning people and those who can’t pry themselves away from Netflix at night (or, ya know, just go to bed late in general). From there, Lane and her associates examined their genomes to determine the relationship between their genes and their preferred wake-up time and how it connects to their health. And what they found was pretty interesting.

Trying to change a night owl to a morning lark has serious health consequences.

“We show that being a morning person is causally associated with better mental health but does not affect body mass index or risk of Type 2 diabetes,” stated Lane in the study’s results.

“There is also a link between evening preference and a higher risk of schizophrenia (and depression),” she explained to TODAY.

But don’t think that just because you don’t hit the hay as soon as the sun goes down that you’re at risk for developing a mental health disorder.

“It is incredibly complicated,” she added. “The genetics about being a night owl is only part of it. It is more about environment, with living out of sync with your internal clock. Trying to change a night owl to a morning lark has serious health consequences.”

Still, Lane admitted more research needs to be done on how our genes are affected by our sleep cycles. However, it couldn’t hurt to set your alarm to get up a tad earlier.

“Understanding if you are a morning or evening person can really impact the schedule you choose,” Lane said. “It might determine when you choose activities or the timing of your meals.

So, now you know there’s a quasi-scientific reason why all the those morning people in your life tend to wake up so darned peppy.

These Two Questions are Key to Mastering Any Skill

See Author Article Here
By Peter Bregman

A feeling of discomfort may mean that you’re on the right track.

It was the last race of the ski season. My son Daniel, 10 years old, was at the starting gate in his speed suit, helmet and goggles, waiting for the signal.

“3… 2… 1…” The gate keeper called out and he was gone in a flash, pushing off his ski poles to gain momentum. One by one, each gate smacked to the ground when he brushed by. As he neared the end, he crouched into an aerodynamic tuck to shave a few milliseconds from his time. He crossed the finish line —48.37 seconds after the start — breathing hard. We cheered and gave him hugs.

But he wasn’t smiling.

48.37 seconds put him solidly in the middle of the pack.

I had coaching ideas. Ways I could help him get faster. While I am an executive and leadership coach, I coach skiing on the weekends and I was a ski racer myself at his age. But I held back my feedback, hugged him again and told him I loved him. That’s what he needed in that moment.

Later though, I asked him how he felt about the race.

“I never get in the top 10.”

This is delicate terrain — coaching your own kids — and I chose my words carefully.

“I have two questions for you,” I said. “One: Do you want to do better?”

If the answer is “no,” then to attempt to coach would be a fool’s errand (a mistake I have made in the past).

“Yeah,” he said.

“Here’s my second question: Are you willing to feel the discomfort of putting in more effort and trying new things that will feel weird and different and won’t work right away?”

He was silent for a while and I let the silence just hang there. Silence is good. It’s the sound of thinking. And this was an important question for Daniel to think about.

I believe — and my experience coaching hundreds of leaders in hundreds of different circumstances proves — that anyone can get better at anything. But in order to get better — and in order to be coached productively — you need to honestly answer “yes” to both those questions.

Maybe you want to be a more inspiring leader. Or connect more with others. Maybe you want to be more productive or more influential. Maybe you want to be a better communicator, a more impactful presenter, or a better listener. Maybe you want to lead more effectively, take more risks, or become a stronger manager.

Whatever it is, you can become better at it. But here’s the thing I know just as clearly as I know you can get better at anything: you will not get better if 1) you don’t want to and 2) you aren’t willing to feel the discomfort of doing things differently.

One senior leader I worked with became defensive when people gave him feedback or criticized his decisions. He wanted to get better, he told me, and he was willing to feel the discomfort. So I gave him very specific instructions (learned from my friend Marshall Goldsmith): Meet with each member of your team and acknowledge that you have struggled with accepting feedback and tell them that you are committed to getting better. Then ask for feedback — especially ways you can be a better leader — and take notes. Don’t say anything other than “Thank you.”

“It took every restraint muscle in my body not to get into a conversation about their comments,” he told me afterwards. “Especially because I felt they misunderstood me at times. It was beyond uncomfortable. And I messed up a few times and had to apologize. But I did it — and they haven’t stopped talking about what a welcome change it’s been.”

Learning anything new is, by its nature, uncomfortable. You will need to act in ways that are unfamiliar. Take risks that are new. Try things that, in many cases, will be initially frustrating because they won’t work the first time. You are guaranteed to feel awkward. You will make mistakes. You may be embarrassed or even feel shame, especially if you are used to succeeding a lot — and all my clients are used to succeeding a lot.

If you remain committed through all of that, you’ll get better.

I now ask those two questions before committing to coach any CEO or senior leader. It’s a prerequisite to growth.

I sat silently with Daniel for long enough that I thought he might have forgotten my question. Sitting in the discomfort of that moment, I realized that this was a new behavior for me too. I’m used to jumping in and trying to help him. Now, I was sincerely asking him whether he wanted my help. I was honestly OK with whatever answer he gave me — and it felt a little weird. But the more I settled into the silence, the more comfortable I got with just sitting with him — which I found I loved doing.

Finally, he spoke up.

“I think so” he said, “but it’s the end of the season. Can we talk about it at the beginning of next season?”

“Sure,” I said, “I’ll ask you again then.”

Originally posted at Harvard Business Review

26 Tweets That Perfectly Sum Up What Getting Older Is All About

See Buzzfeed Article Here
By Dave Stropera

Getting older is so many different things to so many different people, but it’s mostly…

1. Not being easily angered by trivial things:

twitter.comastoldbyjayde

2. Having an active and fulfilling social life:

Twitter: @haleymrobertson

3. Seizing the day:

Twitter: @simplynhinz

4. Thinking back on your past mistakes:

Twitter: @katie_taylor987

5. Carefully planning your routine:

twitter.comissasassybitch

6. Coming up with new excuses:

Twitter: @summ1tup

7. Realizing what makes YOU happy:

Twitter: @donfrijole / Via Practically Functional

8. And what YOU love in life:

Twitter: @Contwixt / Via Getty

9. Being happy for those to you:

Twitter: @_viibbe

10. Discovering the things that bring you joy:

Twitter: @adultproblem

11. Finding time to enjoy some entertainment:

Twitter: @adultproblem

12. Finally understanding the finer things in life:

Twitter: @mrfilmkritik

13. And learning to appreciate fine art:

Twitter: @onefunnymummy

14. Staying awake for very good reasons:

Twitter: @imtheebrock

15. Finding pleasure in the little things in life:

reddit.com

16. Reminscing on the good old days:

Twitter: @_daytonw

17. Being prepared:

Twitter: @valeegrrl

18. Having the hard conversations:

Twitter: @erinringerr

19. Listening to the wisdom of the youth:

Twitter: @khatragirl

20. Taking a little time for yourself:

Twitter: @kiranclassy

21. Staying organized:

Twitter: @justalikks

22. Taking care of the youth of today:

Twitter: @oshimakesmusic

23. Speaking eloquently whenever possible:

Twitter: @adultprobs

24. Treating yourself:

Twitter: @docawesome_phd

25. Having true freedom:

Why Having A Hobby Is So Good For Your Mental Health

See Author Article Here
By Sarah Garone

How do you answer when someone asks, “What are your hobbies?” Playing guitar, competing in triathlons, decorating show-stopping cakes? As it turns out, engaging in a hobby means more than just having something to chat about at parties or fill your Saturdays with. Research shows that keeping up with the activities that interest us actually has measurable benefits for mental health.

Wondering how your knitting project or instrument practice could bring you peace of mind? We chatted with Dr. Daniel Levitin, neuroscientist, musician, and consultant for Fender’s guitar-learning app Fender Play about various ways investing in a hobby enriches the life of the mind.

Woman playing guitar

HOBBIES MAKE US GET CREATIVE

Many hobbies are inherently creative. Whether you’re painting, woodworking, or baking muffins, you’re not only producing something that never existed before, you’re engaging the creative network of your brain. Creative pursuits are experimental acts, says Dr. Levitin: “These acts of experimentation expand the neural networks in our brains, making connections between circuits in the brain that might not have otherwise been connected.” This type of neural linking-up boosts mood in a measurable way. It actually modulates levels of the feel-good hormones dopamine and opioids in the brain, says Dr. Levitin. And although popular perception tends to associate “creative types” with mental illness, research indicates that imaginative pursuits are actually restorative for mental health.

While engaged in a creative hobby, you may also find yourself in a mental state known as “flow.” Described by psychologist Mihály Csikszentmihályi, the concept of “flow” is sometimes better known as getting “in the zone.” It occurs when you’re engaged in an activity to the point of almost meditative focus. Ever find that when you sit down to or scrapbook or play piano, your mind doesn’t even wander? That’s flow. Getting into this focused state promotes mindfulness, known for its positive effects on stress and anxiety.

HOBBIES BOOST SELF-IMAGE

When your self-image needs a pick-me-up, you might typically take to social media to rack up likes on a cute photo or funny meme. But for better results, try diving into your favorite hobby. Spending time on your own leisure pursuit is a self-care gift you give yourself — and some hobbies result in actual gifts you can give others. Taking pride in a handmade card or blessing friends with your musical talents could go a long way toward boosting your good vibes.

Hobbies also serve to keep the blues away by helping us hone valuable expertise. Maybe your years of dabbling in web design could lead you to teach a class on it, or perhaps your persistence with running has helped you place in your most recent competitive 5K. This type of skills mastery has been associated with reduced psychological distress. Tellingly, a survey conducted by Fender found that people who played guitar as a hobby had “increased patience, confidence in self and skills, work ethic and persistence.” Sounds like devoting time to improving a skill could make you feel like a rockstar (even if you’re not playing guitar).

HOBBIES CONNECT US WITH OTHERS

A number of hobbies are meant to be performed in a group, or lend themselves well to collaborating with others. Picking up a new pastime can be a great way to meet new people and establish friendships. Shared experiences enhance our enjoyment of activities and help us to feel less isolated. Dr. Levitin confirms this phenomenon: “People who play music together experience increased levels of oxytocin, a hormone that promotes social relationships and bonding.” So if you’re looking for the best hobby for your mental well-being, try something interactive, like joining a band or improv group.

With some hobbies, of course, it’s natural to fly solo. (Let’s be honest, it’s a little difficult to do sudoku in a group.) But even your solo pursuits make you a more diverse and interesting person — qualities that attract social engagement.

HOBBIES DECREASE STRESS

Finally, hobbies simply give us a break we can look forward to. Creative hobbies in particular “are the perfect antidote to high-stress jobs of multitasking and computer-based work,” says Dr. Levitin. (We’d argue that physical hobbies are too!) Turning to something non-work-related allows us to “hit the reset button in the brain, replenishing neurochemicals in the brain that have been depleted by a few hours of high-stress work,” he says.

As long as you enjoy your hobby, it really doesn’t matter what it is. Research shows that both physical health and mental health benefit when we use our leisure time for something constructive but fun. So whether it’s continuing your lifelong love affair with soccer or picking up the guitar for the first time, maybe it’s time to make your favorite hobby a priority.

Why Happiness Is The Ultimate Currency

See PsychCentral Article Here
By 

My friend Avi is a great barber. His customers, myself included, refer to his golden hands — his ability to satisfy my son’s desire to look like Ronaldo, or a woman’s desire before her daughter’s wedding to look like Grace Kelly. Putting his phenomenal skills together with his sound business sense, Avi could have easily expanded his business far beyond his little salon.

So I asked him one day why he chose not to grow his business by adding a bigger place in a more central location in the city, or by opening other branches. Avi said he’d thought about it several times but in the end decided against it: “I asked myself, is this something I really want, or is it something others think I should do?” He went on to describe the can-must link that’s so pervasive in our culture: the belief that if you can grow, you must grow. But why?

Avi explained that over a decade ago, he understood that no matter how much he had — a bigger house, a faster car, a fatter bank account — he would always want more. He could choose to continue in the rat race and never satisfy his desires, or he could stop the race and be satisfied with what he had. He went on to quote a Jewish source, the Chapters of the Fathers: “Who is rich? He who is happy with his lot.”

Cutting hair in his small salon gives Avi the emotional gratification no amount of money could buy. His daily experiences were worth more than all of the gold in Fort Knox because happiness, not wealth or prestige, is the ultimate currency.

What, for you, is worth all of the gold in Fort Knox? Can you envision something in your life that would provide you with an abundance of happiness? To identify sources of the ultimate currency in your life, follow these four steps:

Step 1: Record your daily activities.

For a week (or two), keep a record of your daily activities. Throughout the day, write down how you’ve spent your time, from a twenty-minute session responding to e-mails to a night of binge-watching TV. This record doesn’t need to be a precise, minute-by-minute account of your day, but it should give you a sense of what your days tend to look like.

Step 2: Assign meaning and pleasure.

Once your activity list is complete, create a table that lists each activity, how much meaning and pleasure the activity provides, and how long you typically spend doing it. Indicate whether you’d like to spend more or less time on each activity by adding a “+” for more time or a “++” for a lot more time. If you’d like to spend less time on the activity, put a “−” next to it; for a lot less time, write “−−.” If you’re satisfied with time you’re investing in a particular activity, or if changing the amount of time you spend isn’t possible for one reason or another, add an “=” next to it.

Step 3: Highlight activities with high-yield happiness.

Which of your activities provide the most happiness in the least about of time? Are there things you don’t do now, but would yield significant profits in the ultimate currency? Would going to the movies once a week contribute to your well-being? Would it make you happier to devote four hours a week to your favorite charity and to work out three times a week? If you have many constraints and can’t introduce significant changes, make the most of what you have.

Step 4: Introduce happiness boosters.

What happiness boosters — brief activities that provide both meaning and pleasure –could you introduce into your life? If your commute to work is a drag but is unavoidable, try to infuse it with meaning and pleasure. For instance, you could listen to audio books or your favorite music for part of the ride. Alternatively, take the train and use the time to read. Then, as much as possible, ritualize these changes.

One of the many lessons I learned from my barber is that material wealth is not a prerequisite for the ultimate currency, and that dollars and cents are no substitute for meaning and pleasure. As the psychologist Carl Jung once said, “The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest of things without it.”

26 Characteristics Of Truly Happy People

See Psych Central Article Here
By Rachel Fintzy Woods

How can you tell when you meet a truly happy person?

What signs do you look for? What indicates to you that someone is truly content with their life and themselves?

Genuinely happy people:

  1. Feel gratitude. Happy people appreciate all of the good things in their lives, rather than focusing on what they perceive they lack. Happy people have a “glass half-full” mentality.
  2. Express gratitude. Happy people don’t keep their gratitude to themselves. They let others know how appreciative they are, with a quick note, thank you, hug, or pat on the back.
  3. Live in the moment. Happy people let go of the past, including their triumphs and mistakes. They realize that the only moment they can truly inhabit and do anything about is the present, so they don’t get caught in thoughts about the future, either.
  4. Are kind. Happy people are warm, considerate, respectful, helpful, and pleasant to be around. They do not indulge in envy, jealousy, or gossip, nor do they waste time complaining.
  5. Use positive rather than negative language. Happy people focus on what has, is, and can work, rather than on what is problematic.
  6. Smile often. The smiles of happy people are authentic, including their eyes and body language.
  7. Have a good-natured sense of humor. Happy people are not cynical or sarcastic. They can laugh at their own foibles and the absurdities of life. They do not take things too seriously, knowing the value of lightening up.
  8. Can be spontaneous. Happy people recognize and seize opportunities for new experiences, adventures, and fun. They are not rigid; not locked into meaningless routines.
  9. Have self-confidence. Happy people have a realistic (not arrogant) faith in their abilities. As a result, they feel equipped to deal with life’s challenges.
  10. Are adaptable. Happy people have a “I bend but do not break” attitude. They look for ways around an obstacle rather than lamenting the obstacle. They may even see the obstacle as a stepping stone for growth and additional opportunities, accepting that sometimes we need to choose a different path. They know the wisdom in the saying, “Insanity is doing the same thing again and expecting different results.” Happy people can go with the flow and modify their behavior and choices as needed – they learn from their mistakes.
  11. Are optimistic. Happy people are positive thinkers, hopeful about the future, and believe that things will work out for the best in the end. Such an attitude is associated with lower stress levels.
  12. Are energetic and enthusiastic about life. Happy people consider life an adventure to be lived rather than a problem to be solved.
  13. Value cooperation over competition. Happy people have an “us” and “we” rather than a “me” and “my” mentality, knowing that victory can ring hollow if we aren’t sharing it with anyone.
  14. Show enthusiasm for other people’s successes. Happy people realize that there is enough to go around and thus aren’t threatened by other people’s triumphs.
  15. Are curious about life. Happy people have a large number of interests and are continually learning and growing.
  16. Do not feel “entitled.” Happy people know the difference between wanting something and demanding it. In fact, they don’t expect a lot from life, as their focus is largely on what they can give. Ironically, as a result of this attitude, happy people often end up receiving quite a lot, as humble and helpful people usually attract a lot of goodwill.
  17. Accept life’s uncertainties. Happy people are willing to go with the flow and make the best decisions they can, based on incomplete information (which is generally all we have).
  18. Prioritize spiritual/non-materialistic values. Happy people are not concerned about keeping up with the Joneses, nabbing a prestigious job, buying a massive home, or hitting a certain financial plateau. They prioritize relationships with family and friends, enjoying themselves, laughing, and having fun. They value experiences over possessions.
  19. Get sufficient sleep. Happy people realize that without adequate shut-eye they compromise their outcome, energy level, cognition, physical health, and ability to deal with stress. Thus, they make sleep a priority, which for most people amounts to between seven and nine hours a night.
  20. Have a strong social support system. Value quality over quantity when it comes to relationships. Communicate in deep and meaningful ways, rather than engaging in shallow conversation. Do not have a need to have thousands of “friends” on social media.
  21. Are loyal to their loved ones. Happy people will stick up for and go out of their way to help those close to them.
  22. Spend time with other happy people. Happy people know that the traits of our frequent companions tend to rub off on us.
  23. Are willing to ask for help. Happy people recognize the importance of standing on their own two feet but also realize that they cannot do everything themselves and do not hesitant to turn to their personal and professional community for assistance. Asking for help is a sign of humility and honesty.
  24. Are good listeners. Communication is not a one-way street. Happy people take the time and exert the energy required to really pick up on what other people are telling them verbally and non-verbally. Happy people recognize the importance of hearing different perspectives on an issue and are willing to be influenced and to learn.
  25. Are honest with themselves and with others. “This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” (William Shakespeare) Happy people know who they are, are comfortable with themselves, and feel free to show their true selves to other people. They do not feign emotions, beliefs, or attitudes that aren’t consistent with their personal truths.
  26. Have a sense of purpose. Happy people apply their skills, efforts, and energy to projects and causes within their family, community, and world – they do not live for themselves alone.

How many of these attributes can you recognize in those close to you – and in yourself? Remember,through practice, all of these traits can be learned and strengthened.