The importance of having a purpose in life can’t be overstated, and for good reason. Like I said in chapter seven scientific studies have proven time and time again that the happiest people in the world are those who feel they have a purpose. We need to matter.
That purpose can involve the world, your town, your family, or any organization where you feel needed or counted on. When that wanes, even in the course of a day, it can leave you experiencing low-grade misery. To the degree that you feel you make a difference, you will feel good. Purpose is why humans are drawn to join clubs, groups, fraternities, sororities, and other organizations.
In the course of your day, the short-term purposes may be obvious; your lifelong purpose, however, can be more obscure. Yet when you know what yours is, it will be the reason you spring out of bed in the morning.
Many people have no idea what their purpose is, and tons of seminars are given every year to help them find it. Not knowing one’s purpose can trigger a midlife crisis and can be the reason for taking trips to go find oneself. We all seem to have this innate need to know that there is a reason—and a damn good one—for being on this earth. Often this issue raises its head only long after college, as in college goals have more to do with career choice and making money; much less consideration is given to the importance of making a difference.
Appreciation Exercise From “Wired To Worry”
Using a natural form of neurostimulation read the list below and see how upset you would be if the things listed below happened. Read the list below and pause at each one to imagine experiencing each event, with all the details and emotions you would feel. Imagine how crummy it would be to have to deal with them and how they would affect your day (Take time for this; it’s important.)
|Rip in Your Pants
Spilled Coffee in Car
Cell Phone Missing
|Big Stain on Couch
Dent on Car
Earrings are Missing
Car Won’t Start
Virus That Wipes Computer Out
Now take ten to fifteen seconds with each one to imagine each problem disappearing, allowing yourself to feel relieved. Let it really sink in how really wonderful it is that these situations are not something you have to deal with today.
Every day, their absence and the absence of other things like them are a GOOD experience, a blessing that you need to soak in. Try to even name the good feelings you experience (e.g., wonderful, safe, secure, appreciative, happy). Allowing these feelings of appreciation and gladness to soak in will begin to reset your brain’s spotlight so it gets in the habit of looking for the good things all around you rather than letting them simply go unnoticed.
Taking the time to absorb all the good around you sounds like a cliché. However, it is really a natural form of neurostimulation. Neurostimulation happens when a doctor inserts an electrode into a certain area in your brain causing neurons to fire; depending on where it is inserted this can cause a reaction or feeling. But we can do this naturally due to the fact that your brain never knows if something is real or just a memory. Which is why you get all angry when remembering something said to you ages ago. When you trigger your own neurons by taking a moment to focus on only what is happening in the here and now it will cause you to physically slow down, and in a good way. You will be less hurried and calmer. You need be aware whenever you begin to start rushing around in a hurried fashion. When that happens, you are not appreciating the positive and have gone on autopilot. Remember, physically moving too quickly, hurrying about the office or kitchen, or driving too fast means you are not present, and are rushing toward some future event.
After a few weeks of practicing mindfulness/meditation, you will notice that when you are done, you feel calmer and have greater awareness. As you continue practicing, you will end the session having a more peaceful state of mind. You will find your thoughts no longer racing along but rather absorbed in the present, freeing you to pay attention to what you are doing. At first, it will fascinate you that your thoughts are not sweeping you away. Instead, your mind will seem completely interested in what you are doing in the moment. Regardless of what that is, you will find a contentment in just being with it. There is no rat race except the one in our minds, you set the pace.
#beliefs #stopstressing #behappy #happiness #happiness #anger #moodiness #amygdala #dopamine #serotonin #oxytocin #feelbetter #stopworrying #eckhartTolle #present #rejection #amygdala #emotions #perspectives #temper #sad #outburst #fury #mad #stressreduction #reduceanxiety #procrastinator #disappointments #letdown
Continuing with yesterday’ blog about how much we take for granted I wanted to mention a few of the 100’s of things we look past every day. If you take time each day to Look for items in your immediate surroundings that are relaxing, comforting, inspiring, informative, or helpful, your brain in only a few days will do this naturally. This focus will keep it rooted in the positives around you not the negatives. Look at your outdoor surroundings and the beautiful trees or warm faces that you see. If outdoors is not an option, see if you can see or feel something beautiful, like a picture on the wall, a comfortable chair, or even the sturdy floor. Think of something or someone you are glad to have apart of your life in your present or past. Think of how easy it is to find decent, clean clothes. What would it be like if you had to walk a mile right now in order to get water from a well. Ponder for just a moment the images you see on TV of homeless, sick, hungry, and hopeless people. Focusing for the first time with real attention on any of these things I just mentioned will change your mood in just moments.
#beliefs #stopstressing #behappy #happiness #happiness #anger #moodiness #amygdala #dopamine #serotonin #oxytocin #feelbetter #stopworrying #eckhartTolle #present #rejection #amygdala #emotions #perspectives #temper #sad
So often at the onset of our day we start off getting annoyed if any of our modern convinces don’t function the way WE THINK THEY SHOULD. Not to mention our tendency to quickly dismiss these advancements. We complain when it takes an extra twenty seconds to send an e-mail. Twenty seconds to send our thoughts, which may or may not be of any importance to anyone but us, to the other side of the world! When I was growing up, it blew my mind to hear another voice on the other end of my new walkie-talkies that I got for Christmas. What about Facebook’s occasional changes? OMG, everyone starts flipping out as if it will stop the world as we know it, and the “I am leaving Facebook forever” chant begins. This program allows us to find in mere minutes a second grade crush! And for free! Our storming off is pretty much irrelevant to Facebook, yet our overinflated perception of our own influence is staggering!
How about an IPad or other tablet? I admit I have flipped out when it takes too long to get on YouTube. I’ve gotten indignant at how it is interrupting my workout on the stationary bike because I have no use for the twelve TV channels that the gym offers. It is all because I want what I want when I want it. And what I want is to be watching lectures from UCLA while I exercise!
Starting today, make sure a positive experience or modern marvel is never wasted again. Right now, look around and notice five things that are there for you in any way. These are your good facts. They may be from the past, present, or future. They could be people, surroundings, or technology, but either way these are things that can shift our perspective and thereby lift our mood.
The key is to find things to feel good about and never take another thing for granted.
You are hearing it everywhere. Every magazine, newspaper and even news channels are boasting about the amazing benefits of meditation or a mindfulness practice. Are they lying to us or just jumping onto the latest fad or craze? Neither, in fact one could say they are late to the party. The science community is finally embracing these practices due to the large amount of data proving their benefits, some have even referring to it as a technology of sorts because its effects are measurable; but the best part for you and I is you don’t have to believe in it to see results. It just works. The studies are repeatedly showing the same benefits:
• Increase focus and concentration
• Reduce emotional reactivity
• Reduce stress
• Improve memory
• Enhance empathy
• Increase cognitive flexibility
• Lower sensitivity to pain
I don’t know about you, but I would do almost anything to get all of these benefits at once! This is a vast subject that could fill 10 giant books but suffice it to say that you learn it simply by doing it. There is no other practice out there that can give you this kind of mental and emotional enhancement, producing the fastest changes in your brain and your life. A simple mindfulness practice every morning, if only for one to five minutes, is all it takes to start. Before you tell me you can’t do that because your mind wanders, know that such an argument is like saying you can’t go to a gym because you are out of shape. You do this to gain control over the wandering! Now don’t get all wigged out about this. If you are someone who has been avoiding this kind of practice, but are still unhappy. Maybe it’s time to give it a try. I promise there is no sitting cross-legged, no “ohm-ing,” and no trying to stop your mind from thinking! Thinking is what your mind does. The act of mindfulness or meditation is simply maintaining a pure awareness that allows you to become extremely aware of each thought going through your mind, allowing you to know what is traveling through your mind in nanoseconds. This awareness is what will allow you to finally control your moods.So just do start it already!
What stops you from feeling the things you already have? You have worked hard for your home, car, job, friends, and family. When you were growing up, all you could do was dream about one day having these things. Now these things are available to you plus a host of other nice things, good things, great things, and kind things—but your mind barely notices them. Your brain has been programed to want to just move on so you can get to the next thing. It never ends; its appetite for the next thing is insatiable. It sees almost everything as a means to an end…some evasive “end” that never comes, like tomorrow. At best, it will see each moment as a tool; at worst, as another problem to be solved or overcome.
This is the dreary mist in which we walk around in, never really seeing, feeling, or tasting any of the precious things life brings to us. This has to change. We must understand that the degree to which we give this moment our full attention and focus will be the degree to which the next moment is prepared for us. Life is not a series of obstacles to get through every day. For what? When does the pleasure start? When we get home from work? When we get the kids to bed? When we get into bed? The pleasure is hiding in plain view within each moment we experience. The pleasure is recognizing that there is no other place to be but in this moment. It is the pleasure of not running ahead worrying about stuff that has not even happened, the pleasure of seeing the smiles on the faces of friends and colleagues that we normally only glance at. This pleasure entails smiling right now and knowing things don’t have to be perfect to feel good right now. Today we must come out of this mist and never allow it to control our attitudes and moods again.
If you want to make a change in your life, at some point you actually have to do something not just contemplate it. But your amygdala will hit the sirens and warn you to stay put. It is how it kept you alive thousands of years ago, but in present day it is causing us to die of boredom, monotony, and a lack of purpose. Ignore those fears that say, “Not now, I’ll do it later, I have too many other things on my plate, I have to think about it” That s all contrived crap we come up with because our brains are screaming, “STOP! DONT EVEN THINK OF TRYING SOMETHING NEW” and we have no idea why it is doing that. Start a new habit today to do one new thing a day and in 2 weeks you will unstoppable!
Does this sound familiar?
Your head hits the pillow and you begin having a heated one-sided discussion with that coworker, child, or spouse, and although this is happening only in your head, you get as angry and upset as if it were happening in real life, with all the same harmful chemicals in play. (My personal favorite is rehashing a situation from childhood or with someone who isn’t even in my life anymore.) Talk about insane behavior! Over and over in your head, you will make your point, chasing some sort of elusive validation like a dog chasing his tail. Before you know it, you’re tossing and turning and can’t sleep.
For others, fears of your loved ones being in danger take over. If you are a parent you know this all too well and mothers are especially good at it. As we toss and turn witnessing this horror movie of our own making, we search for any reliable gut feeling or sense that we are correct in our fears. As if knowing something bad was coming would allow us to prevent it anyway.
Oh sure were their dangers at some point, yes but never affiliated with a particular night of tossing and turning. So after all the stress one day can hand you, you climb into bed exhausted and your brain hops back on the Worry-Go-Round.
Bosses often make the big mistake of allowing employees to feel that their jobs are not secure, assuming this insecurity will motivate them to work harder. When in fact, it makes them much less productive because they live in fear and crisis mode.
When uncertainty has you rattled, you may engage in any of the following behaviors to increase some brain chemicals, but the benefits are short-lived. If you complain to other coworkers about how bad your company or boss is, those who agree with you will make you feel safer and more connected because of serotonin and oxytocin. If you put the government or world leaders down, predicting doom and gloom, you make the world feel predictable, releasing some serotonin. Even making false predictions about the future will make you feel superior. If you like to get fired up and debate or argue about life events, you will release dopamine.
Misery doesn’t just love company; it needs it! It allows us to crawl on our knees, bleeding and bruised, side by side, and feel that it’s us against them…whoever “them” is at the time. Next time you are waiting in line in a public place, see how long it takes for someone to make eye contact with you and roll their eyes, as if to say, “Do you believe this?”Eventually someone else might either speak up with sarcasm or make some kind of disgruntled noise, and then for a moment or two you will all feel better.