Tuesday, December 15, 2009

How to be Happy Now

Get Happy in 5 Minutes: 7 Magical Tips from a Semi-happy Guy

(Kevin Nalts) What makes you happy when you're not feeling up? What gets you out of a funk? Feeling depressed, anxious, or sad? Here are seven tips to make yourself happy in less than five minutes. (Only watch if you believe it's possible to be happy. If you're skeptical, or not in the mood, this may make you throw up in your throat a little). If seven is too much to take in, a single simple tip is to smile.

  1. You're already happy! You're a happy person, but you entertain unhappy thoughts. Grant yourself a separation.
  2. Ditch the Debbie Downer. That is, drop your own internal Debbie Downer. Self-doubt is the ego talking. So ditch it like a bad friend. Travel light: Don't carry doubt, fear, or anxiety around with you. Focusing on downers creates misery. Instead, pay attention. Note: trying to "push" these thoughts out only entrenches them. So set them free like helium balloons.
  3. "Garbage in, garbage out." What ever thoughts or information we fill our brains with sets our moods. So watch the stimuli: If you're hanging around with downers, cheer them up, ignore them, or get as far away as possible. Realize that they're up your bum because they're carrying around their own soil-filled suitcase.
  4. Make room for feel-good habits. Maybe you don't like exercise, walking in the woods, or meditating. But trick yourself into these. They'll make you feel better. See a sympathetic ear, a psychiatrist, or psychologist if you're into that. Mine is thesidewalkpsychiatrist.
  5. Go see a life-altering film or book. Ever watch a movie that radically changed your perspective? Go see it again. Not at night. Sneak out to see a matinee by yourself, something like "What the Bleep," "The Secret," New Age stuff,* or get it on tape.
  6. "Iknowlikeiknowlikeiknow" I hate my job. If I'm saying it over and over, it's likely to be true as I trick myself into believing it. So I start saying, "I love my job." It's all right to fake it until you make it. Remember, the subconscious is always eavesdropping on what we say to ourselves. It does a startling job (called the placebo effect) to make it so. So to make whatever we say to ourselves so, say what you WANT. Say it over and over, replacing what is already being said (as we talk to ourselves) about what we don't want.
  7. Jot down #3. Write out three things tonight that made you happy today. Why? We get what we measure. If you do this for a week, you'll be staring at 21 things.

(WQ) These tips correspond to Buddhist advice (in sutras like the Four Foundations of Mindfulness). The Buddha taught that if the mind becomes downcast, it is because of "unwise attention" to an object that engenders such emotion. To be happy, attention should be redirected to an uplifting and inspiring object. Why? Thinking is karma. What we think about bears immediate results (vipaka) internally, and changing what we habitually give attention to can't help but bear better fruit (phala) externally.

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