Tag Archives: Happiness

The Blah Epidemic – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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Some people seem to always be in happy moods. But, exactly what is happiness? What encompasses a good mood? Is this disposition genetic or dependent on specific neurotransmitters in the brain? Is there a blah, unhappiness gene distributed to a select population?

Scientists are searching for answers to these questions which means they still IMG_2321do not know what specially causes depression, or for that matter—happiness. Previously called Melancholia, depression has been recognized as a common condition for more than three thousand years. Some experts think depression is the result of learned experiences. Others say it’s all about brain chemistry. And then there are those who believe it’s in the genes.

Everyone knows what depression feels like because all of us at one time have experienced its character traits of hopelessness, helplessness, sleep disturbances, eating changes, consuming sadness, and an inability to function. These episodes, typically, are not chronic, only last a day or two; and usually result from life events. Most of us are able to adjust to the changes in life that are uninvited and demanding. We may pout for a time, rebel at reality, express our frustration, but then accept “what is” and move on to tomorrow.

IMG_2311Just like the common cold, the symptoms of depression are generally the same for everyone, but the same can’t be said about happiness. Scientists know more about the state of depression than they do about the state of joy. Taking into consideration that happiness is the most important goal in the lives of people, experts can’t even agree on an explanation for it. What is happiness? Is it being in a good mood? Is it having fun? Is it securing the approval of other people? Lots of money? No worries? What is happiness to you? Americans might say that happiness is a consistent state of well-being, void of stress, worry, frustration, and disappointment.

The full extent of depression is unknown because the menacing stigma towards mental health remains in our culture. As a result of ignorant people that still judge mental conditions as the equivalent of insanity, many people do not seek IMG_2096treatment for depression. They suffer quietly because of the perceived rejection they would otherwise experience if more folks knew their struggles. This accounts for the strong isolation that depressed individuals experience. Our culture still believes on some level that we shouldn’t need help or support for the problems or events that pre-empt our plans and land us in despair. There’s still the idea that it’s a weakness to seek counsel or take medication for mental conditions. On the contrary, it takes strength and wisdom to seek help, and I respect those individuals who do so.

HealthyPlace.com offers a list of hotlines and referral resources for better mental health! Help yourself, or someone you care about, to be happy!

Think about it.

 

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014 Dr. Sandy Nelson E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

What if tomorrow doesn’t come? —by Dr. Sandy Nelson

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IMG_1999Gosh, we live hectic lives. I mean, seriously, busy lives. And each year appears to pick up speed. Our day’s ordinary routine seems to blur into the next sunrise. Our daily agenda’s become something we take for granted, even if it’s one of boredom. Our family and friends come and go with hello’s and bye’s. The day leaves us exhausted as we lay our tired body down for sleep planning the next day’s schedule and obligations.

But what if tomorrow doesn’t come for us? What if today is the last day granted to us on this earth?

Sounds kind of real, or scary, doesn’t it? The tick-tock of reality is one verity weIMG_1902 tend to shove aside and not think about. We may realize that our date of departure from this earth is marked somewhere on a universe calendar, but when we tuck ourselves into bed at night, we rarely think about that date being tomorrow. We hope it’s a time way off, down the road, decades later. Yes, maybe.

Time. The supreme calendar of existence for us—of living, breathing, thinking, loving. What is it that we take, or make, time for? Should our priorities change? What should we do differently?

We have only so much time.

IMG_2922It’s a matter of mindfulness, I think. Living in the here, now. Being aware of this moment. Paying attention to one another. We can easily pick out from a crowd those who are attempting to live and give the fullest to each day—those who are kind to one another, who seem thankful, who are helping, who speak with an enthusiasm for life.

We all have a reason to be here today.

Our lives matter. Each of us have a specific task and purpose that benefits humanity. We all have gifts and talents to contribute for a better tomorrow. Because, when tomorrow arrives, life goes on.

Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014 Dr. Sandy Nelson E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

 

Unsuccessful? Unhappy? This could be why.

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Around the beginning of the nineteenth century, French psychologist and pharmacist Emile Coué, introduced the use of a mantra-like conscious suggestion—what we call today a affirmation1positive affirmation. The Coué method centered on the routine repetition of an affirmation—preferably as much as twenty times a day, and especially at the beginning and at the end of each day. Unlike the commonly held belief that a person’s strong will constitutes the best path to success, Coué maintained that unblocking some of our obstacles requires a change in our unconscious thought. It was his belief that the power of a positive thought far exceeds that of the will.

A century later, researchers have confirmed what Coué already knew. Your thoughts can rocket your life into abundance and happiness, or plummet you into homelessness and joblessness. Coué wasn’t the only person who realized the connection between our thoughts and our experiences.

Former Britain Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli said: Nurture your mind with great thoughts, for you will never go any higher than you think. 

Even Buddha preached: All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become.

You can expect situations to evolve in your life as a direct result of what you say affirmationto yourself and think about. Focus on what you want to happen in your life and you will then create situations to obtain it. Resist thinking about what you don’t want to happen. If you focus on not wanting to be rejected, more rejection is what you’ll get. If you focus on avoiding inconveniences, you’ll have more inconveniences in your experiences.

It’s easy to get on board with millions of people already experiencing the benefits of utilizing affirmations. Here’s what you do:

  1. Consciously focus on what you want to achieve. Envision it your mind. See yourself in the circumstances that you want to accomplish. Meditate, as often as possible each day, on what you visualize.images (44)
  2. Think of an affirming thought or short phrase that can help you succeed, or be happy, or whatever you desire. Keep it short. For example, “I will find love,” or “I am going to succeed.” Recite your affirming thought or phrase throughout the day, every day, whenever you have a moment.
  3. Use sticky notes to jot down your affirmations and keep them visible to serve as reminders to stop for a minute and meditate. You can also journal your phrases and expand on what achievements you desire.
  4. It’s crucial that your visions and thoughts are of a positive nature. For example, rather than concentrating on “I want to avoid unreasonable people,” make it a positive by focusing on “I will be patient and calm with people.”

What you choose to think about and the attitude in which you think about it is so significant that becoming conscious of this fact alone can alter your life and what you experience day-to-day.

Think about it.

 

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014 Dr. Sandy Nelson E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

What it takes to prevail

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Do you know what it takes to achieve what you want and succeed in life?

No one else determines your rise in the world but you. Your expectant attitude, your driven actions, your bold determination, your loyal beliefs in your abilities—these are powerful allies in the pursuit of the good life.

IMG_2171Author Ralph Marston wrote: The biggest factor in your success is you. Knowledge, information, skills and resources all play a part, to be sure. Yet success hinges mostly on your will to make it happen.

Gripping the belief that you deserve success is necessary gear to get ahead. Self-doubt, blame, anger, and negativity are enemies that will render you ineffective and keep you stuck in mediocrity.

Are you conscious of the beliefs you hold about yourself? These beliefs are the most significant opinions you will ever outline. What you believe you can do, or can not do, how worthy you are of happiness and success are all determined by your beliefs in who you are.

If you believe that you are unique, deserving, and skilled, then you will IMG_2342
experience a life defined by those beliefs. If you have the opinion that you are flawed, inadequate, and undeserving, then what you experience in your life will support that belief.

This is why the opinion you hold of yourself and the one you embrace is the most determining clue of your future.

Based on what you are experiencing in life, what is your opinion of yourself?

The world will not believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself. Examine your thoughts today and determine if they are powerful allies or sabotaging foes.

Think about it.

 

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net
Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

Dealing With Disappointment

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There’s no doubt that today we live in a spoiled society. There’s little delayed gratification and a lot of stuff we feel entitled to have, or to experience—now. The more things we think are deserved or that we should possess, the more disappointed we are when it doesn’t occur.

IMG_0866 - CopyDr. David Brandt, author of Is That All There Is? wrote: Not all disappointments are equal. Some are devastating. Others scarcely seem to matter. It all depends upon the degree of emotional involvement in the expectation. The greater the investment, the more severe the disappointment. The greater the underlying wish for an event to occur, the stronger the pain when it doesn’t. 

French author and Nobel Prize winner, Andre Gide, was right when he said: Long only for what you have. However, no one really wants to hear that. Instead of recognizing on a daily basis what we already possess and then work towards what we want, we may recognize on a daily basis what we don’t have and ignore what we do. We may dwell on what’s lacking in our life, and harp on all the instances we failed to acquire what we wanted. This type of attitude towards disappointment can destroy self-esteem, gratitude, and motivation.

Individuals who often experience disappointments may not be able to identifyfailure1 what disappointments are intended to teach. There could be a pattern of expectations that are not rooted in reality. Dr. David Brandt puts it this way: Whether out of fear, disapproval, or anxiety, those who repeatedly experience disappointment have a psychological history that has produced expectations that are unrealistic, too absolute, too high or low. They need to readjust those expectations, but forces in their personality prevent them from doing so. 

If we don’t process disappointment, accept the outcome and adjust to the reality that is presented, we’ll continue to want what we can’t have while taking for granted the many blessings inside our front door. We may think that having something or someone is necessary in order to feel happy and okay. Thinking that we “have to have” anything places the source of our well being and happiness dependent on something outside ourselves.

Acceptance of “what is,” is a struggle only when we can’t let go of the attachment to what we wanted. This doesn’t mean that we don’t try again or plan something different in order to get what we want, it means that we accept that it wasn’t acquired this time. It’s important to accept and appreciate what we have, and to keep thinking of what we want and plan the next effort to get it.

Think about it.

 

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net
Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

Ways to Handle Problem Relationships

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IMG_2070What do you believe is the purpose of a love relationship? To complete you? To make you whole and happy? Hollywood movies and romantic novels often portray the unrealistic idea of romantic love. A person can add to your happiness, but can never make you complete or happy—you’re the only one who can do that. Healthy, loving relationships result when you seek them to add to the happiness in life you’re already experiencing. The regard you receive from someone else can’t replace the regard you need to give yourself.

Commitment in love isn’t a feeling or a grin-and-bear-it obligation. It’s an act of IMG_1996your will. Commitment means riding out tough times of disagreement and struggle and discussing the middle ground of compromise. The success of any relationship depends on the ability to focus on the strengths of the other person—his or her positive traits, not on the flaws. Reflect on the reasons you like and respect the person. Dwell on his or her positive qualities and assets; and in grace tolerate those quirks that get you batty. After all, your own quirks need to be tolerated by others, too.

IMG_0363When a relationship is in trouble, it’s usually because there’s a tendency to blame the other person and to focus on his or her faults and wrong-doings. This not only doesn’t work—it makes things worse. The more effective choice is to focus on yourself—your own thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and actions in the relationship. Today, focus on what you need to be giving to the other person and what needs correcting in yourself; not on what you’re not getting from the other person and what he or she needs to correct. Take responsibility for your part in the relationship. Focus on self-responsibility and solutions, not blame and resentment.

Think about it.

 

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net
Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

Do you hang out with someone who degrades you?

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If you had a friend who, on a daily basis, called you degrading names and criticized your actions, would you continue to hang around with that person?

IMG_2337It seems odd to me that we tend to become upset, angry, and hurt when someone else mistreats us, but we think nothing of it when we mistreat ourselves. We would rarely seek the company of people who are critical and unkind towards us, but we can criticize ourselves with unkind words, and somehow that’s okay.

Self-depreciation is not a new problem in human existence. It’s not even a new issue in human history. Sir Thomas Browne, was a mid-16th century genius is the areas of science and medicine. He wrote, But how shall we expect charity towards others, when we are uncharitable to ourselves? Charity begins at home, is the voice of the world; yet every man is his own greatest enemy, and, as it were, his own executioner. 

This is not okay in the 21st century.

Our worse enemy is the unnoticed, subconscious inner critical voice that resides in each of us that’s ever diligent to create insecurities within us from our mistakes, condemnation for our flaws. and unworthiness from our limitations.

Whether its origin is the outcome of original sin, a fallen world, or the devil’s IMG_2344lies, it’s that inner critical voice that will not allow our success, security, or happiness until we become mindful of its presence and stop its destruction of the self-confidence and self-love we all were born with. Our fight and our opponent is the echo of self-degrading comments that sneak into our minds, under the radar, and then undermines any thoughts and feelings and actions for the good in life. It arrests any belief in our dreams, and any love or kindness towards ourselves, and therefore; towards other people.

Stay aware of what you’re thinking about and what you’re saying to yourself. Your life depends on it.

Think about it.

 

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net
Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

Are your thoughts helping or hurting you today?

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IMG_1996When a relationship is in trouble there’s a tendency to want to blame someone and to focus on the faults and wrong-doings of the other person. This not only doesn’t work, it’s destructive. The correct choice is to focus on yourself—your thoughts, feelings, attitude, and actions—not the thoughts, feelings, attitude and actions of your partner. Focus on what you need to be giving (as difficult as that might be), not on what you’re not getting. Take responsibility for your part in the relationship that has contributed to its unhappiness.

In Living Successfully with Screwed-Up People, Elizabeth Brown writes: Do you really want to bring about positive change in your relationship? If so, you must be willing to change first. Unless you change first, it is unlikely your relationship will do anything but sink deeper into distress. 

And Robin Norwood tells us: At the bottom of all our efforts to change someone IMG_1782else, is a basically self-centered motive, a belief that through his changing we will become happy. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be happy, but to place the source of that happiness outside ourselves, in someone else’s hands, means we are denying our abilities to change our own lives for the better and refusing to take responsibility for doing so. 

When you change how you treat yourself, you change your life. Your happiness and enthusiasm comes from within you. Your happiness isn’t dependent on something or someone else. Your happiness depends on you. How you feel is up to you.

No one is happy by accident. It requires self-awareness of where your thinking may be inaccurate. If you’re unhappy, you need to explore what it is that you’re doing to cause that unhappiness. If you’re unhappy, that’s your deal—your responsibility. It isn’t up to anyone to make you happy.

Relationships are to add to your happiness, add to your life. Relationships are IMG_1312not a substitute for your own life. Another human being cannot make you whole and complete. You’re the only one who can do that. The daily conversation that you have the most is the one you have with yourself. You talk to yourself more than everybody in your life combined. If that conversation is degrading, unloving, and critical, is it any wonder that your self-esteem may be zero?

Are your thoughts helping you or hurting you today?

Think about it. In caring, Sandy

Are you at war with yourself?

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In Becoming Human, Jean Vanier writes: “If we deny our weakness—if we want to be powerful and strong always, we deny a part of our being, we live an illusion. To be human is to accept who we are, this mixture of strength and weakness.”

The feeling of inner happiness is so much easier when you cease fire with yourself. When you can openly acknowledge your limitations and recognize your weaknesses instead of trying to bluff your way through life, a healthy self-worth appears.

IMG_0906 - Copy - Copy - CopyI have several limitations and weaknesses: I’m bad at math, lack mechanical know-how, and have restricted airspace in my brain sometimes. My cooking ability is basic as is my sewing stitch. I prefer to watch other people be athletic; I hate to exercise. I can’t wrap my brain around financial planning, computers, or what all those little lines in a ruler mean. There’s a lot I don’t know and more that I don’t know how to do. My downfalls don’t devastate me; however, because they’re balanced with positive traits.

Listen for the words you use every day. Are they self-degrading? Are they judgmental phrases? Sarcastic tones? Or encouraging expressions? Caring speech? Your words reflect your self-respect and character. Your words reflect what you believe about yourself. How can you have self-confidence and self-degradation at the same time? Where you are today can be attributed to the words you tell yourself. Stay aware of the words you choose to verbalize. Be sure they match the character you want to role model to others.

Make a list today of your limitations and weaknesses. Practice stating them to others. People will respect your admission, because they have limitations and weaknesses, too. Once you recognize your positive traits and abilities, you will be able to accept your limitations and weaknesses without feeling inferior; and the war within that bombs you with self-degrading comments ends.

Think about it. In caring, Sandy

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net

Will you hurry the hell up?

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Impatient people are trying to have a life that can never be. They struggle to accept a world that is not perfect. Everyone has a different speed of performing patiencetasks. There will always be situations where delays exist in waiting rooms or waiting in line. Postponements and cancellations are part of life. So is road construction, dead batteries, noise, indigestion, rules, pet hair, potholes, and static cling. But a disturbance in the plans of an impatient individual often produces anger and intolerance. Psychologist and author, Joseph Bailey, says “When you get impatient, you become irritated and judgmental, and that creates distance between you and the other person.”

If you are burdened with impatience, you embark on a never-ending voyage of negativity and unhappiness. When your day is interrupted with delays and inconveniences you may act on faulty thinking and just give-up in a heap of frustration. You might conclude that if there’s going to be obstacles than just forget it—if there’s hassles, then you don’t need the aggravation. You may give up on your job, your education, your relationships, your family. That’s one way that impatience impacts thinking—you give up, quit.

Another outcome from impatience is reactive behavior. You might impulsively do something or say something without thinking—you wig out. When someone isn’t following your game plan, you’re off on a tirade. You explode with criticisms, you make degrading comments—you hurt other people.

As it was last year, last month, and last Friday, the same is true today: you’ll encounter many situations where your way, choice, expectation, or preference doesn’t occur. Around each bend there are cliffs of failure, walls of disappointment, and highways of the unexpected. Each day presents you with numerous moments that require patience—restraint of anger and frustration.

Some people would debate that it’s human nature to be disappointed with an unwanted outcome. That it’s natural to experience frustration when met with defeat. That it’s to be expected to feel a let down when expectations fail to patience1materialize. Yet, the reaction or response to disappointment, frustration, and mistakes that befall human beings varies. Some people display unhealthy tantrum-like opposition in rebellion. Some people, smiling or not, patiently endure waiting with little or no outward demonstration of upset. One thing for sure: you can’t have patience and lack self-control. When you’re impatient, you’re not self-controlled—you’re not in command of yourself. Patience is tolerance that allows and respects others’ preferences or methods without necessarily agreeing. Since an impatient person isn’t a happy person, you’ll not likely experience happiness without a high level of patience—patience with yourself and others.

Think about it. In caring, Sandy

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net