Friday, August 6, 2010

Happiness

How do you attain happiness when it appears that things are crumbling all around you? Well the good news is that happiness is not a byproduct of external things such as wealth, fame or success. Happiness is created from within. It is an attitude which multiplies feelings of gratitude which feeds happiness. When I attended a happiness conference I was taught that gratitude and focusing on staying in the moment were two essential ingredients found in happiness quotient. Marci Shimoff researched the subject and found that people could increase their happiness if they practiced 3 essential laws cited below.



The Law of Universal Support

I began to notice that my clients had similar experiences. Take Julie who had been downsized from a high paying media job where she made over $150,00 to manage radio programming. When she lost her position she told herself that she would never would have had the courage to leave such a position because she had always "played it safe." She believed that her termination was pushing her towards consultation and working on her own which had been a dream of hers for over 5 years. She told me, "Maybe this is the universe's way of saying "Julie you can do great things once you break out of you comfort zone" As a result, she did not see herself as a victim She started to pursue other companies who would benefit from her expertise. She felt that the Universe was there to support her which gave her the CONFIDENCE to take her life to the next level!


The Law of Abundance

My clients Tim and Terry contacted me because they felt that their marriage was dead. They reported that they had fallen out of love with each other but knew they should stay together because of the kids. I felt like they had come to see me to get permission to go their separate ways. I asked them if they were willing to learn and practice some techniques before they threw in the towel? They half heartedly agreed they would try but they weren't convinced that what you appreciate...appreciates! I suggested that they practice the Law of Abundance. I explained that they should focus on the strengths they saw within the marriage and if they truly focused on the positives, it would likely encourage more positive feelings in their relationship. They quickly realized that when they focused on what was wrong in the relationship it created a feeling of scarcity but when they worked from a place of abundance, they saw more potential. I need not tell you that after 90 days their relationship was renewed and they recommitted themselves to each other.


The Law of Attraction

Sandy wanted a relationship but came in complaining that she just did not believe that it would ever happen. Secretly I felt that she was sabotaging herself unconsciously so I gave her the assignment to find things in her life that would fill her with love and joy. I knew she would have more luck if she filled herself with the feeling she so desperately wanted. She started playing guitar, spent more time with her nieces and adopted a puppy. Needless to say her increased sense of happiness attracted several men who had much to offer her but then when you practice all the love in your life...you attract it.
Do you need to increase your happiness factor? Which law might you practice to bring more happiness into your life?

Self Respect

When people enter into a partnership, there will always be issues that they will have to accept about the other person. However, when one person blatantly disregards the feelings of his or her spouse, it becomes a serious problem. It is difficult to watch people repeatedly put up with substandard behavior from their loved ones. All too often, I see one partner who mistreats the other by verbally or emotionally berating him or her. Frequently there are indiscretions that contaminate the relationship.

It is easy to blame the irresponsible “perpetrator” who is not committed to the relationship. However, a seasoned professional knows that the “victim” holds the power card because they ultimately have the choice to stop the insanity. It is up to this person who is repeatedly disappointed to decide how much abuse or neglect she will take before the decision is made to move out of the relationship.

I remember a client whose spouse had been staying out late, drinking with the guys and philandering on a regular basis. He seemed to have a total disregard for their relationship. To make matters worse, my client complained that she was receiving one to two calls per week from strange women who wanted to talk to her husband. She found this intolerable.

As she told her story, you could see her anger, hurt, and disgust. She became empowered, made statements about not putting up with this any longer, and declared her intentions to set limits and boundaries. But the next week she would revert back to her old behaviors which lacked empowerment. She would return to denial and say, “But he swears they are only friends” or “I don’t think he would have had time to sleep with her.” It was as if her anger had motivated her to stand up for herself and then she slipped back into that passive state where it seemed easier to tolerate the behavior than to take a stand of self-respect.

She knew that she was in therapy to become accountable for what she was willing to put up with emotionally. She needed to look at the pros and cons of staying in the relationship, the trade-offs and the toll it was taking on her emotional health.

After she rationally assessed her situation, she began to look at her options. She recognized her choices and took back her power. My client had initially come in feeling helpless because she couldn’t make her husband stop his behavior. She knew that she needed to learn assertiveness and share her feelings even though it didn’t change him. She learned that she needed to be more independent and stand on her own two feet, even if but it didn’t stop him from cheating. She developed more relationships and became less dependent on him even though it didn’t alter his behavior. As she got stronger it became inevitable that she would need to make the ultimate decision. She eventually separated which resulted in a divorce.
Two years later she married a wonderful man who adores her. She still has a soft spot in her heart for her ex, but she knows that she deserved a better life for herself. She heard from friends that her ex-husband continues to cheat despite his new marriage. It appeared that nothing would change. She felt gratitude that although she could not change the way he treated her, she could stand up for herself and create the dignity she deserved.

Retraining Your Brain: The Pursuit of Happiness

In this article you will learn how promote happiness regardless of the stress around you.. We all are facing the challenges of dealing with the economic downturn; however there are certain skills that you can learn that will keep you strong during these times.

Happiness is not a byproduct of external things such as wealth, fame or success. Happiness is created from within. Happiness is an attitude which multiplies feelings of gratitude which directly feeds your sense of happiness. People who are truly happy believe in 2 universal laws that support them. They believe that despite hard economic times, this world is here to support them and as a result, they utilize the support around them. They also know that when they focus on what is going right, they are more likely to co-create that experience and live from that experience.

Many clients wonder what they need to do to create more happiness in their life. I encourage them to learn the skill of reframing. Reframing is the ability to take any situation and see the positives in it. I tell my clients that it is the ability to “put a positive spin on things”.

Let's look at some common situations and see how to apply these concepts.

Getting a divorce?
Look at divorce as an opportunity to grow as an individual. You can’t stop the process, so ask yourself what you can do to get through it with integrity.


Losing 60% of your net worth because of the stock market?
Tell yourself that losing the money allows you an opportunity to find other creative ways to make money. Refocus on what you do have in your life as opposed to the monetary losses.


Does a family member or friend have a terminal illness?
Remind yourself that you can make a difference in their life and recognize what differences they have made in your life. Focus on the moment instead of the future. You will experience this person differently when your focus becomes appreciation.


I picked three traumatic situations to highlight that life is about how we choose to look at things. It’s not the outcome but the journey that we need to stay focused on and learn from. If you make the conscious choice to look at life with a positive attitude, you will promote that state of well-being that will create happiness.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Yet, we live in a society that doesn’t promote happiness unless you meet its rigid standards. Consequently, you will need to fight the urge to be a specific size, make a particular income, or acquire materialistic things.

Unfortunately we weren’t trained in school to develop happiness and yet it is an easy skill to learn if you practice the following steps daily.

• Train your mind to focus on what is going right in your daily life

• Replace the negative self-talk with a positive statement. When negative thoughts occur make a conscious choice to refocus on the positives and “create a positive spin”.

• Repeat the positive statement silently to yourself. As you do this your attitude becomes naturally more joyful and positive.

• Use reframing in any situation that appears problematic. Look at what a situation has to teach you or how it has made you stronger. You will replace the victim role and have a better sense of your own personal strength!

Shift That Anxiety

It has become very common for women to suffer from an anxiety disorder at some point in their life. Sometimes it can be situational: your husband loses his job, you get downsized, your child goes off to college, or your real estate business has been affected by the economic crisis. Some women suffer from panic attacks that are unprovoked and occur for no particular reason. Other women have generalized anxiety because of their mindset. They see the glass as half empty or they are waiting for the other shoe to fall.


Are you the type of person who lets fears and anxieties permeate your existence? Maybe your life is going well but you worry too much to be able to enjoy it. Perhaps your past keeps you from living in the moment and enjoying the here and now. Regardless of the type of anxiety that you might suffer from….you can utilize some skills that will assist you in managing it.

How do you reduce it? Well you may not know this but it is impossible to have 2 simultaneous thoughts at the same time, therefore you can learn to shift your anxiety with an alternative and balanced thought which will greatly reduce it. I worked with a young mother who feared for her daughter’s health. She constantly fretted that her daughter would become ill because she was exposed to other children’s germs. She created a more realistic thought that reminded her that the germs would strengthen her immune system. This greatly reduced the anxiety.

A real estate agent reported that she had never worked so hard in her life showing houses and making no money. When asked to identify other positive aspects of what she was doing, she was able to admit that she was establishing more contacts, building more relationships and developing a funnel system whereby her potential clients would remember her once they were in a better financial situation. She decided that this was part of good reality work too so she decided not to measure her success solely by money.

I worked with one woman whose husband had had an affair. She was having difficulty letting go of the anxiety that he would cheat on her again. Her fears were keeping her from noticing all the changes that he was making and it kept her in a state of “hyper alert.” As a result, she was feeling more and more anxious and was unable to allow him to make the amends to her that she so greatly deserved. In her case, she needed to resolve her anger so that she could let go of it. When she participated in “The Vesuvius” she expressed the rage she felt symbolically and was able to let go of it. When she released her anger, the anxiety also dissipated.
Although anxiety is a normal feeling, there are many things you can do to keep it in check. Taking a yoga class, meditating, deep breathing and progressive relaxation with visualization are all techniques that will center you and keep you less anxious. Having a deep spiritual connection will allow you to concentrate on only those things that you can control. In my anxiety classes, I teach people to use self soothing statements that puts anxiety in perspective. So the next time you are feeling anxious remind yourself that “this too shall pass or let go and let God.” When you do you will be learning how to manage your anxiety.

Staying Positive Despite the Negative

Life is not what happens to you but how you interpret it. As a result, we are all responsible for how we interpret the normal and not so normal things that happen to us. Everything in our life is a choice and despite the fact that there are a lot of scary things happening in the world right now, we still get to decide how to view life and how we choose to relate to it. When you ascribe to this philosophy, you will find yourself happier, healthier and more adept at conquering your daily routine.


If you want to enjoy life to the fullest, you will likely need to put your focus on how you appreciate your day. It often helps if you create some rituals that remind you to practice your appreciation daily. The more you appreciate it…it will appreciate!

I have no doubt that many of you have your own techniques and practices keep you focused on gratitude and positive empowerment. We all need to spread these mindsets to remind others that life has much to offer even when it appears so uncertain.

One of my daily rituals occurs at the moment that I wake up when I begin to list 10 things that I feel grateful for. This typically includes my health, my puppy, my husband who tucks me in every night, my girlfriends who nurture me, my books that I religiously get from the library, my clients who teach me as much about life as I teach them, my power walks that remind me that I am vibrant and strong….you get the idea. Sometimes I step up my list by including things that have nothing to do with me and are a creation of life itself like the sun, the clean air, the starry nights, the natural fragrance of the flowers, the incredible colors that make up a typical day. If you were to spend 3 minutes appreciating your life….what might you include?

If you watch the movie/documentary “The Secret” you may remember that one of the commentators put a stone in his pocket and each time he reached into his pocket it reminded him to account for something that was working in his life…something he felt grateful for.

You remember the church that challenged its parishioners to wear a “no complaints band” and when they caught themselves complaining they would need to put it on the other wrist. Their goal was to go 21 days without complaining.

Successful people view their circumstances from the “glass is half full mentality.” It doesn’t take away from the realities of life but it does empower them to not feel so afraid or so victimized. Not only does it promote good mental health but it creates a healthier energy that will uplift others.
So what might you do to create this mindset in your own life? Spend a few moments asking yourself how you can turnaround your own fearful, anxious or negative thoughts so that you can view things differently or balance them with the good things that are everywhere around you. Role modeling these behaviors will dramatically influence your kids, co-workers, friends and family.
One of my favorite quotes comes from Victor Frankyl who survived the Nazi war camps by living out the philosophy….

Use Self Parenting To Help Heal the Wounds

Women grow up hoping that they will find the perfect person to help to complete them. Typically what they find is that they attract people into their life that duplicate their family of origin issues. They may have hoped that they would get at least some of their unmet needs from childhood met once they found their partner however they attract more of the same until they resolve old issues and get healthy. Children who grew up in abusive homes hoped for safety and security in their marriage. Children who didn’t get validated or shown enough approval hoped to find a spouse that could do this for them. Did you grow up with a critical, angry alcoholic parent and now have found that you are attracted to someone with some of these same characteristics? That is not unusual.


Your partner or boyfriend is not responsible for healing past wounds. If you want to work on rectifying your situation; you need to get healthier yourself so that you attract the more evolved person into your life.

Here’s how it works:

Spend a few minutes sitting in a comfortable chair thinking back on your parent-child relationship. When did you enjoy it the most? Identify what areas were lacking in your life. Was it attention? Validation? Approval? Affection? Write a short sentence or paragraph describing that unmet need. Include why that need is so important to you now. What will most likely come up for you is called a core issue. Unresolved core issues drive you to enter relationships whereby you can, as an adult, resolve the issue, heal the wound, and right the wrong. Our psyches are like compasses and they steer us in a direction for the partner that represents or symbolizes what we didn’t get in childhood.

How do you create an experience where you get what you need in a marriage with another person? The answer lies within healing the childhood wounds through self parenting. Most people get stuck in the relationship not knowing where to turn or how to get their needs met. They either fight with their spouse to be noticed, approved, validated, or loved, or they acquiesce and resign themselves to the fatal position that they are destined to feel unloved, invalidated, or disapproved. It is crucial to move beyond this stage, because if you don’t you will either separate emotionally from your marriage, or you will physically move out of it, resulting in a divorce.

Learn ways to take care of your own needs via the use of self-parenting. This is a process in which you learn how to give yourself what you didn’t get as a child and learn to meet your own needs.

Do you give too much because you’re looking for approval? It’s time to say no, and give to yourself Need affection and attention? Find a group of supportive women who will support you and fill some of the emptiness. Spend time boosting yourself up and reminding yourself of your strengths just like an ideal parent would. The key is to treat yourself gently and support yourself as if you were your own parent.

Wouldn't it be nice if you "showed up" in your life feeling good about you and therefore you didn't need so much from one person? Identify your needs and find ways to meet them and watch the transformation that occurs in your life.