Abundant Happiness :)

A good friend lent me her copy of ” The Ten Secrets of Abundant Happiness” by Adam J. Jackson.  I found this little book great!  It is written as a parable (which I LOVE) and follows a man who needs some advice in order to create a joyful life. I always like a good reminder of what tools are available to get my glass half full and since it was only 127 pages and the story was good it was an easy read. Sadly since it’s out of print I won’t be able to keep a copy handy in my bookshelf …

Which is why I decided to do my (very informal) version of  “Coles Note’s” for it.  This way I have the “tools” close at hand, even if I don’t have the actual book and anyone else who is interested can take a look and decide if there might be strategies they’d like to incorporate in their lives as well.

There is a series of 4 books written by Adam J. Jackson that include : Happiness, Health, Wealth and Love. And a book not part of the series “Flipside”.  I hope to come across all of these to see what other advice he might have.

So here we gooooo…..

(oh, and I apologize in advance for not clearly marking all the passages that are direct quotes).

1 ) The power of Attitude – Or – You are as Happy as You Make Up Your Mind To Be…

  • If you expect the worst so you won’t be disappointed you are more likely to get it because you see what you are most focused on.  As an example of this the main character in the book is told to look around the room and notice everything brown, then close his eyes, he’s  then asked to name what items in the room are blue.  Of course this is difficult because he was looking for all the brown items!  Adam writes: If you are expecting the worst, you lose sight of the good things in your life.
  • When dealing with a difficult situation be careful what questions you ask yourself.  Many times we ask “Why is this happening to me?” or  “What am I going to do?”  These are disempowering questions which can make you feel sorry for yourself and depressed.  Instead he gives three more empowering questions to ask
    1. ” What is great about this situation?”  It might be difficult to find something, in which case you ask  ” What could be great about it?”  This is the same as looking for the silver lining or reframing the situation.  I know for myself, there is always a silver lining, sometimes it takes the passing of time to see it though.
    2. “What is not perfect yet?”  this makes it easier to believe the situation will be perfect as opposed to “What’s wrong?” which entices you to look for everything wrong.
    3. “What can I do to make things the way I want them to be, and have fun in the process?” This empowers you to find a way to rectify the situation – and enjoy yourself while doing it!
  • Looking at life in this way also allows you to see everything you have to be grateful for in your life.  An attitude of gratitude, which is a way of focusing on the good things you already have in your life.

“The difference between a person who lives a magical life and a person who lives a mundane life lies not in their circumstances – it lies in their attitudes.  Attitude is the paintbrush of the mind with which we color our lives. We choose whatever color we wish.”

2 ) The Power of the Body – Or – “GOYA – Get Off Your Ass” and Do Something!!

  • Motion affects emotion.  Physical aerobic activity releases endorphins, feel good chemicals which help to change our perception…enabling us to look for the good things in life 🙂
  • Good posture makes you feel good….if you see a person all slumped over, head down, how do you imagine he feels?  If you see a person standing up tall, able to breathe in nice and big, head up, with a smile, how do you imagine he feels?  That would be a posture you would have a hard time feeling depressed in!
  • Create positive anchors…think about something that makes you feel happy – really happy, then do something like pull on your earlobe or squeeze your wrist.  It may take some time, but keep working at it and your body will eventually ‘remember’ the feeling that is associated with the action – an anchor.  This can be done for any emotional state you want to feel – love, confidence, compassion etc.
  • Eat healthy foods…no brainer…the body is well fueled and runs better!  Limit the amount of depressant inducing foods like sugar, coffee, greasy foods and alcohol.
  • Sunshine…a good dose of Vitamin D does a body good.

3 )  The Power of the Moment – Or – It’s All Happening Here and Now Baby!!

  • When we live in the past or future, especially if we are ‘what ifing’  we aren’t able to focus on the here and now, and we miss out on some fantastic moments.
  • Bring up a good memory…how do you remember that memory?  Do you remember that wonderful week/month back in 2009? Good memories are usually remembered like a snap shot or mini clip…something someone said or did for you, or you did for them.  If we live in the moment we can collect many magical moments for our memory banks to draw from.

4 ) The Power of Self-image – Or – If You’re Not Happy with Yourself, How Can You Be Happy with Your Life?

  • We are what we think we are – and many times we have distorted beliefs of who we are because of negative past experiences
  • In order to create a positive self-image we need to look at our beliefs and where they came from, then discern whether they are accurate or not.  If the beliefs are true, begin the work needed to make any changes necessary.
  • Replace negative self talk with positive affirmations.
  • Fake it ’til you make it – act as if you are the person you desire to be.
  • Ask yourself what do I like and/or respect about myself.

5 )  The Power of Goals – Or – Hey, Look What I’ve Got to Live For!!

  • Goals give us a purpose! The profound example given in the book…A prisoner living in a disease riddled concentration camp is over worked, underfed and feeling like death would be a welcome escape, when an old chinese man asks him a life saving question. “What is the first thing you are going to do when you get out of here?” It was a question he had never dared ask himself, but he knew the answer immediately. He wanted to see his wife and children. Now he had something to live for!! Everyday that went by brought him closer to his goal, which made the burden easier.
  • Energy comes from more than just food, it comes from enthusiasm as well.  Enthusiasm comes from goals, which create purpose and meaning.
  • Goals help the mind to focus on pleasure, lack of goals allow the mind to focus on avoiding pain.  Eg. A pregnant woman is feeling the sharp pains of labor, but the burden is easier because she knows at the end of the pain she will be meeting her beautiful new baby!
  • Imagine yourself in your elder years, looking back on your life….what experiences have you had? What kind of relationships have you enjoyed, where have you traveled, what type of person are you?  Adam calls this the rocking chair exercise, and suggests doing it a couple times a year to help define life goals. Both short and long term…
  • now write them down and review them – in the morning, sometime during the day, and at night before bed.

6 )  The Power of Humor – Or – Laughter is the Best Medicine 🙂

  • Laughing and smiling also release chemicals in your brain that create a kind of euphoria, which naturally reduce stress and leave us feeling less anxious and worried.
  • Laughing helps with concentration and increases our ability to solve problems.
  • Remember the times in life when you hit a tough patch that seemed very difficult, but then looking back on it you see the humor in it….now, when you hit a rough patch instead of asking “What’s terrible about this situation?” ask, “What’s funny about it?” or “What could be funny about it?”
  • Remember the 2 step anti-stress formula:
    • Don’t worry about the small things,
    • Remember, most things are small!

7 )  The Power of Forgiveness – Or – Walk a mile in Their shoes ↓↔↑

“Forgiveness is the key that opens the door to Abundant Happiness”

  • You can’t be happy if you carry feelings of hatred or resentment…remember you suffer most from the bitterness that comes with that baggage. Forgiveness frees us from that suffering and enables us to feel joy and happiness.
  • We learn from our mistakes and failures – forgive yourself and others.
  • Remember the Sioux Indian prayer:

“O Great Spirit, keep me from ever judging and criticizing a man until I have walked in his moccasins for two weeks.”

8 ) The Power of Giving – Or – It Really IS Better to Give than Receive >

  • Happiness is like a boomerang – the more you give it away, the more it comes back to you!
  • Happiness is not found in getting things for ourselves, it is found in giving to and helping others.

9 ) The Power of Relationships – Or – No Man is an Island ~ John Donne

  • People are social, we need to talk, feel wanted and needed.
  • The quality of your life is the quality of your relationships.
  • Life is a celebration, and what better way to celebrate than with people you love – unconditionally.
  • Relationships enrich our lives. If you share joy, you multiply joy, but if you share a problem, you halve a problem.
  • Treat everyone you meet as though you might never see them again; in this way you are more likely to make the time spent with loved ones, co-workers, even strangers as memorable as possible and not as likely to say good-bye with an unresolved argument.

10 ) The Power of Faith – Or – May the Force Be With You (In You!) 

  • Faith is the foundation of Abundant Happiness.
  • Faith creates trust, brings peace of mind, and frees the soul from doubt, worry, anxiety and fear.
  • Faith provides hope and courage to all who have it.
  • We have to find faith for ourselves. We are responsible for our own happiness.  We choose happiness by choosing our thoughts and actions.

Well, that’s it!

Now it’s time for me to do the work of adopting these strategies and see if they fit for me…I’m certain it will do no harm that’s for sure!!

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