“Life on Happiness Road” Reprinted and Reposted

 

Is there is a magic potion or formula on Earth for happiness? Truly, every person will have their unique set of circumstances, with some common experiences, along ‘the road’ or ‘process’ for attaining and maintaining happiness.

In these times of ‘social isolation’, social separation, social despair, Americans are facing tough times to truly be happy. There are five key points described in this essay. Please laugh…

I believe true happiness, while consisting of short-term feelings of joy, is long-lasting. In fact, as promised by God to those faithful, happiness is everlasting and eternal.

Goal: State of well-being and contentment; experiencing joy; felicity, aptness; obsolete: good fortune and prosperity.[1]

smile

The perspective from a half dozen sources are incorporated into this essay.

In this day and age, too many equate success with happiness. While prosperity or notoriety may accompany being happy it no longer a prerequisite.

In my opinion, spiritual people have a huge advantage in achieving happiness. Those that believe that all good things come from God and God wants the best for us, our higher power will bless our lives as we receive God’s grace.

Research in the field of positive psychology and happiness often define a happy person as someone who experiences frequent positive emotions, such as joy, interest, and pride, and infrequent (though not absent) negative emotions, such as sadness, anxiety, and anger (Lyubomirsky et al., 2005). Happiness has also been said to relate to life satisfaction, appreciation of life, moments of pleasure, but overall it has to do with the positive experience of emotions.[2]

A key to these explanations is that positive emotions do not indicate the absence of negative emotions. A “happy person” experiences the spectrum of emotions just like anybody else, but the frequency by which they experience the negative ones may differ. It could be that “happy people” don’t experience as much negative emotion because they process it differently or they may find meaning in a way others have not. In fact, using the phrase “happy person” is probably incorrect because it assumes that they are naturally happy or that positive things happen to them more often. Nobody is immune to life’s stressors, but the question is whether one sees those stressors as moments of opposition or moments of opportunity.

According to research, happiness isn’t just a state of mind. It affects your heart rate, your body chemistry, and it could contribute to substantial physical health benefits over time. British results showed that people with higher happiness ratings not only had a lower heart rate, but also had lower levels in their saliva of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, and less concentration in their blood of a plasma that’s connected to heart disease.

While some of the differences between happier individuals and their less happy counterparts were small, the researchers point out the potential impact of these seemingly minor variations over an extended period of time. “If differences of this magnitude are elicited in everyday life when people are exposed to daily hassles and challenges,” they write, “the result could be a marked difference in cardiovascular disease risk.” They also note that lower levels of cortisol are related to reduced long-term risk of abdominal obesity, type II diabetes, hypertension, and immune system problems.

ShadowInTheHoosierNatlForest

For years, research has shown that reducing depression, stress, anxiety, and other negative states decreases the risk of heart disease and other maladies.

This study has gone a step further by linking a positive emotional state to physical health benefits. Indeed, when the researchers measured their participants’ levels of psychological distress, they found that the physical health benefits of happiness occurred independent of whether or not participants showed any signs of depression or another negative state. This suggests that there may be a distinct biology of happiness that carries its own set of health benefits, beyond the benefits of simply not being depressed. [3]

There are some key factors to keep in mind:

A) Focus on the right things and not critically compare.

  • Each one of us has something to be joyful about, the problem that destroys the feeling of being filled with joy is comparison – when we begin to compare our lives to others and not look at what we have been currently given.
  • It is of high significance in the aspect of discovering joy that we do not look past our gifts and blessings but rather appreciate them and figure out ways on how we can multiply them.
  • Happiness-Joy starts from within, it is a decision one has to make on how they are going to perceive things in their life.

In as much as success may bring as happiness, let us not forget to smile all the way while we strive towards what we desire. Happiness can also be realized one step at a time, one decision at a time, one goal at a time.[4]

b) A ‘mental diet’ for a healthy attitude is very important in life.

The human is a fragile being led by fear, that could engulf himself. Happiness eludes him as he tends to blame other people, the environment, or even fate for this. Woe often she creates the illusion that she is completely helpless to determine her own direction of life. Happiness lies within the human being not riddled by fear, guilt, fate, and bad weather.

Only he can create it. How he succeeds will depend on his attitude and efforts to nurture it. For some individuals, the sense of happiness is brought by material things a new car, winning money, and other people, activities, health. However, only a few keep this feeling for a long time. After some time after the stimulus that caused the feeling of happiness, one wants something new. Feeling a routine, things and people get upset, need innovation. This is because people don’t appreciate what they have.[5]

c) Happiness is not merely a static psychological state.

Aristotle shares a crucial part of happiness, which is staying active. How many “happy” people do you know who sit at home all day, everyday? They might be content or “ok” temporarily, but are they truly thriving in happiness? Happiness is often found in the doing of what you’re passionate about and in building connections that are meaningful to you. Research has supported this with findings showing that strong social support is correlated with a number of positive outcomes. You might be in a rut now and you might have moments where you lose your connection to life, but you always have the opportunity to rebuild that connection.

So now it’s your turn to begin finding the happiness in you. What brings you joy? Maybe it’s a night in watching TV. Maybe it’s a night out at a new restaurant in town. Maybe it’s staying up late watching a movie with your significant other. Maybe it depends on your mood. Wherever your happiness resides, go enjoy it.[6]

d) Be realistic and manage stress.

As the founder of Daily Love, Martin Kipp has said, “I don’t expect to always be happy, I simply accept what is — And that acceptance is key. This is what self-love is all about, really, acceptance and the ability to love yourself right where you are.”

Research suggests that happiness is a combination of how satisfied you are with your life (for example, finding meaning in your work) and how good you feel on a day-to-day basis. Both of these are relatively stable — that is, our life changes, and our mood fluctuates, but our general happiness is more genetically determined than anything else. The good news is, with consistent effort, this can be offset. Think of it like you think about weight: if you eat how you want to and are as active as you want to be, your body will settle at a certain weight. But if you eat less than you’d like or exercise more, your weight will adjust accordingly. If that new diet or exercise regimen becomes part of your everyday life, then you’ll stay at this new weight. If you go back to eating and exercising the way you used to, your weight will return to where it started. So it goes, too, with happiness.

In other words, you have the ability to control how you feel—and with consistent practice, you can form life-long habits for a more satisfying and fulfilling life.[7]

e) Love is what bring happiness.  Loving others and activities.

Unfortunately, if we lack love, we are less likely to have inner happiness or less capable of bringing happiness to others.  We might live doing only what we want in order to get momentary satisfaction, not happiness.  If what we want is of selfish, greed, jealousy, hatred, favoritism, prejudice, we are likely to end up hurting others.  Because we all do it so we all suffer.  To stop suffering and have happiness, we have to forget ourselves and come to God for love.  Forgetting ourselves seem like a big loss but is truly a great gain.  Forgetting ourselves means we are not going to do what we want if it is of selfishness, greed, jealousy, hatred, favoritism, prejudice and therefore we do not hurt others.

Forgetting ourselves get rid of all the times we think of ourselves, of what we want, of how others have hurt us which take us away from reality, make our minds tired, make us suffer. Forgetting ourselves alone doesn’t bring us happiness in itself but is a necessary step.  The next step to happiness is love.  We can get love from thinking about God.  When we think about God, we know and feel love and when we ask for love, God then gives us love.  If we don’t think about God, we are not going to know or feel love.  When we forget ourselves and have love from God, it’s like we lose ourselves but gain far much better, happy selves.[8]

That is the essence to true happiness.

          Scientific American published a special issue, “The Science of Happiness.”[9] A common theme was kindness, gratitude and optimism. A happy person within a social circle quickly influences those around him or her to be happy, extending to three degrees of separation.

Our modern lives are cluttered with circumstances to be unhappy, jet we can become more resilient to stress and nourish our minds similarly as we take care of our bodies through healthy eating and exercise. Long- lasting happiness states are possible by practicing acceptance, gratitude, reexamining attitudes, feeding your sense of humor, smiling, and learning how we might better engage in activities that we love, and find positive outlets for love of our environment, interests, people and God.

——————

[1] Merriam Webster Dictionary

[2] Lyubomirsky, et.al., 2005

[3] Michelle Flythe, The Biology of Happiness, Mind & Body blog, Greater Good Berkeley.EDU

[4] Humanity Lives On; You Are Not Alone

[5] Easy Diet Blog on Word Press.Com by ILONAPULIANAUSKAITE

[6] Rubin Khoddam, PhD, Psychology Today, June 2015.

[7] Acacia Parks, Ph.D, Happify Daily.Com,

[8] TrueHappy.Net, Have Happiness?

[9] The Science of Happiness, Scientific American, October 29, 2011; https://www.scientificamerican.com/report/science-of-happiness/

https://maxsscoutservicesllc.wordpress.com/2013/07/31/dont-believe-the-rumors-and-spread-the-stigma/

Healthy Hugs ~ Try 20 Seconds

The average length of a hug between two people is 3 seconds. But the researchers have discovered something fantastic.

When a hug lasts 20 seconds, there is a therapeutic effect on the body and mind.

The reason is that a sincere embrace produces a hormone called “oxytocin”, also known as the love hormone. This substance has many benefits in our physical and mental health, helps us, among other things, to relax, to feel safe and calm our fears and anxiety. This wonderful tranquilizer is offered free of charge every time we have a person in our arms, who cradled a child, who cherish a dog or a cat, that we are dancing with our partner, the closer we get to someone or simply hold the Shoulders of a friend.

A famous quote by psychotherapist Virginia Satir goes, “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” Whether those exact numbers have been scientifically proven remains to be seen, but there is a great deal of scientific evidence related to the importance of hugs and physical contact. Here are some reasons why we should hug::

1. STIMULATES OXYTOCIN

Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter that acts on the limbic system, the brain’s emotional centre, promoting feelings of contentment, reducing anxiety and stress, and even making mammals monogamous. It is the hormone responsible for us all being here today. You see this little gem is released during childbirth, making our mothers forget about all of the excruciating pain they endured expelling us from their bodies and making them want to still love and spend time with us. New research from the University of California suggests that it has a similarly civilising effect on human males, making them more affectionate and better at forming relationships and social bonding. And it dramatically increased the libido and sexual performance of test subjects. When we hug someone, oxytocin is released into our bodies by our pituitary gland, lowering both our heart rates and our cortisol levels. Cortisol is the hormone responsible for stress, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

2. CULTIVATES PATIENCE

Connections are fostered when people take the time to appreciate and acknowledge one another. A hug is one of the easiest ways to show appreciation and acknowledgement of another person. The world is a busy, hustle-bustle place and we’re constantly rushing to the next task. By slowing down and taking a moment to offer sincere hugs throughout the day, we’re benefiting ourselves, others, and cultivating better patience within ourselves.

3. PREVENTS DISEASE

Affection also has a direct response on the reduction of stress which prevents many diseases. The Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine says it has carried out more than 100 studies into touch and found evidence of significant effects, including faster growth in premature babies, reduced pain, decreased autoimmune disease symptoms, lowered glucose levels in children with diabetes, and improved immune systems in people with cancer.

4. STIMULATES THYMUS GLAND

Hugs strengthen the immune system. The gentle pressure on the sternum and the emotional charge this creates activates the Solar Plexus Chakra. This stimulates the thymus gland, which regulates and balances the body’s production of white blood cells, which keep you healthy and disease free.

5. COMMUNICATION WITHOUT SAYING A WORD

Almost 70 percent of communication is nonverbal. The interpretation of body language can be based on a single gesture and hugging is an excellent method of expressing yourself nonverbally to another human being or animal. Not only can they feel the love and care in your embrace, but they can actually be receptive enough to pay it forward to others based on your initiative alone.

6. SELF-ESTEEM

Hugging boosts self-esteem, especially in children. The tactile sense is all-important in infants. A baby recognizes its parents initially by touch. From the time we’re born our family’s touch shows us that we’re loved and special. The associations of self-worth and tactile sensations from our early years are still imbedded in our nervous system as adults. The cuddles we received from our Mom and Dad while growing up remain imprinted at a cellular level, and hugs remind us at a somatic level of that. Hugs, therefore, connect us to our ability to self love.

7. STIMULATES DOPAMINE

Everything everyone does involves protecting and triggering dopamine flow. Low dopamine levels play a role in the neurodegenerative disease Parkinson’s as well as mood disorders such as depression. Dopamine is responsible for giving us that feel-good feeling, and it’s also responsible for motivation! Hugs stimulate brains to release dopamine, the pleasure hormone. Dopamine sensors are the areas that many stimulating drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine target. The presence of a certain kinds of dopamine receptors are also associated with sensation-seeking.

8. STIMULATES SEROTONIN

Reaching out and hugging releases endorphins and serotonin into the blood vessels and the released endorphins and serotonin cause pleasure and negate pain and sadness and decrease the chances of getting heart problems, helps fight excess weight and prolongs life. Even the cuddling of pets has a soothing effect that reduces the stress levels. Hugging for an extended time lifts one’s serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness.

9. PARASYMPATHETIC BALANCE

Hugs balance out the nervous system. The skin contains a network of tiny, egg-shaped pressure centers called Pacinian corpuscles that can sense touch and which are in contact with the brain through the vagus nerve. The galvanic skin response of someone receiving and giving a hug shows a change in skin conductance. The effect in moisture and electricity in the skin suggests a more balanced state in the nervous system – parasympathetic.
Embrace, embrace with your heart.~

ShadowInTheHoosierNatlForest

 

Part V in a Series: Psychoanalytic Analysis of a Major Life-Changing Event [that of my ex-lover]

May Day 2018                                                                             5/18/18

Fridays used to have greater meaning for me and my buds. Now that I am approaching old folks age, I can still remember some of the details.

About 20 years ago, my best buddy was my spouse and we were very content to order an Avanti pizza, rent a movie from a local Blockbuster shop, and hang out in the living room as a family. This had been going on decades or so until we began watching the Friday night cable TV and rented movies, the kids would go out and play with their friends, as we separately went to the study and worked on the computer and Internet. Sadly, this got old too soon.

Nevertheless, we seemed successful to take this time to recharge for the active weekend and going back to work on Mondays.

My ex-wif seemed to enjoy giggling and flirting with our divorced next door neighbor along the fence line. No foolin’, I was able to witness it by looking out the kitchen window while I toiled on washing the pots and pans… silly me, I didn’t think too much of it.

 

20130109_102445
Hanging Out – Shhh… Julius Caesar is Napping

About the time our family had achieved “empty nest” status interpersonal relations in the household hit an all-time low during 2005 or so. Some of us were willing to work things out and the other parts of us were ready to give up, ‘cut bait’ and go fishing in some other water hole.

I felt like I was a lucky one who had Country Corner (pictured above) across the street for me to ‘chillax’, smoke some stogies, drink free excellent coffee and have intercourse (conversations) with neighbors and make new friends. Nowadays, the kind proprietors who operated the corner store have passed away (2017-2018) and are having intercourse amongst the angels in heaven.

Excuse me, I have to walk the dog… to be continued…

 

copyright 2018

Max’s Scout Services and Communications of the Americas, LLC

[ for musement only ]

A Little Bonnie Raitt from Oakland Coliseum – “Three Time Loser”

What in the world is going on?

Can you find a date for this weekend?

Maybe my approach is ineffective. Asking her/him to go see the Pope’s first movie may not be the best ‘ice breaker’, especially for a “Three-Time Loser.”

 

Have a wonderful Pentecostal Weekend!

Part II of a Multi-Party Psychoanalytic Review of Significant Life-Changing Event [of an ex-lover]

After an afternoon’s rest, it is simpler to reflect on the past, ‘what ifs’, contemporary music, doing a bit of cookin’, and achieving a better sense of PEACE. I credit Pastor Father Fabio Medina (St. Anthony’s Menlo Park) for reminding me recently that a person needs to first be AT PEACE before one can understand The Word and the world.

If we are successful at PEACE and understanding, we can better explain what it ALL means: Life, the Gospels, and our pathway in the future. I wish youth could do this and furthermore find their ‘calling’ in life utilizing the talents, time, and treasure they have to offer mankind and their immediate community.

Some Americans, I have to accept, are stout Democrats. But why would a stout Hillary Clinton supporter marry a Republican that doesn’t believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost?!? I suppose, only God knows.

Hillary Supporters
Where are the eyes and ears of Hillary supporters?

In my latest ‘epistle’ I addressed the issues I should have regarding an ex-wif finding another mate and better ‘put myself in her place’ in order to settle matters between the two of us and a third person, namely our daughter.

Here is an excerpt of my earlier writing:

Naw, she (the EX) could not understand how elated I was that she would be able to retire next week and not have to work in a preschool daycare center until she aged to 80 or so. My vows specifically stated ‘until death do y’all part’ and I had still felt responsibility for her health insurance premiums, mortgage payments, property taxes, raising our daughter, and the re-sale value on a $2 to $3,000,000.00 house in beautiful County of San Mateo.

Our children are the very most people in our lives; well, this is true 80% of the time.

Excuse me, I need to go check on the Lasagne in the oven and go take a cat nap.

 

copyright 2018

Max’s Scout Services & Communications of the Americas, LLC

[ for musement only ]