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Monday, October 11, 2010

Steve Diamond Live!

Visit StopStressingNow.com, click on Podcasts, and look for interview 39 with yours truly......

Then sit back and enjoy....

I love interacting with the media but never more than when its a class act like Steven Diamond!

I enjoyed every minute of the interview because, quite simply, he gets it.

Listen in and see just what I mean!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Money and Happiness

When I speak to audiences about happiness, I always qualify in my own mind, even before pursing my lips to speak, what type of happiness I am wishing to address.

For there are indeed different types of “happiness.”

There is, for instance, the simple type of happiness that comes on opening a long-awaited birthday gift – perhaps a beloved Apple i-product.

Is having a happy life simply the product of creating as many “birthday” moments as possible? Would life be better if every day was our birthday?

What about a different perspective. There is another type of happiness that comes from getting word of a promotion or raise. Happiness here is tied closely together with pride and satisfaction for a job well done.

Indeed, human emotions are often “blended” in this way.

Then there’s the happiness of seeing our child walk her first steps. Or the happiness that comes from hearing our son perform a solo in the Christmas concert at school.

But is happiness simply an emotion -- a feeling? Or is it an attitude? Or exactly what is it?

Personally I think one of the reasons there is so much stress and unhappiness in the world is NOT because we don’t have enough stuff or money – clearly, we have more STUFF today than those before us ever have had in history. Rather I think it is because we have been taught that the more we have, the newer we have, the bigger we have…the better it is.

Our society is so funny in its contradictions. First we hear, “size matters.” Then we hear, “It’s not the quantity but the quality.”

Perhaps the real answer is that there is no perfect, easy answer. It would be great if oranges were all sweet and juicy and came the size of pumpkins. And it goes without saying that they shouldn’t have seeds. But that’s not reality.

But what do oranges have to do with the price of eggs?

Nothing.

So let’s get back to money and happiness.

What we do know from repeated research studies over many years now is that increasing someone’s income above a certain level does not statistically give them any more happiness. It may give them more stuff. Bigger stuff. Faster stuff. And there is nothing in and of itself wrong with those things. Those are what Aristotle would call goods. But there are lots of “goods” in the world and in life. Self respect. Honesty. Close relationships. The satisfaction that comes with accomplishment. The joy that comes from giving.

The flipside of money and happiness has certainly also been shown repeatedly: if someone doesn’t have enough money to feed, clothe, and shelter herself then she is going to have a hard time being happy – for there’s just too much stress in a life of poverty.

So here’s the thing about defining happiness: since we know from studies that a lot of people worldwide are relatively happy with relatively little and, conversely, we know that a lot of people with a lot of money are not very happy, it seems to make sense that we can drop money as being part of our preconceived factors that go into our definition of personal happiness. Having things is indeed good. But, again, there are many goods.

So what is inherent to the process of living happily?

Did you hear the question? What is inherent to the process of living happily? If you believe this question is valid, it points us in an important direction. Having a happy life isn’t all about filling life with presents and surprises and excitement. Yet we have become confused to think these are the things we need to pursue. Remember? We are supposed to pursue happiness – which is to say it is necessarily external to ourselves.

I’d instead like to suggest that the “stuff” of our life, while important and “good,” perhaps accounts for only about 10% of our overall happiness. The vast majority of our happiness, probably 90% or so, comes from how we live. Sadly, many people don’t think they have a choice. But we all have a choice to live happily.

It’s easy to be happy when we’re on vacation, the sun is shining, and we’re surrounded by things we love.

But those moments are relatively rare. And that probably makes them somewhat special, doesn’t it?

Consider going to your favorite restaurant and ordering your most favorite meal. You’ve had a long day and now it’s your time to sit back and enjoy. The food melts in your mouth and you enjoy every bite. You savor every aroma…you taste every nuance. But what happens to your emotions when your most favorite dessert is finished and your server brings you your ENTIRE meal again – starting with the entrĂ©e. This second time around it doesn’t taste quite as good…the hunger, literally and metaphorically, is gone.

The same is true of the stuff-of-life type of happiness. It’s great for a while but then we need a break. We need to get hungry again.

But few seem to have learned this lesson. And little wonder: we are inundated with messages from marketers telling us that every once of our happiness comes from acquiring their product or service. Like Cadillac saying, “Let us know when your neighbors are home so we can deliver your new Escalade.” Or what about the make up makers L’Oreal: “Because you’re worth it.” So, let me get this straight, if I don’t pay $2 more for L’Oreal’s hand cream I must not be worth it?

Yes, the messages are pretty direct, aren’t they? And they are everywhere.

It’s called ST – Shopping Therapy. We go to the mall to buy something because we’ve been working so hard and are in need of a lift. Then we feel great for a little while because we have something new. But then the same old feelings come back and then we get the VISA bill and decide we should get another job to pay for our bills. But now it’s time to get back to the mall for some more ST. After all, the sign says that the more we spend the more we will save! And saving is good, right?

Here’s yet another quick story. Several years ago, a group of university students were asked to participate in an experiment. They were offered the opportunity of getting attached to a machine that gave them the sensation of orgasm. That’s right, the BIG O. Orgasm. The only caveat? They would necessarily be attached to the machine for a long, long time – continuously.

Imagine that: one big, long orgasm.

(Something Aristotle would probably have called a “great.”)

And because of the caveat you could probably guess that nobody signed up for that experiment. Truly, nobody did.

So let’s recap. Is it possible that so many people are so unhappy because they are searching down the wrong path, namely to have more things in their world? Is it possible they have bought into the idea that more is better but then quickly fall prey to the reality of hedonistic accommodation – the process by which we humans get used to fun things?

Is it possible that we should instead be focusing on learning how to be happy? How do we foster a happy attitude? How can we take a lemon and make lemonade? How can we learn to enjoy the scenery on a detour?

Fostering any kind of attitude change takes practice…But it all begins by intellectually acknowledging the path you truly want to take. And that takes perspective.

That said, you’ve heard mine. And now I’m looking forward to hearing your perspective on this issue.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Infatuation, Preoccupation, or Addiction?

Have you noticed how many (if not most) people are incredibly focused on money? Attaining it, spending it, hoarding it?

Here's a funny little conversation which helps illustrate just what I mean. Food for thought.

Man: God?
God: Yes?
Man: Can I ask you something?
God: Of course!
Man: What's a million years to you?
God: A second.
Man: And a million dollars?
God: A penny.
Man: God, can I have a penny?


God: Yes, just wait a second.

(author Unknown)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Smiling and Laughing and Being Happy

Think about it. It is pretty hard not to be feeling pretty happy when you're laughing, right?

In fact, I'd say there are only rare occasions in which a person can be smiling or laughing and not actually be happy. For instance, we may end up feeling amused when someone flips onto their back having stepped on a banana peel...but we're not truly happy. We may smile when we find out that a backstabbing former 'friend' got fired from his job...but again, we're not truly happy. We may repeat mantras like, "what goes around, comes around," and similar types of phrases...but that is not happiness.

But outside of these types of examples, behaviours like smiling and laughing all are known not only to be a product of happiness - a side-effect of sorts - but they also induce happiness!

We smile when we are happy and we can make ourselves happy by smiling and laughing! It works both ways!

Smile and laugh as often as you can; you will find your attitude will be more light-hearted!

Monday, May 31, 2010

DOWNLOAD -- a song of electronic inspiration

From the author of "The Core of Happiness" comes a revised classic...

DOWNLOAD


When you're alone and chat is making you lonely
You can always go
Download

When you've got worries, all the pics and the story
Seem to help, I know
Download

Just listen to the music of your hard drive spinning silly,
Linger in the App store where the neon signs are pretty
How can you snooze? The pixels are much brighter there...
You can forget all your friend requests, ignore all your tweets and go
Download -- things will be great when you
Download -- you'll find disc space for sure
Download -- the App Store is waiting for you

Download... Download.....

Don't wait behind, and let the Jones' surpass you,
There's an App for you
Download

Maybe you know some little windows to go to
Where they never close
Download

Just listen to the rhythm of a gentle Gigga Bite-ah
You'll be dancing with 'em too before the night is over,
Happy again...
The pixels are much brighter there,
You can forget all your friend requests, ignore all the tweets, and go
DOWNLOAD-- things will be great when you
DOWNLOAD--you'll find disc space for sure
DOWNLOAD--we've got a new app for you now....

Download....Download....Download....

And you may find a kind Mac Genius to help and understand you;
Someone who is just like you and needs a gentle mouse click to
Guide them along...
So maybe I'll Skype you there,
We can forget all our friend requests; ignore all the tweets and go
Download -- things will be great when you
Download -- don't wait a minute more
Download -- every app's waiting for you...

Download...Download...
Download...Download...
Download...Download...
Download...Download...
Download...Download... (fade)

Copyleft (c) 2010 Rudy "Petula C" Wietfeldt
Visit www.TheCoreOfHappiness.Info for more info!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Letting go of the "inner judge"

First there was Judge Wapner, then Judge Judy, then Judge Joe Brown...and maybe there are even others now on television leading the way to high ratings via moralistic rulings.

And don't get me wrong, there is unquestionably a role for the whole "don't-take-the-law-into- your-own-hands...you-take 'em-to-court mentality.

The problem, as I see it, is the inner micro judge judy that sits inside our minds being so highly critical of everything that goes on...what good does all that negativity really do?

Negativity without purpose is useless energy.

And so, whether we find ourselves judging others or just ourselves, let's let go of the black cape and gavel and instead embrace a caring, positive, supportive stance.

Make sense? Your thoughts are appreciated.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Contemplating contemplation

Sometimes it is good to talk, other times it is just good to sit and think.

How much time do you actually have, yourself, to just sit down and think about something for a while without an interruption?

If there isn't a tug from a little person, there may be the voice of a spouse or other relative in person. Then, of course, there are the incessant interruptions from sirens, horns honking, dogs barking, phones, cell phones, fax machines, pagers, IMs, text messages, Skype calls...and so on.

When's the last time you had just fifteen consecutive minutes to be alone with your thoughts? My bet is that your answer is something like "a long time ago" if not "never."

And is that not scary? We're supposed to meet up with our dentist every six months and with our physician every year for an annual health exam -- the so-called "physical." But who talks about having a mental health exam. (And as Canada is the country with a one dollar coin known as the "looney," let's not even ponder what the nickname for the mental health exam might be called.)

Consider taking some time and just "being" for a change. Let your mind breathe without rushing somewhere. You will probably be amazed by three things: first off, wow! That felt good; secondly, you'll want to schedule more of these 15 minute breaks; and thirdly, you'll be shocked to find that you are actually more productive when you do give your mind a chance to turn inwards and reflect quietly on the day-to-day happenings inside....

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Need a laugh?


Type "try not to laugh" in the YouTube search box.

Sit back.

Fasten your seatbelt.

And try not to laugh!

A formula for Happiness?


Reuters

March 9, 2010

The Red Sea

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Archeologists and anthropologists at the University of Duh announced today a new tablet was found in the Red Sea.

Amid speculation that the announcement was part of a media blitz by Apple, Inc. in advance of the release of the new iPad, members of the worldwide media group were stunned to find physical evidence of a 3'x3' block of stone, carbon dated back to the time of Moses.

Professor I.P. Knightly and study co-author Professor Rusty Bedsprings held up the tablet which read in English translation:

Happiness=Expectations/Results

Whether from the time of the burning bush or from the smoking weed, scientists agree that our happiness can be understood in terms of our expectations divided by the results we obtain.

"Imagine how you'd feel if you got 90% on a test but only expected to get 50%," Professor Knightly explained. "You'd be thrilled!"

"But, on the other hand," Professor Bedsprings interjected, "if you expected to get 90% but got only 50%, then you'd likely be significantly upset."

But what does all this mean?

According to upstate new york sociology professor, 'Whip' T. Doo, "it means we must take advantage of every situation. We have to hope for, work towards and expect the best ... but we also need to be prepared to accept less than the best some of the time.

"After all," Professor Doo continued, "we have to wrap our minds around the fact that some days we're the pigeon and other days we're the statue."

Monday, March 8, 2010

Laughter!

Laughter has long been said to be the best medicine.

Click on any of the above videos to check out the best surgery!

You won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The PHYSICAL realm


Roughly one third of the world or more is dying WITHOUT clean water....

Roughly one third of the world or more is dying WITHOUT any bread....

And roughly one third of the world is dying FROM EATING TOO MUCH!

My guess is, since you have the technology to read this, you are probably living somewhere where overindulgence is the rule.

Our bodies are our corporal vessels which house the mind and soul. To look after our vessel is to look after the physical realm of life.

The key features of good maintenance: Rest, Diet, and Exercise.

Rest: Everyone has different needs but typically eight hours or so of continuous sleep per 24 hour day is a good place to start. Some need more. Others need less. Start with eight and go from there. Try keeping a diary of your sleep, energy, and mood levels. Doing this will help you find the proper amount of rest that you need in order to feel your best and function your best. And be aware that added stress can change your body's rest requirements...so check in with yourself to see how you're doing, particularly during a crisis.

Diet: The food we eat is the fuel for the body's engine. Just like your car, you need to add unleaded fuel. Put in crap and your engine will seize.

Crap in, crap out. It's that simple.

Spend what you can to buy the best food you can -- there are few things more important in life!

Exercise: We live in a very overweight continent. We don't typically move enough. Why? Because we are too tired. Our energy management is off.

So what do we tend to do instead? Well since there is that 159 inch idiot thin screen box in front of our lazyboy...I guess we should turn it on. After all we have to have something to look at while we drink beer and eat that 26 pound bag of polysaturated butter grease.

Reality shoes are so intense! Time for another beer.

STOP THE INSANITY.

So you weigh too much. Remember. Your stomach is a sac. If it is used to being filled beyond normal capacity, it has stretched. And the more the stomach stretches, the more food has to be devoured in order to feel satisfied. The more calories consumed, the more weight we put on, typically.

The key is to gradually make changes. Slowly, meal by meal, eat less. Purposefully take conscious control of your eating. Do NOT eat in front of the idiot box. Similarly, do not get sucked in by the idiot box. Slowly make plans to exercise. Plan to walk around the block with a friend. Then follow through with your plan! Execute it! Be persistent...and it WILL pay off. Guaranteed!

For weight is a rather simple thing: some combination of eating fewer calories and exercising more will undoubtedly lead to a more healthy weight and more toned body.

The time is NOW.

The time is NOW.

N.

O.

W.

NOW!

(Which letter didn't you get?)