Happy thoughts

Kind of easy to see the differences in people’s happiness around us today….

“You may think people are unhappy because of their circumstances and the fact that the world is full of trouble. But in fact, the world is full of trouble because the people are not happy. Happy people are kind to and respectful of others, while unhappy people are abusive to both themselves and others, and, either way, this affects the world around them. How we feel effects what we think and believe, our actions, and every action has a reaction.”

Focus on joy

I really like this as a practice. See if you can avoid talking about problems for even one day. Every time you catch yourself starting to talk AND think about them, just stop and talk and think about your joys instead. Just one day. Notice what that day feels like.

No “dumping” zone

No dumping zone - abundance guy

I had a link on last weeks post to this blog back in 2017. I couldn’t figure out how to fix it, so I just thought I’d repost the blog:)

Do you feel people are often “dumping ” their problems on you?

Do you feel like you can’t say no or stop someone from talking about their problems? Does it leave you tired?

Do you feel obligated to hear someone’s problems? is it supportive for you?

It feels good to vent now and then and I enjoy supporting family and friends that are working through issues. However, to hear someone go on and on about their problems, especially when its filled with gossip or blaming others is usually draining. I certainly have noticed this for myself. Sometimes when I feel this obligation to listen, I notice a few things happen. First, I resent it and my energy gets drained. Also, I’m not as present as I’m usually wanting the conversation to end after a while………. Any of you, start checking emails or doing chores around the house when a conversation becomes one sided? How much value are we really adding in this “not so present” listening mode. If someone is really stuck in “drama” mode, getting stuck talking excessively about the problem, gossiping or blaming others for their situation, that is a lot of negativity to hear. I feel it eventually it starts to drain ones energy.

In the past I have gotten mad at myself for “listening” too long as now my energy has been affected, sometimes lasting for hours or more after I leave the conversation. No matter how much we love someone, does allowing our energy to be drained really serve either person? I feel keeping my energy high actually helps the other, even if they can’t see or feel it.

A few years back, I added a 5 minute “dumping” rule for myself. That is, I would allow 5 minutes of “dumping” to go on in a conversation and if it went beyond I then asked the person if we could schedule a time (if I wanted to) when I could better listen and be present for them. I would say something like, “this sounds like a really important issue for you and I want to hear you when I can be fully present” or being more direct, “it is sometimes draining for me to hear someone talk at length about their problems when my energy is not so strong”. If their was a lot of gossip and blame, I sometimes would offer, “I feel I might be more helpful to you to be a sounding board for SOLUTIONS to your problem” (rather than gossiping and blaming others). Of course, communicating this can be a delicate balance in relationships. I have noticed that it is best to bring up how you want to communicate in the future to those closer relationships, as in the heat of the moment can be a bit harder for the other person to handle. Practice those “I” messages when communicating, “I feel this way”…..”I notice this about myself when”, ect. We all are allowed to feel how we feel about something.

Know that this is a practice and you will likely mess it up, at least I do. I believe in taking small steps to improvement  and that often comes as two steps forward and one step back.

I have been practicing this 5 minute rule more these days. It takes some communication and patience and what I found was and is that when I did this with some people they would eventually dump somewhere else and in many circumstances our connection grew as we more frequently moved into real feelings and solutions when some of the drama was removed. Also, there is an definite energy shift when you change from talking about the problem to talking about the solution.

This is still a work in progress for me and I’m always on the look out for creative ways in dealing with “dumping”, so let me know if you have any ideas!

Energy Bus

I read a book called the energy bus a while back and really like the simple message the author had in an entertaining story format. The story in a nut shell is about a guy with nothing going right in life learns how to be responsible for his own energy. The story gets going as the guy hops on a bus, after his car breaks down, and gets on a bus with a “special” bus driver. The bus driver over the days he is taking the bus, teaches him some steps to improving his energy and thus his life. Though it is more focused on the guy’s business life, it has a lot of lessons that are great reminders for everyday life. 

The book has 12 “steps” to creating better “energy” for yourself and the one that I resonate now as I reflect back on the book it is “getting rid of energy vampires”. Basically, saying we do not have to keep relationships that are taking our energy away or draining us over and over. I would offer that can be very important in your overall daily attitude and health. It seems there are willing “energy vampires” that will dump their problems on you until your glossed over and drained. I think some of us do not realize how draining these conversations can be. I feel sometimes we can get caught up in others story and or feel obligated to listen. For those relationships that truly are draining the book says, get rid of them.

I agree for the most part, as it seems life’s too short to let yourself get “energetically sucked” all the time. So, saying no to being “dumped on” is important to me. I wrote an earlier blog about having a 5 minute dumping rule (click here) you might be interested in reading.  In that, I mention that it usually feels better to handle more difficult conversations on your terms, when your energy is higher and your better prepared. Also, guiding or requesting conversations to focus on solutions always feels better to me. With taking about solutions I feel I can keep my energy higher and of course, that conversion usually has more positive energy around it.

Clearly their are certain relationships that maybe more complex that you chose keep or maintain for various reasons and times when you just have to “be there” for someone in time of need. I’m just suggesting to take a look at the those consistent “energy vampires” in your life. Also, even though a person maybe be a co worker you must be around or maybe a family member, that still doesn’t let you off the hook for “managing” that particular relationship. Often, having the courage to tackle the tough relationships often leads to a better relationship and/or just more energy for you.

Light is stronger than darkness

I have always liked this quote. It seems even more important now where tolerance for each other seems in such short supply.

Think your position is the right one? “Hate” the other side?  Here is a good reminder from Mr. King.

 

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
 

How often do you judge others?

the abundance guy - judgement and freedom

“What if your life depended on not seeing the faults of others,
how long would you live?

Oops, I think I just died as I thought about a friend that could be/feel better if they did this or that!

Judgement is an interesting thing. It’s kind of impossible not to judge others with our senses always fully on and our long list of beliefs (conscious AND unconscious) and experiences ready to compare and evaluate to what we are experiencing now. However, in the instances I am able to at least put my judgement in neutral or suspend them for a minute or two I sure have a different experience. I have a tendency to be a “fixer”. I guess being a “giver” and in the businesses I have been in, brings that up even more. I have noticed some of my freest moments in relationships are when I am truly allowing others to be right where they are, even when the “faults” I see, seem clear as day to me (Of course, someones else faults are my judgements). In the moment, I can just smile internally at a person in their place and know they are likely exactly where they need to be at this moment. I can let go of wanting to fix and not forcing my opinions on the “right” way, by my judgement, to live. So many options how to live these days, right?

Sometimes, I practice putting my judgements aside by asking a person, say, with the totally opposite beliefs, how long they have felt that way? Or was there a particular event that occurred that drove that belief home for them? Or any other type question that opens them up to sharing rather than just being stuck in what seems to be a growing polarized, I’m right your wrong world.  I’m not saying it’s easy to do, but, for me, it’s so much more enjoyable to reach for understanding, compassion and some connection, even if it seems small, rather than the easier way of finding our differences. Of course, we really, at some level, know we are more deeply connected to each other than just our judgements.

This is one of my favorite stories of my judgements be so far off reality that I haven’t thought about for a while, but such a good example still.

I was sitting alone at the bar of a sushi restaurant in the San Francisco area. I saw a guy a few seats down and I had a bunch of judgements come up about how he was ordering his meal. Details not important, but I had the judgements that this guy must really be a snob. So as I was laying on the snob thoughts about him in my head, his food later came and it looked awesome and I wished I had ordered it! So, if he was a snob I thought, he sure ordered great looking food! I softened in the moment a bit and I decided to say something to him. I said, “wow, that looks great!” and he said he was thinking the same thing about my food  that had just been delivered. I laughed inside when he said that and we got to talking and I found out that he was in construction, doing a remodel in what sounded like an awesome house with a view of the whole bay area. He was so grateful to have work, in a beautiful place and to be working with a friend that was teaching him new skills after 30 years in the business, so he could attract more business. He normally drive 2 hours each way 6 days a week to get to this job and this one night he decided to get a hotel and a nice meal.  After he said that, he offered me a glass of wine from his bottle. Wow, so much for my judgement! I think he was pretty much the exact opposite from a snob and I guess who was really was the snob!

Anyway, for me it’s a constant practice of minding my own judgements (business). I’ll invite you to try non judgement, consciously, for an hour or even 5 minutes. you might learn something as I did.

Judging is more about you - the abundance guy

 

 

Want to be happier? This study says cut your social media time?


Cutting back on Facebook or Snapchat will make you less depressed, study says

  • A study conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania claims to be the first to find a direct causal link between cutting back on social media use and improvements in loneliness and depression.
  • The study finds that students who limited their daily use of Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat to 10 minutes each per day experienced significant declines in depressive symptoms.

Limiting the use of Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat directly leads to reductions in loneliness and depression, according to a recent study published by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania.

The study is titled “No More FOMO: Limiting Social Media Decreases Loneliness and Depression,” and as part of it, researchers observed 143 undergraduate students over three weeks.

The students were split into two groups: one that continued to use social media as normal and another that was limited to using each social service to 10 minutes per day. Students sent researchers screenshots of their iPhone battery usage, which shows how many minutes are spent on each app each day, to track their usage of the apps.

The experiment found that among the group that limited its use of social media, the researchers saw significant declines in depressive symptoms.

“Not comparing my life to the lives of others had a much stronger impact than I expected, and I felt a lot more positive about myself during those weeks,” one of the students said, according to the study.

Facebook could not be reached for comment. Snap, the maker of Snapchat, declined to comment.

Though other studies have found correlations between social media and mental health issues, this study claims to be the first “to establish a clear causal link between decreasing social media use, and improvements in loneliness and depression.”

“It is ironic, but perhaps not surprising, that reducing social media, which promised to help us connect with others, actually helps people feel less lonely and depressed,” the study reads.

Just say no

Okay, we may not be able to say “no” to everything in our lives that stresses out. We all have jobs, partners, family, ect. that can often feel like we are getting a lot of “no” slapped in our face. Sometimes, I have people dismiss this happiness quote below as impossible. I get the thinking and I’ll offer how about looking for just one YES you can say to yourself by saying “no” to some person or life situation that’s stressful when it presents itself to you. If you decide to do this, you will often be surprised by the opportunities that present themselves.

See how you feel when you say “no” to a person or situation. See how your energy changes. You can start small, maybe with a person you do not know at all or a situation you always say yes normally, especially if it has a bit of obligation to it. How about diving right in and telling that person that always calls you to complain or to dump their life on you, you do not have time to talk today?  Remember, your just practicing and you can say no today and choose differently tomorrow. Maybe you can work towards communicating to that person how the “dump” feels energetically to you. Maybe you just make the conversation 5 minutes shorter than normal. Again, your saying yes to yourself and keeping a bit more of your energy for you!

In my book, any step towards a YES for you and your improved happiness is a step in the right direction:

 

 

Changing habits

7  Reasons why most of us fail to change our habits:

1.     We are unconsciously programmed with a different habit

2.     Fear, fear, fear

3.     Our brain blocks it

4.     We take steps that are too big

5.     We get overwhelmed by feelings and thoughts

6.     We lack compassion with ourselves

7.     We rather choose to create excuses

 

I think number 4 is the place to start if your stuck in a rut or having a hard time adding a new habit to your life. Taking small steps that allows you to SLOWLY build new habits actually can help with a bunch of the other points on this list or others you may have on your personal list. Taking a small step is less scary, right? Taking a small step that is easy to complete builds some momentum and can build confidence in ourselves, right? We are less likely to get overwhelmed when we look at the end result of the new habit, say losing 30 pounds, compared to as it just a small simple step of not eating ice cream one day a week or walking around the block. The excuses are a bit “harder” to make when you make steps smaller. “All I have to do today is walk around the block….well, i can do that, it will only take 4 minutes”.

Is there a habit you want to do that you have been putting off? Is there one small thing towards that habit or goal that you can do right now no matter how small it is?

 

 

Releasing the Reigns

Read this from the “Daily OM” a while back and thought it was a good reminder to share. I am of the belief that people come to us, most of the time, for OUR lessons and not as randomly as we might think. Sometimes, I find I have to look pretty deep at why I’m running into somebody, especially when my “buttons” are being pushed! Do I need to learn greater compassion? Can I be less selfish? Or do would it be better to be more “selfish” and not spread my energy to thin? How about more allowance? Everyone has their own lessons (I feel whether they want or realize them or not) and they have the choice to be in any place they want to be with those lessons, even if it’s “unaware”……… Wow, what if I could have more allowance???? Less judgement!!!!!!!! Even saying that, I can feel a lightness, more freedom coming over me.

Now, that’s a nice place I will hang out more in……..

Let go so life can come in - abundance guy

If your tendency is to try and change other people, take some time to explore why you feel the need to do so.

Our perception of humanity as a whole is, to a large extent, dualistic. We paint people with a broad brush—some are like us, sharing our opinions and our attitudes, while others are different. Our commitment to values we have chosen to embrace is often so strong that we are easily convinced that our way is the right way. We may find ourselves frustrated by those who view the world from an alternate vantage point and make use of unusual strategies when coping with life’s challenges. However ardently we believe that these people would be happier and more satisfied following our lead, we should resist the temptation to try to change them. Every human being has been blessed with a unique nature that cannot be altered by outside forces. We are who we are at any one point in our lives for a reason, and no one person can say for certain what another should be like.

The reasons we try to change one another are numerous. Since we have learned over time to flourish in the richness of lives we have built, we may come to believe that we are qualified to speak on behalf of the greater source. The sum total of our knowledge will never compare to what we do not know, however, and our understanding of others’ lives will forever be limited. The potential we see in the people who are a part of our lives will never be precisely the same as our own, so we do these individuals a disservice when we make assumptions about their intentions, preferences, and goals. Our power lies in our ability to accept others for all their quirks and differences and to let go of the need to control every element of our existence. We can love people for who they are, embracing their uniqueness, or we can love them as human beings from afar.

Your ability to influence people may grow more sophisticated because others sense that you respect their right to be themselves, but you will likely spend more time gazing inward, into the one person you can change: yourself.