I Couldn’t Be Happier!

smile-happy-yellow-faceWhen was the last time you said, “I couldn’t be happier…”? Happiness can be elusive. It can be fleeting. Too often, it can be lost in our modern world’s swirl of stress, multitasking, and 24/7 news. Today you are already thinking about tomorrow.

Positive Psychology, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School, is a “how to” guide to greater personal happiness. It will show you how you can surmount the obstacles that disrupt and diminish your ability to enjoy life to its fullest, with awareness and connection.

We all know money can’t buy happiness. So, how do we get it? Current research is confirming what many of us heard from our elders and spiritual leaders: satisfaction comes with being engaged, doing good, and focusing on the present.

In this report, you’ll see how positive psychology is helping men and women use their psychological strengths to increase attentiveness and concern, and draw greater fulfillment from each day’s experiences.

Positive Psychology will help you identify your unique strong points. You’ll gain an important understanding of the role of gratitude and how it can be successfully cultivated and employed. You’ll learn the keys to “going with the flow” — becoming more at one with whatever you are doing. The report will also give you practical strategies for maximizing concentration and eliminating distractions.

girl-happyYou’ll read about the key role of mindfulness, the ability to “live in the moment” fully and without judgment. You’ll be introduced to techniques for savoring life’s pleasures, large and small, with equal enthusiasm and enjoyment.

The report offers helpful guidance on using positive psychology techniques to develop the resilience to handle difficulties more easily. Plus, you’ll read about the significant effect positive emotions have on health and longevity, how positive psychology’s principles can enhance personal relationships, and much more.

Order your copy of Positive Psychology now. You’ll be happy you did!

To your good health,

Anthony Komaroff, M.D.
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Senior Physician, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Editor in Chief, Harvard Health Publications

Turning the Negative Positive

If you are a negative self-talker, you may not even be aware of it. Thinking the worst can be second nature after years of doing it. But it can be influencing how you live life and keeping you from being HAPPY!

tumblr_lsu3w4LS7D1qc0yn6o1_500Self-talk isn’t just mindless chatter. It has a way of creating its own reality. Telling yourself you can do something can help it happen. Telling yourself you can’t do something can make that come true – it’s called a self-fulfilling prophecy. Tell yourself you’ll never lose weight and it can be like eating a whole bag of chips. Tell yourself it’s too hard to find another job and you’ll likely watch TV instead of updating your resume.

“Self-talk dictates how you relate to yourself and how you show up for other people,” says Beneduce. Franco Beneduce is a certified life coach and group facilitator in San Francisco. As he coaches people on successful life strategies, he sees how your self-talk (the conversations you have in your head) either supports or undermines your progress toward their goals.

Let’s say you think you have nothing interesting to say. If you keep telling yourself that, other people are going to see you that way, too. In fact, people who think negatively tend to be less outgoing and have weaker social networks than positive thinkers. Multiple studies link positive emotions with more satisfying relationships, more romance, and lower rates of divorce.

Negative self-talk can be a runaway train. Your mind goes around in circles replaying a negative event or your own shortcomings. “People who ruminate dwell on negative feelings,” says Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of California in Riverside. You may think that you’re getting in touch with your true feelings, but bad feelings have a way of getting worse the more attention you give them (sort of like a pimple that you just keep squeezing!)

The more you focus on negative events or shortcomings, the harder it is to put them behind you. Research shows that happy people put bad days behind them.

Stop_negative_self_talk___think_positiveThe problem is if negative self-talk came with an off switch, you could just flip it; but it doesn’t. It takes a plan and some work to tone it down.

 

Here are four ways to make it happen:

  • Distance yourself. You can’t banish negative self-talk forever, but you can take a step back from it. When you notice negative self-talk occurring, Beneduce says address it like you would an opinionated third party. You might say, “Thanks for sharing,” or “It’s interesting you feel that way” and move on.
  • Distract yourself. “Over-thinking involves focusing on a train of thought that goes around and around,” Lyubomirsky says. “You can stop that train of thought by focusing on something else.” Try doing a crossword puzzle, or any other activity that fully engages your mind.
  • How to Begin Handling Your Self Talk and Feel GreatCall them on it. Give your negative thoughts the third-degree and they could crumble. You might ask yourself, “Is that really true?” or “Is there another way to look at this situation?” You may also look for benefits. If you missed that job promotion, are there any lessons for the future you can take from the situation? Or could another opportunity come out of it?
  • Save them for later. Set aside a time of day for negative self-talk. If you hear yourself doubting, blaming, or comparing yourself to others at another time of day, tell yourself you will come back to the conversation later. When the appointed time arrives, your negative thoughts may have lost all their oomph.

Beneduce admits he’s not immune to negative self-talk. When he works with large groups, he knows everyone will be watching him. If he’s on, the day will go well, but if he’s off, he flops. So going in, he tells himself, “I am confident. I have the skills I need. I am going to trust myself.”

Sometimes he’ll write three words on a piece of paper to reinforce it. Throughout the day, he glances at them: “Fun. Smart. Effective.” And that is what he projects.

You can do it, too!

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Letter to a Pain-Free Person

Dear Pain-Free Person,

There are the things I would like you to understand before you judge me…

Please know that being sick doesn’t mean I’m not human. I may spend most of my day flat on my back and I might not seem like great company, but I’m still me stuck inside this body. I worry about school, work, family and friends and I’d still like to hear about yours.

Please understand the difference between ‘happy’ and ‘healthy’. When you’ve got the flu you probably feel miserable but it will pass. I’ve been sick for so long that I can’t afford to be miserable all the time, in fact I work hard at not being miserable. So if I sound happy, it means that I’m happy, it does not mean that I am well. I may be in pain and sicker than ever.

Please, don’t say, “Oh, you’re sounding better!”.

I am not sounding better, I am sounding happy. If you want to comment on that, you’re welcome.

Please understand that being able to stand up for five minutes, doesn’t mean that I can stand ten minutes, or an hour. It’s likely that five minutes has exhausted my resources and I’ll need to recover – imagine an athlete after a race. They couldn’t repeat that feat right away either. With a lot of diseases you’re either paralyzed or you can move, but with Fibromyalgia it gets more confusing.

Please repeat the above paragraph substituting, “sitting up”, “walking”, “thinking”, “being sociable” and so on … it applies to everything. That’s what a fatigue-based illness does to you.

Please understand that chronic illnesses are variable. It’s quite possible (for me, it’s common) that one day I am able to walk to the park and back, and the next I’ll struggle to reach the kitchen.

Please don’t attack me when I’m ill by saying, “But you did it before!”.

If you want me to do something, ask if I can and I’ll tell you. In a similar vein, I may need to cancel an invitation at the last minute, if this happens please don’t take it personally.

Please understand that “getting out and doing things” does not make me feel better, and can often make me worse. Fibromyalgia may cause secondary depression (wouldn’t you get depressed if you were no longer able to participate in life?) but it is not caused by depression. Telling me that I need exercise is not appreciated or correct – if I could do it, I would.

Please understand that if I say I have to sit down/lie down/take these pills now, that I do have to do it right now – it can’t be put off or forgotten just because I’m doing something. Fibromyalgia does not forgive.

Please understand that I can’t spend all of my energy trying to get well. With a short-term illness like the flu, you can afford to put life on hold for a week or two while you get well. But part of having a chronic illness is coming to the realization that you have to spend some energy on having a life now. This doesn’t mean I’m not trying to get better. It doesn’t mean I’ve given up. It’s just how life is when you’re dealing with a chronic illness.

If you want to suggest a cure, please don’t. It’s not because I don’t appreciate the thought, and it’s not because I don’t want to get well. It’s because every one of my friends has already suggested every theory known to man. I tried them all, but quickly realized I was using up so much energy trying new treatments I was making myself sicker, not better. If there was something that cured Fibromyalgia, all of us would know about it by now.

If you read this and still want to suggest a cure, submit it in writing but don’t expect me to rush out and try it. If it is something new, with merit, I’ll discuss it with my doctor.

Please understand that getting better can be a slow process. Fibromyalgia entails numerous symptoms and it can take a long time to sort them all out.

I depend on you – people who are not sick for many things but most importantly, I need you to understand me.

Thanks for your understanding,

A FibroMAGICian xxx