Free happiness hacks.

By David Joel Miller.

Add to your happiness a little at a time.

Happy Life

Happy Life.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Being happy doesn’t require a lot of money. It requires developing a few happiness skills. Happiness doesn’t come from accomplishing one grand goal.  You build happiness a little at a time each day.  Try adding a few of these happiness hacks to your life each day, and watch your total happiness grow. Which of these happiness skills should you be practicing.

Get adequate sleep.

People who fail to get enough sleep become irritable and grouchy.  Lack of sleep is a prime cause of mistakes.  People who get enough sleep are better able to handle life’s problems as they come along.  People who are chronically sleep deprived are at increased risk for depression and other mental health issues.  You will spend more time sleeping than you will expend on any other activity in your lifetime make sure you do a good job of sleeping.

Love what you do.

Second behind sleeping will be the amount of time that you will spend working.  All other activities will receive smaller amounts of your time.  If you enjoy what you do for a living it will go a long way toward making your life happy. Don’t expect those few other hours of your life to generate enough happiness to make up for working at a job that makes you miserable.  People who work a job they enjoy are doubly blessed.  They get to enjoy what they do while at work and they get to enjoy the things that the money they earn at work will provide for.

Become a happiness expert.

Happiness is one of those emotions that may be hard to spot if you haven’t made a habit out of recognizing it.  There’s a thing called the expert effect which says that it’s hard to recognize something if you don’t know what it is.  To have more happiness in your life, make it a project to study happiness so you will recognize it when it crosses your path.

Make lists of what you have, not what you are missing.

Many people have long lists of the things that they don’t have.  If you stay focused on the things that are missing in your life you create a life full of scarcity.  The happiest people are the people who spend the time to notice all the wonderful things they do have.  Make it a point to develop a gratitude list.  Give thanks for the wonderful things that you do have in your life no matter how small those things are.  People who are grateful for what they do have, find that they can be happy even in tough times.  Those who are focused on what they don’t have will find that they will never have enough things to make them happy.

For more happiness be yourself.

Happy people are fully themselves.  Learn to accept yourself the way you are.  Do not try to be someone else.  People who are genuine and authentic find it easy to be happy.  Those who are constantly trying to be someone are something other than themselves find the task impossibly discouraging.

Let others be who they are.

Happy people are able to accept others as they are.  If you’re constantly insisting that other people need to change for you to be happy you are creating your own unhappiness.  Accept other people as they are.  That does not mean that you need to let everybody into your life or associate with them.  Just accept people for who and what they are and stop upsetting yourself when they don’t meet your expectations.

Plan on having a good day.

If you tell yourself that you will have a bad day you will create that bad day.  Tell yourself that you plan to have a good day and no matter what happens you are likely to recognize those small pleasant events.

Stop comparing up.

Stop comparing yourself to other people.  There will always be someone richer, more powerful, or smarter.  Be OK with who and what you are.  Let other people be who they are.  You should not compare yourself in your gardening outfit was someone dressed to attend a fancy event.

Embrace your flaws, stop trying to be perfect.

You are a human being.  You are required to do things, make mistakes and learn from those mistakes.  Nowhere in the rule book on being human does it say that anyone is expected to be perfect.

Stay in the present.

Avoid focusing on the past, it is gone.  People who stay stuck in the past are unable to live in the present.  The more you ruminate about the past, what shouldn’t have happened, the more depressed you become.  People who are constantly thinking about the future, what might happen, become highly anxious and unable to be happy in present.  People who are successful and living in the present are the happiest people.

Do more of what’s working.

Unhappiness comes from not learning from your mistakes.  Happiness is a result of discovering those things in your life that are working and doing more of them.  Constantly be on the lookout for those things that you are doing that are creating positive results.

Find your passion.

In your work, your relationships, their hobbies and all other activities pursue your passions.  People who devote themselves to the things that they feel passionate about derive great pleasure from doing.  Whenever it is that turns you on, as long as it does not harm others, do more of it.

Allow others to be wrong.

Happy people are content to allow other people to be wrong on occasion.  Keep open the possibility that there are times you will believe something which later turns out to be incorrect.  Let other people be wrong also.  Don’t feel the need to correct others.

Pick wise goals.

Before you give a lot of time and effort to pursuing a goal make sure that goal is worthwhile.  Turns out that happiness is more about achieving good goals than about accomplishing everything.  Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.  When your goals are good and wise, any progress you make towards them will make you happy.

Keep your life in balance.

A happy life is a life that is in balance in all areas.  No one part of your life should take over.  Keep your work, your family, your self-care, and all other parts of your life in their proper balance and you make it easier to have a happy life.  In other posts we will talk more about the various parts of your life and how to keep those all in balance.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Curiosity.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Curiosity.

Curiosity

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”

― Albert Einstein

“Curiosity is, in great and generous minds, the first passion and the last.”

― Samuel Johnson, Works of Samuel Johnson

“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

― Walt Disney Company

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Whatever happened to self-control?

By David Joel Miller.

Is self-control a lost art?

Controler

Self-Control.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Self-control is not something you’re automatically born with.  The ability to control yourself is something that develops over time.  As often as we hear about a lack of Self-control you would think that the growing and development of Self-control was a lost art.

Newborn infants are remarkable for their lack of self-control.  Babies cry whenever they want something, and they are totally irresponsible when it comes to eliminating their waste products.  What does it take for these infants to grow into people who have some amount of Self-control?

Parents are the best teachers of self-control.

In the early stages of life, parents have to provide the control that children are lacking within themselves.  Parents who do not make an effort to control their children teach that child they cannot be controlled. If the child cannot be controlled by the parents, then how could they possible control themselves?

Increasingly we see young people, and even those into middle life, who have somehow concluded that Self-control was something you were either born with or will never have.  They have convinced themselves that they cannot control themselves.

How is that related to addiction whose hallmark is loss of control.

Can you see how all people who lack self-control in the small, day-to-day items would be at an extra risk of developing an addiction?  People who find it difficult to resist the urge for more food, to spend more money or to behave in responsible ways, are likely to find drugs and alcohol impossible to control.

Those who are low in Self-control give the job of Self-control up to someone or something that can readily control them.  Addictions like to control their victims.  People with poor impulse control frequently get convicted of a crime.  If you can’t control yourself often the state is willing to appoint a probation officer or parole agent who will take over the job of controlling you.

Which is in control – the mind or the body?

Some people struggle to determine where their lack of control resides.  Should their mind and their thoughts control them?  Or is it the body that is in control?  This false dichotomy, that there are two parts to us, the mind, and the body, makes it difficult to learn Self-control.

Our mind, those things we are thinking about, has a huge impact on how our body feels those things.  Our body, those physical sensations of hunger, thirst and being tired, strongly influence how our mind thinks.

Willpower is a skill that you can grow and exercise.

Willpower is not some separate thing that you have or do not have.  If you feel you’re short on willpower don’t blame your genes and at this point, it’s too late to blame your parents.  Begin the process of growing your own willpower.

Willpower comes from our feelings and our thinking.

For more on this topic, willpower, and it’s closely related cousin won’t-power, check out the other posts on willpower at counselorssoapbox.com

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Family.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Family.

Your family

Family.

“I have learned that to be with those I like is enough”

― Walt Whitman

“That’s what people do who love you. They put their arms around you and love you when you’re not so lovable.”
― Deb Caletti

“Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.”
― George Burns

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Why you should talk to yourself.

By David Joel Miller.

Talking to yourself, especially out loud has some benefits.

Girl talking out loud.

Girl Talking.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

People who talk to themselves out loud can make people around them very nervous.  When we think about somebody who is talking out loud many people are likely to think of the psychotic person who was speaking to the voices or the disturbed person who is rambling on and on for no particular reason.  There can be some very definite positive benefits to talking to yourself.

Children are particularly likely to be talking to themselves out loud.  They have not yet developed the skills to self-monitoring and only speaking out loud when they are alone.  If you find that you are still talking out loud to yourself, this does not necessarily mean that are losing your mind.  But it may mean is that you have something very important on your mind and are forgetting to self-monitoring for other people around.  Below are some reasons that speaking to yourself out loud may be helpful.

You become a better public speaker.

Many famous public speakers began by practicing their speeches out loud.  If you know that you’re going to need to make a presentation, it can really improve your performance to practice that speech out loud.

Talking to yourself out loud reinforces memories.

If you just heard something and you need to remember it, saying it over and over again to yourself can help.  Going over a chain of events A happened and then B can help you to remember those events in sequence.

Talking allows you to practice what you are going to say.

Sometimes we know we’re going to have to have one of those difficult talks with someone.  It’s important to get the words just right.  Practicing what you’re going to say can help you identify things that may come out other than the way you want them to.  Listening to what you have to say can help you find just the right way to a convey that information.

Talking to yourself helps you learn the step to a process.

When you’re trying to learn a new procedure and there are several steps, it can help you to remember this process if you repeat each step as you do it.  In skills training the trainer may initially repeat the steps out loud to the client.  They will then have the client do the process while repeating the steps out loud.  Finally the client is guest to repeat the process while saying the steps silently in their head.

Talking aloud helps to clear a crowded mind.

People with very active, busy minds find that it can be helpful to clear that mind by going ahead and saying the things that are bothering them.  Sometimes this can be an automatic unconscious behavior.  While this is helpful to the person with a busy crowded mind it can be upsetting to others who might accidentally over hear.

You develop storytelling skills.

Good storytellers practice telling their story over and over.  If you’re going to be telling that story out loud to others it’s best to practice the story out loud.  Highly creative people often tell themselves stories. Sometimes when there alone they tell them out loud.  As you develop your storytelling and your self-monitoring skills you are likely to learn to tell the stories with your mouth closed and the words retained in your head.

You develop a supportive of relationship with yourself.

You’re going to spend a lot of time with yourself.  Work of becoming your own best friend.  One way of becoming supportive of yourself is to have those self-talks that you wish you could have with other people.  The more you practice these self-talks the better you will be able to contain them with in your head instead of having them leak out and others hear them.

It helps you to focus on a task or conversation at hand.

Sometimes we repeat things out loud during a conversation with another person.  It can help to confirm that we’ve heard things accurately.  You can also use talking aloud to help you focus your attention on what is being discussed or what you need to do.

It improves self-monitoring skills.

People who are working on their self-monitoring skills may find it useful to comment on their activities as they do them.

Self-talk helps you self-sooth.

When you’re feeling upset or on edge talking to yourself can be helpful.  Remind yourself that you are safe.

You improve your creativity by exploring possibilities.

Creative people may find it useful to have these conversations out loud to explore possible conversations.

So if you or someone in your life makes a habit of talking out loud consider whether this is a helpful skill or a lack of self-monitoring.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Alcohol Myths

By David Joel Miller.

How many alcohol myths do you believe?

Alcohol is a stimulant.

Bottles of alcohol.

Alcoholic Beverages.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Many people think and alcohol stimulates them and gives them more energy.  This belief was so common in the past among newspaper reporters and writers that these professions developed high rates of alcoholism.  The truth is alcohol is not a stimulant.  Alcohol is a depressant and while it may initially disinhibit you, the more you drink, the less energy you will have.  Over the long run drinking alcohol results in depression.

Alcohol makes you sexy or more sexual.

Alcohol shuts off the part of the brain that tells you “hey stupid don’t do that.”  As a result, when drinking people are more likely to engage in sexual behavior.  The truth is drunk people do not look sexy to sober people.  While having high levels of alcohol in your bloodstream makes you more likely to act on your sexual thoughts it also reduces the ability to engage in sex.  In men regular alcohol consumption may result in impotence.

Alcohol makes you more of a man or woman.

The ability to drink, and to drink large quantities, increases the likelihood you will do things you would not do when sober.  This increased alcohol consumption results in tolerance to alcohol and requiring ever-increasing quantities to create the same effect.  Taking action after having a few drinks is sometimes described as “liquid courage.” Being intoxicated or frequently drunk does not produce the qualities that we think of as being either masculine or feminine.

Alcohol will cure your ills.

It’s common to think that having a few drinks will solve all your physical or emotional problems.  The truth is that using alcohol to regulate emotions leaves you depended on alcohol and less able to handle life without it.  Alcohols has some germ killing properties when used externally.  But when used internally, alcohol can cause damage in every cell in touches.

Alcohol will make you less anxious or scared.

Temporarily alcohol can make you feel less anxious.  In the long run however using alcohol to treat anxiety makes it worse not better.  When you drink to cope with anxiety, the alcohol quickly wears off.  This leaves you more anxious than before.  The result is that you will need ever-increasing amounts of alcohol to cope with your anxiety.

Alcohol will make you function better.

Drinking alcohol, especially drinking it heavily, only makes people think they are performing better.  Having alcohol in the bloodstream interferes with coordination, memory, and judgment.

Alcohol makes you warmer.

Alcohol dilates the blood vessels close to the skin.  This results in a temporary feeling of warmth.  It also results in a rapid loss of heat from the core of the body.  Drinking alcohol when you are cold actually causes the body to lose heat more rapidly.

Most people drink alcohol on a regular basis.

The truth is that more than half of the adults in America have not had a drink of alcohol in the last month.  Many Americans only have a drink of alcohol once or twice in any one year.  A handful of alcohol drinkers, the 20% heaviest drinkers, consumed 80% of all the alcohol that is drunk.

How many of these alcohol myths do you believe?  Have you discovered any other alcohol myths?

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books