Putting more excitement in your life.

The excitement of life.

Excitement.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

What makes your life exciting?

Excitements can contribute a lot to the quality of your life. By excitements here we are not talking about the kind of excitement you might experience watching a close sporting event where what someone else is doing excites you. What I mean by excitement are those times in your life where what you’re doing excites you and you become fully absorbed in the activity. When what you’re doing excites you, time passes before you know it.

Excitement is not the same thing as pleasure. Though experiencing excitement can bring you a great deal of pleasure. Pleasures are consumption, whereas excitements are creation. Creating these excitements is engaging and requires an investment of your time and energy.

The exciting life grows out of a life which is based on meaning and purpose. If you find your meaning in life, find that your life has a purpose, getting up every day can be a joy.

Some psychologists describe engagement as flow.

Flow is that state in which you lose all sense of time. Someone who loves to play music will sit down to practice a piece only to realize that hours have passed. Have you ever engaged in an activity you were so into, that it seemed as if hours had passed in minutes? That’s the state of flow.

What makes a task exciting and creates flow?

Researchers have discovered specific characteristics of activities that create flow when matched with people who were into those activities. If you can design activities that take you into this state, the time you put in will always feel too short. People who regularly engage in activities that create the flow state describe their lives as full of meaning and purpose.

It requires skill and is challenging.

To routine, an activity can become dull over time. An activity that is challenging and requires you to develop ever-increasing skill can quickly put you into the flow state. This activity should not be beyond your abilities but only at the edge or limit of them. Many people rapidly reached the state of flow when playing video games and can become so engaged in them that they lose all sense of time and forget other activities.

When you concentrate you enter a flow state.

While easy tasks may be enjoyable, maintaining a state in which you are excited in a pleasant way requires that the task be challenging enough that you need to concentrate. The more you focus on this preferred task the more the rest of the world seems to disappear.

Tasks with clear goals are more enjoyable.

The more well-defined the goals the more likely you are to feel enjoyment as you accomplish them. This is one reason why video game players become so engrossed in the game. As they play the game, they are able to achieve increasingly difficult goals. Each time they reach a goal the activity there engaging in is reinforced.

Challenging activities provide immediate feedback.

While there are few people who can work for years on a project not knowing if it will be successful, most people are much more motivated when the task before them provides immediate feedback. When the task is set just a little harder in the last thing you’ve accomplished there’s an incentive to continue to learn and practice. The more immediate feedback the more likely you are to continue with that activity.

Exciting, flow state activities provide deep, effortless involvement.

What you get into the activity you get carried along. Your concentration improves as you become more and more focused on the activity. Seems an amazingly simple solution that many people who say they suffer from ADHD find no difficulty in continuing to pay attention to and engaging tasks such as video gaming or a sports activity.

Challenging experiences should include a sense of control.

When an activity feels out of your control when no matter what you do results seem to be dictated by someone else it rapidly moves from being enjoyable to being unpleasant. If you want to achieve that ultimate feeling of engagement look for opportunities to challenge yourself.

Our sense of self vanishes.

When you get really into any activity you lose yourself in what you are doing. As you move along in this exciting and enjoyable activity is stopped being self-conscious or worrying about what others think about what you’re doing. You continue the activity for the pure pleasure of accomplishment.

Time stops when you’re in a flow state.

Once you find an activity that really engages you and provides this level of excitement and passion there never seems to be enough time to engage in this activity. Hours can pass in what seems like only minutes. When you have to stop you feel like you have just barely begun.

I know I’ve interchanged some terminology here. But I’ve come to believe that happiness involves a lot more than not being depressed. I genuinely happy life reaches far beyond temporary bursts of pleasure. Engagement or flow is one of those ways that people reach genuine happiness.

Have you found something which adds excitement to your life? Is your life full of meaning and purpose? How would your life be different if you found your passion?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now! And more are on the way.

For these and my upcoming books, please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Enthusiasm.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Enthusiasm.

Enthusiasm.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Enthusiasm.

“It’s faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth living.”

― Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

“Enthusiasm spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment.”

― Norman Vincent Peale

“Today is life – the only life you are sure of. Make the most of today. Get interested in something. Shake yourself awake. Develop a hobby. Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you. Live today with gusto”

― Dale Carnegie

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.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

Excitement.

Sunday Inspiration.          Post by David Joel Miller.

Excitement.

The excitement of life.

Excitement.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

“I wanted change and excitement and to shoot off in all directions myself, like the colored arrows from a Fourth of July rocket.”

― Sylvia Plath

“Choose thoughts that give you the emotions of being alive and excited about life.”

― Bryant McGill, Simple Reminders: Inspiration for Living Your Best Life

“The excitement of dreams coming true is beyond the description of words.”

― Lailah Gifty Akita

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.

Adventure

Sunday Inspiration.   Post By David Joel Miller.

Adventure

Finding Adventure

Adventure.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

― Eleanor Roosevelt

“The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.”

― Oprah Winfrey

“No, no! The adventures first, explanations take such a dreadful time.”

― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

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.

Scared or Excited?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Scary stuff

Scared or Excited.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

What is the difference between scared and excited?

Some people live their whole lives in fear. Everything is scary when you live in fear. Being afraid doesn’t make something dangerous but dangerous things ought to scare us. So how come there are those people who seek out the things other people call scary?

People in recovery often are overwhelmed by fear of the changes that need to be made. Fear can be a trigger to take someone back to the old patterns of behavior. That very same person who is afraid of the challenges of recovery may have been constantly seeking excitement via drugs or mania before they began recovery.

What makes some of us attracted to risk and excitement? One theory is that people range between two extremes, scared-anxious and stimulation seeking. As new-born babies some kids are easily overstimulated and need to take breaks and others are constantly seeking more stimulation.

Anxiety and stimulation are considered basic personality traits by some in the psychological professions. So the anxious person sees a situation as scary and a stimulus-seeking person thinks of the very same event as exciting.

Our appetite for risk and excitement can also be learned. We learn from our own experiences and we also learn from watching those around us. What is learned can be unlearned. If you are afraid of a change could you come to view the possibilities of a new life course with excitement?

Transforming fear into excitement is possible.

Consider the case of two clients.

First client, Betty, is 18 about to leave home and head off for college. She is scared to death. She will be leaving her family and friends. She has never been particularly close to her family and does not have many friends but she is terrified that at the new school she will know no one and thinks that they are likely to not like her. Betty is not sure she can do this and wishes she had not let her school counselor talk her into applying to an out-of-town school. What if she fails? She is sure something will go wrong and there will be no one at the school to help her. She is afraid. To cope with her fear she may drink, use drugs, or withdraw and hide in her room.

Client number two, Maria, attends the same high school as Betty, though the two don’t seem to know each other. Maria is also 18 and graduating. She likewise is about to leave home for a cross-country college. The difference is that Maria is excited to be on the go. She looks forward to the new things she will learn and the people she will meet. Maria has high self-esteem, she feels good about herself. She also has high self-efficacy; she knows she can do something if she sets her mind to it. Maria will be the first in her family to attend college and she is proud of what she will be accomplishing.

The primary difference between these two students is not the situation. Both are academically well-prepared students accepted to an out-of-town college.

The real difference between the two students is the way in which they view change. Yes, there are underlying differences in temperament and in the emotional skills they have learned, but either could be taught to see the situation from the other perspective.

As parents, we sometimes need to teach our children to be fearful to avoid excessive danger. They or we grow up and discover that our fears are keeping us trapped. Changing your perspective from fear to excitement can alter the whole experience. Changing your view can move something new from the scary categories to the exciting group.

Performers, actors, comics, and singers often get “butterflies” before they go on stage. They can interpret those symptoms as stage fright or they can think of this as the energy that sends them, to put out their best performance yet.

Athletes try to psych themselves up before a game or match. They transform that nervous energy which could be fear and keep them on the sidelines into the excitement that carries them to their best possible performance.

Is there something in your life that scares you which you need to start thinking of as an exciting new possibility?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel