Happiness.

Happy faces
Happiness. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Happiness,

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”

― Dalai Lama XIV

“The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it’s all that matters.”

― Audrey Hepburn

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”

― Helen Keller

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. There are an estimated 100,000 words in the English language that are feelings related. Some emotions are pleasant, and some are unpleasant, but all feelings can provide useful information. 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

Happiness

Positive Psychology

How do you create the best life possible?

Contentment
Contentment Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

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

Three steps to a flourishing life.

Mental health programs frequently stop at just treating mental illness. We’ve learned that merely treating your depression or anxiety or other mental illness does not create a happy, flourishing life. When I ask people what makes them happy, many people struggle for an answer.

It’s easy to confuse happiness with temporary bursts of pleasure. The only way that many adults know how to have fun is to use drugs, alcohol, or engage in sex or other risky behaviors. It turns out there’s a lot of ways to have a pleasant, contented life that don’t involve the so-called adult pleasures.

Over the last couple of decades, a new movement has emerged in the mental health and wellness field called positive psychology. Positive psychology tries to look beyond reducing pain and temporary bursts of pleasure to the creation of those peak experiences that are sometimes described as the good life, flourishing, or experiencing episodes of flow. Here are some steps to take you to whenever you would subjectively describe as your good, ideal life.

Decrease your negative emotions.

Some negative emotions are an essential part of living life. Anxiety can be a productive emotion when it warns you of danger. If something awful happens in your life, when someone you love dies, when you lose a job, or a relationship ends, it’s reasonable and even normal to be sad for a while. But suppose your life is overwhelmed by anxiety and depression. In that case, we diagnose those as mental illnesses, and the first part of the journey to a good life is overcoming those excesses of negative emotions. Unfortunately, treating mental illness is where most mental health treatment programs end.

Increase your positive emotions.

The more you can experience positive emotions, as the quality of your life improves. The human brain is biased. It places a premium on recognizing danger and unhappiness. It’s easy to walk right past beauty and positive experiences without ever noticing them. Learn to become a happiness expert. Stop and smell the roses. Along the way don’t forget to smell all the other flowers and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Many people can readily recall all the problems they’ve had in relationships. It’s common for couples who come to marriage counseling to have a list of their complaints about their partner. What is usually missing are any memories of the happy occasions. If you want a flourishing life, make sure you collect as many positive feelings and memories as possible.

Create a flourishing life full of zest and vitality.

The people who say that they have a good quality of life are almost uniformly full of zest and vitality. Sometimes these two terms are used interchangeably. Vitality generally refers to physical health. The term zest, more commonly, is applied to emotional enthusiasm. If you enjoy what you do every day, you will have a subjectively more joyous life.

People who lack zest for life drift into inactivity and can become couch potatoes. They may burn out on their work and relationships. The best way to create a life worth living is to engage in the activities that energize you rather than wear you out. When you enjoyed the work you do for a living, it won’t wear you out or pull you down. If you want an exceptionally good life, emphasize the things that energize you.

Increase your life satisfaction.

In all these ways, seek to increase your life satisfaction. You only get one life. You can live each day burdened by your cares, or life can be a grand adventure in which every day adds to your quality of life.

I’ve listed some simple takeaways from the articles I’ve read on positive psychology and having a better life. Does the life you’re living bring you joy? What activities do you engage in which give your life meaning and purpose? Feel free to leave a comment in the box below.

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 seems 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

The Paradox of Pleasure.

Pleasure. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

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

What’s the connection between pleasure and happiness?

Wikipedia defines pleasure as “a mental experience that humans and other conscious animals find enjoyable, positive, or worthy of seeking. It can be a part of other mental states such as happiness, entertainment, enjoyment, ecstasy, and euphoria.” While pleasure is undoubtedly a part of happiness, it’s not the whole thing.

Positive psychology, a relatively new branch of mental health, tells us that being mentally healthy, having a good life is more than merely a lack of mental illness. If you have a mental illness such as depression or anxiety, it needs to be treated. But the elimination of a mental illness doesn’t equate with a life of fulfillment. How do you move from not being depressed to a life full of joy, happiness, contentment, meaning, and purpose? How far along that path will pleasure take you?

When most people think of happiness, they think of pleasure.

Pleasure is unquestionably a part of having a happy life, but it’s not the only part. A genuinely happy life, a life in which people are flourishing and finding meaning and purpose, needs a lot more than just pleasure. While pleasure may take you part of the way to the good life, it doesn’t take you all the way. Let’s look at how pleasure starts you out in the right direction but can get you stuck on the thing we call the hedonic treadmill.

Sometimes pleasure leads to happiness but not always.

The brain craves pleasure. Pleasure is our nervous system’s way of rewarding us for doing things that might benefit us. In small quantities, pleasure can increase your happiness. Pleasures produce the most happiness when they are unexpected. But too much of a good thing, especially on a regular basis, can be bad for you. The human brain is biased towards novel pleasures. So, each successive dose of a particular pleasure adds smaller and smaller amounts to happiness. The first slice of chocolate cake tastes good. Eating the second chocolate cake can impair your health. Eventually, most pleasures turn on you.

Pleasure wears off quickly, and this can lead to an addiction.

In psychology, this phenomenon is called habituation. The first drink can be enjoyable, but subsequent drinks each produce less pleasure. Each subsequent drink creates less subjective pleasure. When the pleasure fades, this can lead to cravings for more. Farther down the road, people find themselves drinking, using drugs, or engaging in behavioral addictions, not for the pleasure it brings them, but to prevent the cravings that come with withdrawal.

Pleasure must be taken in slowly.

Trying to maximize your happiness by consuming pleasure too quickly doesn’t work. You can’t see much of the scenery when you’re driving 100 miles an hour. Taking in pleasure slowly is a technique sometimes called savoring. In our fast-paced society, people are prone to suck in the pleasure as rapidly as possible and then move on to the next pleasurable event. This frantic search for pleasure results in absorbing very little of the pleasure from the things you do.

You can’t enjoy the taste of food when you swallow it whole.

The human brain seems to be biased to remember negative things. The threat circuits in our brain stem warn us of danger. Positive experiences, on the other hand, require effort to recognize. Modern life is moving at a pace that can be overwhelming. If you want more happiness in your life, you need to become a happiness expert. When positive events happen, we need to slow down and savor them. In this era of fast food and instant gratification savoring life’s positive experiences is becoming a lost art.

Throughout this year want to bring you some additional information about the elements of a good life and how to create a life full of joy, meaning, and purpose. If you have found ways to create a life that is flourishing, please share them by leaving a comment in the box below.

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 seems 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

What does your happy place look like?

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

Can you picture the time you were happy?

Early in life, even before we have the vocabulary to store memories in our brain as stories, those memories are stored as pictures. When you think back over your life, the most positive memories often evoke images.

The exercise of imagining your happy place can be extremely helpful in managing overwhelming emotions. Once you learn to mentally go to your happy place, you can go there whenever you choose. When I think of my happy place, a picture of a particular place and time readily forms in my mind and has a calming effect.

When I try to do this “happy place” exercise with some of my clients, they seem to have difficulty imagining I happy place. If you are high in anxiety or depression, memories of happy times and places may be hard to picture. I thought I’d offer you a few images that might help take you to your happy place.

Which of these pictures most says this is my happy place to you?

The Beach
The Mountains.
Puppies.

A Theme Park
Children Playing
Flowers.

The next time you feel stressed, take a deep breath and remember your happy place. Is there another place that increases your happiness when you think about it? Please share your happy place with others by leaving a comment in the box below.

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 seems 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

What is Positive Psychology?

The Psyche
What is Positive Psychology? Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

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

Positive psychology offers an alternative to the mental illness model.

Traditional mental health services focus on a deficit model. Initially, only two categories of mental illness were identified. Over time additional “mental illnesses” have been identified and described. Today the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual fifth edition) lists over four hundred separate recognized mental illnesses. It also provides for at least another four hundred possible conditions that can be diagnosed.

There are many counseling theories that seek to explain what causes these mental illnesses and how they can be treated. With all this focus on what’s wrong with people, there has been very little focus on the positive end of the spectrum until recently. Not enough attention has been paid to what people should do to have a happy, contented, or flourishing life.

Physical health and mental health are organized differently.

Increasingly physical health systems are recognizing the importance of treating chronic illnesses. Preventative care has become a significant part of physical health programs. Mental health continues to be provided only to severely ill clients. With very few exceptions, you will need to be extremely “mentally ill” for insurance companies to pay for treatment. The primary focus is on treating mental illness rather than promoting mental health.

Positive psychology examines positive experiences.

Positive psychology is a separate branch of psychology that began about twenty years ago when Martin Seligman became president of the American Psychological Association and chose positive psychology as his presidency’s theme. The new positive psychology movement builds on numerous past philosophers and psychotherapists. What was new and novel about this movement was its emphasis on identifying ways to increase positive functioning rather than focusing on negative impairments.

Positive psychology emphasizes having a good life.

The “good life,” which is the focus of positive psychology, involves a great deal more than merely increasing temporary “happiness” or pleasure. I should mention here that “anhedonia or loss of pleasure” is one of the primary symptoms for the diagnosis of depression. What we do know about treating depression is that merely adding short bursts of pleasure does not cure depression. I want to talk more about pleasure, happiness, and the many pathways for reaching a good life in future posts.

How many strengths do you have?

One of the things many counselors and therapists are told to do is identify the client’s strengths and encourage people to use those strengths to improve their mental health. What is often missing from that training is any comprehensive list of strengths or ways to identify the client’s strengths. My experience has been that people who have severe mental illness, anxiety, and depression often have difficulty identifying any strengths they may have.

In 2004 Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman wrote a book which, at over 700 pages, is a very comprehensive compilation of characteristics that are pretty much universally accepted as desirable personality traits. The title of the book was Character Strengths and Virtues. Much of the research in the field of positive psychology is based on this classification system. Unfortunately, defining universal characteristics using words can lead to a lot of misunderstandings.

I remember a very long time ago in elementary school when we were taught how to have “good character.” Those values primarily involved being honest, truthful, and compliant with rules. People who disagreed with authority were thought of as having “bad character.” Virtues, of course, at least back then, took on the connotation of being morally right or wrong.

Neither of those interpretations appears to me to be the things Peterson and Seligman meant by using the words strengths and virtues. Their usage describes characteristics of people’s personalities that were both useful and beneficial to that person.

The book lists twenty-four character-strengths divided into six general categories of “virtues.” For example, the virtue of “wisdom” consists of the character strengths of creativity, curiosity, judgment, love of learning, and perspective. I have spent the last few weeks reading research articles on a couple of these character strengths. As I’m able to digest this information, I plan to write some additional blog posts this year about what’s been learned about these character strengths and how you might utilize and cultivate those strengths.

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 seems 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

What gives your life meaning, and purpose?

What gives your life meaning and purpose? Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

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

Have you identified your life’s meaning and purpose?

People can go through some incredibly challenging times if they have a good enough reason to do it. But even the simplest tasks may be overwhelming if you don’t see a good reason to do what you’re doing. Another name for your meaning or purpose might be your passion. Is there something that you are passionate about?

A few people are fortunate; they discover their meaning and purpose for life early on and then devote the rest of their days to pursuing that purpose. Some people find their life purpose after a series of trials. I think it’s sad when I see people who have lived their whole life and never discovered anything that gave their life meaning or purpose. If you haven’t put some time into thinking about this, I would encourage you to do so.

The work you do may give your life its purpose.

For some people, the work they do is their life’s purpose. Other people work a job, so they have enough money to support themselves and their family, and then they spend every available moment pursuing their passion. Your life’s work doesn’t necessarily have to be the same thing you do for your paycheck. Just make sure that what you devote your life to doing has some meaning.

Relationships are an important source of meaning and purpose.

Caring for others can give your life its meaning. This can be a child, a pet, or an older person. Caregiving, loving, and being loved are significant sources of meaning. Few relationships will be with you your whole life. Make sure you put effort into maintaining your relationships with partners, family, and friends. However long that relationship is a part of your life, it needs to be nurtured. When you look back on the life you’ve lived, ask yourself, “have my relationships been a source of meaning and purpose?”

Religious or spiritual beliefs can guide you to life’s meaning.

For some people, the anchor that holds them to a purposeful life is their spiritual beliefs. If this life is all there is, then it’s essential to live it well. But if you believe in a life after death, then this life should be a process of growth and perfecting yourself. Do your best to live your life in a manner that is consistent with your spiritual beliefs. Feeling connected to something greater than yourself is a significant contributor to a life full of meaning and purpose.

More things don’t equate to a more satisfying life.

In this era of rampant consumerism, it’s become apparent that having more things does not equate to more happiness. Having more resources certainly provide you with more options. But money and things do not equal happiness. Every day you hear about some rich and famous person whose life was empty and meaningless. It’s not the things you have but what you do with those things that matter.

These days people are focusing more on getting rid of things, decluttering, than on accumulating them. Once a year, our city has a citywide cleanup day. On that one day, the city residents pile all their unwanted items out onto the street to be hauled away to the dump. One curious feature of this free trash removal day is at the piles of refuge are higher and wider in the poorer parts of the city. The pleasure you get from buying things is temporary.

Volunteering can be better than having.

Doing for others can be a significant source of life’s meaning. Being of service to others pays dividends long afterward. The things you buy can end up owning you, but the acts of kindness you give away will be with you forever.

Have you found your life’s meaning and purpose? If not, don’t you think it’s time you started your search?

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 seems 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

Happiness.

Happy faces
Happiness. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Happiness.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”

― Abraham Lincoln

“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”

― Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. There are an estimated 100,000 words in the English language that are feelings related. Some emotions are pleasant, and some are unpleasant, but all feelings can provide useful information. 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

Happiness

Positive Psychology

Will this winter be a catastrophe or a challenge?

Winter
Winter. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

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

How will the coronavirus and potential lockdowns affect you?

For many people, winter is a challenge every year. But this year, it’s likely to be a tough challenge. Coronavirus has had a horrific impact on our society. How long this will go on and how it will affect you is probably outside your control. But how it affects you mentally, there may be something you can do about that.

Currently, there’s a glimmer of hope. Over the long haul, one or more of the vaccines now in development may prove to be the solution to our coronavirus problem. But even if the vaccine works perfectly, it will be a long time until enough vaccine doses become available and enough people are vaccinated to have any impact on the prevalence of the illness. Until then, life can be a challenge.

Depending on where you live, you probably experienced one or more lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, or disruptions in your job or education. Some people would prefer the option of going ahead with their life knowing there’s a chance they will catch the infection and either die or pass it on to someone close to them.

Other people would prefer to hunker down, isolate as much as possible, and ride out the viral storm waiting for safer days. Regardless of your preference, some things are going to change. Some of these changes will be severe short-term losses for some and minor inconveniences for others. Other changes may be permanent. Businesses have closed, and more will close. Many jobs have been lost. Some will return, but other jobs may never come back. People have died. More and more of us know someone who has lost a family member.

I believe that some of these changes we’re seeing will turn out to be permanent long-term changes. The coronavirus has just accelerated the rapid pace of change. The trend toward online education was already well underway, with some colleges offering their entire curriculum as online classes. In the future, I think working from home and learning at home are going to be long term trends. These are things we may just have to get used to.

But between now and the time we reach our new normal, we will face some extraordinary challenges.

The challenge of seasonal affective disorder.

A significant portion of the population typically suffers from seasonal affective disorder. While we often think of this as seasonal depression, commonly called winter blues, there are also seasonal increases in anxiety disorders, OCD, and other mental illnesses.

Changes in the weather, especially changes in the amount of daylight each day appear to naturally alter human being’s moods. The large number of holidays during the winter may be an effort for us, humans, to cheer ourselves up during an inhospitable time of year.

What if our attitude toward the winter season is an important factor?

Not everyone, everywhere, seems to experience seasonal affective disorder. This article in the Guardian shows us another way to look at challenging circumstances.

If you approach the winter season with the attitude that it will be difficult, you’re predisposed to negative mood states. But if you take a different view toward it and view the winter season as another situation full of possibilities, you may experience a different set of feelings.

When it comes to mood, your mindset matters.

How you think about things alters their effect on you. The way you look at things can affect your mental health and your physical health. Your attitude affects your blood pressure and heart rate. People who think of things as catastrophic and tell themselves that this thing mustn’t, shouldn’t, happen experience it is much more negative than those who see the event as an opportunity.

Is it a threat or an opportunity?

How you approach things often depends on the resources you have available. By resources, I don’t mean just financial ones. Education, available opportunities, and your support system, can also alter the way you view challenging circumstances. Having a good support system, developing coping skills, and improving your resiliency all buffer you against stressful times.

Telling yourself, you’re excited reduces anxiety.

Many people experience having to make a speech in public as terrifying. Public speaking is the number one fear in America. And yet, other people enjoy speaking in public. If you are terrified of getting up on stage, becoming an entertainer will probably be a highly stressful career. But if you love the applause of the crowd, you won’t experience it as anxiety-provoking but as energizing.

Some athletes become anxious before competing, and they are at high risk of choking. But those athletes who interpret those butterflies in their stomachs as excitement can use that energy to propel them to even more remarkable achievements.

Planning positive activities reduces the impact of challenges.

Whatever your challenges this winter, and many of us will face a great many challenges, plan for some positive activities. Those little bits of pleasure and happiness, you should pay attention to them when you find them. Amid all the struggles, you should plan on becoming a happiness expert.

Admittedly the winter ahead will not be easy. There will be costs, and there will be losses. Let’s all keep our eyes peeled for the pockets of happiness ahead.

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 seems 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

Pleasure.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Pleasure

Pleasure.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”

― Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

“To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

“Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably.”

― C.S. Lewis

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. There are an estimated 100,000 words in the English language that are feelings related. Some emotions are pleasant, and some are unpleasant, but all feelings can provide useful information. 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

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Sunday Inspiration    Post By David Joel Miller.

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine’s Day.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Happy Valentine’s Day.

“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”

― Elbert Hubbard

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

― Lao Tzu

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