How to become more positive.

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

Happy man

Happiness tip – be positive.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Want a more positive life, try these happiness tips.

Positive people are a lot happier and more productive than people who see everything in a negative light.  Pessimistic people like to say they’re just being realistic. It is possible to be very positive and still see life in a realistic manner.  Being positive also has the side benefit of making you more fun to be around.  Take a look at some of these positivity tips and see if applying them to your life would be beneficial.

1. Be kind to yourself to become more positive.

Cruelty makes the world an awful place.  Being cruel to yourself is a very unhelpful practice.  Begin your efforts to be more positive by being kind to yourself.  As you began to treat yourself better it will become easier and easier to treat others well.  Kindness is a close cousin to positivity.

2. Use positive affirmations to multiply your positivity.

The things you say to yourself, about you, have a habit of coming true.  Adopt the practice of using positive affirmations.  Each day, tell yourself something positive about you.  Find positive sayings that will motivate you to do your best.  Make sure these positive affirmations are things you really believe are possible.  Positive affirmations can do a lot to motivate you.

3. Giving yourself credit for things well done builds a more positive outlook.

Make sure that you recognize the things that you do well.  Believing in yourself and accepting credit where credit is due are parts of becoming more positive.  Are you one of those people who find it hard to accept a compliment?  There’s nothing wrong with accepting praise and compliments when they are deserved.  Becoming willing to recognize when you’ve done something well is one of the steps along the path to a more positive life.

4. Develop a positive support system.

The more you hang out with people, the more you begin to adopt their habits and attitudes.  To be one of the positive people make sure that you hang out with other positive people.  Work on enlarging your support system.  Surround yourself with people who will support you in being more positive.

5. Take responsibility for your life.

There may be many things in your life over which you have no control.  Two things you do have control of are your attitude and your actions.  No one but you can truly make you happy.  While they may set situations in motion, situations better to your liking, you will choose whether to be happy or to be disappointed with what they have done for you.  The happy positive life is a matter of personal responsibility.

6.  Please yourself first for a more positive life.

No matter how hard you try there are some people you will never be able to please.  Work on doing the things that will please you.  If you don’t please yourself no amount of doing and pleasing others will make you happy.  Being positive enlarges your happiness.

7. Get clear on your yes’s and no’s.

Do the thing you want to do. Say no to the things you don’t wish to do.  Get clear on which is which.  Positive people stay positive by eliminating that negative and those no’s from their life.  Spend your time on the things you really want to accomplish for a more positive life.

8. Focus on the lesson you learned not what you did wrong.

Don’t make the mistake of focusing all your attention on your errors.  Part of the process of learning is making mistakes.  It is OK to be less than perfect.  What you do need to do is make sure that you learn from the mistakes as you make them.  Positive people believe that mistakes are them learning another way that won’t work.

9. Plan, not ruminate, to be more productive.

Don’t spend a lot of time going and over and over things that happened in the past.  Avoid a lot of time worrying about things that might happen in the future.  Keep your focus on the present moment and on planning for what you are going to do.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

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.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

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

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

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – 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 my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

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14 Ways to Become Your Own Best Friend.

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

Best friend.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Start healing by becoming your own best friend.

Don’t like yourself, start by becoming your own best friend.  If you are plagued by low self-esteem, one of the things you need to do is become your own best friend.  Many people say that they are not able to love themselves.  You will spend more time with yourself than with any other person on earth.  Work on getting to like yourself.  Think about the things that you do with friends and how those relationships develop over time.  Start feeling better about yourself by becoming your own best friend.  Here are 14 ways to become your own best friend and improve your self-esteem.

1. Don’t beat yourself up.

It’s OK to make mistakes.  Mistakes are improvement opportunities.  Think about how you act with a friend.  If you consistently criticize them and put them down you’re not likely to maintain that friendship.  Make sure you’re not beating yourself up.  It’s OK to make mistakes.  The only people who don’t make mistakes are people who never try to do anything.

2. Don’t insist on perfection.

We don’t expect our friends to be perfect.  You shouldn’t expect to be perfect yourself.  Some tasks may require your very best effort, but many other things in life simply need to be good enough.  Be gentle with yourself and embrace you, flaws and all.

3. Celebrate your successes.

Make sure to stop and recognize the things that you have done well.  Give yourself a round of applause when you succeed at something.  Not recognizing your successes will make the next effort that much harder.

4. Nurture yourself.

You can’t make a plant grow by beating it.  You don’t develop friendships by being harsh and critical.  Develop the relationship with yourself by taking good care of you.  Look for ways in which you can be kind and gentle to yourself.

5. Enjoy being with you.

Being alone should not mean being lonely.  When life gets hectic we often wish we could take a break.  When you do get that break from other people learn to savor and enjoy it.  That alone time should be a time to rest and recoup.

6. Make “you time” an adventure.

In the early stages of developing a friendship, we do a lot of new, novel things with that potential friend.  To nurture the friendship that you have with yourself make sure that you do innovative things.  Make your time with you exciting.

7. Want the best for yourself.

Learn to picture what a perfect life would look like.  Want that best of all possible lives for yourself?  Practice believing that you deserve the best in life.  Best does not necessarily mean the most expensive or the latest fashion.  It does mean that you want those things that will make you truly happy.  Don’t settle for a second-rate life.  Focus your efforts on creating the life of your dreams.

8. Stop judging yourself.

You don’t need to judge yourself.  There are plenty of people willing to judge you.  When you have a good friend you accept them just the way they are even when you know their faults.  Do the same for yourself.  However, you are is perfectly OK.  Accept yourself just the way you are.

9. Let things go.

Holding onto the past keeps you stuck in the pain.  Keep your eyes on the present and the future.  Avoid rehashing old injuries.  Let bygones be bygones.  The less baggage that you have to carry from your past the more you can live in the present.

10. Surround yourself with things that make you happy.

Make the place that you spend the bulk of your time your place.  Have a few little mementos that will make you smile close by.  The isn’t time or space in your life the things that don’t add to your happiness.

11. Please yourself.

Make sure that you are living your life to please you.  A life that is lived trying to please others often pleases no one.  In friendships, we often do things because we know it will make our friends happy.  Do those little things to make yourself happy.

12. Live in the now, plan for the future.

Good friends don’t spend a lot of time rehashing the difficulties from the past.  They enjoy the present and look forward to the things they will do together in the future.  As your own best friend spend the bulk of your time looking forward to what you want to do in the future.

13. Can the negativity.

It’s not much fun being around a friend who is constantly negative.  To be happier cut the negative people out of your life.  To be happier with yourself cut out the negativity that is coming from you.

14. Embrace your differences.

We know our friends are different and we liked them because of those differences.  Learn to celebrate the ways in which you are different from others.  Stop wishing you were just like everyone else.  Improve the things you can, accept the things you can’t.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

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.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

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

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

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – 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 my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Are you successful?

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

Success

Success.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

What is success and how would you know if you were successful?

Success is a slippery thing to catch hold of. When you say successful, most people think first of how much money someone makes. Money and success are not synonymous. Think about all those famous people, actors, and musicians, that had the fame and the money but their life still ended up a disaster.

A few readers have responded to some past counselorssoapbox.com posts about success by telling me they did not care about being a success because they were not all about money. In my thinking money and success are not the same thing, but for some people, the thinking link between these two ideas is so strong they equate pursuing a goal other than money as not wanting to be “successful.” Some folks just can’t imagine being successful without having a pile of money. That seems sad to me.

People who live a good life, they are successful in my book. People who only have money and fame, eventually that goes away. It may come as a surprise to those who say they are not about money, that people who live a good life and have a proper relationship with money do not have to live in poverty to be a good person.

Successes are about achieving your potential. It is the result of being the best possible you rather than having the most other stuff.

Below are some ways to tell if you are living a successful life that is not dependent on how much you have in the bank or how many followers you have. Living a life of purpose and fulfillment is the best form of successes to my way of thinking.

How many of these ways are you successful?

You have good social skills – you get along with people

Highly successful people are able to get along with others. They enjoy diverse people and can interact with others regardless of that other person’s characteristics. Really successful people treat others well and do not need to feel better than others to feel ok about themselves.

You look forward to your day

If you hate what you are doing and dread going to work, you may have piles of money, but your life is a failure. If you love what you do and look forward to each new day you are living a life of purpose. People who hate what they do each day eventually find that no amount of money is worth giving up their precious time. Ultimately they quit that job or their mind makes them ill to protect them from doing that unpleasant task.

You have a future

The successful life is headed towards something, not lugging a load of things after you. Today should not be the end of everything. If you find you think that nothing in your life will ever get better, that life is just something you have to endure, then you are in no way a success.

You value learning

People who love learning can find something new to learn every day. When learning is a chore, a drudgery that you do only because you have to, your world grows smaller and less joyous. Money does not compensate you for an unhappy life. A jubilant life is a great reward in and of itself. People who live a satisfying life are a pleasure to be around and they attract others of like mind to them.

You treat people well

People who feel good about themselves do not need to treat others poorly. One sign that you feel like a success is the way you treat others. If you need to put others down and act rudely that says a lot about how you feel about yourself. You may be able to buy compliance with fear or money but to truly have others care about you takes more. It takes treating others the way you would want to be treated and then some.

You help others – being of service

People who are successful think from a place of abundance. They have enough and they can afford to part with some. People who are stingy and selfish think that anything they part with diminishes them.

You are truly successful when you think of what you can do for others to be of service.

Setbacks do not end your progress

Every road has bumps, some larger than others. If a single setback throws you off course your success is not very secure. Highly successful people have failures and setbacks. Those obstacles do not define them. They are successful because they believe they are. For them, success is the opportunity to pursue their dreams, not the number of dollars they get paid for the things they did.

You have learned to control yourself

A rich person with no control can make a failure of themselves in short order. If you have learned self-control, some portion of it anyway, you can count that you have made some progress on your journey to being a successful person.

You keep improving

Success is about using your gifts and developing your talents to become a better you. No amount of having should get in the way of your journey to being the person you would like to be.

There is something you care about

A life of passion is a successful life. If you care about something you can commit to it and that gives your life meaning. How much money you will leave behind to others who only care about you for the dollars does not impart any meaning to a life.

The great deeds of heroes and average people are fueled by deep passions for the things that mattered most to them.

You have learned to wait for the good things – patience

Patience is not only a virtue it is the reward of a successful life. When you have the peace of mind to be able to wait for things you are in a place of having what you need rather than chasing the wants of life.

You believe in yourself

If you need more of anything to feel you are acceptable you have not reached your fulfillment. Believing in yourself is a clear reflection that you are living your life in a fruitful way.

You do not need others approval to feel good about yourself. Your past is not controlling your present. Self-esteem is not about what you have it is about who you are.

You are able to freely make choices

Indecision is the opposite of a successful life. People who feel good about where they are can easily make choices. If you need others approval so much you bend your choices to please them you have not become all you might be.

You are able to accept help

Successful people know that everyone has the ability to make a contribution and they can easily accept help from others. If you feel the need to do everything yourself then you do not yet feel successful.

You spend your time on things that matter to you

If you are so short on time that it all needs to be spent on things and on pleasing others you are still poor in emotional terms. When you have the time to pursue things that matter to you then you have reached success regardless of the number of dollars in your bank account.

You see the good not the bad in people and situations.

The failure sees failure everywhere they look. For them, the world is a dark and gloomy place. Successful people can see the good in others and the possibilities in life.

How many of these traits of a successful life have you cultivated?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

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.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

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

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

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – 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 my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Excuses that keep you stuck.

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

Life stuck

Getting your life unstuck.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

These excuses will keep things from ever getting better.

Things in your life are not right. You know your life could be better but you talk yourself out of doing anything. Are you making excuses that allow things to stay the same? Are you cheating yourself out of the fulfilling life you could have? Here are some of the common ways people alibi their inaction and keep themselves stuck. How many of these thinking errors do you practice?

Things are not that bad.

Do you tell yourself that things are not THAT bad? That they could be worse. Clearly, the opposite of the best thing for you is not-that-bad things that could be better but you allow to stay unchanged.

I don’t know where to start.

That is a sneaky excuse. It tries to make you think there is something else you need to know before you can start on anything.  You always start where you are. You start at the beginning and keep going. Taking a trip to a strange place? Get a map, talk to a travel guide or someone who has been there. Ask questions.

Same thing for life. Don’t know how to begin? Seek out someone who can help you. A counselor or therapist a friend or mentor. The trip to recovery land begins when you decide to leave where you are.

You need to be born with talent.

Talents are like seeds. When you were born you were given a whole lot of seeds stored away in your brain. The ones you plant and nurture will grow. You will never know how much talent you have unless you practice a skill to develop it to its fullest. Some people discover, in their retirement years, they had talents they never knew they had. What could they have done with those talents is they had nurtured them sooner?

I will never be as good as so and so.

Probably not. But then you will probably never be as bad as some other people. Comparing yourself to others is an exercise in mental avoidance. (You thought I was going to use another word didn’t you?)

There is no point in comparing yourself to others. You will never be them. But then Benjamin Franklin was no Michelangelo either. Shakespeare was no Chaucer. No one is ever anyone else. You need to be you and do the best you can. You will never know just how good you could be if you don’t try.

Things are just fine the way they are.

If you really believe that try just sitting where you are for the rest of your life. Will that work? No. You need to get up and move around. You need to work and laugh and play. Life is about the journey. If you do nothing things are not likely to stay fine. They are likely to get worse. Keep making you and your life better and see where you end up.

I will do it someday.

There are seven days in the week and none of them are Someday. Someday never comes. It is always today. Do not wait till you can spend full-time working on your dream. That day may never come. Life is all those things you experience while waiting for Someday to arrive.

It is no big deal.

It should be. This is your life. You should matter. Start by making your life matter to you. Everything is a big deal when you can’t do it anymore.

Things might get worse.

They might. But then do nothing and I can pretty much guarantee they will get worse. Things keep going in the direction they are going unless something like gravity or time bends them. Your actions can be the force that changes the trajectory of your life.

I will probably fail.

Telling yourself you will fail does not protect you from failure. Want to fail big? Do nothing. Not studying is the best way to fail a test. Do not turn in your assignment and you get a zero. Do it and you will get at least some points. In life doing something is almost always better than doing nothing.

Not sure what the risks are? Don’t let your mind try to protect you by inventing humongous possible consequences. Talk with experts, coaches, and mentors and see what the real situation is.

I might have to give something up.

You will eventually have to give everything up. You will never know what you could have had if you had gone for it. Most people have a whole lot of things, physical and habit wise that are cluttering up your life. To make room for anything new we always end up having to get something out of our lives. Pick the things you want to jettison before you run out of room, and nothing better can ever enter your life.

Change is hard.

Staying the same can be hard also. Yes, change is hard sometimes, especially that first step. But once you step out you will find that the movement gets easier the farther you go. Anything worth doing talks effort and the most valuable things sometimes takes the most effort.

Do things over and over till they become automatic habits and they become easy. The alphabet and writing were hard in the early grades, for most of us, it is easy now. Skills are all hard in the beginning but you would be surprised how quickly you can learn a new skill.

I don’t have the time for that.

You don’t have time to not do new, valuable things to improve your life. You only have so much time and then time runs out. Spend that time budget of yours wisely before all your time is gone and you regret never having done those things that might have made your life worth living.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

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.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

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

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

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – 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 my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Ways you create a miserable life.

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

Are you creating a miserable life?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Are you making yourself miserable?

Life can be hard, things happen that are out of your control. The things you do in response to life’s ups and downs can make things better or they can keep you stuck in a downward spiral.

Bad life habits can create more misery. How many of these misery creating habits have you drifted into?

You believe one thing and do another.

Discrepancies between what you believe in and what you are doing cause a great deal of misery. If you find you are not practicing your religious or ethical values take another look at your life. How much unhappiness are you creating by excusing your failure to do the things you believe you should be doing?

You lie to yourself.

If there is one person on earth you need to be ruthlessly honest with, it is yourself.  Those lies you tell yourself often enough become part of your core schema, the way you look at life. Do not make excuses for your mistakes. Do not blame others for the things that go wrong in your life.

Begin today to recognize the things you have influence over and can change. Work on your part in things and do those things you know you need to take care of.

You avoid feelings.

Feelings have a purpose. They convey valuable information to you. Get in touch with these feelings. Learn what makes you happy. Stop doing the things that make you sad. Recognize that if a thing feels wrong it probably is.

Avoiding feelings and numbing out does not protect you from life’s pain, it can keep you stuck there.

Putting happiness off till someday keeps you miserable.

Someday never comes. It is always today. Everything that happens to you happens in the now. Work on becoming more present in everything you do. Waiting for someday keeps things from happening for you.

Take small steps today and every day and those small steps will mount up. Fail to take action now while waiting for someday and when that anticipated day arrives nothing will have changed. Why live less of a life now while waiting for that someday which may never come?

You tell yourself you can’t.

Do you believe that saying you can’t, protects you from feeling bad when things do not go your way? Not trying guarantees you won’t feel any better. The consistent quality of winners is that they believed they could.

Tell yourself that you can and you will make a lot more progress towards your goal.

You avoid anything new or difficult and stay in misery.

People who avoid the new and different become stagnant. Those who grow embrace challenges. This does not mean you need to chase every momentary fad. Be consistent in your efforts to grow, learn and improve the most valuable resource you have –you.

We all have our comfort zones. Staying in the center of your comfort zone keeps you stuck. Move towards the edge of that place of comfort and see if you can stretch out your places of comfort. Keep expanding that comfort zone to take in new things and new people.

Everyone falls into some of these miseries creating habits occasionally but if you find that you are doing many of these or that you do them often take another look at how you are living your life.

Start today creating the best life possible, the one we might call your “happy life.” Take a few self-change steps and see how much more happiness and how much less misery you can place in your life.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

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.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

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

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

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

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – 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 my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Do these 12 things for a better life.

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

Happy children

Happy.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Want a better, more successful life? Try out these prescriptions.

  1. Do more stuff.

The more you do the more you will get accomplished.

Take some chances.

Do some new things. Learn from your mistakes and then stop making the same old mistakes.

To get more out of life you need to put more living in the life you have.

  1. Embrace change.

Doing one thing over and over leads to making deep ruts. Those ruts better be in the place you want them. Life is change. You will change. Your relationships will change, for the better or the worse. Embrace the process of change and see that you continue to change for the better. Make change your helper, not your destroyer.

  1. Become more confident.

Want to be more? Feel better about the things you do. To feel better about yourself do more and better things. Do new worthwhile things. Do things of service to others and you will grow.

  1. Develop a positive support system.

We all tend to rise or fall to the levels of those around us. Pick good friends, pick people on the way up, spiritually and intellectually.

  1. Get honest with yourself.

It is easy to lie to yourself. Tell you that someone else is to blame. You can think of all kinds of excuses why things are others fault and why you don’t need to do things. Honesty is an important part of any recovery. One of the most important aspects of honesty is getting honest with yourself. There are some things you will never be able to do. There are things you like that you need to get out of your life. Get rigorously honest with yourself and things will begin to change.

  1. Be where you are, do what you do. – Mindfulness.

Lives that are less than they should be are often lives lived jumping between the regrets of the past and the fears of the future. Stay in the present. Think about the now. Whatever you are doing be doing that thing. Mindfulness, meditation or just old fashion “pay attention to what you are doing” will all add to your ability to focus on the present and make progress on creating the life you want to live.

  1. Pay attention to the good stuff. Study happiness.

Our brains attend to pain and suffering. It is our mind’s way of trying to protect us from the bad stuff. You learned from birth to recognize and attend to the painful. What many of us did not learn is that happiness, positive memories, are not that sticky. They slip right on off the brain. If you want a good life, a happy life, a fulfilling life, you need to pay extra attention to the good things that are going on all around you. Become a happiness expert and learn to recognize the positive when it happens in your world.

  1. Let go of the past.

The past is over. Learn the lessons you need to learn. Hold fast to the memories and release the pain. Living in the past prevents having a full life in the now. And really the now is the only time you will ever be fully there.

  1. Do what you love. Love what you do.

Spend as much of your life as possible doing things that you truly love. If you can’t do your passion all the time then find ways to enjoy the things you do most of the time to provide the necessities of life and then make time for those things you do feel passionate about.

    10. Be a good person. Be kind, give out compliments.

Be generous with praise for others. Compliments, honest sincere ones, cost you nothing and are worth a priceless amount to those who may need a kind word today. Fake praise debases you and your relationships. Do not say something is great if it isn’t. Do look for the good in everyone and everything and praise those things you can appreciate.

    11. Be teachable, seek out good teachers. – Mentors.

Want a good life? Surround yourself with those who know more than you do and are willing to teach. Can’t find people who know more than you? Then look for good students to teach and in the process, you will learn more than you ever thought possible.

    12. Take care of your body.

You can’t do good work without tools. Your body is the tool you will use and the place you will live your whole life. Take care of it. Eat well. Sleep when tired and rest when you need to. Do not expect to get service out of a tool that has been abused.

Make sure you exercise and keep all the body parts in good working order. For a happy life keep all your needs in balance. These are just some of the things I have found useful in creating my happy life. What things have you found helpful in making your life the best it can be?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

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.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

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

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

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – 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 my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

How did you know that? When and where we learn things matters.

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

Memory.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

You know you know something but can’t remember why.

Lately, I am having this problem more and more. How about you? And no it is not just about age. Seems that preschoolers have this same problem. It has to do with differing types of memories that were stored in different ways.

I go to write about something, maybe I remember a fact or a quote but I can’t for the life of me remember which book or article, out of the hundreds I have read, I got that from. I don’t want to just plagiarize someone else’s idea but at what point does it move from being something someone else told me and become something I just know because I know it?

Some things we know because of verbal memory. I know that George Washington was the first president of the United States; I also know that there was a thing called the Hundred Years War. I do not for the life of me remember when and where I first learned about either of those things.

This type of memory is semantic as in words or stories type memories. We know about Washington and the hundred acres woods or was that the hundred years war? But who told us.

There are other things that I remember clearly when and where I was the first time I heard about something. In that case, I can clearly tell you who it was that told me all about that “fact.” These specific learning experiences are called “episodic memories.”

The distinction between these two kinds of knowledge gets glossed over a lot. The result can be that we believe “facts” because someone told us and now, not remembering who it was that said that first; we just accept this as true. What if the person who told us that was wrong?

The source of our “facts” is important also.

This idea of separating out the things we just know from general knowledge and those things we can tell the exact time and place where we learned it has been studied in children. (See Bemis, et al., 2011, note that for once I found one of the studies that I was thinking of.)

Their study on very young children, looked at the times the kids could tell you specifically when and where they were when they first learned something and the times they felt they “just knew” something. They came up with some interesting ideas, albeit the conclusions are a bit tentative. But research types never seem to know anything for sure they just know they need to study this more.

Even in preschool kids, females seem more likely to remember the story of when they learned something rather than to just know that fact. Boys at that age just take it for granted they know what they know, more often than girls. Don’t lay this on genetics though. Researchers have concluded that this comes from the way the parents were spending more time telling their daughters stories about why things were the way they were as opposed to just saying to boys things were that way because they were.

When a little boy tells you he is smart or handsome he believes this is just because it is so. A little girl will be able to provide evidence. She is smart because her grandma said so. She is also cute because dad says so and very cantankerous, whatever that is because mom said so. See the difference between these two approaches?

Kids of both genders reported a variety of times and places they had learned things. They could also at a very early age report whether they saw something, heard it, read it in a book or learned it during an activity like a game.

This variation in how they knew when and where they learned things goes to the basic learning styles. Some people just learn things better when they see them and others when they read or hear and so on. Unfortunately, despite which way you may be best at learning we try to cram all kids into the same learning style. As they move along in school fewer, not more, ways of learning are likely to be emphasized.

Older kids are more likely than younger ones to remember when and where they learned something but the little ones could still describe the time and place that they first learned a particular fact.

This is back to the impact of that first impression. If the first time you learned about pigs you saw grandma feeding one, this is a whole lot different than if you saw “P is for Pig” in a storybook.

Boys do appear to be better able to learn from seeing things even from a very young age. Girls pick things up better from actually doing things. How much of those differences are the boys and girls and how much comes from the way mommies and daddies treat kids is open to debate?

The takeaway here is that we may remember lots of things we think are so, but not as many things that we can say when and where we learned them. Sometimes we might want to question those things we know but can’t say why we know them.

Remember that you heard this on counselorssoapbox.com OK?

  • Forgetting things may not be a memory problem (counselorssoapbox.com)
  • Learning to feel (counselorssoapbox.com)
  • Your autobiography as therapy (counselorssoapbox.com)
  • Mental Health, Self-improvement & Happy life – Counselorssoapbox.com January 2013 Best of Blog (counselorssoapbox.com)
  • Are you a Mind Reader? (counselorssoapbox.com)

    Staying connected with David Joel Miller

    Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

    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.

    Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

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

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

    Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – 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 my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.