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

Finding your passion.

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

Finding your purpose.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

You are told you should find your passion – but how?

Repeatedly we are told that to be successful in life we should pursue our passion. But how do you discover that passion, and once you have found your passion how do you decide if this is a healthy direction? It’s not unusual for someone to get extremely interested in something and for a year or two pursue it with undivided attention only to drop that activity for something else. Some passions are passing fancies. How do you know if this passion will come and go or does it have the substance that can give your life meaning and purpose?

Pursue something you love doing, not something you’re obsessed with.

An obsession is something which intrusively forces its way into your mind when you’re trying to concentrate on something else. It’s an obsession if you’re preoccupied with the activity to a troubling extent.

To find your passion examine your current interests. Is what you are doing things you love doing for their own sake. Is the practice of the skill it’s own reward or has an obsession taken over your life, trying to lead your mind off in another direction? Successful people often make substantial investments in the training, skills, and practice, that leads them to success. You may need to give up television or taking days off to devote yourself to the education and skills development necessary for success. Will this goal be worth the sacrifices?

Make sure that in the process of pursuing a potential passion you don’t neglect other essential parts of your life. Don’t give up relationships, time with your children, or ignore your physical and mental health while pursuing an obsession. The search for your passion is an area where getting outside opinions from people you trust can be helpful. Don’t let naysayers deter you from reaching your goals, but if several people warn you that you’re headed in a dangerous direction heed their warning.

When your purpose calls answer it.

The unhappiest people are those who feel they had a calling they didn’t answer. Neglecting your calling is worse for your mental health than never having found your purpose. If you discover something which gives your life meaning and purpose, and that you would be happy spending your life doing regardless of the outcome, this is probably your life purpose come knocking. Don’t let fear or trivial things get in the way of dedicating for yourself that something is worthwhile.

Persistence without passion will grind you down.

You probably heard that to become skilled at anything you need to put in thousands of hours of practice. The more you practice something, the better you become at it. Repeatedly doing something that brings you joy takes more dedication than effort. Practicing something when your heart is not in it is likely to wear you out rather than build you up.

Be careful that someone else has not selected your passion for you. The long hours of practice required to fulfill someone else’s dream will rob you of your own life.

What you put effort into may become your passion.

If the goal of what you’re doing is worthwhile, do it wholeheartedly. Doing important things can help you discover what matters most in your life. Whatever you do, seek to do it without reservation. If it’s not worth putting in your best effort try to cut it out of your life. Over time you will find the things that are easy to devote your energy to are the things which you’re passionate about.

Do what you believe in, and you may come to love it.

Just loving something is not enough. Many things in life are enjoyable for a season. Beyond temporary satisfaction, you need to have the belief that this is worthwhile. Approach every task in life as if what you’re trying to do matters. The things you put the most effort into are likely to turn out to be the things you become incredibly passionate about.

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