Wednesday, 26 November 2008

The Pursuit of Happiness

I just watched another inspiring show on Oprah entitled “How Happy Are you?” Here is a happiness quiz that the studio audience answered. I suggest you do the same before reading any further.

How satisfied are you? To find out, read the following five statements.

Use the 1–7 scale to rate your level of agreement.
1 = Not at all true
4 = Moderately true
7 = Absolutely true

1. In most ways, my life is close to ideal.
2. The conditions of my life are excellent
3. I am satisfied with my life.
4. So far I have gotten the important things I want in life.
5. If I could live my life over, I would change almost nothing.

(Quiz developed by Ed Diener at the University of Illinois)
Did you score nearer 5 or nearer 35 points? Your answer will be revealing.

It was interesting that the person with the highest score in the studio was a male funeral director who scored maximum 35 points. We might think that looking at dead bodies every day would be depressing but he told us that he felt honoured to be able to help people at a very difficult and sad time. He said his way of looking at life is not aiming to be successful in material terms but to be significant is more important. He labels each day eg “Marvellous Monday”, “Terrific Tuesday”. That is great because it sets up an intention for the day. He chooses to be an optimist.

Dr Robert Holden is British and has written a book
Happiness Now!: Timeless Wisdom for Feeling Good Fast In fact the subject of his Doctorate was happiness. He joked that it is rare to find a Brit who is happy!

Happiness is a choice YOU have to make. It is a state of being only you can create.

If we choose to be an optimist, the Law of Attraction will work in our lives as our perception gathers evidence to prove us right. “What is the good that can come out of this?”

When I studied French A´Level, I read Voltaire’s “Candide. Candide was a man who endured a life of suffering but through it all, he stuck to this belief that “Everything works for the best in this, the best of all possible worlds”. It is a wonderful book, funny and sad but so poignant. I really recommend Candide as it turned me on to optimism at a young age. I am even a member of an international Optimism Club.

Happiness has to come from inside but we tend to look outside to make our lives happier. There is a place inside us where we are already happy. Do you know where it is?

Going back to the Law of Attraction, we project what we think we deserve on to the world and, guess what, it comes back multiplied. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people who build you up and keep reminding you of your qualities and strengths. We become like the people we mix with. Who do you see on a regular basis? Are they a positive plus in your life?

Mothers who always help others first are particularly in danger of leaving themselves out of their life but the best gift we can give our children is showing them how to be happy. Children do not learn from what we tell them – I’ve noticed that – but what we show them.

Dr Robert Holden identified “Destination Addiction”, that conundrum of “I can’t be happy now but I will be when I have this, become this, go there”. We are always chasing more, looking around the next turn. The truth is that you will not be happy when you arrive at your destination. You will simply choose a new destination. Have you experienced that? We cannot create happiness from material items but from the internal joy within us.

He also talked about “Happychondria”, the fear that if things get too good, there will be a fall, something will go wrong, there will be a price to pay. We say, "This is all too good to be true" or "All good things come to an end". Why? Says who?

Turn it around. Dare to let life be great. As Del Trotter always says, “He who dares wins”.

Life is too short and we do not receive a second chance. Some of us do go through near death experiences, serious illnesses etc which should teach us the value of every day. But for too many, this is true – “We die before we die”.

In the film “The Pursuit Of Happyness” (deliberately mis-spelt), Will Smith makes us thankful for what we have by showing us how easy it is to lose it all.

Let go of the past for you cannot change it. Start anew. Find your purpose in life. Focus on the significant contributions you can make to yourself, your family and then the world and “success” will surely follow.

Someone wrote a review about Happiness Now!: Timeless Wisdom for Feeling Good Fast,“This book should be on schools’ “must read” llist actually, if it’s not on the parents’ bookshelf already”.

Candide: A Dual-Language Book

Here are some quotes about happiness:
"But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads?” – Albert Camus

"Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others.” – Buddha

"There are as many nights as days, and the one is just as long as the other in the year's course. Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word 'happy' would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.” – Carl Jung

"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” – Mohandas K Gandhi

"Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.” – Denis Waitley

"The basic thing is that everyone wants happiness, no one wants suffering. And happiness mainly comes from our own attitude, rather than from external factors. If your own mental attitude is correct, even if you remain in a hostile atmosphere, you feel happy.” – the Dalai Lama

"Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don't wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it's at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored." - Earl Nightingale

© Antonia Harrison the English Hypnotherapist & NLP Practitioner in Belgium and Download Hypnosis Mp3 for immediate, affordable hypnosis Mp3s to improve your life.

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