The Happiness Quotient

In the first few months of a new year one hears so much about New Year’s resolutions, about being realistic about what you pick as your resolutions so that you won’t be disappointed when you can’t keep them, as studies have shown that most give up on their resolutions by the end of February. This year the media added some new items to the group. One station had an interview that spoke of people trying too hard to be positive and to attain happiness. Really? We can now be “too” happy?

It has now been proven scientifically that we can re-hard wire our brains into more positive patterns, and that by doing simple thinking exercises we can move from thinking that the glass is half empty to the glass is half full mentality.   This is part of what I teach. Happiness and joy are two concepts that are a large part of what I teach my clients. There is a difference between the two. Dr. Andrew Weil believes that we should strive to walk a middle line with happiness- sort of a flat line on the emotional scale, or a teeter totter with both sides equally balanced.

I believe there is so much more to life!

I also believe that we can spend most of our time walking in joy.

There is a documentary released several years ago entitled “I AM” by Tom Shadyac. He is the director of Ace Ventura and other comedies. The documentary follows his fame, what it bought him, and a near death experience that changed what he wanted out of life. He found all his money could buy him hadn’t made him truly “happy”. He started seeking other “things” which ended up being knowledge and sharing that knowledge with the world. He interviewed world-renowned scholars, scientists, and political figures about what they knew to be their truth.

The outcome was an interesting conglomeration of information regarding how science and spirituality have now merged. Science has proven so many things that were thought to be in the spiritual realm. He goes on to show the connectedness of all things through the concepts and precepts of science. The interconnectedness of all things would move towards the concept of unity consciousness, which he hints at, but doesn’t state out loud. He also states that we are really hard wired to be social beings that want to show compassion and caring towards one another. We do so much better in life when we work with how we are hard wired in this regard. We all benefit when any one of us shows compassion, kindness, or love. This is the opposite of what we are led to believe in America. Here we are taught competition, and the survival of the fittest. Darwin spoke of this. In his writings he spoke twice of the survival of the fittest, and spoke of love changing the world 96 times. How did we miss this?

More importantly, why did we miss this?

In reality, it had more to do with the man translating the information and where he was at in his life process than anything else, but still- due to one translation of this work, we missed out on something really important. We need to go back to what he really stated- that love changes the world.

What did Tom do with the information that he gleaned from these remarkable minds of our times? He let the information change every aspect of his life. He sold his mansion in CA, sold most of his art, moved to a double wide trailer that also serves as his work studio, started riding a bike most everywhere, and started teaching at a local community college about all he had learned, and all that became important to him after such a close call with death. He fills the moments of his life with the projects and things that come from his passion for life, and that feed his soul, and he teaches what he has learned along the way to students.

All of us seek happiness; it is part of our natural hard wiring. When life becomes stressful or feels out of control, we search for something to ease our stress or pain. Some turn to drugs or alcohol. Some seek medical help and get relief from prescription drugs. These ease the initial pain, but don’t have the life changing effect on us that Tom’s near death experience did. They just mask the symptoms. We don’t find what we are looking for by masking our symptoms. They just start to scream louder. We then try harder to drown them out, all the while still searching for that elusive dream of happiness.

The world lost an incredible talent in Whitney Houston. She made so many happy with her amazing voice, yet happiness eluded her. Her choices in life lead her down a road that spiraled out of control. Such a great loss; such deep sadness we all felt at her passing. We are connected in this, too, for a few moments in time, and for those moments it colors our experience of life. May we learn from her mistakes, her choices, and see so much more for our own lives! (There are so many more names we can add to this list of lives lost too soon!)

Addictions always come at first to save us, to ease our pain. May we all find another way. May we start by showing each other kindness, compassion, and respect. This brings happiness to both the giver and the receiver.

The kindness, love, and compassion that we show one another and that we receive from others really does change the world, beginning with that individual and moving outward from there. If you have read the book or seen the movie Pay it Forward, you understand this concept. A commercial has taken this concept in advertising their product too. If each one of us were to show one person a day some kindness and it in turn inspired them to do the same, think of how many lives could be touched!

What brings you joy? What truly makes you happy? When was the last time you did any of those things?

What are you waiting for?

If you are struggling in your life, IntraPersonal Guided Imagery Therapy can help. Give us a call.