“Happy” Is The New Healthy

“Happy” Is The New Healthy

Those of you who follow this blog may have noticed that the focus of my ramblings has shifted slightly over the past couple of months.  There’s a reason for that.  I have become absolutely passionate about the role of ‘happiness’ in my life.  If you check the previous post, you will find a brief overview of the journey I am on that brought me to this conclusion.  Feel free to read that one for some context.

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES

Perhaps the shift has occurred as a result of the aging process (although I still feel like a teenager) or maybe as a result of some significant health challenges that reared their ugly heads a couple of years ago.  I like to think my focus has come back to core values and been bolstered by some incredible coaching that I have been blessed with recently.  Whatever the case, my research, passion for the subject and perhaps a greater understanding of what  most of society feels about happiness (66% of North Americans say they are unhappy) is where my thoughts are these days.

HAPPY IS THE NEW HEALTHY

Although there are many reasons people identify when talking about their unhappiness, they all seem to be an offshoot of what I believe is the core problem.  Health, fatigue and aches/pains seem to be the centre of the issue.  For example, some people indicate that their employment situation is the cause of their unhappiness.  Could that be because they are arriving at work sleep-deprived, irritable due to aches and pains or from stress?  See where I’m going with this?

It’s harder to concentrate on your work, relationships, finances or almost anything else important when you’re just not feeling well.  That doesn’t necessarily mean sick or injured.  In my case, I am blessed to wake up every morning happy.  Life is so much more wonderful when you get up that way.

LENGTHENING LIVES

In an article titled “Six Ways Happiness is Good For Your Health“, Kira M. Newman writes that happiness protects your heart, strengthens your immune system and combats stress, diseases and disability.  She notes that, “Recently, a critical mass of research has provided what might be the most basic and irrefutable argument in favor of happiness: Happiness and good health go hand-in-hand.

Over the past six months I have tested that hypothesis and can tell you without reservation that better health creates happiness and joy.  It is so much easier to face the work at hand when you feel terrific.  Relationships blossom when you get up each morning feeling happy and joyous.  No challenge is insurmountable when you have a smile on your face.

TAKE SIMPLE STEPS

Try it.  It’s that simple.  If the happier you are is directly proportional to how healthy you are, why not get healthy?  I’m not suggesting you rush out and buy up all the ‘happy’ programs on the market, or the ‘healthy’ programs either.  But a few simple steps that cost almost nothing may be in order:

  1.  Find someone that has the happiness factor you respect and ask them how they got there.  I, for one, would be absolutely honoured to share with you the strategies I use for free.  Helping people find happiness makes me feel happy so why not?

Pretty short list.  Great place to start.

As I always end with something to think about, here we go.  “To keep the body in good health is a duty.  Otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”  (Buddha)

 

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Develop An Attitude of Gratitude

gratitude

A focus on gratitude is particularly necessary at this time of year.  It is, after all, the season of joy and glad tidings.  But truly, it should be a year round, every single day kind of practice.

The Universal Laws of Attraction teach that when you are grateful for what you have you will naturally attract more things to be grateful for.  The universe works that way.

More on this topic:  The Inuksuk

I recently ran across a blog post that included a list of steps you can take to create your ‘attitude of gratitude’.  I just had to share it and ask you which of these you already practice, which you need to work on and those that you think really aren’t relevant.  Leave your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of this post please.  I’d love to read your them….

here are six simple tips on how to make gratitude a natural part of your daily routine, so you can attract more joy and abundance into your life all year long:

Take a couple of minutes each morning to write down everything you appreciate in life

Starting your day this way primes you to be receptive and grateful for everything your day will bring. It also helps you cultivate an air of positivity that makes you naturally more attractive to other positive people – and inspires them to want to help you achieve your goals.

Make a conscious effort to appreciate at least three people every day

By letting people know how much you appreciate them, you increase their own sense of appreciation and self-worth, and encourage them to pay this positive energy forward to other people.

While most people enjoy receiving verbal appreciation, written notes are also nice because they can be saved and re-read.

Play the Appreciation Game

Set a specific time each day to consciously appreciate everything you encounter. An ideal time to do this is on your way to or from work. Appreciate the people you pass, the road you walk on, the cars that let you merge into a different lane, the street signs that make it easy for you to know where you’re going, the rain that’s nourishing the plants and trees, and so on.

Look for the good in all situations – even those you would normally view as negative. As the saying goes, “Every cloud has a silver lining.” For example, when my wife was in a car accident a few years ago, she could have chosen to berate herself or question her judgment. Instead, she focused on her gratitude for suffering only minor injuries and for the help she received from other drivers.

Carry a physical token of gratitude in your pocket, such as a heart-shaped stone, crystal, or some other small item

A physical reminder can bring you back to your practice of gratitude when your mind has drifted elsewhere. As you reach into your pocket throughout the day and feel the token, use it as a reminder to stop, breathe and take a moment to fully experience the emotion of gratitude. The more conscious effort you put into seeking it out, the easier it will be to find it – and the more powerful your experience will be.

Remember to appreciate the smallest blessings

The best way to activate your gratitude is by acknowledging the gifts most people take for granted. If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes in your closet and a roof over your head, you are better off than seventy-five percent of the world’s population.

If you eat three meals a day, you are far better off than the 1 billion people on the planet who eat once a day at most.

Do you have a phone? How about a car that allows you to travel to work or to explore the country? Is your family healthy? Do you have a computer and Internet access to stay in touch with the world, get access to education, and perform work for which you are paid? Do you have clean water to drink?

Celebrate these simple blessings. These daily conveniences are gifts that most people in the world do not enjoy.

Appreciate yourself

Finally, don’t forget to appreciate your OWN positive qualities and accomplishments. In addition to celebrating your big successes, acknowledge your small daily successes too.”

I particularly like the last point.  It is very difficult to appreciate others when you’re not comfortable with you.  Like most things in life, it is a process to get there.

Something to think about:  “There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”  (Mother Teresa)

Text Neck. Yep, It’s A Thing!

Distracted by technology

Let me apologize in advance.  I feel a rant coming on.  So there I was, reading through some of my favorite entrepreneurial websites and I ran across a phrase I haven’t heard before.

Text Neck.  Yep, it’s apparently a thing.  And not a very good thing.

Have we really come to this point that so many people spend so much time on so many handheld devices that there’s actually a new medical condition?  I’m calling it a condition because I’m not sure that the word ‘disease’ fits.  Maybe it is a disease.  Staring at your device and ignoring people certainly has become one.  I’m not even sure what my doctor would say if I made an appointment to discuss text neck.  I’m guessing his immediate response would be “you’re an idiot”.  He’s blunt like that.

Text Neck even has people talking about the right name for this condition/disease/whatever.  Some think it should be called Text Neck and others are lobbying for the name iHunch.  I’m not going to jump into that highly controversial slugfest.  I’m actually getting a headache just thinking about it.

The worst part is that these are not just physical ailments.  They apparently also lead to psychological problems.  I thought ‘psychological’ problems were pretty much guaranteed if you were actually trying to figure out whether Text Neck or iHunch was a better name.

But I digress.  The article says that “If you haven’t heard the official term “text neck“–the slouched posture one gradually adopts over time from texting too much–chances are you’ve felt its physical effects in the form of headaches and a sore neck.

And even more concerning, according to a recent New York Times piece by social psychologist Amy Cuddy, existing research indicates that bad posture isn’t just reflective of a bad mood or low self-esteem–slouching may actually cause self-esteem issues.

STUDY SAYS ‘FEELINGS OF DEPRESSION’

June study conducted by researchers at the University of Auckland …found that participants with good posture reported feeling more confident and being in a better mood after the tests. And a study published last year inClinical Psychology and Psychotherapy found that bad posture may also affect your memory.

COPING WITH TEXT NECK

If you’re on your phone constantly, there’s no need to panic yet. Cuddy says that there are simple ways to prevent your phone from ruining your posture. Try using a larger device, so that you don’t have to slouch over as much to be able to read the screen. Remember to hold your phone at eye level, so you can read through your emails and texts while sitting upright.

I HAVE A MUCH SIMPLER SOLUTION

Put the darn device down and talk to people.

Or better still, put the darn device down and go have some fun outside.  You remember where outside is, right?  That’s the place you used to spend lots of your time before you discovered texting.  It’s easy to find.  Go to the door, turn the knob (usually a round thing that opens the door) and step outside.  You’re going to find the world’s largest screen with the highest possible resolution presented in breathtaking real colour.  Plus, it’s free.

Final thought is always something to think about:  “A conversation is a dialogue, not a monologue. That’s why there are so few good conversations: due to scarcity, two intelligent talkers seldom meet.” (Truman Capote)

The Goldfish Bowl Effect

goldfish

You will always be the average of the five people you spend the most time with.  If you want more success, spend time with more successful people.  You’ve probably heard that or read it somewhere.  But have you actually spent a few minutes thinking about it?

I believe that phrase to be true.  For that reason I also believe that every entrepreneur needs a coach. I can tell you that any successes I’ve had in life, career and entrepreneurship are a direct result of the coaches and mentors I aligned myself with.

So why is it that so many entrepreneurs believe that it is their project and no one else understands it the way they do so how could a coach possibly help?

Goldfish bowl, that’s how.  Goldfish bascically spend their lives swimming in circles thinking  “Hey, there’s a castle”.  “Oh look. Another castle”.  “Wow, there’s another castle”.  They’re travelling a repeating path and seeing the same castle over and over again.  Somone looking from outside the fishbowl sees the entire picture.  So yes, a coach is a winning necessity.

WHAT SEPARATES THE WINNERS FROM THE LOSERS?

John Brubaker, award winning author, consultant and speaker says:  “What separates the winners from the losers? At the most elite levels it’s not talent, because everyone is supremely talented. Coaching is what makes the difference.

Coaching isn’t just important in sports, it’s the X-factor that makes a big difference in your business results as well. If you look up the words teach and coach in the dictionary, they share the same definition: “to provide instruction.”

Related: The Combination To The Lock

As entrepreneurs and leaders, you should embrace coaching instead of attempting to manage your people. You’ll see dramatic improvements. People drive your numbers. Your numbers don’t drive your people. View the organization as your team and your employees are your players. Just like in sports, every day is a performance review. Do this and watch your results soar.”

WHO NEEDS A COACH?

Brubaker goes on to say, “I believe everyone should both have a coach and be a coach. Every athletic and business success I’ve enjoyed has been the result of great coaching. I’m not alone in this belief. When asked in a CNN interview what the best advice he ever got was, Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt said it was to find a coach.

As we enter the fourth quarter, ask yourself if you are really coaching your people or just managing the numbers. Are you being coached yourself? I’ve found that great athletes and executives don’t merely have a coach. They want a coach.

Elite competitors in any field have the self-awareness to realize you can’t see the picture when you’re trapped inside the frame. Great coaches see things in us that we don’t see in ourselves. It’s what they do and this is precisely why you should invest in having an outside set of eyes objectively look at your situation from a different vantage point. It will pay big dividends.”

AND THE SURVEY SAYS

How big an impact does coaching have? A Bersin by Deloitte research study revealed that organizations that are effective at coaching are:

  • 130 percent more likely to have strong business results
  • 33 percent more effective at engaging employees
  • 42 percent higher in employee productivity

Did you ever wonder why coaching causes a dramatic improvement in these numbers? I can tell you from experience it can be attributed to trust. When you know your coach (boss) is trying to bring out the best in you, not just for the company or its bottom line, it engenders a great deal of trust. He or she is holding you to your highest potential, which we all crave at some level.

High performing organizations realize their leaders should be coaching, not managing. As my coaching mentor liked to say, “You manage inventories. You coach people.” The best way to manage people is to invest time in them. It doesn’t even have to be a lot of time, just purposeful and consistent. If you want your team’s buy in, you’ve got to put in the time, daily. Remember, it’s the people that drive the numbers.”

And finally, something to think about. “Each person holds so much power within themselves that needs to be let out.  Sometimes they just need a little nudge, a little direction, a little support, a little coaching, and the greatest things can happen.” (Pete Carroll)

Philosophy From A Bear

bearbryant

I’m a football fan.  CFL, NFL and college games.  They’re all good.

Living where I do, I cheered proudly for the Red Blacks this season, but having been born and raised in the west I have to confess that if you cut me I still bleed Rider green.

I love football not only for the excitement of the game but for the many lessons that can be learned from the motivation, attitude and teamwork that must be in place to field a winning team.

There have been many life and success lessons learned from watching and reading what the great football coaches and players say and do. As I often mention during my workshops and coaching sessions, wisdom is everywhere. You just have to keep your spidey-senses up all the time.

Few examples better than this exist. I’m not sure who actually first wrote this but I’m going to give it to you as I heard it. The story centres on one of the greatest coaches in football history, Paul “Bear” Bryant. I’m pretty sure he didn’t write it. I’m not even sure if the story is true. But I like it and it’s my blog 🙂

By any standard, Paul Bryant was a superb strategist, motivator and coach. He is legendary, not only for his track record of success with the Crimson Tide but for his remarkable winning percentage and his longevity in the league. In the tough world of US College Football Bryant put up winners and contenders from 1958 until his passing in 1982. You read that correctly. Head Coach for 24 years. Remarkable.

All of which brings me to my point. Although the author of what follows is unclear, legend has it that it was found in Paul “Bear” Bryant’s wallet after his passing. Whether or not it was isn’t important. The message is.

THE MAGIC BANK ACCOUNT

Imagine that you had won the this lottery prize: Every morning your bank would deposit $86,400 
in a private account for your personal use.  Sounds amazing.

However, the prize has rules:

  • Everything that you didn’t spend during the day would be taken away from you.
  • You have no way to transfer the money into a different account.
  • You must spend  it or lose it by the end of the day.
  • Every morning the bank opens your account with another $86,400 for that day only.
  • Most importantly, the bank can end the deposits without warning at any time. It can simply close the account and the prize disappears.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

Because you had to spend all the money today or lose it you would most likely buy anything and 
everything you wanted, not only for yourself but for everyone you love. You might even spend some of the money on people you don’t even know because it would be selfish to spend it all on yourself.

 Certainly, you would try to spend every penny because you knew it couldn’t be carried over until tomorrow.

ACTUALLY, THIS GAME IS REAL

Every one of us has already won this lottery. We just need to see it.

Each morning we awaken to receive 86,400 seconds 
to spend that day.
 When we go to sleep at 
night any remaining time we haven’t spent is not credited to tomorrow. What we haven’t used that day is forever lost.

Each morning, when we wake, the account is refilled, but the bank can dissolve your account at any time without warning.

SO, what will you do with your 86,400 seconds today?

Enjoy every second of your life! And remember to spend every single one.

As always, something to think about: “If anything goes bad, I did it. If anything goes semi-good, we did it. If anything goes really good, then you did it. That’s all it takes to get people to win football games for you.” (Paul “Bear” Bryant)