Sunday, December 08, 2013

Eleven More Ways to Have a Happy Life

"Beautiful Frolicsome Things" collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper.
(Well, I must say, this is a fun task I seem to have taken on!)

So one of today's ways to have a happy life (#10 of a thousand) has to do with hugs and Dr. Paul Zak's "love molecule."  He believes we need 8 hugs a day to release the daily requirement of Oxytocin.  You can see a great interview with Rick Hanson here.  Nice, right?

I watched another one of these Rick Hanson videos (see below), with James R. Doty (neurosurgeon among other things) and WOW!  But in case you don't have time to watch the video, he describes his rather dire childhood and youth with an alcoholic father and suicidal, invalid mother.  He and his siblings were on life paths that could be called unhappy to the extreme.  His siblings didn't survive their life paths, in fact.  But James had an amazing experience when he was thirteen.  He walked into a magic shop when the owner was away.  The owner's mother was there, visiting for 6 weeks.  They got to chatting and she told James if he came back every day for the next six weeks she would teach him some things that could change his life.  He could sense her genuine concern and compassion for him, so he came back.  What she taught him was based on Eastern religion; meditation,  mindfulness training, visualization, a kind of positive psychology and some self-hypnosis techniques.  What he was able to to with these tools was amazing.

At the end of these interviews Rick Hanson always asks what one thing could viewers put into practice that would change everything for them and maybe for the world if enough people practiced it.  James said he has a little list of words he goes through every day, an alphabetical mnemonic, based on the letters C - L.  So these words will be #11- 20 of a thousand ways to have a happy life.

11. C- Compassion (show yourself and others compassion today)
12. D- Dignity (treat everyone you meet with dignity)
13. E- Equanimity (remember to use equanimity in your relationships)
14. F- Forgiveness (try forgiving someone today)
15. G- Gratitude (remember at least one thing you can be grateful for today)
16. H- Humility (try humility in your interactions today and see what happens)
17. I- Integrity (act with integrity)
18. J- Justice (encourage justice where ever you can)
19. K- Kindness (practice some kindness today)
20. L- Love (and of course if you practice all of the above you will be more loving and more likely to have a happy life)

And here's the video in case you have time for it:

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