Mental Health

Are you happy?

happy success and happiness 300x270 Happiness Can Be Learned

If I asked you what your life goals are, what would you say?

I’m going to take a guess that 90% of us would respond with:

  • To find great love
  • Get a great job
  • Buy a nice house
  • Get married
  • Stay in great shape
  • Raise a lovely family
  • Enjoy my passions
  • Spend time with my friends
  • Be liked and loved
  • Attain my dreams

Now, imagine you are having a conversation about having that great job with a 4-year old child. The conversation would probably go something like this:

You: “I want to have a great job.”

4-year old: “Why?”

You: “So that I can do what I love and earn a great salary.”

4-year old: “Why?”

You: “So I can enjoy my life.”

4-year old: “Why?”

You: “Because that will make me happy.”

The 4-year old child is extremely insightful. What we learn is that if we had the same conversation about any of your life goals, we would drill down to the same reason every time: We do everything in life to find happiness.

If you were a nerd (like me), you’d plot it on a graph that looked like this:

yourgoals11 Happiness Can Be Learned

Then why aren’t we, as humans, happier?

One simple fact:

Money, Love, & Healthy COMBINED can only increase your happiness up to 10%. That’s right, it has been scientifically determined that this is the case. We’re going to talk about the science in a second, but first, let me ask you:

What does it mean that those things only increase or decrease your happiness by 10%?

It means if you were rich, had the perfect mate, and were in terrific health, you would only be 10% happier than if you were poor, single, and in bad shape physically. Sound false? Well, when I put it that way, maybe it sounds false, but what about when you look around you at people chasing after these three things.

  1. Do you know anyone who has achieved financial success, yet is still unhappy?
  2. Do you know anyone who is in a great relationship, but always seems to complain?
  3. How about someone who is a skinny minnie and in great health, but still miserable…sound familiar?

I call these three people CHASERS. They chase happiness, but no matter what they chase, they come up short.

I was a chaser.

I was once ran a high-tech company with over 100 employees, I was married, had the house, the car, a great family, and I was…miserable. I was a chaser. Always going after the next thing that I thought would bring me true happiness and when I reached it, I realized that the boost I felt was only temporary. I would always go back to that set level of happiness (my genetic set point) and I was mystified. How come all of the things we have deemed important in Western, and now frankly, Eastern societies was not making me happy???

Because, we as a global society, have been chasing the wrong things.

Let me rephrase, we have been chasing the wrong things and there is scientific data that has now proven this fact.

Ok, what is this science I’ve been constantly referencing?

There are a group of people that have been asking this same holy grail type question…what actually makes people happy? But instead of just asking the question, they have made it their life work to study it scientifically. These people are Positive Psychologists and they study the Science of Happiness.

Now, I know what you’re thinking and I need to tell you that Positive Psychology is not some mumbo-jumbohippie-granola-new age trend. It is a Psychology which is a science. This science is based on theories. These theories are tested and supported by data. Positive Psychologists have tested tens of thousands of people for research and have spent tens of thousands of hours to determine some basic things like the fact that more money only makes us marginally happier.

Here is the Truth about Happiness:

The Truth! Money, love, and health ONLY affect our level of happiness by up to 10%. That means if some of these things in your life are not going as you have planned, it does not matter. You can still scientifically increase your happiness no matter what your life circumstance!

The Truth! Goal setting is not just about reaching the goals you’ve set; setting the goals in and of themselves has tremendous benefit. You wouldn’t go on a road trip without a map and the same goes for life. Learning how to goal set will increase your happiness.

The Truth! People who have an opportunity to use their strengths at work, home, or school everyday are much happier than those that do not. The same goes for using your skills, talents, and creativity. You must take the assessments to identify your strengths and lean on them to increase your happiness!

The Truth! Optimism can decrease your susceptibility for physical and mental weakness. Optimists view bad occurrences as temporary, specific, and often caused by external forces. These are signs of optimism and optimism can be learned.

The Truth! Gratitude exercises done in a particular manner can not only increase your happiness, it can decrease blood pressure, boost your immune system, and decrease situational depression. The studies prove this!

The Truth! It’s possible to be TOO happy! I know it sounds ridiculous, but on a scale of 1-10, it is better to be an 8 so that you will continue to strive to be a 10. If you consider yourself a 10 in every aspect of your life, you may become complacent. If you think about this one, it may make your head spin. Keep going, the science will show you how to be optimally happy.

The Truth! The percentage of our happiness that is passed on by genes has been scientifically determined to be only 50%. That means 50% of our happiness is in our control and we now have the exercises to take that control and make ourselves happier!

You know what else? It has been Scientifically Tested and Proven that Happy people:

  • Live Longer
  • Get better jobs
  • Get paid more
  • Volunteer more
  • Have lower blood pressure
  • Less heart disease
  • Enjoy longer marriages
  • Achieve more of their goals
  • And much more

Ok, so Here is the Honking Truth!!!

We are all chasing after the same thing. Whether it be a better job, promotion, husband, wife, children, house, good health, money etc. it all boils down to one thing – we all want to find true happiness.

Positive Psychologists, have given us the true and proven things that make people happy.

• The way we speak about the good and bad events in our lives will increase our set level of happiness.

• Expression of gratitude can decrease blood pressure and depression when practiced in a particular fashion.

• Job crafting including finding a job that uses your talents can lead to a higher paying job and satisfaction

• Acts of Kindness can actually be extremely beneficial for the one performing the act – that’s you!

The research is revolutionary and after spending 35 years chasing a smoke screen of happiness, I decided to join the revolution. I became a Certified Coach of Positive Psychology to coach myself into a happier life. Once I saw that what this cutting edge science reported actually worked, I felt it my duty to spread the word. But here’s the deal, there are tons of massive, academic like books out there giving you information about Positive Psychology.

Locked inside the Science of Positive Psychology are some of the true secrets to happiness

Here is what I learned – locked inside Positive Psychology is what we all seek- not a lecture on the necessity of being happy (sorry, Mom), but tested techniques on how to be happy; locked inside Positive Psychology was a system to be happy.

The problem?

The secrets to happiness are locked inside – they are buried in scientific speak and under hoards of testing and data that is difficult to apply to your practical home and work life.

The solution:

A system that Unlocks the Secrets: The Happy Gym.

Keep in the mind the underlined word above: System. The Happy Gym unlocks the secrets to happiness that are hidden within the study of Positive Psychology by making it easy and systematic for you to increase your happiness. The Happy Gym is not a science book. The Happy Gym walks you through sets of mental exercises that are based in scientific research and  inspired by the study of Positive Psychology and other studies on happiness.

What I have done over the last several years is develop a system that is easy to follow an integrate into your life with 5-10 minute exercises that you can do everyday. These mental workouts will increase your happiness and that is the bottom line!

I want you to be happier, because I know what is like to chase happiness and come up short.

I worked in the corporate world surrounded by chasers like myself that ran into disappointment after disappointment at every turn. I wanted to teach them about Positive Psychology, but I didn’t find too many resources out there that were easy to follow and provided a system. This is when I decided to create The Happy Gym.

At one point or another, we’ve all gone to the regular gym to lose weight. A gym provides motivation because there are other people using it and it works because it is systematic. The Happy Gym does the same thing for your mind and that the regular gym does for your body. The only difference is The Happy Gym only takes 5-10 minutes per day.

The information I’ve provided you above is only scratching the surface of what Positive Psychologists have discovered. Instead of chasing after what hasn’t worked in the past, use the scientifically proven techniques. Positive Psychologists have dedicated their lives to be able to tell us exactly how to achieve happiness.

Every individual training module – one a day for 20 days – will present you with each of the following:

• Details of one specific aspect of your life to be changed to become happier;

• Scientific proof that by tackling the daily task, you remove some of the doom and gloom that surrounds you bit-by-bit;

• An example of how you put the lesson concept into practice and finally

• Specific, practical exercises about how to take action on what you have just discovered.

Because every lesson in ‘The Happy Gym’ follows this same step-by-step structure, it is extremely easy to put what you learn each day into practice. Furthermore, because the book has been written in plain, easy to understand English, you don’t need a science degree to understand it.

In fact, if the science makes no sense at all – no matter – you’ll still get happier as long as you follow the practical exercises. And just in case you’ve forgotten, let me remind you of exactly what you will gain from owning your own copy of ‘The Happy Gym’.

Remember that research has established that there are a bunch of tangible benefits that happy people are more likely to enjoy than those who are unhappy?

Well, once you become happier, all of these benefits can be yours:

•You can get a more satisfying job than any that you have had before, one that puts more money in your pocket too.

•Within your new work environment, you are more likely to be promoted (remember that happy people make better leaders) and you will definitely achieve more than you might if you were unhappy.

•You will become more popular socially because most folks prefer to be around happy people.

•Struggling to find the best life partner for you should become a thing of the past. Again, you will be far more attractive to potential partners if you are a happy, cheerful individual than you would be if you are miserable and moribund.

•If you are already in a partnership or married, keeping your relationship together and settled will be much easier if you learn to enjoy life more than you were before.

•Getting out of bed every day will become easier, an experience that will be far more positive than it ever has been before. When you become optimistic about what the future holds, every day is a new adventure instead of being a chore that has to be survived.

•You are likely to be healthier and fitter than you are as an unhappy person. Healthier, fitter people live longer and get more out of life whilst they are doing so.

•In almost every imaginable way, the new happier you will be far more popular with everyone around you than the less-happy version was. Trust me, I know from sometimes bitter experience that people are happiest around other happy people, and I have no doubt at all that you will discover exactly the same.

I’m someone who has a simple plan based on advanced scientific knowledge that will make you happier. I genuinely want you to have access to this life-changing information today.


Popular culture is focused on attracting love, yet you’ll only be able to receive as much love as you give to yourself. You’ll deflect or guard love that doesn’t resonate with you — like a compliment you don’t believe. The opposite is also true. You’ll allow others to abuse you a bit less than you abuse yourself. So if you desire lasting love, learn to love yourself, because your relationships will parallel your relationship with yourself.

The subject of love interested me from an early age after reading Erich Fromm’s The Art of Loving. I was still young and unconscious of my feelings about myself. For years, the concept of loving myself eluded me. Like many on a spiritual path, I became very good at compassion for others, but had no idea what self-love meant. Little by little, I’ve learned that it starts with self-esteem, self-acceptance, and finally compassion and love – all progressive stages.

Most people determine their worth based upon other-esteem. They seek approval and validation from others, and their opinion of themselves isn’t very high unless they get it. True self-esteem isn’t based on what others think of you, since its Self-esteem. It’s basically what you think of yourself. You may think well of yourself and your competence in some areas, but not in others, and your estimation may fluctuate with illness and life’s ups and downs, but if you have good self-esteem, you’ll return to feeling good about yourself. You won’t blame yourself, nor take others’ opinions or what fate throws you too personally. You’ll think you’re an okay person despite losses, ill heath, mistakes, and rejection. Many people focus on their flaws and have trouble acknowledging their assets. Others have inflated, unrealistic opinions of themselves. Studies contend that narcissists have high self-esteem. I say they lack true self-esteem, because when a major loss occurs, their self-esteem can plummet, especially if it’s in areas that support their self-concept, such as beauty, public acclaim, or material success. The biggest obstacle to self-esteem is self-criticism.

Unlike self-esteem which varies, self-acceptance is steady and unconditional. You accept yourself despite your flaws, failures, and limitations. You’re more self-forgiving and let go of self-judgment. Instead of comparing yourself to others, both positively and negatively, you appreciate your singular individuality. You feel that you’re enough without having to improve upon yourself.

Self-acceptance works wonders. Once you start accepting yourself, you gradually stop worrying what others think and become more spontaneous and natural. Self-acceptance is what allows you to be authentic. You can finally relax, and allow more of the inner, real you to be seen. You’ll have no shame or fear of revealing yourself when you accept yourself unconditionally. This is the key to intimacy and spiritual relationships and enables you to accept others.

Whereas self-esteem is an evaluation and acceptance is an attitude, love combines both feeling and action. Contrary to what many believe, self-love is healthy. It’s neither selfish, nor self-indulgent, and neither egotism, nor narcissism. Actually, egotists and narcissists don’t love themselves at all. A “big ego” is compensation for lack of self-love. Most people think too little of themselves, not too much, and often falling in love is merely a compensation for inner emptiness, loneliness, and shame. No wonder most relationships fail (including those who stay together). Erich Fromm correctly pointed out that love is an art form that takes dedication and practice, not something you win or fall into. Rather, being able to love is a faculty to be developed. It entails effort and begins with learning to love yourself.

Fromm contended that Western society has been influenced by the Calvinist belief that we’re basically sinful, and thus self-love was considered sinful. But since the Bible says, “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” how can loving your neighbor be a virtue and self-love be a vice? You’re part of humanity as worthy of love as the next person. Many kind or religious people are able to love others, but unable to love themselves. They believe having a high regard for themselves is indulgent, conceited, arrogant, or selfish. The opposite is true. The greater is your love of self, the greater will be your love of others. The inverse is also true; hatred of others is indicative of self-hatred.

When you love someone, you try to understand their experience and world view, although it differs from your own. You offer your attention, respect, support, compassion, and acceptance. Your caring involves knowledge, responsibility and commitment. These virtues are not compartmentalized, because love is indivisible. Thus, as you develop these abilities, your capacity to love yourself and others grows.

Developing the faculties of attention and compassion necessitate discipline and time. To learn anything requires that you desire it and find it worthy of your effort. Although self-love is certainly an important goal, our society is full of distractions, and its emphasis on speed, performance, and productivity make developing self-love a challenge. Meditation, yoga, martial arts are helpful in learning self-awareness and focusing attention.

Compassion for yourself enables you to witness your feelings, thoughts, and actions with acceptance, caring, and understanding as you would when empathizing with another. Compassion is expressed with gentleness, tenderness, and generosity of spirit — quite the opposite of self-criticism, perfectionism, and pushing oneself. When most people are stressed, overwhelmed, or exhausted, they attempt to do even more, instead of caring for themselves. If you weren’t nurtured as a child, self-nurturing can be absorbed in therapy over time. You’ll learn to integrate the acceptance and empathy offered by your therapist. Self-compassion differs from self-pity, which is a judgment about your situation or feelings. Rather than acceptance and compassion, self-pity says, “It shouldn’t be this way.”

Fromm states that self-love entails faith and courage to take risks and overcome life’s setbacks and sorrows. Faith in yourself enables you to comfort yourself and face challenges and failures without lapsing into worry or judgment. You develop the ability to see yourself objectivity and know you’ll survive, despite present emotions. If you constantly seek validation and reassurance from others, you miss the opportunity to develop these internal functions. As knowledge is pre-requisite to love, spending time alone with yourself is essential to identify and listen to your feelings with sensitivity and empathy. Acquiring the ability to witness and contain your emotions are also faculties learned in psychotherapy.

Perhaps you’ve concluded that learning self-love isn’t easy. Look at it this way. Throughout the day, you’re confronted with many opportunities to disregard or attune to your feelings, to judge or to honor them, to keep commitments and be responsible to yourself, and to act in accordance with your needs, values, and feelings. You have an opportunity to learn self-love all the time. Every time you talk yourself down, doubt yourself, exhaust yourself, dismiss your feelings or needs, or act against your values, you undermine your self-esteem. The reverse is also true. You might as well make healthier choices, because you and all your relationships will benefit.

Author: Darlene Lancer

Why do we get so attached to another human being? The depression that follows the break-up of a relationship is considered by mental health professionals as a normal part of grieving. However, to those going through it, the pain can seem unbearable, and the accompanying behavior, embarrassing.

But when a relationship is no longer flowing — either because one partner wants out or for any other reason — it is time to release. The magic of releasing gracefully may actually bring the partner back. However, it doesn’t work to fake it. One must truly release without expectations for the future. And it is much easier to release than to go through the agony of holding on after it’s over.

Below are some guidelines for releasing when it’s necessary. They make it easier to let go and even expedite the process so you can be free to move on.

1. Allow yourself to cry and grieve without judgment. Embrace the tears. Even welcome them, because they are healing. Don’t fight your feelings of depression and sadness. Let them be, knowing that they will pass. Meanwhile, realize that the pain won’t kill you. By letting your grieving flow freely, you will recover quicker.

2. Surrender to the Divine moment-by-moment and day-by-day, especially during the hard times. Stop trying to make something happen with your ex. Trust that if you’re meant to be together, eventually it will be. But for now, you must release. There’s a magic in this. Each time you manage to surrender, putting your pain in God’s hands, you will be met by some unexpected good. I’ve seen this come in the form of a distraction, a visit from a caring friend or an inspirational email that lifts your spirits. This will build your trust. Understand that you are and will be taken care of, even in the midst of your sorrow. Watch for what shows up for you each day in the form of support and love.

3. One of the best methods of stopping obsessive thoughts about the other person is to focus instead on yourself and your own life. What we may look for in a lover is something we think is missing in our self, so it makes sense that attention to the self is what can actually fill this void. By turning your attention to yourself, you heal. Open to the Divine vision of yourself as a fulfilled, sacred being with an amazing life. Declare that it is time that you come into your own. Every time you slip into obsessing about your former partner, take steps toward realizing your potential. The goal in letting go is to eventually be neutral about the other person.

This means that you don’t waste time thinking about her, either with longing or with bitterness. Wish her well, but be too busy with your own life to waste much time on something that is now in the past.

4. When pain arises, embrace it but don’t feed it. There is a hilarious bit in the film Broadcast News, in which each morning, the television producer played by Holly Hunter spends a few minutes in her closed office bawling her eyes out. Then, she puts away the Kleenex and gets on with her day. This is not a bad approach to the sadness of release.

Yes, you must embrace and allow the pain, but there are times when you must put it on the back burner and get on with life (like at your job). Furthermore, you don’t want to become a drama queen (or king) in which you allow your life to become a tragedy of unrequited, doomed love. There is too much loving and living waiting for you. Notice ways in which you feed your pain.

Notice when you think of the person or your pain and how often. This alone will begin to dissolve the pattern. Say to yourself, “I’m thinking of him again.” Watch yourself do this as if you suddenly realize you’re sitting in a movie instead of being completely caught up in the movie. You will notice that the pain actually goes away as you dis-identify with it.

Start understanding that you are not your thoughts, and that you can instantly pull yourself out of mushrooming negative thoughts or pain. As you master this practice, you are living in the present and leaving your past in the past.

5. Forgive so you can be free. Whether you blame your ex-partner or another person for “breaking up” your relationship, hanging on to bitterness will not serve you. If you feel victimized, remember that you chose to stay in the relationship, ignoring the warning signs that were invariably there. Now, it’s time to move on, and that’s good. Be glad that you have finally seen the truth and can be open to something better. And don’t bother taking anything personally. Refrain from thinking there is something wrong with you.

6. Take the high road as a way of practicing self-love. Don’t name call. Don’t scream. Don’t act childishly. Don’t be petty. If you’re a parent, don’t put your children in the middle with little digs or get into a custody battle unless your children are truly in jeopardy. You may think vengeful thoughts but don’t act on them. You will respect yourself much more by being above this “small” behavior.

7. Do a formal release of your partner. It’s not necessary to do it face-to-face or over the phone. Write a letter that you don’t send or perform a ritual, releasing him to his highest good. Imagine the ties between the two of you — between your hearts, between your sexual organs, between your minds, between your souls – being cut. Then, say good-bye out loud and in your heart. This may be extremely painful, but you will feel much lighter afterward.

8. Don’t let your heart close. There is no such thing as a broken heart, only one that’s opening wider. A heart in pain is simply feeling love and loss fully. This means that it behooves you to embrace your grieving while continuing to be open to love in whatever way it appears in your life. A heart that remains open heals faster.

Time does help. So does meeting someone new or cutting off all contact with your ex. But it is also true that seeing your former partner regularly (if, for example, you work together) forces you into doing deeper internal expansion. If you have ever been in love before and gotten over it, you know you can do so again, even if this love has seemed like the greatest love you’ve ever known.

Rest assured that there will be much more love for you and that this ending is actually a new beginning in your life.

Author: Lilly Calandrello