Friday, October 1, 2010

Happy for No Reason

Marci Shimoff in her book Happy for No Reason, writes:

"One evening a Cherokee elder told his grandson about the battle that goes on inside of people. He said, 'My son, the battle is between the two 'wolves' that live inside us all. One is Unhappiness. It is fear, worry, anger, jealousy, sorrow, self-pity, resentment, and inferiority. The other is Happiness. It is joy, love, hope, serenity, kindness, generosity, truth, and compassion.'

"The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, 'Which wolf wins?'

"The old Cherokee simply replied, 'The one you feed.'"

According to scientists we have about 60,000 thoughts a day, 95 percent of which are the same thought you had yesterday. For the average person, 80 percent of those habitual thoughts are negative. That means that every day we think 45,000 negative thoughts!

The good news is, we can retrain our brains! Here are a few ways we do this:

• We can focus on positive images, thoughts, and sounds instead of negative ones.

• We can condition our minds to celebrate the beauty around us.

• We can journal about the good things in our lives.

[Ms. Shimoff says that Dr. Robert Emmons at the University of Southern California found that those who wrote about things they were grateful for on a weekly basis enjoyed better health and were happier than a control group who did not keep journals.]

• We can remember positive statements. Here are a few of my favorites:

This, too, will pass.

With God all things are possible.

I am a beloved child of God who loves me infinitely.

I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me

We can rewire our brains by consciously changing our thinking patterns. Our brains our very plastic, and we can train them to think thoughts that bring us happiness. Ms Shimoff says, "When you're happy for no reason, you bring happiness to your outer experiences rather than trying to extract happiness from them. You don't need to manipulate the world around you to try to make yourself happy. You live from happiness, rather than for happiness."

© Carol Brown

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