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Finding what to like
Whenever we like something – it feels good, we enjoy it. Our brain registers when something is pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. Natural opioids – pleasure molecules – are released when we see things we like; on the other hand, disliking things can activate the neural networks of pain. Our liking or disliking depends a lot on what we pay attention to.
An example of this would be someone you know well, like your partner in life. Even if you love this person, its easy to get so used to his/her good qualities that you kind of tune them out.
The same is true for many everyday situations. You might feel fine overall about your job, career, house, neighborhood, but have lost touch with many of the concretely good things about them.
How to change it?
Pick something simple – a meal, a room, a view from a window – and find something you like about it. Perhaps it is a particular taste, or the curve of a favorite lamp, or the way light hits the tree outside.
For a few seconds stay with it and let the feeling of enjoyment grow. Be mindful about liking something. The liking could be subtle – but be mindful of the process of self-generating enjoyment.
Notice how much power you actually have over whether you like something, and your power to find more and more things to like. Try it with a person you are close to, with a friend, and with someone you don’t know well, ( a bank teller, a food server, etc.).
Maybe you notice a special gentleness, or quirky sense of humor. Then, for a change, try to do this with someone you don’t like very much – an irritating person at work or perhaps a relative.
How does it feel to see what’s likable about them, even the ones you may find irritating. And for those that are close to you, you can find that doing it, brings freshness, a spark and renewed intimacy.
And how about recognizing what’s likable about yourself? Can you see yourself in this way? And when you do – how does this feel?
Recently I participated in a 21-Day Meditation Challenge offered by Deepak Chopra. I was very inspired and I wanted to share some of this wisdom with you.
Another piece of wisdom from Deepak Chopra that made an impression on me, was what he said while being interviewed by Oprah Winfrey. He said that he used the following concepts in teaching his children, and wants other people to use to teach their children. I would add that we all need to use it to transform ourselves:
Thank you Deepak Chopra for sharing your insights with us!
I have created this article to provide clarity and focus to our work together. Couples are often uncertain what to expect from the process of Couples Therapy. I have found that most couples approach therapy with the notion that each person will describe their distress and somehow the therapist will assist them to create a happier more functional relationship. They expect to learn some new or better skills. However, most people hope that their partner will do most of the learning in problem areas. It doesn’t work quite that way.
Your job is to create your own individual goals for being in therapy. My job is to help you set and reach these goals. I have many, many tools to help you become a more effective partner — they work best when you are clear about how you aspire to be as a partner.
Goals of Couples Therapy
The major part of Couples Therapy is increasing your knowledge about yourself, your partner and the patterns of interaction between the two of you. Therapy becomes effective as you apply new knowledge to break ineffective patterns and develop better ones. The key tasks are:
Trade offs and tough choices
To create sustained improvement in your relationship you need:
It takes effort to sustain improvement over time: staying conscious of making a difference over time, remembering to be more respectful, more giving, more appreciative, etc. It takes effort to remember and act.
There is often a conflict between short term gratification and the long term goal of creating a satisfying relationship. The blunt reality is that in an interdependent relationship, effort is required on each person’s part to make a sustained improvement. It is like pairs figure skating, each person has a job to do to sustain balance together.
How to maximize value from your Couples Therapy sessions
Some common unproductive patterns are:
A more effective way is:
Attitude is the key!
Identifying what to do is often easy. The bigger challenge is why you don’t do it.
Think differently about a problem… Albert Einstein said: “We can’t solve problems using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
Realizing that each one of you has some flawed assumptions about your partner’s motives is a sign of maturity.
Focus on changing yourself rather than your partner!!!
Couples Therapy works best if you have more goals for yourself. You can’t change your partner, your partner cannot change you. You can influence each other. Nothing is impossible for the person who doesn’t have to do it…
Fear lets you know you’re not prepared. If you view fear in that way, it becomes a signal to prepare the best you can. You can learn a lot about yourself by understanding what annoys you and how you handle it.
The more you believe your partner should be different, the less initiative you will take to change the patterns between you. It’s not what you say. It’s what they hear!
Can you expect your partner to treat you better than you treat him/her?
If you want your partner to change, do you think about what you can do to make it easier?
We are all responsible for how we express ourselves, no matter how others treat us. We need to pay attention to:
Some final thoughts
You can’t create a flourishing relationship by only fixing what’s wrong, but it’s a start. Love is destroyed when self-interests dominate. Learn to love your partner on their terms. Knowledge is not power. Only knowledge that is applied is power. Business and marriages fail for the same three reasons. A failure to:
Effective change requires insight plus action. Insight without action is passivity. Action without insight is impulsivity. Insight plus action leads to clarity and power. If you want to create a win-win situation, you have to help your partner to win too!
Please download this document, keep it in your journal and bring it to your sessions for discussion.
Adapted from Peter Pearson, Ph.D, Articles for Couples
Distinguishing our wants and our need is an essential part of realizing our dreams. While many of us may want a fancy car or a new wardrobe, or a number of other things, we don’t necessarily need to have them in order to lead a joyful, productive life.
There’s one mantra many of us need to be reminded to incorporate into our life “All I have is all I need.” Now I want to make it clear that this mantra doesn’t mean that you can’t desire or obtain material things in your life. You certainly can. But while we wait patiently for our desires to take hold, most of us need to be reminded of the abundance that we do have. This perspective brings us the issue of the water in the glass. Should we focus on what we don’t have, or on what we do have?
It is important to appreciate the positive things around us. Recognizing our assets and giving gratitude for them makes for a very powerful situation to live joyfully in the present as well as to set the stage to attract more of what you want.
The easiest way to do this is to write down in a journal at least three things you’re grateful for each day. I speak from experience when I say that after a week of doing this simple exercise you will feel happier. Should you run into an obstacle that is preventing you from realizing one of your dreams, take out your journal and read down the list of things you wrote and you will feel a force of positive energy surge through your body.
Remember above all, it is the person you become and no the things you acquire that is most important. The universe is on your side. You’re moving forward.
Our determination to lead a good life is measured by the belief that is the expectations you hold to be true. What it means is how strong is your belief and how prepared you are to live above these circumstances. That is the challenge. Your life’s journey is not going too easy.
You were never told that you would not face sickness, turmoil, or major challenges. If you live long enough, you will be challenged! There are plenty of adversities in our lives but on the positive side you would also have the joy of the comfort of others. Here are some effective ways you can deal with conflict and adversity in our life.
Here’s the most powerful type of affirmation you can think of it is a “Feeling” affirmation, and interestingly enough you don’t even have to use words at all. It’s all about the feeling, feelings you communicate to the universe.
To do a “Feeling” affirmation you would simply set aside five minutes a day, find a quiet place to be alone, and then you would focus on feeling the essence of already having what you want. What would it feel like to already have it. Would you feel happy, relieved, peaceful, insecure? Focus on feeling that way right now. Pretend you’ve got plenty of what you want. Focus only on experience of having what you want.
That’s it! When you do this, you create endless possibilities for the universal energy field to answer your request.
One always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist in staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through. Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters or whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished.
Did you lose your job? Has a loving relationship come to an end? Did you leave your parents house? Gone to live abroad? Has a long-lasting friendship ended all of a sudden?
You can spend a long time wondering why this has happened. You can tell yourself you won’t make another step until you find out why certain things that were so important and so solid in your life have turned into dust, just like that.
But such an attitude will be awfully stressful for everyone involved: your parents, your husband or wife, your friends, your children, your sister, everyone will be finishing chapters, turning over new leaves, getting on with life, and they will all feel bad seeing you at a standstill.
None of us can be in the present and the past at the same time, not even when we try to understand the things that happen to us. What has passed will not return: we cannot forever be children, late adolescents, sons that feel guilt or rancor toward our parents, lovers who day and night relive an affair with someone who has gone away and has not the least intention of coming back.
Things pass, and the best we can do is to let them really go away. That is why it is so important (however painful it may be!), to destroy souvenirs, move, give lots of things away, sell or donate the books you have at home.
Everything in this visible world is a manifestation of the invisible world, of what is going on in our hearts, and getting rid of certain memories also means making some room for other memories to take their place. Let things go. Release them.
Detach yourself from them. Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood.
Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else.
Nothing is more dangerous than not accepting love relationships that are broken off, work that is promised but there is no starting date, discussions that are always put off waiting for the ideal moment.
Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished: tell yourself that what has passed will never come back. Remember that there was a time when you could live without that thing or that person, nothing is irreplaceable.
A habit is not a need. This may sound so obvious, it may even be difficult, but it is very important to close cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that cycle no longer fits your life. Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust. Accept what you don’t have. Stop being who you were and change into who you are.
“Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love grace and gratitude.” – Denis Waitley
Life is meant to be fun, and we have the power within to make it that way every day. According to Andy Baggot, who wrote a book, “Blissology – The Art and Science of Happiness”, all it takes is five minutes at the beginning of each day to plan how you want to feel that day.
Source Energy only matches your dominant feelings, so if you start the day with good feelings, the events and encounters you attract will begin to match, and soon you will have that perfect day.
How you think and feel at the beginning of the day has a strong tendency to set the tone for the day. If you wake up feeling worried, anxious or stressed, your day is more likely to be flavored with those feelings throughout – unless you do something to change the way you feel.
Here’s a suggestion on how to do this. No matter how we’re feeling, the first thing we should do when we get up is spend five minutes setting our day. This will be your cornerstone of your happiness practice. Baggott suggests that you:
Every time you set your day, you’re practicing happiness, and with practice comes the realization of your dreams. The more you work with this simple technique, the more your life will change for the better.
Soon you will marvel at your own power to create your life in a way that consistently expands your bliss. So ask yourself, “how do I really want my day to be?”