3 Steps to Mastering Your Life

Master

 

I am thinking about a passage I once read in a book by Italian psychiatrist Raffaele Morelli, called: “La Felicita’ e’ Qui” (happiness is here). He described the qualities of a real “maestro”, or teacher.   A master of agriculture, for example, is not necessarily one who has studied for a degree in the field, but rather someone who has been a lifelong farmer—one who knows the soil, the climate, the seed, the fertilizer, and the conditions that help and hinder the crops. Moreover, a real master has no expectations, after doing all of the groundwork. For example he/she can hope that the crops will grow and flourish, but unforeseen conditions could arise that foil even the best of preparations. Thus, a real master is prepared to accept the reality of the outcome, knowing that there are always elements we have no control over. A real master exudes serenity and inner strength. We can all be “masters” of our own life and here are three suggestions for doing that:

  1. Work hard for your desired outcome; then
  2. Accept whatever happens with grace and dignity, knowing you did all you can.
  3. If the outcome was desirable, give thanks. If undesirable, learn to distinguish if you could improve your efforts, or if it makes more sense to let go and move on.

 

Copyright 2019 Raeleen Mautner, Ph.D.

 

Walk Forward into Positivity

Sadness, regret, mistakes, failures–they are all part of being human. But so is the human capacity to use our past experiences to gain insight, learn to do better, and recognize our inner resilience. Let your heart be light as you move step by step into a new day of peace, tranquility, and self-confidence. #LetGoOfNegativity

Follow Your Inner Light

Candle

One thing I have discovered in my research on the topic–Happiness is not a utopia that guarantees you won’t ever have to face dark times. Rather, happiness comes with recognizing the gift of the brand new day you were given, and with it— another chance to make this day count. #FollowYourLight. Do share this post with someone who could use some encouragement today. xoxo

How to Make Positive Affirmations Work for YOU

brain

There are plenty of books and recordings of “positive affirmations”; but the ones that have the best chance of working in your favor, are the affirmations that are specific to YOU. The brain has a filtering system that shuts out the unimportant “white noise” and helps you focus on what you need to pay attention to.  That is why when you are at a noisy party, someone on the other side of the room can say your name and it will grab your attention above any of the other words that are floating through the air.

In this world of busy-ness, multi-tasking and fulfilling our roles and responsibilities, it is easy to lose sight of our hopes, dreams and goals—because we don’t seem to have time to reflect and refine them.

Here is one way to turn that around; and a method that I have used myself for many years.  It’s called “self-talk”,  and I have written about it in my books. Self-talk directs our focus, and it can either destroy our confidence or become the fuel that feeds our success. One way to make your self-talk work for—and not against—you, is  by creating 3 of your own positiveaffirmations. Yes, affirmations really do work.  Write down the one-sentence descriptions of what you would like to be yourreality, and read/recite them to yourself at least twice a day.  Phrase affirmations as if they have already come to be, (e.g. I eat only foods that keep my body strong; I attract wonderful friends that love and care about me; I am doing work that I am passionate about;  etc—whatever is most important to you) and your brain will come to your aid by helping you to notice information and opportunities that will keep you on track towards achieving your desires.

COMING IN NOVEMBER: PROJECT HAPPINESS: A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO EVERYDAY CONTENTMENT ( Linden Publishers)

 

What NOT to Ignore if You Want to Be Happy

CaseyFlowersAs I write in “Aging Happy”, ignorance is NOT bliss when it comes to ignoring the beauty around us. On the other hand there is plenty of evidence that SAVORING the small pleasures of life increases our sense of well-being. No more gulping down meals without tasting them; no more walking past the dog that bounds to the door to greet you when you come home; no more failing to enjoy the fragrance of the flowers as you walk past them; no more “multitasking” that keeps you from consiously registering the real treasures this life affords you. So what are the gifts that YOU are going to intentially savor today? Happiness can be as simple as what you decide to focus on.

This Attitude Can Shorten Your Life—So Here’s How to Change It!

 

There are times when a healthy dose of cynical distrust can be a lifesaver; it can even help us avoid getting scammed—whether from phony phone calls from a voice pretending to be our grandchild in need of money, or an online dating scammer who comes on like a romantic dream-come-true, only to end up a nightmare who texts you from “a business venture in Malaysia” says he/she got “mugged” and now needs you to wire money so you can finally meet in person and live happily ever after.

Yea, right.

Granted, you should always trust your gut when it comes to shady people and interactions.

But if you sense you are becoming skeptical, cynical, and even hostile most of the time, then it’s time to do something about it. Why? Because for one thing, no one will want to be around you, but even more important:

Being in a constant state of suspicion, hostility, mistrust, or cynicism can actually shorten your life.

In a large longitudinal study, 3,433 men aged 42-61, who resided in the town of Kuopio, Finland were measured on cynical mistrust, based on scores from the Cynical Distrust Scale (CDS), a self-report test that contains items like: “It is safer to trust nobody”. Certain measures were taken at the baseline, such as presence or absence of cardiovascular disease (CVD), and the subjects were followed for 20-28 years.

As it turned out, the men who had NO CARDIOVASCULAR disease at the start of the study, but had a high level of cynical distrust had 1.5 to 1.7 times higher risk for premature cardiovascular death, as compared to those who had a low level of cynicism.

It seems that people with hostile personalities have a stronger response to stress, which affects their heart rate, blood pressure, inflammation and other biological mechanisms.

This study was conducted with men, because previous research has shown that cynicism is higher in men than in women, but I think it is a safe bet to say, that we ALL should all

  1. a) Remind ourselves often that life is a balance of good and bad; not just bad; and
  2. b) Deal more effectively with stress, instead of becoming hostile or cynical.

Here are 3 things you can do make sure you’ve got the right attitude:

  1. Think of 10 things every single day that are good about your life. It could be something as simple as a delicious cup of chamomile tea you sip before bed, or a song that makes you want to sing and dance whenever you play it, or an great old movie you are watching with a friend.
  2. Write Gratitude Thank-You Cards. Do you perhaps have a favorite grade school or high school teacher who is still alive? A cousin or friend whom you haven’t seen in years? An unforgettable mentor who trained you at your first job? Find their addresses and write a few words of gratitude on the inside of a thank-you note to express WHY you appreciate them. It will make them feel terrific and will help you to remember how wonderful people can be. I recently got a letter from someone I used to know 40 years ago who sent me a note to thank me for playing a piano piece for him. He said he never forgot how special it was to have someone make him feel that important. I had completely forgotten that incident, but it made me feel great to hear that I had touched someone’s life with such a simple gesture.
  3. Visualize The Most Beautiful Scene You Can. Now put yourself In It. There are many ways to meditate for stress reduction, but one method I used to teach heart patients at Yale, was to close their eyes and visualize a beautiful relaxing scene—some place they had either been to, or created in their mind. I asked them to put themselves in that scene and note all of their sensations. How does this place smell, what colors to they see? What temperature is the ground beneath their feet or the air they are breathing? Find your most beautiful place and immerse yourself totally, by noting every detail. Breathe easily for several minutes as you continue to visualize yourself in this scene. Make it your “safe haven”, to which you can return to anytime when you are feeling stressed or feeling hostile.

 

If you liked this article please press “like” and share on your social media if you know anyone who might find this info useful. Thank-you!

Reference

Smigelskas, K. et.al (2017). High levels of cynical distrust partly predict premature mortality in middle-aged to ageing men. Journal of Behavioral Medicine 40:612-619.

© Raeleen Mautner, LLC