THIS is who you are.

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No, we are not meant to fit into a common life template. By that, I mean going through the motions of routine and responsibilities that have to be taken care of, while neglecting the part of you that reflects the very soul of who you are—your creativity.  In ancient times, creativity was viewed as a gift from God. It is what sets you apart from others and deserves its unique expression. If you like to draw, for example, you must draw. If you like to bake, then bake up a storm. If you like fashion, then dress to the nines.  Do you feel the music? Make time in your day to sing, or play your instrument! Write that book. Make those flower arrangements. Dance? Choreograph your own steps and just blast the music!

At the top of the renowned Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is the human drive towards “self-actualization” –that point at which, once our basic needs are met we work on personal growth–we gravitate towards truth (including the truth of who we are), beauty, spontaneity, spirituality, and creativity. We are in the process of becoming all that our potential allows. We cannot do this if we are always living our life inside the box—confined by the rules and routines that we must abide by, without also taking the time for self -expression.

Don’t stifle your creativity because you don’t have time to express it. Make the time; just as you would for any other priority in your life. Your creative expression—or that unique “gift from God” is which is also imperative for your personal growth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let Yourself Be In The Moment

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Nonna to Grandson: Wow, how did you make that hole-in-one? I wanna make one, too! Did you think about a straight path from the ball to the hole, or the distance or the speed of the ball?
Grandson to Nonna: No,nonna; You don’t think about it; you just hit it!
Moral of the Story: We don’t have to sacrifice spontaneity to overthinking and calculation. Just being in the moment is often the most joyful moment of all. Nice going, Brendan! xoxox #fromthemouthsofbabes

3 Steps to Mastering Your Life

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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

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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

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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)

 

Expecting the Best–And Getting It!

My little Bella just loves to prop herself on the window sill and wait with kid-like excitment for so many wonderful things to happen! After all, a neighborhood dog could pass by any minute, or a squirrel could be flitting up and down the tall tree trunk outside–maybe even a cat could dash by. In Bella’s mind (if I may anthropomorphisize), an endless possiblitiy of good things could happen at a moment’s notice! In his classic best-selling book THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING, Norman Vincent Peale dedicated a whole chapter to “Expecting the Best–And Getting It”. When you approach the day with dread and negativity, he believed you actually repel the good things that could potentially happen for you. Your challenge for today: No matter what obstacles you run into, stay focused on the positive, and expect wonderful things. Comment below and let me know if your mindset makes a difference. xoxox . Window watching

The DARKER side of Social Media

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Last night I had the most FABULOUS date! He was a true gentleman. He opened doors, pulled out my chair at the 5-star restaurant he took me to, spoke intelligently, and had really good hygiene, to boot!  We talked about going on a luxury cruise together, and maybe doing some traveling around the world. Luckily I have been working out like crazy and using a new miracle wrinkle cream so the pounds–and wrinkles—have become a thing of the past!

Well I have to cut this post short because it is time for my laughing-yoga-with-a-goat session, and then on to my wild greens lunch—which I foraged myself alla Euell Gibbons.

OH WAIT—none of that is exactly true! Or rather a few major details might have been left out. Such as I get extremely seasick and would rather camp out in the wild (my LEAST favorite activity in the world) than ever get on a boat again. The last Mr. Clean-cut Gentleman, showed up in cargo shorts, flip flops, dirty fingernails and took me to a dimly lit bar where the beers were on sale. And I buy my greens at the local health food store.

Oh, and this photo? It’s not really of me (surprise!) and I haven’t found that perfect miracle diet or wrinkle cream yet—because THEY DON’T EXIST!

Friends, there is a phenomenon called “Facebook Depression”, although it can be generalized to all social network site usage. I recently came across a fascinating article published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, where researchers did a meta-analysis of all articles published on the connection between a negative mood and social media exposure. They looked at time spent on social media sites; frequency of checking social media sites, and social comparison, a theory put forth in 1954 by social psychologist Leon Festinger. Social Comparison Theory says that we humans have an innate drive to evaluate ourselves based on a comparison with others. Of course there is a lot more to this theory, but the interesting finding the present study, was that “upward” social comparison had the greatest effect on producing a negative mood—even more so than generally comparing our lives to social media posts, the amount of timewe spend on social media, or the frequencywith which we check our social media throughout the day.

In other words—when we read a post like the one I began with, and then compare the reality of our own NORMAL lives to posts that make it appear there really issuch a thing as the PERFECT life—we are more like to get depressed.

The solution is not to swear off of social media—in fact, social media sites do a lot of good when used consciously. We can learn things, get ideas, stay in touch with friends and family we normally wouldn’t see in person that often, and even share announcements that others might be interested in.  However, when it comes to posts that push the FANTASY of a perfect life—don’t buy it, and don’t allow yourself to compare your own life to those posts. Most people DON’T post the things that go wrong in a normal human life—and we ALL have various ups and downs; challenges and victories. The key is to cherish our OWN beautifully imperfect lives, each and every day. The very fact that we are here, alive, and in full human attire—is perhaps the finest gift of all.

Reference:

Yoon, S., Kleinman, M., Mertz, J. & Brannick, M. (2019). Is social network site usage related to depression? A Meta-analysis of Facebook-depression relations. Journal of Affective Disorders, v.248, pp.65-72.

MY UPCOMING BOOK “AGING HAPPY” IS AVAILABLE NOW FOR PRE-ORDER ON AMAZON.COM.

Why You Should Be Your OWN Social Director

Friends

The research is clear: Loneliness is hazardous to our health. In fact some experts claim it increases our risk of premature death by a whopping 20%. It can affect our blood pressure, our heart health, and our weight. When we are lonely we take less care of ourselves. We lose the motivation to eat right, exercise, tend to our appearance, or even socialize.

Of course being alone does not always mean you are lonely. Nor does being in company always ensure you are NOT lonely. Also worth noting is that we all have different alone-time preferences, which must be respected.  We vary along the introversion—extraversion personality spectrum.

Rest assured, that everyone at one time or another feels lonely, and then the feeling passes when we switch our focus.

Research shows that loneliness involves feelings of social isolation; a feeling that something is “missing” from your life; such as EMOTIONAL SUPPORT or PHYSICAL COMPANIONSHIP. The good news is, you can do something about it. A good place to start is to take control of your social life.  If you frequently feel like you are missing either one of these components, get out your journal, and a calendar, and TAKE ACTION.

First the journal, where you describe WHAT you want your social life to look like? Do you want to find romantic love? New friends? Reconnect with old friends or distant cousins? The possibilities are endless.

Second, be willing to do the WORK.  Designate blocks of time in your calendar to deepen the relationships that afford you emotional support, and schedule activities that provide you with exposure to new possible companionship(special interest groups such as book clubs, walking groups, volunteering, etc.) and not necessarily lifelong commitment.

Third, follow through with at least 1-2 social activities per week. This can be increased or pulled back to your satisfaction.

If you often feel lonely, take action; even if at first you don’t feel like it. It can save your life. Kind of like exercising; if you make social interaction a more frequent habit, you will eventually feel so much better you will wonder how you spent so much time alone watching TV!

PLEASE SHARE THIS POST WITH THOSE YOU CARE ABOUT!

#Aging Happy #BeingOver50Rocks #HappinessWithinOurControl

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.