What Habits Put The Brakes On Your Happiness?

Have you ever been somewhere that you know is really, really good like on vacation or at a party, only to be frustrated that you couldn’t enjoy it because you were so focused on worrying about something?

I sure have!  Fretting about whether I had locked my car doors frequently distracted me at times when I wanted to be having fun.  Or I should say that I LET the profoundly uninteresting experience of worrying about whether or not I had locked my car doors spoil many potentially amazing experiences for me.  (I did this even before I owned a car.  I would worry about whether or not my parents had locked their car doors. Kind of pathetic!)

In thinking about whether or NOT my car doors were locked, I was trying to prevent the possible very hypothetical idea of someone taking stuff from my car or stealing it.   All the while, I was actually inflicting DEFINITE pain and distraction on myself in the present moment.  (From a common sense standpoint, this approach to life didn’t have much common sense.)

Not only was I inflicting pain and distraction on myself in the moment, I was missing the good stuff AND being a drag on others as they were trying to enjoy the moment.  (In fact, I was being a royal party-pooper!)

Now is locking your car doors a good idea?  Yes!  It’s an idea that now with automatic door locks takes a second of attention to implement.

But by walking away from the car and beginning to worry about whether or not I had locked the car doors, I was turning a good idea into A HABIT THAT PUT BRAKES ON MY HAPPINESS.  

My old Did-I-Lock-The-Car-Doors-Worry is what I like to call a REVERSE HAPPINESS HABIT.  A REVERSE HAPPINESS HABIT is a habit that keeps us focused in the opposite direction of our happiness.

The great news is that when we realize the direction that our REVERSE HAPPINESS HABITS are leading us, we can begin to take steps to focus on going in a new direction.

For example, with my car “Did-I-Lock-The-Car-Doors” REVERSE HAPPINESS HABIT (Wow that is a mouth full!), I finally made the rule for myself that I would pay close attention for the seconds when I was locking the doors.  Then when I walked away from the car, I would focus on what I was doing and where I was going, instead of repeatedly badgering myself about whether or not I locked my car doors.  This easy solution took a great deal of discipline to follow when I first implemented it.  But now I lock my cars doors with confidence and move on in the direction of my happiness.  This simple solution makes a world of difference in the quality of my life.

Game of the Day

Do you find that you have a REVERSE HAPPINESS HABIT?

When do you notice it?

How does it distract you when you want to be having fun?

Is there a truth that it’s trying to tell you?   (The truth in my example was, “It’s good to spend a few seconds to focus on locking your car doors.”)

How can you give this truth a little focus and then move back to focusing on having a great time?

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com

Friday One Minute of Excitement

What Do You Love About Your Past That Can Be Brought Into Your Present?

Click on the link to watch the video for a one-minute inspirational blast!

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com. 

Happiness Now Leads To Happiness in the Future

Have your ever thought, “If I can JUST get through this, THEN I will be HAPPY?

I sure have!  Many times throughout my life, I have gritted my teeth and endured whatever I happened to be doing in hopes of future happiness.  (In fact, I now where a bite-guard because I used to grit my teeth so much.  True story!)

What I’ve found through a colossal amount of teeth gritting is that gritting your teeth leads naturally to more gritting your teeth because it’s often easier to keep doing the same thing than to change what you’re doing.

Luckily for our teeth, the opposite is also true – Smiling leads naturally to more smiling.

As a writer, I feel the above sentence sounds simple and catchy, but I also realize that I need to offer an example if it’s going to be of much use to any of us (myself included).

Something as ordinary as buying groceries can be an emotional experience of either teeth gritting or smiling.  By emotional experience, I don’t necessarily mean tears and drama, but I think that how we choose to use our emotions in the grocery checkout line will affect our emotional experience and the emotional experience of those around us.

Check it out! (And pardon the pun!) A smiling person could go through the grocery checkout line, ask the clerk “What’s amazing about your day?” and have a wonderful short talk.

On the other hand, a person who happens to be in a teeth gritting mood could say teeth gritting things to the clerk like “Your groceries are way too expensive!  How do you expect your customers to live?  Shame on you for working here.”  This person might say these things in hopes of the future happiness of easing their stress about grocery shopping and maybe even getting the grocery store to lower their prices.

Both the smiling and gritting customers will be able purchase their groceries, but the feelings around getting their groceries and eating the food they bought will probably be completely different, not to mention the feelings of the clerk.  It’s very likely that the experience the customers have next time they go in the store will be completely different.  Which customer will the staff in the store be more happy to see?

In addition, it’s unlikely that the teeth gritting customer’s comments will do anything to lower his stress about shopping or get the store to lower its prices.

If just going through the grocery checkout line can be an emotional experience of smiling or teeth gritting (or somewhere in between), think about the power of the emotions we consistently feel as we go about achieving our goals and dreams.

Game of the Day

When do you notice you smile as you pursue your goals and dreams?

When do you notice you grit your teeth as you pursue your goals and dreams?

What’s your next step?

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com. 

WORRY— The Occasionally Pretty Good Drug (A Spoof)

Benefits of  “WORRY— The Occasionally Pretty Good Drug”

  • It’s fast acting.
  • Highly effective at altering a person’s mood.
  • Proven to convey potentially life-saving information rapidly
  • Inexpensive
  • Can be taken without a prescription

Potential Side Effects of  “WORRY— The Occasionally Pretty Good Drug”

  • Range from minor discomfort and distraction to severe emotional pain and even anguish.
  • Can lead to such tunnel-vision distraction that a person taking this medication may completely forget to smell the roses, to savor his or her own life and the lives of others.
  • Worry-wart-gitis can develop and prompt its sufferers to become highly averse to taking any type of risk.
  • Worry-wart-gitis can further lead to going in circles, feeling at loose ends, tossing and turning and even down-right stewing.
  • The side effects of worry can become painfully noticeable even when a person taking this medication is enjoying one of life’s mountaintop experiences.  People have been known to be in the middle of what is surely a mountaintop experience, only to discover that their heads are so filled with the fog of some minor worry (like whether or not the car doors are locked) that they barely even notice the view.

Note on the Side Effects of  “WORRY— The Occasionally Pretty Good Drug”:  The side effects of  “WORRY— The Occasionally Pretty Good Drug” can indeed overshadow its benefits, but the good news is that when managed wisely, the side effects of worry can be greatly minimized and the benefits of worry noticeably enhanced.

Before Taking a Dose of  “WORRY— The Occasionally Pretty Good Drug”:

Remember that a worry is usually just a question in the same way that “Why do oak trees produce acorns?” is simply a question.   But whereas a person tends to either store away a question like “ Why do oak trees produce acorns?” for a rainy day or simply go to Google, a person tends to think a worry over and over again.  A person most likely wouldn’t say, “Wow, I stayed awake most of last night tossing and turning trying with all my might to answer the question “Why do oak trees produce acorns?”  This would be just plain weird.

On the other hand, some questions take the form of a worry, like “In sixty years when I’m ninety-nine and a half going on one hundred, will I have enough saved up to live on?”  People have been known to sometimes stay up till all hours of the night and even into the early morning fretting about this type of question.

Once a Dose of  “WORRY— The Occasionally Pretty Good Drug” Has Been Taken:

It is important to figure out what Strength of Worry has been taken.  The Strength of Worry taken will determine how best to make the dose of worry be of benefit rather than detrimental.

The Three Strengths of WORRY— The Occasionally Pretty Good Drug:

  1. The I Can Productively Attend To This NOW Worry
  2. The I Can More Successfully Resolve This LATER Worry
  3. The There’s Absolutely Nothing I Can Do But FRET Worry

1. The I Can Productively Attend To This NOW Worry is perhaps the most straightforward to deal with and quickly minimize the side effects of.

For Example: Say a person, for the sake of this informational blog post on

“WORRY— The Occasionally Pretty Good Drug” we will call her Carol, is hosting a dinner party and having fun talking with her guests around the dining room table.  Suddenly, she takes a dose of “WORRY— The Occasionally Pretty Good Drug” as she starts to contemplate whether her cat has found the leftover ham on the kitchen counter.  Rather than sitting and letting the side effects of  “WORRY— The Occasionally Pretty Good Drug” bubble up, she promptly excuses herself and goes into the kitchen in time to see her kitty just starting to sniff the ham with very keen interest.

Recommended Course of Action: The “I Can Productively Attend To This NOW Worry” can be resolved in a concrete way and is also very time sensitive.  The time to resolve this worry is NOW, (and not when Carol’s leftover ham is ninety-five percent eaten and her cat is leaving evidence that he is exceedingly sick to his stomach all over the house).

“WORRY— The Occasionally Pretty Good Drug” says GOOD WORK CAROL!

2. The I Can More Successfully Resolve This LATER Worry is a different kind of animal all together.  For best results, defer resolving this worry until a later time.

For Example: Say on a Saturday night, Carol takes a dose of “WORRY— The Occasionally Pretty Good Drug” as she starts to have a concern about whether the check she has been waiting for (the one she knows has already been sent) will come in the mail on Monday.  Now there is really nothing Carol can do to resolve this concern until she peeks in her mailbox on Monday.  All of Carol’s worrying about this question on Saturday night will only distract her from the fun she is having line-dancing and drinking Shirley Temples.

Recommended Course of Action:  Write a reminder on ones calendar to resolve this worry at the appropriate time.

And this is exactly what our hero Carol does.  She takes a break from the dance floor, sits down and as she sips her Shirley Temple, she opens her day planner and writes a reminder to check her mailbox on Monday.

“WORRY— The Occasionally Pretty Good Drug” salutes Carol by saying, “Way to think on your Country Western dancing feet, Carol.”

A Second Type of the “I Can More Successfully Resolve This LATER Worry” occurs when a worry (that is not highly time-sensitive) has a solution, but a person is so emotionally caught up in the worry that it is hard to think straight and do anything productive.

For Example: Carol has just gotten laid off from her job.  Upon, receiving this news, she notices that has taken a huge dose of “WORRY— The Occasionally Pretty Good Drug.”

Recommended Course of Action: Write a reminder in ones calendar to resolve this worry when one is in a more relaxed state of mind.

So what does Carol do?  After noticing her level of current agitation, she has the presence of mind to take a step back and realize that she would probably be well-served if she made a note on her calendar to start thinking about finding a new job in three days.  Then for the next three days, Carol focuses on having fun and line dancing.  After the three days, refreshed she looks at her calendar, is prompted to think about finding a new job, and goes about this task in a much more refreshed and relaxed way than he would have three days previous.

“WORRY— The Occasionally Pretty Good Drug,” says “Good Going Carol!”

3. Then there’s the There’s Absolutely Nothing I Can Do But FRET Worry.  This Strength of Worry can be highly potent and the side effects highly distracting and disturbing.

For Example:  Say Carol has just landed a job interview for her dream job.  Way to go, Carol!  Carol has researched the company and thoroughly prepared for the interview.  She has professional clothes to wear.  She is ready for the interview today, BUT the interview isn’t for three weeks.  Suddenly, Carol has plenty of time to take many doses of “WORRY— The Occasionally Pretty Good Drug.”

Recommended Course of Action: Refocus ones attention on other activities and living in the NOW.

What does Carol do? Carol focuses on having the time of her life during a three-week vacation.  Then she goes into the interview refreshed, confident and lands the job of her dreams.

“WORRY— The Occasionally Pretty Good Drug” thanks Carol for inspiring us all to line-dance and maximize the benefits of worry, while minimizing its side effects.

Game of the Day

How can you use the miracle drug of worry more effectively in your life while minimizing the side effects?

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com. 

Turn on the Quiet

 

Noise is so normal.  At many times in my life, I thought I had to be noisy and always the life of the party to be cool.  In my view, it was boring and not worldly to be quiet.  I decided to make myself into a person who craved noise so I would fit in.

Lately, I’ve noticed that I have sought out more quiet time and that it’s wonderful.   It’s so relaxing and being relaxed just feels comfortable.  When I give myself abundant quiet time, I find I’m more able to focus, and have more freedom to create an uplifting perspective.

Focus is the act of being able to weed out much information so that you can pay attention to the information that is of importance to you.  I find focus much easier if I actively choose what information I take in.  To me, this means often deciding to drive without the radio on, choosing to limit my Internet surfing, and also not owning a TV.  (I truly love not having a TV in my living space.)

I also find that creating more quiet around me helps me maintain an uplifting perspective on the world.  Think of the perspective you get on the world from taking a walk around your neighborhood on a beautiful day compared to watching a violent movie.  Or even the nightly news.

It might be odd to ask the restaurant you are dining in to shut off the loud music they are playing, but when you are in your car or at home, the noisemakers have switches you can shut off, if you so choose.  You can turn on the quiet.

(Does turning on the quiet make a person cool?  I still don’t really know.  But I do definitely know that at times, it feels very good.)

Game of the Day

When you notice you car radio or the electronics at home seem to be wearing you down or annoying you, turn on the quiet.

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com.

Levity Life Radio- Interview with Jason

Taking Off Your Expert Hat

Jason Freeman and Katie West of The Levity Institute chat about his love of walking and how vital wonder is in opening us to what is here now.  Jason will share his regular practice of “paradise walks” and how that allows him to have fresh eyes to view each day.

Press play below to listen to the show!

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