Why this blog?

Because HAPPINESS is misused. My theory is that Happiness is NOT the POINT of Life; rather, it is a POINTER IN LIFE. And when it comes to making changes, that's what I specialise in at abetterlife-uk.com and http://hertscollegeofhypnosisandnlp.co.uk

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Happiness is - Forgetting!

Unhappiness really is to do with what you focus on - which determines what you remember. Scientists have shown what effective therapists have long known - that memory is selective.
A study found that repressing memories for long enough can cause them to be erased completely. Scientists at Lund University used EEG (brain) scans to watch when parts of volunteers' brains where actively trying to forget something. My kids can see me do that any day of the week - but there you go.
Now, we have been doing this type of thing on traumatic and unpleasant memories for years using hypnosis and NLP techniques. But the point is, we now have some sort of evidence gathering on the science side.
Full article in the Telegraph.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Happiness = 'closed for siesta'

Meditation can cut heart attack and stroke by 50%. Beat that with drugs if you can.
Some of us knew this... and now science does too. By Richard Alleyne The Telegraph
The practice, which involves the continual repeating of a mantra, was found to reduce high blood pressure, cholesterol and thickening of the arteries. It is also protects against diabetes.
"This is a seminal finding," said Dr Norman Rosenthal of the American government's National Institute of Mental Health. (Forgive my little rant here, but I really do marvel at how long science can insist on looking in the wrong direction - and spend a lot of money in the process.)
"The prevention of heart attack and stroke and actual lengthening of lifespan by an alternative treatment method is exceedingly rare, if not unprecedented. If Transcendental Meditation were a drug conferring so many benefits, it would be a billion-dollar blockbuster." Exactly. Take note. Pills are not the long term answer, not are they the most effective. Health is happiness-shaped

Monday, June 27, 2011

Bored to death?

Told you so - Do more of what you like and less of what you don't! 
People working in administrative and service roles are most likely to be bored in their jobs according to research reported by Stephen Adams, Medical Correspondent in The Telegraph today.
"Underchallenged" employees who end up finding they simply cannot take any more of the "monotonous and unstimulating" tasks that they are expected to perform. A study categorised two other types of burn-out: 'frenetic', in which the employee works "increasingly harder to the point of exhaustion"; and 'worn-out', where workers "give up when faced with stress or lack of gratification".Longer-serving employees were more likely to be "worn-out", with those clocking-up more than 16 years' service most at risk."The longer the service, the greater the likelihood of having this burn-out," found the author. These people find a way of getting through the day -  "a passive coping strategy" but become ineffective in the process.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Old but good test for your happiness prospects

Michael Fordyce began researching into happiness before it all got so popular.
In his view, the picture from psychological research has not changed that much since the mid 70s. I am just researching his contribution to the field, and thought you might like to try out his questionnaire to assess your happiness assets <here>.

HOWEVER - Fordyce points out that there are those people who swim against the tide and are happoy even though they are low on happiness assets. Equally, there are those who never tap into their plentiful assets, and are not happy in life. So really, he argues, there is only one question that matters:

How happy a person are you?

POSSIBLE ANSWERS: A. Extremely happy; B. Very happy; C. Pretty happy; D. Somewhat happy; E. Neutral (not particularly happy or unhappy); F. Somewhat unhappy; G. Pretty unhappy; H. Very unhappy. 
SCORING: No official scores for this; your answer says all that matters.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The New Science of Reality - so what's possible now??

I have only just come across this work; a co-student gave me the heads-up; she is looking into the scientific eveidence for healing energy transfer. What's this got to do with happiness? Well, what would be the consequence of discovering that, for a fact, everying you think the world is made from and based on is not what it seems at all? I have heard many times people say spmething along the lines of "yeah, it would be nice to live an ideal life - but i live inthe real world". What if the where no real world?? Or what if that real world is something you are involved in co-creating? Too fantastic? Quantum physics has been "too fantastic" for nearly 100 years, and it is getting even more messy. Watch these amazing lectures by Dr Swanson.
Lesson 1            Lesson 2       Lesson 3         Lesson 4

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Brits are miserable - official :(

We in the UK are less happy than people in the United States, according to the first study of wellbeing in the UK. Less than half of us feel we are thriving, and about four out of ten of us are unhappy with the boss, who orders us about rather than treating us as part of a team. Read more in the Independent here.
From this month, The Office for National Statistics will include four questions about well-being in the Integrated Household Survey, including how satisfied you are with your life, how happy or anxious you feel and to what extent you feel "the things you do in your life are worthwhile".

Friday, May 6, 2011

Looking back was when you were happiest?

Researchers found that people with personality traits that allow them to be nostalgic about the past have higher life satisfaction than those who exaggerate or mull over their failures 
Extroverted people had the best ability to do this whereas those with neurotic tendencies were the worst. (Is this really new??) The study, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, suggests that outlook rather than experience and fortune has a strong influence on overall happiness.(As any decent therapist knows.)
It also suggests that by changing certain traits, rather than a whole personality, individuals could greatly improve their happiness levels. More... The Telegraph.

Genetic Happiness

The 5-HTT gene affects transportation of serotonin in neurons, according to a study reported in The Telegraph.The researchers found that 69% of people who had two copies of the gene said they were either satisfied or very satisfied with their life as a whole. This fell to 38% those who had no copy of the gene.The study is published today (FRI) in the Journal of Human Genetics; author De Neve, said: "It has long been suspected that this gene plays a role in mental health but this is the first study to show that it is instrumental in shaping our individual happiness levels.Of course, our well-being isn’t determined by this one gene – other genes and especially experience throughout the course of life will continue to explain the majority of variation in individual happiness. But this finding helps to explain why we each have a unique baseline level of happiness and why some people tend to be naturally happier than others, and that’s in no small part due to our individual genetic make-up."

Monday, May 2, 2011

Happy mind - happy body

Rupert Christiansen interviews Britt Tajet-Foxell,the Royal Ballet’s resident psychologist for some 20 years (The Telegraph).
"Working on the mechanics of dancers’ injuries ..I became increasingly fascinated by their psychology. I observed how two dancers with the same injury could respond to it in completely different ways, one making a full recovery, the other never even making it back on stage."

"Dancers ... have little autonomy or control. They are taught to obey orders... This can lead individuals to doubt who they really are. I realised I wasn’t so interested in healing injury, as in using the healing of injury as a springboard to make a better dancer and a stronger personality."

One case is a dancer with an old heal injury. "My first thought on waking up every morning was anticipation of the pain I might feel when I put my heel on the floor. Being a get-up-and-get-on-with-it kind of person, I was sceptical that Britt could help. But she made me visualise my good heel and my bad heel: the good heel was running water and blue sky, the bad heel was gnarled broken twigs and barren landscape. Slowly, I learnt to see the bad heel as good heel too, and I realised that the pain was in my head, not in my heel."

Monday, April 18, 2011

Life's happiness path = who cares? > grumpy > I can't be bothered?

Is happiness is 'U-shaped'? Are the middle-aged more grumpy? The Telegraph reports on research by
Mr van Landeghem to be will presented at the Royal Economic Society annual conference at Royal Holloway, the University of London, this week. It suggests that happiness follows a U-shaped curve during a person's lifetime, according to research showing that middle-aged people are the unhappiest.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Happiness is pain-free without drugs

Scientist are at last catching up with mind control over pain (report in NursingTimes.net) - in this case, for arthritis. They are using a computer-generated imagery to 'trick'  patients into feeling less pain in their fingers.
The patients put their hands in a box (er, still attached to the arm) with a camera inside. They are shown a falsely exaggerated picture of their fingers being stretched and shrunk. Bingo, pain halved. (I teach hypnosis for the same result, and can save you the computer!)

A third of those taking part in the trial said the treatment stopped them feeling pain completely. To be published in the medical journal Rheumatology.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Action For Happiness - the pragmatic way

If you want safe, pragmatic guidance on happiness then you might take a look at this initiative launched today Action For Happiness.org (err, well it crashed so search out the 'cached' version if still not back up). Totally secular of course (watch out - this emphasis will change one day, as it has repeatedly through history). Here are their ten top tips:
Do things for others - volunteer to work for a charity in your spare time
Connect with people - get in touch with friends with whom you have lost contact
Take care of your body - go for a run.
Notice the world around - take time to appreciate wildlife in your area.
Keep learning new things - learn a new language.
Have goals to look forward to - make resolutions and stick to them.
Find ways to bounce back - learn from defeats to do things better in the future.
Take a positive approach - focus on the happy moments of your life rather than the sad.
Be comfortable with who you are - do not dwell on your flaws.
Be part of something bigger - join a society or club.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Is this the future of happiness?

Just giving out of love - and not out of any need to feel important in doing so. Is this the core of true happiness?
Watch this short video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_3BEwpv0dM

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Happiness with holes?

A classic circular argument or commentary on men and women communicating? I loved this short 'song' when I was a child... and found myself recalling it yesterday when I experienced a conversation that set off somewhere only to arrive back where it began. I said 'there's a hole in my bucket, dear Liza'... well, my friend thought I'd lost the plot. So we googled it... and laughed hopelessly as we replayed it over and over again as we lost sight of any disagreement. 'See' what you think. Does it deserve reviving? Maybe it belongs in all business coaching programmes? I leave it to you... If you like it, pass it on.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Jobsworths take over our happiness

From the Telegraph Newspaper online today: The Government hopes that they will gain a better insight into society from the survey than from traditional economic indicators and tests.
"At the moment there's a fairly high level aspiration that policy should be based on more than just economic measures," said Paul Allin, ONS programme director.
The 200,000 people involved will be asked to rank how "satisfied" they are and how "anxious" they felt the previous day.
From April, the ONS will ask:
How satisfied are you with your life nowadays?
How happy did you feel yesterday?
How anxious did you feel yesterday?
To what extent do you feel the things you do in your life are worthwhile?
There will also be broader questions that are designed to try to explain people's feelings, to dig down into the drivers of individuals' happiness.
Other countries are devising similar measurements. French President Nicolas Sarkozy asked Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, a former White House adviser and World Bank chief economist, and a group of international experts to find new ways to measure economic progress taking into account social well-being.
Mr Stiglitz's report was critical of the way GDP, a raw measure of economic activity, was being used to gauge society's well-being. An increase in fuel consumption, it noted, would boost growth figures even if it merely reflected more traffic jams and pollution.
My Comment: Do these questions really find out about happiness? Did you know that we are all very good at deceiving ourselves and tend to rate our happiness higher than it is?  What is the difference between 'satisfied' and happy? Does pursuing happy feelings really result in happiness?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Happiness in Britain is....

Taken on my camera phone. First things first lads - put the shovel out of the way and get the tools plugged in. The kettle. Aaaaahhh - happiness is a nice cuppa.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Love and relationships are two different things

Happy love means conflict -free love? Alain de Botton muses on why a bookish life is a poor preparation for marriage! He says Western literature's obsession with unrequited love means the average love story is of help only to the lovelorn. And he argues that the blandness of the word marriage hides a "welter of intensity and depth that put to shame the most passionate works of literature'. Listen on Radio 4 here

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"Huna and Ho'oponopono 2: The Hawaiian Code of Forgiveness"

Free recording. "Huna and Ho'oponopono 2: The Hawaiian Code of Forgiveness". Huna was originally called Ho'omana. Ho'o means to make. Mana means life force. Taken together the word Ho'omana means empowerment or to empower. Huna is about empowerment, about increasing your spirituality, energy and metaphysical healing powers.
Matthew B. James, MA, PhD provides a brief introduction to Huna and Ho'oponopono while also guiding you through an induction and the process of healing. Ho'oponopono (1) helps to cut the aka connections with everything, while Ho'oponopono (2) is very specialized and is for use with a single transgressor.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Choose: more happy slobs or more unhappy intellectuals?

BBC Four just re-ran Michael Sandel’s lecture on Utilitarianism and Happiness. It's saved for you to watch here. Sandal puts JS Mill's assertion that 'it is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied.' This lecture is a good opener on this old debate, which still rumbles on; for example, Professor Layard, who advised the recent labour government, took James Bentham's opposing view.
Part 1 -- PUTTING A PRICE TAG ON LIFE: Sandel takes a modern view to explore how we attempt to resolve moral even political dilemmas. He makes a neat job of showing the possible objections to the utilitarian logic of seeking “the greatest good for the greatest number.”
Part 2 -- HOW TO MEASURE PLEASURE: Sandel then introduces J. S. Mill, a utilitarian philosopher who argues that seeking “the greatest good for the greatest number” is compatible with protecting individual rights, and that utilitarianism can make room for a distinction between higher and lower pleasures. Sandel tests this theory by playing video clips from three very different forms of entertainment: Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the reality show Fear Factor, and The Simpsons.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Andy Murray - why did he underperform?

Any crashed out to a straight sets loss against Djokovic in the Aussie Open on Sunday. How come he so under-performed? Yes Djokovic played extremely well. We've seen Andy Murray play some great matches against great opponents - so it's not that he lacks the capability. Was he physically drained? Possibly, but my guess is that he has found the energy in previous situations like this. So what else might explain it?

Any top performer plays his very best when he or she is fully aligned at all levels of consciousness; this allows them to get into the state of 'flow'. At this high level of competition, any slight doubt of any kind can be enough to sink the ship, as it were. I recall one sprinter saying that if you were going to compete against Linford Christe, if you had any slight doubt even for a second in the week before the race, then you had already lost. In NLP language, that's a lack of alignment at the unconscious level. And yet, it's quite easy to put right.

Of course, the old-fashioned way is to keep going until you get a break and your mind suddenly fully realises that you really ARE a winner; rather like appeared to happen for Roger Federer after his first Wimbledon win. But that's a risky strategy. I think that's what never happened for Tim Henman. Agassi transformed his approach as a result of NLP coaching.

For any of us, the real difference that makes the difference as to whether or not we get what we are truly capable of in life, is about unconscious mis-alignment. Simply put, we have either unrecognised doubts or competing desires which undermine our focus and determination. It's totally fixable these days.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Is real happiness unrealistic? Beware of reality checks; check on reality itself first

Let's say life is good... but, being honest with yourself, is it the way you'd be if you had 'three wishes' - or even just one :)   Aaah but we have to live in the real world. What if you discovered that reality is not as real as we tend to believe? Check out this BBC Horizon video and just wonder...

What is Reality? Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Happiness on video - free

From the World Conference on Happiness and Its Causes, Sydney
Some great presentations recorded for you to watch free online 
Don't miss this opportunity - I don't know how long they will be there (I had to buy previous recordings as DVD sets). 
<View the whole programme here>
I particularly recommend these two: 
Dr Robert Thurman
Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies, Department of Religion, Columbia University, USA
    * Can we find a reliable source of happiness?
    * Is it possible to have enduring satisfaction in life without depriving others?
    * Compassion and generosity can be fun.
    * Can we educate ourselves and our children to live life to its fullest? 
Hugh Mackay
Psychologist, social researcher and novelist, Author: Advance Australia…Where? and Right & Wrong: How to decide for yourself
    * How have changes in Australian society affected our psyche?
    * Does the pace of change create an unrealistic obsession with “control”?
    * Why we need to embrace the full spectrum of human emotions – not just happiness
    * Why we need to accept that life is for living, not controlling
 His ideas on ALL emotions being important echoes my own ideas, that emotions are feedback signals from the mind-body system trying to maintain internal equilibrium within its environment.