High on Life

davidbearby David Bohl

Do you get grumpy often?

Maybe you feel anxious, restless, impatient, or generally discontented?

Did you ever notice those other people who always seem to be floating on a cloud, beaming over whatever mundane occurence is transpiring? Are they for real?

What about the merry jokester who manages to find levity in even the most depressing of scenarios? What’s THAT guy smoking, and can he hook you up with some?

The truth is that not everyone is tired, fed up and pissed off! Some people really do count their blessings. Some are just buoyant. Now, I’m no psychologist, but in my personal experience, I’ve found that if you change your habits, you really can elevate your spirits and your mood.

In life, being a happy person is half the battle!

1. Keep on moving, don’t stop.

We’re all attached to computers these days. Frankly, it’s depressing. Being still for too long actually stops our blood from flowing. Blood – our life force! Make it a high priority – and I mean HIGH – to spend at least 3 hours per day walking at a quickened pace, bending, stretching, reaching, running.

Maybe that means getting up an hour early to do your morning Salutations to the Sun… or taking a bag lunch to the park and doing a few laps around the lake. It definitely means getting aerobic exercise at a minimum of 3 times a week. Make the time – morning or night. This may mean that you have to say no to somebody who needs something from you. That’s OKAY. Also: take the stairs. I repeat: take the stairs!

2. Go toward the light.

Sunlight, that is! Most of us spend far too much time under fluorescent lights. This is unnatural and unhealthy! S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and insomnia are directly related to a lack of real sunlight. The sun stimulates our brains to produce the perfect amount of mood-elevating and sleep-regulating chemicals.

As often as possible, step outside, look up and be drenched in healing sunlight. Instead of video gaming the hours away in your basement, hit the pavement at high noon with the sun blazing overhead. Find any and every excuse to walk your dog, slip away to the beach, take off for the bike path. At home? Pull those shades and luxuriate in a bath of pure sunshine. Traveling by car? Open the moon roof and roll down the windows. Let the sun shine in!

3. Easy does it.

I believe that a lot of our misery is the result of overindulgence. Food coma/hangover/lack of sleep = bad mood = inability to function = less likely to want to do the right thing and create a cycle of positive momentum in our lives.

Think about how often you push yourself past the healthy limit. Five too many Cosmos on a Friday night. Staying up until 4 a.m. on the weekends. All you can eat steak and shrimp… come on, did we really need to consume THAT much? As we get older, it just takes us even longer to recover from such abuse.

The general rule: if you’re ready to pass out, then you had too much. Food should fuel us for our days’ activities, not have us sneaking away to the nearest couch! Eat a third or half of what the restaurant serves you, and doggy-bag the rest for tomorrow’s lunch. Catching a good buzz at the bar? When you hit that giddy feeling, switch to water as your drink of choice! Remember that it’s okay to be home and in bed by 1:30. Nothing that happens after last call is ever really worth sticking around for anyway.

4. If it brings you down, avoid it.

Okay… I know that some things, like taxes and annoying relatives, can be hard to avoid. But the truth is, you can get a good accountant who knows tricks that will have you paying less at the end of the year. And email is a great way to keep contact with crotchety Aunt Maude to a minimum.

So what I’m saying is, steer clear of bitchy and whiny people, unpleasant tasks, dull conversations, and general time wasters and energy suckers. Does one particular person always take up too much of your phone time? Instill a new egg timer policy for all calls. If it can’t be resolved in half an hour, then hang up and move on. Stick to your guns!

5. Solve problems on the fly.

Being passive leads to being miserable. That’s because we’re giving up a measure, if not all, of our control. When you feel like you have absolutely no say in what happens, then you inevitably fall into a wretched slump!

To cure this, approach every single thing that happens with the attitude of an on-the-fly problem solver. I’m serious! Never take no for an answer. Never say “I can’t.” If you find that an obstacle is blocking your path, find a way to move it. A few detours are worth the personal victory of arriving at your desired destination!

Sure, some things really do seem like they have us by the you-know-whats. Instead of being passive, think out of the box. You’re stuck on hold? Turn on speaker phone and listen to the music while you get something else accomplished in the meantime. Customer service can’t help you? Ask — no, demand — to talk to a manager. It’s as easy as threatening to cancel your service with the company.

This will be difficult at first, because you’re used to being denied what you want in life. But with practice, you really can retrain your mind on how to be proactive. Proactive people get things done. That feels good!

There are many more changes you can make to keep your spirits up – and become one of those “happy people” that seem like they must be tripping on something illegal. (They’re not.) This list is just to get you started. Once you accomplish the above, you’ll be better equipped to let minor upsets and mishaps roll off your back. Best of all, you’ll find yourself laughing more and worrying less! And that’s the natural high that we all crave in our lives.

NEWSFLASH: I’ve added another chapter to my life by joining C.A.S.T. Recovery, a Los Angeles based national outpatient drug rehab program which specializes in designing highly individualized recovery plans with appropriate professionals to support a client’s health, accountability, and success.

16 Comments on “High on Life”

  • The gist I get from this article is that one needs to be aware that problems are there and yet we need to look for positive solutions. If the so called positive solutions don’t work, remember that seeking a solution is an ongoing process and one shouldn’t give up. The late author, Ken Kesey has a favorite quote I like “The answer is never the answer. What’s really interesting is the mystery. If you seek the mystery instead of the answer, you’ll always be seeking. I’ve never seen anybody really find the answer– they think they have, so they stop thinking. But the job is to seek mystery, evoke mystery, plant a garden in which strange plants grow and mysteries bloom. The need for mystery is greater than the need for an answer.” To it’s core of the message to me is unraveling life’s mysteries is the key to understanding and finding solutions in our life’s journey. I get that inspiration from these emails from David that remind me that in good or bad times, we must move forward and seek out our lives goals and definations. Thanks fo rthe reminders, it is too easy to fall into a trap when our attention is diverted and we become more vulnerable to outside influences that we may be able to counter act. Doesn’t always work, but you don’t know unless tried, it might surprise you, especially when a positive result ends up being an unanticipated result.

  • Ted,

    Well said, yet not always easily lived. The journey is, indeed, the destination. But many people cannot stand uncertainty and ambiguity. They must try to control that aspect of their lives. They absolutely must know, even when they’re powerless to know, and this causes them much discord.

    Thanks for your considered reply.

    David

  • Thank you, David.
    I like “Being passive leads to being miserable.” If one has desires, hopes, and dreams, one cannot wait for those things to come. In fact, one must even be active in considering whether those ‘wants’ are realistic, and whether they are true desires or adopted from peer or media indoctrination.

    peace and many blessings to you,
    CG

  • Happiness is our true nature and there is never any need not to be happy. Easier said than done, but it’s only our desires that trap us into believing that we are not already happy and that we must ‘do’ some ‘thing’ to make it better. Anxiousness, restlessness, discontendedness etc., are only feelings brought about by thoughts of a sense of lack. First the thought comes that what I need right now is not here, that is felt in the body as a feeling such as discontendedness etc., which in turn drives some sort of action to resolve the perceived sense of lack.

    If happiness is sought through the realm of ‘things’ then we are happy when those ‘things’ are with us and unhappy when they are not so we make our happiness dependent on external situations, people or events. Simply to be who we already which requires no ‘thing’ then there is no end to happiness.

  • Susanna,

    Agreed. Happiness is inherent in each of us – something for us to cover up or stand in the way of. The problem is that many people cannot get out of their own ways.

    David

  • It seems to me that many don’t want to get out of their own ways.

  • I think the first thing is many even don’t wake up to this problem or they don’t know how to get out of their own ways .

  • Haijuan,

    Absolutely! The key is to get “unstuck” from our old patterns of thinking and acting.

    David

  • Can someone offer a few examples of what it means to “be in one’s own way?”

  • Dina,

    In a simple form, getting out of your own way might involve knowing/believing that you have a solution to a problem that you haven’t yet been able to bring into your consciousness awareness. Perhaps you’re kicking yourself for all the bad decisions you made leading up to your dilemma, and can’t focus on anything except beating yourself up. In this case, you simply need to get out of your own way for the solution to be revealed – to see things in a different light by folcusing on the solution instead of teh problem.

    Does that help?

    David

  • Another example – All the trouble in the world begins and ends with a ‘me’! A needy little me who must have, must do, must be ‘something’ which it currently is not. This is never ending because the little me is never satisfied and when it attains something it then tires of that and seeks to move on to yet something else. Not a very satisfactory state of affairs if happiness is to endure.

    Happiness shines through when the little ‘me’ steps aside.

  • Well said Susanna. Thanks for your insight.

    David

  • Thanks David and Susanna, for your insights. So then, if for example, you feel disgusted that your home is falling apart, and you’re complaining to everyone that you live in some kind of garbage hole… it might actually be YOU that’s the problem? Maybe you have trouble making decisions like what project to start on first, or you begin projects but then as soon as you run into a problem, you drop everything and quit.

    Is that an example of “being in one’s own way?” And if, say, you’re someone who has trouble dealing with necessary workarounds, or you can’t seem to focus on one thing… how do you change that about yourself?

    I’ve known some people who seem to have a real problem getting things finished. It almost seems like a mental problem – like their brains just can’t seem to process the information in a way that leads to action!?

    What do you think? Sometimes I even end up talking to clients like this. They ask me about projects, and then they get sidetracked and go on to something else, and then they’re worrying about this or that minor detail. Their thoughts race in circles, and then in the end they claim overwhelm, and I never even land the account. And talking to such people takes up a lot of my time and energy, frankly.

    If you can’t encourage people like this to change their behavior… maybe the next best thing is to look for the warning signs and then RUN?

  • Dina,

    Sure is. If someone complains and takes action, they’re in the what’s known as the pre-contemplative stage of change. That is, they have not yet been able to get out of their own way to see the reasons a change is needed so they can manifest that change. Blame is often part of this phase, as is denial that a problem that they can do something about exists.

    If you cannot keep focus – you avoid, procrastinate, and find distractions – one must immediately be able to recall and state all the reasons they wanted to change in the first place. If they cannot remember, they’ll be diverted until pain causes them to remember.

    Keeping your clients focused on their needs, instead of what their imagination wants, might prove the solution.

    David

  • Thank you David and Dina glad you enjoyed my insights.

    I agree David’s comments in response to Dina’s further comments and would like to add we don’t always get what we want, but we do always get what we need. We can’t not get what we need.

    Stepping back and really looking at a situation, whilst dropping the story around it reveals the reality of it. Where’s the problem now?

  • You said a lot when you wrote, “In life, being a happy person is half the battle!”. I have found that working on my attitude, in general, has helped me the most as far as continuous personal development. It seems everything stems from having a bright and positive outlook FIRST,

    Best to you,
    Scott

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