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Last night I only slept 5 hours but it was such great sleep that I felt like it was 10 hours . I felt so rested when I woke up , it was amazing.
One of my daily rah rahs said “What would happen if you had everything you wanted today? ” And I thought but I do, my life is complete at this moment everything else is just gravy. I then silently listed many things in my life I feel grateful for ,from my home to my dog ,the ability to be able to work etc etc . I was humbled by the gratitude which hopefully whatever my circumstance will always be enough.
Gosh I had an appointment up on the east side and those mountains are so powerful when you get close. I enjoy the feeling of awe when I get close to them. I feel so small yet so safe and protected when I am near the mountains.
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Positive #1: The Jarvis Virus. It would take a long time to explain this Ingress weapon but last night I truly took delight in using it. It turns an enemy portal into a portal of your faction. It allowed me to take over an important piece of the Resistance puzzle up on the east side. I am grateful to the person that showed it to me and explained it to me. Great fun.
Positive #2: Richard H. Richard has become a regular at the Happiness Socials (which there is one tomorrow). He has always been fully engaged in the activity and gushed with appreciation afterward. He has sent me a thank you card after every Social and even sent my wife a birthday card! I’m sure one of Richard’s top strengths is expressing gratitude. Richard’s enthusiasm and appreciation has truly brought me happiness and I appreciate him.
Positive #3: Car service for only $50! I felt very relieved and grateful when I was able to spring my car from the car doctor for only $50! they were able to identify a couple of minor issues and fix them quickly and easily. I love getting those little things fixed because then when I remember “Oh yeah! I can use the cigarette lighter to charge my phone now!” it’s a great feeling. ‘Kinda like finding that $20 you left in your winter coat.
Frank Clayton, The Happy Therapist
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Wow! What an absolutely amazing day! In case you’re just “tuning in”, today is day 3 of the 2nd Congress of the International Positive Psychology Association.
Here are the highlights:
- Barbara Fredrickson (author of my #2 pick on Happiness, Positivity) talked about Love
- Meeting Todd Kashdan and (what may be his last) talk at IPPA
- Possible collaboration with positive psychologist and local, Lynn Johnson
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy with a Positive Spin
- Positive Computing
- Meeting Jane McGonigal and using her on-line game to enhance Happiness 101
- How much you think you can do something effects whether (and how hard) you try *
- The use of strengths in therapy – the intermediate lesson *
- Gala and the National Constitution Center *
* I will report on these tomorrow.
It was much cooler today. A blessing for my walk to my third download of information in the realm of positive psychology, a.k.a. Happiness! As I walked through City Hall in (literally) the heart of Philadelphia, I hummed a little tune. I was distracted by the richness and variety of the people as I walked. Per haps distracted enough by the suits, the homeless, the street venders, the skaters and the provocative dress, the song’s lyrics did not bubble to the surface until in the shadow of the Downtown Marriott. I murmured, “All you need is love. Bump-ba bump-ba bump. All you need is love. Bump-ba bump-ba bump. All you need is love, love – love is all you need.” As I realized I was humming a Beatles standard, I also realized that the topic of Barbara Fredrickson’s talk was “Love: A new lens on the science of thriving” Continue reading Report from IPPA Conference, Day 3
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Something new in this semester of Happiness 101 is an emphasis on building upon core strengths. I decided to beef up this are of the class after my training last month with Lynn Johnson. This semester I asked students to go to www.authenticahappiness.com and take the VIA Survey of Character Strengths self test. It identifies your top strengths. This test is free to anyone that wishes to take it. Martin Seligman, the founder of positive psychology, maintains that we should spend time to strengthen and cultivate our strengths, rather than spending a great deal of time trying to correct our short-comings. One exercise suggested by Dr. Johnson was to identify a problem, then use one of your core strengths to address the problem. Today I want to express appreciation that this in-depth self-test has been developed to help everyone identify what is RIGHT rather than what is wrong.
Frank Clayton, the Happy Therapist
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Watching an in-door cat explore the outside world is always an adventure. Every time I let me cat out into the yard, I am amazed at how unnatural this natural being finds nature. He tentatively steps upon soft spongy stuff called grass and tigers his way through the jungle of bushes lining the perimeter of the yard. Were this a different world, these things would all seem day-to-day to him and being inside a big thing called a “house” would seem unnatural. As he sniffs and explores, I see the yard with new eyes. Appreciating the adventurer in him, rekindles it in me.
~Frank Clayton, Licensed Professional Counselor
Why am I posting postives every day? In (the free class) Happiness 101 I teach about how to be lastingly happier. Writing positives each day is one of the techniques. Click here to find out more.
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By request, I have started posting my five positive things on Facebook again. It is a lot of fun sharing the positives. There is SO much for which to be grateful. An interesting phenomenon has occurred when I express gratitude for the things that do NOT happen. For instance, when I write “I am glad I did not get into a car accident today” I am frequently met with, “Did you have a near miss?” The answer is “no”. I did not have a near miss. Isn’t it an interesting reaction though? Must we have a near miss to appreciate what we have? Most of the time this is exactly what we (human beings) do. We take for granted the blessings all around us – not because we are an ungrateful by nature. It is due to a trick our brains play on us called Hedonic Adaptation (Sonja Lyubomirksky, The How of Happiness) also known as the Hedonic Treadmill (Barbara Fredrickson, Positivity). It’s just a fancy way of saying “We get used to it”. There is a remedy for Hedonic Adaptation: Gratitude. Just by taking a few minutes each day to stop and think about the many things we have to be grateful for can help us to appreciate them without the “benefit” of a near miss. Writing down five positives per day has proven (Martin Seligman, Emmons and McCoullough) to reverse the course of a downward spiral. If you are a bit rusty on counting your positives, I offer eight different ways to do so in the article Building Your Positive Muscles. There you will learn new ways to appreciate what you’ve got BEFORE it’s gone.
Licensed Professional Counselor
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A day off. Football. A way to mark the end of summer. That’s what Labor Day means to most Americans. But have you stopped and thought about what it’s really about? Labor Day was declared in the United Stated following the Pullman Strike in 1994. It was whisked through Congress by President Cleveland in hopes that the acknowledgment of the labor force would prevent further bloodshead. Bloodshead over a job. Workers had to bond together and rise up for things we now take for granted like a fair wage and safe working conditions. I invite you today to appreciate improved working conditions. You might even take a moment to appreciate your job or career. There are many without jobs right now. If you are so inclined, send good wishes to the unemployed and hope they can celebrate Labor Day next year and do so with a grateful heart.
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In the Happiness 101 class, we have a standing home “opportunity” (we don’t like to call it “work”) to do a an exercise that takes 2-3 minutes per day and has been proven to improve people’s happiness. Martin Seligman, the founder of Positive Psychology had a 94% success rate – and that was with people who were clinically depressed! This little, but powerful exercise is to simply write down three positive things per day. It need not be something you did or achieved – just anything positive. Here are some of mine from the last week:
I am glad my friend is still alive
I am grateful for respirators
I SO appreciate the doctors at the hospital
I am thankful for the doctor’s skill
I like the rain
I enjoy the sunshine
I stopped and experienced the wind on my face today
I am grateful for the compassion of friends
I am glad for the hair on my head
I appreciate that I can feel all of my emotions
I stopped and enjoyed watching my cat snore
I am glad my windshield is still in tact
I appreciate the library system
I am grateful that the second to my left pinky toe is healthy, happy and unbroken
I like that accomplished feeling I get after mowing the lawn.
What’s on YOUR gratitude list? Feel free to add something. The more the merrier.
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So, you say you want to be happier? If you have been listening to the “Happy Hour” conference call classes about Happiness (also available for download here on the blog), you know that much of the “trick” of being Happier is changing our negative thoughts. For instance, the average person complains 70 times a day! The average person has 45,000 negative thoughts per day – that’s 80% of our thoughts in the typical day (60,000). The founder of positive psychology, Martin Seligman, did a study in which he took a group of severely depressed patients. He asked them to do this one thing (that should take you no more than three minutes a day) and had a 94% success rate! After merely 15 days his patients had improved to the level of mildly or moderately depressed. That’s just in 15 days! The “one thing” is to write down any three positives. Especially when one is that depressed, the negative muscles are quite strong and the positive ones weak. By giving attention to the positives, it strengthens your positive muscles. The wonderful thing about doing this exercise, the more you focus on the positives, the more you see or more concisely put: What you appreciate, appreciates. Another phenomenon is that when we share our positives with others, they start appreciating the positives more too. It is for this reason I share my three positives for the day here on my blog. You will find them in the Home Opportunities section. Feel free to add YOUR three positives for the day there as well.