Thursday, December 23, 2010

Zooming Disease off to the Sun

In keeping with the theme of health and wellness from the last few posts, and as a christmas pressie to all my readers, I’d like to give you a gift of a simple yet life enhancingly powerful technique for healthing your life.

The following process combines the NLP and PNI ideas and skills described throughout this and earlier blog posts. Use this technique to interrupt any negative or limiting health or disease patterns.

I have successfully used this technique to get rid of headaches, stomach-aches, sore throats and stop the onset of colds and flu’s at the early stage. I’ve also taught this technique to a huge number of people who have reported similar success. The technique works by both sending a metaphorical message to your unconscious mind and through the use of submodalities. Give it a go and you’ll be surprised and delighted at how such a simple process can have such amazing results.

Interrupt any pain or disease pattern by:

  1. Make an image outside your body of the presenting complaint. For example, if you want to get rid of a sore throat or a headache then make an image just in front of you, it might be a black blob or pointy object – something that matches the pain or feeling you want to get rid of
  2. Imagine the Sun off in the distance and then quickly zoom the image off to the Sun, way in the distance. See the object getting smaller and smaller till it disappears, burnt up in the Sun
  3. Note that this technique works most powerfully when you place the image of the Sun in the direction of the ‘past’. To find this, point to the direction in which you feel the past is for you. You can find this by thinking of something that happened in the past and noticing where in your visual field that image comes from or is located i.e. the submodality of position/location of the image
  4. Also make a zooming sound as you zoom off the object and make a sizzling, burning up sound as it disappears into the Sun. The sound really makes a positive effect to this technique, so make sure you do it out loud
  5. Repeat this process, three to five times, getting faster and faster. Don’t worry if you can only do the imagery in an ‘as if’ way, it will still work powerfully
  6. Now just let go and get on with your day. You’ll find that in a couple of minutes, or over the course of the day your problem or symptoms will decrease and disappear. Your powerful unconscious mind and immune system will now make you better

In using this technique, be respectful of the underlying message that the symptom is attempting to communicate to you. If symptoms return or persist, then seek competent medical attention. This technique should not be used to mask symptoms of a serious disorder. It is however, very useful for stopping the beginnings of a viral infection such as a cold, or for assisting your immune system and unconscious mind in helping you get over a cold or flu.

By using it repeatedly throughout the course of an illness, and providing you are doing everything sensible to help yourself get better, this technique will help speed up your recovery.

You can also use it to get rid of negative thoughts, fears and pessimistic ideas. Just make an image of the thing you want to get rid of from your mind and life and zoom it off to the Sun. You can make the process even more powerful by zooming back in a replacement positive thought or feeling. Have fun with this technique and use it to replace negative health patterns with new behaviours of vitality and joy.

life enhancing thoughts and wishes for a Merry Christmas and a great New Year,

NLP and Health : Using NLP to Enhance Your Health and Well-Being

Using Your Brain--For a Change: Neuro-Linguistic Programming

Saturday, December 18, 2010

PNI - Psycho-Neuro-Immunology

Your thoughts and emotions influence your immune system and vice-versa. Research in the field of Psycho Neuro Immunology (PNI) over the last 30 years has shown how tightly coupled the mind and body are. There is now a huge body of published evidence documenting at the neurological and biochemical level, how states of mind such as anxiety, depression and anger affect the functioning of immune cells – T-cells, B-cells, Natural Killer cells, and macrophages.

The communication and control pathways exist both ways. For example, the nervous system directly synapses down onto immune cells in the lymph nodes. In return, there are receptors in the brain for communication chemicals such as hormones, peptides and cytokines that are released by immune cells. The brain and immune systems are an intertwined complex system. What affects one, affects the other.

To illustrate this, let’s look at the results of a classic experiment on the immune effects of emotion. Researchers asked method actors to simulate either positive emotions like happiness or negative emotions like anger and depression. Immune system function was measured before, during and after short period of emotional expression.

The results showed that positive emotions caused a measurable and significant increase in immune cell function and activity. More importantly however, negative emotions had both a larger and longer lasting negative effect on the immune system. Negative emotions cause a down-regulation in immune cell and system functioning that can last for many hours after the emotional event.

Other experiments have shown that the effect can also work in reverse. When the immune system is under attack from a pathogen like a flu virus or cold, it releases messenger molecules that cause a down-regulation in mood. It’s your body’s way of getting you to conserve energy, to remove yourself from others, to allow your immune system to get on with the job of protecting you. Whenever you are physically run-down or have a decreased immune function you will find yourself feeling slightly depressed and unhappy.

There are numerous documented cases of people using a mixture of humour, visualisation and meditation to overcome debilitating diseases such as cancer. Norman Cousins is a famous example. In the mid-1960’s he was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a degenerative disease that causes the breakdown of the fibrous tissue binding the body’s cells together. Almost completely paralysed and given only a few months to live, Cousins ordered himself checked out of hospital and moved into a hotel room where he began taking extremely high doses of laughter and humour. He literally laughed his way back to health, and eventually returned to full-time work and a normal life. Cousins detailed his amazing journey in his book “Anatomy of an Illness”.

Here are some more fascinating results from recent research on the interaction between health and happiness
  • People who score high on psychological tests assessing happiness, produce about 50% more antibodies than the average person in response to flu vaccines
  • Individuals that test high on scales for happiness, optimism and contentment have reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension and infections
  • Researchers found that subjects who practiced acts of happiness and gratitude had raised energy levels, improved physical health and experienced less fatigue and pain
  • One important study found that optimistic individuals reduced their risk of death by 50% over the nine year period of the study.

The main message and insight from these examples and the field of PNI is that your health, thoughts and emotions are interdependent and entwined. The more happiness and joy you feel, the better your immune system will respond. The greater your health, the more life enhancing positive feelings of joy and happiness you’ll be able to experience. There really is wisdom in the saying “a healthy mind in a healthy body”.

Thinking Tools – The Body-Mind Health Spiral

Your mind and body are connected in a loop – thoughts, feelings, beliefs and health influence each other!

Awareness Questions – Focusing on Health and Wellness

Ask Yourself:
  • What are my beliefs about my health? Do I believe I can easily achieve health and wellness?
  • What are the behaviours that I do that negatively impact my health? How can I stop them?
  • What behaviours can I do that will improve my health and wellness? How can I support myself for greater healthing?

Want to learn more, get a copy of my book: Avoiding the Enemies to HAPPINESS!

Wishing you life enhancing wellness,

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Life Enhancing Resilience

Resilience is the positive ability to bounce back, to adapt and cope well with adversity, threats, family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or other stressful events. It is typically characterised by patterns of positive adaptation to negative situations.

Research in Positive Psychology has shown there are a number of life enhancing strategies that can help build resilience, toughness and psychological strength.

Not surprisingly, since the mind and body are intrinsically linked, it has been shown that building physical toughness and resilience increases psychological and emotional resilience and strength. Even taking a cold shower, or swimming in cold water has been shown to increase mental toughness. So make sure you exercise and increase your level of physical strength and fitness.

Close relationships with family and friends can help create and support resilience. Loving, nurturing relationships help buffer against stress and can assist in overcoming adversity.

Optimism and hope also increase resilience. Seeing problems as opportunities for self discovery and personal development can really make a difference. Focusing on your strengths and values has been shown to strengthen resilience. So continue to set and achieve realistic outcomes and goals that utilise your key strengths.

One of the most powerful tools however for building resilience is the use of engagement and flow. Regularly involve yourself in activities that generate flow. For me reading, running, skiing, kayaking, motor-bike riding, hiking are all life enhancing activities that engender a state of flow. For you, the activities may be very different. The key is to find and then regularly practice activities that put you into deep states of flow. This will build psychological and emotional capital and help you overcome life’s challenges.

Remember, the more you practice these life enhancing resilience strategies, the stronger and more resilient you will become and the more able you’ll be to overcome any challenges in your life.

Life enhancing wishes

Friday, December 3, 2010

Habits and Patterns

"Sow a thought and you reap an act; Sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; Sow a character and you reap a destiny.”
Samuel Smiles

Creating Positive Patterns

The neural network of the brain is a patterning system. It takes inputs and forms patterns from them. It evolved to enable your organism to repeat learned behaviors. Every time you perform a thought or action, it increases the probability that you will perform that thought or action again. That’s how the brain works.

So you need to be very, very careful what thoughts and behaviors you do in your life. Because, without being aware, you can end up with life denying habits and patterns that don’t serve you.

Building Unconscious Competencies

The above diagram shows the NLP Staircase of Learning model. Through repeated actions, you build unconscious competence. You build an unconscious part that knows how to accurately repeat and perform the learned behavior. This might be a physical behavior, an emotional behavior or a cognitive behavior. You can end up with habits and patterns of physiology, feeling or thought.

Behaviors that were learned in one context or time of your life, may no longer be appropriate or useful in your current context or time of life. What at first appeared fun, exciting and interesting, can swiftly become something that is slowly killing you. Or put more accurately, you may be killing yourself by repeating old patterns of thinking and behaving.

That’s what addiction is all about. Nobody starts off doing something they truly believe will kill them or damage them. They start off doing the behavior, believing they are getting some sort of benefit. The smoker gets stimulation, peer group acceptance, or maybe even a sense of being ‘cool’. The drinker gets relaxation, camaraderie and an altered state. But once the pattern of addiction has formed, once the brain and body have changed the number of chemical receptors to match the elevated levels in the bloodstream, the person is hooked. They are slowly killing themselves – performing slow suicide – and it’s not so easy to stop.

Negative habits, patterns and addictions are absolute life denying enemies to happiness. They take away from your life. They take away not just quantity, but more importantly they destroy the quality of your life. Drugs, smoking, drinking excessively, overeating are all enemies to happiness. They might provide some small secondary gains, some side benefits, but they do so at a primary cost to your health and the quality of your mind/body.

If you want to maximise your life enhancing chances for happiness and joy, you’ll want to look after your health. It’s that simple. If you are addicted to anything that is slowly damaging your mind or body then STOP it. Seek professional help. Do whatever it takes to stop addicting. Your long-term happiness and peace of mind depends on it.

The facts are our friends. I can’t say it any simpler or more bluntly than that. Negative patterns and addictions will damage your mind and body. Think carefully about what your outcomes are for your life and if you decide you want to live a life of happiness and meaning, then work assiduously to stop and remove any negative addictions from your life.

Focus on positive outcomes

Instead, clearly specify the positive outcomes you want in their place. Focus on what you want and not what you don’t want in your life. Remember the power of negation. Focus on positive outcomes. Set health and wellness, and the happiness they support and engender in your life, as high values and priorities. Develop and stick to a good balanced diet. Start exercising. Look after your body. Look after your brain. Keep toxic chemicals and drugs away from your precious cybernetic loop. Make an agreement with yourself to only support positive healthful actions and behaviors in your life.

The great news is, that every time you refuse to do something negative and instead replace it with a positive behavior or thought, it will increase the probability of you doing that positive action again. You can create positive habits and patterns in the same way as any other habit or pattern. By choosing to sow only positive thoughts and actions in your life you will reap a destiny of happiness and meaning.

The thin edge of the wedge

My father taught me many years ago the wisdom of the saying ‘Beware the thin edge of the wedge!’ This thinking tool particularly applies to the issue of habits and patterns and especially the forming of addictions. The way a wedge works is that one end is very pointy and thin. If you are splitting wood for example, a wedge can be easily slipped into the thinnest of cracks. Then slowly but surely the wedge can be driven deeper and eventually, the thick end of the wedge will cause even the strongest of logs to split and fall apart. If you tried to drive the thick end in first of course, you would have great difficulty and it would not work.

It’s the same with behavior and thoughts. The thin edge of the wedge is when you allow yourself or someone else to do or think something that is negative or harmful. “It’s only once” you say. But it’s the thin edge of the wedge. Before long, if you aren’t careful, one drink becomes two, two drinks become four, and then you’re at the thick end of the wedge, addicted to alcohol and destroying your life and happiness. So look for and beware the thin edge of the wedge in your life. It’s vitally important for your life enhancing long-term happiness.

Thinking Tools – Repetition
Repetition leads to repetition. The repetition of a thought or action increases the probability of repetition

Thinking Tools – The Wedge
Beware the thin edge of the wedge!

Create life enhancing patterns in your life

The take home message from today's post is to make sure you are creating life enhancing patterns and behaviors in your life. Sow positive thoughts and reap life enhancing habits. Do this continuously every day, in small and ever increasing ways, and you and those you love will reap the life enhancing rewards of an incredible destiny.

What positive pattern or action could you do right now?

Want to learn more, get a copy of my book: Avoiding the Enemies to HAPPINESS!

life enhancing thoughts,

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Messages from the Unconscious

As we explored in last week’s post on Exquisite Immuning, your health is one of the most important and life enhancing assets you have. Symptoms of un-wellness are often messages from your mind/body that all is not well in how you are living and healthing in your life. In today’s post we are going to learn an NLP technique for communicating and negotiating with your unconscious mind to work with those signals and to support greater healthing and wellnessing.

Symptom’s as signals

Your unconscious mind communicates in many ways. Pain and disease are signals. Disease is often a symptom of ‘dis-ease’ in your system. It’s your unconscious mind’s way of communicating via your cybernetic loop about stress and dysfunction in your mind-body.

The unconscious mind is a patterning system. It learns to repeat and replicate patterns and behaviours. The conscious mind allows choice. It provides the means of volitional control so that you can select and change the patterns.

The symptoms of disease can often be a signal or message from your unconscious mind to your conscious mind. Alerting you to processes that need attention and change. You ignore these messages at your peril.

Pain and disease are natures signal that something is wrong. Listen to the symptoms and ask them what needs changing. Maybe there’s something you need to attend to in your life. Or are you deleting or blocking something from your awareness? What do you need to change? Underlying all stress is a reason or cause. It may be physical, emotional or mental.

NLP: Communicating with the unconscious mind

In NLP there is a technique called the Six-Step Reframe that is used to communicate with the unconscious part responsible for any particular process or outcome in your life. In this technique you literally talk to the part and ask what its positive intention is. You speak to it and ask what positive thing it is trying to achieve for you.

There is a presupposition in NLP that every behaviour has a positive intention. By exploring and finding the underlying positive intentions of the part producing the dis-ease, you can then negotiate within yourself to find a better and more generative way of achieving and satisfying the positive purpose or need that exists in your life.

Six-Step Reframe

The steps of the Six-Step Reframe technique are:

1. Identify the behaviour, response or signal you want to change
2. Communicate with the part responsible for the behaviour
Literally talk to the part. Respectfully ask “Will the part responsible for X communicate with me consciously now?” Then carefully notice the signals or response you get. It may be words, sounds, images or feelings.
3. Determine the positive intention of the behaviour
Thank the part for communicating with you and ask it “Please tell me what your positive intention is. What are you trying to do for me?” Notice the response you get. What intuitions or messages does the unconscious part respond with?
4. Ask the part to work with the whole of your unconscious mind, including your creative parts, to generate new and more generative ways of accomplishing the outcome
Ask the part to communicate internally with the other parts of your mind to find new behaviours and ways of achieving the positive purpose. If the part has been signalling to you that the way you are living is doing you harm, then your unconscious mind can generate new patterns of behaviour that are more healing and healthful. Your conscious mind can respect this process and support the new behaviours.
5.    Ask the part if it will agree to use the new behaviours and choices rather than the old behaviour to achieve its outcome
If you don’t get a yes signal from the part, then return to step 4 until all parts of you have worked together to find behaviours and choices that work and that the part in question will support.
6. Do an ecology check of all parts of your mind
Ask “Does any other part object to my new choices?” If you get a response that indicates there is an issue of ecology or potential negative consequences then return to step 3 and ask what positive intentions this new part is attempting to communicate about and work with it and the original part to generate behaviours and choices that work for the whole of you.

Trust your unconscious mind

This technique can work quite powerfully. You’ll be surprised at just how clearly parts can communicate. You need to trust your unconscious mind and work with it respectfully. It is trying to do the best it can with the knowledge and skills it has at this point in your life. You may need to support yourself with new skills and patterns, and reading and studying this blog is a great step in that direction.

Do this technique in a quiet place. Relax, calm your mind and then gently talk to the parts of your mind that have a message for you. Be very positive and explicit in your communicating. With a bit of trust, you’ll be surprised at how amazing this communication process can be.

It’s about getting in touch with your intuitions. It’s about hearing the messages from your gut brain, your heart brain, your non-dominant hemisphere and other distributed intelligences around your brain and body. It’s about aligning all the parts of you to support wellness in your life. By looking deeply within and explicitly communicating with the parts of your multi-mind, you can gain important insights and messages from your unconscious mind.

And using these insights, you can generate more life enhancing wellness and healthing in every aspect of you mind, body and life.

Life enhancing wishes

Reframing: Neuro-Linguistic Programming and the Transformation of Meaning

Richard Bandler's Guide to Trance-formation: How to Harness the Power of Hypnosis to Ignite Effortless and Lasting Change

Neuro-linguistic programming: NLP and science, Meta-model, Reframing

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Exquisite Immuning

"As I see it, every day you do one of two things: build health or produce disease in yourself.”
Adelle Davis

Your health is one of the most important and life enhancing assets you have. Most people slowly kill themselves through negative addictions and destructive habits. Lack of exercise, too much stress, poor diet and negative thoughts and emotions wreak slow havoc on your immune system and your body.

Health is a result of a myriad of factors and processes. Our bodies are incredibly complex. To maintain life enhancing optimal health you need to do behaviours of healthing – behaviours that support your brain and body; that support your immune system, digestive system and cardiovascular system amongst many others.

In today’s post I’m going to share a powerful process for working with your immune system and enhancing its operation.

The Immune System

The immune system is a very complex part of the body. It contains a myriad of different cells and components and is distributed throughout your body. The immune system is intimately connected to your nervous system, head brain and gut brain and can in some ways be thought of as an extended part of the brain/mind system. As the field of Psycho-Neuro-Immunology (PNI) has shown, your thoughts and feelings directly affect your immune function. (I'll talk about this in more detail  in a coming blog post.)

Bliss Pointing

As you know from previous blog posts, there is a bliss point or optimal state for the majority of your body's processes and this includes the amount of immuning that your immune system needs to do to keep you healthy. Too little immuning and you can’t fight off disease or overcome naturally occurring cancer cells. Too little immuning can make you susceptible to illness and pathogens.

Your immune system has both a memory and the ability to track for self/not-self. The immune cells are constantly checking your body for invaders and rogue cells that don’t belong. Too much immuning – an overstimulated immune function – can lead to auto-immune problems and diseases.

Exquisite Immuning

I’d like to share a personal story with you about the optimal process of immuning. Many years ago, when first learning about NLP and Behavioural Modelling, I got interested in issues of health and wellness. So I decided to study the immune system and model the process of immuning and healing. I came across the idea of ‘Super Immuning’ and applied the principles of NLP to amplifying these processes and states of immuning. I used self-hypnosis and NLP techniques to communicate with my unconscious mind and install the process of Super Immuning in myself.

A couple of weeks later, I began to notice a strange red rash on my lower left leg. The skin was raised and inflamed. I thought that I’d somehow gotten a skin mite infection from cleaning out the vacuum cleaner bag that I had accidentally dropped on my uncovered leg one morning. So I used various creams and lotions to try and remove that rash. Nothing seemed to shift or heal it. I sought medical help and also consulted with a Naturopath. Nothing seemed to help. I lived with that rash for many, many months and it was slowly spreading and getting worse.

One day, relaxing in a warm shower, I decided to use the NLP Six-Step Reframing technique to talk to my unconscious mind and find out what the symptom of the rash was trying to tell me. I knew that my unconscious mind knew the cause of the problem, even if my conscious mind didn’t have a clue.

So I put myself into a self-hypnotic, meditative state and gently, respectfully spoke to my unconscious, asking specifically for insight into the cause. The words ‘Super-Immuning’ popped into my mind, along with the saying ‘the more – the more pattern’. This is a pattern in NLP that indicates a positive feedback loop. The more you do something, the more it causes the same process, leading to a spiral or run-away pattern. For example, the process of fearing fear leads a person into more and more fearing.

In that flash of insight my unconscious mind communicated to me, I realised I had installed in myself many months ago a runaway pattern of over-stimulating my immune function. The word ‘Super’ indicates a comparative deletion. That is, something is only ever ‘super’ in comparison to something else. When you call or describe something as super, without indicating what it is super compared to, you are doing what in NLP is called a comparative deletion. I had installed in myself a comparative deletion pattern of ‘Super-Immuning’. I had installed in my unconscious mind a pattern of doing more and more immuning. I had, in effect, created an over-stimulated auto-immune disorder. The rash on my leg was my own immune system attacking my skin and causing an eczema type rash.

There and then, I asked my unconscious mind for a better metaphor for the process I was trying to model. The answer came back immediately – ‘Exquisite Immuning’. What I wanted was not to do super immuning, but instead to be able to do an exquisite level of immuning appropriate to whatever was happening in my body at any point in time. Exquisite implies fitness for purpose. Exquisite implies outcome.

So I immediately removed the ‘Super Immuning’ process and changed and re-installed the unconscious immuning process as ‘Exquisite Immuning’ and within 24 hours the rash went completely away. Overnight, that angry, red, painful and itchy rash that completely covered my lower left leg disappeared and my skin returned to normal. I’d had that rash for months and months – or to put it more accurately from a neurolinguistic perspective – I’d been ‘doing’ that rash for many, many months and finally I’d stopped. The rash went away. My leg healed.

The moral of the story is manifold. Firstly, NLP processes are powerful and should be used intelligently, carefully and ecologically. Secondly, always listen to your symptoms and check with your unconscious mind for the underlying message it is attempting to communicate to you. Thirdly, there is such a thing as too little and too much immuning. Balance is required. What’s appropriate at one time is not appropriate at another.

For example, if you have come into contact with a pathogen such as a cold virus and have become infected, then you need to amp up your immuning to fight off the virus. Once you are well, you don’t want to have too active an immune function or you’ll end up developing auto-immune problems. You want and can do a balanced amount of immuning.

And here’s the life enhancing message: use the idea and metaphor of ‘Exquisite Immuning’ to track for and encourage your unconscious mind to do appropriate immuning. The unconscious mind can be influenced by belief, metaphor and symbolism, by visualisation and affirmation. So be careful what you ask for, and use its life enhancing power wisely.

Mastering Healthing

In next week’s blog post, I’ll share the Six Step Reframe NLP technique for how to communicate and negotiate with your unconscious mind to support healthing and wellness. And in the post after that I'll explore the research findings from PNI and how beliefs and thoughts impact or enhance your healthing. So stay tuned.

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Want to learn more, get a copy of my book: Avoiding the Enemies to HAPPINESS!

Life enhancing wishes

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Status Game

Status is a primary and universal human motive and a very powerful contributor to social success. Research has shown for example, that women are more attracted to men they perceive as having high status. Status is also linked to financial success. It’s powerful and ubiquitous.

The need for status is a game that largely drives society and can lead to a never ending greed spiral of status anxiety and misery. The more status a person has, the more they want. Uncontrolled, the Status Game is not life enhancing, but instead is a life denying and insidious enemy to human happiness.

Comparing yourself - controlling your comparisons

While status awareness is a biologically driven function, supported and reinforced by societal moirĂ©s and learnings, at its heart it’s mediated by the processes of who and what reference groups you compare yourself with. While it can be challenging to suppress status awareness entirely, it is much easier to control it by carefully selecting your focus for comparison.

Comparing your self to those who are richer, more attractive by today’s current societal standards or to those who are more privileged will inevitably lead to status anxiety. Comparing yourself to those who are less fortunate will lead to positive feelings of higher status.

As psychology professor Peter Salovey suggests, figure out what's really important to you and mentally withdraw from status competitions that aren't close to your heart. You can also draw upon memories and references in other domains in which you are successful to buffer against envy and status anxiety in a challenging domain.

The key is to realise that you need to and can control how you play the Status game and make sure that it is you who is controlling your perception of status and not someone else. The desire for status can be a greed pattern that drives materialism and undermines your self esteem and happiness. If at all possible, refuse to play the status game, and at the very least, watch for the comparisons you are making unconsciously and as you do, interrupt them and control them.

Recognise and control your focus of comparison and refuse to play show-off games of greed. Your happiness and life enhancing peace of mind depend on it.

life enhancing smiles

Friday, October 29, 2010

Generosity - it’s life enhancing

"He who is greedy is always in want.”

True wealth goes beyond money and assets. As we’ve explored over the last few blog posts, wealth is an attitude and a way of living. It’s about peace of mind, flexibility and generosity of spirit.

You can have millions in the bank, but if you won’t share it or use it wisely to live a great life, then you’ll suffer a more miserable life than the poorest pauper.

There is little point being rich and miserable, or being a selfish, lonely and miserly billionaire. Being rich as a life purpose is not something to aspire to. More greed is NOT better. A richness of spirit and a life of meaningful purpose will outweigh money every time for achieving happiness.

So ask yourself what true wealth means for you? Then invest your time, thought and energy in creating it.

Helping others

Research shows that helping others, being generous and caring increases happiness and life satisfaction. You are wealthy when your life is filled with community, family and love. You are also truly wealthy when you have choice, freedom, health and peace of mind. All of which we have explored in this blog over the last year. If you are new to the blog, or if you want to reinforce these ideas and unconscious competencies, you might want to review previous posts on these subjects:

Building inner wealth through Generosity

Yes, money is useful and important, but not at the exclusion of other values. Money is a means to an end and not an end or ultimate purpose in itself.

On the other hand, generosity is a life enhancing friend of wealth and happiness. So share your good fortune and it will return in good measure. Donate to charities. Help those less fortunate than yourself. Generosity is a great antidote to the enemy of greed.

Focus on building real and meaningful life enhancing wealth in your life and you’ll truly create a life filled with contentment, happiness and joy.

"It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and occupation, which give happiness.” 
Thomas Jefferson

life enhancing thoughts and wishes,

Friday, October 22, 2010

Smiling for happiness and health

The Dalai Lama gave a teaching recently. The final question asked of him was, “What can we give to you?” He beamed at the audience. "That is easy," he said. "Just give me your smiles. It makes me feel good when I see people smile at me. And if you smile at each other that would also be very good. So please give me your smiles.”

Smiles are life enhancing :-)

Smiles are life enhancing! A huge body of research backs up that smiles make you feel good, provide long lasting health effects, positively influence those around you and can even make you live longer.

In one study (Smile to Live Longer) Professors Ernest L. Abel and Michael L. Kruger at Wayne State University found that the larger your smile, the longer you may live. Controlling for confounding effects such as education, marital status etc., the retrospective case study found that those subjects who smiled the most lived up to 7 years longer than those who didn’t smile at all. That’s a full seven years of additional happiness filled with smiles! Makes me smile just thinking about it :-) and certainly seems life enhancing to me!

Smiles engender smiles

Other Social Psychology research on social mimicry and emotional contagion has shown that smiles engender smiles back from others. This leads to self-reinforcing positive relationships. These in turn influence your mood and your outcomes with others.

Smiles are healthy

In the field of Psycho-Neuro-Immunology - the study of how thoughts and feelings influence our immune function and vice versa - the effects of smiles and positive mood on increasing immune function has been very well documented. Smiling increases immune cell activity and function. It’s been shown to reduce stress and lower blood pressure. It’s healthy to smile!

Smiles make you feel good

In one classic experiment by Strack, Martin and Stepper (1988):
“subjects were told they were taking part in a study to determine the difficulty for people without the use of their hands or arms to accomplish certain tasks, participants held a pen in their mouth in one of three ways. The Lip position would contract the orbicularis oris muscle, resulting in a frown. The Teeth position would cause the zygomaticus major or the risorius muscle, resulting in a smile. The control group would hold the pen in their nondominant hand. All had to fill a questionnaire in that position and rate the difficulty involved. The last task, which was the real objective of the test, was the subjective rating of the funniness of a cartoon. The test differed from previous methods in that there were no emotional states to emulate, dissimulate or exaggerate. As predicted, participants in the Teeth condition reported significantly higher amusement ratings than those in the Lips condition. The cover story and the procedure were found to be very successful at initiating the required contraction of the muscles without arising suspicion.”

This experiment has been repeated many times and has robustly shown that simply emulating a smile produces measurable changes in neuro-hormones, rated levels of happiness and other physiological measures of positive affect. You don’t even have to be smiling on the inside to get the positive effects, though of course imagine the amplification of these positive effects when you are really smiling and not just holding your mouth and face muscles in the position of a smile.

More reasons to smile

And if all this isn’t enough to make you smile, then check out ‘Little Known Reasons and Benefits of Smiling’ for 33 more reasons to smile :-) or take a read of ‘Smile! The Remarkable Personal Benefits of Smiling’ for more information about research on the benefits of smiling.

The Inner Smile Exercise

Here’s a great exercise that I came across and have been using that combines NLP with deep insights from the ancient philosophy of Taoism. The Inner Smile exercise works amazingly well to positively align and influence your head brain with your heart and enteric (gut) brains through a process of inner smiling.

  1. Sit comfortably, hands joined. Focus on your breath until you are breathing gently, smoothly, deeply, evenly, calmly and softly. Relax your forehead, let your eyes, ears and tongue soften. Allow your face to become expressionless.
  2. Imagine yourself in one of your favorite, most beautiful places in the world surrounded by the vitality of nature. Begin to smile, as you experience the joy and happiness of this favorite place. Amplify your smile, feel it in your face, your mouth, your eyes.
  3. Let your smiling awareness flow down over the cheeks, down through the jaw muscles and tongue, and down through the neck and throat, soothing and calming as it goes.
  4. Smile down to the thymus gland in your chest and into your heart. Sense them open like a flower in the morning with love, joy and happiness bubbling out of them.
  5. Smile down to the rest of your organs: lungs, liver, pancreas, spleen, kidney, sexual organs and reproductive system. Thank each of them for their work in protecting you and keeping you vibrant, alive and healthy.
  6. Return awareness to your eyes and recharge the energy of your smile, drawing in more of the limitless golden light of the energy around you in whichever way you sense it. Amplify this as before.
  7. Roll your tongue around your mouth until you have gathered some saliva. Smile to the saliva and draw the smiling energy and golden light into the saliva transforming it into healing nectar. Really feel this. Really taste the golden sweet smile into your saliva.
  8. Swallow the saliva in two or three easy positive gulps. Follow it with awareness down your esophagus, smiling as it goes, feeling the healing nectar soothing and refreshing your esophagus.
  9. Continue smiling through the rest of your digestive tract: your stomach, small intestine, gall bladder, large intestine, rectum, anus, bladder and urethra. Thank these organs for their work in giving you energy through ingestion, digestion, absorption and elimination.
  10. Return your awareness once more to your smile and your eyes and recharge your smiling energy, directing it all around you in this, one of your favorite, most beautiful places in the world.
  11. Return to the here and now, filled in heart, mind, body and soul with your inner smile - filled with the joy of life deep within you now.
[Adapted from: The Inner Smile Exercise - Inner smile meditation]

Give this exercise a go right now. It's wonderful how it works and how powerfully it influences your heart brain and gut brains to calm them, balance them and fill them with joy. [You know you have more than just a brain in your head, you have complex, adaptive and functional neural networks in your heart and gut, and you can learn to tap into and align their innate and intuitive wisdom as explained in my book with Marvin, mBraining]

And remember as you smile, that Mahatma Gandhi said,

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

many life enhancing smiles,

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I wonder wonder wonder...

Wonder versus Hope

“Don’t wish for it to happen.
Don’t wish for it not to happen.
Just watch it happen.
Let the wonder of life unfold.”
– Susan Jeffers

I came across this very cool neuro-linguistic distinction on the difference between hope and wonder and have been playing with it, and it’s so life enhancing I wanted to share it with you!

The idea came from a blog by Stephen Mills: The Rat Race Trap - Tools to improve your mind and escape the trap:
“I got the idea for this article from Susan Jeffers in her book Embracing Uncertainty.  It really struck a chord with me.  The whole idea is that hoping, wishing, wanting, etc. opens you up to disappointment because you cannot control the future.  When what you hope for doesn’t happen, your hopes are dashed.  You then judge the situation as “bad” because it didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to turn out.  You are hurt, disappointed, frustrated, etc.

The idea is to replace your hopes with wonder.  Instead of hoping you’ll get a particular job you wonder if you’ll get that job.  Instead of hoping your partner will act in a certain way you wonder if they will act that way.  Instead of hoping your child will do well in school you wonder if they will do well in school.  Instead of hoping a certain thing happens, you simply wonder what will happen.  Do the same thing with wishing and wanting.

This immediately takes the pressure off of the future by removing the need for it to turn out a certain way.  You are free to let your life unfold in the way it is going to unfold regardless of your hopes and desires.  Wonder frees you from the anxiety of a specific outcome.

This is NOT about pessimism.  Pessimism sucks.  Hope is better than pessimism.  Wonder moves beyond hope and doesn’t open the door for pessimism.  If you had ask me a few years ago what I thought about all of this, I probably would have said it was total crap.  What a difference a few years make!”

Words are powerful!

Now as you know from many of my blog posts (e.g. Life Enhancing Language, De-nominalising your world, Positive Words are life enhancing, O-priming your life, Positive Emotion Words) words are powerful tools that we use to filter, construct and create meaning in our lives.

It is through words that we limit ourselves or alternately inspire and direct ourselves. So a distinction like the one above is a gem. It’s a fantastic insight and really does produce a very different response in your neurology. And I wonder just how often and how life enhancingly you will use this insight now!

Wonder is a creative emotion

According to Dr Gordon Coates, in his fascinating exploration of the origin of human emotions and how to relieve emotional distress, the act of wanting or desiring leads to a cascade of emotional and cognitive responses. Two key parallel cascades occur - hope that the outcome will occur and fear that it will not. This in turn leads to both happiness and sadness, which lead on to more fear and hope. These then loop back onto themselves, creating ongoing stress and suffering. This can be summarised as:

Wanting/Desiring -> Hope + Fear -> Happiness + Sadness -> Fear + Hope
and is displayed in Dr Coates’ diagram:

Note how this links to the distinction above about the potential negative neuro-linguistic effects of hope. And contrast this with ‘Wonder’, which is a creative emotion that does not lead to the parallel cascades of happiness and sadness, and so is more generative. Wonder opens the mind to possibilities and contains no fears of loss. Wonder connects to freedom and choice and flexibility. It creates fascination. It's creative. It’s life enhancing.

So I truly wonder how much you’ve enjoyed today’s blog post and I look forward to hearing comments and feedback on how you use this cool neuro-linguistic tool.

with life enhancing wonder,

Read more of Susan Jeffers' book:

Embracing Uncertainty: Breakthrough Methods for Achieving Peace of Mind When Facing the Unknown

Friday, October 8, 2010

Appreciating your Life

"Joy has nothing to do with material things, or with man's outward circumstance... A man living in the lap of luxury can be wretched, and a man in the depths of poverty can overflow with joy.”
William Barclay

In this week’s post, we continue to explore ideas and distinctions for overcoming patterns of greeding and for ‘wealthing your life’ with true inner and outer wealth.

Accepting and appreciating your self

According to the father of Cognitive Psychology, Dr Albert Ellis, psychologically healthy people are usually glad to be alive and accept themselves simply because they are alive and have some capacity to enjoy themselves and appreciate their lives. “They refuse to measure their intrinsic worth by their extrinsic accomplishments, materialistic possessions and by what others think of them.”

This ability to appreciate your life circumstances and situations is a life enhancing adaptive coping strategy. It helps you overcome obstacles and buffers you against greed, stress and difficult life circumstances.

Sometimes patterns of greeding are a futile attempt to cope with stress or problems in life – “when the going gets tough, the tough go shopping” syndrome. But as we’ve seen in previous blog posts (e.g. Overcoming the hedonic treadmill), the satiation of desire never feels as good as the desire itself, leading to a vicious cycle of wanting more and more. Alternatively, by accepting and appreciating your self and your life and focusing on gratitude and appreciation you can overcome the life denying enemy to happiness of greed and selfishness.

The Blessings of Gratitude

Dr. Robert Emmons, a psychology professor at the University of California-Davis has spent the last decade studying gratitude. His research has shown that people who regularly practice grateful thinking are more than 25 percent happier, suffer lower levels of stress, are healthier and even sleep better. And I think you'd agree that these are all incredibly life enhancing things.

The practice of gratitude has also been found to be incompatible with negative emotions, and can inhibit feelings of envy, bitterness, anger, and greed. You simply can’t do greeding and other negative emoting while focusing on gratitude and appreciation. The expression of gratitude also stimulates moral behavior, such as kindness and helping, and increases social bonding.

What can you do?

So to increase gratitude in your life, use the easy and very beneficial Positive Psychology exercises covered in earlier and upcoming blog posts. For instance, make a practice of counting your blessings via a daily Gratitude Journal. In this process you write 3 or more things each day that you feel blessed with in life and really savour and appreciate them. Keep it beside your bed and fill it in each evening before sleep. Review it each morning.

Or use a Gratitude Rock or Item as a trigger to remind yourself to remember things you feel grateful for. I use a small beautiful rock I found on my favourite beach. I’ve placed my Gratitude Rock on my kitchen bench and every time I see it, I make a habit of using it as a reminder and trigger to think of something I truly appreciate about my life. It’s such a life enhancing thing to do, it feels great and I highly recommend it.

You can also send Gratitude Letters, emails or messages to those who have helped you and you appreciate. Just imagine how life enhancing receiving an unsolicited message of gratitude or appreciation will have been for one of your friends, family, mentors, colleagues or loved ones. And the wonderful thing is, giving gratitude has as much benefit and positivity for those who send it as for those who receive it.

Inner Wealthing - A spirit of generosity

In a sense it’s about creating and evoking a spirit of joy and generosity in your life and your interactions with others. There’s always something or someone you can feel grateful for or towards.

Generously celebrate your blessings, savor them and focus on the positives in your life. Even in the midst of the worst of life’s challenges, you can always choose to place your focus on past blessings and future possibilities. And truly, isn’t that incredibly life enhancing!

Awareness Questions – Savouring Gratitude

Ask Yourself:
  • What are the blessings in my life? Who and what can I show appreciation for?
  • What positive aspects of my life and my self can I fully savour and appreciate?
  • How can I focus more on the delights and abundance of the simple joys in my life?

with appreciation and joy,

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Beware of Supernormal Stimulus!

If a bird is given the choice between nesting on a large plastic egg or on its own egg that it recently laid, it will choose the larger egg, even though it is cold, smells of plastic and has the wrong texture.

This tendency in nature for any stimulus that is an exaggerated version to elicit a stronger response than normal is called the ‘Supernormal Stimuluseffect.

It was first observed by the ethologist Konrad Lorenz in brooding birds. Since then it has been observed in a wide variety of creatures. For example, there is an Australian beetle species whose males are sexually attracted to large and orange females – the larger and more orange the better. This creates a problem as the males attempt to mate with beer bottles that are just the right color – the males are more attracted to the bottles than to actual females.

The effect in humans...

In humans, it is argued that phenomena such as sexual fetishes and our delight for junk food can be largely explained as examples of supernormal stimulus effects. Candy bars are a great example of supernormal stimulus, they contain more concentrated sugar, salt, and fat than anything that exists in our ancestral environment and we love them. Some people are so strongly attracted to candy and chocolate that they’ll continue to eat them to the point of damaging their own health.

Other examples of human responses to supernormal stimuli are evidenced in how we like the colors of flowers so we breed bigger and brighter ones; we like sweet scents, so we manufacture strong perfumes; we like sexual stimuli, so create clothes and cosmetics to exaggerate them. We also prefer tall people, large breasts in women and super-models who have exaggerated levels of human beauty such as large eyes and facial symmetry.

The key and important thing to note about the effect of supernormal stimuli is the instinctual preference we have for those things that are larger, shinier and more exaggerated than normal.

The effects of supernormal stimulus can link to and drive life denying patterns of greeding. They can lead to behaviors of over-indulgence due to the strong unconscious responses we have to super-stimuli. So it’s vitally important to track for these effects in your life and then use conscious decision making to moderate your behavior. Make life enhancing choices through intelligence rather than through evolved instinctual patterns and desires. More greed is not better!

"There are limits to self-indulgence, none to restraint.”
Mahatma Gandhi

And if you are interested, you can read more about Supernormal Stimuli and how to overcome them in this fascinating book:

Supernormal Stimuli: How Primal Urges Overran Their Evolutionary Purpose

A Harvard psychologist explains how our once-helpful instincts get hijacked in our garish modern world. Our instincts—for food, sex, or territorial protection— evolved for life on the savannahs 10,000 years ago, not in today’s world of densely populated cities, technological innovations, and pollution. We now have access to a glut of larger-than-life objects, from candy to pornography to atomic weapons—that gratify these gut instincts with often-dangerous results. Animal biologists coined the term “supernormal stimuli” to describe imitations that appeal to primitive instincts and exert a stronger pull than real things, such as soccer balls that geese prefer over eggs. Evolutionary psychologist Deirdre Barrett applies this concept to the alarming disconnect between human instinct and our created environment, demonstrating how supernormal stimuli are a major cause of today’s most pressing problems, including obesity and war. However, Barrett does more than show how unfettered instincts fuel dangerous excesses. She also reminds us that by exercising self-control we can rein them in, potentially saving ourselves and civilization.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Satiating the Hunger of Greed

In this post I want to share with you a simple yet powerful and life enhancing technique based on NLP and Positive Psychology for overcoming greeding patterns and thereby ‘wealthing your life’.

Pattern interrupting greeding
Since greed utilises many of the same biological circuits as sexuality and hunger, you can satiate these primitive mechanisms by sending messages to your heart-brain and gut-brain to quell them. Remember also that positive emotions undo and inoculate against negative emotions and that gratitude and appreciation overcome greed.

The following technique uses heart-breathing and creative feeling to pattern interrupt the process of greeding.

Interrupt patterns of greed by:

  • Recall an act of kindness you did for someone. Feel pleasure in having performed it. As you remember this experience fully, focus on breathing your feelings of love, caring and appreciation into your heart.
  • As you are feeling deep and strong feelings of positivity, love, kindness and generosity in and around your heart, begin to expand and move these kind and loving feelings up into your head and down into your stomach and gut region. You can even send them lower into your groin region.
  • Continue to breathe in feelings of love and kindness and spread and expand them throughout your body, with specific awareness to deep in your gut.
  • Talk to your heart and gut-brains and tell them they are satiated. Reassure them they are well and that your life is filled with a wealth of happiness. Tell them you are satiated and replete.

You’ll find this technique is very powerful and can stop selfishness and greed in its tracks.

Practice it. Greeding comes from parts of your primitive multi-mind attempting to gain more and more because they have not received the message that you have achieved your outcomes and enough is now enough. By sending appropriate messages to your unconscious mind via your heart-brain and enteric-brain, you bring your system back into balance and stop the vicious cycle of patterns of greeding.

Want to learn more, get a copy of my book: Avoiding the Enemies to HAPPINESS!

life enhancing thoughts and smiles,

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bliss Pointing

As researchers in psycho-physics know, almost all human processes and behaviours have a ‘bliss point’. Indeed, sensory satisfaction is largely driven by the bliss point phenomenon. What is a bliss point? It’s the optimum sensation or experience that results when the level of a constituent is ‘just right’ – neither too low nor too high. Our physiology is evolved to search for and maximise these bliss points.

For example, with sweet foods our palate is optimised for a certain level of sweetness. Too little sugar and the dessert tastes bland, too much sugar and it tastes sickly.

Similarly, there are optimum levels for brightness and other forms of sensory stimulation.

The import of this for understanding and overcoming life denying greed involves finding and maintaining the bliss points in your life.

The challenge...

You see, the challenge is that the human nervous system is built around the use of hormones and receptors to control and communicate within the system. Our body continually adjusts the amount of these chemicals and the number of receptors based on our ongoing experience.

Let’s look at an example. There is an optimal bliss point level for the amount of endogenous opiate (endorphin) receptors in our tissues. These are used in the control and signalling of pain and pleasure. However, when a person floods their body and brain with an opiate like the drug heroin, over time the body down regulates the amount of endogenous opiate that is produced and the number of receptors that respond to it.

In other words, the system attempts to maintain the evolved bliss point for internal opiates. Then when the person tries to give up the drug, they find themselves in terrible withdrawals, in massive pain and heightened response to normal stimuli. Even the slightest touch becomes painful, because their body can no longer produce sufficient endorphins to control the pain signals.

During the addiction phase, it takes more and more of the drug to produce the high, as the body continues to down-regulate the response to maintain the bliss point – the point of optimal opiate response. During the withdrawal phase, it takes many weeks or months for the body to regrow the receptors and the ability to produce and respond to internal opiates, as it once again attempts to maintain the bliss point.

Do bliss pointing!

The “take home” message about bliss pointing, is that to maintain optimal enjoyment from any experience in life, you need to carefully manage not to flood your system. If you have too much of anything, you will overflow the inbuilt bliss point and your body will down-regulate its response. You need to give everything a rest. Moderation in all things is the key.

You will only be able to maintain the life enhancing bliss point of happiness in your life if you carefully manage your behaviours and experiences so that you never continuously over-do or continuously over-indulge. Your wonderful brain/mind/body is like a garden, the plants need just the right amount of water and nutrients; too much or too little and the plants wilt and suffer.

So track for the bliss points in your life and carefully manage and maintain them. Remember: use moderation in all areas of your life. Your ongoing happiness depends upon it.

Thinking Tools – Moderating your Life
Moderation in ALL things!

Want to learn more, get a copy of my book: Avoiding the Enemies to HAPPINESS!

optimal thoughts and life enhancing wishes

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Overcoming the Hedonic Treadmill

"The secret of contentment is knowing how to enjoy what you have.”
Lin Yutang

There is a tendency in our lives to adapt to the prevailing conditions and for things, no matter how distorted or extreme to become ‘normal’ before long. Research has found that people who have either experienced incredibly positive events such as winning the lottery, and people who have experienced extremely negative events such as becoming blind or quadriplegic, have an initial positive or negative response respectively, then within less than a year largely revert to their normal levels of happiness. The joy and sadness of good and bad events tends to fade with time.

On the Hedonic Treadmill

In the field of Positive Psychology, this effect is called the ‘Hedonic Treadmill’ and it’s particularly germane to the subject of greed and wealth. Research on the hedonic treadmill has shown that as a person makes more money, their expectations and desires typically rise, resulting in no permanent gain in happiness.

Part of the process of greeding is the belief that the satiation of a desire will lead to ongoing positive feelings and experiences. But, as the research on the hedonic treadmill suggests, the initial positive response to satiating your desires will be fleeting. Before long, your feelings and levels of happiness will return to the norm, leaving you back on the treadmill. You’ll then need to increase your wants and desires and continue questing for more.

Unless you do something differently, over time you’ll end up stuck on this tiresome hedonic treadmill of greed and all it will ultimately achieve is leaving you feeling no better than before and with a constant unsatisfied need for more and more. As you can imagine, this is not particularly life enhancing... 

Shift your focus

The hedonic treadmill effect is particularly applicable to happiness based on pleasure.

Remember, research in Positive Psychology has shown there are three components to a happy life – pleasure, engagement and meaning. The antidote to the hedonic treadmill is to shift your focus from pleasure to a greater focus on engagement and meaning. By living a life filled with purpose and meaning and focusing on helping others you’ll experience a life that is deeply satisfying and doesn’t rely on an ongoing greed for pleasure and surface enjoyment.

Also, stop basing happiness on external objects and possessions. Instead, look to your own inner resources and competencies to generate joy and happiness in your life and the life of others. Watch out for patterns of greeding and hedonic treadmill effects in your life, and avoid them as the true life denying enemies they really are.

Success Strategy – Loving Kindness Meditation

Research by Positive Psychologist Dr. Barbara Fredrickson has shown that the practice of the Buddhist technique of Loving Kindness Meditation can mitigate the effects of the hedonic treadmill. When practiced for as little as an hour per week, Loving Kindness Meditation can enhance positive emotions and buffer against negative emotions such as greed, fear and envy.

Loving Kindness Meditation is a meditational practice in which you send out thoughts and feelings of love, kindness and well-being to all sentient beings. It involves 4 phases, with each phase lasting approximately 5 minutes. The meditation can be done as a visualisation in which you imagine and feel a sphere of love and light around yourself and then radiate it out from yourself. It can also be done as a verbal exercise in which you repeat phrases or mantras while remembering and recalling positive memories of love and kindness.

1. The practice begins by focussing on developing a loving acceptance of your self. This is the first phase. Fill yourself with thoughts, feelings and images of love, caring and acceptance. Repeat words like “I love and care for myself. I deserve happiness, health and love.” Visualise yourself filled with a radiant ball of love centered round your heart and radiating throughout your body and your life. Do this for 5 minutes.

2. The second phase involves meditating on loving kindness for someone you already care about and love. This could be a close friend, a parent, a lover, a mentor, teacher or benefactor. Concentrate on sending them feelings and messages of loving kindness. Visualise the light of your loving kindness and compassion spreading from your heart out to them, surrounding and filling them and their life.

3. In the next phase, you shift your visualisation and meditation to someone you are neutral to, perhaps a stranger or an acquaintance. Do this for 5 minutes also, before moving on to phase 4.

4. The final phase is more challenging. In this phase you focus on sending loving kindness to people that you dislike or who have been difficult or hostile towards you. Feel and imagine enveloping them in compassion, forgiveness and kindness. You can also spread your thoughts of loving kindness out to all beings in the world, encompassing all sentient creatures, all people.

True Inner Wealth

You will find that this meditation exercise feels fantastic and has a lasting effect that stays with you for many, many hours. Indeed, Dr. Fredrickson’s research shows that the more you practice the meditation the longer the effect lasts and spreads across the contexts of your life, generating emotional and psychological resources that support ongoing happiness and success. Now that is true life enhancing inner wealth!

peace and life enhancing thoughts,

And here is Dr Fredrickson's book on her research for those who want to learn more:

Positivity: Groundbreaking Research to Release Your Inner Optimist and Thrive

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Producing vs Consuming

“Earn a dollar, spend 80cents... happiness!
Earn a dollar, spend $1.20... misery!!!

In this weeks post, we continue exploring ideas and distinctions on ‘wealthing your life’ - how to create true wealth, joy and life enhancing happiness. Remember, the key with wealthing your life is to bypass the greed for mere money and instead build skills and strategies into your life for creating life enhancing wealth.

Let me share another story from my life...

Many years ago I worked with a fellow consultant who was constantly broke. Though he earned hundreds of dollars an hour, he had no money in the bank and no investments or assets to his name. His problem was he consumed more than he produced! He would waste his money on expensive meals, pointless and costly toys and high priced rental accommodation. Everything was hired, leased or rented. We called him ‘gadget boy’ because he always had to have the latest gadget or technology on the market and as soon as it was a few months old he would give it away to someone else.

He owned no real wealth of any sort and his outgoings were equal to or larger than his income. He often lived on a buffer of credit card debt while he waited for his next payment to arrive. I would occasionally have to loan him money just so he could eat a meal with me or fill his car with fuel. What a crazy life!

While he literally had a 6 figure income every year, he was one of the poorest people I know.

Thankfully, my father taught me from an early age the vital importance of producing more than I consume. He gave me the powerful thinking tool of the insight that ‘It’s not your incomings – it’s your outgoings’ that are crucial for generating wealth and living a great life. You see, you can earn a relatively modest income and be wealthier than my friend described above.

All you have to do is ensure that your expenses are much less than your income, and save the wealth that you thereby generate. Use that wealth to create investments and assets that in turn generate more income. Make your wealth work for you. Before long you’ll find you are rich in freedom and choice with a healthy buffer of wealth to support you no matter what happens in life – you’ll be financially free. It’s quite simple, maximise your incomings, minimise your outgoings and save the difference. Invest wisely and your wealth will steadily grow.

Thinking Tool – Produce more than you Consume

It’s not your incomings – it’s your outgoings!

Want to learn more, get a copy of my book: Avoiding the Enemies to HAPPINESS!

to your life enhancing success,