The elusive secret of happiness

Elusive secret of happiness
Elusive secret of happiness

A quick search on the internet reveals some confusion about what the secret of happiness actually is…

  • Keep changing something if you’re not happy, until you are (what exactly to change is missing information).
  • Make others believe they are the cause of it (!?)
  • Count your blessings while others are adding to their troubles.
  • Admire without desiring (!?)
  • Not to chase it. It’s like a butterfly so you must pay attention to other things and it will land on your shoulder (a smidgen of truth, but largely useless information).

These web results leave me dumbfounded! These aren’t the way to happiness, they’ll just confuse someone in genuine need of advice that works… Continue reading “The elusive secret of happiness”

Why is it SO hard to change?

Change is hard, frustration
© Reuben Stanton

I was chatting to a friend the other day. His dad has just been diagnosed with prostate cancer and we were talking about his options.

I told him 4 or 5 lifestyle changes to put into place immediately as well as how to research treatment options.

“Not a hope in hell of him doing that,” my friend said. I wasn’t shocked or offended. Many people would rather die than change their ways. And then he naturally asked “Why is it SO hard to change?”

“I HATE change”

The truth is that everything’s against us when it comes to change. That’s why I wasn’t even the slightest bit shocked or hurt by the response I got to my suggestions. I even overheard someone say recently “I HATE change!” with a passion that would surprise you. Continue reading “Why is it SO hard to change?”

Automatic health

© Lorenia

Getting truly happy and healthy needs more than the occasional salad or infrequent exercise. It needs consistency in a way that works effortlessly.

The idea of automatic health has been floating around in my mind for a while, so I thought I’d put fingers to keyboard.

Everything that works is based on systems. The Earth goes around the sun in a predictable way and you can look at everything from biochemistry to business to electronics to whatever, to see it’s all systems.

What we really want more than anything is to feel good and be happy. Nothing can make up for not feeling good. And the fact is, that what we’re doing as a whole doesn’t have that result. The system isn’t working.

Continue reading “Automatic health”

How to overcome an addiction to negative thinking

Peter asks…

“Almost all my life I’ve been addicted to negative thinking and I’ve been diagnosed with the possibility of OCD. I have a few problems that I’m working on — the most annoying is this one:

My mind somehow got in the habit of bringing back experiences that I hate from the past, and attaching them to the things or activities that I do like — it sounds weird but I’ll give an example:

If I’m cutting some paper — some decoration, and I hear a name of someone that I hate on the radio, my mind digs the old bad experiences up — and tries to attach it to the cutting. So next time when I do a similar cutting, my mind will probably pick that emotion and I will go through it again.

I’m trying to manage this by focusing on something else. But the problem is that when I try to hide that memory which was just brought to me, I can’t simply think of something positive, because I’m afraid the bad memory will get associated with it.

I was reading an article about this:

‘Letting go’ of something that is bothering you means refusing to dwell on it, obsess over it, focus on it, worry about it, fume over it, and so on. Instead, you simply set it aside and turn your attention to other tasks that don’t upset you….

This is exactly what’s almost impossible for me, because the positive things get associated with the negative ones… sometimes I’m even scared to talk with some people on some days (the days I wanna do something that I like), as those people might mention the names of people that I hated.

I’m afraid the few things that I enjoy will get corrupted by association with bad memories. By the way, I have no other problems with moods etc.

I think that first: my mind is addicted to a negative thinking. At least one negative thought at the time must be worked on in my head (since I was a little – old bad habit). And also I think that my mind should just get a little bit stupider, in order to not be that attentive/watchful to every little thing. I sometimes cant believe how quickly it can bring up some memory once it’s triggered by something… and that thing just runs though my head in a few seconds and starts to bother me.

Why does my mind just try to destroy everything I like?

That’s what I don’t understand… normal regular people — when something bad happens or when something they hate is recalled in their heads — they simply focus on things they like and bad things are gone… not in my case. I’m even afraid to do anything like that because bad thoughts could be brought next time along with it.

This habit of associating is kind of a new thing — last 2-3 years. Any ideas what I can do / practice etc? Thank you in advance.”

shallow focus photography of man wearing red polo shirt
Photo by Nathan Cowley on

OK, let’s start with the big stuff… the very big info you need for a new mindset and understanding about how your brain works. When you have a better understanding of how it works, you’ll be able to get your mind to work for you.

The big stuff is this: Attention is the volume control for thoughts.

Factors feeding attention in your case are meaning and habit…

An idea you give meaning to has a certain QUALITY, and that quality determines how it affects you subconsciously. For example, you have fear attached to some of these ideas and so you mind will play patterns designed to protect you from real life dangers such as lions. The way your mind responds is the same and can include a fight or flight response (anxiety) plus lots of attention plus very easily made ASSOCIATIONS… Continue reading “How to overcome an addiction to negative thinking”

Meditation habit

© Vitali Maniakin

Wayne Dyer was talking about his friendship with Deepak Chopra in a talk he gave.

“Whenever I had a problem and would talk to Deepak about it, his answer was always the same — meditate…”

I’m paraphrasing but that’s very interesting I think. Whatever your problem, meditate.

If you’ve got a problem, really, the last thing you want to do is keep focusing on the problem. The solutions don’t come from focusing on the problem, they come from focusing on the solutions…

Anyway, this resonated with me because that’s similar to something I’ve been saying to myself for a long time — “the worse I feel, the more I meditate.” Whenever life starts to go bad… meditate MORE. If it’s GONE bad, do lots and lots of meditation. Continue reading “Meditation habit”

How to break bad habits — checklist

Pen and paper
© Lucas

Bad habits are tricky! This “trickiness” is why the bad habits section in Happy Guide is short, so you can read it as many times as you need to get absolutely clear on HOW to do it…

Creating new good habits is much easier because you have a blank canvas.

With your bad habits, you’re trying to redirect your attention to stop them playing out. Repeat this a few times and soon you have a new habit. Stopping yourself doing bad things is critical so you need to get really clear. Before you begin, check that you…

  • Understand the pink elephant problem — to not think about a pink elephant you have to think about something else. Keep your mind OFF it and ON something else.
  • Know your finish line and your next step.
  • Have picked a step that’s not too far outside your comfort zone.
  • Have made your step into a pact that feels CLEAR and UNSHAKABLE. Have a simple pact with a minimum of ifs, buts or maybes.
  • Have dropped “The Problem” by getting clear that the process is weekly tweaks.
  • Understand that any form of “backlash” is ignored, you ride it out because the decision is made (cravings and thoughts typically only last a few seconds if you ignore them).

Keep on reading the “Break Bad Habits” section in Happy Guide until you OWN it :-) Once you’re clear and feel unstoppable… begin, follow through and start getting WINS! Good luck!

Free chapter

Michael Kinnaird is the author of Happy Guide, the result of a 20 year exploration into what works for health and happiness.

Read Chapter 1 “The Happiness Secret”
Or get the paperback…

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You are not a car

© Adam Smith

You are not a car.

Your body parts don’t break and need fixing like a car. Your body is incredibly complex and works as a whole.

So whatever your health problem, you need a whole solution. Health isn’t one thing, it’s everything.

Address your whole lifestyle: nutrition, sleep, stress levels, drug and stimulant intake — and many other critical parts of the whole health equation…

But underlying these “what to do” parts is something of greater and more profound importance. And that is your habits… Continue reading “You are not a car”

Your pact — a sure-fire step to a new you

© Victoria Alden
© Victoria Alden

It’s just a decision but a decision with a difference — it’s unshakable!

It’s the kind of decision we would make for our children — calm, sure, solid, good decisions for the best outcome.

And that outcome — the thing we want for our children is not necessarily what they want right now.

So they can kick and scream! Not unlike our own minds when we try to enforce a decision on ourselves!

The big picture

With our children we have unshakable calm resolve. The big picture is crystal clear and of course it’s not us having the tantrum :-) But following through with our own decisions isn’t always so easy… Continue reading “Your pact — a sure-fire step to a new you”

Making progress in getting rid of unwanted thoughts

Ahsan asks…

“The progress is ok, but I need a finishing touch to really end this. By finishing touch I mean a killer to really end the whole of it. The thoughts are an “on and off” kind of situation and sometimes I am able to ignore but sometimes they still bother me.

It’s happened before that I think I have found a solution and then these thoughts get back again. The problem is that I am still feeling uncomfortable. I want to feel free, relaxed and light but there is still a kind of mental barrier.”

© Helga Weber

Please, please understand that this progress is immensely important. You should be overjoyed at this progress.

There is no killer other than “no importance — distract”, provided any supporting beliefs have been deconstructed — which is the case with you, since you know these thoughts are silly.

This simple method IS the killer but please, please be patient, consistent and calm about applying it…

KNOW that this method will result in the end of these unwanted thoughts that have plagued you for so long and that this knowledge and feeling will give you the calmness you need.

On and off is wonderful. Much easier to deal with on and off. When they come, simply notice the thought forming, give no importance and distract, remove attention back to what you were doing… Continue reading “Making progress in getting rid of unwanted thoughts”

Beware your holiday habits

Happy Guide reader Clair Whitty writes a “Natural Lifestyle” column for The People newspaper in Ireland.

Clair enjoyed instant results with Happy Guide but recently ran into a “holiday habit” problem. Below is what she told her readers. I’ve replied in the comments at the end…

Clair writes…

As many of you know I have had really good success using the guidance and tips from a book called Happy Guide. I know that many of you bought the book and I hope that you had the success that I had… Continue reading “Beware your holiday habits”