Saturday, May 30, 2009

A scientific look at the top 10 recommendations for happiness in New Age books

In an interesting twist, in September 2008 the Journal of Happiness Studies took a scientific look at the top 10 recommendations provided in New Age books for increasing happiness. In an article called New age advice: ticket to happiness?, which you can download for free from their site here, the author -- Maarten C. Berg -- first presents the top ten list. To save you time, here are the recommendations, in no particular order:
  • Become spiritual
  • Be authentic
  • Know yourself
  • Connect to the world
  • Meditate
  • Think positively
  • Take control
  • Live healthily
  • Live simply
  • Follow your gut feelings

Next, the author "considers the probable effects on happiness of these, by examining both the theoretical plausibility and the empirical conditions of happiness."

And finally, the author concludes that "that several recommendations are likely to produce beneficial consequences...", but "...the advice will not fit everybody equally well and that some New Age practices may reduce happiness, e.g., practices that undermine a realistic outlook on reality."

So quite an interesting endeavour, in my opinion. And, btw, is your gut telling you that focusing on one or more recommendations on the list could be beneficial for you?

Friday, May 29, 2009

The magic of Daniel Chesterfield

It's Friday, so something from the "Lighter side" category today. You may know the magic of David Copperfield, but do you know the magic of Daniel Chesterfield?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Enhancing joy and happiness with the Dynamind Technique

One of the most interesting "solo" practices that I have discovered in recent years is called " Dynamind". According to its creator, Serge Kahili King, "The Dynamind Technique, or DMT, is a safe, easy, fast, and effective method of healing based on a special blend of words, touch, breath and, sometimes, imagery." It is also based on the belief that all healing comes from the inside. I've used it to supplement the healing of some injuries I have had and it really does work.
But as useful as the technique is for changing "negative" things in us, it is also an amazing technique for enhancing "positive" things in us, such as joy, happiness, love or whatever else. So let's say you do a quick morning workout, take a cold shower and are feeling full of energy. That's a great time to do a couple of rounds of Dynamind to enhance the energy and joy of life and encode them deeper into the body and mind. Also great about Dynamind is that is a very flexible technique that can be adapted to almost any type of person and issue. And rounds of Dynamind can build on one another, taking you as far as you are ready to go.
So my suggestion for today would be to go to the Dynamind website, read the instructions that are provided there and give Dynamind a try. You may be surprised where it takes you...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The power of "YES AND"

I don't know about you, but I was surprised to find out that there are actually rules to Improv Theater (try googling "improv theater rules" :-). And the first rule on most of the lists is called the rule of "Yes And". It simply means that an actor in an improv play should accept the information that he or she receives from the other actor(s) and build on it. This allows for energy to flow freely in the play and for great scenes to develop.
When you think about it, this is also a great rule to incorporate into "real" life. I find it very interesting to notice the different kind of energy that is produced by a "Yes And" answer in comparison, for example, to saying "Yes But". Whereas "And" seems to multiply energy, "But" seems to block the flow of energy. In fact, to me it seems that "Yes But" blocks energy almost as much as a "No" answer does.
So what if you disagree with what someone is saying or proposing. How about trying the "Yes Or" answer? "Or" seems to be a good way to reject something, while diverting energy into another direction, rather than blocking it. Anyway, try it and you'll see what works for you.
One final note for today. Many of you have probably seen the recent Jim Carrey movie "Yes man", which deals with this topic in an interesting way. If you haven't seen it, I definitely recommend checking it out.

Monday, May 25, 2009

"We are born to be happy in an imperfect world" - Albert Pesso

The quote that is in the title of today's post is one of my favourite quotes by one of my favourite teachers - Albert Pesso. I like the quote so much because in my opinion it perfectly summarizes why we are on this planet. Having said that, I highly recommend going over to the PBSP website and having a look at the technique that Albert Pesso and his wife, Diane Boyden-Pesso have developed: "Pesso Boyden System Psychomotor", or "PBSP" in short. It is one of the two techniques that has totally transformed my life and I highly recommend it to everyone, regardless of where you may be on your path to happiness. I don't want to get too much into the details, because they're all on the PBSP website, but I do want to say that it is a great technique for building a solid yet flexible foundation for all of our journeys.
There are several reasons for why I like PBSP so much. First, it is a great way of getting down to the real roots of any issues that we may be facing in our lives. Second, it not only gets down to the roots, but it also provides a "corrective experience" for the issues, which makes the healing very effective. Third, it does not only consider "traumatic" experiences we may have had in the past, but it also considers and effectivelly heals "deficits" that we may have experienced in the past. And fourth, it also brings a unique concept called "Holes in roles" into the equation, which releases us from the roles that we may be playing unconsciously in our lives and that are draining huge amounts of energy from us. Speaking of "Holes in roles", I highly recommend the article that is available on this topic at the PBSP website.
So my suggestion for today would be to spend some time on the PBSP website, and then check out "Al's schedule" and see if you can attend one of the many available workshops. Or click on "PBSP International" on the left side of the website and find out if there are any PBSP workshops or practitioners in your area.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"The Open Secret" by Elizabeth Lesser

There are many barriers to happiness in life. In this brief video, Elizabeth Lesser discusses one of the fundamental barriers to human happiness: that we all carry around with us an "open secret"...

About this blog and author

As is evident from the title, this blog will be dedicated to human joy and happiness, especially to how each and every one of us can increase the amount of joy and happiness in his or her life and make it last. In order to accomplish this, I will discuss relevant techniques, the great teachers of this topic, various inspiring resources (books, movies, websites...), my own "principles of happiness for the 21st century" as well as anything that I believe is useful for this journey. I would also love to hear from you, the reader, what you have found useful over the long-term so that some good information exchange happens here.
The emphasis of this blog will be on openess, honesty, clarity, content and easy readability and comprehension of this content. I will do my utmost to cut out any irrelevant words, information or "flash and flair".
And why do I feel I am competent to run a blog on human joy and happiness? 11 years ago I got my MBA with a perfect 4.0 GPA after having a two year try as a professional tennis player. 10 years ago I began my career in the corporate world as a McKinsey consultant. But 6 years ago I began feeling that despite having what most of western society would call a "successful life", I wasn't happy deep inside. And some health issues began slowly creeping up as well. So I slowly began immersing myself in the psychology of joy and happiness until 3 years ago I quit the corporate world for good in order to pursue a life of joy and happiness full time. And slowly, over time, as I discovered and learned amazing things, I became happier, calmer and the health issues have gone away. So perhaps you can think of this blog as my report from this six year transformation, which, of course, is still under way and will continue until I transform into whatever comes after this life.
Of course I still have to make money in order to live life on my own terms. But I discovered that I need a lot less money than I thought. So I spend about 15 hours a week 45 weeks a year translating from Czech to English. This allows me to live comfortably and have lots of free time to pursue to pursue things I want to pursue. Like joy and happiness, among other things. And of course I still get upset, angry and frustrated at times. But I believe this is a sign of human health and all a part of the journey and learnings. So to end this post, I hope to share many of the findings that I have discovered on my journey and to inspire you to make joy and happiness the number one priority in your life. I believe you'll find it's the best decision you can ever make.