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A Love Like That May 3, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Nature, Poetry.
27 comments

love“And still, after all this time,
The sun never says to the earth,
“You owe Me.”

Look what happens with
A love like that,
It lights the Whole Sky.”

― Hāfez

Aah . . . that’s brilliant!

The Power of Virtual Reality April 19, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Health & Wellness, Humor, Mindfulness.
50 comments

Happiness can be boosted merely by the thoughts we think.

Especially if we imagine riding around town with a smiling monkey in a naval uniform on the back of our bright red motorcycle!

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Or visualize playing catch with a friendly frog!

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Or . . . insert your favorite daydream here.

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Research in the field of neuroscience demonstrates that we can expand our happiness through visualization, virtual reality, and daydreams:

Research in the field of neuroscience has shown that the part of the brain responsible for feeling pleasure – the mesolimbic dopamine system – can be activated when merely thinking about something pleasurable, such as drinking a favorite brand of beer or driving a favorite type of sports car. In fact, this research shows that people sometimes enjoy anticipating an activity more than actually doing it.

For example, reading guidebooks in advance of a big vacation and anticipating the food you’ll eat and the activities you’ll do while there could actually give you more pleasure than the vacation itself. In short, research suggests that we can be just as well – if not sometimes better – off if we imagine experiences without having them.  

So to increase happiness, spend plenty of time happily daydreaming.

If Money Doesn’t Make You Happy, Consider Time (Stanford Business)

You read that right.

Research suggests that enjoying a virtual vacation can make us happier than going on an actual vacation (with all the attendant hassles).

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Great news for armchair travelers with limited budgets!

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Aah . . . that’s better!

Related:  Neural Pathways & Success (Find Your Middle Ground)

It’s Not Delivery! April 7, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Happiness, Health & Wellness, Humor.
48 comments

2015-03-21 13-06-16_0002The Pizza Project is still going strong.

So are we.

That got me thinking . . .

Would it even be possible to O.D. on pizza?

I doubt it, but let’s ask Luigi!

“Hey, Luigi!”

“Hey, my little pizza paisano . . . que pasa?”

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“Luigi, have you ever met anyone who ate too much pizza?”

“No.  Datsa, how you say . . .  an oxymoron.”

“Thanks, Luigi!”

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So, there you go . . . there’s no such thing as too much pizza.  Mangia!

Aah . . . that’s better!

7 Reasons Retirement Rocks! April 2, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Humor, Joke.
39 comments

Mickey-LoungingRetirement rocks!

At last, I have everything I wanted as a teenager . . .

#1 ~ I don’t have to go to school or work.

#2 ~ I get to set my own allowance every month.

#3 ~ I have my own pad.

#4 ~ I don’t have a curfew.

Mickey-Surfer#5 ~ I have a driver’s license and my own car.

#6 ~ I have ID that gets me into bars and liquor stores.

#7 ~ And I don’t have to worry about getting pregnant.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Source:  E-mail from unknown author (sent by Joe M.)

Bonus Benefit:  No Rushing Around (except to wait on the cats)!  Thanks, Kate.

 

7 Ways Creating Art Benefits Your Brain March 7, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Happiness, Humor, Mindfulness.
58 comments

200px-RealMotherGooseCreative expression is good for us.

Art has helped people with anxiety, depression, addictions, PTSD, chronic pain, high blood pressure, bipolar disorder, and Alzheimer’s.

And it’s FUN!

Here are 7 Ways Creating Art Benefits Your Brain:

#1 Stress reduction ~ creating art gives your brain a break by focusing your mind and pushing worries aside.

It’s relaxing, meditative, and lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

#2 Art stimulates the brain to create new neurons and synapses, improving connections, communication, and memory.

#3 Art increases the “feel good” neurotransmitter, dopamine, which boosts drive, focus, and concentration.  Dopamine helps ward off depression and protects the brain from aging.

Mr. Weiss Classroom#4 Art increases brain plasticity, fluid intelligence, IQ, and attention.

It enhances cognitive abilities and memory even for people with brain disorders.

#5 Art immerses us in the NOW as we go with the flow and enjoy the journey.

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” ~ Albert Einstein

#6 Art lets us forget our troubles and express our feelings.

#7 “Art washes from the soul the dust of every day life.” ~ Pablo Picasso

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  The Mental Health Benefits of Art for Everyone

Manifesting Our Dreams March 1, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Magick & Mystery.
34 comments

I believe that at our most authentic/intuitive level, we want (for us) what the Universe wants for us.

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So, unless we do something “counter-intuitive” . . . we manifest our dreams even if we aren’t consciously aware that they are “our” dreams.

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Our lives tend to unfold as they should . . . with or without our assistance.

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Sometimes they unfold as they should even with extreme resistance on our part (e.g., “NO! I don’t want to change!”).

Perhaps bringing our intention to the mix, gets us where we are intended to be that much sooner ~ a move, a new career, better relationships, improved health, etc.

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Aah . . . that’s better!

First published:  Brainstorming Strategies (Pocket Perspective)

Attending a Car Show in the NOW February 23, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
34 comments

Donald-Duck-DrivingCars are BFF’s thing, not mine.  But this year I agreed to go to the International Auto Show in Tampa.

Attending the show became an exercise in mindfulness ~ a chance to practice acceptance of the “what is” . . . no matter what.

A chance to remain firmly grounded in the present moment . . . no matter what.

Donald-Duck-BaseballNot judging everything as “good” or “bad.”  Just going with the flow of the NOW.

No constant commentary streaming through my brain.  Just watching and observing.

No extreme highs and lows.  Just acceptance of the “what is” in the moment without resistance.

I accepted and released each moment as it arrived.  I remained awake and aware.  I dealt with situations without boredom or fear clouding my view.

I saw opportunities, not obstacles.

For example, getting there an hour “too early” gave us a chance to walk around the waterfront and enjoy a sunny morning.

Mickey-OKI remained “OK” with anything tossed our way without wasting time and energy deciding whether it was “good” or “bad.”

And, as a result, it was ALL GOOD!

Aah . . . that’s better!

In like vein, the parable of the Chinese Farmer reminds us of the benefits of adopting a “Maybe Mind.”

Related post: How to Become a Luckier Person Overnight (Raptitude)

A Time For Letting Go February 15, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness, People.
44 comments

IMGP3064bWhere’s the dividing line between success and failure?

When a door closes on one experience, be it marriage or career, should we view everything leading up to the closing door as a failure?

Should we view the experience itself as a mistake?

When we hang on to people, places, or things that detract from our happiness (out of fear, complacency, habit, or sheer stubbornness), should we view our continued commitment as a success to be celebrated?

Or as a failure to honor who we’ve become?

220px-PinocchioNothing in life is constant. 

Sometimes promises and solemn vows made to ourselves and others must be broken because we grew in directions different than expected.

That’s all part of the process, the uncertainty of life.

When we are 20 we don’t know who we will be, or what we will need, when we are 40, 60, or 80.

Socialization that encourages us to believe that we can live happily ever after, merely by holding fast to the past, is a lie.

Asking people to beg our forgiveness because they’ve changed over time is akin to asking a toddler to apologize for outgrowing his clothes ~ we might as well apologize to each other for being alive.

Ringling Museum 006bLongevity, standing alone, does not define success.

A happy marriage of whatever length is a success ~ even if it ends in the amicable parting of ways.

An unhappy marriage is not a success, no matter how long or how tightly the couple hangs on to their tattered vows to love, honor, and cherish.

A satisfying career, however brief, is a success. An unsatisfying career is not a success, even if it culminates in receipt of a gold watch after 40 years of faithful service.

When we stick with decisions made 10, 20, or 30 years ago, even if those decisions are no longer working for us, we are NOT making the most of the time we have left.

Taking stock of our lives, evaluating where we are, and deciding where we want to head from here, is a life-affirming practice, a cause for celebration ~  even if it requires closing a door opened decades earlier by a younger, less experienced version of our self.

250px-Scottish_hammer_throw_illustrationGrowth requires change, not constancy.

Just as day flows to night, life is a continuum of experiences, a daily journey to celebrate and savor ~ no matter how many doors have to be opened or closed along the way.

Growth requires that we expand our boundaries, step out of our comfort zone, and explore new vistas ~ we are not intended to hang on to the shoreline for the duration of our visit.

There’s a time for letting go.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Do not delay; the golden moments fly! ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

V is for Visualize January 25, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Health & Wellness, Magick & Mystery.
39 comments

Close your eyes.
Visualize.

Mickey-SurferVisualize the life you want to live AS IF you’re already living it.

* See yourself hitting a hole-in-one.

* Feel yourself balancing on a paddleboard, wind in your ears.

* Picture yourself at your healthiest & happiest.

Creating new synapses helps prune away the “dead wood” that weighs us down.

No longer choked by weeds, our lives burst into bloom.

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Aah . . . that’s better!

On a related note:  How to Become a Luckier Person Overnight (Raptitude)

Playing Tug-Of-War with Elephants January 19, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
35 comments

2015-03-04 14-23-45_0027Having had more than a few “dark days” when my sense of humor was MIA, I’ve learned to stop wrestling with thoughts that threaten to drown me in the abyss.

Instead of playing a losing game of tug-of-war with elephants, I “let go” of my end of the rope and walk away.

Trusting the Universe to unfold as it should until I am once again ready to steer into the wind.

Aah . . . that’s better!

“A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It’s jolted by every pebble on the road.”  ~ Henry Ward Beecher

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