Tag Archives: how to be happier

7 Ways to Let Go and Watch Your Life Flourish

if it makes you fly...

By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond the winning. -Lao Tzu

So often we think we need more to be happy, when in actuality we just need to let go of limiting beliefs and erroneous understandings. The following are 7 things you can let go of right now that are part of my continual practice, which I know yield significant results!

1. Let go of living your life for your parents.

From a very young age we seek approval and acceptance from our parents because generally we’d be rewarded if we did what they pleased. As we grow the stakes become higher. If we aren’t careful we end up living our entire lives by our parents expectations without ever understanding what it truly means to be ourselves. Performance is exhausting, and when you are performing you are out of affinity with yourself. Authentic people are happy because life becomes an effortless expression of who they are. Let go of what your parents want for you, and unapologetically be your authentic self.

2. Let go of negativity.

Every single word that leaves your lips has an energy vibration attached to it, and what you put out to the universe comes back to you. We unconsciously complain about insignificant things like the weather, traffic, a plane delay, with no understanding we humans are gigantic energy systems generating a vibration that serves as a magnet drawing things of matching frequency to us. Life is in your mind. Detox yourself from your negative talk, and watch your perspective of the world around you change.

3. Let go of the need be right.

It seems like “being right” has a dynamo PR team spinning the virtues of being right, with promises of love, riches and security in heaping measures to the extent that the idea of being wrong has become so horribly unacceptable. The reality is the need to constantly be right is an external sign that something is very not right on the inside. The need to be stubbornly right is an attempt to control things, which stems from deep fear and non-trust of you. The next time you find yourself going toe-to-toe with someone ask yourself, do I want to be right or do I want to be happy?

4. Let go of judgments.

Judgments are the killer of creativity, and consciousness, yet we judge all the time. We have a very finite understanding of what is right or wrong and we criticize and judge people for being different, and ourselves for not being good enough. If we can take a step back and recognize that 99%of people simply operating off the information they’ve been given, we grow into greater compassion and acceptance. It doesn’t mean we have to agree with them, it just means we see the bigger picture. After all, with all the diverse displays of creation, destruction, action and reaction on planet – as messed up as it seems sometimes – we’re all just trying to be OK. Let go of your judgments, and discover how much happier you’ll be.

5. Let go of your excuses.

I wasted years of my life with excuses! “It’s not the right time, I need some training, I’m not sure…blah, blah, blah.”

Excuses are nothing more than fear of failure. The most effective way I know to neutralize these fears is to simply be the beginner. The moment is NOW. Set a photo directive and start before you’re ready! You and your trusty pal, Google, can figure it out together. There is boldness in action, and when you take action it’s like sending a flare signal to the universe attracting all that you need right to you! Get going!

6. Let go of the past.

The past. Everyone’s got one. Sometimes we run from it and other times we glorify it, but either way it’s like dead weight shackled to our leg. It happened; it hurt, but now what are you going to do about it? You have a choice. When we stay resentful and focused to the past, we carry a victim (poor me) vibration that makes it very difficult to create what we want. When we let go of it and recognize that every single past event led us to here, where we are gaining consciousness to create a life of our dreams, we vibrate in gratitude – which is a spiritual superpower. Let go and claim your power!

7. Let go of externalizing your love.

This is tricky business, my friends, and one I can’t claim to have completely figured out yet. However I know from the spiritual teachers with whom I personally work that it is possible, and they are exponentially happier because of it. To externalize our love means we’ve made something outside of ourselves the reason for our happiness, and therefore we’ve become dependent on it. This dependency on externals is bound to create unhappiness, because nothing in life is constant and things – whether we want them to or not – will change. To let go of this means if our love, dog, home, money, etc. were to disappear, we would still be OK. It means understanding the true source of love and security comes from within, and is not dependent on that which is external to us. This is the unshakable belief to which I am inching closer, but let’s face it…still have quite a ways to go!

Not Entirely Happy With Your Life? Well Answer This One Key Question

 Mom. Dad. Your spouse. Clergy. An ex. Your big brother.

Who is in your head?

And do you allow them there?

Carefully watch the choices you make. Carefully watch the actions that you take.

Are you certain you are living your own life?

If you feel anything less than very happy with what you do and achieve in all areas of your life, this is not necessarily an easy experience, but it is an infinitely important and freeing one: step outside of yourself and as objectively as possible take a close look at you.

How do you react to stress? To criticism? To challenges?

How do you react when angry, sad, nervous, excited?

What are your habits in relation to food, drink, sleep, leisure?

What are your beliefs about love? God? Money? Work? Sex? Family? Other races?

Answer these questions about yourself as honestly as possible. And then put the time and energy into discovering where these reactions, habits and beliefs really came from.

Most importantly, discover if they are truly yours.

When people take the necessary time to do this in solitude – at a park, in your garden, a favorite room, wherever they are calm and think most clearly – they are inevitably surprised at what they find.

We all have voices in our head and heart that are not our own. Some of these voices were implanted in previous relationships. Many more were implanted in our youth. Some are even thousands of years old and drummed into our heads through the world around us.

And often, where you feel frustration or worse at how you react in certain situations, and where you feel uneasy or unsteady in your beliefs, habits and perceptions, it is because there are these other voices doing the reacting and believing for you.

The voice and resulting choices and perceptions are not yet your own.

An Important Example & My Story

One of the most difficult but necessary areas to assess whether the thoughts, beliefs and habits inside you are really your own is in romantic love and marriage.

It can be so difficult because we spend our entire youths witnessing an ongoing lesson in love and marriage from our parents. Whether your parents were married for fifty years, whether you were the child of one or multiple divorces, or whether your primary parent or caretaker remained single, you absorb a powerful decades-long example of how to be (or not be) in relationships.

Further, your parents brought their own (and/or their parents’) philosophy to the relationship that you spent the most influential part of your lifetime witnessing: they may have been deeply passionate “two as one” mates, they may have been best friends, or business partners with the home as the business, or they may even have been akin to enemies living under the same roof.

It is so important to assess whether the thoughts, beliefs and habits inside you are really your own in this area because you can spend a lifetime frustrated in marriage, or in stumbling through various relationships, or not finding the ideal mate at all, because you haven’t yet discovered what YOU believe love is and what a romantic partnership should be.

Instead you may be unconsciously trying to repeat the lesson of your parents, or even if you are forty or fifty years old, still rebelling against it.

In my case, I grew up watching my Mother who was fiercely devoted to my Father, for better or worse, with a heavy dose of the better earlier in the marriage then a very heavy dose of the worse later on.

It wasn’t until relatively recently in my life that I realized that, like many men, I was unconsciously expecting the same in a woman … right off the bat once things got “serious.”

It took a difficult divorce and also the breakup of another serious relationship for this to come to light. And for me to delve deep into discovering my own beliefs about love and marriage.

In short, I realized that it takes time, patience and work amidst the joy and passion to get to the point of commitment, but that yes – once that commitment is honestly made between both – I do believe in the “old fashioned” notion of for better or worse, till death do us part.

In such a slippery world, it is a most beautiful thing for two people to have the rock that is each other to hold.

Own Your Thoughts

Voices from our past — especially our parents’ but also those of the religion we grew up in, those handed to us repeatedly from the mass media, and even those developed in “serious” relationships we had in our youth – can have a mighty impact on how we approach love and relationships.

But it also extends to every area of our lives: how we perceive money, God, work, sex, death, politics, other races and nations, leisure, and our health. How we set goals for ourselves, how we pursue those goals. How we react to challenges, anger, stress, compliments, and affection.

The recipe for angst, frustration, anger, loneliness and other negative emotions is to passively accept what you were handed – to passively accept those other voices in your head – and let yourself act according to them.

Key to living a happy life – your own life – is to do the work of recognizing where and who your thoughts and beliefs came from.

And to ponder and decide what you accept as your own.

The unexamined life is not worth living, said Socrates.

Know thyself, said Plato.

Truly own your thoughts and beliefs, I suggest.

So who is in your head?

And do you allow them there?


A Simple but Startling Secret to Being Happier: Stop Being Right

New Study Reveals Unusual Way to Be Happier

 How to be happier … when you think about it, this is really the basis for virtually every piece of advice ever given by one person to another.

What follows is a simple intense experience called “mudita” in Buddhism, and proven by recent scientific studies, that will help you be happier.

But first a very brief story:

Recently while watching the Academy Awards I found myself wondering why I was watching the Academy Awards.

“After all,” I thought to myself, “times are hard, and these actors, producers, directors and all the rest are way overpaid and over-celebrated for what they do. The overblown display of wealth and self-importance is rather revolting. I work at least just as hard as they do, as do most people, and have gifts and talents too, as do all people, but don’t receive anywhere near the money nor the accolades that they do. Plus I’d look much better in a tuxedo than those guys do, except for Brad Pitt. I shouldn’t be supporting this.”

Then I caught myself.

I realized that was a dangerous little demon called Envy poking its ugly head into my heart.

Domo Arigato

Yes, many grown-ups very un-grown-up habit of worshipping celebrities poses serious risks to individual and collective sensibilities – who cares what car Tiger Woods drives, and how is William Shatner qualified to hawk insurance in TV commercials? To paraphrase one of my father’s favorite sayings, their crap stinks too.

But that is no excuse to allow myself to pass judgment on people I don’t even know. It is no excuse to enable envy. And it is no excuse to shield myself from enjoying the output of the celebrities’ work, no matter how overpaid and over-celebrated they are, and no matter how ostentatious and ugly their Academy Award gowns are.

And that led me to a wonderful little revelation.

They ARE only people after all, same as you and I, and the reason I was watching the Academy Awards was because – when I wasn’t letting self-sabotaging negative emotions like envy creep in – I was enjoying experiencing their joy.

Kate Winslet’s joy as she accepted the Best Actress award for The Reader. The cast of Slumdog Millionaire’s joy onstage upon winning Best Picture of the Year. Kunio Kato’s joy as he accepted the award for Best Short Film (the winners in these obscure categories often seem to express the most joy of all. He also had the night’s best line when, after thanking the usual suspects in his acceptance speech in his strong Japanese accent, he added, “Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto.” Long live Styx!)

More Mudita!

This enjoyment of someone else’s joy is known as “mudita” in Buddhism.

It is why many of the actions you’ll do in The 9 Intense Experiences audio program involve you experiencing the joy of other people firsthand – in live conversation, and in the output of their music, films, books and more.

And interestingly, a recent study I learned about in the groundbreaking new book Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection demonstrated that enjoying other people’s happiness is not just a fleeting experience.

Instead, watching other people experience joy triggers the same parts of your brain, and releases the same chemicals in your body that improve your overall emotions, as if you were experiencing the joy yourself.

That is a key point worth reiterating: if you want to be happier, one surefire way to help your cause is to experience other people’s happiness.

So How Much are YOU Consuming?

On the flipside, this same study found that experiencing other people’s pain and sadness prompts your body to experience it as if it were your own.

Think about that for a moment.

When you watch the evening news, it is pain and sadness galore. Especially in this bad economy. Many of the most popular primetime TV shows are centered on pain, sadness, tension, disgust and (think certain “reality” shows here) backstabbing.

Experiencing artistic tragedies like Romeo and Juliet or perhaps an episode of 24 does have its benefit, as there are both inherent lessons and closure in these tragedies; Aristotle called the experience “catharsis,” which in short means a release of emotional tension by bringing repressed fears and anxieties to the surface.

But there are rarely any lessons and closure, and therefore rarely any catharsis, in the fear and angst stirred up by the evening news (which really should be called the “bad evening news.”) There’s not much in most of today’s media at all.

And so a very important question to ask yourself is: how much pure negativity are you exposing yourself to on a routine basis?

Because you are experiencing it as if it were your own. An impact on your mind and body – including your moods, including your immune system – is inevitable.

You Have the Prettiest Earlobes

Meanwhile, here is a simple, positive and transformative experience – an intense experience – that I urge you to have routinely if you want to be happier (and healthier):

Experience other people’s joy as often as you can.

Place yourself amidst other people’s laughter.

Get down on the floor and play with children.

Ask people about the happiest moments of their life so far, and instead of asking your loved ones “How was your day?” ask them “What was the best thing that happened to you today?”

Watch people – whether they’re overpaid and ridiculously dressed actresses, or Girl Scouts, or Employees of the Month, they’re all just people after all – experience the joy of accepting awards and compliments for their accomplishments.

And while you’re at it, give people more compliments — there is ALWAYS something worth complimenting — and experience the joy of their joy.


IMPORTANT NOTE: Please forward this article on to everyone you care about, and feel free to repost in your blogs, newsletters, website, etc. I hope you will agree it is insight worth sharing, especially in these challenging times. Subscribe to the free IntenseExperiences.com newsletter for more insights like these … and an instant free 126-page ebook, The 23 Most Important Secrets to Achieve Deep Happiness.

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