Sadness is a Reminder

Sunset It’s hidden, no one sees it.  It’s masked with smiles and laughter, but it still lingers…  Tunneled thoughts with no light at the end, with no turns available to keep from falling deeper and deeper into the dark, with no light, no light.  The walls are padded to dampen a sense of joy from entering or the light that emanates from those who perceive the image of happiness.  The mind is a crazy thing, creating ideas that have no substance or truth and it just keeps cranking out the negative, the sadness, and the hopelessness – Honoring a great artist, Robin Williams

What’s needed to shift those thoughts? Having never gone to medical school I’m clueless…  Perhaps meds  – because we weren’t given the correct combination of brain chemicals, counseling – because of traumas that occurred, or help  – to retrain the patterns that were imprinted early on?

I’ve been reading the Happiness Advantage, by Shaun Achor and in light of the sadness everyone feels about Robin Williams I wanted to share with you a few points he speaks about in his book on shifting the pattern of unhappiness to happiness.  If you’d like to hear Shaun speak about it I’ve included a link to his TED talk on Happiness.

1. Write down three new things you are grateful for each day into a blank word document or into the free app I Journal. Research shows this will significantly improve your optimism even 6 months later, and raises your success rates significantly.

2. Write for 2 minutes a day describing one positive experience you had over the past 24 hours. This is a strategy to help transform you from a task-based thinker, to a meaning based thinker who scans the world for meaning instead of endless to-dos. This dramatically increases work happiness.

3. Exercise for 10 minutes a day. This trains your brain to believe your behavior matters, which causes a cascade of success throughout the rest of the day.

4. Meditate for 2 minutes, focusing on your breath going in and out. This will help you undo the negative effects of multitasking. Research shows you get multiple tasks done faster if you do them one at a time. It also decreases stress and raises happiness.

5. Write one, quick email first thing in the morning thanking or praising a member on your team. This significantly increases your feeling of social support, which in my study at Harvard was the largest predictor of happiness for the students. (Taken from 5 Ways to Turn Happiness Into An Advantage — Reversing the formula for happiness and success. Published on August 23, 2011 by Shawn Achor in The Happiness Advantage  )

I feel the sadness we’re all experiencing is a reminder of how fragile we are, mentally, emotionally and physically.  As stated so eloquently by Gandalf, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”  So…   Know there are no tunnels, there is help.  Know that you are loved, as witnessed by the outpouring these last few days for a valued artist.  Know you have been put here for a purpose and that is an “encouraging thought.”

Frodo:  I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.

Gandalf:  So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world Frodo, besides the will of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring. In which case, you were also meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought. – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Grateful for you…


(Thank you, Shaun Achor, Psychology Today, J.R.R. Tolkien for helping out today.)

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