Hi there... If you’re new to BeHappy! or this newsletter, welcome! I’m Jimmy, and my mission is to improve your life by making it a bit happier - or, better yet, a lot happier - everyday.
I am a doctor, “rejuvenating” corporate executive, entrepreneur, author, and speaker. My wife (Jill), our four-year-old daughter (Joie), our 20-month old second daughter (Jae), and our golden retriever (Sunny) live in Tampa Florida and Newport Beach California (we alternate locations every month – so we travel a lot).
Through this newsletter, my website, my books, E-Coaching, and other BeHappy! products, I am committed to improving the lives of as many people as possible. So, I would love to hear from you on how your life has changed by using the BeHappy! system, or how I can help improve your life more by making the system even better.
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Please go to BeHappy101.com (or see the yellow box at the end of the newsletter) to provide your comments, suggestions, stories, or thoughts and I’ll respond to you personally – as appropriate - as soon as possible.
Here’s to your happiness and to having the kind of life you want to have!
BeHappy! my friends
|Inside this Issue|
Introduction to The BeHappy! Newsletter (for new subscribers)
Follow Up to the Last Edition’s “Actions”
Are You As Happy As You Can Be? (Part 3)
Actions for the Next 60 Days to BeHappy!
What's New at BeHappy101.com
(for new subscribers)
The purpose of this newsletter is to provide a regular and consistent supplement to the action-oriented process found in my website - www.behappy101.com - and in my first book, simply called BeHappy!
It is intended to make a powerful contribution to the amount of joy and fulfillment in your daily life by providing regular tools, reminders, and strategies to:
This is far beyond a “How To” concept. It is rather a “Do” system, which, when used in conjunction with the BeHappy! book, helps create your own personal “Happiness Plan” for your life. If you want a template or “blueprint” for this Happiness Plan, Click here and you can get it free.
Since my goal is to help make people happier, however, it is best to get the book to use along with the website to achieve maximum benefit from the plan (yes, that’s partly a sales pitch — but it’s true).
Big discount right now through Amazon.com
To ORDER BeHappy!
|MY GUARANTEE TO YOU: While most of the information at behappy101.com is free, I want you to BeHappy! with anything you purchase on this site; our reputation depends on it. Nothing is more important to me personally than for you to be completely satisfied with the information you receive. So if you are not satisfied with anything you buy on this site, for any reason whatsoever, simply contact me and I will have a refund check cut and sent to you immediately.|
- The happiest people are those who are living and working at what they are passionate about.
- Studies show that some people are born with a “happy gene” while for others, happiness must be learned.
- Among a sample of 1000 employed women, it was shown that sex is rated as the activity that produces the single largest amount of happiness, while commuting to and from work produces the lowest levels of happiness.
Follow Up from the Last Edition of
The BeHappy! Newsletter
The last edition of this newsletter in May was the second part of a year-long (6 or 7 part) program designed to provide a step-by-step “formula” for increasing your happiness significantly. The first part of the series was the February edition, which laid out a “happiness formula” – literally and equation anyone can use to gauge their own happiness and then develop a plan to improve that level of happiness (or unhappiness). Since this is a “series”, then, to achieve the best possible result, it is important to read those two previous editions to really understand it all fully.
So please, to get the most benefit out of this process, and be living your happiest possible life by this time next year, go back and read the February and May editions of this newsletter if you haven’t read them already. It will make a big difference. You can read the introduction to this series (the February edition) by clicking here and the first step of the process (the May edition) by clicking here.
The basis of this whole process is a formula I have developed – an actual “equation” - for achieving and monitoring your level of happiness. That formula is:
H = (G + DH + C + 3R) ÷ 6
At this point, I have to assume you have read the previous two editions since to try to recap everything will become very complicated as we continue through the process.
The bottom line for this “review of the last edition” is that from the February and May editions of the newsletter you should have the following:
So, if you are not there yet (referring to the 4 points above) I urge you to stop right now and go through the February and May editions of the newsletter if you want to get the best result.
- A basic understanding of “The Happiness Formula”
- Your own current “Happiness Score” (between “1” and “10”), using the formula
- Knowledge of how gratitude (the first component of the equation) effects your happiness – and your whole life
And if you’ve really done what I’ve suggested ...
- Developed the “HABIT” of focusing on what’s great about your life right now, regardless of how tough things might be, what pressure you’re under, or what problems you face. In other words, you feel grateful, and more importantly, are (or are becoming) a grateful person.
Now, on to the topic for this edition...
Are You As Happy As You Can Be? (Part 3)
That’s the basic question we are asking (and answering) in this year-long (7-Part) series, which started in February and will go until next February. So now it’s time to take the next step.
But let me warn you; this process starts to get pretty “intense” and “challenging”. And this may be the most challenging part of the process (which is part of the reason I am a month late with this edition of the newsletter). But don’t let that stop you. This is your life we’re dealing with here.
So once again, the “happiness formula” is ... H = (G + DH + C + 3R) ÷ 6 ... where “H” stands for Happiness, “G” stands for Gratitude, and now, “DH” represents your Definition of Happiness - which is the topic for this edition of the newsletter.
And it’s one of the most important – and potentially most difficult – parts of the process.
Believe it or not, most people don’t really know what would make them truly happy in life. People usually think they know, but really don’t. That’s why your personal Definition of Happiness is a critical step in the process.
As this graph indicates, to be as happy as possible, we must both eliminate unhappiness AND increase happiness. Gratitude, as shown in the graph (and discussed in the May edition) handles most – if not all – of the elimination of unhappiness. In other words, the more grateful you are as a person, the less unhappy you will be. And the May edition of the newsletter helps you eliminate or minimize unhappiness by increasing your level of gratitude. Certainly, gratitude also increases your level of happiness to some extent (there is an overlap here), but the goal of BeHappy! is not to just make you less unhappy – or even content – in your life. The goal here is to make you as happy as you could possibly be ... to literally be “ecstatic” with your life, and feel totally fulfilled on a consistent and frequent basis. That requires that you both eliminate unhappiness AND increase authentic happiness.
Knowing what really makes you happy (or could make you happy) is a key component of the process. And as I stated above, I call this your own personal Definition of Happiness.
Your Definition of Happiness
Most people think they know what would make them happy in life. Unfortunately, studies show that most people are wrong about it. People almost automatically think that money, fame, the right relationship, the perfect job, less stress, more balance in life, and/or great health will make them happy. And, for some people, some of those things might make them happier. But for most people, while some of those things could improve life (either a little or a lot) they may not truly bring total happiness. The key word there is truly. Because true happiness is much different from contentment, temporary feelings of joy (even frequent), or life satisfaction. True happiness is much deeper and more profound, providing a sense of complete fulfillment and total passion with every aspect of your life. That’s why everyone MUST develop their own personal Definition of Happiness...because if not, you may just be trying to get somewhere you don’t necessarily need (or want) to be.
And defining happiness for yourself is not always easy. In fact, it usually isn’t easy. It could take quite a bit of time and introspection to really create your true personal definition. And sometimes, if you are really honest with yourself, you may come up with a true definition of happiness that’s different from what you thought it might be.
|“If the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall, every step you take will get you to the wrong place faster.”
- Steven Covey
The process of creating your true Definition of Happiness involves 5 steps designed to help you understand what happiness means to you (or could mean to you). The five steps are:
Some of the responses you come up in steps 2 and 3 could be the same as the responses to 1 and 4, but that’s okay. For example, you could say that, in the past, you were happiest when you were in a certain job or career and the main thing making you unhappy right now is that you are in a different job you hate. Or maybe you were in a great relationship in the past (which helped you be happy) and now you are not in one (or you are in a bad relationship), which is causing you unhappiness.
- Know what is making you happy today (or could make you happy)
- Understand what is making you unhappy today (if anything)
- Remember what has made you happy in the past
- Predict what would make you happy in the future
- Use this information to craft your Definition of Happiness
The important issue here is to identify the most important factors relating to your happiness. Again, though, it’s not what just makes you feel better temporarily. It’s important to identify the factors that really make you happy for the long-term.
So please read on and continue with the "Actions" described below to help you take this next step in our “year-long” happiness process which, if you really do it, will change your life forever. These actions will take you through the 5 steps, one at a time over the next 60 days, to design your true Definition of Happiness.
BeHappy! ACTIONS TO TAKE UNTIL THE NEXT ISSUE OF THIS NEWSLETTER
Like everything in life, the old saying, “practice makes perfect” applies to happiness, too.
By using the tools and concepts in BeHappy! - and applying the principles on my website (www.behappy101.com) and in this bi-monthly newsletter - you'll get the coaching and the “practice” you need to lead the happiest possible life. It takes daily action to get “perfect” at it, though.
So, if you have read previous editions of The BeHappy! Newsletter you know that every issue provides some simple action-oriented exercises for the next two months (until the next edition of the newsletter) which relate to the main "subject" of this edition of the newsletter to help make happiness a habit.
Just a few minutes of focus every day and you’ll be laying the foundation for the happiest possible life - both for yourself and for those you love.
If you do these things, I can promise you’ll notice a big difference in the quality of your life.
You will BeHappy!
Actions for the next 60 days:
Take these actions over the next sixty days and by the time you receive the next edition of the BeHappy! Newsletter (around the middle of October), you will know your own personal Definition of Happiness - and be able to use it as part of "The Happiness Formula" to improve your life significantly.
The process here is essentially to address the five steps mentioned above in greater detail. Here we go...
1. What Makes You Happy Now?
To start this process, you need to know what is (or could be) making you happy right now. So start by taking the first week of the next 60-day period to take an inventory of what is best about your life today. Think about it. You might come up with several things in the first few minutes. That’s great – and is usually a good start. Just don’t stop there.
And, if it doesn't come quite so easily, it is important to know that there are always things about your life – at any point in time - which are positive and a potential part of your overall happiness. If life is really tough, though, sometimes it’s hard to think about anything good. The mind is very powerful and it can do amazing things – both positive and negative. So, even if nothing comes to mind immediately, keep searching. It will come. What is it about your life that makes you feel good in some way? Write down anything and everything that comes to mind.
After the immediate responses that come to your mind, to add to the list (or even help you with the initial list) take the next several days to keep the following question in your mind: what are the best things in my life right now that add to my overall happiness? Is it:
Hopefully, some of these thoughts apply to your life today. If so, make note of everything that makes you feel happy in the present. If not, then you’ve got a lot more work to do to create your personal Definition of Happiness.
- What you do as “your primary source of income” (sometimes called a job or career)?
- Your financial status or income level?
- Your family (children, spouse, parents, siblings)?
- Friends and/or other close relationships?
- Your spiritual life or religious faith?
- Your hobbies and/or things you are passionate about?
- What you have achieved?
- Who you are as a person?
- Where you live?
- Your lifestyle?
- Your health, fitness level, and/or physical shape?
- Your level of mental well-being or peace-of-mind?
Take a full week to ponder this concept. Don’t go on to the next step until you have taken the time to really integrate this concept into your mind (a week is ideal, but if it takes longer, that’s okay, too).
For example, on the first day (today) make your initial list. Read it over a few times. The list will “go to bed with you” tonight and your subconscious mind will work on it. Read the list over one more time before you go to sleep tonight just to make sure. Then...
Tomorrow, read the list over and add to the list the first thing that comes to your mind – even if it seems crazy or insignificant. Just write it down at the bottom of your list. If nothing new comes to mind, that’s okay, too. Next, walk around the place where you live. Notice what’s nice about your life situation. Is it the lake, garden, or swimming pool in your backyard? Is it the car in your garage or driveway? What about the dog or cat who cuddles up to you whenever they see you? Is it the fact that you are getting up to do whatever you do to generate income? (remember, even if you don’t like what you do, there are many people right now who would love to be doing it – or anything – to generate an income). Is it the spouse or significant other person in your life who loves you.
Remember, even though you are making a list of things that are positive or just make you "feel good", it is very important to realize that the end objective here is to create your own personal Definition of Happiness. It is not just to make a list of things that simply make you feel good. This initial list is just the start of a process designed to help you know what will really make you as happy as you can be. There is much more to it than just this first step. These specifics will be used as a basis to create your definition, they will not be your definition. Some “trends” and “categories” will start to emerge as you go through the process. So just get started with this first part and then (and only then) move on to step 2...
2. What is Making You Unhappy?
Once again, as discussed in the May edition of the Newsletter, eliminating unhappiness is an important part of developing authentic and total happiness. Gratitude (the first part of the “happiness equation”) is the best way to eliminate all or most unhappiness, but in this part of the process, that’s not the goal. The objective here is to understand what specifically is making you unhappy right now, so that you can design a better Definition of Happiness.
Do any of the following examples of things that could make people unhappy apply to you?
Use these examples to prompt your mind to come up with a few things about your life which are not good. We certainly don’t want to dwell on these things (which, again, is part of the gratitude exercise from the previous newsletter) but it is important to know and understand what takes away from your ability to be happy so you can avoid, fix, or solve those issues in the future.
- Living inconsistent with your true identity
- Being in a bad relationship
- Not pursuing a job or career you love
- Children: either not having children or issues with the children you have
- Poor health
- Living an “unbalanced” life
- Not having a certain income or financial level
- Living in a city or country you don’t like
- No spiritual connection
- Inability to pursue your passion(s) in life
- A feeling of having no purpose or direction
- Many significant regrets about what you have done in the past or what you have not done
- Too many “rules”
So make a list. And again, take whatever time you need to make it as meaningful and honest as possible. Don’t go on to the next part until you have your list. This part should also take about a week (the second week of the process). Once you have this list, then go on to ...
3. What has made you happy in the past?
Now that you have some thoughts written down of the things currently in your life which make you feel good (perhaps even happy) and which make you feel bad (possibly even unhappy), that’s still not all to it. For complete, authentic happiness to be possible, it’s important to explore both your past and your future to identify every possible component to your personal Definition of Happiness.
To explore your past, you may need to get in a quiet spot - perhaps take a walk or sit in some serene place - maybe even close your eyes, and picture your life at various ages in the past. Picture yourself when you were ten years old. What made you happy back then? What did you love about life then? What did you dream about? What did you want to become? Then, move your mind to when you were a teenager. What were your passions? What did you love to do? What were your main interests? What made you feel fulfilled? Next, take your mind into your twenties and thirties. What were your goals and aspirations? Who did you like to be around? What kind of job did you have or career were you pursuing? What did you love to do? Who did you want to become?
Keep doing this for various ages until you get close to your current age. Write down everything that comes to your mind. Some people get emotional during this part of the process as they "re-live" their lives and remember the great, happy, fulfilling times from the past. Make sure to do this properly. Go to that quiet, serene place. Close your eyes and "meditate" if it will help. Take several days to really get it all together. Then, once you have written down as many things as you can that made you happy in the past, it's time to explore...
4. What could make you happy in the future?
Now, this may be the toughest part of the process, or the easiest part of the process. Either way, it’s an important part. You should now have three lists written down. The first list has everything in your life right now that is positive and makes you feel good. Things like your career, the town where you live, your family, friends or other relationships, your physical fitness or health, your income or financial level, etc. Anything that is positive about your life. The second list is no fun, but important. It’s everything in your life right now that is not good, negative, makes you feel bad, or in your mind, makes you “unhappy”. It could be some of the same kinds of things as mentioned before ... like your job, relationships, financial situation, health, etc. There may be some key things missing from your life or some major regrets you have. All these things should be on this second list. The third list is the result of a look back at what has made you happy, fulfilled, or "alive" in the past. Perhaps it was a childhood friend, traveling with your parents, a certain class in school, or even a summer job you really loved. Maybe it was your dream of becoming a pilot, teacher, mother, father, or professional athlete.
Now, it’s time to look ahead. You need to project yourself into the future. What do you feel would make you happy in the next 10-50 years? Is it not an easy thing to do. This does not just mean that you say, “I’d be happy in the future if everything is perfect … no stress, no financial problems, great relationships, and excellent health”. It has to be much more thoughtful and specific than that. You need to use the other three lists you created (which is why I summarized them again above) and decide what really would make you a happy person forever. You may need to eliminate some significant regrets, for example. You might need to find your soul mate. You may need to change certain habits (even though you may not really want to today). Think about it carefully. Be honest with yourself. Be sure whatever you write down is a "must" for your happiness. In other words, without it, you could not be totally happy in your life, even if everything else was great. Make this list and then we’ll get to the really fun part...
5. Creating Your Personal Definition of Happiness
OK. It’s time. You now have all the ingredients needed to create your personal Definition of Happiness. But, just like any recipe, you could have all the ingredients and still not end up with exactly what you want. You must have all the right ingredients AND put them all together in the right way AND do all the other things required to make it come out right.
So, you now have the ingredients (your 4 lists). If you’ve done that part right, it should have taken you a few weeks. Basically, you should have taken about a week to create each list. Now, you need to spend the next few weeks (until the next edition of the newsletter around the middle of October) putting it all together in the right way to come up with your true personal Definition of Happiness. Here’s how to do it:
- Find the Common Items: Look through all four of your lists. Identify any common items or themes you can identify from the four lists. Find things that are even closely related. For example, let’s say you are a journalist and you have your job listed as something in your life right now (on your “current” list) that is positive and fulfilling, while at the same time you also have your passion for reading and writing as something you remember as positive and fulfilling during your high school and college years. These likely relate to each other in that you have an identified passion (which is good … see #2 below), and you are using that passion in your career. This could be part of your Definition of Happiness such that in order for you to be truly happy in your life, you need to be pursuing your passion as part of your primary source of income (perhaps even regardless of the amount of income you derive from it ... which is a whole other conversation). This can get very complicated. The fact is, though, it is an essential step if you want to be as happy as you can be. So write down any common items or themes in a separate area, then...
- List your Passion(s): The word "passion" was mentioned above. This could be an important concept relating to your happiness and/or unhappiness. Do you have some obvious passions? Have you been passionate about something in the past, but that passion seems to have faded? Are you passionate about something right now, but feel frustrated because you have no time or energy to pursue that passion? Perhaps you don't feel you have any passions.
Whatever the case may be, it's important to think about what you might be passionate about, and if there is something, you will likely want to include it (somehow) in your final Definition of Happiness. Write down your passion (or passions, if there is more than one).
- Create Categories: Once you have identified all the common and related items on your four lists and written down your passions in life, the next thing to do is to develop at least 3 categories for all items on your four lists which you would consider “must haves” in your life. Using the example above, one category could be “job” or “career”. Then, perhaps you found that in your “future list”, you included “a better relationship with your parents” and “finding your soul mate as important components of your future happiness. These could form a “relationship” category. Then, perhaps you noticed that in your “negative list” (things that are making you unhappy) you included financial stress, while in your “future” list, you included financial security or abundance as essential components of your happiness (see the note in the box to the right if this applies to you).
|Money and Happiness
The whole concept of money and happiness is a very controversial and complicated issue. Most people have heard the phrase, “money doesn’t buy happiness”. Well, this is the topic for a whole separate discussion. Money doesn’t “buy” happiness, just like nothing else in life “assures” happiness. There is no one thing that will make anyone either happy or unhappy. That’s why creating your own personal Definition of Happiness is so important. Also, in the same regard, money won’t even come close to bringing you happiness (and you would be wrong if you thought it would) if money and wealth are not part of your Definition of Happiness. If money and wealth are part of your definition, though, then money could help make you happier.
Again, it is a complicated subject. For the purposes of this edition of the newsletter, however, what is important is that you figure out if money and/or wealth are truly part of your Definition of Happiness or not. If you want to read more about this, click here to read my Examiner.com article on the subject.
Now, let’s also say you found that other things on your lists which made you happiest in your life were when you were traveling, engaging in competitive sports and participating in new and challenging activities. You might create an “adventure” category or a “variety” category for something you need in your life to be happiest. So again, find or devise at least 3 - and at most 6 - categories from the 4 lists you created over the past few weeks. Then...
- Build your Definition of Happiness: The above three steps could have taken some time. That’s OK. Even if it takes a week or more to sort everything out, it’s important that you get it right. Take all the time you need to finish the above steps. Be honest with yourself and really be introspective. Then, once you have 3-6 categories of “life issues” that you are sure relate to your happiness, it’s time to put it all together into your “definition”. Let’s use the examples from above, where your “job”, relationships, financial security, and adventure are “must haves” for you to be happy. With this, your definition might read something like this:
To be totally happy, I must be using my passion for writing as my primary source of income, create outstanding relationships – including a fulfilling intimate relationship with someone I love, build financial security (where my savings are enough to meet my basic needs for the rest of my life), and have regular adventurous experiences which provide fun and variety to my life.
I know I am repeating myself here, but I have to say it again – this can get complicated and somewhat difficult. But, it is critical to your life and your happiness. So take whatever time you need to get it right. And, since I really can’t go on much longer with this in a newsletter format (I’ve already gone way longer here than I should), if you want some additional help with this, feel free to click here and get some free e-coaching from me. I can help you personally to create your definition properly. My book, BeHappy! also has 3 full chapters related to creating your Definition of Happiness. So, click here to order a copy for yourself.
By doing all this, you will have the basis for increasing your happiness significantly over the next few months so that you can begin to live your happiest possible life. Once you have your true, accurate personal Definition of Happiness (which is what you need in your life to be totally happy), you'll be able to create a "Happiness Plan" designed to achieve that definition and truly live the life you want (and that will make you "as happy as you can be").
We’ll look back on this 60-day action plan in the next edition of The BeHappy! Newsletter in the middle of October - where we'll then take the next step toward making profound improvements in your happiness – and your life by exploring the next component of "The Happiness Formula". Also, when that next edition of the newsletter comes out, we’ll just be in sight of the holidays (can you believe it?) ... so we’ll begin discussing some “holiday happiness” tips and strategies as well.
WHAT'S NEW AT BeHappy101.com:
Every issue of this newsletter will keep you up to date on new stuff at BeHappy101.com so you can get maximum benefit from the BeHappy! system. You can access any of these quickly by just clicking on the links in the list below.
Here are a few additions over the past two months:
If the information here at BeHappy101.com helps you and you'd like to make a donation to help make others happy, please click on the "DONATE" button below to make a contribution. The amount you give is entirely up to you, and would be greatly appreciated. A portion of the proceeds will used to contribute to the happiness of others.
Please contribute to the happiness of others by providing your own stories, jokes, testimonials, comments and personal tips on happiness, dealing with adversity, and relationships on the website (there are many places throughout the site to add your messages to help others)
To contribute HAPPINESS tips: click here
To contribute RELATIONSHIP tips: click here
To contribute ADVERSITY tips: click here
To contribute GOAL tips: click here
- Several new "Happiness Products" have been added to the website. There are products for making more money, improving your relationships, reducing stress, raising happier children, learning to meditate, losing weight, and more.
- The opportunity to join the new Happiness Group". Just click here to see a 11/2 minute video introduction to the group. Then, go to facebook and search "The Happiness Group" to join.
- Several important new blog posts to add to your "happiness toolbox".
- The popular Thought for Today: a feature on the site initiated February 1st (2009) which has provided a new thought every single day since then. Each new Thought for Today gets posted on the behappy101.com homepage every morning (365 days a year) between 5:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. (unless I sleep in – then it might be 6:30 a.m.). These are thoughts to help start your day off right. The thoughts are generally about happiness, success, relationships, money, etc. So go to the website everyday for a new “thought”. You’ll soon become “addicted” – and it will improve your life tremendously.
- New Quotes, Poems, and Jokes to help inspire and motivate you, or just make you laugh.
And much, much more.
So until the next edition of The BeHappy! Newsletter around the middle of October...
Thanks for being a loyal subscriber and...
BeHappy! my friends
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