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The Upbeat Times Entertains, Educates & Inspires!


Sonoma County CA. ~ If you’re a reader of Upbeat Times, chances are you’re in- terested in feeling good rather than bad, and your choice of reading material reflects that wish. New understandings about happiness show that it’s largely within our control: re- search coming out of modern happiness institutes like the Greater Good Science Center at Berkeley, distinctly shows that the choices we make not only come from our predispo- sition to be happy or unhappy, but also influence how we feel after making


those choices.


The good news? We can spiral up! We can learn to be happy. In the spirit of keeping things brief


and manageable,


chosen 5 techniques proven to increase positive feelings, mak- ing our lives more agreeable, more livable, more joyful. Start with the one that seems most doable, and test the effects of each one in your own life.


Practice Consumption Control


No, this is not the new- est juiced kale diet! But it is about what you put inside yourself, and the im- portance of recognizing and rejecting toxins. If you watch the news every day, if reality TV and shock internet is daily fodder, you’re being poisoned from the inside out, and what’s more, your poor body is addict- ed to the flood of cortisol and other stress hormones that pass for “excitement.” Try this: cut out at least half the news: all of it, if you can stand it. If you can’t com- mit to a total news fast, switch to a brief, middle-of-the-day glance; just enough to know the headlines. And especially, if you listen to the news on the way to work, or right after get- ting up, or right before going to bed, be aware of what it is doing to your stress levels, to your ability to sleep or to ap- proach the day with feeling of calmness. Don’t know what to do with


1 I’ve 2 Five Ways to Be Happier Starting Right Now


the extra time? Listen to music, read something uplifting, talk to your partner, daydream, doo- dle. Feel what it feels like to be easy, to have a slow morning, a restful night.


When you can take a break from the overwhelming and too-often hyperbolic


tide of


news that inundates you, you give yourself a beautiful gift. Do it for a few days, and notice how, once the incessant “need” to know calms down (that’s the addiction I mentioned), life be- gins to feel easier, less upset- ting, more possible.


Help Someone, Help Yourself


You don’t have to save the whole world to help someone, but you can


make a tremendous difference in your own world by giving a little something back. You don’t have to be a martyr, ei- ther. There are all sorts of needs out there and something you like to do can help. It may be singing or reading, knit- ting, making food, spending


time


with someone, lis- tening. You may decide to put your efforts into ben- efiting strangers or decide to put your attention on someone in your family, or an ac- quaintance who’s having


a rough


time. You might work for cats, or sea lions, or pick up plastic on the beach. The world


is your oyster! Choose what fits, and what works for you, too. Just know that you are needed. When you help someone, not only do you change that per- son’s world, you change your own. Helping others reminds us of the precious aspects of connection that daily life of- ten obscures. It also gives us a certain amount of confidence in our fellow humans: after


3


UPBEAT TIMES, INC. • September 2018 • 9 By Lori Covington • writeforyou@gmail.com


all, if you’re helping someone now, chances are someone will one day be ready to help you when you need it. And helping feels good, connects us to other people, to nature, to our own greater selves.


Learn & Practice Gratitude This is a quick practice that can become a life- long habit and greatly


increase your share of happi- ness. And it’s so simple! Just take a moment and appreciate whatever it is that you’re doing right now. Use your senses to tune into the fragrance of the air, the warmth of sunshine (or a nearby heater!), the taste of your coffee, the open, smil- ing face of your friend. Focus on that, put your attention on how good it feels to hear music you like, to have a comfortable chair, crispy French fries. In a few seconds, the practice of gratitude tweaks your world- view into something noticeably brighter than it was a minute before.


One warning: if you’re not used to practicing


grati-


tude moments, it will at first feel very strange, maybe even un- natural. Try it ten times, and see how it starts feel- ing


as you get


used to thinking and saying, “isn’t this cookie deli- cious!”


tude


I think of grati- moments


like isometric


exercises. You’re doing more than just that moment of appre- ciation, although it is a won- derful moment in itself. You’re also building a habit; carving a nice, new neural pathway into your brain that leads unerring- ly to good feelings. The more you use it, the more natural it becomes, until one day some- one says to you (and this re- cently happened to me, giving me something else to be grate-


Love yourself. It is important to stay positive because beauty comes from the inside out. ~ Jenn Proske


ful for!), “Wow—it seems like you see so much good in every- thing!”


4


Be with Your Friends “Let your best be for your friend.”


Khalil Researchers have found


that people who have strong friendships stay healthier lon- ger, weather all kinds of physi- cal and emotional stressors bet-


... continued on page 21 Gibran JOKES & Humor # 2


I can’t believe I got fired from the calendar factory. All I did was take a day off. ~


I get plenty of exercise – jumping to conclusions, pushing my luck, and dodging deadlines.


~


Q. Why is a bee’s hair always sticky? A. Because it uses a honey comb!


www.comfirstcu.org UPBEAT TIMES, INC. • September 2018 • 9


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