“Many of the great achievements of the world were accomplished by tired and discouraged men who kept on working.”
It seems like there are far too many traps for folks in their daily lives these days. Some people have been out of work for so long they have given up working at the job of finding a job, others worry about income, school expenses, medical bills uncovered by insurance and more. It can be pretty depressing especially if we focus on the problems we have rather than working to pull ourselves up. The truth is that those of us who slip into indolent behavior and avoidance of external activity dig even deeper holes to the point where it will be almost impossible to dig out and return to active society.
Some time ago Gretchen Rubin wrote a piece that includes warnings about making negative life style changes because they seem to offer happiness. After I read what she wrote I thought of the proverbial devil sitting on our shoulder working to convince us to take the easy way out. Here is what she wrote.
5 happiness boosters that actually do more harm than good.
Everyone has a few tricks for beating the blues – things you do when you’re feeling down to try to boost your mood. I’ve found out from long experience, however, that several of the most popular strategies don’t actually work very well in the long term. Beware if you’re tempted to try any of the following:
1. Comforting yourself with a “treat.” Often, the things we choose as “treats” aren’t good for us. (That’s why they’re treats! We usually restrain ourselves!) The pleasure lasts a minute, but then feelings of guilt, loss of control, and other negative consequences just deepen the lousiness of the day. So when you find yourself thinking, “I’ll feel better after I have a few more beers…a pint of ice cream…a cigarette…a new pair of jeans,” ask yourself – will it REALLY make you feel better? It might make you feel worse. In particular, beware of…
2. Letting yourself off the hook. When I’m feeling down, I feel tempted to let myself off the hook, to think, “I’ll allow myself to skip the gym today, I need a break.” In fact, sticking to a resolution does more to boost my sense of self-esteem and self-control. (Plus, exercise itself boosts my happiness.) So NOT letting yourself off the hook might do more to boost your happiness. At the end of a bad day, you can say, "Well, at least I went to the gym/finished that horrible report/took my dog to the dog park."
3. Retreating to your sofa. Studies show that extroverts and introverts alike get a mood boost from connecting with other people. Although it can be tempting to isolate yourself when you’re feeling blue, you’re better off making plans with friends or family.
4. Expressing your negative emotions. Many people believe in the “catharsis hypothesis” and think that expressing anger by yelling, throwing things, punching pillows, slamming doors, cursing, etc. is healthy-minded and relieves their feelings. Not so. Studies show that aggressively expressing anger only aggravates it; as Plutarch observed, “Anger, while in its beginning, often can be ended by silence, or neglect.” I’ve certainly found this to be true; once I start yelling, I can whip myself into a fury. There are situations, of course, when my anger is a sign of a real problem that needs attention; I find that making sure that I express myself calmly means that I feel less riled up — and, added bonus, that approach also elicits a better response from others.
5. Staying in your pajamas all day. One of the most helpful things I’ve learned in my happiness research is that although we think that we act because of the way we feel, in fact, we often feel because of the way we act. As improbable as this sounds, it really works. Sometimes it can be fun to hang out in your sweats all day, but if you’re feeling lethargic, powerless, or directionless, not getting dressed may make you feel worse. Put on your clothes so you feel prepared for whatever the day might offer. While you’re at it, make your bed.
Dreams do come true if you keep believing in yourself. Anything is possible.
Life was simpler when:
Abilities were discovered because of a "double-dog-dare."
"Oly-oly-oxen-free" made perfect sense.
Spinning around, getting dizzy and falling down was cause for giggles.
The worst embarrassment was being picked last for a team.
War was a card game.
Water balloons were the ultimate weapon.
Baseball cards in the spokes transformed any bike into a motorcycle.
Ice cream was considered a basic food group.
Older siblings were the worst tormentors, but also the fiercest protectors.
"The distance is nothing; it is only the first step that is difficult."
Marquise du Deffand
He wears the pants in the house…under his apron.
He has two chances of winning an argument with me…slim and none.
I lead a double life…mine and his.
He comes right out and says what I tell him to think.
I don’t have to raise the roof. All I have to do is raise an eyebrow.
He always has the last word…he says, "I apologize".
He was a man about town. I turned him into a mouse around the house.
The last big decision I let him make was whether to wash or to dry.
He was a dude before marriage…now he is subdued.
He married me for my looks, but not the kind he’s getting now.
I complain about the noise he makes, when he is fixing his own breakfast.
Every once in awhile I come to him on bended knees. I dare him to come out from under the bed.
Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Top 10 Ways to Tell You’re a New Dad
10) Getting six hours of sleep is a privilege.
9) The sentence, "Honey, could you take his foot out of my pocket?" sounds normal.
8) You are used to doing everything one-handed.
7) The thought of your mother-in-law coming over for a few hours is a pleasant one.
6) The list of bodily fluids that disgust you has shortened, possibly to zero.
5) Your idea of romance is hand-holding.
4) You answer the question "How are you?" with "We’re fine."
3) You decide whether a shirt is wearable not based on sweatiness, but based on how well the spit-up stains match the shirt’s main colour.
2) You see a slender teenage girl walking down your street, and you think, "Hey, I wonder if I could interest her in babysitting?"
And the #1 way to tell that you’re a new dad:
1) It takes you two months to write and send out a simple top-10-style joke email.
Commit the Golden Rule to life, not just to memory.
A group of managers were given the assignment to measure the height of a flagpole. They got their ladders and tape measures and went out to the flagpole. However, the measurement job turned out to be much more difficult than any of them had expected, with some of them falling off the ladders, some dropping their tape measures, and so on, and the whole thing had just turned into a big disaster.
After a while, an engineer happened to walk by and saw what the managers were attempting to do. She walked over, pulled the flagpole out of the ground, and laid it flat on the ground. She measured it from end to end, gave the measurement to one of the managers, and then walked away without saying another word.
After the engineer was out of sight, one manager turned to another and laughed as he shook his head. "Now that’s just like an engineer! We’re looking for the height and she gives us the length!"
Self-respect is the root of discipline.
The sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.
Abraham Joshua Heschel
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
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The editor is somewhat senile.
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