Drinking Wonder Water

This Wonder Drink is Amazing!

Soda is the most-consumed beverage in the U.S.  This is frightening because soda is a severe health hazard.  Soft drinks increase the risk of obesity, kidney and heart problems, and stroke, to name but a few.

The solution?  Water.

Yes, I know, good ole H2O is not sexy.

You might say that it is downright boring.

But water is only boring because we fail to contemplate the awesomeness this wonder drink provides.  Consider:

  1. Water doesn’t taste like liver, brussels sprouts, tripe or kimchi and contains no calories, fat, carbohydrates, partially-hydrogenated oil, MSG or sugar.
  2. Almost every cell in the body requires water to function properly. Water helps transport nutrients, regulate body temperature and digest food.
  3. Numerous studies show a positive correlation between water consumption and weight loss.
  4. Water flushes out skin toxins, making skin look healthier, and can reduce acne.
  5. Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of dehydration. Water will revitalize you, help you feel more alert and aid in concentration and focus. Studies have shown that even slight dehydration (1-2% less than optimal hydration) can depress your mood and interfere with your ability to think clearly.
  6. Water provides pain relief. Aching joints, muscle cramps, strains and sprains all occur much less frequently when you are optimally hydrated.
  7. Water intake helps prevent sickness, and drinking water shortens the duration of many illnesses. Headaches and migraines are often caused by dehydration.  Research has found that drinking more water reduced the duration and intensity of headaches.
  8. Water helps lessen bad breath by keeping your mouth moist and diluting unsavory oral bacteria.

There are actually many more cool things this wonder drink does for you.  But do you really need more?  Next time you are tempted to drink a soda or beer, chug some water instead.  Make it your routine to drink a couple glasses first thing each morning.

Let’s all work together to kick soda out of the number one spot and make wonder water the most-consumed beverage in the U.S. and the world.  Our bodies, minds, hearts, kidneys, skin, muscles, joints, mouths and weight scales will all thank us.

Friendship Friends Grandad Friend

Friendship:  The Best Part of Life

My Granddad often said the quality of one’s friends was the single-best indicator of the quality of one’s life.

Granddad had a three-tier model for the things that bring us joy.  Granddad believed that things like money, power, security, a nice house or car were deceptive “middlemen” – things that we often mistake for happiness – but rarely bring more than fleeting joy.  He placed these items on the bottom tier.

Granddad populated the middle tier with things within ourselves such as our degree of autonomy, self-reliance, confidence and self-discipline.  All of which, in Granddad’s opinion, could restore money, power, a home or car when these things are inevitably lost – whether via natural disaster, economic downturn, lawsuit, job loss or dozens of other seemingly random events in life.

Friendship is the sole item Granddad placed on his joy-bringing top tier.   A true friend brings us comfort, a sounding board, someone to spend downtime with, someone who shares in our thoughts and dreams, a person to laugh or cry with, a trusted source of wisdom and advice . . . and the list goes on and on.   We all need friends with whom we can share our deepest secrets and reveal our truest self.

In C.S. Lewis’ novel The Great Divorce the master penman creates a setting where every human is completely isolated from everybody else.  C.S. Lewis makes a compelling case that Hell is not a place of steam, magma and blazing infernos.  Rather, The Great Divorce postulates that Hell is instead any place where Humans lack companionship and friendship.

The best parts of life are those that contain your richest laughter.  Friends are almost always a part of those moments.  The more and closer friends one maintains, the more laughter and joy you are likely to experience.   Reach out to a friend today and tell them you love them.

 “The best things in life are free. It is important never to lose sight of that. So look around you. Wherever you see friendship, loyalty, laughter and love…there is your treasure.” – Neale Donald Walsch

You can exist without friends; but you cannot truly live without them.

Authentic Happiness

Authentic Happiness

Happiness is not inherently complicated, but we frequently make it so.  We exhaust ourselves pursuing money, respect and acceptance; when what we truly crave is joy, love and connection.  We often waste months of our lives — if not years — trying to be someone else.  Someone we think our spouse, peers or pastor desire us to be.  Pursuing our parents’ or society’s expectations and acceptance, rather than the life we dream of for ourselves.  We stockpile material goods while neglecting the things that truly matters.

So how do we stop chasing the unfulfilling, fake indicia of happiness – and pursue happiness, itself?

By being true to ourselves.  By deciding who we are and deciding to become that person.  And rejecting who we think we should be.  Or who others’ think we should be.

We are bombarded by opinions of who we should be and rarely do we measure up.  So we run faster on the hamster wheel of career, money, status and approval – without recognizing that none of those things is bringing us closer to being happy.

To become happy, then, we must get off the hamster wheel.  We must decide to be our authentic self.  We must reject the dreams that others have for our lives, and embrace what makes us unique and what makes us shine brightest.  We must quit comparing ourselves to some theoretical self where we adjudge ourselves lacking.  Instead of worrying about what others are thinking or doing, we must look solely to ourselves to determine if we are fulfilling our potential in harmony with our talents, interests and principles.

It is not always simple, but making daily conscious steps towards who we wish to be leads us to happiness.

Great happiness.

Authentic happiness.

Three Magic Words That Produce Instant Happiness

NOTE: this is Part II.  You should read Part I – Six Barriers to Happiness first.

What are the magic words guaranteed to instantly evict the unwelcome “negative six emotions” and leave us only feeling our baseline of happiness?

“I am responsible.”

Try it.  Declare, “I am responsible!”

No.  This isn’t hokey.  Okay, maybe it is a little. . . but give it a try.  Right now, declare, “I am responsible!”

Did you feel the power?

If you didn’t feel it, try it again.  “I am responsible!”

The moment you claim 100% responsibility for your life and each event in your life, you immediately get your life back.  And you will immediately begin to see your happiness return.

Accepting 100% responsibility instantly negates the “negative six emotions” and immediately forces your mind to begin working on solutions to the issues upon which the “negative six” have entered your psyche.

Consider that it is NEVER the issue, the event, the situation, or the other person that causes our negative emotions.  We scapegoat and blame those events or people and use them as a means to justify and rationalize our negative emotions.  But they are NOT the cause of our unwanted feelings.  It is our decision, alone, to feel victimized and powerless to change things.

The true cause of negative emotions is being unclear about how we are going to respond to the event, situation, person or issue.

That’s it.  And that will always be it.  Lack of clarity is the root of negative emotions.

So, if negative emotions are the disease; purpose and clarity are the cure.

The moment we accept 100% responsibility – even if we are not clear on the solution, yet – we allow our mind to immediately begin searching for the perfect solution to the problem — instead of employing our mind’s vast capabilities trying to designate a scapegoat and concoct a number of way to blame that person or event for what is wrong in our life.

Take responsibility.  Say aloud, “I am responsible,” and reclaim your life . . . and your happiness.

Six Barriers to Happiness

We all want to be happy. The positive emotion of ‘happiness’ is a by-product of living a purposeful, productive, fulfilling life of service to others.  A purposeful, productive life produces peace of mind and an abundance of joy, truth and love. When you live life in those terms there are only six  barriers to happiness:  the negative emotions of fear, self-pity, envy, jealousy, inferiority, and rage.

We often envision happiness fluctuating up and down like an outdoor Ohio thermometer.  But science tells us that is an inaccurate model of how humans actually experience happiness.  Once a human is purposefully engaged in a productive venture; happiness exists.  If you feel that your work helps others and is worthy of your daily effort — your happiness actually fluctuates very little at all.

What actually occurs when we feel ‘less happy’ than normal is that we are concurrently experiencing one or more of the “negative six emotions.”  When we choose to feel one or more of the “negative six” more powerfully than our happiness, we describe that result as ‘feeling unhappy.’  But the happiness is still there in the background, just as it always is.  We simply cannot feel it as strongly since we are choosing to experience the negative emotion(s) more intensely at that time. To return to the state of happy, then, all that is necessary is to remove the negative emotion(s) interfering with our ability to feel, experience, and appreciate our happiness.

That sounds good in theory.  But removing negative emotions is more difficult than the simplistic advice we are often given to “just think positively.”  Right?   We cannot just say a few magic words and have negative emotions disappear as easily as a magician waves his wand through the air, right?

Well, actually; no.  It is that simple.  Feeling happy requires only the incantation of three magic words.

Click here to read Part II – Three Magic Words That Produce Instant Happiness to find out what they are.

Resolve Happy

Resolve to be Happy

“Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.” – Helen Keller

Determination with regard to our attitude plays a vital part in the quality of our life.  Yet, most of us work incredibly hard at our careers, child-raising and hobbies – without taking a few minutes each day to decide and determine that we will be happy, joyous and full of gratitude no matter what.

Kiss slowly, play hard, forgive quickly, take risks, give everything you can in this life and have no regrets when you come to the end of it.  Laugh when you can, apologize when you should, let go of what you cannot change, and find things for which to be grateful. Enjoy life without keeping others from enjoying theirs.  Life is far too short to be anything but happy.

Feeling Awesome

Feeling Awesome

“I find if my body feels well and I exercise regularly, I think better, work better and feel better.” – Helmut Jahn

Every single year the most popular New Year’s Resolutions are variants of “Get into shape,” “Lose____ pounds,” or “Go to the gym __ times per week.”  We know that regular exercise will make us healthier and that we feel incredible when we exercise.

We all hear about it, think about it, and many of us even obsess about it.  But until we do it, it doesn’t matter.

Take action and feel awesome!

Finding Happiness Without Condition

We were designed to be unconditionally happy.  Unconditional happiness is not predicated upon having more money, a new love interest, a better job or more vibrant religious experience.  Paradoxically, these things often make it more difficult to find unconditional happiness.  That is because unconditional happiness is only found in quiet moments at the very core of our own being.

Why, then, is there so much pain and suffering in this world?  Why are opioid and antidepressant medication use, especially in the U.S., at record levels?

There are two root causes, both of which involve our mindset:  The first is that most of us have decided that happiness is the same as the absence of pain.  Science has proven over and over that most humans will do far more to avoid pain than to gain happiness.  But pain, as manifested in the daily struggle of life, at least, is often what produces our greatest happiness.

It is painful to mind our diet or go to the gym regularly.  But the happiness of our new body is worth the struggle.  It is painful to do homework faithfully.  But the “A” is worth it.  It is painful to forego all the daily impulse purchases we wish to make, but having a significant savings account is worth it.

The second, and more important, root cause of us failing to find absolute happiness is that we fail to look for it inside of us – where it is always found.  In order to find unconditional peace and inner happiness, we need to stop looking for happiness in money, acceptance, job security, love, the weather and our kids’ report cards.

Instead, we must slow down, relax for a few minutes, and focus on ourselves.  Spend a few quiet minutes reflecting on all the various thoughts and feelings you are experiencing.  You will find a host of disparate emotions and sensations – some enjoyable and some painful.

If you quietly focus for just a few minutes, you will find amongst these feelings a calm sense of security and comfort. It may be the simple and mild pleasure of spending a few minutes by yourself, relaxing without stress, worry, or to-dos to accomplish.  Remain focused on this relaxing feeling and just observe it as if you were sitting on a comfortable chair near the bank of a calm river on a sunny day.  Just watch the water drift lazily by you.  Listen to river and relax.  Resist the urge to make the emotion better or larger.  Simply observe it.  You will find that your feeling of security and well-being grows on its own as you focus on it.  Feel the warmth of the sun as you sit — without a care in the world – watching the water slowly flow by.

If other thoughts attempt to intrude on your perception of well-being, simply place those thoughts in your “mental river” and let them float downstream.  Then return to the inner happiness that is always within you.

You will sometimes find this process easy.  At other times, you will feel strongly enticed to give in to negative thoughts and emotions instead of simply feeling and experiencing your “river time.”  If you make this ritual for five or ten minutes a day, however, you will soon come to realize that all of these negative thoughts and emotions are nothing but illusions.  You will soon learn that you can call upon this sense of unconditional peace, security and happiness – anytime you wish.

If you faithfully take a few minutes each day to sit beside your “river” and just be – rather than doing anything — you will find that negative thoughts and emotions have a harder and harder time ever penetrating your mind.  Your inner emotional scenery will soon change into an eternal idyllic sunny day by your river.  You are human and may still endure an infrequent rain or periodic hail storm, but nothing will ever be able to drag you far from the banks of your beautiful river.

And you will always know that the sun will be shining again soon.

Unconditional Conditional Happiness

Are Conditions Robbing Your Happiness?

Are your goals tied to happiness?  Or are they tied to other less important things?

Happiness takes two essential forms: conditional and unconditional.

The form of happiness most of us think of when we hear the word “happiness” is “conditional” or “relative” happiness.  Relative happiness is predicated on circumstances being a certain way, which always sounds something like this:

“If the weather was better, I’d be happy.”

“If I had more money, I would be happy.”

“If I lived in Paris, I’d be happy.”

“If I could play ball like Ronaldo, Lebron or Manning, I would be happy.”

“If I had kids, I’d be happy.”

“If my spouse and I got along, then I would be happy.”

“If I had a boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse, then I’d be happy.”

Conditional happiness depends on things, situations and events. It depends on having a better body, getting that promotion at work, or your kids getting better grades in school. It relies on things outside of yourself.  Conditional happiness is measuring the delta between where you are in life and where you believe you should be.

The most popular magazines in the world, like Cosmopolitan, Shape and Glamour sell millions of copies because they prey upon our human urge to measure ourselves. Marketing firms earn billions of dollars by producing ads that boil down to:

“If I had … (insert advertised product), then I’d be happy.”

“If I used … (insert advertised dating service), then I’d be happy.”

“If I had … (insert money-making opportunity), then I’d be happy.”

Sound familiar?

By struggling to achieve conditional happiness we rob ourselves of the opportunity to become absolutely happy. The situations, conditions and events we strive for, and the ideals we have mentally theorized as predicates for happiness are impossible to fully meet. Nothing is ever quite enough. Further, when lose our money, or athletic skill, or spouse, or our child brings home “Ds” on their report card, our happiness comes crashing down around us.

When we base our happiness on conditions and events, we find we are on top of the world when conditions are favorable and our happiness evaporates the next moment.  We must then resume our search for happiness – hoping the next moment will last.

Wouldn’t absolute happiness be much more satisfying, fulfilling and fun?  Read our post on finding absolute happiness by concentrating on things within yourself here.