Secrets for Happier Life 4-22-2010

Secrets For A Happier Life: Ideas, Inspiration & Practices
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“Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory”

 Albert Schweitzer
Be Happy Now April 22, 2010
Dear Michael,   


Welcome to Secrets For A Happier Life. 
Like rain dripping into and filling a bucket, your life can become happier one drop at a time. For over 25 years I have gathered thoughts and experimented with practices related to increasing joy.  I am happy to share them with you. 
Yogi Berra is reported to have said, “It’s like deja vu, all over again.”  Was he talking about our lives and how we  seem to be on a merry-go-round bumping into the same problems over and over again?  What does it take to step off into a new direction?   If he were asked how many psychologists it takes to change a light bulb Yogi might have answered, “only one, but the light bulb has to really want to change.”  Are you ready?  How is your light? Your happiness?
Right now what can you do to add another drop of happiness to your life?  Remember, happiness is a road you travel along, not a destination.  I invite you to begin with Small Moments of Happiness and Quick Changes below. 
Yours truly,  
Michael Selzer DDS


Small Moments Of Happiness

Notice that when you laugh you are happy. Notice especially that when you are laughing your whole body is moving. It’s in motion. You have stopped thinking, have let go and relaxed and allowed your body to move and shake. You are happy for at least that moment. And then like the ripples settling down in a pond the waves and motions of laughter settle back to our routine level of being.

The trick to being happy is to have more small moments of happiness and then let the natural brain chemistry learn to stimulate this happy response more and more often.


Quick Changes

Right now recall a moment when you were happy. Expand the image of that or the sense of that moment of happiness. Make it big and bigger in your minds eye. Put it on a TV screen, a movie screen, an I-max screen.

Group  SmilesOr, you can also pretend. That’s right, merely make up a good thought. It works just as well. The brain does not differentiate between real and pretend. It just registers a path for each thought. As you have more happy thoughts the path gets deeper and easier to access and reverberate with other thoughts. That’s it. Hold onto the awareness of happiness and let it soak into your body down into your finger tips and toes. 


The trick is to continually just let go of unwanted thoughts and replace them with happier ones. Gradually the groove of happy thoughts becomes the routine.


Do this practice 3 to 6 times a day or whenever you realize that you are not as happy as you would chose to be. Allow the groove of happiness in the brain’s chemistry to get deeper and deeper.  

Happiness: A Puppy’s Perspective

Or just take a puppy to the beach
Austen Eating Sand
1. More drops fill your bucket faster.  Every hour think ten happy thoughts.  They can be real or pretend.  The groove in the brain will get deeper either way.  For those old enough to remember that may be where, “it’s groovy” comes from.
2. When an unhappy thought comes up, immediately think the opposite.  Turn it into an opportunity to experience a happy thought when you most need it.  Again, its okay to pretend.
3. Before you fall asleep at night review happy thoughts.  Form an intention to continue filling your bucket with happy thoughts tomorrow.  As you sleep the brain continues to process the last conscious thoughts you have.


Upcoming topics in future newsletters

*More on how to train your brain
*How awareness to body sensations deepens happiness
*How to enhance the good moments of each day



Mountains, Lakes and Happiness 8-9-17

Being Still — Listening For Happiness
Like a dog enjoying the quiet of a mountain morning, we too can benefit from being still.
Lessons From A Mountain Vacation
3,750 feet High Hampton Inn Cashiers, NC
By: Michael D. Selzer DDS
August 9, 2017
Sometimes I can sit and just appreciate.
With my eyes closed the cacophony of sounds all around me grows louder becoming a symphony of vibration.  Early morning at the lake in the mountains of North Carolina the multitude of rain drops striking leaves and ground, roof top and drain pipes drowns out the rustling of leaves in the light breeze of air flowing by.
Rat-a-tat-tat as water gushes down the metal gutters.  Dripity-drip-drip as water overflows onto the edge of the porch.  And the continual higher pitched hum of small drops of rain cascading into the scintillions of leaves and pine needles in the towering trees echoes around the house.
Listening, hearing and settling into the enjoyable concert I can almost feel and imagine the vibration of water dropping onto each leaf and pine needle creating the ripples of air striking my ear drums as well as my entire body.
Drifting merrily along I found my thoughts back as a kid on a vibrating bed.  My Uncle George, my mother’s younger brother had a business of buying truckloads of  “stuff” at auctions; sorting it and selling back the best items.  Every so often we got a great deal on something we would never have bought directly.  One of these was a vibrating bed.  It was more of a couch for a den than a bed to sleep on but if you took off the back thick cushion it was smooth and flat.  A thick circuitous wire ran along the bottom of the support for the flat base cushion that was covered by a tan plastic.  When you plugged it in the motor vibrated the wire and the entire cushion vibrated as it hummed along like the rain surrounding me.
The best memory I have was how nice it felt when you turned the vibration off.  I thoroughly enjoyed the calm quiet that flowed into my awareness when my whole body, eardrums, feet, legs, torso, and head became still.
Mountain Music, Village Green in Cashiers, NC on August 4, 2017
But did it?  Beyond my awareness was my heart beating, blood circulating, digestion and respiration happening as well as the earth still turning and the entire Universe  expanding.  As with everything else stillness was relative.
I have become aware that I am a part of the continual vibration of the universe and therefore part of the concert I am listening too.  Like pulling myself up by my own bootstraps I am hearing my own song.
I am one wave within the vibrating ocean of sound that earlier appeared to be outside of me.  When I can sense both looking out from the inside at the same time as looking in from the outside the wall between the two dissolves.  The good, bad and the ugly are all just different instruments of the one band.
The music of life is playing all the time but as with the vibrating bed sometimes you have to turn it off or go up to your mountain to appreciate the difference.
 High Hampton Inn, Cashiers, NC
Lake Toxaway, NC
Lake Toxaway, NC
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Secrets For A Happier Life May 8, 2017

Secrets For A Happier Life: Ideas, Inspiration & Practices

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Build your well of happiness


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August 18 2016

NOW for Happiness 


Cross over to sunny side
May 8, 2017
 Dear Michael,   
“Grab your coat and grab your hat, 
leave your worries on the door step
Just direct your feet to the sunny side of the street
I used to walk in the shade with the blues on parade
No longer afraid, the rover crossed over”
“On the Sunny Side of the Street” is a 1930 song, with credited music composed by Jimmy McHugh and lyrics by Dorothy Fields.
Having become a jazz standard, it was played by such greats as Louis Armstrong, Ted Lewis, Dave BrubeckEarl Hines, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Erroll Garner, Dizzy Gillespie, Art Tatum, James Booker, Count Basie and Lester Young.
On the sunny side of the street goes back many years and its classic message is still popular today.  What is the sunny side of the street and how do we get there?  
I invite you to keep reading below:
Michael Selzer DDS

Free Gift        Happiness Deja Vu

Happiness Deja Vu is a web app page (no download).
Enjoy many happy moments captured in original photos each intertwined with a contemplation on happiness.
Impossible to view and not become happier.
Includes 12 exercises for happiness


Small Moments Of Happiness
My journey and exploration into happiness started over 25 years ago.  I grew up in New York City along with my two main heroes Superman and images of riding on a flying carpet.
After multiple years of school  I started a family and moved to sunny Florida.  Family and work grew and I was living the dream with a loving wife, two phenomenal kids and building a thriving dental practice.  I was running from home to the office and from stress to stress, trying to enjoy the cracks of happiness when they arrived.
My plan was to obtain as much enjoyment form those activities that seemed to bring happiness along with them.  But I knew somewhere deep down there was a better way.  The images of superman and the flying carpet still floated in my head.
So back to the song.  A street has two sides a glass of water a top and bottom.  We all know about the glass with water half way and whether it’s half filled or half empty.  Therefore the same fact can be seen in completely opposite viewpoints.  Is the same thing true with the sunny side of the street; is it open solely to interpretation or to your mood in the moment?

And if you are on the dark side of the street, the unhappy side, the question becomes what needs to be done to cross over to the sunny side?

 A puppy’s perspective

The answer to a few questions will start you on your happiness journey.
1: would you like to cross over to the sunny side?
2: are you willing to let go of whatever is keeping you prisoner on the darker side?
3: are you willing to practice being happy?
If so then continue and read on.
First imagine a walk to the middle of the street so that you can see both sides.  Give yourself the opportunity to contemplate that you could cross over but you may have some very good reasons and feel full justified in being unhappy and therefore stuck on the unhappy side. You believe that the circumstances of the moment have dropped you there.
The five major categories that can keep you prisoner are
1. wanting more of something that you do not have or wanting less of what you do have;
2. being angry about something and feeling justified about it;
3. feeling restless and antsy;
4. feeling bored; and
5. doubting that you can change your view.
Once you have moved to the middle of the street and have identified which category is holding you prisoner just relax and take a breath or two.  Explore your body and relax some more.  For a moment let whatever you feel to be there without trying to change anything.
Next, recall the practice of building your “happiness well” (described below). Hold the thought and feelings of your happiness well in mind along with the thoughts and feelings of being in prison.  Try to equally balance the intensity of both sides; the happiness well and the prisoner.  Hold both in mind at the same time.
You can practice balancing two thoughts for this with a simple exercise.  Close your eyes and touch your right thumb and index finger together. Get a sense of what that feels like. Now release those fingers and touch your left thumb and index finger together.  Get a sense of how that feels.  Now feel both sides touching at the same time.  It may feel a bit like balancing when riding a bicycle.
It is interesting that you may find with this exercise that the circumstances do not change but your interpretation or need to hold on to the unhappiness dissolves away seemingly all by itself.

Actions                                                                  Austen boat
The happiness well is something you make yourself at home.  Take you favorite cup and place it in a safe place where you can see it and leave undisturbed for a week.  Take a piece of paper and a pen.  Cut strips of paper about one half inch wide and leave the paper and the pen next to the cup.  Each day for a week write down one of the happy moments of the day and place that paper into the cup.
At the end of the week you have a cup filled with happiness.  Most of the memories will have faded but you can read through them and let the happiness soak back in. As you happiness well gets deeper and happier it will be easy to recall and balance against the unhappy side.  Feel free to add more happiness to you well.

This may be the answer to the ageold question of, “Why did the chicken cross the road?”  Now you know it was to get to the sunny side of the street.  So cross over don’t be chicken.  And remember when you eat breakfast the happiest eggs you can eat are sunny side up.