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



Pause for Happiness 6-15-22


Inspiration and Practices

Pause For Happiness

Hello Michael,

Just as the law of inertia reminds us that a body in motion tends to stay in motion once you are engaged in activity it is difficult to take a pause. And once you begin down a path of negative emotional thinking watch out; its a slippery slope all the way to the bottom.

How do you break the cycle of becoming frustrated, agitated, upset or even angered when a situation gives you the opposite of what you want? How do you let go of the tightness in your chest and the building heat on your face when you know you are right and you have already walked away?

The short answers that usually do not help very much are to take a pause; count to ten; breathe slow and deep; scream let it out; see the emotion as an object and not you. All well and good and a step in the right direction but only a short term help at best.

An alternative might be the view to consider the object of the emotion such as frustration to be embraced rather than repelled. There is you as the subject and the situation the “cause” of the frustration as the object. Easy to see the separation of the subject, you, and the object frustration. However you might continue and subdivide the object of frustration to being the resistance that you have to not wanting the frustration rather than the frustrating object itself. This is a tricky point to understand.

What causes the feeling of frustration is the resistance to what is rather than the specific situation that appears to be causing it. It is the field of resistance ie the not allowing of reality to be as it already is. However the resistance is of your own making; not the situation. You are pushing yourself away from yourself.

Although you cannot change the situation that has occurred you can let go of the tightness in your chest and heat on your face (but only if you want to). There is a gap between you as happiness and your resistance to being happy. If your mind and will insist that you hold on to your righteous indignation you will still be yoked to their accompanying unpleasant felt sensations. All you need do is let go. Like jumping out of a plane and opening a parachute; as the chute opens you are floating in air and all of the irritation of resistance drops away.

Imagine you live on a farm and you pick up a baby calf. The next day you pick it up again. You continue day by day until you can pick up a full grown cow. Almost, right?
Consider when you were an infant. You received care for all of your needs without your care taker being frustrated thinking that you should do things by yourself. However, at some point you cannot pick up the calf and as a care taker you expect the other person to take responsibility and do things for them self. Imagine your true inner self to be happiness awareness and your frustrated self to be the acting out of your ego. When you stop resisting the objectionable situation and allow the object of resistance to frustration to also drop away you merge back into your true self of happiness. Let come what comes, let go what goes and see what remains.

Experiencing the situations of life creates wanting and not wanting. Wanting and not wanting creates the actions of the ego. The ego starts to “think” it is a separate self and resists its disappearance by resisting what it does not like. Close the gap between your natural state of happiness and the resistance by embracing the very resistance.

You are a stranger in a strange land where you are both the happiness as well as being revealed as the illusionary play of resistance. Imagine it to be an infant that needs care, an infant called resistance that cannot as yet care for itself; be soothing at first and then hugging and then welcome it back into your heart of happiness.


Archive of Newsletters

Spiritual Gravity

Michael Selzer DDS (retired)
Happiness Coaching
Charlottesville, Virginia

Thoughts To Ponder For Happiness 3-01-2021

SECRETS FOR A HAPPIER LIFE Inspiration and Practices
Thoughts to Ponder for Happiness

Hello Michael,

I remember my dad coming home from work and sitting at the dinner table with his tie on.  But even more than that I remember his hat.  Maybe because although he had a number of ties he had only one hat.  As a I did not wear a hat  I remember he wore it a lot; anytime he was outside and going somewhere.  

When I was a teenager he stopped wearing starched white shirts every day to work. He also loosened his tie and started taking off his shoes before eating dinner.  Imagine expanding the feeling of “taking off your shoes and being at home.” And then expanding that feeling a little bit at a time to being outside in a park and then outside on a city street and then inside a crowded NYC subway car. Imagine not the closed down separating yourself sensation of being in a dense noisy crowd and not the excitement of being together with thousands of others at a rock concert.  But being at ease, unguarded and fully at peace; and being with this feeling in more and more places.  

If you are one of those people that already feel comfortable anywhere then you can stop reading.

For the rest of us …What are the feelings associated with not feeling at home?

Self consciousness

Wearing clothing that is less comfortable

Fitting in to a particular behavior type 

Being dressed accordingly 

Role playing


What if all of the actors in a play or movie were dressed the same?  Would the story they told be affected?  Could they portray their character without the outward visual appearance of a costume? 

What is the costume of being at home?  

Do rock band performers wear their most comfortable clothing or is it part of the act for them to dress as if they were?

If getting “dressed” for an occasion whether it is for a picnic, beach, rock concert or funeral do the outfits create your personality for the occasion?  

How much of “me” do I try to portray when I go out of the house? As I have relaxed more into me and less of my projected me I am more able to dress less.  Although I still put on a collared shirt when I am going to a doctor’s office or as most golf courses require a collared tucked in shirt. 

From a philosophical viewpoint there is a larger field of view than our usual constricted image of ourselves.  When we can tap into and merge with this field we tend to loosen our ties and wear softer more flexible footwear.  

Meditation enhances this change.

Why is that?