Secrets For A Happier Life 10-20-2011

Secrets For A Happier Life: Ideas, Inspiration & Practices

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Smile breath for happiness


MichaelMichael D Selzer DDS I would love to hear from you.


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Beyond The Breath 
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Silent smiles October  20, 2011
 Dear Michael,      

Welcome back to Secrets For A Happier Life.
I recently attended a silent weekend retreat in the beautiful foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  OneYogaville mountain of the interesting qualities I uncovered was an increased awareness of what I was seeing and hearing.  A portion of the retreat was a series of talks given by the senior staff of the retreat center. 
I had made the choice to be silent (a first for me) and was happy that there were slips of paper and pencils available if we felt a need to “ask” a question.  However, along with my choice of silence I began to notice that my thoughts stopped thinking up possible responses or questions for clarification from the speakers.  I became more aware of listening and watching without the blocking of my listening mind when I am anxiously waiting to ask a question or make a comment before the speaker changes to the next subject.  This watching and listening continued after the talks and throughout the day.

I invite you to continue reading below.  


Yours truly,  


Michael Selzer DDS

Quick Changes 

Thoughts tend to draw our attention away from what we are actually feeling and experiencing.  We end up inhabiting a world of familiar assumptions that we try to continually reinforce as new information comes to us.  Thoughts generally lead to conclusions that tend to cut the world into black and white with little shades of gray.  After a while the world starts to appear flat and boring.  However, as we allow the thoughts to subside we may notice an increase in the feeling or amount of sensation that is present. 

Focusing on sensation puts us more directly in touch with what is motivating us, while at the same time helps to free us from the story lines which tend to obscure our feelings.  In this way, greater awareness to our sensations increases our emotional sensitivity. 

Although most of us are aware of exEmotional baggagetreme emotions, the thought side of the emotion often blocks or obscures the feeling side so that we misinterpret what may be really bothering us as we miss those more subtle feelings or sensations.

Awareness of our actual feelings adds depth and texture to our life as well as providing an avenue for changing habitual reactions.

 Small Moments Of Happiness

Every thought or emotion we have is meaningful not because of its inherent logic, poetry or injustice but because of how it makes us feel.

So let’s bypass a lot of analysis, discussion and thought and go  directly to feelings.  If a picture is worth a thousand words then a feeling may be worth a thousand pictures.  That is why when we go to the movies and see a thousand or more moving frames of “pictures” we leave with a feeling full of bodily sensation.

As usual I am choosing to focus on happiness.  Research has found that the body/mind system cannot tell the difference between a real experience and an imagined one.  If you laugh or smile at a real joke or fake the laugh  or smile the changes inside the body are the same.  Blood pressure decreases, cortisol levels drop and the endorphins related to feeling happy are released throughout the body.

Happiness:  A puppy’s perspective for living in the moment  
Here is a simple exercise to do whenever you have a minute or two.   Hold a straw, a pen or pencil between your teeth (lightly), so that a portion of it sticks out from both sides of your mouth.  Then breathe in slowly through your mouth and out your nose.  Adjust your breathing rhythm so that you are breathing out a little longer than you are breathing in.   

You can also try this without the straw just by touching your front teeth together and breathing in the air between your upper and lower back teeth.  And then exhale through your nose.  Maintain this for one or two minutes.  The more you place your full attention on the sensation of the air as it passes between your teeth and out your nose the better the result.  This can be done while sitting at a traffic light, standing on line at the grocery store or while listening to music on hold etc.Austen sun glasses


The body/mind interprets this as a smile and all of the benefits of smiling are activated.  You go to the direct mind/body chemistry of the sensations of happiness.  Although this is a subtle shift it is present and builds up with continued practice. 


After a while a habit and pathway for happiness builds up and you can slip into this zone at will.

Golf Secrets:  A golfer’s perspective for living in the moment
Most of the golfers I speak with agree that they swing or putt much more freely on the practice area than on the course. Most likely they are more relaxed and not as concerned about the outcome. 
Using the practices above as you walk from the cart to your ball can allow you to be more relaxed and have not only a better swing but an even happier round. 
By letting go of attachment to the outcome you can make it all practice.    

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