Secrets For A Happier Life November 1, 2012

Secrets For A Happier Life: Ideas, Inspiration & Practices
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Flow for balance

 

 

 

Michael

Michael D Selzer DDS

 

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Happiness comes in drops  
Thought matches body sensations  

Trigger zone for happiness  

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Happiness & Sunshine 24×7
Start where you are
Generosity builds happiness
9-16-2010 Happiness a balance of opposites
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Happiness step by step
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Edges of happiness
 
Polishing for happiness
 
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Gaps of happiness
 
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Pausing for happiness
 
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Adventure for happiness
 
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Sounds for happiness
 
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Stretching for happiness
 
Starting over for happiness
 
5-31-2012
 
Circle back for happiness
 
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10-2-2012
for happiness
 
Attention Challenge Skill November 1, 2012

Dear Michael,  

 

One of the games I played while walking a mile up and back to elementary school was kicking a rock down the sidewalk. I lived just inside the allowedkicking  walking distance. A friend of mine in my same class, Dennis Fromkies lived just over the limit and got to ride up and back in the school bus.

 

I didn’t mind the walk, as a kid I just did what I did, and anyway on really bad rainy or extra cold days my mom would drive me.

 

I invite you to continue reading below.

 

 

Michael Selzer DDS 

Quick Changes

Kick the rock was a fun game that did not have a clear cut goal. I would just walk along and kick the rock and then walk to wherever it stopped and then  kick it again. It absorbed my attention and I would be at the end of the block before I knew it. There was no right or wrong kick or even a right or wrong result. The game just flowed along and the fun part, the happiness was the actual kicking. In golf it would be the swing but more about that in the golf section below.

 

The key word above is flow. We have all heard of “go with the flow”, “being in the zone” or “riding the wave.” I used to think that it is difficult to obtain the state of, being in the flow and that it was only for great athletes or poets and not for routine people who actually have to get something done; often with deadlines and someone looking over theirflow  shoulder. Or even worse looking over our own shoulders and continually pushing ourselves to accomplish more and more. Hang in there,turn it around, you can do it. Just start with small steps; maybe even golf.

 

Small Moments Of Happiness

Flow has several primary characteristics. These characteristics are focusing strong attention on a specific activity, meeting a strong challenge balanced by the skill needed for that challenge and having a sense of control and satisfaction in the activity.

 

This could be an active sport, reading, shopping, working, listening to music etc. For example when my son Joel was about 7 we would have a catch. We would start a few feet apart and then graduallycatch  increase the distance between us. The challenge was to throw a ball up and back 10 times without either of us dropping the ball. Then we would move three steps back and start over. As our skill level increased so would the challenge as the distance was also increased. The interest, attention, sense of control and satisfaction all increased in proportion. The flow of our “game” was a natural development of this concept of developing flow many years before I had even heard of it.

 

You might start with a small step. For example brushing your teeth or walking from one room to another.

 

For brushing your teeth use your non-dominant hand. If you habitually brush with your right hand you would use your left hand for these exercise. By doing this you will develop attention to the brushing, challenge due to your non-dominant hand feeling “sloppy” in its movement to brush and gradually you will develop skill to match the challenge. You may even feel that your teeth do not feel like they were brushed. After a day or two you will start to feel a sense of control and satisfaction and the feeling of flow will begin.

 

After some time you can add more challenge and time the brushing for 15 seconds for each quarter of your mouth and then advance to 30 seconds per quarter. During this process you can occasionally switch back to your dominant hand and notice the immediate sense of flow as your hand glides over your teeth and gums with a familiar feeling of control , satisfaction and flow.

 

Walking from room to room at home or at your office is another place to start with something small. Most of the time we are not aware of all the things we pass by while walking. We are so preoccupied with whatever we are doing or planning to do next that we miss what is happening right before us. We also miss the sense of flow that we could learn to cultivate and then live in more often.

 

You might try counting your steps as you walk and then creating a challenge to stay focused on your walking for 2 or 10 or 20 steps. Or noticing a particular number of things along the way. Or setting a new record for noticing more and more. Look for other activities where you can practice and cultivate more experience of flow.

 

It reminds me of the story of the wise Zen master who told his students “to eat when they eat, walk when they walk and read when then read.” One dayread and eat  a student saw the master reading and eating at the same time and questioned him on his seemingly breaking one of his own instructions by doing two things at once. The master simply replied that when he was reading and eating he was simply concentrating on his reading and eating. I guess he had advanced his skill level and challenge to be flowing in that unity too.

Happiness:  A puppy’s perspective for living in the moment

 

Austen toothbrush

Austen has been able to

double the flow by  cultivating his skill and brushing with both paws at the same time.

Golf Secrets:  A golfer’s perspective for living in the moment
The freedom of kicking a rock down the sidewalk translates to walking through an open field with a golf club and a ball.  Drop the ball and swing just as freely as you would kick a rock.  Then walk up to the ball where ever it is on the field swing and watch it fly again. 
 
Les Bolland of Swingolf calls this a Fresh Air Swing. As thoughts of anything other than the swing are dropped and all attention is concentrated only on the flow of the swing, your authentic self shows up. When this happens both the result and the fun increase.
 

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