Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Ingrid's Guide To Happiness - And The Tools To Make It Happen

"Happiness is good health and a bad memory."
Ingrid Bergman

This is one of my favorite quotes. It's funny and true and poignant all at once. Obviously, good health is everything. Yet, it is the very thing many of us take for granted before we lose it. Ingrid makes a point. Most of us have something about our health to appreciate. We could enhance our happiness just by recognizing what we had all along.

Then there is memory. This quote makes me laugh. I can't help but think about Finding Nemo's Dory. Her lack of memory seems so silly. I mean, you can't help but laugh. But when you really think about it, its not so funny after all. I mean, most of us forget what we are doing going one room to another, but remember with vehemence, when we were wronged, disrespected, teased or hurt. We forget things like calling someone back or putting something away. Sometimes we even let wonderful moments fade away. But how often do we hang on for dear life to our hurts and humiliations? Ingrid is right. Maybe there are some things for which we should practice the art of forgetting. What happens when you let go of the grudge you are holding toward a family member or co-worker? What happens when you stop recounting over and over the story of someone who wronged you? What would it be like to let those hurts fade away, instead of holding onto them so tightly?

Granted, these incidents are powerful, because when we experienced them, they were stamped deeply on us by the intensity of our emotions. But, maybe, if we let go of that hurt, tried to "forget" it, we would be happier. Now, I am not talking about forgetting to the degree that you are setting yourself up to be hurt over and over. I am really talking about letting go, about forgiving. Not once, but taking forgiveness as a lifestyle choice, as a daily decision. To decide to let go of hurts, to be more like Finding Nemo's Dory.

How to get to that state of letting go, of forgiving......5 minutes at a time.....

Stop the Repeat
Practice the art of not repeating those little frustrations. For example, instead of coming back from the bank telling everyone at the office how long the line was and how the teller was rude, just don't. By not re-telling the story, you are stopping the negative energy of the event! And it will soon fade from your memory.

Replace it
When you find yourself wanting to recount the bad stuff, replace your thoughts or talk with a good memory. Call that college buddy and remind them....of that hysterical night you had so many years ago.

Make a Mantra
Replace your thoughts with something productive. "I don't have to keep thinking about this." "I can let this go." "Being mad just upsets me. I think I will let this go." Sound silly? Research says, believing it comes from saying it. Keep at it and see where it takes you.

In only minutes a day, you can adapt a mindset of letting go, a daily decision to forgive....and be happy!

Try it out and have fun!



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