Is it possible to choose happiness?

Is it possible to choose happiness?

I just watched the video below.

I’m not going to say anything about it because my opinion will colour your judgment.

All I ask is that you watch it, then fill in my little survey on gratitude at the bottom of this post.

Thank you.


Is it possible to choose happiness?



How To Be Unhappy


How To Be Unhappy


The real goal in life is not to be happy, as everyone wants this.

It’s to find out what makes us happy and do more of it.


How To Be Unhappy


How do we do this?

Sometimes we do things we think make us happy but they turn out to be little obsessions, that we overindulge which in turn, robs us of genuine contentment.

Finding something that truly makes us happy can be elusive.

So maybe we should start by looking at the opposite.

What would make us unhappy?

These are the things I think would make me unhappy:

Taking my family and friends away.

Taking my health away.

Taking my job away.

Taking my house away.

Taking my freedom away.

Taking my access to clean drinking water away.


How To Be Unhappy


BUT hang on, I have these things right now, which must surely mean I’m happy.

Therefore happiness is not about getting more but about appreciating what I have at the moment.


How To Be Unhappy

How much of what you feel is in your mind?


How much of what you feel is in your mind?


One of the things that make my bike ride into work more enjoyable is listening to inspirational podcasts.

One podcast I really like is called, “Good Life Project” by Jonathan Fields.

Its, “About” section on it’s website, describes the projects intention:

“It’s about becoming a creator, a leader, a mentor, a giver, a doer. It’s about telling a story with your life that you’d want to read and share”.


How much of what you feel is in your mind?


Every week Jonathan interviews people with remarkable stories.

This week I listened to Dr Lissa Rankin, who described her life leading up to her current book, Mind Over Medicine which I’m now going to buy.


How much of what you feel is in your mind?


The interesting bit for me was her description of the placebo effects, in case studies and how effective they were. In particular was the amazing story of a surgeon named J. Bruce Moseley.

This is an extract from The New York Times:

“Moseley had 10 patients scheduled for an operation intended to relieve the arthritis pain in their knees.

The patients were men and all 10 would be wheeled into an operating room, draped, examined and anesthetized.

All 10 would be dispatched to the recovery room and sent home from the hospital by the next morning equipped with crutches and a painkiller.

But there the similarities ended.

For while two of the men would undergo the standard arthroscopic surgery for their condition, three would have the rinsing alone, five would have no recognized surgical procedure at all.

Their surgery would be a placebo, an exercise in just pretend.

The placebo worked.


How much of what you feel is in your mind?


Six months after surgery, the 10 patients still didn’t know whether they had been faked out or not. But all of them reported much less pain.

None were unhappy with the outcome of the operation”.

The conclusion Lissa Rankin came to was that it’s not only positive thinking on behalf of the individual patient that helps the placebo become effective but that fact that patients were introduced into nurturing, caring environment where qualified people provided the patient with hope and a positive outlook.

This environment turns off the, “stress” response and turns on the “relaxation” response, which allows the nervous system to perform rather than be paralysed with worry.

If you want this explained more eloquently than I have then you’d do a lot worse than to spend an hour and 4 minutes watching the interview on YouTube.


In my mind (and this is the important bit) this evidence is irrefutable.

It just goes to prove that not only are you what you think you are but you become what you think you can become.



You will be rich if you can do this.

We went to a charity fun day today.

It was being held in one of Meagan’s friends mother’s, back garden (still with me?)

Anyway the house and garden was absolutely fabulous.

It’s the kind of garden that would take you a good couple of hours to mow, on a sit down mower. If you didn’t have one, it would be a full time job, which ironically wouldn’t pay enough money to own it. It would take even longer to mow if a very sizeable swimming pool hadn’t been installed in the grounds.


You will be rich if you can do this


(Not the actual house but similar)

As I first walked into the garden, I stopped for a second, looked around the grounds, took it all in and thought to myself, “I want to live in a house like this. This is my dream house. How could you not be happy here?”

It’s the kind of place that suggest the owners, have made it (in life that is, not in terms of construction).

A few hours later, after stuffing my face with a burger, an ice cream, the remainder of Fred’s ice cream and a cake, I got chatting to Meagan’s friend (the one whose parents own the house).

I was curious as to how her parents were able to afford such a place. So I asked, “What do your parents do Gemma?”

This is when she dropped the bombshell.


You will be rich if you can do this


“Unfortunately my father died of cancer three years ago so my mother lives her on her own”. As she said it, a sad sympathetic wince appeared on her face.

Later, at home, I said to Meagan, “As soon as I saw that house today I thought, Gemma’s parents must be very happy, they’ve got everything. Then Gemma told me about her father. I bet her mother would give up that house today, just to have him back”

“Yes and apparently it really affected her when he died”.

We assume money is the answer to everything but sometimes we’re given harsh reminders that it has very limited powers, especially where health and happiness is concerned.

A search for the true source of happiness always seems to come back to the same attitude, appreciation.

You can’t buy this.

We should always take time to appreciate what we have, if we can do that, we are all rich.


You will be rich if you can do this



4 reasons to feel grateful.

Tonight I watched a TV show called, “Great British Budget Menu”, where three of Britain’s leading chefs met families living in food poverty.

You can see a clip of it HERE


4 reasons to feel grateful


The people involved, in the programme, looked like really decent people, who through no fault of their own find themselves in truly awful situations.

They were trying to buy food for themselves and their families for as little as £1 a day.

I eat well and I never ever think that anyone in the UK could be suffering from food poverty but apparently 5 million people are.

When I see situations like this, I’m left with mixed emotions.

On the one hand I’m thinking, “We’re supposed to be a developed country and people are living on the bread line, it’s shocking”.

On the other hand I’m thinking, “I’m so fortunate to have what I have”.

On the link above there’s also budget menu recipes but more importantly HERE is a website that encourages people to give to existing, or set up food banks in their area to help people out of food poverty.


Here’s 4 reasons to feel grateful:

1. There are people who, through a cruel twist in fate, are suffering and they live on our door steps. We should be glad we’re not in their shoes.

2. We didn’t choose our country of birth, our parents or our environment, it’s luck. This fortune has given us a great advantage in life.

3. In tests expressing gratitude has been show to improve ones base line of happiness.

4. Being grateful is accepting that what we have, is plentiful. This naturally makes us more likely to help others with very little. In studies helping others has also been suggested as a major key to happiness.


4 reasons to feel grateful







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