Here’s a good video interview with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi about positive psychology. He is best known for his work on “being in the flow.”  It’s an interview with an academic, so it’s not directed at the general public.  So, interesting but not exciting.  It’s helpful if you want an update of how pros in psychology are thinking about the science of happiness.

This should be right sized for responsive design.  I’m still experimenting on getting responsive design right.

Remember that if you are using iOS, you may need to access the video directly through YouTube with Safari at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DC3VIFk2N0

Enjoy.

Hope is the thing with feathers

Not long ago I was reminded of Emily Dickenson’s poem “Hope is The Thing With Feathers,” which I’ve reproduced for you below. That, in turn, inspired an image that I’ve also reproduced for you below. In the area of positive thinking, what can be more realistically positive than hope in the midst of negative circumstances? It doesn’t ask you to deny the actuality of the circumstances; it merely encourages you to get through them with an eye to the possibilities of something better in the meantime and afterward.

A meadow lark sings by a pear tree

Hope Is The Thing With Feathers
by Emily Dickenson

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chilliest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Smile a rainbow

rainbow over a tree

Some of my favorite thoughts come from old Irish blessings. The image above expresses the blessing below.

“…For every storm a rainbow, for every tear a smile, for every care a promise and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share, for every sigh a sweet song and an answer for each prayer.”

A quiet mind…

canadian lake

…A quiet mind, like a still lake, will more accurately reflect reality.

Consider learning Zen meditation as a method for having a generally quieter mind, a more realistic outlook and a feeling of being in better control. It does wonders for creating more positive thinking.

Being Happy At Work

This morning I posted an article I wrote — “The Top 3 Reasons For Being Happy At Work” –to my other site, Superperformance.com.® The title is pretty self-explanatory. Read the article.

I also saw a good video on videojug.com on the subject of being happy at work and thought I’d post it here below. Enjoy. If you are viewing on the iOS, this video may have to be directly accessed through Safari:

http://www.videojug.com/film/how-to-be-happy-at-work

Inspirational Poster

I’ve made a poster inspired by the poem “The Winds of Fate.” You can print a copy for personal use by clicking on the image below. The image below is too small for you to adequately see the text, so I printed the the text below the image. The print size of the poster is 8.5 x 11, so the text is perfectly readable on the printout. Enjoy for yourself or print some for friends. Just don’t republish it or use it commercially.

winds of fate poster

The Winds of Fate
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

One ship drives East,
and another drives West,
With the self-same winds that blow;
Tis the set of the sails, and not the gales,
Which tells us the way to go.

Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate,
As we voyage along through life;
Tis the set of the soul that decides its goal,
And not the calm or the strife.

Save the world — or a small part of it

One of the delights of everyday life is the discovery that you can be part of saving the world. Sure, you can’t really save it or even very much of it single-handedly. But you can do something every day that contributes. Often in a big way.

For example, you can’t feed everyone in the world and end world hunger. But you can go to The Hunger Site (http://www.thehungersite.com) every day, click on the big orange button and give 1.5 cups of rice. There’s no charge to you. It’s funded by sponsors and it has a store for more income. A cup and a half of rice is enough to save one person from starving.

If you want to contribute in a way you can see, help someone you know. It is rare not to know someone who needs help. Physical, psychological or financial. You could help a friend post a résumé online. Cook meals and deliver them to an out-of-work friend — or family. Let a friend crash on your couch until he can get a new job and apartment. Send cards, letters, balloons — whatever — daily to a sick friend or co-worker. Recommend a friend on LinkedIn. Put an ad on your website to promote a friend’s business.

There are an endless number of things you can do every day to help just one person. Most of them cost little time or money. You can think up many more than I can list.

You’ll feel good. The others you help will feel good. And, in time, you’ll notice that the good you do will multiply. Because such activity tends to go viral. If you want to make sure it goes viral, talk to others about what you are doing and encourage them to do the same. Make sure to encourage them to also talk about what they are doing.

Of course, in addition to helping another person, you might want to engage in the daily delight of saving the planet by reducing your negative impact on it. Just one action at a time.

Remember the good (feeling) times…

Carefree joy of a child on a carousel

Have you ever watched a child on a first carousel ride? For most it is an experience of carefree joy. Most children become quite excited upon seeing a carousel. They love the color and motion. The unique animals to ride upon. They see the other children enjoying their rides. They reach out for it. Some almost leap from their parents arms to try to get to it.

Have you ever experienced the feeling of carefree joy yourself? Take a moment to remember it. To re-experience it. That is what memories are for. Memories are not merely for useful facts and how-to’s or for warnings about what to avoid. Memories allow you to experience the good feelings in life and help you find ways to re-create them in a variety of ways.

How can you create some carefree joy in your life today?

Celebrate the everyday every day.

Remember the musical Auntie Mame?  The song We Need A Little Christmas? (“We need a little Christmas, right this very minute…”) Think about what it’s like at Christmas — people exchanging cards, wishing each other well, having get-togethers, exchanging gifts; families making time to be together and share activities and memories.  Think about the warmth.  The anticipation.

Holidays and celebrations, greetings and gift-giving.  You feel good at those times.   You have the nostalgia of the various traditions, including stories, poetry and music.  And it’s not just at Christmas.  There are a number of traditions around celebrating birthdays, weddings and wedding anniversaries, christenings, bar (bas) mitzvahs, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, Mardi Gras (in a few places), Valentine’s Day… many, many other times of celebration.

The good feelings come from sharing those traditions and memories with friends and family. They come from doing things for and making things for others. From surprising and pleasing others. From creating a celebratory environment. From creating an environment and activities that generate feelings of caring and connection.

You don’t need to wait for holidays or special occasions to care and connect, to share and enjoy. You have opportunities or can make opportunities to do so every day. You can do it with phone calls, e-mails, cards, visits, meeting for coffee or lunch–and a myriad of other ways. You could take your wife a rose for no reason other than it was Tuesday.  You could light a fragrant candle and put it on the dinner table just because it makes you smile and it’s Friday. You can break out the fine china and have a formal tea with your best friend.  You can learn to celebrate the everyday every day.

Today is August 1, 2009. Happy day. Happy summer. Happy Saturday. Quick, try to think of five reasons to celebrate today.