We all have great wants and desires. Without them we’d have virtually no motivation to do anything. But there are a lot of hidden land mines that lie in our path just waiting for us to step on them and explode our dreams, desires, and goals. Our very wants and desires that are so important to our lives of passion can make us absolutely miserable if we don’t know what to do with ourselves.
As McGonigal states in her wonderful book The Willpower Instinct, “… desire is neither good nor bad–what matters is where we let it point us.”
We all know that frustrated desires can lead us to search out bad or negative ways to boost or otherwise change our mood—-by using drugs and/or alcohol, binge eating, or even going on a shopping spree. These all work well to increase dopamine and serotonin—those mood altering chemicals in our brain—giving us a high and one that can be addictive. These activities can too easily and too quickly become detrimental to our health, our finances, and our relationships. But what if you were able to increase these mood altering chemicals with something positive and productive, gaining a natural high and moving towards your goals at the same time?
I am sure anyone of us can come up with a few examples of positive activities and actions that will improve rather than harm our lives but let me give you some of my list. You can use these as a start or as examples for your own list. Use your positive experiences and what you want out of life to help create the ideas for your list.
Then when you feel yourself turning towards those old tried and true (and negative and harmful) options, chose something from this positive list instead. Do this diligently for at least a week and take note of how much better you feel about yourself and your life. I bet you’ll not only enjoy the activities you’ve used as substitutes but you will be much happier overall, looking back at all the positive and productive things you did.
Here is my list:
1. Work out: Just 6 or 12 minutes on the stair master, doing sit-ups and push-ups or using weights
2. Get a tennis game going
3. Write out my bests thoughts for the days
4. Read a good book
5. Listen to favorite music (create a custom playlist online)
6. Arrange a get together with family and friends
7. Get a massage
8. Hike or bike in mountains or just take a walk in the neighborhood
9. 5 to 10 minutes of meditation
10. 5 or 10 minutes of simple yoga
Now … what goes on your list?
**If you like what you’ve read in this blog please send it on to people you know and love, to people who you think this message and information may be very helpful. There is nothing in the world that brings greater satisfaction than helping other people. Don’t you agree?
Last week I went on a hike to get some exercise, looking forward to the great feeling that the increase of serotonin and dopamine bring on from the exercise. In my pocket I had a handful of $2 bills which I give out to kids because it always brings a huge smile and a sincere thank you and I get a big boast myself from seeing how happy it makes them.
So while enjoying the beautiful sights of Millcreek Canyon, I passed a couple and their daughter. The little girl was crying because she had fallen on the trail. As I passed by I told the her “Be sure to keep your eyes on the trail for paper litter and if you pick some up you will be TWO lucky.” I then dropped a $2 bill a few feet on. The girl saw it, picked it up, her scrapes forgotten, and excitedly showed her parents. I kept on hiking, a big smile on my face, but soon heard them talking to another hiker about what I’d done, which made me smile even more.
A little while later I passed a slightly older girl and told her the same thing. When I dropped the $2 bill she very sweetly let me know I had dropped it. I told her to keep it for good luck. I passed this girl and her parents on the way back down and her parents stopped me, thanking me over and over and again and said their daughter thought I was an angel. That made my broad smile into an even broader grin that just wouldn’t leave my face.
By the time I’d gotten to the end of the trail, I was incredibly high on all the joy my little gestures produced as well as from the exercise. I couldn’t stop thinking about how something as small as a $2 bill could make both the giver and receiver so happy. We all go to great lengths to find a little happiness, something that makes us feel good or let’s us know what we do is worthwhile. And yet some of the smallest gestures can do this very thing, not just for you but also for others.
Take a look at Chapter 12 “The Benefits of a “God- Eye View” in my book, “How to Ignite Your Passion for Living”. And take a moment here and there to make someone’s day and yours as well.