Happiness Clinic: Being Merry

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One of the things that is striking about far too many books about how to be happy is how serious they are.  You find the happiness guru and they give you a prescription for happiness, and if you do exactly what the guru says, without fail, happiness appears and you live happily ever after. Bull pucky.  Unhealthy, unhappy bull pucky.  Happiness needs a strong foundation, but it’s not like learning to be a prima ballerina.  You don’t have to put the rest of your life on hold while you study happiness.  Because at the base, underneath all of the other…

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Five Tips for Getting People to Accept Help

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She won’t accept help. He doesn’t want my help. We’ve all had it happen.  Whether you’re a helping professional or you have a friend or family member with a really big problem, often when we most want to help someone, the other person rejects our offer. 1) Ask yourself if the person really needs the help you’re offering, or if your desire to help the person is making you see her situation as different than it is.  Sometimes our own need to help can make us see events in other peoples’ lives as problems when they aren’t issues for that…

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Ten Personal Commandments for Happiness and Ethical Living

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Once upon a time I came across a meme on LiveJournal asking people to identify their ten personal commandments.  I like memes. When people participate in them, interesting thought experiments spread across the world. I took the assignment seriously and took perhaps a full week to think about what ten principles I would like to live by. I wanted them to be universal, to apply in addition to rather than instead of a religious belief, and to address both harm to self and harm to others. Here is what I came up with:

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Happiness: The Dance of Shared Joy and Shared Pain

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Happiness Results from Full Participation in Life How many of us have groaned or sighed when some happiness guru or another has said ‘just think positive’? How many of us have growled at the speaker or the book and thrown the remote or the book across the room in anger? Do you know why you get so angry? That kind of deep anger covering up an even deeper injury? It’s because you’re being asked to take half (more or less) of reality and pretend its not real. It doesn’t work, because ‘think positive’ is only a bit of the answer,…

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