The I-T-I-A Formula

I-T-I-A stands for:

Intention

Thought

Imagination

Action

The I-T-I-A Formula takes into account everything known about how mind processes information and brings about change. But you must do all four; otherwise the effects won’t be permanent.

Intention

Personal change starts with a decision – to learn a new skill, to develop a new personal quality and so on. For example, you could decide that from now on you’re always going to treat yourself with love and respect and behave confidently. It’s as simple as that.

Ask yourself:

What do you want out of life?

  • What kind of person would you like to be?
  • What changes would you like to make?
  • What are your goals? Are you prepared to commit to them?

Remember, the clearer your goals and the stronger your intentions, the more likely they are to be realised.

Thought

Step back and observe your self-talk (your thoughts). Are they generally positive or negative? What questions do you ask yourself? What are you trying to achieve by thinking that way?

Examine your attitudes and beliefs. Are they true? Do they serve you well? Where have they brought you so far?

The more positive your thinking, the happier you are and the more likely to succeed at whatever you set your mind to.

Imagination

Learn to use your creative imagination and intuition. They are the key to a successful future.

Imagine achieving your goals. What will they look like when brought to fruition? What will they sound like? Feel like? Do this often, especially when you are physically and mentally relaxed.

The imagination is the fast track to your unconscious mind. You can imprint your desires – and the belief that they will be met – on your unconscious using your imaginative faculties.

Action

Take small steps in the right direction – towards your goals – every day. You may feel uncomfortable, but ignore your discomfort, feel the fear and do it anyway.

Monitor your progress and make adjustments if necessary. Do more of what works and stop doing what doesn’t. Change never feels right, but when you act ‘as if’, eventually the uncomfortable feelings fade.

Keep going until success becomes a habit – every step reinforces your progress. And don’t be put off by others.

The process is a little like the old domino trick where the performer pushes over one domino and all the others fall over in sequence. Every change you make influences the next step, which in turn affects the step after that, and so on. The important thing is to begin. Go on – push over that first domino now. Promise yourself that you’ll give it your best and never give up!

©David Lawrence Preston, 2018

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Conf book cover

Building Self-Confidence in Practice

In-I-T-I-A-te change!

When you apply the I-T-I-A Formula – Self-awareness +Intention +Thinking +Imagination +Action – to confidence building, the shift in consciousness is not necessarily dramatic, more like a gradual awakening. Over time, you cast off your negative conditioning and adopt more empowering beliefs. Then feelings and actions change too.

It’s like climbing a ladder; don’t try too much at once, take it one rung at a time. Small steps are important. Every day, stretch yourself a little further; have a go at something which you would previously have found too daunting, like striking up a conversation with a stranger, asserting yourself, or giving a talk to a local group.

Each time you succeed, you gain encouragement, your attitude changes, and before long it will get easier and you’ll feel better than ever before.

One of the secrets of confidence building is to act ‘as if’ you’re growing in confidence, and ‘as if’ you are the person you want to be. This is what William Shakespeare meant when he wrote, ‘Assume a virtue if you have it not’.

Project an air of quiet confidence, even if you don’t feel it. For instance, if you feel shy in the company of people you don’t know, shake hands firmly, look them in the eye, speak with a confident tone of voice, and smile. It may feel like a big effort at first, but even if you have butterflies in your stomach, act as if you’re confident and you will feel more confident. Eventually the uncomfortable feelings fade.

Many outwardly confident people had to work at it, knowing that if you act confidently and look as if you know what you’re doing, then sooner or later you will feel that way.

If it feels uncomfortable to begin with, remember that it’s only your programming and conditioning trying to keep you to old habits.

It’s important to keep in mind what you’re striving for – reinventing yourself as a calm and  confident person with high self-esteem and a healthy and secure self-image.

Mental rehearsal

Creative imagery is a great ally when building confidence. Mentally rehearse any impending challenge, creating the perfect result in your mind every time to impress this on your subconscious. ‘See’, ‘hear’ and ‘feel’ yourself as a confident and successful person.

Here’s a useful four-stage routine for building confidence. Let’s say you have some goal in mind, such as making a sale, attracting a member of the opposite sex, passing an exam or attending a job interview:

  1. ‘Visualise’ yourself as a confident person and imagine what it would feel like to be loaded with confidence.
  1. Next,’ visualise’ yourself behaving confidently, for instance delivering the talk with assurance, interacting with others confidently and handling difficult questions with ease.
  1. ‘Visualise’ yourself having accomplished your objective.
  1. Finally, ‘visualise’ others’ response to your success, e.g. applauding, congratulating you etc.

Remember also to use the modelling, and anchoring techniques to the full.

Celebrate your progress!

Every time you take a step forward, reward yourself. Buy yourself a small treat, take a weekend break, go on a course – something that will give you a further taste of pleasure and success.

If on the other hand things don’t work out as you planned, don’t chastise yourself. Reflect on what you can learn from it and put the episode down to experience.

Focus on the positives

Every moment, think of all the good qualities you have. Don’t get caught up in what others think of you – or, more correctly, what you imagine others may think of you (because we can never know for sure what another person is thinking). Otherwise you’ll only attract people who demand you to keep them happy.

Instead, keep yourself happy! Be the kind of person you want to be and you’ll attract others who are the same. Remember, like attracts like. The rest follows automatically.

Be patient

If you really believed in yourself, how would you feel? Then isn’t it worth spending a little time each day working on yourself, building your self-belief? Of course it is. With a good self-image, confidence, a clear purpose and a realistic action plan almost anything is possible.

But you’ll have to be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and, if your confidence is currently low, neither is self-belief. So start now, wherever you are at, and never, never give up. It’s open to everyone!

©David Lawrence Preston, 25.8.2018

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How To Books, 2010

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise – Luxury, Pleasure, Necessity?

Oscar Wilde once said that whenever he felt the urge to exercise he would lie down and rest until it went away. Shame! This is a certain recipe for physical ill health, stress and mental deterioration. However, the amount and type of exercise needed to stay healthy are well within the grasp of most people.

One of the most disturbing aspects of modern life is how little physical activity many of us undertake. In Britain, eight out of ten adults are so physically inactive they are damaging their health, and the numbers are rising. Three-quarters of young Britons have less than two hours’ physical education per week at school, and almost a quarter of 12-15 year-old wheeze after a brief jog. And it’s getting worse. Research in 2015 – three years after the London Olympics that were supposed to help raise participation rates in the UK – nearly half a million fewer people were participating in physical activity. The biggest culprits were distractions such as TV and computers.

The benefits of regular exercise are too numerous to list. They include more energy and stamina, increased resistance to disease, lower cholesterol levels, deeper, more satisfying sleep, and a more youthful appearance. Exercise also brings mental benefits such as increased self-confidence, better concentration, improved memory and greater resilience to stress. It is also vital for weight control. The metabolic rate is raised both during exercise and for hours afterwards, burning off fat and excess calories.

As little as thirty minutes rapid walking four times a week can provide up to ten years of rejuvenation, making the heart more efficient, reducing the risk of coronary heart disease and significantly increasing life expectancy. Indeed, sixty year-old men who have exercised regularly throughout their lives have reaction times equal to, or better than, inactive men in their twenties and women who exercise have lower rates of breast and reproductive-system cancers.

Exercise is also a natural tranquilliser and antidepressant. It helps releases the stress chemicals which flood the body when we are stressed. We’re also happier when we exercise because the ‘happy hormones’ known as endorphins are released into the bloodstream bringing feelings of elation which can still be felt long after. Endorphins also block feelings of pain and help manage stress and depression.

What Kind of Exercise Do You Need?

Twenty to thirty minutes a day sufficient to raise the rate of breathing is adequate for most adults to maintain good health. Make discreet adjustment to your lifestyle. For instance, walk or cycle instead of using motorized transport and use the stairs instead of the lift. Buy a push mower – gardening is excellent aerobic exercise.

You need:

  • Endurance exercises to build stamina, improve breathing and condition the cardiovascular system.
  • Flexibility or stretching exercise to loosen the muscles, build suppleness and prevent stiffness; aches and pains in the joints as we get older are not so much the result of aging or arthritis, but lack of use.
  • And you need strengthening exercises to increase or maintain muscle power.

Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercise

Aerobic increases the oxygen supply in the bloodstream (aerobic means ‘in combination with oxygen’). It increases lung capacity, burns fat and builds stamina. It includes anything that can be done at a steady rate without becoming breathless: walking, cycling, swimming, jogging, dancing, etc.

Aerobic exercise also helps burn off excess adrenalin and the harmful toxins that result from stress and tension. We can’t always respond to frustration and stressful situations with instant fight or flight, but we can work it off walking, jogging, cycling or swimming.

In contrast, anaerobic exercise burns starch and builds strength. ‘Anaerobic’ means ‘in the absence of oxygen’. Any activity which leaves you breathless is anaerobic. It involves short, intense bursts of energy which impose a much greater strain on the body.

If you’ve been physically inactive, start with gentle aerobic exercise and increase your work rate gradually. Make sure you can do it without discomfort before attempting strenuous anaerobic exercise.

Stretching and loosening

Stretching and loosening builds suppleness, prevents stiffness, relieves muscle tension and reduces the risk of injury. Create a regular routine of stretching and moving the joints and muscles is recommended. One excellent way is yoga. Anyone who does yoga regularly will be supple well into their later years.

Hints on exercise

Within a few days of beginning a sensible exercise programme, anyone who hasn’t taken regular exercise will find they’re looking and feeling better than they’ve done for years.

  • If you are over forty, have a medical check up before you start exercising, especially if you haven’t exercised regularly for a while.
  • Don’t try to do too much to begin with. Stay within your limits and increase your work rate gradually.
  • Always warm up first. A few minutes of gentle loosening and stretching protects the heart, muscles and joints from injury.
  • Exercise at least three times a week at a time to suit you. Choose activities you enjoy.
  • Never miss a session (unless you’re ill). It’s easier to get out of shape than into it. It takes several months to reach peak condition, but your fitness can be lost in two or three weeks of inactivity.
  • Cool down afterwards, e.g. a few minutes of gentle loosening and stretching.
  • Don’t overdo it. You should feel better five minutes after completing exercise than you did before. If you feel breathless, slow down until your body is safely used to it.
  • Don’t exercise too hard if you are ill. Your body needs the energy for recovery.
  • Allow yourself plenty of recuperation time between sessions. Your body will recover more quickly and you will be less likely to get injured.
  • Smile! Nothing else benefits the facial muscles as much.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Weight Control

An obese man was given a list of permitted foods by his doctor. ‘Fine,’ he said having read the first few items – lettuce, carrots, celery, etc – ‘but do I take them before or after meals?’

Unless you have a medical condition which interferes with metabolism, there are only two ways to lose weight – eat less and exercise more.

If you are overweight, first get yourself checked out by a doctor. Then, if there is nothing medically wrong, avoid eating and drinking between meals (no nibbling and snacking), eat smaller portions (you’ll soon find that a smaller amount of food makes you feel satisfied and comfortably full) and choose only health giving, low sugar, high fibre, low fat foods and drinks, which are consistent with a slim figure.

Reinforce your weight control programme by using the I-T-I-A Formula:

  1. Clarify your intention by setting firm, challenging but realistic goals. Set deadlines by which you intend to achieve your milestones.
  1. Changing your thinking and beliefs about weight (e.g. reinforce the idea that if you eat less and exercise more, you will lose weight – no excuses!). Affirm that things are already changing and you will succeed.
  1. Mentally ‘imagine’ yourself having reached your target weight.
  1. Take action, monitor your progress, make adjustments if necessary, and persist until you succeed.

The types and amounts of exercise needed to reap the rewards are well within the reach of most people, even those who have not previously exercised regularly. Go for it!

 

©Feelinggoodallthetime, 27.6.2017

Nothing herein is intended as a substitute for medical advice. Always consult a doctor or qualified health care professional about any condition that may require diagnosis or treatment.

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The AcuPearl Sport is designed to support the body during exercise. Further details – www.AcuPearl.co.uk.

 

How to Books, 2010

Forgiveness

I’m often struck by the spectacle of people who’ve just suffered some tragedy – like a close relative being murdered – being placed in front of the TV cameras and being asked one of the most stupid of stupid questions – how do you feel? Soon after the event, they’re usually too shocked to say anything sensible. Often they just burst into tears.

Sometimes they express their anger and their desire for vengeance. They say things like ‘how can I sleep until the killer has been brought to justice?’ or ‘If I could get my hands on them I’d tear them limb from limb…..’ They tell how they can’t sleep, their health has suffered, they can’t work because of the worry that consumes them – a natural response to shock in the short term, but in the longer term a sign they haven’t really dealt with it.

Then time passes, the culprit is caught and the same people say, ‘How can I ever forgive them?’ or ‘No punishment can repay what they did.’ ‘Some even say, ‘I don’t want to forgive? Why should I?’

We all know revenge can’t bring back one’s loved ones or change the facts if a terrible accident has taken place.

Fortunately most of us are never in that situation.  We suffer various lesser setbacks, we perhaps feel someone has cheated on us, stolen from us or done us harm in some other way. Our instinct is to try and get our own back, ‘I’ll show him’, get angry, seek revenge or perhaps cut them out of our lives completely.

But there’s a problem – several problems in fact.

  • Anger clouds or judgement. We find ourselves doing unwise things, and sometimes inadvertently sabotage our own well-being.
  • Anger, bitterness, resentment etc. make us ill; they flood the body with toxic stress chemicals, cause the muscles to tighten, leading to physical problems.

It’s said that acid only harms the vessel that contains it.

There’s an old Chinese saying, ‘If you’re going to seek revenge, you’d better dig two graves.’

But let’s not be glib about this – forgiveness isn’t easy. It’s all too easy to say you’ve forgiven because it’s what people want to hear, even though you’re doing it through gritted teeth and deep down you haven’t forgiven at all. And the reason Oscar Wilde gave to forgive isn’t very helpful either. He said, ‘Always forgive your enemies. Nothing annoys then so much.’

Why forgive

Here are four reasons to start with:

  • When we forgive we heal our pain. Our bodies feel different – less tense. The person or event we’ve forgiven becomes a memory, no longer charged with emotion. You’ll be able to meet the other person as if the situation had never happened between you.
  • Everything we give out boomerangs back on us. Fear and anger come back to hit us. But when we forgive, when we radiate positive energy, negativity dissolves and the boomerang effect doesn’t take place.
  • Forgiveness is not about condoning wrong doing. It is not saying you’re glad it happened or that you would like someone else to change, but about taking total responsibility for your own life.  I often hear people say, ‘Why should I forgive after what they did? How can anyone forgive that?’ But that’s not the point – you don’t do it for them – you do it for you. You do it to get rid of the harmful ‘stuff’ you’re carrying around with you.
  • Above all, you open up the possibility to creating a better future. When you forgive, a transformation takes place in your life. You let go and move on. It brings space into your life for new thoughts and new experiences.

Intention

To say, ‘Just forgive,’ is too glib. There are times when we’re not ready to forgive; when the wrongs we believe we have suffered are too great. We must ask ourselves if we would really like to be able to forgive, if it is something we would like to move towards?

Simply having the intention to forgive – wanting to – sets you on the way to making it happen. That’s why I feel sad for those people who say ‘I’ll never forgive, I don’t want to forgive, why should I?’

The way forward is to create more understanding, more compassion, more wisdom into ourselves. Then over time the pain will ease and the tension gradually fades away.

When we express the willingness to forgive, we’re taking a major step towards letting go.

Thinking

Examine your beliefs about forgiveness. If you believe that you have to get your own back for every wrong that has ever been done to you or it’s a sign of weakness, think about this carefully. Is this belief serving you well?

Work on eliminating unforgiving thoughts. Listen to your self-talk. Tell yourself you don’t want to think this way. Release the energy you’ve been putting into holding on to blaming thoughts.

Use Affirmations – establish in your mind positive attributes such as love, compassion and forgiveness.

Affirm: ‘I now establish forgiveness in my consciousness. Perfect order is now established in my mind. I am at peace.’

Imagination

Make a mental image of the person with whom you are angry and send them love. ‘From this moment on, I send you love and light.’  Surround this image of them in pure white light. ‘See’ yourself as connected to this person. If you cannot yet forgive, imagine yourself looking down on the situation from a higher perspective. Very often the Earth-bound self cannot forgive, but the Higher Self can.

Action

Inwardly or expressly thank those who made life difficult and tested you. They have contributed to your life’s purpose. If you respond wisely, they have aided you in your purpose and your growth.

Stop taking those petty actions of revenge. Extend your generosity and compassion to all. And hardest of all – go to that person and ask forgiveness, or do it in your imagination (they’ll pick it up one way or another).

The Spiritual Perspective on Forgiveness

What about you? What do you need to be forgiven for?

In order to forgive you must have done several things:

  • Judged.
  • Blamed.
  • Experienced fear (or become defensive through fear).

Once you stop judging and blaming, forgiveness is no longer an issue. If you had never judged or blamed another, there would be nothing to forgive.

And don’t forget to forgive yourself – you deserve it as much as anyone else! If you’ve been judging another harshly, you too must be forgiven.

True forgiveness is a permanent state of being, not just an occasional act. Let go and let the universe handle it through the natural Law of Cause and Effect. Others will have to face up to their responsibilities and learn from them, just as we do. We need do nothing. Lessons will be learned. Justice will be done.

Wouldn’t it be good to let those people on the telly have the good news? It would save them a lot of suffering.

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©David Lawrence Preston, 19.2.2017

365 Spirituality book

How To Books, 2007

The greatest mind-body healer?

The greatest mind-body healer of recent times was a diminutive and rather brusque character
who lived in New England in the first half of the nineteenth century. His name was Phineas
Parkhurst Quimby. He deserves to be much better known.

QuimbyHaving cured himself of tuberculosis, considered impossible in those days, he developed a healing method that focused on changing the destructive beliefs of his patient. These dysfunctional beliefs, he asserted, were the root cause of all health problems.

He wrote, ‘If you have been deceived by some invisible enemy into a belief, you have put it into the form of a disease, with or without your knowledge. By my theory or truth, I come into contact with your enemy and restore you to health and happiness.’

Quimby’s methods were highly unconventional. Usually he imagined a courtroom
scene in which he (an attorney) pleaded with a judge (the patient’s subconscious) to release
the thought patterns that created the illness. Sometimes he challenged the patient’s beliefs aloud, but as his skills developed, would challenge them without a word being voiced, as he silently ‘intuited’ the cause of the problem and ‘projected’ healing thoughts into the mind of the patient. This he could do in their presence or at a distance. He brought about many cures without even meeting the patient!

Quimby fervently believed – in opposition to the medical and clerical ‘wisdom’ of his day that health is the birthright and natural state of every human being. The life force or ‘Intelligence’ which sustains us was like a TV station broadcasting health and well-being for all, but could be blocked by erroneous beliefs which prevent us from enjoying long and happy lives.

I’m guessing you’ve never heard of him. Few have, even though his achievements were well documented. He helped over ten thousand people  and left behind a voluminous body of writings. He influenced almost every mind-body healer who came after, whether they were aware of him or not. The best accounts, though, came from those whom he had cured. Several testified to his prowess and wrote detailed accounts of his methods and results, including one, Mary Baker Eddy, who founded her own healing movement and claimed his discoveries as her own.

PPQ

Quimby practised an early form of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy).  His methods were also a forerunner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (hypnotherapist Milton Erickson, on whom much of NLP is based, knew all about him). Many best-selling authors have made a fortune writing about the mind-body connection – they would be nowhere without him.

Awareness, intention, attention, thought, imagination and belief – correctly applied – are the keys to mind-body healing. I sum this up as the I-T-I-A Formula; Intention, Thinking, Imagination and Action. When all four are applied, as Quimby knew, the results can be astounding.

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 29.3.2017

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For further information on the I-T-I-A Formula, see also

http://blog.davidlawrencepreston.co.uk/2015/03/the-i-t-i-a-formula/

For further information on the place of mind-body techniques in healing, see:

http://blog.davidlawrencepreston.co.uk/2013/07/consciousness-and-healing-1/

http://blog.davidlawrencepreston.co.uk/2013/07/consciousness-and-healing-1/

http://blog.davidlawrencepreston.co.uk/2013/07/consciousness-and-healing-1/

 

365 Spirituality book

How to Books, 2007

Happiness

We all want to be happy, but what is happiness? And what makes us happy?

How happy are you? Give yourself a mark out of ten, where ten means blissfully happy in every way, and zero means totally miserable all the time.

Most people exist somewhere between 5-8, not totally happy but not miserable enough to do anything about it. Why? The problem is, many of us have adopted beliefs that make it hard to be happy.

What chance have you got if you believe you have to earn happiness or that it’s selfish or irresponsible to seek it?

Can happiness be learned or taught?

Some believe that some people are just born ‘the happy type’, but recent studies suggest that this is not entirely true. It seems that happiness can be taught.

We know, for example, that happy people tend to be hopeful about the future. They assume things will work out alright and don’t indulge in blame and self-pity if things go wrong. They don’t rely on money and ‘stuff’ to make them happy, but they know how to get the most out of it. They have a wide circle of friends and don’t take themselves too seriously. They’re able to laugh at life – and themselves.

All of the above traits can be learned, although there are opposing views on how we should go about it. Some believe that you can set happiness as a goal, just as you would work on your next career move, and work towards it. The argument goes something like this:

‘If you were totally in control of your life, healthy, free from worry, prosperous, had good family relationships and lots of friends, an enjoyable and fulfilling career, rewarding hobbies, social activities and fun, and were loved and respected by others, would you be happy? The obvious answer is yes. And since all these can be set as goals, planned and worked for systematically, it follows that happiness, too, can be tackled in this way.’

Try it. You’ll find it works – to some extent, depending on where you’re starting from, but you’ll find that you eventually hit an invisible barrier. Why?

  1. People who set impossible goals become frustrated by the gap between their aspirations and their attainments. Keep your sense of direction (aimlessness is a serious threat to contentment), but don’t be obsessed by it. Research has repeatedly shown that happiness is unrelated to wealth (once you have enough to feed, clothe and house yourself, each extra £, $ or € makes little difference), intelligence, educational attainment or age.
  2. Happiness can only exist in the here and now. It’s a fallacy to think that happiness will arrive when some future event takes place. ‘When…. then I’ll be happy,’ simply doesn’t work. Fill in the gap any way you like – ‘when I achieve all my goals,’ ‘when I make a million,’ ‘when I meet the man or woman of my dreams,’ and so on. Unless you already have the foundations of happiness in place, they are unlikely to make much difference.
  3. Goals anticipate and look to the future, but happiness can only exist in the here and now. Entertainer David Baddiel put it like this: ‘My idea of perfect happiness is not having to believe that happiness resides elsewhere.’

You will never be happy if your happiness depends on your achievements. Have a sense of purpose and goals to aim for, and enjoy the process. If you succeed – great! If you don’t, at least you’ve had fun trying.

To return to the question, ‘Can happiness be taught as a skill?’ – Yes it can. Happiness is a combination of attitude and emotion, and the key to changing attitudes and emotions is the I-T-I-A Formula (see below).

Happiness is an inner state.

You can’t buy happiness, nor sell, drink, drive or wear it. You can’t see, hear, smell, taste or touch it. You can’t go on holiday to it, or give it or receive it as a gift. In other words, it cannot be determined by factors external to yourself. Some live in poverty, yet are happy. Others (including many famous and successful people) are worth millions, but are not.

Applying the I-T-I-A Formula to happiness

I-T-I-A stands for Intention, Thinking, Imagination and Action.

Intention

Are you willing to be happy?  This may seem a trite question, but it’s not. Some would have to give up certain things if they became happy, such as sympathy from others and attention.

You are responsible for your happiness. How can it be any other way? If your happiness depended on the feelings, actions and words of others, how could you ever be truly happy, since you cannot control any of these things?

Thinking

  • What absolutely must happen in order for me to feel happy?
  • What would I prefer to happen for me to feel happy?
  • What would be nice, but not absolutely essential?

Your answers define your rules for happiness. Over zealous rules can destroy your chances of being happy.

  • Realise that happiness is not an absence of problems. Life is a school. Every event, every obstacle has something to teach you so look for the lesson. See problems as challenges that can be turned into opportunities and learning experiences.
  • Let go of the need to be right. Would you rather be right, or would you rather be happy? It’s hard to be both.
  • Look on the bright side. Focus on  pleasant, happy things and count your blessings.
  • Happiness demands complete self-acceptance. If you’re not happy, this is the place to start. No amount of accomplishments and possessions can make up for a lack of self-acceptance.
  • Understand that happiness does not equal fun. Happy people certainly have fun, but happiness and fun are not the same. Fun activities help us temporarily forget our problems – but they do not bring permanent happiness, because the effect fades once the fun ends. Fun is what you feel during the activity; happiness is an on-going state of being experienced before and after. If you rely on fun to bring happiness, you’ll have an empty feeling once the party is over because you’re not addressing the real issues that bring the genuine thing.
  • Embrace change. Change is a natural and inevitable part of life. There’s a saying attributed to Helen Keller:

‘When the door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we don’t see the one which has been opened for us.’

Imagination

Imagine yourself surrounded with happiness, feeling happy, enjoying life, cheerful and contented no matter what is going on around you. Your unconscious will take this as an instruction to create happy feelings for you. Try it – it works!

Action

  • Mix with happy people. Happiness rubs off. So does unhappiness. It’s hard to be happy when surrounded by unhappy people, so mix with people who know how to enjoy themselves. Life is meant to be fun! Comedian Victor Borge described laughter as, ‘The shortest distance between two people.
  • Laugh loud and laugh often. The ability to laugh is a good indicator of mental health. It also alters your body chemistry – endorphins (the ‘happy hormones’) are released into the bloodstream bringing a feeling of well-being. When you’re happy, your body is relaxed, your facial expression changes and you laugh often. It also works in reverse. If you laugh often, it makes you feel better.
  • Smile often. Every time you pass a mirror or see yourself in a shop window, smile. Also, practise the ‘inner smile’ – the more you smile inwardly to yourself, the more you will experience a feeling of happiness. If nothing else, other people will wonder what you’re up to.
  • Do unto others… The happiest people enjoy helping others. Give – not just material things, but yourself. Make time to listen. Be cheerful (even if you’re having a bad day). Not only will you feel better, you’ll find others return your kindness.
  • Be here now.Living in the ‘here and now’ is one of the biggest steps you can take to happiness and peace of mind. How can you be happy if you continually wallow in the past, agonise over old mistakes, wishing you could relive parts of your life, and blaming yourself for wasted opportunities? Stop beating yourself up. Now is the only moment over which you have any control, so make the most of it. If your mind wanders to what might happen tomorrow, bring it back. And finally, remember the last line of ‘Gone With The Wind’ – ‘Tomorrow is another day.’

©David Lawrence Preston, 28.4.2016

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Life Coach book cover

How to Books, 2004

 

 

 

 

Raise your sights to a higher way of being

One of the visitor attractions in the holiday town where I live is a balloon tethered to a 500 metre cable. Patrons enjoy a stunning panorama which extends for over twenty miles.

Imagine a balloon flight: the higher you rise, the further you see. Features on the ground, including all the things you fret and worry over, get smaller and lose their detail. If the balloon could rise even higher, they would disappear almost completely. Similarly, when you seek happiness and security in a higher way of thinking, your anxieties seem less significant.

How do you attain a higher way of thinking? The way is represented by the letters I-T-I-A.

  • Intention: Aspire to your highest potential. Direct your will. Keep your intentions pure and everything is achievable. The more you stay focussed, the more certain it is.
  • Think: Shake off the thinking patterns and beliefs that have constrained you, raise your thoughts to the underlying Intelligence that governs the universe and all our lives.
  • Imagine: Imagine yourself charged with spiritual energy, like a giant rechargeable battery absorbing power from the source as effortlessly as breathing. Imagine yourself putting it to good use in the service of your fellow beings.
  • Action: Be the master of your actions, making wise choices guided by your intuition. Act as if source energy is flowing through you and have faith in all that is good. When this becomes your natural way of being, your Inner Power is truly awakened.

Persevere

When you decide to change, you’ll come up against mental inertia – warring thoughts in your mind. Ignore them. There will probably be times when you feel tempted to go back to your old ways.

A friend recently said to me, ‘Yours are lovely values to have, but you can’t live that way.’ Why not? Did she mean that spiritual ideals somehow interfere with other priorities, such as the scramble for status and material success? Greed, envy and selfishness are all too common in today’s world: you don’t have to be a part of it.

No words can express how you feel once you have awakened the infinite power within you. All along your Inner Power had been lying dormant, and you didn’t realise it. But now you do. To quote Kahlil Gibran, ‘You are greater than you know, and all is well.’

‘Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be; and whatever your labours and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace within your soul.’

From ‘Desiderata’ Max Ehrman

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 23.1.2017

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How to Books, 2007

 

 

 

Transform yourself by the renewal of your mind

Your self-esteem is a set of thoughts which manifest in attitudes, emotions and behaviours. If it needs a makeover, apply the I-T-I-A Formula. Remember: all four parts are necessary to effect permanent change.

Intention: Decide right now that you’ll treat yourself with love and respect, and accept only what is right for you.

Thinking: Monitor your self-talk, examine your beliefs, and use affirmations to re-align your thinking. Self-deprecating thoughts have nothing to sustain them other than our own habits.

Imagination: Create the person you want to be in your imagination, knowing that he/she will eventually become the reality.

Action: Let your intentions, thinking and imagination show in your behaviour.  If this feels uncomfortable at first, take it in small steps, ignore any discomfort, and above all persist. Consistent action based on right thinking always brings results.

Persistence and determination are key. Let nothing get in the way of your quest for confidence,  high self-esteem and inner peace. Stretch yourself a little every day. Each success, however small, brings encouragement..

©David Lawrence Preston, 16.1.2017

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How to Books, 2010

Transform yourself by the renewal of your mind

Your self-image is a set of thoughts and mental images which manifest in attitudes, emotions and behaviours. If it needs a makeover, apply the I-T-I-A Formula. Remember: all four parts are necessary to effect permanent change.

Intention: Decide right now that you’ll treat yourself with love and respect, and accept only what is right for you.

Thinking: Monitor your self-talk, examine your beliefs, and use affirmations to re-align your thinking. Self-deprecating thoughts have nothing to sustain them other than our own habits.

Imagination: Create the person you want to be in your imagination, knowing that he/she will eventually become the reality.

Action: Let your intentions, thinking and imagination show in your behaviour.  If this feels uncomfortable at first, take it in small steps, ignore any discomfort, and above all persist. Consistent action based on right thinking always brings results.

Persistence and determination are key. Let nothing get in the way of your quest for high self-esteem and inner peace. Stretch yourself a little every day. Each success, however small, brings encouragement..

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 10.1.2017

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Conf book cover

How to Books, 2010

In-ITIA-te Prosperity

Eric Fromm wrote that many people spend their lives never achieving what they want because they have it the wrong way round. They try to:

 Have money and things so they can

Do what they want, so they can

Be happy.

Instead, Fromm wrote, first you need to:

Be, then you can

Do, so you can

Have what you want.

Fromm correctly identified the root cause of prosperity – start by going within, finding your purpose, knowing your strengths and using the gift of mind to the full. Here’s the recipe. It has five ingredients:

  • Self-awareness

Plus I-T-I-A:

  • Intention
  • Thinking
  • Imagination
  • Action

The I-T-I-A Formula applies to every area of life. To create anything, tangible or intangible, you must commit yourself to it, practise right thinking and beliefs, have a clear vision or imagination of the desired outcome and take persistent action to make it so. It works because it establishes the chief causes that shape your character and your life.

Self-awareness

Do you want to be prosperous? Are you sure? What does this mean to you? How hard are you willing to work? How can you contribute to the greater good? Can you handle it?

Intention

Make prosperity a firm goal and commit yourself to the necessary mental and physical discipline it involves. Remember also that we become prosperous by helping others become prosperous too so Include others in your prosperity thinking.

Thinking

Your beliefs about prosperity are like the thermostat that regulates your central heating. Set the thermostat high, and the system maintains that temperature. Set it low, and it switches itself off as soon as that point has been reached. If you don’t feel you deserve to be prosperous you are like a magnet that repels rather than attracts.

Imagination

Your imagination helps shape your world. Using your imagination intelligently gives your mind the ammkunition to accept that you are prosperous. Once inner prosperity is established, outer conditions can be brought into line. Imagine what you desire as already yours. Picture yourself surrounded by the conditions you wish to create. The more you imagine, sense and feel something, the more likely you are to get it.

Action

Make it happen! Your mental work kick-starts the prosperity process, but you must do what needs to be done. Act as if your aspirations are already there in non-physical form, on the way to being actualized. And never, never give up. Every challenge, every difficulty is simply a stepping stone on the way to success.

What are you thinking and doing to be prosperous?

Is prosperity a problem area for you? Are you struggling financially? Do you lack the resources to do and have everything you wish? Then ask yourself, ‘What am I thinking and doing to create this, and what do I need to change?’

If you need more help, my book ‘365 Ways to be your own Life Coach’ has lots of tips to help make your vision a reality.

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 2.12.2016

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How to Books, 2004