The 4th of July has historically been a time to party, enjoy time with friends and family, watch fireworks and blow shit up. This year my friends and I decided that the holiday would be best celebrated if we went to the top of a mountina and just reflected on the chaos that the world below was experiencing. The summit of South Sister became our destination of awesomeness on the 4th of July, 2015. Enjoy and Summit as Friends!
The past year of my life has been filled with joy and laughter, pity and sorrow. I have learned more in 12 months than I ever really thought I would. Life truly is full of peaks and valleys. Reaching the top of a peak does not mean that we conquered it, but rather conquered something inside of ourselves.
I have conquered many peaks in the past year that have resulted in a more peaceful, humble and happy way of life.
This article is intended to give you nine simple things you can start doing now to live a happier life. They have worked for me and I do not see why they cannot do the same for you. I truly believe a happy life is one worth living and life is too short to not experience the true joy that it beholds.
I hope you find more peace and clarity in your life by taking action on all or some of these. This is by no means an exhaustive list and I realize that you may have some things that work great for you.
What makes you happy? What do you do when you are feeling down? Please share!
Summit as friends!
I recently went through a phase in my life in which anger was a frequent emotion. I was angry at people, places and things because they were not giving me what I wanted, now. Not only did I react to this anger, but I let it get out of control. My friends and family slowly drifted out of my life, I slipped into a depressive state and really did not know what to do.
Today, I am so grateful to have climbed out of that mind state and found a way to really create loving relationships with others and the world at large. This did not happen overnight, in fact it really took a lot of inner work. The work however has been worth the outcome.
Yesterday, I was riding my bike home from work reflecting on the fact that I had not been really angry for quite a long time. Well… What the mind focuses on it attracts. While my home is fairly clean I could not help but let the mountain of laundry, meowing cat, dirty floors, other peoples stuff drive me to a mind state of complete anger. I wanted to scream, douse my cat in water and instead of go on my run sit in my anger. I am glad I did not act on those thoughts. I simply responded to the situation.
I put my running clothes on, laced up my shoes with a flame blazing over my head and tromped out the door. I felt like a child, who did not get the toy he wanted. How ridiculous!
As my body began tromping down the river trail I could not help but begin stirring more thoughts of fury in my mind. This person did or did not do this. Why is my house in disorder? Why isn't everything going my way? Then something happened. It was as though a light bulb went off in my head. I asked myself one simple question.
Scott - Is the reality of things really that big of a deal or is your personal perception so freaking small that you are letting relatively minor things make you angry?
With my ego aside I was able to honestly answer this question. I am just letting things get to me because in the present they are not they way I want them to be. This means I need to reflect on my past, learn from it and respond in the present to make my life better in the future.
After reflecting on the situation. I asked myself another question.
How can I share my feelings with my GF in a rational way so it does not sound like everything is her fault? Another light bulb! I have a part in all of this too. We can work together to have a happier kitty and orderly home. All we have to do is break some bad habits. I have broken habits much harder than this, so why can’t we knock this one out of the park?
My conversation with Nicole went very well and we both agreed that there is room for improvement. I love that responding in a polite manner really helps you more than getting pissed off and lashing out.
In review, here the five things to do when anger arises. Your goal should be to manage your anger before it escalates and controls you.
5 Simple Ways to Manage Your Anger
Anger is completely natural. Do not think for a moment that you are abnormal because you are going through an angry phase in your life. Spend some time reflecting on why you feel this way. I have found alone time is best before talking it out with anyone. This allows me to respond instead of react.
Summit as friends!
Our to do list continues to get longer. We have not even finished last weeks tasks. The kids are sick. I have to make dinner. The TV is turned on and bugging the crap out of me. My pets are howling for food. And, you expect me to stay present? I mean in this very moment. Not thinking about the future, but focusing on what is right now.
Well, I am here to tell you that if you want to be happier then you really need to be in the present moment. You will find that in this place you are happier, more successful and others around you will enjoy your company much more. By focusing on what is going right now you will attract more of that into your life and you will look forward to the good things. What the mind thinks it creates. This will provide you with the mental strength and presence to respond to what is most important in this very moment. I am not saying you need not look at your past experiences in the present moment.
Our past is a great indicator of why we are where we are in life. The present is a period in which we can reflect back and learn from both the good and the bad situations. Doing this simple reflection exercise will enable you to make your present better than the past. Identify areas in your past that you do not wish to repeat, situations to avoid and people that brought only negative energy into your life. Stop putting your energy into those areas of your life. Here are three simple points for your reflection on the past:
Creating the life you have always dreamed of is most certainly something we should strive for. In order to do this we have to be willing to take time out of our lives to plan for our future. This will enable us to create a future that is better than the present. Visualizing what your beautiful future could look like is a great first step. What do you want your life to look like in 5, 10 and even 15 years? Creating a clear plan to achieve our vision is necessary if we want to experience a life better than our wildest dreams. And, we must put our plan into action in the present, not in the future.
Like you my mind often wanders to unnecessary places in time, when I should be present. I have found that my life is the most full of joy and success in the present, but the hecticness of life often ripples into my mind. Some great tools I have used to becoming more grounded in the present are mindful meditation, running and spending quality time in the outdoors.
I hope you find your present :)
Summit as friends!
There are moments and people in life that have a tendency to just drive us nuts. One moment we can be in a complete state of peace and the next yelling at the top of our lungs. We forget to breathe, be grateful and accept our emotions. We react instead of pausing for a few minutes to think about why we are feeling the way we are. Most of the experiences that drive these feelings are really nothing more than molehills that we make into mountains. Seemingly small situations are escalated just because of our perception of how things should be.
For me the situations that cause these feelings of anger, impatience and negative reaction range from the cat meowing consistently to a bike trainer not functioning properly. Both the cat and the trainers functionality are outside of my sphere of control. What I do have complete control over is the way in which I choose to react. I have found that if I react peacefully rather than with anger my feelings in impatience blow over much faster than otherwise.
Now I am no perfect angel, but I have found some tools that actually allow me to work through my impatient urges. These urges drive me to do irrational things like make important decisions in a hurry and yell at those I love. This is no way to express how much you care for others and yourself.
Identify your feelings of itchy impatient monsters creeping up your back, then pause for a moment to identify what you are feeling.
Accept your feelings. They are only a perception of the way things are and the way you want them to be. Knowing that your feelings of irritation and anger will pass helps you accepts they way you are.
Breathe for a moment. Take three deep breaths and think about nothing more than the quality of breathe you are taking. This allows you to slow your mind, nourish your body and become willing to do something rational.
Reflect on why these feelings arose in the first place. Did they come to fruition to warn you of something? Did someone really do something wrong or are you just allowing another persons life path to impact you emotionally?
Respond rationally! After identifying with why you are feeling this way you should be able to respond rationally with love and kindness. Perhaps someone did step on your toes and they need to change the way they treat you. If this is the case then politely share with them why you feelin the way you do. If they respond with anger remember they just failed to use these simple tools that you just employed.
If you feel like yelling back then pause for a moment to run through these steps again. The beautiful thing is that these really work. You can resolve difficulties with peace, love and kindness. There is no need to lose your patience.
Patience is not an easy thing to achieve, but it is a much more peaceful way to flow through life if you will only allow it.
Freedom to create my own work hours is part of the vision I have in life. I have a passion for delivering excellent work that helps people, but not at the expense of a huge percentage of my life. I believe life is meant to be lived and not worked. Don’t get me wrong here - I have an amazing job, working for a great employer, but I am striving for something more.
I am working to build a business that allows me the freedom to work when and where I want. It will allow me to help more people in more ways than one and have a greater positive impact on the world at large. It will allow me to create my own work schedule and maximize the positive activities I involve myself in.
How will I know that I have achieved this passion?
I will have the freedom to take several months off from the daily grind. During this time I would spend time becoming more connected with who I am, strengthening relationships, traveling the world and experiencing some truly amazing adventures. I would use this time as a rebalancing and refocusing period in my life in order to become more successful and create even greater impact.
Another work : off days ratio I have in mind is the freedom to a 3 : 4 work : off days lifestyle. This will provide me the freedom to spend more quality time with my family, focus on other aspects of life and again help more people. This does not mean that I would be vacationing four days a week, rather I will have a greater amount of time to become spiritually, financially and physically sound.
I know to many this may sound unachievable or perplexing. I want you to understand the goal is to create work blocks that are more focused and productive not to get less work done. I believe this is one way in which I can provide a greater service to my community, family and customers in the future.
The freedom to create my own work schedule has been own my mind for the last several years. I am grateful for the flexible schedule that I currently work. Perhaps my current freedom is what has driven the desire to create the true work life balance that I seek. I see far too many people live a life of work rather than actually live life. I want to spread this message. Life is meant to be lived. We are here for such a short time and so much of it is spent at the office, away from our loved ones, away from our passions and we forfeit our health, spirit, finances and so much more as a result.
My solution is to follow through on the vision of my successful business. What is yours?
Have you ever dreamt of having the freedom to create your own hours, work when you want, on projects you want and where you want?
Today, I challenge you to honestly answer these questions yourself.
Begin taking full advantage of your time by creating healthy work break habits.
Many people use their lunch hour as just that. A lunch hour! While it is important to nourish your body it is equally important to take full advantage of this time.
There are many things you can use this time for that will allow you to grow and create your ideal life balance. The lunch hour is a perfect time to cultivate new healthy habits in your lifestyle.
“We are not limited by who we rather by our unwillingness to change.”
Mornings and evenings are often consumed by family time and preparing for the work day. We miss out on important habits like exercise, reading, meditation, planning, reflection and personal activities that we desire to do with our lives.
The lunch hour is a perfect time to get away from your desk and embrace the opportunity to take on these healthy habits. Successful people often use their break as a time to reboot and revitalize the mind and body. Become one of them today by overcoming your unhealthy habits.
Ten Healthy Work Break Habits That Will Energize You
“Unless we stop now to redesign our working norms, we are at risk of moving toward an ever less thoughtful and creative professional reality.” - Derek Dean
Too often, I see people disregarding this valuable time. You can start benefiting today by implementing one of the healthy work break habits listed above or something you may find more desirable. I am not suggesting you jump right in and commit to a full hour of these, but taking a small amount of time for you will certainly boost your productivity, happiness and well being.
How are you going to spend your lunch break today? Has this article helped you re-think how you use this precious time?
Summit as friends!
Experiment: Smile At Everyone! Just a quick smile can brighten your mood and someone elses.
Why Should You Do This?
Facial expressions are very powerful. They often set the mood the moment you walk into a room. Before a word is spoken you know whether the conversation is going to be positive, neutral or negative. Did you also know that you hold the power of changing the mood. Yes you!
Just because someone is frowning that does not mean that you have to return a frown. Try returning a smile or if you are not in a smiling mood at least try a smirk. I guarantee you will feel better and the other person will immediately feel more comfortable around you. Also, in some cases you will find the other individual cannot help but return you a smile. Have you ever had a staring contest with your friend or sibling? If you have then you know that smiling is often contagious.
There are many reasons you may decide to start sharing more smiles. For me, the reason to spread smiles and happiness is simply to attempt to make people happier and more positive. In doing so I will enable myself and others to live longer, happier and healthier lives.
If you take a moment to look around at people (include yourself) you will notice the huge number of neutral or frowning faces. This is just not right! Life is too short not to smile.
I have found that when passing a smile to strangers they often disregard it and do not care to share one in return. Perhaps they are in a bad mood or stuck with the habit of looking away from people when they realize another is looking at them. Do not let this discourage you! Someone will return the favor!
Simple Reasons To Smile More
Give this a try for your own happiness sake! Change your life and change others.
Summit As Friends!
Simplicity is having the ability to be fully present in whatever you may be doing. Your mind does not wander to the past or future. You are living in the now! This makes simplicity a key ingredient to your health and happiness.
Often times our mind wants to control everything at once and we become so clouded with what we would rather be doing that we fail to be grateful for what we are doing. This results in unhappiness, low quality outcomes and a mind that is running in a rat race.
Epicurus, an ancient philosopher once wrote - “Pleasure is the end… freedom from pain in the body and trouble in the mind.” I could not agree more.
If we could just slow our minds and focus on the now we would be able to enjoy more of the simple things. Life is full of simple pleasures that can bring us to a state of peace and happiness. The problem is our minds are often too clouded with future or past thoughts to appreciate these present pleasures. I speak of simple pleasures such as breathing, walking, listening to the birds chirp or waking up early enough to truly enjoy a sunrise. The simplicity of your feet driving your body down a lightly traveled trail. The sound and feeling of the wind. Take a moment to silence your mind in your current environment. You may surprise yourself with what awaits.
We often overlook these simple pleasures as a result of extra baggage in our minds and everyday lives. We think and act on things that are really quite unnecessary and often bog down our happiness, time and relationships because they provide an instant gratification or escape. Our minds are filled with consumerism, TV, radio, Facebook, financial worries, alcohol, what others think about us and more. I am a victim of all such mind states and believe we can create a better way of life by changing our perception and daily habits.
For years I lived in the guilt and shame that came with being an alcoholic pot addict and thought someday this would be enough for me to quit. However, I did not slow down. In fact my problem progressed to the point of depression, a feeling of uselessness and utter despair. Until one day I had an epiphany on a mountainside. In the days that followed I began changing my environment and taking small steps to become a better person.
These kinds of problematic patterns seem to repeat themselves in many peoples lives until they have some kind of life changing experience. Many of us live a cyclical life that includes sleep, work, eat, drink, rinse and repeat. We forget about the simple pleasures that really make us happy including health, family and friends.
I am certain we have all used the excuse “I am too busy for that.” My life is too busy to make any changes. In reality there are simple changes we must begin making today that will make us happier and healthier friends, fathers, mothers,co-workers etc.
Too often we get so busy that “you time” is overlooked or pushed aside. We have a voice in our heads that says “there will be time for me tomorrow.” What we fail to recognize is that you time is vital to your success, happiness and balanced life and must be created on a daily basis. We all have 24 hours in a day and it is often absorbed by 8 hours of sleep, 8 hours of work, 3 hours of prepping food and eating, which leaves you with 5 hours for whatever else may be important in your life. Take some time to reflect on what you do each day. Is it all really necessary? Does it all make you happier or does some of it complicate and clutter your life
So, now what?
Every day we are faced with a choice to either simplify our lives or continue racing down the road of ever growing complexity. Sadly, many of us will continue the race and either end in a very unhappy place, or hit a roadblock, take a detour and realize how simple life really can be.
Below are three easy things I have done to simplify my life, create a mind-state of happiness and become successful each day.
Please share with me your thoughts to the following questions:
What do you do to simplify your life, free your mind and live in the present?
What simple things in life do you enjoy most?
If you found this article of value then please do share it, take action to improve your life starting now and most importantly pass the message along to someone you love.
Thank you for reading!
Summit As Friends!
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