Thursday, April 30, 2015

Live Happy - The 4 W's to make it happen in your life...

"Happineszs a state of well-being, contentment, a satisfying experience, and good fortune"(

Think about your life right now in this moment.  Are you truly happy?  Are you pursuing the things in life that add to your happiness?  Have you thought about the importance of happiness to our existence as human beings?  Finally, does happiness really matter?  I'd like to share the 4 W's that I believe are important to Living Happy.

Why Happiness?
Being happy is truly a mind, body, and spirit experience that has lasting benefits in our lives.  It has been supported by scientific research for many decades.  More recently scientific research is diving into the topic more with the changes in health care reform and the rise of disease.  What's evident  if you read any health or psychology articles is that being a happy person has a positive effect on our entire being.

Some of the research has shown significance in how happiness can create the following benefits:

  • Becoming a genius - Being happy may not get you to be a card carrying member of Mensa, but studies have shown clearly that happiness has some significant benefits to our cognition.  Some of these benefits include:
    • Improved problem solving skills
    • Greater imagination and thought production
    • Increased ability to assimilate new information - I was smiling and that's why I used those big words - wow it really works - Awesome!!! :)
  • Becoming an Adonis - Sorry to disappoint, but being happy won't make you look like Arnold Schwarzenegger's identical twin, but it has been proven to have these helpful effects on the body:
    • Decreases the workload of the heart by lowering BP and HR
    • Decreases Cortisol (a hormone that exists to help manage our body's response to stress, but high levels of it are detrimental and cause decreased immunity, increased belly fat, decreased muscle, and decreased thyroid)
    • Decrease the risk of heart disease by limiting bad blood plasma like cholesterol
  • Becoming the Life of the Party - This could actually happen by being a happy person.  Studies show that people with the following traits are able to be more successful at creating meaningful relationships.  Those traits are:
    • Enthusiasm - nobody wants to be around Debbie Downer (except us SNL fans)
    • Gratefulness - understanding and appreciating the many good things in our lives.
    • Optimism - that glass is half -full I tell you - the ability to see beyond the negative
Listed below are some links to some good information about the benefits of happiness on our bodies, minds, and spirits.  

What Happiness looks like in action
In order to enjoy these benefits we must take action in our lives to "Be Happy - don't worry" - good song.  Seriously, it is important to understand some practices we can implement in our lives to promote the happiness that leads to our holistic improvement.

Here are the 3 G's of Happiness:
  •  Gratitude - Gratitude means thanks and appreciation.  It's the warm feeling you get when you remember the person who told you to drop your 1980's hairstyle and get with the new millennium already.  It also opens ourselves to new opportunities and possibilities.

  • Giving - Another way this could be said is being generous with your time, your emotions, and your finances.  When you give to another person it fills a special place in our hearts.  How did it feel when you gave an unexpected person something from your heart?  They smiled, and you had this warm fuzzy feeling in your heart.  That may not be the scientific wording for that reaction, but you know what I mean.

  • Greatness - Not being a pompous jerk, but pursuing excellence in your own life that can positively impact others.  Having that drive to make a difference in this world.  This means taking action to look for these opportunities in your life, and knowing...

When Happiness starts to make a difference
Happiness will only occur when you decide to actually take action.  Then happiness can start to invade lives in a way that creates positive change.  When you walk down the street or through the office, do look for the opportunity to make another person's day?  How much effort does it take to say thank you or give a smile?  When you take the time in that moment it can make all the difference to both the giver and receiver.  So when should you start looking to make a difference?  Yesterday.  If I've learned anything from the privilege of helping hospice patients and their families, don't wait for tomorrow.  Therefore, just like any goal, we have to put a plan into action for success.  Here are some practical things you can do to start making a difference:

Three ways to put happiness into action:

  • Give your Mind - This means in all your interactions you need to be present.  Whether it's in your relationship or your friendship you need to give your attention.  This promotes happiness because you've just validated the other person's importance to you, and made them feel valued. Working on being a better communicator and listener in our everyday interactions can promote happiness.
  • Give Your Heart - Look for ways to put your caring for others into action without making sign that says, "See what I did".  When you look for opportunities to make others feel better it can create increased happiness and fulfillment in our lives.  Look for opportunities with your family, your friends, the person on the corner, or an official organization where you can give to others.  Do you remember what happened to the Grinch when he gave to the Who's?  Let your heart grow today as you give some of it away to others in need.
  • Give Your Hand - Scientific research supports the effects of human affection from the time we're babies in the nursery.  Without the touch of another human our growth and development become stagnate.  Therefore, having touch in our lives is important to building happiness.  As a staff nurse I always would get down to eye level with my patients, and gently touch there shoulder to let them know I would be there to meet their needs.  Each of us can do this each day with those we love, know, and meet.

Where Happiness can Grow

Being happy in life takes understanding why it's important, knowing what actions can produce the happiness we seek, how to generate happiness in our interactions with others, and finally we have to have a place where we can let happiness grow.

Here are 3 locations where you can let your happiness grow:

  • Place full of purpose - We each need to have a sense that what we do in our life makes a difference.  Being happy won't occur if you don't have a location for your happiness to grow. Is it the smile of my little 3 year old when Daddy comes home at night?  Is is your visit to a sick relative that provides them comfort as you sit with them in that strange place?  Or is on the corner in your car at the traffic light as you hand a dollar out your window to another person in need?  Only you know where that place should be for you, but to be happy you have to find that location for your purpose.
  • Place where you can grow - Each and every one of us need to and hopefully want to become better people.  To be happy in our lives we need to have a place that promotes our personal growth.  A small group, a friendship, and non-profit organization.  Or it could be your own routine of reading, meditating, or exercising.  All these actions provide the environment for you to grow and increase your happiness.  Look at your life today, and find that place you can grow.
  • Place where you can share - It is amazing to me that with so many people on the face of this earth not one of us is the same.  That's great news because we are all special individuals with unique gifts and talents that can be used to improve our life, and the lives of others.  Do you have a place where you share your gift?  Do you know what your gift is?  Most often your gift is that thing or things you do that come naturally to you that you enjoy, and can impact others positively.  Are you a great artist?  Do you have talent baking?  Are you a compassionate person that knows how to make others feel better?  Or are you talented at inspiring others to be their best?  There are a bunch of great books out there that can help with the process, and then you need to find a place to unleash your greatness on the world.
So are you ready to Live Happy, and make it a part of your everyday life?  Would you like to know of a place that might possibly be your opportunity to change your life and others?  If so, reach out to me about a great opportunity to make a difference... here's a sneak peek

           A Place to Make a Difference

Thoughts for the Day - Sometimes You Just Have to Jump

Hello and good evening,

What a picture.  I spent some time in the military, but never got the opportunity to jump out of a perfectly good airplane.  Life is like the back of the plane door going down because without that action the things outside don't come into view.  It is also that way for each of us because we can't make our lives extraordinary unless were willing to jump like the warriors.

I say warriors because these individuals have to be willing to sacrifice their safety, have a purpose our a goal they're pursuing, and finally use their courage to take that jump into an amazing life-changing experience.  Are you ready to make the jump tonight?  Are you scared about leaving the "airplane cabin" to explore new possibilities?  That's okay to be nervous and a scared, but don't let that stop you.  Even if the jump takes you off course to a new destination you made progress.  Good things won't happen in our lives if we're not willing to move forward and sometimes fall.  Just get back up.

"Success seems to be connected with action.  Successful people keep moving.  
They make mistakes, but they don't quit."

Come on, grab my hand.  Lets jump out the back into a new beginning.  If you're interested in an amazing opportunity the create your new beginning connect with me tonight 

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, 
you can't practice any other virtue consistently.” 
― Maya Angelou

“It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it.” 
― Lou Holtz

“What you do makes a difference, 
and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” 
― Jane Goodall

“It's hard to beat a person who never gives up.” 
― Babe Ruth

“Risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.” 
― Leo Buscaglia

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Focus is the key to success - Don't look down just hold on...

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

 “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” – Dwight Eisenhower

”Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” 
 Alan Lakein

“One reason so few of us achieves what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.” – Tony Robbins

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” 

Zig Ziglar

A look at our needs - Maslow's interpretation...

A look at our needs


I have a few questions for you:

What do you want to achieve in life? big question I know
How do you plan to achieve your goals or get to that desired destination?

The reason I ask is because I want to review Maslow's Hierarchy of needs, and how using some personal motivation that resides in each of us can help us achieve our goals and destiny.

The Pyramid of Needs

  • Physiological Needs - air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sleep, and intimacy
  • Safety Needs - protection from the elements, security, order, law, limits, stability, freedom from fear
  • Social Needs - belonging, affection and love - from co-workers, family, friends, and lovers
  • Self Esteem Needs - achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, self-respect, respect
  • Self-Actualization - realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experience.What is the importance of

The Pyramid in understanding how to reach our potential? 
Maslow believed that when needs are unmet people are motivated to achieve those needs first, and then seek to fulfill the higher needs - (ex. - starving people will do anything to satisfy that basic need because if they don't they won't survive) I would hope that each of you reading this are meeting your basic needs, but this example creates a good focus for us and further justifies the thinking of Maslow. The pyramid is just that - A pathway of moving to a higher level of personal growth where we meet needs that either are central to our survival or will greatly enhance our human experience.

So where are you currently on this pyramid? Do you want to find out? Here's a quick quiz that will help:'s-hierarchy-of-needs-test.  Did you complete the quiz? Does it seem like an accurate assessment of where you're currently in your life? If it is, but it's not where you want to be how are you going to change that starting today? I want to provide some help in the form of an article you can read that outlines a process for you to start moving up that pyramid toward the goal of self-actualization. Below is the link to the article. I will discuss the article and provide some practical strategies related to the article in my next blog post.

I hope this has been beneficial. Please let me know because my goal is to provide help to people in achieving their goals for personal development and health. Thank you for visiting, and have a wonderful day

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome... Going Beyond Life's Challenges


Good Morning,

Don't we all feel like were climbing a huge mountain sometimes.   I know I sure do when things don't seem to be going my way or unannounced challenges enter my life.  The big question for both you and me how should we respond during these times?

As some of you may have read on this site, I spent some time in the military with a good bunch of guys.  They were leathernecks, devil dogs, some may even call them jarheads, but they were resilient men who proudly held the title of United States Marines.  My experience with that organization formed much of my thinking about success and failure.  The Marine Corps had a motto that we lived by that was a commentary on how Marines are expected to deal with failure and challenges, "Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome".

One of my many stories that illustrate this concept was when we hiked into the mountains of Northern California.  In a matter of three days we covered more than 15 miles, and ascended from 2,000 to more than 8,000 feet with a ton of gear on our backs.  It was a grueling hike that took its toll on many.  A friend of friend of mine became one of the many who emulated our motto on that trip.
It started a few weeks prior to this exercise when he had purchased some new boots.  Much like each of us who were with the infantry he tried to find a pair of boots that were comfortable and would hold up to the rigors of the field.  During those weeks prior to the trip he ran in the boots, bathed them in mud while on field ops, and generally did everything he could to ensure these boots would protect and sustain his feet.

Sadly, this wasn't the case on our winter wonderland hike.  His boots became cold, and lacked pliability.  His boots began to start creating little hot spots all over his feet that turned into horrible blisters.  When we were half-way through the hike he came and got me to check his feet because he was in a ton of pain.  We quickly pulled his boots off, and all I saw were blood soaked socks.  The entire bottoms of his feet were covered with open blisters.  I quickly dressed his wounds, and was going to put him in the hummer when he stood up and starting walking away.  This trip was a rite of passage for him, a chance to prove to himself he could overcome obstacles and deal with painful challenges.  It was his opportunity to live the Corp's motto and be successful.

I'm surely not condoning abusing our bodies, but making the point that in life you and I sometimes face seemingly unbearable challenges.  Like my friend, we too can "Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome" when we believe in our cause and in ourselves.  Thank you for letting me share, and ramble a bit.

So, how are you going to "Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome" in your life today?  Whatever it may be, you can do it by believing in yourself, and figuring out how to beat that challenge.
Here are a couple quotes for your day:

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory.”
Mahatma Gandhi
“if you set your goals ridiculously high and its a failure, you will fail above everyone else success”
James Cameron
Have a great Day!

Being Grateful - One of the Keys to Moving Forward in Life...

Gratitude - feeling or being grateful
How often do you stop throughout your day, and think about the good things in your life?  Completing that process is called being grateful.  One definition is “Having a sincere appreciation for both the people and possessions in your life”.  This feeling or emotion is often praised as the "father of all emotion".  I personally believe that most likely stems from the fact that every known major religion has an aspect of gratefulness in their practices.  Believers are exhorted to give thanks for the good in their lives, and in some faiths even in tough challenges.

Why does giving thanks matter?  That may seem like a silly question or not depending on your personal view of this emotion.  Either way, an attitude of gratitude has been proven to be a very beneficial component in the lives of people who remind themselves of the good in their lives.  There are a number of studies that support this concept, and have shown results that include improved health, mood, and better sleep all by saying thank you more often.

Wow!  So, how does someone start to increase the frequency of giving thanks?  I would imagine that each and every person reading this is thankful for many things in their lives, but may not verbalize that gratitude.  Taking the time to focus your mind, and really think about the good in your life is how outcomes improve according to these studies. ( )

There are a couple of ways that you can experience the benefits of gratitude:
  • Every morning when you wake up say one thing you're grateful for in your life.
  • You can split up and say 5 things on one day as well.
  • When you return home at the end of the day write down how grateful you are for the events that occurred during you day.
Start small, and see how you feel.  Try doing it every day for one week.  Let me know how it goes.  The nice thing about gratitude or being thankful is it can be a two way street.  You can give and receive, and enjoy the benefits no matter what direction you’re traveling.  Take care.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Putting Empathy Into Action: 7 Ways You Can Promote a Caring Society

Empathy is a term that defines a person's ability to identify or understand the life challenges faced by another that promotes compassion and action.  Most research points to two specific types of empathy that are exhibited by the general population.  The first is termed "Affective empathy" which is the ability to mirror another person's emotions by generating feelings in response to the emotions they show. (ex. another person crying)  The next type of empathy is "Cognitive empathy" which refers to the mental ability to identify or understand someones perspective.

It seems crazy that we need to discuss why empathy is important in our world, but the lack of it has created phenomenal social problems that seem to be causing society to regress.  The main reason this may be occurring is because people either don't understand how to empathize with others or may not understand the value that empathy can generate when it is put into action.  Just as it was discussed above, there are two specific types of empathy that can be utilized to affect our interactions with others.  The first was an emotional or instinctive response, and the other was a cognitive approach by analyzing a situation before responding.  Therefore, people can learn to become more empathetic just like learning to solve problems or think analytically.  Here are 7 ways to start increasing our empathy.

7 Ways to Put Empathy Into Action:  

Awareness:  The first action is to begin observing others behaviors and emotional responses to situations.  This can be accomplished by understanding the importance of reading body language, and improving your non-verbal communication skills.

Imagine:  Have you ever tried to imagine what it would be like to be in another person's predicament, and how it may make them feel to deal with that situation?  Start trying to force yourself to see another individuals perspective or point of view that differs from yours, and why their belief may elicit specific emotions.

Don't Assume:  Isn't it an easy thing to jump to conclusions?  For most of us it happens without even realizing what we're thinking.  It may be seeing someone who appears very different than us, and we automatically conjure up thoughts in our head concerning what that person may be like.  Putting empathy into action takes curbing our natural tendency to look for differences, and replace it with a cognitive effort for finding commonality with those we meet.

Meditation:  This word can mean so many different things to different people.  The point is to take time every day to be introspective, and evaluate thoughts and actions to ensure you're acting with empathy to others.  This time alone can refresh and renew you as you go through your busy day, and help you remain focused on putting empathy into action.

Read:  Specifically reading fiction allows the mind to connect with emotions and feelings, and has been shown to be effective in increasing empathetic abilities.  As you read it allows you to connect with the characters in the book, and identify with the storyline.  That sounds very similar to putting empathy into action.

Enjoy Interaction with Others:  This can be the act of pursuing a hobby or even playing competitive sports with others.  Through the interaction we are forced to observe the other person's actions, attitudes, and responses which help to improve the ability to put empathy into action.

Philanthropy:  No, not giving away a million dollars to strangers on the street.  It is the act of putting yourself in a situation to give to others, and identify with their challenges.  It also provides the opportunity to experience that "affective empathy" more regularly when you create possibilities to put empathy into action.

When these actions are practiced on a regular basis we can experience and see the benefits that occur by putting empathy into action.

  • Generosity abounds
  • Prejudice is reduced
  • Relationships and intimacy improve
  • Aggression and violence decrease with more understanding
  • Equality between various groups of people increases
  • People become healthier by reducing stress and depression
  • Personal productivity increases with morale and better clarity
  • People are led to risk leaving their comfort zone, and do extraordinary things for others (ex - people hiding Jewish families from the Nazis in WW2 without regard for their own safety - Courage)
How can we create a more caring society that benefits everyone, and improves quality of life?  Putting empathy into action is a small step that each of us can take each day to start affecting relationships with others, our communities, and our world in a positive way that will lead to a better understanding of our fellow man.  Everyone starts a journey by taking the first step.  Step out today, and start looking for ways to increase your impact on others by putting empathy into action.
Take care, and I wish you all the best.


Hang on Until You Get There...

Good Morning,

I wanted to encourage you on this Thursday morning to keep moving forward, keep taking steps, and keep climbing even when it feels like you might fall.  You might just be one more reach from the top. 

What are you meant to do in this life?  I believe each of us is in this world to do something with an impact that leaves a lasting effect.  What is the unique greatness you have to offer?  Each of us is special in our own way.  Look for that opportunity to claim your greatness, so the rest of us will benefit from having crossed your path.  Take care, and have an amazing day pursuing your destiny.  Dave

“Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success
 when they gave up.”
Thomas A. Edison

“Genius is 1% talent and 99% percent hard work...”
Albert Einstein

“When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”
Abraham Lincoln
“Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don't have the strength.”
Theodore Roosevelt

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
Maya Angelou