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Excel At Life--Dedicated to the Pursuit of Excellence in Life, Relationships, Sports and Career





CBT

Jealousy

Depression

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Happiness

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POPULAR ARTICLES

Crazy-Makers: Dealing with Passive-Aggressive People

Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

When You Have Been Betrayed

Struggling to Forgive: An Inability to Grieve

Happy Habits: 50 Suggestions

The Secret of Happiness: Let It Find You (But Make the Effort)

Excellence vs. Perfection

Depression is Not Sadness

Conflict in the Workplace

Motivation: Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic

20 Steps to Better Self-Esteem

7 Rules and 8 Methods for Responding to Passive-aggressive People

Promoting Healthy Behavior Change

10 Common Errors in CBT

What to Do When Your Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Marriage

Rejection Sensitivity, Irrational Jealousy and Impact on Relationships

For Women Only: How to Have the Relationship of Your Dreams

What to Do When Your Partner's Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Relationship

Making Attributions for a Healthier Attitude

Happiness is An Attitude

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Guide to How to Set Achieveable Goals

The Effectiveness of Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

Co-Dependency: An Issue of Control

The Pillars of the Self-Concept: Self-Esteem and Self-Efficacy

Catastrophe? Or Inconvenience?

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Change Yourself--Don't Wait for the World to Change

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Quick Stress Relief

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Lies You Were Told

Choosing Happiness

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Audio Version of Article: Crazy-Makers: Passive-Aggressive People

Audio Version of Article: Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

Audio Version of Article: Happiness Is An Attitude

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Kindle Books by Dr. Monica Frank





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Building Blocks Emotion Training

Hot Springs Relaxation

5 Methods to Managing Anger

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Autogenic Relaxation Training

Rainbow Sandbox Mindfulness

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Riding a Horse Across the Plains

Cityscape Mindfulness

Change Yourself--Don't Wait for the World to Change

The Great Desert Mindfulness

Tropical Garden Mindfulness

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Lies You Were Told

Probability and OCD

Choosing Happiness

Magic Bubbles for Children

Lotus Flower Relaxation

Cloud Castles for Children

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All Audio Articles

The Secret of Happiness: Let It Find You (But Make the Effort)--page 6

by Monica A. Frank, Ph.D.
Tap to Listen to Article
"...happiness doesn't come with fireworks and a parade. Instead, it sneaks in quietly as the night so that you don't realize it has been there for awhile."

A Final Word About How to Know Happiness When it Finds You

Some of you reading this article may have realized by now that you are already happy. As I have described in other articles, that happened to me a number of years ago. When I quit seeking the elusive “perfect” life, I realized that I was already happy.

However, the problem is that happiness doesn't come with fireworks and a parade. Instead, it sneaks in quietly as the night so that you don't realize it has been there for awhile.

Aldous Huxley in Brave New World described this quite well: “Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the over-compensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn't nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand.”

We often expect happiness to be similar to the artificial means used to create the illusion of happiness: power, alcohol, drugs, prestige, winning. All these can be quite intense experiences. But true happiness, when it finds you, just sits quietly on your shoulder.

References

Berg, Michael B., Janoff-Bulman, R., & Cotter, J (2001). Perceiving value in obligations and goals: Wanting to do what should be done. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27, 982-995.

DeNeve, K.M. & Cooper, H. (1998). The happy personality: A meta-analysis of 137 personality traits and subjective well-being. Psychological Bulletin, 124, 197-229.

Ford, B.Q. & Tamir, M. (2012). When getting angry is smart: Emotional preferences and emotional intelligence. Emotion, 12, 685-689.

Hansen, R. (2009). Buddha's Brain.

Lyubomirsky, S. (2001). Why are some people happier than others? The role of cognitive and motivational processes in well-being. American Psychologist, 56, 239-249.

Lyubomirsky, S., Sheldon, K., Schkade, D. (2005). Pursuing happiness: The architecture of sustainable change. Review of General Psychology, 9, 111-131.

Mauss, I.B., Tamir, M., Anderson, C.L. & Savino, N.S. (2011). Can seeking happiness make people unhappy? Paradoxical effects of valuing happiness. Emotion, 11, 807-815.

Tamir, M. & Ford, B.Q. (2012). Should people pursue feelings that feel good or feelings that do good? Emotional preferences and well-being. Emotion, 12, 1061-1070.


Intro to Secret of Happiness--page 1

What Is Happiness?--page 2

Is Happiness Possible for Everyone?--page 3

What Intentional Behaviors Can Influence Happiness?--page 4

How Do You Choose Which Intentional Behaviors to Pursue?--page 5

A Final Word About How to Know Happiness When it Finds You--page 6

"One of the most salient aspects I've noticed about unhappy people is that they are desperately trying to avoid negative emotions and in the process they feel miserable."

HAPPINESS IS AN ATTITUDE

by Monica A. Frank, Ph.D.

HOW CAN WE BE HAPPY WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN?

For many years when my husband and I were first together I would ask him "When are things going to get better?" We were dealing with the usual stressors that couples face: not enough time, not enough money, and the inevitable random events such as family conflict, deaths of loved ones, illnesses and injuries. In addition, for most of our early years together I was in school and struggling with the balancing of demands of advanced education, part-time work, and a family. But I had the belief that we were working towards this perfect life that one day would emerge shining a rainbow of happiness forever over us. My husband, inclined more toward the practical, just answered my question of "When are things going to get better?," with "Another six months." That answer typically pacified me for awhile because I thought I could handle any amount of stress for six months. However, a point would occur when I once again I asked my husband "When are things going to get better?" Once again, he would answer "Another six months." This scenario occurred fairly routinely for many years.

However, fortunately during this time I had experiences that began to teach me about my expectations of life. In particular, when I was completing my internship at the Veterans Administration Medical Center I had the opportunity to work on the spinal cord injury unit. That experience forever changed my thinking. In particular, I was struck by the differences in attitude among the patients. My job was to psychologically evaluate each patient. Some of those I evaluated had a recent spinal cord injury and some were returning for follow-up visits. Every patient on that unit, however, had a life-changing injury. Never would they walk again and some couldn't use their hands or even needed assistance with breathing. Every one of them had sustained major changes and losses in their life. Some of them not only lost the physical use of their body, but they lost a girlfriend or wife who couldn't handle the situation, or a job that was part of their self-identity. Yet, what I noticed was that no matter what the losses were or the length of time since the injury, the patients could be divided into two categories: happy or miserable.

Those who were happy reported thinking such as "Yeah, this sucks, but I still have dreams. There are still things I can do. And I'm going to focus on those things." Those who were miserable made statements such as "This is so unfair. My whole life is ruined. I will never be happy." In obtaining the life histories of the patients, I saw that those who were happy had full and active lives, they had friends and jobs and were involved in activities. Whereas those who were miserable, often did nothing but stay in bed with little social contact and had more problems with bed sores and other ailments due to the inactivity. I was informed that even though spinal cord injury in itself does not reduce life expectancy, those who gave up tended to die at earlier ages from complications. READ MORE: page 2

How can we be happy when bad things happen?--page 1

How is the attitude of happiness a choice?--page 2

How is the attitude of happiness different from positive thinking?--page 3







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