1. A Life of Contentment: The Truth about Happiness

    July 6, 2014

    A Life of Contentment: The Truth about Happiness


    In horse racing there is something called a trifecta. To win a trifecta, the bettor must not only pick the horses finishing in the top three places in a race, but the exact finishing order of each horse. In this article we will lay out our own trifecta. Ours has nothing to do with horse racing though. Rather, it has to do with picking a winning strategy for a life well lived.

    To get started I’m going to ask you to suspend a commonly held belief. That belief is this; “all I need to enjoy a good life is to be happy.” Nonsense! As you will learn, happiness is an overrated temporary response to the alignment of certain events in your life. Happiness is not a permanent state or condition. If it were meant to be permanent we would have no need for the word sad.

    That said, let me assure you that I have nothing against being happy. I enjoy happiness whenever or wherever it may occur. Pursuit of happiness is an important factor in human evolution. My only concern is that in our pursuit of happiness we often overlook those events, people, and situations that may or may not be conducive to our being “happy,” but never-the-less are important. If I may, allow me to substitute here the word contentment for happiness.

    As I will explain, contentment captures the importance of balance in our lives. I like to call this place, a life lived in balance, the good life. Which brings us back to the trifecta. Our race track: the Good Life; the heat: Psychology and mental health; the entrants: in gate #1 is Spirituality, gate #2 holds Meaning of Life; gate #3 Positive Psychology. The rest of the field is made up of a rag-tag assortment of lesser important names. Let’s look at the top three.


  2. Spirituality and a Positive You

    February 13, 2013

    by Gail Clarke

    Image by Gail Clarke

    First let me declare that if I have to state a religion I describe myself as Spiritualist.  That said I honestly prefer not to attach labels and to me, it’s more a way of life than a religion.  So for the purpose of this article all that really matters is that you believe, or are ready to consider, that there is ‘something out there’.  That ‘something’ can be God (or a god), your spirit guide, a relative that’s passed on or simply the energy of the universe.

    First I am going to ask you to stop for a moment, put aside all your worries, frustrations and busy activities and think for a while about the bigger picture.  Imagine yourself looking back a year or two from now.  Simply imagine whatever is on your mind at the moment as you might see it in the future.  You may find it easier to look back at a tough time in your life in the past.  Either way, what I want you to do is try and put what’s happening NOW into perspective.  Right this moment it probably seems important but  a couple of years from now …..?

    So with that in mind, ask yourself how much time each week or day you can set aside for what I like to call ‘positive relaxation’.  If you can only manage 20 minutes on Monday and 20 minutes on Thursday then that’s fine.  You may have to be little stricter about keeping that time free than someone who feels they can manage 30 minutes a day but hey – we all have to start somewhere.

    Learning to Switch to Alpha Brainwaves

    There are 4 basic stages of brain activity and it’s worth learning a little about this to understand why the Alpha stage is so important.  Alpha brainwaves come between being conscious and alert and being in a deep sleep.  To slip easily in and out of an alpha state in something that requires practice for most of us.  We all know about taking a siesta but did you know the best siesta is one that lasts between 10 and 20 minutes?

    For the first week or two, simply practice letting go of all your thoughts of daily life, any worries or mental lists of things to do.  Don’t try and clear your mind – this simply won’t happen.  If you find your are working too hard at this, play a little game.  Try and clear your mind and watch for a thought popping in.  When it does just think to your self – ‘wow, where did that come from’ then let it go.  Eventually you should find the thoughts are fewer and more random rather than things to do with the days tasks.  This is the point at which you can move on.

    Sending Our Positive Thoughts
    Once you are confident you can achieve a relaxed almost sleepy state you can start to send out positive thoughts.  They can be ‘big’ or ‘small’ or anything in between.  Now let’s be clear about this.  You may think a positive thought is about a big win on the lottery but no, that’s a ‘wakeful’ thought.  Let me give you 3 examples of what I feel are positive thoughts:

    • A work colleague has said something nasty about you behind your back.  You might send out a thought for the situation to resolve itself.  That doesn’t mean that you hope he/she gets the sack or otherwise suffers for this.  It simply means you are asking for a solution that means it no longer causes worry and negativity in your life.
    • The dog is very ill and you would like it to get better.  Not all things are possible but a positive outcome might be an old dog is no longer in pain, whether that be medication or a release from this life.  It might be that you personally are able to cope better and know when to do the right thing.  It may actually be a miraculous recovery – all things are possible.
    • You have money worries.  Send out a thought for a solution.  This may be  way to earn more money, a sudden windfall, a new job or simply a more positive you that is able to pick up the phone and deal with the bills.


    Getting Feedback
    Not everything is about problems as such.  It may be about choices.  This is where I want to ask you not to question too much regarding what you do or don’t believe in.  If you have a spirit guide and they talk directly to you that’s fine (as long as you aren’t fooling yourself).  For most of us it’s enough that we trust that there is ‘something’.  Answers won’t always be black and white and they won’t necessarily come in the expected form, but trust that they will come if you stay positive and allow that ‘something’ to guide you.

    Some examples:

    • You and your partner aren’t getting along.  You don’t know what to do.  You send out your thoughts for a positive resolution to this.  Maybe several days later you are having a coffee while shopping and overhear a couple talking.  You realize you and your partner have so little in common that you know what you have to do.
    • Your teenage daughter is giving you a hard time because she wants a certain outfit you feel is inappropriate.  You wonder if you are right to say no.  The following day your friend tells you about problems with her own daughter and not being able to trust her.  You suddenly realize how lucky you are that you can trust your daughter and that you can feel easy about letting her grow up a little.
    • You feel stuck in a rut but don’t know what to do about it.  A childhood friend makes contact and tells you about their life.  Perhaps they are a vet, let’s say.  Suddenly you see that you would love to be an animal nurse/kennel maid/open a cattery etc.

    Making Room for Something New
    Personally I think this is one of the most important things we can do.  If our life is so busy that there is little free time, then we are not leaving room for anything new to come in.  Send out a few thoughts for ways to leave space in your life and be open to the answers.  They may be proactive things like giving up a time-consuming hobby, doing less overtime at work, planning your shopping by the week so you don’t run to the shops every day or even simply turning off the TV a couple of evenings a week.

    In my own life I have found redundancy led me to open a Post Office.  That took me to a different part of the country which in turn opened up more opportunities.  Of course I could have rushed straight into another job similar to the old but leaving that space for a while and sending out positive thoughts allowed something new to come into my life.


    I hope I have inspired you to set a little time aside in your busy life and trust that something higher will help and guide you.  Even in the early stages of this journey you will find peace and tranquility and I wish you every success on your life path.

    Gail Clarke writes on many subjects but has a particular interest in Spirituality.  One of her websites is Other Focus – a New Age