I was embarrassed!
Patients who had just been released from the hospital’s psychiatric unit caught me red-handed. I was leading a group therapy session about how important it is to focus on the positive – what you want instead of what you do not want. I went on and on explaining that when we think negatively the neo-cortex part of our brains triggers neuro-chemical emotions which correspond to those thoughts.
I smoothly seque-wayed into explaining what the many symptoms of depression are. The patients had been listening, and stopped me and not so diplomatically pointed out I was focusing on the negative. Lesson learned! MY lesson learned.
The group decided that instead of learning symptoms of depression, they would create a list of symptoms of happiness.
Here’s their list:
Symptoms of Happiness
- Feeling good (or at least “decent”) most of the day, for two weeks or more.
- Eating an appropriate amount of food with good appetite.
- Sleeping well and awakening refreshed.
- Taking pleasure in most everyday activities and enjoying fun activities.
- Having a good energy level most of the day, every day, for two weeks or more.
- Having thoughts of fun or of good times to come.
- Being able to concentrate on the activity on hand.
- Feeling that one’s life matters.
- Able to exercise three times a week for half an hour, or more.
- Socialize in person or on the phone with 5 to 7 people each week. ( texting counts too)
- Laugh or at least smile every day.
Happy is as Happy Thinks
How many happiness “symptoms” do you have?
(even one is a start).
Linda commented (below): Feeling grateful, enjoying nature, feeling loved, able to say “life is wonderful”.
Sleep isn’t for your body. Sleep is for your brain. When completely deprived of sleep, for only a few days, research shows that at best our immune system is depressed, we have trouble concentrating or processing information and at worst become paranoid and schizophrenic.
Maui was a superb sleeper. No matter where I went in the house I found him stretched out. Whatever magically found its way to the floor (I certainly never put it there) I’d find him asleep – on pillows, magazines, empty boxes, dirty clothes . . . new clothes. A particular comfy spot was in the middle of a pathway like the top or bottom of the stairs.
As far as I could tell Maui was never sleep deprived, paranoid or schizophrenic.
Maui’s Tips for a Good Nights Sleep . . . for humans only
- Exercise every day but never just before bedtime. (Chasing things like children and dreams doesn’t count)
- Stay away from alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine (catnip is fine).
- Have a relaxing bedtime routine (stretch, turn in circles and always clean your paws and teeth).
- Keep the room temperature cool. It helps us hibernate.
- Limit catnapping during the day to 10 minutes, 20 minutes max. Any longer and your brain goes into deep sleep (and you’ll be a ornery cat when you wake up)
Keep your bedtime consistent.
- Don’t sleep all day and be up all night – it messes with your circadian rhythm.
Peggy’s Tips on Sleeping Well
- Mind won’t shut off? Do a brain dump 30 minutes before bed. Write down your worries, things to do, random thoughts until your brain is empty. (takes about 3 days for this to work, but it works!)
- Talk to your brain. Assure your brain it can solve any problem or cope with difficulties much better when you are rested. Your unconscious mind is always working and give you solutions while you sleep.
- Get bright sunlight in the morning when you first wake up. Go outside if you can. Even if it is cloudy you get 3000 lumens vs 200 inside. (That’s a lot of lumens!)
- Turn off cell phones, computers – anything that emits blue light. It keeps the brain awake.
Here’s a bonus tip to help you sleep well!!
Buy Guatemalan Worry Cats from the Greater Good Site .
Tell them your troubles and they’ll worry for you while you sleep!
Sleep even better knowing you’ve contributed to worthy causes.