100 Happy Days Challenge

The new internet fad is the “100 Happy Days Challenge.”  I think internet fads are fun but this one is actually really useful to be in confronting my giants.  The challenge is to take a picture of something that makes you happy every day for 100 days.

I’ve been taking pictures of things and posting them to my instagram page.  The first couple of days it took some thought to find things to take pictures of.  By the third day I had a couple of things I wanted to post and wasn’t sure which one to do.  I had to pick the one that felt most appropriate to what was happening that day.

The 100 Happy Days website states that people who complete the challenge:

– Start noticing what makes them happy every day;
 – Be in a better mood every day;
 – Start receiving more compliments from other people;
 – Realize how lucky they are to have the life they have;
 – Become more optimistic;
 – Fall in love during the challenge.

 

Luckily, I’m already in love.  The rest I could use some work on.  After only a few days I already am starting to feel the positive affects on my life.

Surprisingly, the website states that 71% of the people who do not complete the challenge fail because they simply don’t have the time.  What?! They don’t have the time to take a picture and put it on instagram?  This literally takes me 2 or 3 minutes of my day.  Assuming you sleep 8 hours and are awake 16, 5 minutes is 0.5% of your day.

I’ve found that people don’t make time because they aren’t focused on or don’t care to complete them.  Now is a perfect time for me to take on a challenge like this because my focus is on becoming more positive.  I’m so thankful that I’ve found this website.

I encourage all of you to take on this challenge and please, follow my instagram and see some things that make me happy!

Amazing Things Are Happening

I have a post-it note on my bathroom mirror…. wait, scratch that.  I have several post-it notes on my bathroom mirror.  One says “Something amazing will happen today.”  This little post-it note tells me the truth every day and has never once lied to me.

It started with me following a twitter chat by Pam Grout.  Pam wrote a book that I am about half way through called “E-Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality.”  In her chat, Pam said that she tells herself every morning that something amazing will happen today.  I loved this so much that I added it to my post-it notes.  Because, if I believe that something amazing is happening then I will start to notice those amazing things.  Also, the note has the word “today” on it for a reason.  This means that something amazing is happening every single day, not one amazing thing this week or month or even year or maybe in my lifetime but every day!

Indeed, I could write off a lot of these amazing things as mere coincidence but I don’t believe that to be true because they happen day after day.  Sometimes they’re little things like my cable TV that I asked service to stop at the end of the month I had already paid for being shut off the exact day I needed it to stay on because I got paid that day.  Or maybe it’s feeling God’s strength give me a lift while I’m running and don’t feel like I can go any further.  There have been certain opportunities that I’ve asked to present themselves and having a feeling that they would happen any minute.  Guess what? The did!

I wont say I’ve changed since I started this blog but my perspective has certainly shifted.  By seeing the amazing things in life, I’ve become more positive.  I feel more confident (not a whole lot but definitely a noticeable amount).  I am able to handle stressful situations by staying present and observing the situations instead of being caught up in the stress of them.

Do you know what the most amazing thing is?  The one thing that we perhaps take for granted the most… Nature is one thing.  A tree growing is an amazing. I just grows exactly the way it needs to without anyone telling it how.  Do you know what else is amazing?  You are amazing.  Your body is amazing and your mind is the most complicated thing in the universe.  Go today and witness amazing things and most of all, be amazing.

Be well.  Be positive.

I Feel Like It’s Been Forever…

I feel like I haven’t written in forever.  I’ve been under the weather for the past couple of weeks.  I finally went to the doctor last Thursday and got some antibiotics.  Turns out I had a respiratory infection.

I’ve spent a lot of time in bed and being miserable at work over the past couple of weeks.  But I am doing much better now.  I also don’t feel very rested!  I’ve had a lot of projects to work on around the house.  We canceled our cable TV and I put Roku boxes in the living room and each of our girls’ rooms.  I also finished my wife’s coffee bar which turned out great!

Coffee Bar

I’m thankful for my health.  I have friends who aren’t able to walk much or at all.  I met a homeless man this week who lives in my city, on the street with his two dogs.  He’s a nice guy who lights up the minute you talk to him as a friend.  I’m so very thankful for my home and my family.

This is life and life is good.  Over the past two weeks I’ve been down but not out and I’ve had a lot of time to think about how great my life is.  My anxiety is virtually gone.  At times I start to feel a little anxious and then I start to think about what I’m thankful for and become present and my anxiety just fades off in to oblivion.

I thought this task of confronting my giants would take much longer.  My initial estimate was six months.  Here I am, less than two months in to the year and I’m feeling great.  There is more work to be done, however.  Staying in a positive frame of mind and feeling a higher sense of confidence is the ultimate goal.

I have read three books so far this year.  “Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts, “Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle and “7 Spiritual Laws of Success” by Deepak Chopra.

I’m going to start a new one today.  I have wanted to read a book called “Joy of Living” by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, who is a Buddhist monk who suffered with anxiety for many years.

I also have “Manifesting Your Destiny” by Dr. Wayne Dyer.  I think I’m going to go with this one next.  I’ve wanted to read “Joy of Living” for a long time but I feel like I’d like to shift gears a little and come back to this one later.

So this is where I’m at… this is the “State of Tim” if you will haha!  I’m going to start writing in this blog again too!  I miss writing, it’s very therapeutic and helps me stay focused on my goals.  It’s great to be back.

Be well.  Be positive.

[Book Review] “Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle

“Power of Now” is my second book of the year.  My goal is 10 books which, for me, is unheard of!  My first was “Wisdom of Insecurity” by Alan Watts.

Eckhart Tolle either came from the same school as Alan Watts or was influenced by him in some way.  While there could be pros and cons to reading either book first, I’m glad I read them in the order I did.  Where Alan Watts gave me a great overview of the philosophy behind being present, Tolle put it in layman’s terms and showed me how to apply these concepts to every day life.

The book starts with Tolle telling his story about how he was considered a failure.  He was well-educated but seemingly going nowhere in life.  He was extremely depressed that he hadn’t lived up to his or anyone’s expectations.  Then, one night, he had a moment where he became intensely aware of his self.  He spent the next few years in a state of bliss and studied why this had happened to him.

He then starts showing us how to acquire this type of inner peace for ourselves.  He explains what consciousness is and how the lack of it causes pain in life.  Being present is not an easy thing.  Our mind wants to think about our problems, future and past, and has little need for the present moment.  Tolle stresses that there is no reason to stress about the future because all we will ever have is the now.  Applying this idea in our lives will not be easy because of resistance from the mind but it’ll bring a deep sense of calm to our lives.

In Chapter 2 he talks more about the concept of being conscious.  How living in the now will help you find the true self.  I’ve been applying these concepts for a few weeks now and I feel much more at ease.  My anxiety has subsided and when it does flare up I’m able to catch it and stop myself a lot quicker.

Eckhart Tolle builds on these concepts and shows you how to apply them in nearly every imaginable life situation.  He does so in a question and answer format based on his experience teaching others.  He goes in to a deep explanation about bringing out the positive and love and stopping negativity from our lives.  Tolle clearly has had a lot of experience teaching people because if you do bring your awareness to the present, it clears your head so you can focus your attention on positive things.

Honestly, Tolle could have listed a long list of questions and then pointed to one single answer – “No, be RIGHT NOW!”, but he doesn’t.  Why?  Because there is much more to say about what your mind is trying to do vs what your “self” is trying to do when you become present.

I would, and have, highly recommend this book to anyone.  Since reading it, I’ve noticed how much these principles are needed in our society.  My friends are constantly complaining and worrying about things that have already happened or haven’t happened yet.  It is hard to find anyone who is focused on what is happening right now.

Toward the end of “Power of Now”, Tolle teaches us how to block out negativity from others and how to stay present.  He even offers suggestions for helping others realize the need for consciousness.

Eckhart Tolle has a follow-up called “A New Earth” which I plan on reading at some time this year.  I look forward to reading it but I feel like I’m already seeing a new earth of my own.

If you’ve never read it, please, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy.  Read it with an open mind.  If you are religious like me, don’t feel as if anything he says is a threat to your beliefs, but rather a deeper understanding of those beliefs.

Be well, be positive.

Are Mental Illnesses Over Diagnosed?

Fridays are “Mental Health Friday” Day on my blog.  This week I had a couple of instances where I really felt that people are ignorant about mental illness.  I don’t want to say that in a bad way, ignorance doesn’t mean your stupid or bigoted, it means lacking knowledge.  People often say “such and such is over diagnosed, seems like everyone has it.”

To me this is both good and bad.  The good thing is that we’re getting the word out that “hey, we’re here and we’re not hiding anymore.”  On the other hand, if people think that a mental illness is over diagnosed then we’re not doing a good enough job of getting the facts out there.

I have ADHD.  I hear everything from, ADHD being over diagnosed to ADHD isn’t real to “so, you like shiny objects and are off in lala land all the time?”  I take Adderall for my ADHD because it’s the first medication that worked effectively for me after trying a couple of others.  People tell me that these medications turn people in to zombies.  So let me show you some facts that I use and, hopefully, you can find some of this info for your condition and use it to spread the truth.

Myth #1 – ADHD is over diagnosed

I have a friend who had MS for many years.  One day she went to a new doctor who diagnosed her with a vitamin deficiency and now she doesn’t have MS anymore.  We could make a case that everything is over diagnosed, but what about people who are undiagnosed?

Let’s keep this in mind while we talk about recent reports that ADHD is on the rise.  The Center For Disease Control lists the percentage of children ages 3-17 who have ever been diagnosed with ADHD at 8.4%.  Recently, a report put out by Kaiser Permanente, which is a not for profit health care provider, showed a 24% increase in ADHD diagnosis.  This sounds alarming at first but there are always facts behind the figures.

One factor is that many of these children, being minority groups, now have access to health care.  The study also stated that Asians were less likely to see a doctor for mental health issues and that white children from affluent families were more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD.

To me, the increase is a good thing because more people now have access to mental health care and can be helped.  I cannot find the statistic right now, but I took a college course on ADHD and it found that the rate of adults who are treated for ADHD is far less than the actual estimate of people who have it.

Myth #2 – ADHD doesn’t exist

I’m the least lazy person I know.  I like to be busy.  My parents and grandparents instilled in me a very strong work ethic.  When I would visit my grandparents for the summer the moto was “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.”  I chopped wood, cut the grass, moved dirt… and in the end I played hard and ate well.  In the class room, however, it was hard for me to pay attention.  I would drift off in my thoughts no matter how hard I tried to keep my attention.  Medication helped me in amazing ways.

So are there any physical symptoms?  Yes, there actually are.  ADHD happens because of decreased activity in the frontal lobe area.  McGill University in Quebec did MRI tests and found that there is less activity in the frontal lobe in children with ADHD during activities involving concentration, problem solving, decision making and memory.

The study also found that the prefrontal cortex region of the frontal lobe were smaller in children with ADHD than children without.  The article I linked in the previous paragraph is a very interesting read and I highly encourage you to take a look at it.

Myth #3 – Adderall makes you a zombie

I’ve taken Ritalin, Vyvance, Daytrana and Adderall over the years.  None of these turned me in to a zombie.  I have a great personality. I love to laugh, make jokes, engage in deep conversation… and have never lost that with stimulant medication.  What it does is helps me to focus on the tasks that I’m working on.

I’m no more a zombie than an unmedicated person who doesn’t have ADHD.  I don’t have statistics to back it up but whenever someone says that to me I ask them if they think I”m acting like a zombie at the time.  Their answer is always “No.”  That’s the answer.

Conclusion

Do some research on your condition.  You’ll find that mental health issues are often under diagnosed and there are statistics out there to prove it.  Comparing diagnosis rates and estimates to treatment rates is a great place to start.

If you suspect you have mental health issues then please find a doctor who can give you an evaluation and help you.

Be well. Be positive

Quote

Tao Te Ching – …

Tao Te Ching – Chapter 11

Chapter 11

Thirty spokes join in one hub
In its emptiness, there is the function of a vehicle
Mix clay to create a container
In its emptiness, there is the function of a container
Cut open doors and windows to create a room
In its emptiness, there is the function of a room

Therefore, that which exists is used to create benefit
That which is empty is used to create functionality

Committing Acts Of Kindness

365 Acts Of Kindness

I truly believe that humans are designed to help each other. As a result, when we do what we’re naturally designed to do, we will find peace.

The above graphic really spoke to me when my wife posted it on Facebook last night.  Doing one act of kindness each day will change 365 lives.  No act of kindness is too small.  Everything you do will make an impact on someone.  

A couple of months ago I was speaking to a man who is a life coach.  I had never met a life coach before and, while I knew little about what they do, I always thought it sounded like a silly idea.  He was giving me little tips on how to be more positive and to block out negativity in my life.  He also told me about how the universe gives you back what you put out there.

“How do you feel when you find a dollar?”, he asked me.

“It makes me happy. It’s only a dollar but I get excited”, I responded.

He went on to tell me that if I leave a dollar in a public place and someone finds it that the happiness they feel will come back to me.  So I can spend a dollar and create karma that in turn benefits me?  That’s what it sounded like.

I have a friend who, to put it kindly, is a little co-dependent. I can relate to him as he seeks approval from other people in order to feel good about himself.  There are days when he is out and about with friends and is in a great mood.  Then when he hasn’t seen his friends in a few days he starts to put it out there that he needs to get out of the house.  It is sometimes heart breaking to me to watch him try to find someone to be around.

Calling him up and telling him I’ll be over in a couple of minutes really changes his whole world.  Suddenly he is upbeat, smiles, laughs a lot.  Kindness can come in many forms.  It can be as simple as reaching out to a friend to tell them you’ll be there for them.  It can be leaving a dollar laying around and a complete stranger finding it or it could be telling a friend you’ll help them move.

Lately, I’ve decided to be more giving.  As a result, I’ve started to see some of the good that I’ve put out there come back to me.  It makes me wonder if giving money isn’t the only thing I can invest myself in.  Is it possible that I could give kindness and have it come back to me?  Maybe it’s a matter of messaging a friend and telling them that I hope they have a great day or reaching out to someone and asking them if they want to get lunch.  There are so many ways that I can help to brighten people’s days and improve their lives.  In the end, it doesn’t matter if it does, but this could also improve my life as well.

During this year I plan to become a better giver of myself.

Be well. Be positive.