DO THIS AND YOU'LL HAVE A GREAT LIFE!
MAGNIFICENT, BUT WITH LIMITATIONS
We evolved toward higher and higher abilities to and odds of survival - consequently, we have magnificent bodies and brains. However, our bodies and brains DO have limitations. Those limits should be known and then honored. Many people expect something beyond what they are capable of (and, of course, defying reality is a losing game! Plus, when we set ourselves up to think we are falling short, we are unhappy when we do, as we certainly must fall short of unreasonable expectations!).
We have barely evolved (as it takes a lot of time to evolve) from our caveman days 10,000 years ago. So, we are not equipped for the volume of happenings (and information) and for meeting too many unrealistic expectations, so we must compensate for that with good management - so that we can "manage ourselves into happiness" based on what works!
We must follow the mechanical rules.
To do that we must know how they operate - not at an amateur level, but at a very high level (or we will suffer the consequences of ignorance, which are huge in this case). In order to do that, we must spend the time to learn how they work, so we can then "work them" to our advantage. Unless we do this on purpose and follow through to a good level of mastery, we cannot achieve that which is necessary for assuring happiness.
However, we foolishly stop short - and then spend lots of time correcting our errors and dealing with the symptoms and consequences. (Read about one of the greatest principles for success: Completion.)
Our systems are "self-organizing", which means that they are able to adapt for some variations and threats on their own, but only within a range. That functioning range is called the homeostatic range (range of high functioning balance). We must be very, very, very careful not to go outside that range or the system will not be able to return to normal range without a large cost either in direct damage and/or loss of energy (energy which is wasted, as one spends energyjust to get back to normal). If we don't intervene and limit how far we go outside of the range, we cause parts of our automatic functions to malfunction, so we end up with improper DNA replication (cancer) and problems with blood pressure, blood sugar, heart, etc. - and those make for an unpleasant life experience.
THE ATTAINABLE OBJECTIVE
We can attain the following objective.
1. Have virtually no stress during normal days.
2. Keep our systems functioning well (without stimulants, which do have a consequence!).
The requirement is that we get smart enough to do that. (Duh!) Since we have the ability to learn, this requirement can be met - and rather easily.
Again, the following is not optional: we must, must, must maintain our homeostasis, so we are operating at a highly functional level that causes feeling good, high health, and high happiness - and permits our higher brain to be functioning highly.
Let's be clear here on the stress issue: You cannot be happy when you have alot of stress. You cannot be happy if your body and/or your brain is not functioning well.
ATTAINING "NO STRESS"
Stress is, indeed, caused by too much stimulation of our (self-organizing) alarm systems.
Please know that it is untrue that "we must experience alot of stress in this day and age". It is not pre-destined. We merely have to rid ourselves of the causes - a task we have the capability to do.
The literal cause of stress is, of course, chemicals that are emitted in response to perceived threats of various kinds and levels, so that the body mobilizes itself for fight, flight, or freeze - causing lots of very damaging (if it sticks around too long) cortisol.
We are always on the alert for dangers - that is built in, so that we can respond and save our lives.
STRESS TASK #1
However, we can affect the level and frequency of the alerts by doing those actions that send "settle down" signals back to the alarm systems so that they are less reactive in general. (Right now, most people's alarm systems are hypervigilant, often going off for meaningless stuff, causing lots of "chemical storms" that harm us).
Being less reactive to the signals, as suggested above, is definitely mechanically attainable. Just use the already identified, proven "to do's".
We can also lower the intensity level of the signals and eliminate the cause of many of them, which would mean there is no signal. We can also, mechanically, interfere with the process, which will interrupt and reduce the intensity and/or stop it cold. A very simple example is using the Time Out, in its various forms, the simplest of which is to "breathe deeply and slowly". But, while that is also attainable, it requires more learning and training (indeed, training is implicit in learning). In this vital area, people stop well short of sufficient learning. People assume they just can't learn something because they do not know how far to go - they expect relative "miracles of cognition". AND, in the same vein, they fail to use sufficient training, meaning that they gain knowledge but do not practice enough to be trained to implement it! So it is no wonder that they are left at the mercy of life and their primitive brain! (I can guarantee you will not reach happiness if you do not correct this!)
STRESS TASK 2: ALTER OR ELIMINATE BAD SIGNALS
To lower or eliminate these signals, we must first understand their cause: perceived threats. (We have errors in our perception, plus we see what is in reality a non-threat as being a real threat.) The body/mind MUST, since it is wired in, act to solve the perceived threats to our survival or our ability to survive. (How it operates is explained in the 2 pages of Mechanical Brain/Body - Summary, though you can link into the 20 page version.) To do this it first matches up mechanical patterns and then emits the chemicals and electrical impulses included in the final pattern that prevails. This process culminates in "motivating" us to do the actions that solve the threat. Unless we intervene with a new "pattern" (message, data intentionally wired in), the primitive often incorrect recorded patterns will rule. Note that our motivation, in this case, is based on trying to get rid of the negative-feeling chemicals, in order to get "relief." (The lower brains mechanically will go to the easiest default, so if we don’t "think" first, we will often use ill-conceived short term ways of relieving the discomfort - and many of those are harmful - and they make us unhappy, right afterwards and/or later in life.) [See The Story Of Our Happy And Our Unhappy Chemicals - A Tale Of The Mechanisms For Survival.] Many (most?) people seek "relief" from unpleasant symptoms (feelings, etc.) in many wrong ways. [And when they make themselves wrong for doing so, they suffer more stress!] It is important not to use those bad strategies for dealing with the symptoms, but it is more important, or impactful, to eliminate the causes of the symptoms, so that they do not reoccur over and over and over and...
So, our task is to decide which strategies are bad (i.e. notice that they "don't work") and to design strategies that are good. We are capable of doing those, due to our ability to learn and then to reason out what will work. (Let me be clear, despite some self-reinforcing cultural myths, we absolutely have the capability to do what is necessary to effectively replace bad strategies.)
MISPERCEPTION, MISESTIMATING...LOTS OF MISSES
The problem is that we are classifying too many things as threats, when they actually are not REAL threats. And we are manufacturing, in our minds, dangers of "loss", where are none that are real. We set unreasonable expectations (crazy standards!) that inevitably cause us to fall short very often - for some people this is virtually all the time, except when distracted for a time. We react as if we had actually lost something, as if our mind had decided that it already had in hand the result of the expectation so that not having it seems to be the same as losing something. (Geez!) [See The Unhappiness Gap.]
So, we must learn how to set reasonable expectations and to see accurately how we stack up against those (we often underrate ourselves and/or what we have).
LACK OF WISE PERSPECTIVE
We lack proper perspective in another way: We fail to see what really doesn't matter and/or is very small stuff not worth our attention.
We have a perspective that says we must get "more", which is a standard we can never get to - and it is, per the Buddha and others, the source of our suffering. The irony is that we accept this tendency to always want more, but we've never examined it to see that it is based on total nonsense!
"Always wanting more" means that what we have is not sufficient and/or is misestimated on the low side. This makes it seem that what we are missing is greater amount in total than what we actually have - and that has us feeling bad, as if we are not surviving well.
In truth, we have more than enough. Compared to the caveman situation, we have by far (hugely) more than we need. Most of us are operating in bonus land, where we may lose some bonuses - but where we fail to see that losing a bonus is not the same as a true loss or a true threat. It is more, from a longer term perspective, of having a lesser gain - which is no big deal if we can see that we are in "bonusland".
This mis-perspective is a key source for fear and stress. Eliminating the fiction will eliminate a large percentage of one's fears.
The bottom line reality: One cannot be happy if one does not have enough perspective to have high gratitude and/or one has a "what's missing" viewpoint.
So the task is to:
1. Learn what exists that we can count on (by focusing efforts in writing out the Positives Portfolio). 2. Establish what is "enough" (and that the rest is in bonusland).
Learning this well will eliminate 99+% of threats and anxieties.
And even if you stop short of high mastery, it is likely you can eliminate 80% of them relatively quickly, fairly early on in the process of learning. However, it will pay to continue the learning until you get to mastery, as the additional payoffs are still priceless, in terms of living a better life.
Part of the mastery lies in the training aspect that helps one not just have an intellectual understanding but to also have readily available the key thoughts that stop one from falling into the misperceptions and anxieties. In fact, we must develop the instigation of these thoughts into a "habit", so that they happen automatically and effortlessly. (A simple automatic thought to develop and say when needed: "I am ok even if I don't get that. It is of no consequence. OK, now I'll just go do something else of value.")
The whole process is all very mechanical and thus the solutions are very mechanical, which means they are very doable. Many people won't believe that, because of past "failures" in trying - the problem is that they didn't adequately complete the mechanics of what they needed to know to properly implement the mechanics (i.e. they stopped short of the learning and training that was necessary and appropriate!!!!!).
WE HAVE THE BASIC EQUIPMENT
And we (except for a small number of genetically challenged people) have the equipment necessary to accomplish the application of those mechanics: 1. The ability to learn. (Learn how things work and how to work them; see Effective Learning.) 2. The ability to verify facts and to use logic (i.e. "to think"). (The trained ability to do critical thinking to make good decisions about what will work and what won't work and to solve problems well.)
These are required. You can't get "there" (to happiness, etc.) without using these, unless you have some miracle happen, which is extremely unlikely. Poor knowledge and/or poor thinking cause poor decision making which in turn causes problems - and also prevent good problem solving! You can tell if you are not doing one or the other by the level and amount of problems. (Good learners and thinkers have very few problems!)
Despite its huge importance, people try to skip over it, not realizing it actually ends up being the easier road in the long term, plus the one that ends up at a much better destination!!!!
It behooves us to get really good at both of those and, of course, to apply them.
Quite simply, to succeed in this, we need to put in the time to 1) learn and 2) decide what strategies will work to eliminate the negative chemical signals that cause unhappiness and anxiety/stress/discomfort.
This is a matter of examining one's beliefs to see if they are actually producing the results we believe we will get following through on that belief - if there is a negative result, you can bet that that is a tip off to having a false belief that needs to be corrected - if you want a better result next time!!! Some people will ignore the bad results over and over, stubbornly sticking to their beliefs! (Is that dumb or is that dumb?)
(People often falter in this process because negative chemicals are generated even by bringing to mind the belief and its bad result. But if they don't finish those beliefs off they'll get a lot more negative chemicals delivered over time, over and over and over. Because of the short term effect, we need to put in alot more positives into the short term if we are to properly manage the process. See The Skillful Effective Process For Changing.)
Even if we don't truly master this, a reasonable block of time spent on this will produce huge, ongoing dividends. (I find it hard to believe that some people won't even spend 20 hours on this, when it has such a high payoff!)
Eliminating and/or reducing the key misbeliefs will dramatically lower the need for relief - and result in lower weight, higher health, and having dramatically more attention units and energy left to produce that which is of greater value. And if these are improved, it will lower our bad chemicals from thinking about the problems.
Only when we have handled these mythical but "constant threats" can we then go about
constructing and getting that which is of the most value to us in life. (We discuss this in a following section). And the game of life is not to get the most stuff, but to bring about the most value in total - that is what creates a person being the most happy, fulfilled, and satisfied with life.
A SHORTER, BUT MORE EFFECTIVE PATH
This site is an attempt to supply you with much of the "how things work" and the "how to work them", so that you can accomplish the basic mastery level sooner. It will provide what you probably would derive on your own if you gave it enough time: systems, rules, principles, beliefs that do work. The advantage of having these pre-set up for your use is that you can improve your life to a higher level in a relatively short time, because I have done much of the pre-work for you. Just modify it to suit you.
That life will be a life of happiness and fulfillment and effectiveness - without stress, with good health. One of the biggest differences in your life will be that you will be solving the causes of "problems" rather than just treating the symptoms over and over and over and over... - unless one uses this approach, it is unlikely that a person can be happy, because the person will have too many problems lying around bugging them.
After this, we will briefly summarize the key principles and viewpoints that must be understood and in place to have a great life - if you violate these, you will not be happy.
A few words on the side:
Incidentally, this site has no magical stuff and no mysterious forces involved. It is all provable and reality based. This does not mean that it will hurt what you hold dear: your emotions. It will instead enhance them and give you a much wider access to the good ones! Although it might seem to not be hard science, "intuition" is seen for the mechanical benefits and ease, but is recognized only as a possible input to verify and consider with our higher thinking brain. This also means that we are blowing out of the water all the unwinnable games that do not need to be engaged in, saving you lots of otherwise wasted energy and lots of angst! Because you'll apply the rule to do the higher payoffs 1st, we will propose that you do some of the quick improvers 1st and then go through and do the ones that take more time and effort… Consider The Quickest Life Improvers.