Want to be Happier in Life? 4 Ways to Create It.

  1. Smile . Work on it. Smiling builds connections with others. This one may sound obvious but it’s the critical observable difference between happy and unhappy people. Think about your happiest friends. Think President Obama. His smile pulls you in and provides a calming feeling. It says things are tough but okay. Building a habit of smiling , if it is genuine is very comforting to others. A smile is a pleasant surprise and disarming. Try increasing you’re smiling everyday for the next week. The world will be a friendlier and more engaging place for it and you will feel better about yourself.
  2. MMFI– Make others feel important and accepted. William James, the great philosopher once wrote, ” the deepest human need is the need to be appreciated.” Who are you going to show appreciation for today?
  3. Build a Happy Circle. Research has found that happy people tend to hang out with other happy people. This is the old cliché of “Birds of Feather Flock Together.”  Or on the negative side “Misery loves company”. Happy and unhappy people are attracted toward others who share their same point of view or feelings. If you’re struggling with a bout of sadness, low energy, worry, or anger, spend more time with happier and more positive people. Chances are, you’ll find that their positive attitude rubs off on you.
  4. Listen. Listen. Listen. Observe. Act.  Work on fine tuning your active listening skills. Listening is a skill that can be learned and improved on just like golf, tennis or strategic planning. But you need to make the commitment to get really good at it. Practice the right things and understand the power of clarification, open-ended questions, paraphrasing, reflection and patience when interacting with others.


Want to get Start on Mindfulness and Meditation–Try the 5 R Approach its Simple and Works

Follow the 5 R’s for a mindful and simple meditation experience


Note: the following is from the upcoming book Beautiful Practice: A whole-life approach to health, performance and the human predicament. (estimated publication: February 2014) by Frank Forencich 

Daily Quote: “The faculty of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention, over and over again, is the very root of judgment, character and will… An education which should improve this faculty would be the education par excellence”. William James

Frank Forencich goes on to say: “Confused by all the different and complex approaches to meditation? Here is a simple and powerful process : Focus the light of your attention on your breath and keep it there. When your attention wanders, bring it back to your breathing target with compassion and without judgment. (To put it in the simplest possible terms, this form of meditation is sometimes called “aim and sustain.”) This is the foundation practice for developing attentional stability and is the basis for other, more advanced forms of meditation”.

There are many meditation teachers of course and many variations on this theme. Here is one that you might find useful. It’s built on a series of prompts, each word beginning with the letter R. This makes it simple and easy to remember.

This meditation works best when led by a teacher. Students set up a relaxed position and settle in. Once everyone is comfortable, the teacher reads the following script in a calm voice, pausing and editing as desired:

1. Relax your entire body… every cell, every system, every joint, every limb, every organ, every vessel. Relax the core of your body, your abdomen and your torso. Relax into your breath.

2. Release your expectations and sceptic inside … Release your explanations and your commentary…Release your predictions, your calculations and your speculations… Release your ruminations about the past and your worries about the future.

3. Relinquish  and Reduce your attachment to thoughts, ideas, outcomes and points of view… Relinquish your defenses and your judgments…. Relinquish your opinions and your attitudes…reduce your pressure to be perfect and just accept what comes-up.

4. Receive your experience and focus on the  present moment, and all that comes with it… Feel what you’re feeling; experience what you’re experiencing… Allow your body and spirit to be one… Receive the vulnerability, insecurity, the uncertainty, the ambiguity and the emotion of the moment…Receive the gifts and show gratitude for other people’s help, care and love. Show gratitude for the kindness, support and compassion that has come your way…. Receive the totality of your life in whatever form it takes. (Note: see Rumi’s poem The Guest House.)

5. Return your attention to your breath.

Repeat this sequence as many times as desired. As you’ll discover, this guided practice is a form of relaxing work; it guides us through the process with an active, reversed effort. This sets us up to stabilize our attention and further develop our mindfulness.

Try it and let me know how it goes.

Dr. Mark’s Rules: How to Make Presentations Sticky

“Speech is power; Speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

There has been a lot of dialogue and ideas lately on how to make ideas sticky. This all started with Malcolm Gladwell, in his hot book, Tipping Point. Recently, the Heath brother’s book Made to Stick came on the scene. They used a clever memory jogger called SUCCESs which laid out the elements of a stcky message. I recommend you read both books they provide good insight in how to make your messages more insightful. Continue reading “Dr. Mark’s Rules: How to Make Presentations Sticky”

Reflections on Best Friends Week: Be Present and Care

” The greatest discovery of my time is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes.”  William James, American Philosopher

What’s exciting about friendship is that it continually demands from you the commitment to others beyond the levels you’ve reached in the past. It demands the willingness to treat each situation as brand new and to treat people with empathy.  Above all, being a friend demands that you be authentic and open. Friendship is the art of putting yourself in the other person’s shoes; imagining yourself in their situation, and asking yourself how would you feel and what would you do.

Friendship means supporting people to be the best they can be and accepting them as they are through good times and bad. A good friend relates to people non-judgmentally as the people they are, not as you wish them to be or the assumptions you make about them because of past performance or experiences with them. Continue reading “Reflections on Best Friends Week: Be Present and Care”