Top Two:

Gratitude and Relationships

Happiness or inner peace has been linked to gratitude and the quality of human interactions over a lifetime.

Literally writing down what you are grateful for or three good things each day/week/month strengthens all neural networks focused on positive things in your life because it is too easy to focus on what isn’t going exactly as you would have designed in unicorns and rainbows land. This includes realtionships, your animals, home, job, car, etc.

The quality and kind of relationships has been proven by several studies to be a major contributing factor to health and longevity. My hypothesis (from these studies) is that is due to many factors: Partners physically watching our for each other, lower stress levels, and higher love neurotransmitter levels (hopefully), and maybe a psychological reason to live.

You believe you can’t meditate

This itself is a limiting belief which needs to be examined. A very common misconception exists among many that meditation = clear your mind and breath for a long time. At the most basic level meditation is exercise for a calm mind. Ten breaths with a certain mind activity is enough to change your life and be the most relaxing thing you do all day. 10% happier does a whole season focused on reasons why people might not meditate.

Naming your Darkness, Shadow, B!Tch Radio

One of my favorite friend philosophers told me to name my “shadow”. It has been the most helpful tools for myself and several friends. externalizing the fear based and negative parts of our persona as a third person (like the Freudian ‘Id’) is a common psychological concept (I believe might map to certain networks or areas of the brain.

Similarly, a study has shown that referring to yourself by your own name (allowed or in your mind) can also help by externalizing concepts of the self (“Jennifer, you need to make time to get that task done that you have been avoiding”)

Two of my favorite tools to use to catch myself in a downward mental rabbit hole.

Time Blinders - if any thought you see arrise in your mind pertains to the future (a few hours or today) or the past (yesterday or 30 seconds ago), put it to the side or totally erase.

Re-framing - if any thought you see arise in your mind pertains to something negative, ask why this thought arose, think of a way to resolve, see it it in a positive light, or totally erase.

Time Blinders and Re-Framing

There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically. “Maybe,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed. “Maybe,” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy for what they called his “misfortune.” “Maybe,” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son's leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “Maybe,” said the farmer

You Never know If its a good thing or a bad thing

And knowing the difference between them

the power to control, influence, or neither

If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority (stack rank them). Everything in life is a trade off, I like knowing where I am making those trade offs. Hopefully at the end of my life I won’t look back and wish I had thought about my ultimate goals sooner or differently.