Yes it has been some time since I last posted on the Happiness Rx. The Happiness Doc just got licensed and is happier than ever! However I realized this morning, I’ve been focusing so much on building my practice that I’ve ironically neglected the whole reason I got into this field- helping YOU!

So back to the drawing board we go. The topic that seems to be most salient on my mind at the moment is toxicity- the arch- nemesis of one’s happiness. I got to thinking about how toxicity plays out in some of my clients’ lives. Sometimes it is through anger, gossip, judgement, resentment, or an unwillingness to forgive.

I recently heard someone say- “not forgiving someone for something they’ve done is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” I love that quote, and it is the basis of today’s blog.

When we engage in behaviors aimed at righting another’s wrong, controlling someone else, or getting “even,” – we actually do more harm to ourselves than anyone else. Have you ever stepped back and observed how you feel after a juicy gossip session, or after having the last word? Usually, it isn’t a good feeling, or if it is- it is mostly temporary, leaving us feeling worse than we did before.

We are biologically programmed to engage in most of our toxic thinking. For example, let’s look at the concept of judgement. If we weren’t able to judge, we’d never be able to learn that lions like eating us and exactly how far away they are from us across the plains thousands of years ago. However, our evolutionary pre-programming is no longer working for us. We are not facing the same challenges we faced thousands of years ago. Yet we are still riddled with the angst and negativity our judgmental minds result in.

Our minds give us the sense that judging someone else, becoming self-righteous, cheating someone else, having the upper hand, or getting angry is somehow going to feel good. Yet if we can become the observer of the mind, increase our emotional intelligence, and realize how toxic these actions are to our happiness- we can slowly, over time, plant the seeds of true peace and contentment.

I truly do believe that there is a karmic reaction in our universe. If we put out bad things (even if no one is looking) we will get bad things. Conversely, if we do good- we get good. I have seen this spiritual principle work in my life, as well as my clients.

Today, try to be mindful of all the openings for toxicity to come into your life, and practice doing opposite action. If you are pulled into an office gossip pool, resist the temptation to lazily-bond and remove yourself from the room. If you see a deliciously evil quip on facebook, hide it and post something kind and inspirational to your followers. If your significant other pushes a button, resist trying to get in that witty comeback, and do something nice for them. You will be awestruck at how your mood starts to elevate and your life begins to transform.

Dr. Colleen Long (PSY23911) is the author of “Happiness in B.A.L.A.N.C.E,” and “Meditation Medication.”  Dr. Long works mainly from a positive psychology framework as it applies to addiction, depression, relationships,  body image and weight loss. Her website can be found at www.DrColleenLong.com. For a free consultation please contact her at 1-800-593-2560

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