It is true that life is downright sad at times. It is also true that some people suffer “major depression” or “clinical depression,” a medical condition for which there are medical treatments. PerfectCoaches cannot change these facts.
On the other hand, for most people most of the time it is possible to “Do Happy,” that is, it is possible to understand what makes us feel happy and do those things more often by living life mindfully and holistically.
A case could be madefor marking this best practice with the sign for infinity (∞) in order toemphasize the breadth and depth of the idea. In mathematics, infinityis an abstract concept describing something without any limits, bigger than any number.In everyday language, infinity usually signifies something that goes beyond what we can count or understand.
This infinitely important habit of daily living brings three ingredients together. The first is that we can, to some extent, lead the emotional life we want to live by thinking of inner experiences as behaviors that we can learn. This can be facilitated by the second theme: living each day mindfully, savoring the events taking place right now, in the present moment, in good times and bad. This has been discussed throughout the book. The third ingredient, living each day holistically means seeing all aspects of your life as interconnected, best understood by experiencing each thing as part of a whole. Holistic thinking is perhaps even more subtle than mindfulness. It means understanding the tangible benefits of good nutrition, regular exercise, and good health habits, but goes beyond them to an intangible sense of being in balance the people and things that surround you.
Holistic living means emphasizingtheintegration of body, mind, spirit, and the habits of daily life. Living mindfully and holistically is to embrace life’s patchwork of experiences as one continuous fabric. Mother Teresa, the Roman Catholic nun and humanitarian, described life this way:
Life is an opportunity, benefit from it;
Life is beauty, admire it;
Life is a dream, realize it;
Life is a challenge, meet it;
Life is a duty, complete it;
Life is a game, play it;
Life is a promise, fulfill it;
Life is sorrow, overcome it;
Life is a song, sing it;
Life is a struggle, accept it;
Life is a tragedy, confront it;
Life is an adventure, dare it;
Life is luck, make it;
Life is too precious, do not destroy it; and
Life is life, fight for it.
Being thankful for life invites questions about the source of life. Should someone or something be thanked? Religions vary widely in their deities, rituals, and creation stories. Yeteach faith enables its believers to understand where their lives fit within the universe and all of creation. For some people, a creator-spirit or revered deity becomes part of their life team, perhaps the central figure in it.
There can be a spiritual dimension to holistic self-awareness. It embraces creation as an extension of the self, and the self as a part of creation. Some belief systems equate God with nature, and nearly every belief system, even atheism, acknowledges that we experience life within a creation greater than ourselves. Believing that the selfand creationare in balance, or canbe, provides a certaininner peace, that is, a deliberate state of psychological or spiritual calm.
The PerfectCoaches method is neutral about which psychological theories are valid or which religious beliefs contain the truth. It can work alongside of any belief system, or by itself, as a source of insight into the connections between mind, wellness, spirit, and life itself.
Holistic living means understanding that self-awareness and behavioral focus not only apply to specific behaviors but also to the total self, which is something more. The selfconsists of the roles you play, the things you do that you and others can see—this has been our focus thus far—and inner experiences knownonly to you.
Inner experiences may, in fact,be the key to thanking life. They are also behaviors—thoughts or emotions we do in the process of adjusting to our environment.
Instead of saying “I am happy” or “I am sad” or “I am angry,” you could say “I am doing happy,” “I am doing sad,” “I am doing angry,” and so forth, even if we are doing them while doing other things that are visible to the world. We are what we repeatedly do, and it is possible to make “Do Happy” a behavioral goal by understanding what triggers and reinforcers create the inner experience of happiness. For example smiling, discussed earlier as a best practice in its own right, can be a way to “Do Happy.”
A 24x7 camera watching everything you do would observe your skills and habits but would not have access to what you feel inside. What if it focused only on your face? Your facial expressions can reflect your innerexperiences. For example, you might spend half your time smiling, indicating satisfaction with your work or your environment or yourself.