Harvesting Happiness: Enemy #1

  • Harvesting Happiness Enemy #1

    By Lisa Cypers Kamen.

    If life was one long-running cartoon, we’d spot anger right away – beet-red face, steam shooting out of the ears, sweat dripping from the forehead.  We’d be able to see anger build up in ourselves and maybe, just maybe, get our emotions in check before they boil over.

    Life is not a cartoon. Steam will not shoot out of your ears. You will probably never sweat enough to be soaked head to toe during your angry spell. But, chronic anger is linked to physical health issues — higher risk of coronary artery disease and heart attack, and even stiffer arteries from the strain of stress. And those health issues can bring you straight back to the root of the problem: neglected emotions.

    When we choose to hold back emotions, the pressure travels from our heart to our mind to our body.  That interconnection is why you’ve heard stories about people flooded with tears during yoga, overcome with physical and emotional release after years of repressing their feelings. Because the physical repercussions of our emotional turmoil aren’t always physically visible, mind-body practices such as yoga often help us become aware of the link between body, mind and emotion.

    Because anger plays a toll on the mind and body, there’s a double incentive to keep its role in your life at a minimum. When an upsetting situation comes up, address your feelings early on. Is your body feeling stressed? Recognize the cues your body is giving you, and use that awareness to put the situation in perspective and make changes that will relieve the tension in your body. Being proactive will give your emotions and body the attention they deserve and nip anger in the bud.

    Anger has a sneaky way of distracting us from the happy things in life. It is, simply put, a joy killer. It’s not easy to stomp out that negativity and focus on happiness, but you’ll be surprised at the holistic benefit you’ll reap from doing so. Your mind, heart and body will undoubtedly join in a chorus of thanks.

    Happiness is an inside job®.

    Happiness Strategy:

    The next time you feel overcome with anger, take a moment to do this simple but cathartic stretch. Sit down in a chair with your back straight and your feet squarely on the ground. Let your arms hang down straight.

    Slowly rotate your shoulders clockwise in a tiny circular motion. As you rotate your shoulders, slowly increase the size of the circular motion until you feel your shoulder blades come in as far as they can. Now extend your arms out at waist level, raising them slowly until your palms meet above your head, inhaling during the ascent and exhaling as you bring your arms back down to resting position.

    Take note of how this simple stretching routine alleviates the body stress associated with your anger and pent up emotions. Make a habit of stretching, even if for only a minute or two, each time you feel anger build up inside you. Once this becomes habit, you will become aware of the intrinsic way in which our mind, body and emotions are connected and will realize that making one area calm (in this case, the body) can have a positive effect on the other areas.

    Lisa Cypers Kamen

    Lisa Cypers Kamen is a filmmaker, positive psychology coach, author, host of Harvesting Happiness Talk Radio, professor and lecturer specializing in the field of sustainable happiness. She is widely recognized as an expert on the subject. Lisa’s acclaimed documentary film co-produced with her now fifteen year-old daughter, Kayla, “H-Factor…Where is your heart?” explores how people in varied circumstances find, generate and share happiness. In addition to her film on happiness, Lisa has also published a number of articles and books entitled, Got Happiness Now?, Are We Happy Yet?, Leadership: Helping Others to Succeed and Reintegration Strategies, about combat trauma and using positive psychology principles to create wellness in a post-war new normal. Lisa’s written work is featured on blogs for the Huffington Post, PositivelyPositive.com and InspireMeToday.com and she is a TEDx community event speaker. In addition, she is the Happiness Expert for the Florida Department of Citrus/ Florida Orange Juice in its Take on the Day campaign. Harvesting Happiness for Heroes™ is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that delivers stigma-free integrated combat trauma recovery services to warriors and their loved ones. Modalities include scientifically proven strengths based Positive Psychology coaching and interdisciplinary tools such as film, yoga, meditation, art and creative writing designed to mindfully empower the client to achieve increased self-mastery, self-esteem and reclaim her/his life. HH4Heroes focuses on the balance of mind, body and emotion resulting in greater overall wellbeing and the transformation of Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) into Post-Traumatic Growth (PTG). HH4Heroes offers retreat workshops, one-on-one coaching, Battle Buddy programs, as well as our new R.E.B.O.O.T Online virtual community coaching classrooms designed to reach underserved areas. In addition, HH4Heroes deploys Return to Duty™ civilian and corporate training to help welcome a warrior home and into the community and workplace. Lisa is committed to teaching Happiness is an inside job™ and helping others end their needless suffering through intentionally cultivating greater joy.

    View all posts by Lisa Cypers Kamen.

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