While drinking my cup of coffee in the morning and scanning the headlines for the latest outrage, I had an uncomfortable thought. Was I addicted to Trump? The answer is “Yes”. You might be as well. Here are the warning signs.
1: You read about him everyday. Obsessively. You might click on the news to see what crazy thing he has done or tweeted in the last ten minutes.
2: You start a lot of conversations with “Do you believe the crazy sh*t Trump just did?”
3: You wake up in the middle of the night after a nightmare where Trump actually became President of The United States. Then you realize he did and you cry/drink a lot.
We are convinced that the world needs us to do this and that we are helping the situation by being in a constant state of worry. The world doesn’t need us to do this. In fact, its very counterproductive.
“But Rob,” I hear you yelling, “Its my responsibility to be informed! I must be a world citizen who knows what’s going on and then I can participate in a meaningful way.”
That’s what I thought until I noticed something. I was checking google news virtually every hour and ignoring my own life. Trump is a master at creating news and attracting attention. He’s like a snotty, spoiled rich kid who goes to a friends birthday party and doesn’t care if he wrecks the whole thing as long as he is the one everybody is looking at. And I have to admit, it is incredibly entertaining-too entertaining.
He makes us ask questions like “Is he actually serious about the travel ban? Does he really think he was bugged, or is it just some master plan to draw attention away from his relationship with Russia? Is he really a bit unhinged or is he a strange dark genius?
Imagine this guy with hurt feelings and a bunch of caffeine.
I have a question for you though: What has happened to your own story during this time? Are you pursuing your own hopes and dreams? Have they been advanced or helped by your attention to this political confusion? Unless you have a stake in Breitbart News (and I truly hope you don’t) then probably the answer is a resounding “No!” .
You may have found ( I certainly have) that “Trumping” has moved past being a fascinating distraction to being a drain on your creativity and productivity. Its hard to stay focused on our own story and contributions to the world when a man with control over the most mechanized military in history is flailing around like an angry viking hopped up on vodka and Redbull.
This level of crazy is captivating and terrifying to watch. It is nothing short of addictive.
However there is very little we can do to change it. Heck, I’m sitting here safely in Canada and wondering what I can do to make it better and the answer is “Nothing”. I can make my voice heard and that’s it. I’m not saying we should give up on the world, say screw it and go have a nice dinner with wine (actually that sounds perfect) but maybe our precious attention is better spent elsewhere.
Want to make the world a better place? Here’s a few ideas off the top of my head.
4: Take a moment and do ANYTHING positive except feed the crazy train that is the Trump presidency.
Someone much wiser than me said “Be the Change you wish to see in the world” (It was Gandhi) . Well, I think right now the world needs many of us to step up and really demonstrate who we are by not just saying “Oh this is terrible” but by creating more of what we want by showing generosity, kindness, integrity and dare I say it? A bit of LOVE.
I was sleeping in Madonna’s room. For real. No Kidding. How was it that I, A Led Zeppelin fanatic was sleeping on a bed that Madonna had slept in? Good question.
Recently, my wife and I had a trip to Spain. We are pretty much in love with the place. We love its people, the depth of its history, the architecture, the food, the wine, the ridiculous mountain roads and the food. (I may have mentioned food twice but really it is that good.) One of our favourite places in the whole country is a small town in the south called Ronda. Hemingway was crazy about Ronda as well. In fact he called it the most romantic town in all of Spain (and I would agree). Its built on mountains that drop off on sheer cliffs to the valley below. Sound dramatic? Well, it is. Here have a look at this pic…
See what I mean? Beautiful right? Well all off this beauty did now go unnoticed when Madonna (or somebody who worked for her) was picking locations for the video for Take A Bow.
Now, I am not a huge Madonna fan. I am a fan of Jimmy Page of Zeppelin. I’m not even sure that its legal to be a fan of both of these artists at the same time, However my wife LOVES Madonna and she arranged for us to stay in the room that Madonna stayed in when she was in Ronda called, funny enough The Madonna Room.
It was awesome. There was a small terrace, fancy wooden windows, a view of the countryside, lots of wood, and a surprising amount of S&M gear (just kidding). It was really cool and even for a non fan like myself, I couldn’t help but be a bit star struck by the fact that we were staying in the room where someone that famous had been. It was a bit weird. It was also remarkably human. You see there was all this regular stuff in the room as well, like a bed, with a mattress and dare I say it? A toilet. with a chain that you pull.
You see after a few hours of being impressed with the fame of the person who had stayed there, it struck me that it was a room (albeit a REALLY nice one) that had all the human stuff in it that all of us need. Whoever had stayed in the room be they famous or not, had all the same basic human needs that we all have. We all need to sleep, eat, wake up, go to the bathroom and get the guck out of our eyes in the morning, regardless of who we are.
No matter how much we try to fool ourselves we are all walking around looking for the same things in different ways, we’re looking for warmth, connection, fun, security, a way to contribute, appreciation and a good deal on a archery equipment (ok maybe not that). The details and circumstances of our lives might be radically different, but our nature as humans, I think is remarkably the same. So it is with our quest for wellness. No matter our different the circumstances and details of our lives, we are all trying to get through this day and the next with a bit of dignity and even love.
If you want to stay in Madonna’s room. you can! Its in one of the best and funkiest places I’ve ever stayed.
Yes, what you have always suspected is true. That wonderful feeling you get after making love, having sex or getting lucky (depending on who you’re talking to) is good for you. Contrary to what they told us when we were 16, 17 or even 35, sex is healthy. In fact, it can increase your level of happiness quite significantly.
BTW, this is what happens when you google “Sexy pharmacists”.
You know the feeling you get right after a particularly good sexual experience? Well, there is a chemical reason for that. There is a virtual pharmacy in our body creating the chemicals and hormones that we need to get through the day.
When we have sex, the tiny pharmacists inside us look at each other in their white coats and say “Gerald! our human had sex! We need to make some dopamine!” “That’s not all Marjorie, we should give them a huge dose of serotonin as well!” “By the way Marjorie you are looking very shapely in your white lab coat.” “Why thank you….perhaps I should unbutton it a bit, because its so hot in here…” At that point its all lava lamps and sexiness inside the body…That’s right even your body gets turned on by itself after you make love!
Alright I may have stretched my metaphor (and a couple of other things) in the last bit, but the point, is when we have sexual activity, our body produces both dopamine and serotonin that floods our system. When that happens, we feel good!
Alright this is the best statistic you will hear all day…
….and this is what happens when you google “sex and money” at least the ones I can show.
Having sex once a week gives you the same boost of happiness and increased level of satisfaction as getting a raise of $50,000 a year.
Isn’t that the coolest? I can hear you now saying “Gosh that sounds great Rob, but what’s your source? Well a feature article in WebMD states
…”sex enters so strongly (and) positively in happiness equations that they estimate increasing intercourse from once a month to once a week is equivalent to the amount of happiness generated by getting an additional $50,000 in income for the average American.”
For every 10 reviews on Amazon, I’ll donate 10 copies of Doing Happiness to Gilda’s Club of Greater Toronto
I won’t tell you how good it is, but Hugh Culver will!! Thanks Hugh!
“Even if you are a happy person, I want you to read this book. What Rob Hawke has done is to boil down the best of positive psychology, self-help, and sage advice into a very readable (131 pages of goodness) guide to, as he says “uncovering the hidden benefits of feeling good.”
I just completed my new book “Doing Happiness: Uncovering The Hidden Benefits of Feeling Good” The good news is there are simple things we can do everyday to help us feel true happiness. More than that, I talk about the many tangible benefits our happiness brings to us and those we care about the most.I could use a bit of help.
Would you be willing to read it and write a review on amazon? It would take all of two minutes and it’s really easy.
You will get a FREE digital copy of Doing Happiness for your time.
Step 1: Hit this link (or the title below) and download a FREE digital copy of Doing Happiness,
Step 2: If you like it, leave a positive review! (If its 5 stars that would be so terrific)
This simple exercise is scientifically proven to make you happier but it’s scary.
In fact, it makes me so nervous, that I’m trying to get the courage to do it.
Here’s the deal. You think of someone in your life who has really helped you out. Someone who you are really grateful to for everything they have done. This could be a really good friend, teacher, parent or sibling. Once you have them in mind, you write a page or so thanking them for everything they have done for you.
So far so good right? Here’s the catch. Instead of sending it off by email or snail mail, you call them up and then read them the letter.
I’m not gonna lie, I’m nervous about this. The prospect of calling up my Mom and Dad and thanking them and then having a conversation with a good friend of mine and actually being honest instead of making dirty jokes is something I could easily put off until, well, forever (or at least until the next Game Of Thrones book comes out, whichever comes first.). However, I committed to doing this. I’ve written the letters and read them a couple of times out loud and its go time! Right after lunch.
Because who wants to do something like this on an empty stomach? Not me! And besides, I am prone to displays of emotion so the conversations are probably going to end with me blubbering like someone watching the end of “Love Actually”. Perfect! (He said, wishing there was a sarcasm font). BTW, this is all research for my upcoming book Doing Happiness: Uncovering the Hidden Benefits of Feeling Good.
Alright, so I’ve eaten left over chicken and prepared myself to not tear up by watching Youtube clips of Clint Eastwood in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, so I think I’m ready.
OK, So, I got through the first one! I called up my best friend and read him my note of thanks. It was very weird and remarkably honest. I thought it would be awkward but it was actually alright. He was quite taken aback it seems, cause really, a friend rarely calls you up, swears at you and then says you’re awesome.
Now, on to my parents… After finding every excuse in the book NOT to do this, I finally went for it.
Alright! That went pretty well! The world did not end and nobody cried. (This is actually a great way to measure if a day has been a success) I managed to read my note to Mom and Dad and everything was alright. I do feel really good right now. In fact, I feel downright happy. It also feels like I’ve given a gift to people who I really care about. That actually might be the most important part about this. I know it’s an exercise to increase your level of happiness, but it feels different than that. It feels like this altruistic gift of acknowledgement and appreciation.
If you want to use this technique to scientifically improve your level of happiness (and those you care about) here are the steps…
1: Decide who you want to thank.
2: Set a timer for about 20 mins and write them a letter about how thankful you are for everything they have done for you.
3: Promise yourself that you’ll get to it tomorrow.
4: When tomorrow arrives, decide it’s not the right time and then do your laundry or wash your dishes, or do your taxes from 3 years ago.
5: Finally get the courage to pick up the phone.
6: Say something like “Could you do me a favour? All you have to do is listen, I’ve written you a letter and I want to read it to you. Don’t worry, it’s all good stuff, is that ok?”
7: Read the letter.
8: Feel Awesome!
You’ll probably feel terrific afterwards, and as a bonus, the folks you care about will feel great as well. This is definitely a scary and generous gift to give and as a bonus, I bet you also get your laundry done.
So, have you ever been smacked upside the head with an unexplained dose of anxiety? It sucks doesn’t it? Well recently, I was going along and minding my own business when I was hit with a wack of anxiety. It was very strange! Ordinarily I can cruise through pretty much anything and feel calm and cool. Going onstage? No sweat! Big meeting? I got that. Final Episode of Game of Thrones? Ok, that can freak me out a bit. But really, most of the time, the word anxiety has little meaning other than something that “other people” experience.
Not so the other day. I woke up and for some reason and I couldn’t get started working. Everytime I was about to start my timer to do the “gazillion” things I had to do, I was totally freaked out by them. So, I relaxed for a bit and then tried again. No go. I just felt more and more tension in my chest and started to feel down right “freaky”. It was like an ocean tide of bad feeling had just rolled in and there was nothing I could do about it.
Before I knew it, most of the day was gone. The next day? Pretty much the same deal. I started to feel pretty terrible and had no idea how to change my mental state. So what gives?
A few months ago I found out that anxiety runs in my family. This should have not come as a total surprise as I had heard some family members described as “worriers”, but then I realized that these stories actually went back generations. (Here’s a hint: If you hear stories about your family being worried before the Model T was invented, it might be a family issue)
Ah! It seems this whole anxiety thing may have deeper roots than I thought. It doesn’t seem fair that genetics, that mysterious part of our make-up that brought us our eye colour, height and our love/hate of Star Wars, would have something to do with how we feel on a regular basis, but it does. Apparently our genetic history can really affect how we feel.
Here’s the other side of the coin. Many years ago a relative who I won’t mention (We’ll just call him “Dad”) was feeling really worried. In fact, he was walking around the house anxious a lot of the time. Finally it got to the point where he needed to go to his doctor. After examining him, taking his blood pressure and asking him some questions, the doctor came up with a pretty terrific prescription. 1: Stop watching the News. 2: Wear looser underwear.
So, he went home and did both of those things-and he felt better. For me it wasn’t so simple. However, I woke up one morning and the crazy tension in my chest had lessened. I was able to work again, and as I got a bunch of stuff done, I started to feel capable and OK.
Many of us deal with this. My own small foray into the world of unnamed anxiety was tiny in comparison to what others deal with. For some, waiting a few days and making different underwear choice doesn’t cut it. Folks sometimes need medical care for their condition. If you are dealing with this or something like it, I really hope you get some assistance.
My few days of discomfort was enough for me, thank you very much. Hope it doesn’t happen again, but if it does, at least I know there are others fighting the same fight and just waiting for the tide to go out.
Here are a couple of resources for dealing with anxiety here.