The following is an excerpt from "You Can Be Happy No Matter what." By Richard Carlson, Ph.D.
"Happiness! It's something that all of us want, but that few of us achieve. It is characterized by feelings of gratitude, inner peace, satisfaction, and affection for ourselves and others. Our most natural state of mind is one of contentment and joy. The barriers or obstructions that keep us from experiencing these positive feelings are learned negative processes that we have innocently come to accept as "necessary," or as "just the way life is." When we uncover these inherent positive feelings, and remove the obstructions keeping us from them, the result is a more meaningful and beautiful experience of life."
"In this nicer state, life seems less complicated and our problems are lessened. The reason: When we feel better we have more access to our own wisdom and common sense. We tend to be less reactive, defensive and critical; we make better decisions and we communicate more effectively."
Richard Carlson had me at "it is characterized by feelings of gratitude, inner peace... He goes on...
"The best way to uncover these deep positive feelings within yourself is to begin to understand their source...You will learn to detect and protect yourself from the psychological obstructions that have kept you from these positive feelings-those insecure thoughts that you have learned to take too seriously."
Having read this book many years ago, I am sure it made sense at the time but nothing noticeably changed for me. I took very seriously the psychological obstructions that kept me from these positive feelings and can recite hundreds, if not thousands of them. Knowing them for me made it worse since I now had more precise information to beat myself with. The breakthrough for me was to notice that the two opposing powerful feelings of fear and happiness, while stimulated by thoughts are actually physiological responses to the production of naturally occurring drugs in the body, namely adrenaline on the fear spectrum and endorphins on the happiness spectrum. This gave me direct access to happiness without spending any more time detecting and removing obstructions. By engaging in a daily Happiness Process I gain direct access to the results Richard Carlson describes.
Richard Carlson's book has a very different impact as I re-read it. The words are no longer just words but connect in a 'now I get it' kind of way. [Russell]