Happiness for Dummies: Hardiness (Chapter 6)

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The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris

This book makes you think! The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I do marvel that Happiness for Dummies is not a “dummies” book, that it does have valid content that makes you think!

Dr. Gentry described hardy personality in Chapter 6 of Happiness for Dummies– people who are resilient, who are survivors.  He noted that hardy people grow stronger, happier and more competent over their lifetime (p. 73).  Dr. Gentry described the 3 “C’s” – control, commitment and challenge which are traits of hardy people.

People with control are masters of their own destiny and take ownership.  They have commitment which helps them have a sense of purpose.  Interestingly, on page 77 of Happiness for Dummies, Dr. Gentry described how cultural changes have caused people to become disenfranchised.  Some months ago I started to realize that so many people have become isolated — maybe due to the internet, texting, etc.  He speaks of the need for people to reconnect, which is a goal I have for the timetoplay site.  Last is challenge — Dr. Gentry described this as how people look at stress.  He noted that conflict creates missed opportunity, and instead of people considering situations a challenge, stress promotes negativity which creates the downward spiral we’ve read about in past threads.  Instead we should all see stress as opportunity.

I did love this statement:  Anything worth doing is worth doing well (p. 78).  I recently went to a training seminar where they used “The way you do anything is the way you do everything”.  It’s a really visual, though provoking statement.  It should make you strive to achieve.  I know I’ve implemented this into my thought process and have noticed a marked difference in my day. Happiness for Dummies is a great read for anyone!

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Embrace the timetoplay philosophy:  You have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance to enjoy life.  It’s time to enjoy your life.  Be sure to check out timetoplay.com for resources for a better life.

Happiness for Dummies: Knowing What Happiness Isn't

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An emoticon with a smile. For more emoticons i...

An emoticon with a smile. For more emoticons in Wikipedia, see Wikipedia:Emoticons. 32px|alt=W3C|link=http://validator.w3.org/✓ The source code of this SVG is valid. Category:Valid SVG (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, the book review continues, you can read on here or join in on the forum — I’d love to start some real dialogue.  As timetoplay.com (by the way the new website layout will be up this week) is my quest for quality of life, I believe many, many others need to come along for the “ride” with me so we can enjoy life.  Here’s the link to the book review / discussion for this book, Happiness for Dummies, in the forum in case you’re interested — http://timetoplay.com/forum/showthread.php/168-Happiness-for-Dummies-W-Doyle-Gentry-Ph

Chapter 3: Knowing what happiness isn’t

This chapter reviews another theme we read about in Mr. Tolle‘s book The Power of Now — it’s just really streamlined and made for us to understand a little easier with examples of people who have fallen into the ruts believing happiness comes from what Dr. Gentry calls culturally valued outcomes — wealth, power and success. Through timetoplay.com, my “quest for quality of life” journey, I have realized that “things” aren’t as important to making me happy as they were when I was younger, so this chapter was interesting to me.

Dr. Gentry discussed what money DOES buy, which is comfort for living (there are some things that are definitely necessary, like food and shelter), people to help you and support you (he gave examples of people who you hire), and economic freedom.

Then he went into the power, success and excitement which — the general theme is — DON’T make people happy. I guess it depends on who you ask, though, right? Or, if you really went deep into the people, are they really happy, or just appear happy on the surface. Each life situation brings something else with it that you have to deal with, right? So, let’s discuss the points Dr. Gentry made:

POWER – economic, physical, social (status): These people have control over the world around them but, he went on to discuss why these people who regular working people would think “made it” aren’t happy. He gave an example of people high in the corporate world who become very aggressive in life, I guess trying to control everything, which became their only goal and focus, and they just weren’t happy. I guess if anything becomes an obsession, there’s no room for anything else in your life.

SUCCESS: Dr. Gentry notes that, many times, success is accompanied by misfortune and tragedy. I guess we see this time and time again in the news regarding successful people, or people we believe to be successful, in a tragic situation. He noted that success does not guarantee a happy life free of misfortune and misery. He actually told of people like Ben Franklin and Abraham Lincoln who were depressed much of their lives. Maybe when you feel you “made it” there’s nothing more to strive for? Or you feel a huge sense of responsibility which causes depression? Anyone have comments?

EXCITEMENT: This is interesting. . . people substitute activities and think they’re happy while they’re doing it but sometimes (which is really a feeling of excitement) and wind up regretting it in the morning, like going to clubs, gambling, or other passion or energy-seeking activities. He notes excitement can cause an illusion of happiness. He included this activity that anyone can do to evaluate if you’re confusing excitement with happiness: “Make a list of 10 things that excite you. Then rate how happy you feel after doing each of these things — how grateful you feel, how satisfied you are, how much contentment and serenity you feel.” (p. 44)

Dr. Gentry then went into how researchers have identified income has little effect on how positive a person is – that 1) each time you reach a level you adjust your “level of neutrality” and it takes more to make you happy; 2) people constantly compare themselves with others, the “keep up with the Jones’s” philosophy, and feel deprived. Although she might be made if she ever reads this, I grew up in a home where my mom was like this. You know kids learn what they see. My mom spoke about how this one got this, or that one got that. I realize now that you shouldn’t get into debt to have something just because someone else does, and I am lucky to have had my husband along with me to protect me from doing this. The more stuff you have the harder you have to work to have the stuff, so you have to ask yourself how bad you want it, right? Dr. Gentry suggested not just comparing yourself to people who have lots, but to those with less than you so you can become more content and grateful with what you have. 3) Escalating needs – kind of goes with the treadmill effect. The more you get the more you want, which keeps you from being happy because you’re always “waiting — Mr. Tolle said that, too — to get “it” so you can be happy.

Dr. Gentry reminded that emotions like envy, jealousy, greed and resentment keep you from being happy with what you’ve got and makes you feel bad when you compare yourself. “Their success makes you feel less successful, their power makes you feel powerless and their freedom makes you feel less free. It’s all about them!” (p. 45)

Wow. This has become kind of long. Sorry. But, there’s more! Interestingly, Dr. Gentry said that happiness comes in waves. excited and joyful one minute and not the next, but that the purpose of this book is to make us have more happy moments. That sounds good to me! He suggested another exercise where you put down 10 of the most happiest moments of your life and another list where you list 10 events that you thought would make you happy but didn’t, which will show what you value / your priorities.

Last thought of the chapter – enjoy the moment. So, we’ve heard / learned over and over the importance to stay in the moment. Again, hard to do, right? Things pull us away, but I guess we need to constantly remind ourselves and pull ourselves back in.

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Embrace the TimetoPlay.com philosophy:  You have to be happy, healthy, have money (at least enough to eat) and a work life balance to have quality of life.  It’s time to enjoy life.  There’s so many amazing resources on timetoplay.  Take charge, make the change — one little thing at a time.  It’s up to you.

Happiness for Dummies – W. Doyle Gentry, PhD

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Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Resized, renamed,...

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Resized, renamed, and cropped version of File:Mazlow’s Hierarchy of Needs.svg. (Photo credit: Wikipe

It’s been a while since I posted in this blog, mostly because I didn’t want to supersede the last blog post, Learning:  the Key to Enjoying Life.  But, I started reading the book, “Happiness for Dummies”, and figured I’d post what I’ve gleaned.  I’ve also put this on the www.timetoplay.com forum if you want to participate in the book review / discussion there. . .

I figured this book would be kind of fun and light — it’s not. The author summed up the book’s intention in the introduction: “Happiness for Dummies tells you how to fight for, create, and live a long and happy life. It makes you the master of your own happy destiny!” The book appears to be educational and thought provoking. The author (based on what I have read so far) has provided examples of happy people and ways to identify, learn, experience, and change. By the way — he’s noted Type B personalities are happier than Type A. I’m a type A. I expect a lot from myself. Hmmmmm. Something to consider as we go through this book.

LEARN — here’s that concept again. I’ve decided the key to enjoying life is to learn. Don’t just sit there. Identify what you need and then learn. Find out all the information you need to change, and then implement it. In the introduction the author also included this sentence re: happiness and its pursuit: “You wait for it to find you instead of exercising your right to pursue it”. Let’s not wait. Let’s learn and implement.

OK — so, let’s start the Happiness for Dummies discussion.

This is CHAPTER 1: Anyone Can Be Happy — and it’s going to be long.

Beginning on page 12, Dr. Gentry reviewed findings on 4 people who professed to be happy. Their common attributes were a strong family and parents who loved them and taught them to be positive. They volunteer and give back to others. They SMILE an encourage others around them to smile back. They are POSITIVE thinkers (that was worth repeating). One interviewee said he looks for opportunities to be happy and that he has a motto “only you can make it happen!” (p. 13). He also goes to bed each night reflecting on the positive things he did that day and wakes up each morning thinking positive thoughts. We’ve heard about being grateful and feeling grateful and making lists like these before. . . maybe something to implement? These people all participated in religious services. One said his wife taught him to loosen up and enjoy life and see the glass half full instead of half empty. The author summarized that they all believe happiness is something you have to work at — it doesn’t just happen. So, that’s definitely important to consider — all hope’s not lost, right? Another points re: the commonalities of these people that Dr. Gentry interviewed — people believe happiness comes with age. He went on to review statistics on p. 15, where 28% of people 18 – 27 felt happy whereas 38% of people 68-77 felt happy. He noted that people who are older realize that life’s not perfect, they realize you have to accept it for what it is. I guess that means they don’t put as much pressure on themselves as people who are younger do. They’ve accepted things for what they are. . .

Dr. Gentry briefly introduced that married people are happier, something that will be embellished in chapter 16 and chapter 20 — so we’ll get to that shortly.

Dr. Gentry discussed Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Something I remember studying in college. Now I wish I paid more attention! I’m going to interpret the hierarchy of needs to being a journey — 5 levels that Dr. Maslow identified — 1) meeting your basic survival needs; 2) safety — including financial (see? timetoplay.com philosophy is on the ball! if you don’t have money, at least to eat, you can’t enjoy life); 3) feeling loved and needed by others; 4) having self-esteem – liking yourself and feeling respected; and 5) feeling like you got “there”, that you’ve reached your full potential. Maybe people get stuck and #5. I know, since starting timetoplay.com, I’ve realized I had been stuck at #5, not feeling like I had made “it”, evaluating my situation and feeling like I still have to strive or prove something to myself. I know this feeling was based in my childhood. That’s a story for another time. Like Mr. Tolle, Dr. Gentry notes that you cannot look for happiness in power, status, wealth and success. That if this is how you’re trying to get to happiness you will end up being unhappy. I realize that now and have, through the learning journey of developing timetoplay, have been learning to enjoy life and live in the moment. It’s not been easy. It’s a process, right?

Dr. Gentry goes on to discuss how negative emotions narrow your thinking and cause frustration, how positive produces a “high”, feelings of excitement, and an increase of productivity. He discusses the importance to release positive endorphins through creative activity, exercise, fellowship with others, prayer, laughter (noted to be very effective for pain management and healing, too!), being surrounded by things of beauty and healthy sexual encounters (I know people are thinking about that last one).

This was a great tip — replacing negative emotions with positive emotions. It was noted that you cannot feel angry, upset or sad if you replace it with a positive feeling, that you can’t be angry and happy at the same time. DEFINITELY a good tip that all of us can easily try.

Blood pressure: Being angry or upset can increase blood pressure. We have heard that this can cause heart attack and stroke, too. Our minds can do terrible things to our body, causing depression and sickness — Dr. Gentry referenced a study by Dr. Barbara Fredrickson who wrote a thesis on how positive emotions can undo the effects of stress, how the simple use of touch or petting a pet can decrease blood pressure. Something to look into. . .

Dr. Gentry discussed being mindful and staying in the present moment. We did learn a lot from reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle — if you haven’t read the forum/discussion on that, it is available in the book club/review section. Over 2600 people have gone into that thread, and I hope it’s helped them. I realize it’s very hard to implement this all the time. The intention is to be aware of your feelings at each moment and to change things to stay positive, to focus on how you feel, to not worry, not wait for things to happen (to make them happen), to not dwell in the past or the future because all you really have is the present moment. There is no past and the future isn’t guaranteed. Pretty pensive, right? Again, I realize I forget to stay in the present. I have to be more mindful of this. And, regarding lingering in the present moment, Dr. Gentry discusses on p. 22/23 about Type A personalities always moving forward because we have too much to accomplish. Since starting TimetoPlay.com I’ve realized this has always been me. Not taking a few minutes to see the beauty around me, to appreciate what I have, what is happening, just being present. This is not something I know I can snap my fingers and make happen. It’s a constant realization that I have to be present to absorb, enjoy, reflect. I have been trying to be more aware. I was driving the other day and realized the beauty of the blue sky, I have been noticing the buds on the trees and the way the trees and plants are becoming ready to “pop” with splendor for the spring. I noticed how pretty my daughter’s hair looked the other day. The little things. The things we miss when we’re rushing around. Dr. Gentry suggested allowing time in your busy day for a few moments of happiness. This, as well, is the timetoplay.com philosophy. Even if you can only take 5 minutes for another cup of coffee to enjoy. . . something. . . and, although I forget EVERY day to do this, I’m definitely doing it more.

Last thing for chapter 1 — something to really consider — Dr. Gentry gave an example of a man who had an abusive childhood home with alcoholic parents. He had an underlying protective mechanism that he wasn’t able to be happy because if he started to be happy, his happiness could be taken away. This was because of his explosive childhood situation. In summary, sometimes past experiences might prevent you from letting yourself enjoy life. It’s something that, after a bit of self-reflection and realization, you might need to speak with a mental-health professional to work through. I realize I had been angry for 30 years — not on the surface, but, apparently it was there. Hence the reason I had to “make it”. I never did go to a psychologist, but it is something to consider. While based on Mr. Tolle’s book, we’re not supposed to dwell in the past, I do feel that it’s important to realize that, sometimes, it’s not easy to let things go, that we’re terribly hurt deep down. However, it’s not something that should hold us back. One of the goals for timetoplay is that, in the end, we should have no regrets. That we need to enjoy life. It stands to reason that, if you live in the past and dwell on that situation, regrets will be forefront in your life. So, this goes back to learning what we need and getting the resources to change.

So much for “Happiness for Dummies” being a light, fun book. This one’s definitely going to be work, too. You would never guess it from the title as it certainly minimizes things, but I think it will be time well spent.

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Embrace the www.timetoplay.com philosophy: you have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance to have quality of life.  It’s time to enjoy life!

The Power of Now — a journey to discovery

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Don’t know if you have had the time to join in / read the book discussion re: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, but I’m up to page 65.  Here’s what I’m thinking about so far. . .

There are a lot of thought provoking statements in the pages I’ve read.  And, I start to wonder about how I do think and the “chatter” which has brought me so many good ideas and breakthroughs.  So where do you draw the line of what is good or bad chatter?  How do you turn it on or off as needed? Hopefully as I read more I’ll learn more I’ll figure this out.

Here’s an amazing, thought provoking paragraph (page 46-47):  “As long as the egoic mind is running your life, you cannot truly be at ease; you cannot be at peace or fulfilled except for brief intervals when you obtained what you wanted, when a craving has just been fulfilled.  Since the ego is a derived sense of self, it needs to identify with external things.  It needs to be both defended and fed constantly.  The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions, the work you do, social status and recognition, knowledge and education, physical appearance, special abilities, relationships, personal and family history, belief systems, and often also political, nationalistic, racial, religious and other collective identifications. None of these is you . . . The ego’s needs are endless.  It feels vulnerable and threatened and so lives in a state of fear and want”.

Wow.  I totally saw myself in this.  Did you?  The pursuit of career, completing my masters, my job.  These things defined me, pushed me.  If I had a good day at work, I was in a good mood.  Bad day?  Bad mood.  HOWEVER, at what point do you need motivation to pursue a “life”, and at what point are you kind of a hump of flesh (very visual, huh?) sitting on a couch?  BUT, the state of fear and want sentence makes you think, too.  Is this pursuit what’s causing us so much stress?  What do we really need or want?  Is that what we need to evaluate to have a good quality of life?  At what point do we not strive?  I’m still reading, so, hopefully this will be answered.

The author continued to talk about the past, the future vs. the now.  The life situations we are dealing with, not the LIFE.  I’ll leave you with this:  (page 63) “Your life situation exists in time.  Your life is now.  Your life situation is mind-stuff.  Your life is real”.  The author notes that we need to realize that there are no problems, only situations to be dealt with now, or to be left alone and accepted as part of the present moment until they change or can be dealt with, and that problems are mind-made and need time to survive.

Hmmmm —

Book Discussion continues:  Go to Book Discussion

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Embrace the TimetoPlay.com philosophy:  You have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance to have quality of life.  It is time to enjoy life.  Check out the resources on www.timetoplay.com to have a better life.

Could Demi Moore Have Benefitted from www.timetoplay.com?

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English: Demi Moore at the 2010 Time 100.

Image via Wikipedia

So, yesterday my husband was talking to someone who described what they thought www.timetoplay.com was.  She said she thought it was a networking site.  You know, that description does kind of describe it.  For anyone reading this, did you go to www.timetoplay.com yet?  If not, please do. 

How is timetoplay.com a networking site?  The intention of timetoplay.com is people-helping-people.  Networking is kind of that – ok, here’s an example. 

Did you see Demi Moore in the news today?  Without doing a lot of reading about the situation and basing my thoughts on what the reporters were talking about, we know she is divorcing Ashton Kucher.  The reporter was discussing how she has lost a lot of weight and described that she may be having an emotional crisis.  They showed a quote from Bazaar magazine where she said something like she may determine in the end that she is just not loveable.  She is sad – and you can see that her current situation is affecting her ability to enjoy life. 

How could timetoplay have helped?  I’m trying to put together a place where people can go where they won’t feel like they are isolated or alone.  A place for any of us to get the resources we need to enjoy life. 

The timetoplay philosophy is you have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance.  On the site is Dr. Gelber, a relationship specialist like Dear Abby, and people like Jim Ryan and others who are Happiness specialists.  OK, so Demi Moore might be an extreme circumstance, but she is a person, and, like many of us, she is struggling with life issues that prohibit her from enjoying life. 

A few weeks ago I had a podcast with Jim Ryan and we discussed how our brain can be our enemy.  We all think and stew over things which affect our day and more.  Did you read that 25% of the women in America are on antidepressants? In Demi Moore’s situation, she has money but she does not have everything in the time to play philosophy – in this case, happiness.  So, I’m working on timetoplay.com to not only be able to provide people with information about fun, clubs they could go to, events (by the way, I need everyone to start inputting their information – events and clubs and activities into the calendar and clubs database so people can find them and come, too, so they can participate and be happy).  I’m putting together a place where we can help each other through things that timetoplay’s amazing professionals can offer and a place that might get us thinking on how we can make our lives better – to empower us. 

And I’m working on helping businesses and chambers, too.  Part of my thinking on this is that if you hate your job (or don’t have one) or you have a business that isn’t flourishing you can’t enjoy life.  There’s a new place on the discussion forum for a job exchange that I’m working on getting going, too.  If you have something you can add, or a job lead or need, please post click here

A networking site?  Yes.  To an extent.  But, also, an empowering site.  A place where we can all work together to succeed. 

We can’t wait for someone else to fix things.  We can’t wait for people to make us happy, healthy, have money or have a work life balance.  We have to work together to make this happen.

So, be part of the team to help 1 million people enjoy life.  Go on timetoplay.com and offer something you know or do that can help someone else.

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Embrace the www.timetoplay.com philosophy — you have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work/life balance to have quality of life.  It’s time to enjoy life.  Check out www.timetoplay.com to see all the resources on there and all it has to offer.  And, please contribute — you have something to add that can help someone else.  We all need to be part of the team.

Time for US to Make Things Change

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How can we make things change? How many times can we think that someone is going to fix everything for us?  Do we really think a new president will fix it?  The current one will fix it?  “The government will make new jobs”.  “If we wait things will get better”.  Really?  Look at the overwhelming problems  everyone is facing today.  Without becoming political, it does seem frustrating that no one seems to be working together to “fix” stuff.  And, truly, we know that nothing can be done alone.  A baseball team has to be a team.  A football team has to be a team.  Or they won’t win.  That is the same with all of us.  We need to be a TEAM.

It’s no wonder that so many people are defeated.  They have given up.  Some have stopped listening.

So, what should we do?  Give up, too?  That’s not what people in America do.  We band together.  We work together.  We become a TEAM.  A team committed to helping each other enjoy life.

No job?  Should we wait for some big corporation to come in and employ everyone?  Does that work?  Look at the history where whole towns have died when industry leaves.  Or, other times, big employers seem to have you over a barrel (a nice way to say it, right?) when they negotiate salaries and layoffs, and people have no choice.  How about people becoming resourceful and developing their own jobs?  Maybe they can employ others?  Maybe they can build a TEAM?

Let’s keep thinking together.  Americans helping each other.  It’s what we do.  We’re all part of the TEAM.

OK, so there’s more — we constantly hear healthcare is bankrupting our Country and that the obesity epidemic is getting worse.  Many people need to take responsibility for themselves.  If we continue to be unhealthy it will only cost us more in taxes to care for ourselves.  More in taxes means we have to pay more.  Paying more means we have to work harder or make do with less.  I challenge you to do something.

Here’s another one.  How many people go to bed hungry every night?  There are so many AMAZING organizations out there who help.  Some pack backpacks for the kids to go home with at the end of the school week so they have food for over the weekend.  These are band aids and patches.  Not solutions.  Can our communities truly work together throughout the year, not just at holiday time, to figure out what we can do to solve the problems we face?  SOLVE is the key word, here.  Sure can!  We’re a TEAM!

We can go into each area of the timetoplay philosophy but it’s not my intention to preach.  Only to motivate each of us into action.  To work together.  To help each other succeed.  People helping people.  To be a TEAM.

Not Happy?  Do something about it.

Not Healthy? Do something about it.

No Money?  Do something about it.

No work life balance?  Do something about it.

There’s not just one solution but a bunch of different things, working together, that will make things change.  We know the problems.  It’s the power of the people that will make a difference.

What have you done today?  Who did you help?  Let us know (this is the link to the forum – let’s start to keep a tally).  I am building a team committed to a goal to help 1 million people.  And, although many of people feel alone in what they, individually, are facing, we are all part of the team.  If we work together, that’s just the beginning.

It’s time to enjoy life.

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Embrace the www.timetoplay.com philosophy:  You have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance to have quality of life.  Become one of the team with a goal to help a million people.  It’s time to enjoy life.

Happiness Tips for 2012 — An Interview with Jim Ryan

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It’s here.  The new year.  2012.

Each year seems to come around faster and faster.  Since starting www.timetoplay.com, I look to find resources to make life better.  I’m working hard to stop being a workaholic and trying to learn how to “play” and to enjoy life.  As I continue to ask questions I hope to pass along some things I learn from the amazing professionals I meet in my quest.

Meet Jim Ryan, an author, happiness expert and motivational speaker.  Jim and I met a few years ago when he spoke at a meeting I had attended.  Jim has spent a lifetime teaching and counseling people.  His life changed when he volunteered in a local prison to teach a course in personal development when he started sharing his message to a larger audience.  Jim was the first professional I invited to be a professional resource on the timetoplay.com project.

Jim’s intention is to spread “Simple Happiness”, which is the name of one of the books he has written.  Jim and I had a wonderful time discussing some of his lessons during our 30 minute podcast on 12/7/2011 (TimetoPlay.com’s Empower Half Hour).  It was taped — you can listen by clicking here.

Each week Jim emails his followers an “Aha Moment”.  It’s a quote or thought that makes you go, Aha!  Something easily implementable or thought provoking that can make your day, week or life better.  His book has 52 Aha Moments within its pages.  The 52 chapters were developed to enable a reader to take a chapter a week and practice what they learn to make their life happier.

Some chapters of Simple Happiness that provide fabulous information for us to say, “Aha” are the chapter on what makes you happy – Jim had noted in this chapter that some people can’t answer a question about what makes them happy.  What makes you happy?  Are you a person who can answer this question?  If not, Jim recommends you evaluate this, maybe reflect on the past about what has, in your life, made you happy. Everyone needs something that makes them happy.  Develop your passion.

Other chapters I enjoyed were the “do you have time” chapter, the “don’t make assumptions” chapter, the “is someone living in your head rent free” chapter, the “appreciate, appreciate, appreciate” chapter and the “follow your bliss chapter”.  During our podcast we discussed the Don’t Make Assumptions chapter (which kind of goes along with Is Someone Living in Your Head Rent Free chapter) .  I would guess most of us are hard on ourselves when we think we know what someone else thinks.  Maybe our thoughts are a result from a conversation, meeting, phone call, email that took place with that person.  Maybe you have thoughts resulting from NO conversation, return call or email and think you know why or what happened that there was no communication.  And, you feel bad.  In this circumstance, Jim said to notice your thoughts.  He said you have no idea what’s in another person’s head, and, many times, it isn’t actually as it seems.

We spent a bit of time discussing those who may be struggling in this economy.  Things can feel devastating or overpowering.  Jim’s advice:  It’s how we deal with what happens to us.  He said that, although it might be hard, try to make the best of your situation.  Note that what happened may not have been your fault, and might prove to actually be an amazing opportunity.  For example:, if you were laid off from your job, this might be the perfect time to evaluate what you would like to do with the rest of your life — it might actually be a silver lining.  Maybe you have an interest in another field you can now explore.  Jim suggested:

  • volunteering, which makes people feel good, builds up self esteem and, you never know who you might meet.
  • step back and reevaluate your career.
  • picture yourself in the workforce and try not to dwell on negative thoughts.

Assignments for this, the beginning of 2012:

— Write down what you did well in 2011 .  Where did you experience growth?  Where did you have a positive experience?

Goal Setting:  Write down 3 goals for each of 3 areas for what you would like to accomplish in 2012:  financially, material/fun and personally.  Read what you wrote a week later.  Pick out the 1 most important goal for each category.  Write it on a card and get it laminated.  Read it every day.  Carry it with you.  When you continue to think the same thoughts over and over again it encourages you — Jim said that we will accomplish what we think about most.  He said that, based on what’s on our mind, we’ll make choices in our daily lives that will help us make it happen.

Happy New Year.

I wish you a year of promise and happiness.


“Definition of Old Age — When Regrets Take the Place of Dreams” – Jim Ryan

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Embrace the TimetoPlay philosophy:  You have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work | life balance to have quality of life.  Timetoplay is a people helping people project — if we all work together we can help each other have a better life.  Check out http://www.timetoplay.com to see all the wonderful articles published by our amazing professionals.  It’s time to Enjoy Life.

Getting Through the Holidays Without Your Loved Ones

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I know  how hard it is for people to be without loved ones during this time of year.  A few days ago I had the honor of having Ron Villano, a clinical psychotherapist, life & bereavement coach (and a professional resource on the www.timetoplay.com website under Happiness Professionals) join me in a podcast with the goal to help people get through the holidays if their loved ones were not with them.  That goes for whether your loved one lives far away, is in the military, or has passed away.

I figured I’d summarize some of the things we spoke about for those who  may not have had the ability to listen.  And, if you do want to listen, just click here:  Ron’s Podcast — it was recorded (it’s only 30  minutes).

So. . . Ron had many great things to say.  He has a quote, “When you choose to change your thoughts, you begin to change your life.”  That is something to really think about.  It truly is up to us to move forward — something that could be applied to all aspects of our life, right?

Ron’s son, Michael, lost his life in a car accident when he was 17 years old.  Ron had much pain after the loss of his son.  He noted that it takes time to heal and that you need to give yourself the time you need.  But, after many years, he realized that his son gave him life.  He lives by the mantra to honor your loved one’s life by living yours.

Some things we had discussed:

  1. Acknowledge your feelings.  Just because it is holiday, you don’t have to force yourself to be happy.
  2. Reach out.  If you feel lonely or isolated reach out.  There are volunteer opportunities or clubs or organizations where you can meet like-minded people.
  3. Budget — Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts.  Ron wrote an article  posted on his TimetoPlay page titled, Ho.. Ho… Oh no! December Spending. January Lending.  How to Keep your Holiday Buying in Control, which may prove helpful to some.
  4. Seek professional help if you need it.  Ron noted that a licensed psychotherapist can provide support without passing judgement.  They really can help people sort things out.
  5. Decorating/Traditions:  Ron said he didn’t decorate for Christmas for 9 years following the passing of his son.  Again, people have different ways of healing and their need for time should be respected.  An article I read on webmd.com, “Finding Holiday Joy Amid the Grief”, noted that people might find different ways of celebrating and making new traditions, that, maybe, doing what you always had done just doesn’t feel right.
  6. Honor Your Loved One:  Some suggestions in the WebMD article were that people could honor their loved ones by lighting a special candle or focusing on the richness of a life well-lived.  Their comments were that, when you share stories about the person, you’re filling your heart with that person.  Ron spoke about the party he now has where he and his family and friends celebrate his Michael’s life.   He said it is amazing what a difference that has made.
  7. Don’t abandon healthy habits – stay healthy:  Ron noted that it is very important to take care of yourself.  Eating healthy and exercise should be a part of that.

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For over a year I’ve been working on www.timetoplay.com, a HUGE project.  Since the end of September, it’s finally moving forward.  I thank the wonderful, amazing professionals I have “suckered in” to my project who are sharing their knowledge through their articles on the timetoplay site and volunteering to join me in the podcasts we started only 6 short weeks ago.  No one is paid for their participation (me either!).

As part of my midlife crisis , I have developed the timetoplay.com philosophy — you have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance to have quality of life.  I feel many of us get wrapped up in working or things that get in the way, and these professionals can help us make our lives better.

It’s time for us to enjoy life.  Let me know what you need.  I look forward to hearing from you.


email: doreen@timetoplay.com

It's Time to Help Our Blue Star Moms

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By chance – I guess that’s how life works – I met a group of ladies called the Blue Star Moms.  I never heard of them before and was in awe of what they do and how they band together to develop a unique camaraderie and a mission that is bigger than them all.

Over the past week or so I’ve been asking people if they ever heard of the Blue Star Moms.  Except for some wonderful military guys, no one has.  I’ve sorta adopted them and their holiday mission and am asking everyone for some help.

A Little History:  The Blue Star Moms or Mothers was started in 1942 during WWII when moms of soldiers first got together thanks to Captain George Maines who had the idea for the group.  Based on the info on the Blue Star Mothers website, the moms helped throughout WWII in hospitals, train stations, packed care packages and more.  The organization has been held together by mothers showing pride in both their children and their country.  As per Wikipedia, in 8/2011 there were over 5,000 members and 225 chapters of Blue Star Moms.

In case you were wondering, the name “Blue Star” comes from a flag that was designed in WWI by an army officer who had children serving in the military.  The Blue Star Mothers website notes that it is a “reminder to the communities that defending and preserving America’s freedom demands much sacrifice”.  And, if you see a gold star flag hanging, that signifies that the child was killed in the line of duty.  The ultimate sacrifice given to protect us all.

New York 6 Chapter was formed in 2009 and reaches all of Long Island and the 5 Boroughs.  Cynthia is the President, and I have had the pleasure and honor of meeting her and some of her ladies.  Cynthia was lost when her oldest son joined the military as a Marine.  Her husband happened to be reading a local newspaper and saw an ad for the chapter.  He encouraged her to go to the meeting where she immediately found a connection with the group.  They showed her what she could do instead of sitting at home being sad.  The moms took her to functions where she met other Blue Star Moms and some Gold Star Moms.  She noted that meeting Gold Star Moms scared her at first, as they are a visual reminder of the constant fear each Blue Star Mom faces every day while their children are away.  She took over the NY Chapter in March 2011.  In April, her worst fears were realized when her 23 year old Son, Jerry, died while serving in the military.  She became a Gold Star Mom and is also a Blue Star Mom, as her second son is also in the Marines.  Cynthia has made the Blue Star Moms a priority in her life.  She told me that, if it wasn’t for these ladies, she would never have made it through.  I have a 20 year old.  I can’t even imagine what these ladies (and the dads, too) experience on a daily basis.

So, why would I care if my child is not in the miliary, you might ask.  I think that our military are out of sight and out of mind, but they are out there protecting us 24/7.  I care because I am proud to be an American.  I care because we all should.

These amazing ladies are working to pack care packages for our troops for the holidays.  As Time to Play is a “people helping people” project, I figured  all of us could band together (this is the first Time to Play effort of many more to come) to make the mailing bigger than ever.  And, I figured it was time many more people knew about this amazing group of Moms who stand behind not only their son or daughter, but all of the sons and daughters out there fighting for our freedom.

So, Here’s What We Need:

The ladies are packing on November 21 at an American Legion Hall in Wading River.

They are collecting the following items:  (Please contact me so we can develop a drop off box listing for people in the Community to come by with donations.  There will be a list posted on the www.timetoplay.com home page shortly)

  • Tuna (in the bags, not cans)
  • Socks – green or tan hunting (warm) socks
  • Deodorant — Solid form (not aerosol because of mailing the packages)
  • Toothbrushes and Toothpaste
  • Shampoo
  • Candy – twizzlers, hard candies, Mike & Ike type of candies
  • Yankee Doodles / wrapped cakes
  • Slim Jim (for protein)
  • Peanuts in individual packages
  • Gum
  • Q-Tips
  • Baby Wipes
  • Baby Powder
  • Anti-Fungal Medication (their feet are always wet)
  • Band Aids
  • Tylenol
  • Pop Tarts
  • Cynthia said anything kids like can be packed
  • There are also other things on their list of items, so click here to get more ideas

They plan to mail over 300 boxes.  I know we don’t have much time between now and then, but I’d love for us to help them mail more.  They rely on donations to do their job. Let’s give our troops a reminder that we are thinking about them during the holidays.

They are also having an “adopt a blanket” drive, where for $10 you can adopt a blanket they will mail to our troops. They welcome a personalized note to send with the blanket.

And, if you are out of New York, you are not off the hook.  Just google your local chapter of Blue Star Moms (remember there are 225 of them) and see what you can do.

Ready?  It’s time to help our people!

Doreen – phone: 631-331-2675 or email me: doreen@djamesmarketing.com (this email goes right to my phone) or you can email to info@timetoplay.com.

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Embrace the www.timetoplay.com philosophy: You have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance to have quality of life.  Visit timetoplay.com for resources on how to do just that.  It’s time to Enjoy Life!  New: Poetry corner where you can post your words of self expression and “Ask Dr. Matt” where you can ask relationship questions.

www.timetoplay.com Update and How it Can Help

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So, I was talking to a woman today.  She has been a single mom for 9 years.  Her youngest is 13.  Her oldest is 18.  She takes care of her family, works full-time, goes to school, and keeps everything together. And she is tired.  And she feels like she doesn’t have time to play or  enjoy life. She is like so many of us.  And like me.

TimetoPlay.com is something that I and Leta have been working on for about 1 1/2 years.  Although I have said it is finished many times before, it was more finished September 24, finished enough so I felt it was o.k. to let more people see it. www.timetoplay.com’s goal is to provide resources for people to find ways to make their lives better — how to be happier, healthier, have money and how to make their work life easier so they can have a life outside of work.  We’ve put together amazing professionals who can help in each of these areas.  The goal? To help people become stronger and to help educate them through tips and words of wisdom.  Education is power.

www.TimetoPlay.com is a huge work in progress, and I know it will always be so.  As overwhelming as this project might seem, I have begun taking pride in how far it has come.  I take pride in the professionals who have joined with us to bring the information to the people.  The fact that we just started the “Empower Half Hour” series that could bring one little tidbit of information to someone that could help them make their life easier.  The news RSS feed that has interesting information posted daily.  And professionals who join me weekly in my quest to bring people quality of life like Michael K Waterman who is so unique in his experience of making people look good so they feel better, or people like Doctors Ron Villano, Matt Gelber, Michael Aziz, and Karen Garvey . . . and the rest. . . who help so many.  This week, hopefully, we’ll have the new forum up where people can ask Michael questions.  We’ll also be starting the poetry corner and the book club — two things I’ve wanted to get going for many weeks.  I do not want timetoplay.com to become a Facebook where people sit for hours and stare at a screen.  I really want it to be a resource where people get the information they need and get out there, make time to play  and enjoy life.  However, a poetry corner can become a place for self expression, self healing and comfort, and a book club that can be viewed on demand and provide a wonderful place to think and reflect without becoming a burden.

The www.timetoplay.com site is a people helping people project.  Let’s help each other.  Send me names professionals who would be able to make a difference in someone’s life.  I’ll reach out to them to see if they will come on board to bring the information to the people.  I am excited that we’re going to be adding a decorator (so you can love your house), an organizer (so you can streamline your responsibilities), and a business coach (so you can set goals and prosper) within the next few days.

I’d love to hear from you.  What do you want?  What do you need?

Don’t forget to post your clubs and events so we can all pitch in to help people enjoy life.  And tell your friends.  The more people who know TimetoPlay exists, the more people we can help.

Let’s make this amazing — together.


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Embrace the TimetoPlay Philosophy:  You have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work/life balance to have quality of life.  It’s time for you to enjoy life.

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