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Kick-Start your Positivity for a Happier Life!
Scott has been a speaker and workshop leader in the areas of motivation and health behavior change for national and regional organizations, including the American Psychological Association. He is a psychologist and author of A Happier You: A Seven-Week Program to Transform Negative Thinking into Positivity and Resilience. He teaches psychology courses at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, where he serves as the Director of the Master of Applied Positive Psychology Program. His seven-week wellness program, A Happier You ®, has been featured on Sirius XM, NPR, and CBS News as a syndicated feature. Scott is also a periodic contributor to the Health Section of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Dr. Glassman lives in New Jersey with his wife and son, all of whom are avid Philadelphia Eagles fans.
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Welcome to the Heart Soul Wisdom Podcast, a journey of self discovery and transformation. Moira Sutton and her amazing guests share real life stories, tools and strategies to inspire and empower you have to create and live your best life. Come along on the journey and finally blast through any fears, obstacles and challenges that have held you back in the past so you can live your life with the joy, passion and happiness that you desire. Now, here's your host create the life you love, empowerment life coach, Moira Sutton
Welcome to Season Two, Episode 43 Kickstart Your Positivity for a Happier Life with our very special guests, psychologist and author Scott Glassman. Scott has been a speaker and workshop leader in the areas of motivation and helping behavioral change for national and regional organizations, including the American Psychological Association. He is a psychologist and author of A Happier You, a seven week program to transform negative thinking into positivity and resilience. He teaches counseling at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, where he serves as the Associate Director of the master's program in mental health counseling. His seven week wellness program A Happier You, has been featured on Sirius XM, NPR and CBS News as a syndicated feature. Scott is also a periodic contributor to the health section of the Philadelphia Inquirer. He lives in New Jersey with his beautiful wife and son, all of whom are avid Philadelphia Eagles fans. So without further ado, I would like to welcome Scott Glassman. Welcome Scott,
Moira it's so wonderful to be with you today, I really appreciate the opportunity to talk to your audience about finding their best selves and pathways to do that. I'm just really, really passionate about that area as a psychologist, and I'm really looking forward to our conversation today.
That's fantastic. I had part of my branding for now, how many years 18 I guess or so. I used to give out smiley balls. My husband I spoke on cruise lines for many years. I took smaller balls, little tiny, bouncy, smiley balls, like all over the world, and we gave them to ship's captains, pilots, you know, people on the way. I always asked the parents if we gave it to a child to you know, because the safety element. But that was the whole thing with a smiley ball, which I love on your book, A Happier You, is that it's a big smile in yellow, you know, and it just fit in so much when I saw that. And I thought that is so perfect. And the thing about smiley ball, I used to tell people, even if you turn it upside down, you still know it's a smile. So so that fits in perfectly.
Yeah, you know, and it speaks to the value of coming into contact with some object or element in our environment. Whether it could be a smiley ball, could be a photograph. It could be something that was given to you as a precious gift, or it could be something that reminds you of a wonderful experience you had in the past with family. It could be really anything. I think what that speaks to is when we extend our attention toward something with the goal of feeling better in some way, or having a positive thought or advancing our lives in a meaningful direction, it's really the that intention, and how it leads us to seek out. Whether it's the smiley ball or whatever that other element of our environment is, to focus on and expand. And that's really a large basis of A Happier You and the positive psychology work that I've been involved with.
Well, let's just sort of segue from that. And then I'll come back to some other questions. And I've many questions for you here. You know, in our society of many times and in families, people focus on what's missing or what's wrong or we're not enough. You know, that not enough syndrome, what's broken. How do we strengthen what you call the happiness muscle?
Yeah, and you're pointing to the deficit mindset that we can so easily fall into. We are, I believe in our society today, really susceptible to the negativity effect, which is that tendency to get absorbed into what's going wrong in our worlds? Who said what to me that didn't feel good? What is the latest family drama that I feel like I need to vent to somebody else about? And we get kind of trapped in, in those negative thinking, feeling, doing cycles that make it tough to emerge from. Part of it comes from, I believe, an evolutionary sense that we're protecting ourselves or defending ourselves in some way by attending to threats in our environment, something that we need to guard ourselves against in order to experience safety or comfort. But it's almost like, the analogy I'd like to use is the smoke alarm going off when there's no smoke. So our alarm system is going haywire, a bit when it comes to negative experience, internally and externally. And so to begin to work on the positivity reflex, to move outward intentionally toward what's going well, in my life. What are some positive attributes about myself? What am I looking forward to, even if it's just in the next hour or the next 10 minutes. That type of shift is like getting into the gym, to work out your attentional muscles so that they more automatically can break away from those negativity maelstroms and start to set a positive momentum in thinking, feeling and doing and that usually begins with that first question that you might ask yourself; what might be something good hear both either within me or outside of me? And then going from there, because that really does shift the focus and in a quite substantial way, in building positive upward spirals as Barbara Fredrickson calls them. Barbara Fredrickson is a very well known researcher in the field of positive emotions, and talks about how we can build on positive feelings and positive thinking, as we move into those intentional frameworks,
Are people that you've worked with - because, you know, I also talked about the downward spiral and the upward spiral. If somebody is really deep in depression, or they're anxious, and they're, they don't know how to get out of that state, like they're stuck in it. Is that the message you would give them just to shift them, even if - I like that 10 minutes or 15 minutes, because that's the little chunk that somebody could take - is that the advice you would give them like, think of something like, that you enjoy or memory? Do you help people with that, like doing that to do the upward spiral versus the downward?
I think it would begin, especially if somebody is suffering - and you know, I've, I've had personal experience with severe clinical depression. Sometimes it seems very far away to be able to make that shift. So one of the strategies I recommend is meeting that pain that suffering, those negative thoughts, the rumination with compassion, with a sense of, I'm not trying to change how I'm feeling right now, or move away from it, I'm just meeting it with a deep sense of, of love, and acceptance. And I think paradoxically, when we accept then we don't try to change our emotional state, whatever it is, especially if it's negative, we then more quickly move into the possibility of seeing the silver lining or identifying in the next five minutes, maybe one thing that might make us feel a little bit better. Maybe it's getting out of bed, if we've been in bed, feeling really depressed. Or maybe it's a simple thing, like having a cup of tea, making ourselves a cup of tea, and then that little decision leading to a whole successive chain of other positive decisions that generate at least feeling a little bit better, not necessarily the peak levels of, of joy and purpose in life, but just maybe shifting the mood, barometer into a different level of possibility.
I love that I also love what you said there about, you're not trying to change the situation like if you're telling somebody who's depressed, or anxious - I have family members who have gone through this and also clients. You know, instead of accepting just that love and compassion, you're saying, because, you know, they don't want to hear like, 'Oh, you're okay, you'll get through this'. Maybe, maybe they don't feel like they are going to get through it. And this is something maybe it's habitual, like they just do what they can Just to get by through the day,
Yeah, because it can come across as invalidating. There's a misunderstanding about positive psychology that it's encouraging us to set aside negative experience or turn away from it in a forceful way, in a way that labels it almost as not as important or good, or what we want in our life. But really what it is looking for is a balance between negative experience and positive experience. And when our rumination would talk about clinical depression, anxiety disorders, other mental health concerns, that part of life usually has some meaning and has something to teach us when it becomes too overwhelming, when it is so counterproductive. When it's maladaptive for us. And we're just engaging in maybe harmful behaviors, limited self care, when we're really struggling, it's at that point, when we start to question, the depth and the duration of not feeling good, is when we might want to see oh, maybe we can restore some balance through what positive psychology has to teach us. So it's not negating it, it's saying that we need to live more holistically, and embrace all of what human experience is, the negative side and the positive side.
We have the yin and yang energies within us, the male, the female. And is this where you see the negative and the positive, really important parts of being a human and our human growth and expansion. I believe that's what we're about, expanding. My dialogue was, you know, the expansion into the universe. And because it the growth in personal healing and all the rest of it,
it is an expansion, I love that you use that word. It's an expansion that borders on and is self transcendence. There's something wonderful when you get into a mindful state, when you're paying attention in the present moment on purpose, non judgmentally, in that particular kind of compassionate way. That seems to give us a sense of something beyond ourselves, which is sacred, which is loving, which is powerful. It's in those quietest moments that I think those doorways open to, to the whole picture, right and to the greater trajectory that our lives may be on. Think about the idea of personal mission and meaning. Creating meaning is very important to me. It's important in week five of Happier You when I talk about activities that are enjoyable and meaningful and how to boost levels of meaning. It's asking ourselves the questions. What might this mean about me in a good way? How do I touch others in my life? You know, what are the sources of what I want to do while I'm here? And what will that look like? So it's kind of asking ourselves those questions. And also having a sense that I can step back from my experience at any point. And I can kind of look at it as if I'm out outside of it.
I like that, but you don't have any time restrictions. This could be just each day. Again, I like this back to the 10 minutes, or, you know, just to take that time to explore that. I have a passion for cooking. As long as my kitchen is all clean. That's not my job. I love going in there. And I'll be thinking in the morning, like, what do I want to make today? Today, it's kind of chilly out and I thought I want homemade tomato soup and a really nice, you know, cheese sandwich or something. That brings me joy. What do you think of this? First of all, why don't you define - that's where I was gonna start - positive psychology for our listeners.
Yeah, so positive psychology is a field of study that focuses on flourishing, and how we can live our best lives. How we can not only live optimally, but become more confident in our ability to control the good things that we feel, think and do. So there's a kind of self efficacy to it. And there's a sense that even if you're feeling okay as things are, like nothing is terribly wrong, you're not experiencing any depression or anxiety, that there are still higher levels of self that we can reach. And that's what I love about positive psychology. It starts to look at, from a scientific basis of how we can enhance, how we can grow beyond where we are even if where we are, is perfectly okay. So it's almost like a flower blooming to its fullest possible color and its fullest possible height in the world, and fullest expression. That's how I think of and I write about this in the book as the 'flower philosophy' that given the right conditions around us; And positive psychology informs us as to what those conditions are in gratitude, kindness, love. Looking at a personal strength, mindfulness is like the soil, the sunlight, the water, the right temperature, to allow our natural and best selves to to blossom, to flourish. And that can include realizing our personal mission. Can include finding strong, meaningful, loving, caring connections in the world. It can include so much identifying a goal that we might have; maybe it's in business, or maybe it's helping others, and seeing a clear way to live out that value in our lives. So not just status quo, becoming all that we could possibly be, seeing that full potential realized.
I remember growing up and I think still people, you know, when they ask that question, you know, not who you are, they ask, what do you do? And I read something the other day that this gentleman was kind of perturbed by that question, versus he was saying, you know, I'm so much more than what I do, you know, it's who I am. And, this whole thing about also appreciating ourselves and really honoring ourselves. When you're talking about gratitude and appreciation more, which are very high emotional states that can lead into more emotional positive states. But you mentioned in your book, the word connective with gratitude, and I haven't read that before. What is that for you connective versus just gratitude?
Yeah, connective gratitude is that act of whether it could even be fully internalized, but the feeling of appreciation, which then leads you to feel more bonded, connected, or wanting to have connection with other people. So writing a letter of thanks to a teacher, a great teacher, a mentor, who has helped you in your life, and then sharing that letter with the teacher; sending it to him or her, or reading it to them, as a way of feeling closer, feeling it kind of crystallizing the meaning of what, who that person was in your life is bringing you closer, right, it's bringing you into a sense of community, a sense of - it's really underlying sense of love within that, versus more of like, obligatory gratitude, like the verbal expression of thanks for something that you've received, because it's, you know, maybe it's just the norm to say that, or the expression of gratitude, with self interest in mind, which can be a part of the human experience. But connective gratitude is really, there's something very selfless about it. And there's something very deeply loving and caring about it.
That's beautiful. And when you're talking about this model of acceptance, you know, kindness, compassion, as a new way to model that to relate to others. What would your advice be to the listeners today with - we're bombarded by many streams of negativity on the news. Maybe it's in your community, and we're kind of in a time of uncertainty. And a lot of people don't like that. And division versus unity consciousness. Because, again, this show and what I'm about is raising the vibration, and the consciousness of each other to heal humanity and the planet. When you speak to people, what is your message for people who just didn't know they don't know how to handle that? All that negativity coming out. Then they they don't realize they can make a choice. Let's do an exercise. You have so many great exercises. What do you do for that? What exercise would you like to do around that to help people?
Yeah, and that's a really important question. We've never seen a time in our history, I think, where we have been so divided and so alienated from one another and the pandemic and the isolation and mental health struggles that the pandemic has brought on, have not helped us in in that regard, either. So, I think, a good place to begin to, as you talk about it, foster unity consciousness, begins with the practice of mindfulness. But mindfulness from the perspective of first, and I talked about Happier You as being a program of transformation from the inside out, looking at the relationship that we have with ourselves, is there something that we are resisting within ourselves, or that we don't accept about ourselves, or that we are unhappy about, which then translates to looking for the negative story, looking for ways to be in opposition with somebody else because you're maybe not feeling good about who you are. So self love at a, at a deep level begins - and finding that love - begins by turning inward, and bringing compassion, warmth, and a sense of being present, non judgmentally, in a caring way, with whatever is arising in our, in our experience. So that I would say, Moira is the first step. It's changing the relationship we have with ourselves, because you probably know like, when, when you don't feel good, it's hard to be connected with others, you know. It's hard to be there for other people and to feel a sense of community. So if we begin within ourselves that way, that would be a first step. The second step, to really foster unity consciousness - and we can come back to the exercise around mindfulness and moving toward that consciousness. But the second step would be realizing what Kristin Neff, who is a very well known researcher in the area of self compassion, calls common humanity. And what Kristin is referring to, is this idea that it's a knowledge and awareness that we all suffer. That nobody is saved from the pains, and the hurricanes of life. We all go through it. We all experienced loss, sadness, frustration, anger, envy. It's part of the human condition, we're not alone. Once we have that more in our awareness, along with mindfulness, we then begin to see that I'm not so separate. I'm not so different from somebody who may have a very different political view, in life or may come from a very different background. There is a commonality that we become conscious of that I think invigorates the love that we all have residing within us. I think we're born with love, we're born out of love. And so it's kind of rediscovering that through mindfulness, a sense of common humanity. And the next aspect of what Neff talks about is self kindness. So are we able to not criticize ourselves? Are we able to see what happens to us in the most compassionate light? So that's kind of where I would begin. It's an important question. And I think it takes some quiet time. It takes some looking inward at self and getting to know yourself; if you're, you know, an extrovert, very externally focused in the world, sometimes we kind of lose touch with our core identity. In the book, I help through a number of writing exercises of ways that you can re establish or establish a core sense of what's meaningful for you, what are your values. What makes you feel good. What are your personal strengths as a way of solidifying a base that you can then build community and feel a part of, of a community in ways that you may never have felt before.
Thank you. I think of communities that are new than when I was growing up; like the LGBTQ community, where young people, or maybe older people, like they're discovering more who they are, how they feel comfortable, but they don't know how to go about it. I like this idea of this kindness exercise to begin to really discover at a deeper level, what they love to do. Just really have that dialogue and just, again, allow to discover who they are at a core. At a core I believe, like you say that we're love. That's a community that is important to me. And I've had guests on also discuss that, to have that compassion and kindness and realize that we're all human beings, you know, spiritual beings in a human body. Do you work with that community?
I don't work directly with that community. But it's really wonderful that you're pointing out our need for our, you know, having others around us who understand where we're coming from. Whatever that community is. So people that we feel like we can relate to, who will encourage us, who will see our best selves and and really nurture that. So a lot of, you know, when we started a Happier You, we envisioned it as this idea of a community forming of people who didn't know one another from different backgrounds, but bonding over the shared wonderful experiences of life. That was sharing something that they enjoyed as a as a point of finding commonality, finding support and valuing in that social context. So the Inside Out transformation happening simultaneous to being in a supportive group that is asking you, you know, what, did you, you know, what made you feel good today? What's one of your strengths? You know, tell me about a time when you felt thankful for something. All of that if it happens in the social context, one thing that the research shows us is that there's a social spark, a social spread of positive experience. That when you become happy, somebody in your proximity has a 25%, greater likelihood of becoming happy. So there is that that social networking aspect of positive experience that's really important to how I think about happiness. I'm so glad that you, you brought that up, and the importance of advocacy, support, care, love and non judgement. You know, I think all of those are, you know, synergistic, as we think about well being as a whole.
And I know that you also know, that ties into the research that you just said about character strengths, and how when we begin to focus on that, and use our top strengths - because each one of us has certain strengths - in new ways, it does connect us to greater happiness and increased resilience. And then when difficulties come up, we are able to deal with it in a healthier, better way.
That's right, because, you know, when when we face stresses, challenges in life, losses, and, you know, my gosh, the pandemic has been, you know, traumatic for so many people. Talk about one of the biggest challenges that we've had to face, as, you know, as a global society. Real opportunity to discover our inner strengths, what we excel at, and build those strengths. Quite honestly, we were put to the test. We can either look at the frustration, or the sadness, or the negative side of, you know, the adversity. Or we can look at how we are growing through it. There's a concept called Post Traumatic Growth, that when frontline health care workers were studied, researchers found that those workers who reported the highest levels of post traumatic growth over six, seven months through the pandemic, were more likely to report a deeper appreciation of life. Were more likely to report seeing strengths in themselves and others. So it's really an important topic. I'd love to get back to - you asked about an exercise that would help us, you know, kind of reinvigorate or discover unity consciousness, and, you know, help us maybe set aside some of that isolative division based consciousness. Would you want to go back to that?
Oh, for sure. Again, in this book, and I really recommend people to go and get A Happier You and it's going to be below the links to reach Scott, and you'll hear the lovely gift he's giving you along with his book because it's full of jam packed with beautiful exercises. So yes, let's do that. Let's dive in.
Yeah. So this is an exercise called the stepladder of gratitude. And it's in week three of, of a happier you in the book and also in the program. And it begins with an invitation to focus on the movements of your breath. So just noticing your breath moving into your body and moving out of your body without needing it to do anything different from what it's already doing. And now seeing if you can direct feelings of thankfulness and appreciation toward the power of breathing recognizing all the gifts that breathing provides for you in your life. How it makes everything else possible. Feeling almost a fullness with each breath in. Knowing that this is a wisdom of the body. Now inviting you to consider a basic need that's been met for you. Perhaps that's clothing, clean water, air, shelter, belongingness. And seeing if you can direct feelings and thoughts of thankfulness toward that basic need being fulfilledand the sources in the world that have fulfilled that need. And now as we move up this ladder of gratitude identifying something in your body, something in your physical being that you feel grateful for.
It could be the breath, but it also could be the beating of your heart. Your ability to walk, see, hear, taste, smell allowing the fullness of a sense of appreciation to rest in that one aspect of your physical being. And now considering an action that you took, that you feel thankful for. Perhaps it was the decision to take a walk today or eat a healthy breakfast or lunch. Or call someone you haven't spoken to in a while. Call a friend and connect with them. Focusing your appreciation and all of the wisdom and good heartedness that came into the intention to take that action and feeling as best as you can, deeply thankful for that step.
And now bringing your attention to rest on someone in your life that you feel thankful for. It could be a partner, child, parent, friend, colleague or an acquaintance. Someone who has been a gift to you in some way. Bringing them to mind as vividly as possible. Even perhaps visualizing sending those thoughts of thankfulness, those feelings of gratitude toward that person and feeling filled at the same time with the gifts that they have bestowed upon you. And now as we move up the ladder, cultivating a sense of appreciation for something that's happened for you. Maybe it's a promotion that you received at work or good news about your health or meetings, someone special in your life unexpectedly. Or discovering a new hobby. Whatever that event was, allowing yourself to feel filled with a sense of awe and appreciation for how that event arose, at perhaps just the right time for you. As if it were the universe saying yes to you, I value you. I care for you. I want you to succeed. And then the last step of this ladder of gratitude, bringing appreciation into the broader context of your life into the broader world. Sending thoughts of thankfulness and feelings of gratefulness to a group, perhaps that you're a part of a community. Maybe it's your neighborhood, a church group. It could even be the entire state that you're living in, the entire country. It could be nature, or God, sending thoughts and feelings of thankfulness toward that broader entity. Knowing that it sustains you just as much as everything else. on that ladder. Your breath, your basic needs being met, your physical being in action, you took someone special in your life, an event that happened for you. All of it wrapped together, cohesive and central to your best possible self. And now, sitting back and opening your eyes if your eyes were closed during that exercise, just allowing yourself to see where you're and noticing whatever state of mind or emotional state you might be experiencing and bringing acceptance and welcoming to that place. So that Moira is is the stepladder exercise, which I just love so much. And I really appreciate the opportunity to share that with your listeners.
So beautiful, I found during it, it just brings you so present into the present moment as you guided us through that.
Yeah, it really is rooted in mindful awareness. And the particular stance toward experience, which Jon Kabat-Zinn and others who teach mindfulness have translated it from the eastern understanding into western culture, really begins with being in the here and now. Although there are elements to that exercise I love of being able to look backward. Maybe the person that you're feeling grateful for has passed on. Or maybe the event which happened was also in the past. Or maybe something you're thankful for in the broader world is opportunities that you see down the road; new job opportunities or new opportunities for relationships or self growth.
That information, what you just shared additionally to it, is going to be so helpful for my community here in this community. Because yeah, some people are at a crossroads in their life or they're not happy with themselves, or they don't know where they want to go. And just to bring them into that. So it's going to be wonderful. So thank you so much for leading us through that. And your voice is very calming. Thank you. There was a movie, What the Bleep Down the Rabbit Hole. They talk about this, how we see through our lens. That would be that our soul, you know, our bigger spiritual self. And they talked about the inner observer, which you talked about, and how to, you know, build a greater awareness of what's happening in our mind. Can you expand on that?
Yes, the inner observer. Really, it begins with being able to step out of the stream of experience and to look at what's happening without being wrapped up in the story of what's happening. And it can often begin with where we began in that exercise with the mindfulness of breath, right and or just it can be any kind of sensory object of experience could be that squeezy ball with that smiley squeezy ball that you're holding, and you feel the pressure of it in your hand. And maybe that's the focus, that nonjudgmental here and now focus, that begins to help you step out of all of the, the forest of our thoughts, right. Our thoughts can be like a forest that we're wandering through that we're kind of a little bit lost in, in not being able to separate the idea of a thought from actually, what's happening, the reality of what's happening there. It's it's a judgment, it's a perception. So I think anytime we can get in touch with our sensory self. It begins to foster that separation. That's the first step. And in the book, I offer other ways that we then can nurture the Observer Self in a way that's a little bit maybe additionally directive. So what I mean by that is, let's say you're - Moira, what's something that you'd like to eat, like, what's, what's a favorite food of yours?
Oh, I like so much. Let's just say, chicken,
Chicken. Okay, so imagine yourself eating a wonderful chicken dish. And as you're eating that dish, you're asking yourself some questions about, about that wonderful dish. What good feelings are coming up for you, as you take each delicious bite? What does having made that dish mean about you? Or your connections with others? If you're sharing that, that dish was somebody at that moment? Does that dish and eating that chicken at that moment, remind you of any other past good moments, other good meals, other good times of, you know, whether it's, you know, having that solitary experience of savoring it or sharing that moment with others? How is this connected in a good way with your past? How does that moment of delight, broaden and brighten the world? When you look ahead does it make you more excited about making that dish again? Or trying other new foods? Or, you know, sharing it with somebody who may never have tasted it before? What kind of actions might you feel encouraged to take because you're really appreciating that that food and in that moment, could it lead you to, you know, cooking something else that day, or, you know, going to the gym, because, you know, perhaps you made it in a very healthy way. And that really represents your value of physical well being an emotional well being. So you start to take some steps to reinforce that later in the day or the next day even. So it's questions like that. So those are those are examples of deep dive questions that when we become you start to become more intentional about your observations, you can find a lot more with the answers to the questions of what's happening in a good way. And there's a fuller emotional experience that usually comes out of that.
I love those questions. I stayed with chicken but then I went to turkey because of Christmas coming up and and we're in this new home as I said in Nova Scotia, and we don't have a dining room now we went to a smaller home, but a larger outside property. So with the lake and the land around us, we felt, my husband and I Cliff, like we're sort of living on a boat. It's everything is smaller, not the kitchen. The kitchen is my kitchen. So it's big, but like the bathroom and the little closet and everything sort of walk in. It's like a luxurious sailboat. But that being said, you know, so we didn't do Thanksgiving because my mom, she doesn't have her chair lift to come upstairs yet. And so I'm looking forward to that. So I was wondering as you were doing it, and I was having fun with it. And you know, just fun playfulness.
Wonderful. Yeah. And you said playfulness. I just sparked the other aspect that can come out of these deep dives, which is lightness, and humor in life and playfulness and getting back into child's mind. That's a big focus of a happier you in the book in the program. So I just I resonated with that right away. I didn't mean to cut you off and jump. Oh, yeah, just Yeah, I felt like that was like, oh, that seemed really significant for you.
Yes. And you talk about that, as I do. Curiosity, love, hope, you know, all and that cycle of tying in with our life satisfaction. And maybe like you're saying stacking more moments like that, let it be it's one per day or whatever that is. And I also love that. I'm going to tell you what we've been doing. You talked about you liked funny movies growing up and comedians, and that you'd like Steve Martin and Monty Python, and that skit came right to me, you know, 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. Always look on the light side of life, you know, and and the benefits you dived into humor laughter and you know, literally when we you know feel challenged that. That's why - who was it the person with the the nose, that movie where... to focus on for healing, humor and funny movies, not heavy things. Things that make you laugh or love stories if their love stories you like. But yeah, so my husband and I, we went and looked at the video with, you know, Palin, I think, and so many years ago, he was so young. So all all the last few days, we couldn't get that song out of our mind. We've been humming it every day ...Always look on the bright side...It's there.
That's it. That's right. Because you're you're carrying what I love about that is you're carrying the lightness with you into future moments of your day. Like even just thinking about the, the Monty Python music is bringing is bringing you up. It's it's increasing the frequency. And, and, and just kind of driving other positive emotional states, you know.
And you have to, you have to smile laugh at that, because it's just, you know, they're they are all on the cross, you know, and the words are just amazing. You know, life can sometimes not be so happy but there was other words they use, but and you call that exercise catching lightning? Is that what you call that? To where, you know, funny moments? In small things in life and focusing on that more? Is that the term?
It's really like catching lightness? Yeah,
Yeah, catching that lightness
.. not lightning..
Well, it is it can hit you like lightning, because it can be such a jarring shift right into you know, when we laugh, we just, I feel like it's you know, we're at play with the gods. You know, when we laugh, there's something divine and at a peak level of experience when, when you're just that belly laughter right, enjoying something that funny with somebody
I find too recently, that I just started doing it. I don't even know where it came from, where I'm doing a play on words, you know, I'll say, like a tea tea a cup, or I'll just play with things. And I'm sort of like, observing myself saying, like, you know, like, Where's that coming from? But I like it. It's I don't know where it's coming through. What's it coming from? But it's, it's, it's a positive emotion. We'll say that for sure. This finding the metal. Now, does that tie in with this nurturing the observer? That exercise? You have an acceptance and that?
Yeah, it does. Because when, especially if you're suffering, it can just be about, can I be compassionate with myself in this moment? Can I just be gentle to myself? I experienced a car accident in 2004. It left me and some pretty significant back pain that was pretty debilitating for me. And I really thought at that time that, you know, my life really would never be the same. I was newly married and felt like it would be an extraordinary barrier to, to my marriage and to a lot of other things that were positive things have been happening. And I discovered mindfulness around that time and began to practice. This idea of bringing warmth, understanding and acceptance to pain, and actually physically practicing that by placing my hand at the small of my back where my pain was most intense, and just not trying to change change the pain or push it away, which I'd been doing pretty consistently up until that point not with good results. And as soon as I shifted into a mode where I was just saying to myself, it's okay that this, this part of my body is suffering, it's okay that this is here, because it is here. And just allowing the warmth of kindness and care and concern to be at that, that spot in my body cause such an immediate shift of a dampening of the severity of the pain, a more positive sense about, about myself, about my immediate surroundings, about what's possible as that pain subsided a bit. Now it certainly didn't make it go away completely, but it did change my relationship to, to the pain. And that's what I mean, when I say 'finding the meadow'. You know, if you can find amidst the dark trees of your negative thoughts and negative physical experiences, if you can look for that place of coming to an understanding and being okay. Doesn't mean that you're condoning the continuation of that suffering, it just means that you're not trying to push it away, deny or minimize it. So I think that can be really powerful.
Wonderful advice again, because like you're saying, if you're pushing away or not accepting or pretending it's not there, and maybe going through a few days that you can do that. But then it pops up again. Like, there, there it is in front of you.
It'll keep coming back. Right. Exactly, exactly. To that to remind you saying, you know, I haven't quite gotten the, the level of nurturing and appreciation with which even pain does. It needs a kind of acknowledgement that it is, you know, is something. There's something in it to teach us.
Yes, yeah. I have a belief that in every circumstance, there is a gift. So when a person my second book, which I'm still finishing my first book, Scott, but my second book in the series is What is the Gift in This? And it's the learning and everything in our life, as looking at through those lens of that perception that there is a gift in everything. We might not see it at the moment what that is and, again, your message about not pushing things away and just allowing and compassion and acceptance. I just, I just love it. All these exercises that you've like, you have one called Streaming, Catching, Spotlighting, Candling; there's so many people have to... again, I invite you to go, you know, read this book. Because there's so many exercises and follow you know, Scott, and you know and the kindness exercise. Did you create these as you went through people like students and as you lectured in your own life? Is that how you created all these different processes?
Yeah, a combination of the work that we're doing in in the group version of the program, as well as personal exercises and moving through each of these doorways or portals into positive experience. And, and using cognitive behavioral knowledge and approaches as as a base to that. Because I was trained as a cognitive behavioral psychologist. So that's how I understand well being and so when we're writing down a list, I'd say of sources of humor. So you can have a differentiated way of seeing your playful side of yourself in a way that gives you more control over being able to say schedule watching your favorite comedian or playing your favorite board game. It's writing it down. It's it's looking at your thoughts and how you're asking yourself questions that prompts these transformative emotional experiences that then lead to actions that can be very healthy and support overall well being and life satisfaction. So yeah, so it's, it's really a blend. I'm so grateful to be able to offer a menu of items. I don't know that every single exercise in The Happier You is going to be right for every person. I don't expect that but as you go through the book, you may choose off the menu, well maybe there's this one gratitude exercise in week three that I really like and then there's that 'widening the reach of love exercise' in week seven and then oh yeah, there's, you know, be making a list of my personal strengths and then scheduling meetups with my strengths. Those are the three exercises that really helped me that really are sufficient to, to bring me to the next level of you know, of who I am in my life in a positive way. And whether that's stronger relationships and more success at your job or in other areas, just experiencing that fruition based on your choice, the readers choice, what's going to work best for him or her. And that's what makes me the happiest that I can just kind of like create the buffet. And then invite, invite our family, larger community, global community to come to the buffet, and to pick off what you know, pick out what what they think would be best for them. And to try try different exercises,
You say in here, at the very beginning how to use the book. It requires patience, persistence, and a willingness to try new things. And you suggest setting aside 15 to 30 minutes a day, for the seven week program. One of the other things you say, which really came out again, with a lot of things you share today, your wisdom on, you know, be kind to yourself going through the book. Like, you know, you don't have to do it all at once. Or maybe maybe you just do this part. And hey, that's enough. And you know, and then you come back when it's right for you. So you don't have this pressure on yourself, that again, maybe all this dialogue, 'I'm doing it wrong', or 'I'm doing it slower.' All that right stuff.
The critic, the critic, the stuff that the critic likes..
You know, but like when I did psychology in school, because that's my degree, they didn't have positive psychology. I know that I would have really enjoyed training in that area. Because it's, it's so important, not only right now, as we're saying with chaos and uncertainty in the world, and what the challenges are happening and the divide and all the rest of it. But for people to really come back to that, that you talked about the inner, outer and loving starts with self love to like to accept ourselves realize that each one of us and coming together globally, we can make a difference. With our choices, we can create this unity consciousness and this higher vibration of love. That's just, to me so powerful.
There's a full effect afterwards.
Yes, yes. Yes, Scott, this has been such a joy. And I know you have this very unique gift and a private gift link for our listeners. Can you explain just what that is? And again, as I said earlier, it's going to be below the episode, how to purchase Scott's book and your gift link and also how to get in contact with Scott find out more about his work and become part of his community.
Yeah, so the gift is a 90 Minute, access to a 90 minute workshop that was was recorded with a sampling of exercises throughout the seven weeks of the program. So I'm, I'm so glad to be able to share that with you. And I would invite your listeners to to reach out to me if you have questions about any of the exercises or the book. You know, my email address is email@example.com. So I invite dialog. I want to meet people. I'm really open on Instagram, for DMs and where you can reach out to me through my website. So I really want to connect with with you and get to know you and help you as much as possible along your journey because I know how challenging it can be. And, you know, we all need voices of support in the wilderness. And I think it's been such a gift to be able to be a voice.
And as we said also earlier, when we were talking before we started this conversation for the listeners that I'm all about collaboration and contribution and community. So and I love your invitation that comes with Hello, you know. Because I also have that on my side Hello discovery calls but I really liked how you said it. And definitely we will be keeping in touch because we have the same message to reach people. And so thank you for that. And I want to say to the listeners today if you enjoyed this episode with Scott, you know I'd love you to like, share and subscribe so you don't miss any future heartfelt conversations we had today and become part of this global community, living your best life on your terms. Scott, thank you for sharing from your heart and soul, your divine wisdom and how to kickstart your positivity for a happier life. Namaste.
Namaste Moira. Thank you
Thank you for listening to the Heart Soul Wisdom Podcast with Moira Sutton. I hope you enjoyed today's episode. Please join our community at moirasutton.com and continue the discussion on our Facebook page Create the Life you Love. You will be part of a global movement connecting with other heart centered people who are consciously creating the life they love on their own terms. Together we can raise our consciousness for the greater good of humanity and for our planet.