Book Review: How to be Happy and Have Fun Changing the World
This is a book that was written way back in 2005 by the author Michael Anthony. I’m writing this review more as a very personal reaction after having read it than as a review in the strictest sense of the word. I have written an article about the necessity to feel good always and have submitted it to a couple of article directories: ezinearticles and goarticles. It deals more on the karmic level of feelings than on the physical levels. This book was a pleasant surprise to me as it confirms my belief that one must feel good or happy in order to move forward. Feeling miserable is a step in the opposite direction. And it elaborates on the physical effects of positive feelings. Thus I have become even more completely convinced that my hunches were right. This book fully supports and backs up my beliefs.
I recall that I have declared in my previous articles that we must feel good always. I said that “I would even venture to say” that to feel good is a responsibility. On a personal level, it should be. But if one believes in one’s personal responsibility to help change the world, it becomes even more seriously so.
The heart of Michael’s preaching lies in his affirmation which he desires to become everyone’s affirmation. He believes that if enough individuals take up the challenge to live the 8-word affirmation, global change would happen for the better. Michael expounds on the mental programming everyone has undergone since childhood. While most authors call it the subconscious, Michael prefers to call it the “tape”, referring to the tape in a tape recorder. I have a feeling that had Michael been born a decade later, he would have probably used ‘hard disk’, or ‘memory chip’ or even ‘history folder’. He contends that your programming is stored in your tape and you act and react according to the contents of your tape; especially, according to the latest records embedded on the tape. If these records are mostly negative in nature, you might be in for a rough ride when you decide to change for the better. But no matter how dark your records may be, you need only match it with the right amount of determination in order to conquer it in time.
Firstly, Mike stresses that “your brain actually secretes chemicals corresponding to your positive and negative thoughts.” These secretions change the overall chemistry of one’s cranial fluids which in turn influences one’s natural abilities and functions. These were not ‘theories’ that he belched out off the top of his head. These were based on the findings of Dr. Michael Raleigh at the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioural Sciences at UCLA School of Medicine in Los Angeles, CA. Dr. Raleigh confirms that higher levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin “correlate to higher performance levels and that changes in behaviour cause serotonin levels to change.” In layman’s terms, this means that you can increase your natural abilities by tweaking the chemistry of your brain’s cranial fluid. One very important factor that you can use to tweak the brain’s cranial fluids is your thoughts, and thus your emotions. In other words, say, if you are an athlete preparing for a major competition, aside from your regulary physical preparations, you can perceptively increase your performance by bringing up good feelings in yourself. Feel happy, feel joy, feel good. It is imperative that you monitor your feelings henceforth. Just as good happy thoughts and feelings increase your skill and performance levels, negative thoughts and emotions likewise pull you down drastically. A martial arts athlete therefore not only needs to practice to control his physical reflexes, he also needs to practice to control his emotional responses. An event that would normally bring up a response of anger should now be endeavoured to be viewed in a more objective manner. Events are events. “Facts are merely facts. However, you can choose your emotional response to them.”
“Your physiology works both ways. Your body reflects your feelings. However, how you carry your body affects your feelings. One of the quickest and easiest ways to improve your chemistry is to change your physiology. By taking slow deep breaths, standing tall and sticking your chest out, you automatically increase your chemistry and immediately feel better. Raise your eyes to the sky and smile right now. Do you feel a change in your energy and alertness? If you always carry yourself like a winner, you will feel like a winner.”
The mental programming, as mentioned earlier, affects your ability to control your emotions. Thus, now that you know about your emotion’s effect on your physical performance, you want to be able to feel happy now more often. But since our mental programming dictates that we should feel anger at the slightest provocation, you might find it difficult to control this automatic response. However, this should prove to be hard only within the first few weeks of your attempts. Note that Mike said that you act and react according to the contents of your tape or programming, especially according to the “latest” embedded records. As you continue to try to intentionally divert to feeling good instead of, say, exploding in anger, or sagging in dismay, you are actually overwriting the latest records. You are embedding new records…the records of your attempt to feel good in response to whatever events that come or happen to you. Or the records of your intention to simply feel good all the time. Eventually, your latest records will contain only this new way of acting and reacting. In time these attempts will no longer be ‘attempts’, but natural actions and reactions.
The book tells us how to be better at anything. The primary method is to be happy. And since, as stated in the book, feelings are contagious, we are actually unconsciously communicating our ‘communicable’ joy and happiness to everyone you meet. We thus are also changing the world in our own way and having fun in the process. To know the 8-word affirmation, please download Mike’s book at howtobehappy.org, or you can also directly download it here. It’s 2.5 MB, so have a little patience as your browser loads up.
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