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Keep a Happiness Journal and Find Your Joy          

by Han-Hua Huang


Many people feel stressed because they often “regret about the past”, “worry about the future” and “neglect the present.”   They find themselves worried and far from being happy.  A doctor recommends keeping a journal as a simple way to turn little joys to great happiness.


Are you happy? When you are stressed to the point that you feel depressed, how would you cheer yourself up ? Have a big meal, go shopping, or do some travel ?


“Happiness is right in your daily life!” says President of Dr. Lin’s Healing Clinic, Kent Lin.


Dr. Lin, who has treated mental disorders for 27 years, found that many people rely on external interventions to relieve their stress, such as eating, shopping and travel. While these activities can help you relax for a moment, they do not really make your stress go away.


Dr. Lin believes that stress is part of our lives and is inevitable. In a highly competitive environment where stress can arise at any time, it is more important to learn how to live with stress than to try to make it disappear.  Your perspective of stress can determine your emotions for the day.

記錄快樂 比吃藥有效

Journaling is More Effective than Medication


From treating his patients, Dr. Lin learned that stress comes from “regretting about the past”, “worrying about the future” and “neglecting the present”.  Unable to let go of the psychological burden, people put themselves in a “mental prison” where they have trouble letting go to free themselves.


Dr. Lin used the analogy of a refrigerator to describe our soul.  Long-term accumulated stress is like rotten dishes of food that have been kept in the refrigerator for a long time. Every time you think of the sources of the stress, it is like taking out the rotten dishes from the refrigerator and going over them one by one. Of course, the colors, smells and looks of these dishes are not pleasant.


If you don’t get rid of the sources of stress, it would be like that the rotten dishes of food are taken out of the refrigerator and put back in there over and over again. Over time, the refrigerator will be full of garbage with very limited space, and the poor air ventilation in the refrigerator will affect any food that comes in even if it is expensive lobster or abalone. Therefore, the key to finding happiness is to get rid of the rotten food in your mind.


Dr. Lin also found from the interviews with his patients that they often describe their feelings with indecisive words, such as “no difference”, “not good” or “it’s OK.” Dr. Lin figured that if people could keep a record of their emotions, they would become aware of the changes in their feelings as well as negative emotions, and learn to think positively. Therefore, Dr. Lin came up with one method: every morning, afternoon and evening, identify one thing that makes you happy. He believes that with practice, it will help people let go of their negative emotions that have been deep rooted in their minds.  He asked his patients to use this method and it turned out to be more effective than medications.


In 2000, when Dr. Lin was the head of the Community Psychiatrics Department of the Kaohsiung Municipal Kai-Syuan Psychiatric Hospital, he solicited 14 people from the senior center who were on medication for depression and insomnia.  He asked them to keep a “Journal of Happiness” where they were to write down 3 things that cheered them up every day and rate those events on a scale of 1 to 10 to indicate whether the events made them feel “slightly happy”, “moderately happy”, or “very happy”.


Dr. Lin put these seniors in three groups and had them support each other. At the beginning, these people had trouble identifying joyful events or wrote down things that made them feel stressful.  It took a while for someone to finally find something to write about. Later on, all people in the three groups started writing and they calculated the average happiness points they had for each day, week and month.

受困心靈牢籠 也能找到出口

Out of the Mental Prison


“You are supposed to compare your own happiness points, “ says Dr. Lin. If your average points for last week were 5.6 and this week 4.5, you might want to think about the reasons your points were lower. By the same token, if your points become higher, you can identify the things that bring you joy. The more you do those things, the more likely you will transform your negative emotions.


“How many points did you get yesterday?”  “I hope to get 9 points.” During the eight weeks when this experiment took place, participants asked the happiness points of each other. One person found that her happiness points would be higher on those days when she saw her grandson. As a result, she made it a habit to bring her grandson to the park three days a week. After a few months, the happy moments she had with her grandson helped her stop the medication she had been on for a long time.


“I now have too many joyful things to write about !” one produce retailer told Dr. Lin. She used to complain about her husband and her daughter-in-law and couldn’t find any joy in her life. After two years of journaling, she now feels happy even when she sees the wild flowers on the street and her family relationship has also greatly improved.


Dr. Lin’s happiness journal is simple, easy and doesn’t cost money. It won the support of the Health Department of the Kaohsiung City Government in Taiwan. In 2013, the Kaohsiung City Government initiated the campaign “Raise the Nation’s Happiness Starting with Yourself”, encouraging residents to find their joy every day.  It is worth trying for all of us.

【快樂日記這樣寫!】1.每天找三件快樂的事 2.計算每天、每週、每月的平均快樂分數

How to Keep a Happiness Journal :
1.     Find 3 things that make you happy every day; and
2.     Calculate your average happiness points each day, week and month


This article was published on Global Views on Health

* Translated by Judy H *

關於 林耕新醫師

About Dr. Kent Lin
A reputed psychiatrist in Taiwan, Dr. Kent Lin earned his medical degree from the Taipei Medical University in Taiwan and has been dedicated to treating mental disorders and promoting mental health for three decades. He is also an advocate in different areas of humanity care in Taiwan, including hospice care, the recognition of near-death experience and hypnosis treatment. Among his many endeavors, Dr. Lin has been a counselor and psychiatrist for schools and the police force and is the founder and Chairman of the Daylily Depression Prevention Association. He has his own practice as the President of the Dr. Lin’s Healing Clinic in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

* Translated by Judy H *

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"You're Not Broken"   with Michael Neill & Anita Moorjani

(Podcast on Caffeine for the Soul 10-12-2016)  
My gratitude to Michael and Anita for their permission to translate and share this inspiring conversation. 
知名的人生教練作者麥克.尼爾 (Michael Neill) 和艾妮塔.穆札尼的訪談,分成幾個播客(podcast)在麥克的「心靈咖啡因」網頁上播放。我特別喜歡這個主題-「你並不殘缺」,因為深信這是許多人不能愛自己的障礙。感謝得到麥克和艾妮塔的允許,將這段對話譯出分享。

M: Good morning, Good afternoon, Good evening. Welcome to today’s Caffeine for the Soul. We’ve been talking all week with Anita Moorjani. She is the New York Times bestselling author of “Dying To Be Me”, and her new book is “What If This Is Heaven - How Our Cultural Myths Prevent Us from Experiencing Heaven On Earth.” And today we talk about this idea that you are not broken. Many of you know that was my first big insight into the human condition was to realize that I wasn’t fundamentally broken and I didn’t need to be fixed. That’s what Anita and I talk about. I think you are going to enjoy this one. It’s back down to our normal espresso size. Enjoy !

麥克: 早安,午安,晚安。觀迎收聽今天的「心靈咖啡因」。這一整個星期我們都在和艾妮塔.穆札尼對談。她是紐約時報暢銷書「死過一次才學會愛」,以及新書「也許這裏就是天堂   - 文化迷思阻斷了人間天堂之路」(暫譯)的作者。今天我們要談一談「你並不殘缺」這個觀念。很多人知道這是我對人性的首要領悟 - 我並不殘缺,我不需要被修復。這是我和艾妮塔所談的主題,我想你們會喜歡這段對話。我們再次以精簡的「濃縮咖啡」方式播放呈現,請享用!

M: Another one of the myths that I really resonated with was I Am Not OK, You Are Not OK. The way that I heard that is I don’t need to be fixed. 

麥克: 另外一個我很認同的迷思是「我有問題,你也有問題」(譯者註: 這是艾妮塔新書「也許這裏就是天堂」[暫譯] 裏談到的一個迷思)。我的了解是 - 我不需要被修復。

A: Yes.

艾妮塔: 沒錯。

M: That to me seems so fundamental to the whole mythology of self-help and spiritual development is, you know, the difference between, hey, you are fundamentally a mess, but we can fix you, and you’re fundamentally God in human form and we can kind of scrape away some of the crap that’s accumulated on top of you. Could you speak to that?

麥克: 我認為這是整個心理自助和心靈成長的迷思所在,兩者的區別是,一個是你骨子裏本身就有問題,不過我們可以把你修好; 另一個是你基本上是有神性的肉身,我們只要將你身上不好的東西除掉就行了。你可以談談這個嗎?

A: Yes. So basically I believe that one of the issues we are facing right now is we are facing a culture that has really gone deep into the whole self-help phenomena, and so we have created a whole generation of people all of whom believe that they are broken and they need to be fixed. And I think this is not just the phenomenon of the self-help generation. It’s also there’s a lot of people who have strong religious beliefs all of whom believe that they are broken just because they are here in physical form.

艾妮塔: 好的。基本上我認為我們面臨的一個問題是,心理自助的現象已深入我們所處的文化裏,造就了這一代深信自己是殘缺,需要被修復的人。而且我認為不只是心理自助的世代現象而已。還有很多有強烈宗教信仰的人,他們相信只是因為他們有肉身,他們就是殘缺的。

But I honestly don’t believe any of us are broken. None, not me, not anybody. And I believe the problem is in believing we are broken and that we need to be fixed. That is actually the root of the problem for many people. So I kind of look at it from that way around.


In actuality, we are all beautiful; we are all perfect; we are all on a journey. And sometimes the journey can be difficult, and sometimes the journey is easy. But what makes our life harder is that whenever the journey gets tough, we think we are broken, and that’s a big problem. Because there are so many things that we come across on our path which maybe these things are to take us to the next level, maybe there is a purpose we are supposed to go through a little bit of a challenge here and a little bit of suffering there. It all adds up to the experience.


Of course you are going to feel pain when you go through a devastating journey of some kind. Of course you are going to feel a bit of fear and things like that, but what adds to it is the judgment of yourself that oh, my God, why am I going through this, I’ve had all this help, I’ve done all this work on myself and yet I’m still doing it. There is something wrong with me, I still haven’t fixed it. I still haven’t got it. What is it? Or we feel a bit of fear about something instead of embracing the fear so that it can pass or accepting this is where I am now and allow it to pass. We start to feel the fear. We kind of go, oh my gosh, I’m not supposed to feel this fear, fear is bad for me because I’m attracting 
the situation to me because of the fear.

當你走過一段艱辛的路時,當然你會覺得痛苦,當然你會覺得有點害怕。但雪上加霜的是你加之於自己的評斷  哦,天哪,我為什麼要經歷這些; 我尋求了所有的幫助,我做了那麼多功課,但是我依然如此。我是那裏不對勁,我還是沒有解決問題,我還是沒弄懂。到底是怎麼一回事? 或者我們覺得有點害怕,但不能接受這個感覺讓它過去,不能接受這是我目前的狀況,讓事情自然過去。我們開始感到恐懼,會這樣想 哦,我的天,我不應該恐懼,恐懼是不好的,因為它會招來不幸。

M: Can’t afford the luxury of negative thought.

麥克: 禁不起自己有負面的思想。

A: Yes, exactly. We start to think things like that. And we start judging ourselves, and we start fearing our thoughts, and it gets us into an even bigger mess. So I like to work on the premise, no, where you are right at this minute. Let’s start with this is perfect. This is where you are meant to be right now. You are meant to be experiencing exactly what you are experiencing and I know it might be hard but let’s start with loving yourself, loving yourself, and not criticizing, judging, hating, watching your thoughts, all that kind of stuff, because each of those things is a judgment against who you are.

艾妮塔:  沒錯,我們開始有這些想法。我們開始評斷自己,害怕自己的思想,把情況弄得更糟。所以我要改變這個前提 錯了,此時此刻的你,讓我們認同這就是最佳狀況,我們從這裏開始。你命中註定要處於此時此刻,你命中註定要經歷你現在經歷的事。我知道這會有點辛苦,但讓我們從愛自己開始,愛你自己,不要批評、衡量、厭惡你自己,不要觀照思想,因為這每一個動作都是在評斷你自己。

Even the whole thing I have to watch my thoughts, the message you are sending yourself is, my thoughts are not good enough, my mind is not good enough to come up with the right thing so I have to watch it. What happens is you don’t allow your authenticity to come through. And what I am trying to do is... Ideally, what I would like is for you to know that who you are at your core, your authentic self, is perfect. It is perfect. So let’s just uncover a few things that are preventing that from shining through.


M: And in the work you’ve been doing over the last 10 years, have you sort of gotten to the point where you see some pretty consistent patterns of what people used to cover them up ?

麥克: 在你過去十年的工作中,你是否發現一些我們阻擋自己光芒的模式?

A: Yes, sorry I said that before you finished your sentence.

艾妮塔:  是的,抱歉,沒讓你把話說完。

M: You knew where I was going… It was the obvious question. Let’s be honest.

麥克: 你知道我要說什麼你已經猜到我的問題了。

A: Yes. One of the patterns I see a lot is where people are constantly asking themselves why am I not getting it, why am I not getting it, and I just feel like hugging them and telling them - Darling, just love yourself where you are now. That’s the only thing you are not getting. That is the only thing. Just stop, stop criticizing yourself, stop beating yourself up, stop trying even to figure it out. Just stand right here; give yourself a big hug. Let me give you a big hug. That’s all. That’s all there is to it.

艾妮塔:  是的。其中一個我常看到的模式是,我們經常會問自己 - 「為什麼我還弄不懂,為什麼我還不明白」。我只想給他們一個擁抱告訴他們 親愛的,你只需要愛你現在的自己,這是唯一你還不明白的事。只有這件事。不要再評斷你自己,責備自己,甚至不要再去了解它。你只需要安於現在,給你自己一個大大的擁抱。讓我也給你一個大擁抱。你只需要這樣,如此而已。

M: I member reading the book. It is called “Learning to Love Yourself” by Gay Hendricks years ago in the 80’s. I remember there was this one exercise. The only one that got through to me where it was - Can you love yourself as you are now? And my answer was always No. And the next question was – Can you love yourself for not being able to love yourself as you are now? No.

麥克:  我記得多年前在80年代讀過一本書,蓋伊.韓德里克斯寫的「學習愛你自己」。裏面我唯一弄懂的事是 你能愛你現在的自己嗎? 我的回答總是「不能」。然後它問下一個問題 你能愛那個「你不愛的現在的自己」嗎? 「不能」。

A: I like that (laughing).

艾妮塔:  我喜歡這個說法 (笑聲)

M: Like if I got like four deep. I realized when the question was - Could you love yourself for not being able to love yourself for not being able to love yourself for not being able to love yourself for where you are now? Yeah, I can do that.

麥克:  我一直回答到第四層。當它問到  你能愛那個「你不愛的那個」「你不愛的那個」「你不愛的現在的自己」嗎? 我終於明白了,是的,我能。

A: I am going to try that. I love that. (laughing) I haven’t heard of this book. That’s great, something for me to look up. I love that.

艾妮塔:  我也要試試看。我喜歡這個說法 (笑聲)。我沒聽過這本書,太好了,我可以查查看。我喜歡這個說法。

M: For me, the idea that really resonates in that one is - this is exactly where you are meant to be, right here, right now, experiencing exactly what you are experiencing. Tomorrow we talk about ego, one of the myths in her book is that spiritual people don’t have egos. So tomorrow we talk about that difference between ego and egotistical, and why we have egos. So I think you will enjoy that. Again, you can find out more at anitamoorjani.com and you can order the book “What If This Is Heaven – How Our Cultural Myths Prevent Us from Experiencing Heaven On Earth”  at all book sellers near you.

麥克:  對我來說,這裏真正的重點在於,你本該在此時此刻 - 這裏、現在 - 經歷你正在經歷的事。明天我們會談一談「自我」。艾妮塔書裏的一個迷思是,有修行的人沒有自我。明天我們會談「自我」和「自我中心」的區別,以及為什麼我們需要自我。我想你們會喜歡的。讓我重覆一下,你們可以到anitamoorjani.com找到更多的訊息,並且可以在各大書局買到她的書「也許這裏就是天堂   - 文化迷思阻斷了人間天堂之路」(暫譯)

 * Judy H 譯 *

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