It's focusing on what you're giving to that person (which instantly brings you happiness as well as bringing the other person happiness) and allows the relationship to prosper. However, most people don't do this. They focus on what they're getting instead. Take my good friend Sarah and her husband Tom. They've been married for over ten years now, and during that time, they've had some major ups and downs. When things aren't great--Sarah is complaining about how she is always stuck doing the dishes after they entertain their friends, and Tom is always feeling blamed for her unhappiness (but at the same time, refuses to help her do the dishes)--they stay in their bickering mode for days even weeks, sometimes. This is because their state of mind never changes. They are both keeping a mental tally' of who did what, and how long it's been since they felt appreciated or loved. <a href=''>But,</a> if you come from a place of giving, appreciation and generosity, your entire relationship can shift. <a href=''>That</a> boss who doesn't even credit you or promote you may see your giving spirit asmanager material'. Think about something you're good at: your ability to present onstage, pull together a delicious meal, or parallel park in the tightest of spaces. Competence feels good, and that feeling grows alongside your ability. Unfortunately, the joy of progress in the classroom is a waning feeling among kids today. Ryan warns, "We're giving messages of `you're not competent at what you're doing at school,' to so many kids." He points to the rise of standardized testing as part of the problem. "It's destroying classroom teaching practices, it's destroying the self-esteem of so many kids, and it's killing their learning and motivation." "Kids are so different, and their developmental rates are so variable," Ryan says. However, by design, standardized tests don't account for those differences. If a child isn't doing well in school and doesn't get the necessary individualized support, they start to believe that achieving competence is impossible, so they stop trying. In the absence of competency in the classroom, kids turn to other outlets to experience the feeling of growth and development. Companies making games, apps, and other potential distractions are happy to fill that void by selling ready-made solutions for the "psychological nutrients" kids lack. Tech makers know how much consumers enjoy leveling up, gaining more followers, or getting likes--those accomplishments provide the fast feedback of achievement that feels good.

According to Ryan, when children spend their time in school doing something they don't enjoy, don't value, and don't see potential for improvement, "it should be no surprise to us that at nighttime [they] would rather turn to an activity where they can feel a lot of competence." When you come from a giving state. All you need to do in order to implement the giving box into your life, is begin being aware of every relationship you have as a box, or a bank. It doesn't exist without you, and the other person. We tend to think that only people with mental disorders such as schizophrenia hallucinate. So when someone we consider normal says he saw a ghost or alien creature, we think that maybe there's something to it. However, research shows that otherwise normal individuals can hallucinate at various times in their lives. Ever since the inception of the International Census of Waking Hallucinations in 1894, surveys have indicated that about 10 percent to 25 percent of normal people have experienced at least one vivid hallucination in their lives. That is, they hear a voice or see a form that isn't actually there. Studies show that if sleep is interrupted for a few days during REM sleep (when we dream), we'll start to hallucinate during the day. Hallucinations can also be elicited by emotional stress, fasting, fever, sensory deprivation, and drugs.26 Years ago, neurophysiologist Wilder Penfield demonstrated that when various parts of the brain are electrically stimulated, vivid hallucinations can result. Another neuroscientist, Michael Persinger, has reported that people have out-of-body experiences, a feeling that someone is in the room, and even deep religious feelings when a helmet containing electromagnets is placed on their heads.27 Patients experiencing epileptic seizures in the temporal lobes of the brain can have very intense spiritual experiences. As one patient indicated, he experiences bright lights, a rapture that makes everything else pale, and a feeling of oneness with God. In actuality, there are circuits in the brain that are involved with religious and other supernatural experiences, which may be activated by outside stimulation or seizures.28 A psychological syndrome called sleep paralysis makes people immobile, anxious, and prone to seeing hallucinations like ghosts, demons, and aliens. It's interesting to note that most alien abductee experiences occur when falling asleep, waking up, or on long car drives. We know that we can experience hypnogogic hallucinations, which occur while falling asleep, and hypnopompic hallucinations, which happen while waking up. In these states, individuals experience floating out of their bodies; feeling paralyzed; and seeing ghosts, aliens, and loved ones who have died. There's also a strong sense of being awake during these hallucinations. Remember my ghostly encounter? It's more common than you think. One study found that out of 182 university students, about 63 percent experienced auditory or visual hypnagogic imagery and 21 percent experienced hypnopompic imagery.29 Research has also shown that a small group of individuals (about 4 percent of the population) fantasize a large part of the time.

These people often see, hear, smell, and touch things that aren't there, and they also have a decreased awareness of time. In fact, a biographical analysis of 154 people who said they had been abducted by aliens revealed that 132 of them appeared normal and healthy, but had fantasy-prone personality characteristics.30 In addition, many people are extremely suggestible--5 percent to 10 percent of us can be easily hypnotized--and enhanced suggestibility can influence our perceptions and beliefs. You would think that these misperceptions should make us question the validity of personal accounts of extraordinary events. But our penchant for a good story usually wins out. Our human perceptual habits are remarkably stupid in some ways. We tune out 99 percent of all the sensory stimuli we actually receive, and we solidify the remainder into discrete mental objects. Then we react to those mental objects in programmed, habitual ways. An example: There you are, sitting alone in the stillness of a peaceful night. A dog barks in the distance, which, in itself, is neither good nor bad. Up out of that sea of silence come surging waves of sonic vibration. You start to hear the lovely complex patterns, and they are turned into scintillating electronic stimulations within the nervous system. The process should be used as an experience of impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and selflessness. We humans tend to ignore it totally. Instead, we solidify that perception into a mental object. We paste a mental picture on it and launch into a series of emotional and conceptual reactions to it. "There is that dog again. He is always barking at night. What a nuisance. Every night he is a real bother. Somebody should do something.

Maybe I should call a cop. No, a dog catcher--I'll call the pound. No, maybe I'll just write a nasty letter to the guy who owns that dog. No, too much trouble. I'll just get ear plugs." These are just perceptual mental habits. You learn to respond this way as a child by copying the perceptual habits of those around you. These perceptual responses are not inherent in the structure of the nervous system. The circuits are there, but this is not the only way that our mental machinery can be used. That which has been learned can be unlearned. The first step is to realize what you are doing as you are doing it, to stand back and quietly watch. From the Buddhist perspective, we humans have a backward view of life. We look at what is actually the cause of suffering and see it as happiness. The cause of suffering is that desire-aversion syndrome that we spoke of earlier. Up pops a perception. It could be anything--an attractive woman, a handsome guy, a speedboat, the aroma of baking bread, a truck tailgating you, anything. Whatever it is, the very next thing we do is to react to the stimulus with a feeling about it. For example, take worry. We worry a lot. Worry itself is the problem. Worry is a process; it has steps.

Anxiety is not just a state of existence but a procedure. What you've got to do is to look at the very beginning of that procedure, those initial stages before the process has built up a head of steam. The very first link of the worry chain is the grasping-rejecting reaction. Assoon as a phenomenon pops into the mind, we try mentally to grab onto it or push it away. That sets the worry response in motion. Luckily, there is a handy little tool called vipassana meditation that you can use to short-circuit the whole mechanism. Vipassana meditation teaches us how to scrutinize our own perceptual process with great precision. We learn to watch the arising of thought and perception with a feeling of serene detachment. We learn to view our own reactions to stimuli with calmness and clarity. We begin to see ourselves reacting without getting caught up in the reactions themselves. The obsessive nature of thought slowly dies. We can still get married. We can still get out of the path of the truck. But we don't need to go through hell over either one. Create a comfortable environment. As evening approaches, make sure you have arranged a peaceful, calming environment for sleeping. Things that help create this atmosphere may include buying a comfortable mattress and keeping your bedroom cool (between sixty and sixty-eight degrees). It can also include things like earplugs, white noise machines, humidifiers, and fans. And if you have pets that wake you up at night, by all means, keep them out of the bedroom. Don't watch TV, study, or read in bed.