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Excerpted from You Can Feel Good Again by Richard Carlson. Copyright 1993 by Richard Carlson. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Putnam, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"Happiness is a moment-to-moment choice that each of us makes."

  Richard Carlson, You Can Feel Good Again, Part 3

An interesting and important point about sudden shifts is this: There is no relationship between the "feeling better" aspen of sudden shifts and the external appearance of life getting better. So, for example, a person who experiences a sudden shift in the way she feels about her finances didn't do so because she had just inherited a large estate or won the state lottery. She experienced the shift because she looked at the same set of facts in a new way. Whatever it was that she saw, it impacted her enough so that money will no longer be a source of inner conflict in her life.

Certainly Yvonne and Jim were no "better" off. To the contrary, Jim was given a [serious diagnosis.] Yet both he and Yvonne felt more love for each other than ever before.

Likewise, the child who had the realization about the imagined monster in her closet wasn't any better off. The monster was never there to begin with! This is the nature of sudden shifts. They occur through a shift in understanding--not through a change in circumstance.

This is a book about possibilities. Be open to the possibility that this book will help you have your own sudden shift. if you do, your experience of life will change before your eyes. You will feel better, more joyful, more relaxed, and more secure. Absolutely nothing needs to change in your life in order for you to feel better. You simply need to see something about the nature of your own thinking that you didn't see before. Your sudden shift can happen instantly and it can be profound.

As you will see throughout this book, happiness is a moment-to-moment choice that each of us makes. In order to be happy, you must first decide to be happy. You must make a commitment to happiness.

It's important to know that commitment to learning the art of happiness is not exactly what it seems to be at first glance. most people make the mistake of confusing "committing to happiness" with the decision to make their life better in some way.

Although these two ideas seem related, this is not necessarily so. As you have probably noticed, one can change everything in her life without affecting her level of happiness -- one single bit. You can earn more money, get yourself out of trouble, meet new friends, get a new job, solve a problem, cam a degree, get married, or acquire something you have always wanted, yet still seem to come up empty. The reason is that happiness exists independent of your circumstances; it's a feeling that you learn to live in.

The way to get the most out of this book is to approach it with the understanding that it's possible to learn to be happy without changing anything in your life except your relationship to your own thinking. Emerson once said, "The ancestor to every action is a thought." Everything in your life is a function of the way you relate to your thinking. As you think, so shall you be.

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