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hen you think of something you want to do – a goal, a desire or a wish – think about what you hope to gain from achieving it. A sense of accomplishment, perhaps? A windfall of some kind? More money? Fame? Maybe a closer, more sincere connection to your community or the world at large? Whatever that projected end-result, isn’t the common thread an intention of feeling better because you achieved it? After fifteen years studying the meaning and purpose to life, I’ve come to this one simple conclusion: everything we do in this life we do to feel happy – or happy-er than before we did it. As reward-driven creatures, we do what we do because it makes us feel good. Below are my top 5 tips for a better, happier life – backed by the latest research in positive psychology. Try ‘em; you’ll be amazed at how effective these simple techniques are. 1. Appreciation. Lots of people have been jumping on the gratitude train lately – it’s been trending all over Facebook. But better than expressing gratitude is exercising appreciation. In the dictionary, somewhere beside the word appreciation you will find the following simple definition: “to increase in value.” When you focus on your appreciation for something, the inherent value of that thing increases, relative to you. So, if you want the easiest way to feel happy about your life, begin a practice of appreciation for your life, and everything that’s in it. Every single moment spent appreciating your life adds to your happiness. Period. **Exercise: At the end of each and every day, write down the 3 things you appreciated most about that day. Done consistently, in only 5 minutes a day, you will whisk depression away. 2. Believe you can (experience something better). As human beings, one of our greatest advantages over every other species on the planet is a very specific portion our brain – the prefrontal cortex – which allows us to envision ourselves in a future reality. This is the area of our brain used to create optimism for the future. When we see ourselves in a different, happier reality – in our minds, first – we are more likely to realize it. Shawn Achor, Harvard graduate and positive psychologist, suggests that those who utilize this skill have the best chance of not only being happier, but also increasing their likelihood of finding more success in business, relationships, health, etc.

Vista issue 97  

VISTA Magazine is a bimonthly publication dedicated to nutrition, health and wellness.

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