Staying Happy

Happiness is often smaller than you think, but there is a lot to think about the subject.  So if you have begun to practice some of my principles, pat yourself on the back.  But take it further.  I urge you to try a happiness campaign for three months.  I want to emphasize again that experience changes the brain, and that by choosing our experiences we can have some control over the way the brain grows.  Remember that it took the jugglers three months of daily practice before changes in their brains were observable.  Our goal is to adjust your happiness set point, move whatever’s normal for you on the gloomy-cheerful scale toward the cheerful side.  If you will seriously work on happiness for three months, you’ll have a different brain, and  be a different person.

How to do this?  Give yourself an hour a day, half for exercise and half for mindful meditation.  Try to be as consistent as possible, but don’t give up if you miss a day.  If you’ve practiced for a week and then skip a day remember that your brain has already changed substantially, and if you get back on schedule you can quickly make up for the missed day.

Then I have a great many tips, all fleshed out in the book more than I can here:

  • Work on wanting what you have.
  • Remember that happiness is not our normal state of mind.
  • Remember that getting what you want won’t make you happy.
  • Pay systematic attention to what makes you feel good.
  • Remember that losing what you have causes more pain than the joy of getting it in the first place.  You can avoid a lot of pain by not acquiring too many things.
  • Don’t wait until you’re motivated.  Take a step, and motivation will follow
  • We are what we do.  Your schedule is your life.

And many more.  Remember that staying happy is not the normal human state of mind, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn to be a lot happier.  Learning requires practice, however.  Hopefully you gain a lot just from reading my book and website and thousands of other sources of good advice, but it takes practice to make lasting changes in your brain.  What are you waiting for?

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