Monday, February 6, 2012
7 Steps to Make Happiness Last
The experience of happiness simply doesn’t last. It can’t, given the very nature of the brain. But that fact by no means suggests that happiness is not a worthy pursuit. Of course it is! The key I believe is to pursue happiness in a dedicated way that actually works. And the fact that this path to happiness is proven to work says everything about who we are deep down, and what we truly aspire to.
1. Keep a journal of blessings. Every day write down three items in your life for which you are grateful. Write as much as you can about each one.
2. Perform three acts of random kindness before noon and three more before sundown. Hurry. Make sure you will get no credit for them and that no one else will ever know about them.
3. Write testimonials of gratitude to three individuals who meant a great deal to you in your life. If they are still alive, hand deliver them in person. If they have passed away, deliver them in person to their next of kin.
4. Fill out three thank you cards each morning.
5. Buy three books for three friends and send them anonymously to their attention.
6. Make three apologies for three wrongs you have committed.
7. Give three days of earnings anonymously to a charity in the name of three individuals who have wronged you.
Allan J. Hamilton, MD, is a professor of neurosurgery at the University of Arizona. Zen Mind, Zen Horse: The Science and Spirituality of Working with Horses is his latest book.