The richest two people I know are also the most unhappy couple I know—which clearly illustrates that happiness can not be bought. However, a new book by Dr. Amit Sood of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, argues that happiness can be cultivated. According to Sood, and as reported in the The Minneapolis Star Tribune, being happy takes constant and conscious effort.
According to Sood, “the reason so many people struggle with feeling fulfilled is that it goes against human nature.” Since humankind has spent hundreds of years worrying about how to survive, our brains are hard-wired to search for potential threats and faults. A natural “bias toward negativity will not lead to a happy ending,” Sood says, which is why we need to train ourselves to think happy thoughts. He outlines a 10-week, four-step program to help people achieve greater happiness. Here are his steps.
- Train your attention. “When you wake up, instead of running through your to-do list for the day or ruminating about your problems, think of five people whom you are grateful to have in your life.”
- Be emotionally resilient. Focus on gratitude, compassion, acceptance, meaning, and forgiving.
- Start a mind-body practice. Take up yoga. Try tai chi. Learn how to meditate. ll of these activities will relax your mind and keep you focused on being happier.
- Practice healthy habits. Exercise regularly, get enough sleep, reduce the amount of time spent in front of screens, read books, eat healthy, savor your food, and do things that are truly fulfilling.
Jumpstart your workout by investing in a new pair of tennis shoes.
Do you believe happiness is something that can be cultivated?