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Mindful : February 2018
Real life isn’t all rainbows and kittens, but real happiness is always available, even in tough times. Happiness isn’t about being upbeat all the time. Instead, think of it as a trait—one that helps you to recognize even the tiniest moments of joy, to fully embrace the good stuff in life without pause, and to know that even when things aren’t going well, this hard time, too, shall pass. It’s also something that can be culti- vated. Why is this impor- tant? Science shows us that happiness is one of the best defenses against hardship. It creates resiliency, and it also allows us, by not getting stuck in a negative state, to see opportunities FIRST, GET REAL ABOUT HAPPINESS that might lead us back to a steadier, more con- tented outlook. The key to uncovering happiness is to be on the lookout for the sweet moments in life, big and small, and to really take them in. The friendly exchange with a stranger. The spring sun on your face after a long winter. The sense of uplift from a job well done. Start taking notice of these everyday moments, and bask in their glow for a beat or two. The more easily you can identify even the simplest of joys in life, the more of them you’ll discover, every where. Happiness Rules Getting involved in some- thing outside of your day-to-day routine has the power to infuse daily life with greater meaning. But we’re all pulled in so many directions, it can feel over- whelming to know where to put your attention. To cut through the din, each day ask yourself these three questions: 1 What do I care about beyond myself? 2 What small action can I take today that is in line with this belief? FIND PURPOSE 3 How will my actions affect the world in the long run? Then take these values and turn them into verbs. If you value family time, for example, start putting smartphones aside during dinner, create a plan for a monthly family outing, or find ways to connect more often with your bicoastal siblings. If it’s the environment, consider volunteering your time or donating money to an organization that supports that cause, or both. If you feel compelled to create, commit to fueling your inspiration in whatever ways feel right—visit- ing a museum, browsing through art books—and set aside some time for your own creative pro- cess. Carve a bit of space into each day to think about and do one small thing toward the bigger picture you hold. Practice and repeat, and over time watch your sense of pur- pose grow. 1 2 20 mindful February 2018 LIVING | how to PHOTOGRAPHBYAMYCOVINGTON/STOCKSYUNITED