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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Happier: Final Post--Meditations

The Final Section of this book contains a series of meditations focused on happiness:
a.    First: Meditating on helping others, which helps us as well. Kindness is essentially reciprocal and self generative.
b.    Happiness Boosters are the second meditation in which the author suggests finding activities throughout the week that boost happiness, such as helping out at your child’s school or joining a friend for a walk.
c.    The third meditation revolves around Appreciative Inquiry—thinking  about and savoring what went well in the past and how it could be applied to the future.
d.    The fourth meditation—Let Your Light Shine. Great quote by Abraham Lincoln: “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”See p. 145 for a great sentence completion exercise.
e.    The fifth meditation—Imagine—is all about perspective. The author offers this reflective exercise: Imagine that you’re 110 years old. Summon up all your wisdom and give advice to yourself at your current age. In other words, what would a wise elder tell you to do, starting today, in order to have a happier, more fulfilled life?
f.    The sixth meditation is Take Your Time. The author quotes a number of psychologists, including Teresa Amabile who says time squeezes creativity into a corner. We lead a way-too-busy life, which produces pressure and decreases happiness and fulfillment. So, take Thoreau’s advice: Simplify! Reflect on what you can take out of your life to give you room to be happier and more creative.
g.    Finally, the seventh meditation—The Happiness Revolution. This reflection is all about putting happiness first and material things (extrinsic rewards) subordinate. Ask questions like: What gives me meaning? What gives me pleasure? What are my strengths?

Final Words: Tal Ben Shahar has been a leader in the happiness revolution. Read the book to get the full force of his wisdom—you’ll be glad you did.

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