The Simple Secret To Happiness pg2

To make life a billion times better, you need to learn this single bliss trick: just pare down.

COSMO girls have a lot going on: things to do, people to see, objects to buy… And while we assume that packing it all in enriches our existence, it actually has the opposite effect. ‘Overabundance, whether it’s a surplus of stuff, commitments, or even mental clutter, can have a negative effect on your quality of life,’ says psychology professor, Dr Tal Ben-Shahar. ‘You get so overloaded that you fail to enjoy the simple pleasures right in front of you.’

Proof: Even though people are wealthier and have more choices than ever before, studies find they’re also more unsatisfied and depressed. The remedy? Realising that, when it comes to what brings happiness, less is more. We’re not just talking about purging material things (though that’s one part), but about letting go of excess worry, obligations and relationships that drain you. Here’s how to unburden to find bliss.

Studies have shown that no matter how much people already possess, they still focus primarily on what they want next, explains Gilbert. It’s a trap researchers call the hedonic treadmill. You know: You finally get your dream couch, then immediately decide you ‘need’ a new lamp. Or that promotion comes through, but now you’re gunning for a snazzier title. To stop and take stock:
• Flip your brain: Instead of comparing yourself to people based on what you don’t have (a friend’s awesome job, J.Lo’s body), turn around and look at what you do have that someone else might want, says Gilbert. You’ll realise just how envy-worthy your life is.
• Start this bedtime ritual: Every night while brushing your teeth, think of three reasons your life is great right now, no matter how simple (‘Cute guy smiled at me’). Okay, okay, it sounds dorky, but it will work – research has shown that consciously noting happy moments makes you feel more contented overall, says Schwartz.


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