The Simple Secret To Happiness pg4

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.

You’re down in the dumps so you shop, pig out, or otherwise overindulge. But instead of helping, those just add to your material and mental clutter. So learn to ride out your blues. ‘It’s good to experience a range of emotions, including sadness, because then you recognise real happiness later instead of trying to create it.’ Says Dr Ronald Dworkin, author of Artificial Happiness (Basic Books). Here’s how:
• Put life on pause: Before you put something expensive on your credit card or eat a lot of crap, hold off for about 15 minutes. ‘Step back, breathe, and ask if it’ll make you feel better or if you’re trying to anesthetise yourself,’ says Moore. Usually you’ll reconsider.
• Listen when you’re sulking: Instead of trying to fix your mood, look at what’s causing it, says Dworkin. Addressing the situation (you may need to switch jobs or learn to stand up for yourself) means it won’t keep being a problem in the future.


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