The Simple Secret To Happiness pg5

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.

Fretting over things you can’t control, like the weather or someone else’s opinion, just crowds your brain with toxic thoughts, says psychologist Mark Leary, author of The Curse of the Self (Oxford University Press, USA). Learn to let go of those what-ifs.
• Stop the mental tug-of-war: Instead of belabouring something like calorie counts, choose whatever brings the least baggage. If salad makes you feel deprived, causing you to binge later, eat pizza. If pizza makes you feel guilty, eat salad. Know yourself, commit, and move on.
• Get a reality check: During freak-outs, remind yourself, everything is okay right now, says Leary. Example: If you’re stressing at night over the big meeting tomorrow, remember that you’re actually cosy in bed, not sweating in a conference room. Once you see how many mini-crises are self-created, you’ll have fewer of them.
• Take the backseat: A study found that people are just as happy when a choice is made for them as they are when they make the decision themselves. Always being the decider creates more work and worry for you (‘What if I pick wrong?’), so let other people have the final say sometimes. Let your friend choose what film to see, or ask the waiter to recommend one of two starters you can’t decide between.


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