Five Steps for Being Happier Today

Tip 1: Accept painful emotions.

Tal Ben-Shahar: The first thing to do to become happier, paradoxically, is to accept painful emotions, to accept them as a part of being alive. The paradox is that when we give ourselves the permission to be human, the permission to experience the full gamut of human emotion. We open ourselves up to positive emotions as well.

Tip 2: Stop texting while you're with your friends. 

Tal Ben-Shahar: A very good predictor of well-being is what psychologist Tim Kasser calls time affluence. Time affluence is the thing that we have time to sit down and chat with our friends while -- not while being on the phone at the same time or text messaging at the same time, being with that person.

Tip 3: Exercise!

Tal Ben-Shahar: Three times a week for 30 to 40 minutes of aerobic exercise, could be jogging or walking or aerobics or dancing, three times a week of 30 to 40 minutes of exercise is equivalent to some of our most powerful psychiatric drugs in dealing with depression or sadness or anxiety. 

Tip 4: Express your gratitude daily — in writing.

Tal Ben-Shahar: People who keep a gratitude journal, who each night before going to sleep write at least five things for which they are grateful, big things or little things, are happier, more optimistic, more successful, more likely to achieve their goals, physically healthier; it actually strengthens our immune system, and are more generous and benevolent toward others.

Tip 5: Simplify. 

Tal Ben-Shahar: Do less rather than more. The problem is that we try and cram more and more things into less and less time, and we pay a price. We pay a price in terms of the quality of the work that we do. We also pay a price in terms of the quality of relationships that we enjoy.

Recorded on: September 23, 2009

Positive psychologists have found a series of scientifically-proven ways for you live a happier life.

Norman Fischer (poet, zen priest) – the only way out of the catastrophe we’re in

"Body, breath, awareness…that's your life. Every problem you ever have, every joy you ever have, depends on that." In this week's episode of Think Again, host Jason Gots talks with acclaimed poet and zen teacher Norman Fischer about the imagination as a tool for living a good life.

Think Again Podcasts


Keep reading Show less

'The West' is, in fact, the world's biggest gated community

A review of the global "wall" that divides rich from poor.

Image: TD Architects
Strange Maps
  • Trump's border wall is only one puzzle piece of a global picture.
  • Similar anxieties are raising similar border defenses elsewhere.
  • This map shows how, as a result, "the West" is in fact one large gated community.
Keep reading Show less

Will robots have rights in the future?

Perhaps sooner than we think, we'll need to examine the moral standing of intelligent machines.

Videos
  • If eventually we develop artificial intelligence sophisticated enough to experience emotions like joy and suffering, should we grant it moral rights just as any other sentient being?
  • Theoretical philosopher Peter Singer predicts the ethical issues that could ensue as we expand the circle of moral concern to include these machines.
  • A free download of the 10th anniversary edition of The Life You Can Save: How to Do Your Part to End World Poverty is available here.
Keep reading Show less