A compilation of tips by Tal Ben-Shahar, PhD, lecturer at Harvard University for positive psychology from his book CHOOSE THE LIFE YOU WANT.
1.Choose to choose
Feeling trapped? Ask yourself these questions:
- What do I have to do for my life to be the way I want it to be?
- Where do I want to go?
- How do I intend to get there?
- Write about your options, discuss your situation with those you trust.
- Refuse to accept, “I have no choice” as an answer.
Choosing to choose is not easy. It requires not only effort but also courage. It is about being deliberate and strategic instead of just going with the flow. It is about charting unknown paths instead of resigning yourself to the road already taken. It is about being willing to struggle and fail.
2.Be mindful of the wonder
- Mindfulness is a choice, and it is something we can practice.
- Read Helen Keller’s essay, “Three Days to See.”
What are everyday things that you overlook?
3. Reach in anger or take a step back
Psychologist George Loewenstein has conducted research on “hot” and “cold” states. A hot state is when emotions are at a high intensity and we feel a strong urge to do something or refrain from something; a cold state is when the intensity of the emotions is low and our rational mind is more dominant in the decision-making process.
Awareness of the state makes us more likely to take the necessary precautions when in a sexual encounter, or decide to take some time to cool off when in the throes of anger.
4.Think and act purposefully
- Psychologist Mark Williams and his colleagues say, “Rumination is part of the problem, not part of the solution.”
- Expressing your emotions will help you. Writing them down or verbalising them to a friend.
5.Carry yourself with confidence and pride
The way we hold our body sends a message not only to others but also to ourselves.
6.Make a difference
You can start by doing 3 good deeds for others. Write gratitude letters by highlighting how they have added value to your life.
7.Procrastinate or Just Do It
Feeling stuck, take five-minutes off. Do something fun, and get back to the task at hand.
8.Hold a grudge or forgive
Holding a grudge is like continuously pulling on the knot, and it becomes tighter; letting go of a grudge is like loosening our grip, and the knot becomes easier to untie.
9.Actively learn the lessons of hardship (Loss and grief)
- Through hardship you learn: humbleness
Mind and body are interconnected. What we do with our body impacts our thoughts and feelings, and in turn, these influence our psychological reactions. Research into what psychologists call the “facial feedback hypothesis” shows that we can affect our own mood through our facial expressions – a smile will bring about a more positive feeling, whereas a frown will make us feel worse.