Have we finally unlocked the secret to happiness? Scientists reveal the four simple steps that will banish the blues
• Mayo Clinic has created a 'Handbook for Happiness' based on its research
• It includes a four-step, 10-week program aimed at changing attitudes
• Dr Amit Sood, who led the research, believes that happiness is a choice
• He has developed something known as the 5-3-2 technique that helps train the mind into focusing on the positive side of life
By Ellie Zolfagharifard For Dailymail.com
What would it take for you to be truly happy?
Forget money, health and success. According to one group of scientists, what you really need is a four-step, 10-week program that changes your mindset.
Created by the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, the program uses a series of exercises that they say helps train people's minds into choosing happiness.
THE FOUR STEPS TO HAPPINESS
Train your attention: Dr Sood recommends doing this by waking up with gratitude, being in nature, resisting judgment and expressing kindness.
Get emotionally tough: 'When things go wrong,' Dr Sood advises, 'try to focus on what went right within what went wrong.'
Connect your mind and body: Activities to do this could include reading, exercise, music, art, prayer, meditation, yoga and deep breathing.
Pick healthy habits: The book advises doing this by simplifying your life, exercising, picking your battles and lightening up
Dr Amit Sood, who led the research, says 40 to 50 per cent of your happiness depends on the choices you make and where you place your focus each day.
'You can choose to live focusing on what is right and beautiful in your life,' said Dr Sood who is the author of a new book, 'The Mayo Clinic Handbook for Happiness: A Four-Step Plan for Resilient Living.
'Happiness is a habit,' he added. 'Some of us are born with it; others have to choose it.'
Previous research has shown that our minds are hard-wired to focus on negative experiences.
For our ancestors, this helped keep them stay alive, providing an evolutionary advantage in the face of danger.
But simply shifting perspective away from the negative and embracing the positive will make you far happier than you might realise, says Dr Sood.
That's easier said that done, he admits.
'There are simply techniques that you need to repeat. For instance, just think, will this matter five years from now? If not then it's not worth your time.'
Dr Sood also created something he terms the 5-3-2 technique.
It involves making your first waking thought about five people in your life that you're grateful to have in your life.
For the first three minutes you meet your family, meet them like a long lost friend and don't judge anyone or try to improve them, Dr Sood advises.
And he says, for the first two seconds when you see another person, send a silent 'I wish you well'.
The book makes readers focus on a different positive emotion each day, such as gratitude, forgiveness and kindness.
The first part of his programme is to train your mind so you can have more power over your thoughts.
Practices include doing something known as the 5-3-2 technique.
This involves making your first thought in the morning about five people that you're grateful to have in your life.
For the first three minutes you meet your family, meet them like a long lost friend, Dr Sood advises.
And he says, for the first two seconds when you see another person, send a silent 'I wish you well'.
The second step in the book's plan is building emotional resilience through gratitude, compassion, acceptance and forgiveness.
'When things go wrong,' he says, 'try to focus on what went right within what went wrong.'
The third stage of the program is to strengthen the connection between your mind and body.
Sood encourages a range of activities designed to relax the mind including reading, exercise, music, art, prayer, meditation and yoga.
Finally, he says people should pick healthy habits, such as exercising more and eating well, and lighten up.
'We often take life more seriously that we need to. Humor brings you into intentional presence.'
Dr Sood claims that repeating these habits for 10 weeks could be enough to change your mindset altogether.
Mark Twain's writing method: “He was not an outliner, nor a planner, did not establish an agenda and carry it through, but wrote as the spirit moved him, in as improvisatory a manner as any writer ever did.”From an introduction to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), written by George Saunders (2001)
GOOD WORDS TO HAVE
Obtain: Obtain, which was adopted into English in the 15th century, comes to us via Anglo-French from the Latin obtinēre, meaning "to take hold of." Obtinēre was itself formed by the combination of ob-, meaning "in the way," and the verb tenēre, meaning "to hold." In its earliest uses, obtain often implied a conquest or a successful victory in battle, but it is now used for any attainment through planned action or effort. The verb tenēre has incontestably prevailed in the English language, providing us with such common words as abstain, contain, detain, sustain, and, perhaps less obviously, the adjectives tenable and tenacious.
From Titus Andronicus
(Aaron the Moor speaks)
Ay, that I had not done a thousand more.
Even now I curse the day–and yet, I think,
Few come within the compass of my curse,–
Wherein I did not some notorious ill,
As kill a man, or else devise his death,
Ravish a maid, or plot the way to do it,
Accuse some innocent and forswear myself,
Set deadly enmity between two friends,
Make poor men’s cattle break their necks;
Set fire on barns and hay-stacks in the night,
And bid the owners quench them with their tears.
Oft have I digg’d up dead men from their graves,
And set them upright at their dear friends’ doors,
Even when their sorrows almost were forgot;
And on their skins, as on the bark of trees,
Have with my knife carved in Roman letters,
‘Let not your sorrow die, though I am dead.’
Tut, I have done a thousand dreadful things
As willingly as one would kill a fly,
And nothing grieves me heartily indeed
But that I cannot do ten thousand more.
Charles Kingsley ( June 12 1819 – January 23 1875) was an evangelical priest of the Church of England, a university professor, historian and novelist. He is particularly associated with the West Country and northeast Hampshire. He was a friend and correspondent with Charles Darwin
He was sympathetic to the idea of evolution and was one of the first to welcome Charles Darwin's book On the Origin of Species. He had been sent an advance review copy and in his response of 18 November 1859 (four days before the book went on sale) stated that he had "long since, from watching the crossing of domesticated animals and plants, learnt to disbelieve the dogma of the permanence of species."
Kingsley's concern for social reform is illustrated in his classic, The Water-Babies, A Fairy Tale for a Land Baby (1863), a tale about a chimney sweep, which retained its popularity well into the 20th century. The story mentions the main protagonists in the scientific debate over human origins, rearranging his earlier satire as the "great hippopotamus test". The book won a Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1963.
As a novelist his chief power lay in his descriptive faculties. The descriptions of South American scenery in Westward Ho!, of the Egyptian desert in Hypatia, of the North Devon scenery in Two Years Ago, are brilliant; and the American scenery is even more vividly and more truthfully described when he had seen it only by the eye of his imagination than in his work At Last, which was written after he had visited the tropics. His sympathy with children taught him how to secure their interests. His version of the old Greek stories entitled The Heroes, and Water-babies and Madam How and Lady Why, in which he deals with popular natural history, take high rank among books for children. Kingsley was influenced by Frederick Denison Maurice, and was close to many Victorian thinkers and writers, including the Scottish writer George MacDonald.
Kingsley was highly critical of Roman Catholicism and his argument, in print, with John Henry Newman, accusing him of untruthfulness and deceit, prompted the latter to write his Apologia Pro Vita Sua. He was racist towards the Irish and wrote in a letter to his wife from Ireland, 1860 "I am haunted by the human chimpanzees I saw along that hundred miles of horrible country [Ireland]...to see white chimpanzees is dreadful; if they were black one would not see it so much, but their skins, except where tanned by exposure, are as white as ours." Kingsley also wrote poetry and political articles, as well as several volumes of sermons.
Young and Old
When all the world is young, lad,
And all the trees are green;
And every goose a swan, lad,
And every lass a queen;
Then hey for boot and horse, lad,
And round the world away;
Young blood must have its course, lad,
And every dog his day.
When all the world is old, lad,
And all the trees are brown;
And all the sport is stale, lad,
And all the wheels run down;
Creep home, and take your place there,
The spent and maimed among:
God grant you find one face there,
You loved when all was young.
One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never! Emerson
Half the lies they tell about me aren't true.”
THE BOOK OF FUNNY, ODD AND INTERESTING THINGS THAT PEOPLE SAY
John William Tuohy
"Thank you for your consideration. Hope to hear from you shorty!"
"Enclosed is a ruff draft of my resume."
"I saw your ad on the information highway, and I came to a screeching halt."
"Please disregard the attached resume -- it is terribly out of date."
“It's best for employers that I not work with people."
"Insufficient writing skills, thought processes have slowed down some. If I am not one of the best, I will look for another opportunity."
"If this resume doesn't blow your hat off, then please return it in the enclosed envelope."
"My fortune cookie said, 'Your next interview will result in a job' -- and I like your company in particular."
"You hold in your hands the resume of a truly outstanding candidate!"
"I am sicking and entry-level position."
"Here are my qualifications for you to overlook."
"I am a quick leaner, dependable, and motivated."
"I am relatively intelligent, obedient, and as loyal as a puppy."
"Note: Keep this resume on top of the stack. Use all the others to heat your house."
"I don't usually blow my own horn, but in this case, I will go right ahead and do so."
"I need just enough money to have pizza every night."
"My compensation should be at least equal to my age."
"I'm submitting my resume to spite my lack of C++ and HTML experience."
"My primary goal is to be recognized."
"Below are the top 10 reasons to hire me."
"My salary requirement is $34 per year."
"I'll need $30K to start, full medical, three weeks vacation, stock options and ideally a European sedan."
"I am superior to anyone else you could hire."
"I vow to fulfill the goals of the company as long as I live."
"Although I am seeking an accounting job, the fact that I have no actual experience in accounting may seem discouraging. However..."
"I realize that my total lack of appropriate experience may concern those considering me for employment."
"I worked here full-time there."
"I'll starve without a job but don't feel you have to give me one."
"You are privileged to receive my resume."
“Approximately 530 million years ago, in an event known as the Cambrian explosion, the diversity of organisms suddenly increased by an order of magnitude. Within a few million years, most of the modern animal phyla had emerged. These new taxa were larger and more complex, their internal structure now composed of tissues and organs.”Oxygen and the Origin of Complex Life Forms in Ecology: Evolution, Application, Integration
“Why allow all the old memories to have supremacy? Make new ones, memories of such luster and beauty that, should the old ones come back, they would be pallid and impotent in comparison.” Sherry Thomas
“Let go of the people who dull your shine, poison your spirit, and bring you drama. Cancel your subscription to their issues.” Steve Maraboli