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Staying Happy

November 7, 2016

One of the paradoxes of working on many of the issues I care about is that it is easy to get depressed. The more I learn about any number of topics I write about or would like to write about–climate change, factory farming, our treatment of non-human species, our treatment of one another, species depletion, the list goes on–the more I have to consciously fight against a sense of despair and hopelessness. Because getting from where we are to where I hope we can be seems like such a great distance, and so many people seem disconnected or distracted from what really matters. Over the years, I worry, I have lost some of my joie d’vivre because I am too conscious of the many things wrong with our planet, our politics and our culture.

Of course, the work can be highly rewarding when there is an increment of progress in the right direction. Yet I still find myself wondering how best to try and be a joyful, optimistic person. Because not being that sort of person is not much fun (or very effective).

I don’t have the answer, so this analysis of ways in which you can “train” your brain to be happy naturally caught my attention. Key areas are: 1) Gratitude; 2) A Good Night’s Sleep; 3) Exercise; 4) Meditation; and 5) Doing Deep Work.

I would add 6) Spending Offline Time With Friends and Family. Especially In Nature. But, regardless, I am glad to see that I am at least on the right track in a number of areas (meditation is probably my largest untapped opportunity). What are your keys?

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