Tue, Jan 1st 2013 11:45 am
Evan Apostolakis, ND, Alive Medicine
1. Live in the moment. One minute ago is the past. People that live and appreciate the moment are the happiest people. The past is unchangeable so don’t dwell on it, learn from it and move on. Your emphasis should always be the present.
2. Always remember people’s names and use them. A person’s name is the sweetest sound in the world to them. When you meet a person say their name back to them and use it in the conversation. This seemingly small gesture will make the person feel appreciated and they will remember you.
3. Smile. Grinning releases serotonin in the brain and makes us feel happier regardless of our present state. Smiling makes us all look better and feel better and has a positive effect on others. We always remember a person’s smile. There is one person’s in my life I have never forgotten and I last saw it many years ago. It can be that powerful. A smile cannot only light the darkest of rooms, it can lead to greater levels of happiness.
4. Honesty and integrity above all. Never try to be someone you’re not. Lies will always come back to haunt you. Honesty, it seems, is a virtue maintained by fewer and fewer and people. Be one of those people. Your life will be better for it.
5. Never stop learning. Always be inquisitive. People that keep their brains sharp live longer and have lower incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. If you are 70 and have not completed your degree and want to…do it! You will feel a sense of accomplishment and do your mental health much good. The world has so much to offer whether you are 9 or 89. Always be curious.
6. Get your vitamin D – when possible – naturally…from the sun. People that make an effort to spend time in the sun always feel and look better. The sun has the ability to make us feel better. It imbues us with its warmth and life, and the vitamin D we derive is a collateral benefit. Remember, just don’t overdo it, 10-20 minutes a day will suffice.
7. Life is NOT about possessions. When I was a student, I remember my psychology professor stating “after basic needs are met, money has no influence on happiness.” This was based on strict scientific research. We are NOT the sum of our ‘toys.’ Our real value is derived not from what we own but from our affect on others.
8. Give of yourself. Helping people without wanting anything in return has a myriad of benefits: it makes you feel good, it will grow your self-esteem and confidence, it attracts more back to you, and people will view you differently. By helping others, even one person you are leaving your mark. The theme of the movie The Shawshank Redemption was Andy’s (Tim Robbins) relationship with ‘Red’ (Morgan Freeman). The moral of the story was if you change the life of just one person – as Andy helped Red – you change the world. Nothing further need be added.
9. Always be even-tempered and maintain your composure. You will be cut-off in traffic, someone may say something unflattering about you, your raise in pay may not be what you wanted. These incidences happen and its called life. Life isn’t fair and we all know it. Getting angry and losing your cool accomplishes nothing positive. People that maintain their composure under adversity are always the most sought after and attractive to others.
10. Try eating healthier and exercise, too. Yes, I had to include this one on principle. Try to eat more vegetables and fruit, nuts and seeds, and less meat, salt, sugar, and processed foods. You don’t have to become a vegetarian overnight and throw-out all your ‘treat’ foods. No, start by eating one more serving of vegetables a day. Instead of that bag of potato chips, have an apple. If you eat meat everyday, start with ‘meatless Monday.’ If you don’t exercise start walking 20-30 minutes a day 3-4 times a week. Small changes make a world of difference and they will lead to bigger changes with your overall health being the beneficiary.
11. Think of others. In our narcissistic ‘its only about me’ world be the person that makes others feel special. Don’t speak negatively about others – ever. Remain positive. Praise people when they deserve it and offer sincere compliments. Fewer and fewer people do this and it will make you standout as being different. You will make people feel better and you will feel better about yourself.
12. It is all about love (and kindness). Nothing in human history has been written more about or thought of than love. For good reason, love is as essential to life as food. With love the poorest man becomes the richest and without it, the richest is the poorest. Love and treat with kindness everyone in your life, friend and foe alike. If you can do this you have mastered life and will be part of a very, very small minority. Your life – and the people you come in contact with – will be better for it.