Richard G. Petty, MD

Ten Steps to Happiness

People have puzzled about the nature of human happiness and how to control or enhance it since the beginning of time.

A most unusual experiment has just been completed in the town of Slough in the United Kingdom. Six specialists in a variety of disciplines were given the task of making the town happier. The happiness team included a psychologist Richard Stevens; a psychotherapist Brett Kahr; work place specialists Jessica Pryce-Jones and Philippa Chapman; a social entrepreneur Andrew Mawson and Richard Reeves, whose expertise spans philosophy, public policy and economics.

They came up with and tested 10 simple measures that were shown to make people feel happier.

They were:

  1. Plant something and nurture it
  2. Count your blessings – at least five – at the end of each day
  3. Take time to talk – have an hour-long conversation with a loved one each week
  4. Phone a friend whom you have not spoken to for a while and arrange to meet up
  5. Give yourself a treat every day and take the time to really enjoy it
  6. Have a good laugh at least once a day
  7. Get physical – exercise for half an hour three times a week
  8. Smile at and/or say hello to a stranger at least once each day
  9. Cut your TV viewing by half
  10. Spread some kindness – do a good turn for someone every day

I think that we could all come up with some other strategies for becoming happier, but this is a good start.

“The happiness that is genuinely satisfying is accompanied by the fullest exercise of our faculties and the fullest realization of the world in which we live.”
–Bertrand Russell (Welsh Mathematician, Philosopher, Pacifist and, in 1950, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, 1872-1970)

“We cannot have an exquisite perception of what is good or of what is blessed and happy, unless we have been in the opposite state, in which we have experienced what is not good, not blessed, not happy.”
–Emanuel Swedenborg (Swedish Scientist, Mystic and Philosopher, 1688-1772)

“Happy is he who is good to others; miserable is he who expects good from others.”
–Eknath Easwaran (Indian-American Spiritual Teacher, Professor and Author, 1910-1999)

“Happiness is your nature.
It is not wrong to desire it.
What is wrong is seeking it outside
when it is inside.”

–Ramana Maharshi (Indian Hindu Mystic and Spiritual Teacher, 1879-1950)

“Want, or desire, arises when you are not happy. Have you seen this? When you are very happy then there is contentment. "Contentment" means "no want".”
–Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (Indian-born Spiritual Teacher, who, in 1982, Founded the Art of Living Foundation, 1956-)

“Here is the secret of happiness: Forget yourself and think of others.”
–Swami Paramananda (Indian Spiritual Teacher and Writer, 1907-1972)

“Happiness is within us, and it is ours, but we are always superimposing our own inner joy onto something outside and thinking it comes from there.”
–Swami Muktananda (Indian Spiritual Teacher and Writer, 1908-1982)

“The basic sources of happiness are a good heart, compassion, and love. If we have these mental attitudes, even if we are surrounded by hostility, we feel little disturbance.”
–The 14th Dalai Llama (a.k.a. Tenzin Gyatso, Tibetan Religious and Political Leader, 1935-)

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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