Strategies for feeling better -- sound reasonable

[These recommendations from psychiatrist/tv personality Dr Amen came via this morning's e-mail -- despite the 'celebrity doctor' context and the rather directional tone, they seem worth consideration, at least I basically agree with them, and am trying to implement them -- will paste below in case they are of potential interest to others on this site.]

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There is a saying that goes: “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.” For centuries, the greatest thinkers have suggested the same thing: Happiness is found in helping others.

Five Strategies to Create Lasting Joy and Feel Better Fast

1. Focus on what you want, on what gives you passion and purpose.

Reflect daily and ask yourself is your behavior getting you what you want? Know what you want; write it down and look at it every day. It will encourage your brain to help make it happen.

2. Limit low value dopamine-producing activities/substances that wear out your pleasure centers. These include:

• Caffeine
• Nicotine
• Excessive television
• Excessive video games
• Pornography
• Undisciplined digital behavior
• Scary movies

3. Engage in high value activities that increase dopamine and strengthen your brain. Here are several examples:

• Sunlight (vitamin D)
• Exercise
• Meditation
• Yoga
• Touch
• Massage therapy
• Pleasurable music
• DHA from fish oil
• Olive oil
• Green tea
• Protein-rich diet
• Turmeric
• Oregano
• Magnesium
• Resveratrol

4. Focus each moment on living with meaning and purpose.

Ask yourself, do the foods I am eating, the exercises I am doing, the conversations I am having, the activities I am engaging in have meaning? Look at your day—where are you spending your time? Is it meaningful in reaching your goals? Get rid of the things in your life that do not fit your goals.

5. Live with the end in mind.

Psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, a pioneer in near-death studies and the author of the groundbreaking book On Death and Dying said, “It is the denial of death that is partially responsible for people living empty, purposeless lives; for when you live as if you’ll live forever, it becomes too easy to postpone the things you know that you must do.” If you truly want to live a purposeful life, live with the end in mind. None of us know when death is going to come, but if you knew you would be dead in a week, a month, a year, five years, what would matter to you most? Where and with whom would you spend your time? What will matter toward the end of your life? What will you want to be doing? Whom do you want to be with? What will have mattered in your life? If you live that way along the way, you’ll find your life more purposeful, more meaningful, and more filled with love.

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