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Recipe for Happiness
Psychologist Martin Seligman says you can change your character in order to have a happier life.
In Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification (Oxford University Press, 2004), edited by Christopher Peterson, 24 traits are listed as qualities we can aspire to. The top 10 are:
Love of learning. Acquiring new skills, satisfying curiosity, building on knowledge.
Creativity. It’s a tendency to produce something new, surprising, or unusual. Do whatever you enjoy with a playful spirit.
Humility and modesty. Recognize the true measure of your abilities and achievements and appreciate those of others.
Humor. It’s the ability to find something to laugh at even in times of trouble, and a capability to help others do the same.
Persistence. The strength to work toward a goal in the face of difficulties. Take responsibility for successes and failures.
Gratitude. Be thankful. Count your blessings, being grateful for a friendly word, good news, or a small success.
Forgiveness. Write a letter to someone who hurt you. Explain your feelings. State that you forgive that person. Don’t send the letter, just writing it starts the healing.
Appreciation of beauty and excellence. Take pleasure in the good things in life. Take time for a walk in the woods, good music, or visit an art gallery.
Spirituality. Meditate for a few minutes each day. It can be prayer or contemplation that takes you beyond yourself. Vitality. It’s having energy and aliveness. Vitality is enhanced by physical activity, especially with someone you love. Hike, bike, or walk through the park.