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Eight ways to stay happy

SmileFacesThe secret to being happy is to make the most of the moments of innocence and wonder

Scientists have discovered that with a broad range of active intellectual interests and a vigorous lifestyle, your body, mind and spirit can unlock hidden capacities. There’s also a chance that you can be as sharp — or sharper — at 70, 80 and even 90 than when you were at 20. Every moment of your life, you are either growing or dying — and largely, it’s a choice you make, not your fate. Each of the body’s trillions of cells is driven to growing and improving its ability to use more of its innate, yet untapped, capacity.

1. Your goal should be continued growth, not adulthood. As the saying goes: genius is childhood recaptured. Studies show that we must recapture or prevent the loss of such child-like traits as the ability to learn, to love, to laugh about small things, to leap, to wonder and to explore.

2. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were? Whenever brain cells are activated by new sights, sounds, conversations, creative pursuits or problem solving, they instantaneously begin to change. They produce more electrochemical energy, form new connections, remodel nerve endings, improve receptor networks and revitalise brain function.

3. Live as if you never have to grow up. You should do certain things just ‘for the fun of it’. The Greek philosopher Plato once said that the model of true playfulness was the need of all young creatures to leap. True play has everything to do with awe or exuberance; not an aggressive drive to win. Healthy, rejuvenating play is usually best when it’s independent of a particular goal, leaping, for example — just for fun.

4. Post nuggets of wisdom and playful phrases on walls at home and at work. Phrases such as, ‘God admires those who work, but he treasures those who also play and sing along with their work’, will motivate you.

5.Ease your guilt of not getting everything done. Over-stuffed schedules are counter productive. Let go of something every day — start with guilt.

6. Spice up your evenings with humour. Know what makes your loved ones, your friends and your colleagues at work laugh — and make it a point to keep doing it.

7. What do your loved ones miss the most about you in recent years? What part of you isn’t coming home at the end of the day? It’s likely to be something small but significant, such as your sense of humour, or the playfulness you had before you got so busy. That’s the part of you that people miss the most. You were so much more fun to be around even when you weren’t successful and rich. It’s time to get some of that spark back.

8. Just as experts advise you to have small but frequent meals for a healthy diet, an enjoyable and healthy life depends on the frequency of happiness rather than on the magnitude of happiness. Be there for your family, friends and colleagues. Create happy moments for them to remember.