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I won't quarrel with that. But the secondary gain of educating the public is far more valuable. One of the greatest ways we make sense of the world is by hearing the stories of others. Through their narratives, we measure and reframe our internal thoughts and feelings, learn that we're not alone, and integrate problem-solving strategies that we might not have discovered on our own. The narrative experience helps us move toward new psychological understanding not only of ourselves but also of the world around us.17 Going further, research tells us that sharing a personal narrative about mental health inspires and influences.18 The telling of positive stories about living with mental illness significantly reduces the myths of mental illness.19 More specifically, learning about a person who lives with a mental disorder, manages it well, and experiences a rewarding life is enormously powerful. You can also think about your connection with others and the world more broadly. For example, one of the reasons I like watching outlandish comedic movies and stand-up routines is because they make me feel less alone in the universe, in an existential sense. When someone does something outrageous, and I find it funny, I realize that I can't be the only one who finds it funny. Someone else created the movie or routine for lots of people to enjoy, meaning I must have a shared sense of humor with others. This realization makes me feel more connected in the world. Do you have interests that bring about that experience in you? It could happen when you listen to music, look at trees, experience art, or pray. What helps you connect with a larger sense of the world? Pay attention to anything that stirs such an experience in you. These may be moments you want to make sure to fit into your schedule. Putting these examples together, it may be useful to evaluate how your behaviors lead you to feel about strangers, people close to you, and the world at large. If you find yourself feeling a bit more connected, encouraged, or hopeful as a consequence of showing up, that's a clue that a behavior warrants repetition. It's important to consider the tangible outcome of a behavior. Ask yourself, "Did this choice point lead to getting what I wanted?" Consider a conversation in which asking for what you want or saying no to something is hard for you, yet you make a choice to assert yourself despite feeling nervous. In this case, the conversation itself causes you great anxiety and puts you at HN.

Let's say the other person is resistant and bites back, making you question yourself and feel burned out on people in general. But, in the end, your needs were actually met. Some examples: you were able to get your neighbor to turn down his loud music, your tenant to pay her rent, or your coworker to quit bossing you around. In these examples, taking action can feel uncomfortable, but it may be worth doing if you reach your larger goal--which minimizes stress and boosts well-being in the long run. An experience like that is definitely possible but, as the examples in the preceding section demonstrated, it's not always the case that an activity will hit all four marks simultaneously. For the other times, when you're trying to evaluate if making the effort is worth it, continue to consider that the short-term discomfort may be outweighed by these slightly longer-term benefits: Take stock of short-term discomfort versus long-term benefits and use this evaluative data to help you consider the impact of your choices. And remember to consider if that long-term benefit is also consistent with your values. For example, let's say you're focused on advancing your career right now and an opportunity arrives to give a presentation, which is an HN experience for you. By volunteering to do it, you will meet your objective because it will contribute to a positive biannual review. You could decide that this outcome is more important than short-term emotional discomfort. Ask yourself, "Is my long-term goal worth overriding the short-term discomfort?" If yes, consider approaching an activity you have the urge to avoid and kick some presentation bootie. This monitoring is a fabulous habit to cultivate. Why? I'll say it again and again and again--the best way to change behavior is to monitor it! I hope that you're finding a rhythm of daily planning and monitoring that helps you be intentional about your choices while staying appropriately flexible to the unpredictable nature of all our lives. To help you be successful, I have offered lots of suggestions to fit your personal style and daily rhythm. It is up to you to take these suggestions and experiment with creating your unique daily routine. From here on, I strongly encourage you to keep up the daily planning and follow-through. As needed, go back to the goal activities you brainstormed throughout the chapter and continue to schedule them. I want you to nurture your habit for planning activities that promote your psychological and physical health like the ones discussed in Principle 2.

Keep working with the suggestions in Principle 3 for how to manage challenging emotions that might make goal completion difficult. And keep working toward a life that is consistent with your values, which is at the heart of Principles 1 and 4. So with that powerful notion in mind, please make sure you spend some time reading the appendix in the back of this book. Learn about some of the most influential people in the world who list mood disorders as a prominent feature in their lives. This list is by no means a complete one. It is, however, comprehensive in its scope, and illustrates the message I most want readers to learn--that anyone who has a depressive disorder can have a chance to be successful. This magic number can also be separated into distinct layers or concentric circles, which Dunbar calls "circles of acquaintanceship." This roughly breaks down to a small circle closest to the center that represents our approximately five closest friends, followed by the next group of fifteen, followed by a fifty-person layer representing individuals we see most often in person or at parties. The 150 layer is good friends and family, many of whom may be geographically distant, then a 500-person layer of acquaintances, and finally a 1,500-person layer that Dunbar characterizes as the typical size of the tribe. Review your five-, fifteen-, and fifty-person circles: Who are your closest friends? Who should be moved into an inner circle? "Young people using Facebook and spending their time online are very much connected, but they experience more and more loneliness. In a way, they don't understand the importance of real friendship, of intimacy. When you are all the time promoting yourself and trying to get the world excited about how happy you are or how well you're doing and don't differentiate between different types of friends, you don't get intimacy--real friendship demands being yourself, not selling your happiness and selling what you want to be. They can be connected in the morning and all day long, but they don't get the benefits of real friendship. This feeling that you don't need to invest the time anymore, that you could have a friend just like that, it's an illusion that we're efficient." Like a common cold, yawning, and much else, happiness is contagious. Surrounding yourself with happy people has been found to help boost your own level of subjective well-being. But beyond that, the people your friends spend time with also can impact your own happiness. Researchers from Harvard and the University of California, San Diego came to this finding through the surveys of the 4,739 respondents to the famed Framingham Heart Study. In addition to details about their personal habits and cardiovascular health, the residents of Framingham, Massachusetts, who filled out the questionnaire offered answers about their happiness and social contacts over a period of decades. Cross-referencing these responses, the researchers found that the people who reported being happy formed "clusters," with those reporting the highest levels of happiness located at the center of those clusters.

it comes to boosting your happiness by surrounding yourself with happy people, proximity counts. The same research drawing on the Framingham Heart Study found that living within a mile of a friend who has become happier increases the probability that you will be happy by 25 percent. A next-door neighbor who goes from unhappy to happy can increase your happiness by 34 percent. This may be part of the reason proximity enhances happiness. Our sweat sends all kinds of signals, from fear to sexual arousal, that another person can sense. And it turns out positive emotions like happiness can also be conveyed through scents--and boost the emotions of those near enough to pick up on them. You don't have to win 100% of the battles, but you have to, at least, try. You have to make an effort. If you make an effort and still lose the battle, a lesson still remains. You still learned something new about yourself. You learned something new that doesn't work. You added a new item to your list of what not to do. You have to charge the enemy and stop hiding in the trenches. You can't think, "I'll fight this battle tomorrow." You're in the middle of it every single day and you have to stand up and fight with everything you have to win each battle. Here's the thing - the enemy will keep getting up and coming back day in and day out until it either wins or tires out and gives up. The more battles you win, the weaker the enemy becomes and the more you'll learn about the enemy's tactics, tricks, and hiding places. When you win one battle and defeat the enemy, you will move onto a new battle. You will, undoubtedly, fight daily battles for the rest of your life - so hunker down, get comfortable, and reload. Psychology researchers from Utrecht University in the Netherlands tested this theory by getting twelve male participants to sit in a warm, dark room. There, they watched videos meant to inspire different emotional responses (the catchy "Bear Necessities" song from Disney's The Jungle Book, boring weather reports, or frightening scenes from the film The Shining), sweating into sterile pads for each.

Thirty-six women then sniffed each type of sweat (okay, this got pretty gross), and assessed the "pleasantness and intensity" of the sweat. Though neither the researchers nor the subjects knew which sweat was which, the subjects who sniffed the "happy sweat" exhibited more cheerful expressions and a more positive mood than those taking in the other types of sweat, when controlled for other variables. Getting your act together means removing years of garbage from your mind. Ever seen the show "Hoarders" where people keep collecting junk until they, literally, can't navigate through their home? They have to climb over things and it's a fire hazard and a very unsanitary and unhealthy situation. We do the same in our minds. We collect junk from daily consumption of garbage music, garbage programming on TV, and garbage social media. Our minds are so filled with garbage that there's no room to think, rationalize, and fit anything else in. We're mental hoarders and the collected junk influences our thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and habits and causes us not to have our act together. What classifies it as "garbage"? Anyone and anything that doesn't have a positive influence, teach, add value, and move you in the right direction. Anyone and anything that doesn't help you have and keep your act together. Anyone and anything that is pointless, doesn't make a difference, and is a complete waste of time. Having your act together means changing yourself and reprogramming your mind by removing the garbage and replacing it with value, quality, and substance. Replacing it with what pushes you in the right direction. According to the researchers, this indicates "behavior synchronization" between the sweater and the smeller. Of course, going around and smelling happy people might not be the most efficient way to boost your mood, but as researcher Gun Semin put it, "This suggests that somebody who is happy will infuse others in their vicinity with happiness. In a way, happiness sweat is somewhat like smiling--it is infectious." These responses can instantly shut down the other person and force them to hold back the things they want to tell you. Moreover, they won't grow to trust you with the details of their life. Sometimes listening is more powerful than anything you can do for someone.