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I adjust, accommodate, or avoid things in my life to minimize the trauma of triggers and encourage you to do the same. Through trial and error and self-observation you'll learn what experiences are triggers for you. Make them known to yourself, and make them known aloud to others. Insist that people in your life honor and respect them. Do your best to adjust your lifestyle, but be careful not to let your world become too nar-row. Avoid toxic people. Individuals who are well-defined characters are easy to spot. The juicy gossiper always has a tale to tell. The spoilsport can be counted on to harsh your mellow. The self-righteous prig will wave a flag of superiority without fail. The bitch-on-wheels screeches her presence like a call to war. When you know the behavioral predictability for a person, you can modulate your responses. In these examples, you'd make sure not to reveal anything personal to the gossipmonger, refrain from talking too long with the resident buzz killer, and avoid the bitch-on-wheels and self-righteous flag-waver at all costs. Most toxic people, though, are not as easy to see coming. Their toxicity is cloaked, hidden beneath the surface of an ordinary average-Joe personality. Initially, you find your time with this person easy and enjoyable--but slowly notice difficult and demanding moments. Toxic people come armed with envy, competition, control, and judgment, just to name a few. They monopolize your time and energy and leave you feeling worn-out. Like emotional vampires, they suck the life out of you. You need to disentangle yourself from toxic people once you discover these fully operational characteristics.

They will compromise your recovery and remission, and even worsen the likelihood for relapse.10 Limit your exposure to them if you cannot make a clean break, and consider diluting their toxicity by having more healthy people close at hand when you're with them. Six other activities were found to have no impact on happiness levels: watching TV, going to the movies, getting together with friends, playing cards, going to the gym, and doing handicrafts. Just one activity--spending time on the internet--was found to be negatively associated with happiness. Leisure activities can often be ends in themselves. But while having fun does have plenty of benefits, longer-term happiness comes from other aspects of leisure activities than how long they last. The same survey of thirty-three countries found that there was a higher degree of happiness gained from activities in which participants felt they established "useful contacts" and were able to "develop important skills." The takeaway? Seek out leisure activities that will give you more than just fun--those that will allow you to advance as a person and fulfill larger goals in life. Join the company softball team, or take up a hobby where you're likely to meet others in your career field. One of the best happiness-enhancing leisure activities is to get into nature. Researchers have found that people who have spent two weeks in the wilderness enjoy a higher level of attention, a greater level of life satisfaction, and a more positive outlook after they return. On top of that, people who have spent time in the wilderness report a sense of belonging to something greater than themselves, and renewed clarity on "what really matters." Go camping for a weekend, or go for a long hike. Immerse yourself in the natural world. For a faster fix, add a ten-minute walk to your daily routine. Greenery doesn't have to be out in the wilderness to reduce your stress and increase your happiness. Evidence shows that even a relatively small amount of vegetation--small parks and urban green spaces close to one's home--can make a significant impact on well-being. Researchers in Finland found that those who spent as little as twenty minutes walking through a park felt much more relief of their stress levels than those who spent twenty minutes wandering through the center of the city. Going to a park can also strengthen social connections since, as a researcher reviewing the literature on the subject notes, "natural elements, especially trees, encourage people to spend more time outside, making them more likely to have the accidental face-to-face encounters with their neighbors that create friendships and other social ties." Go for a twenty-minute walk in the park. It will lower your stress level and you might meet someone while you're there. "People who describe themselves as more connected to nature, who see themselves as a part of nature, also report more happiness--more positive emotions and purpose in life.It's not that people who live in rural areas, who are surrounded by nature, are off-the-charts happy compared to people in cities. In cities, the people who find themselves near parks where there are some trees, these are the people who are happier.

The little things matter: parks, gardens, even bird feeders." The same way not having your act together is the product of poor decision making, having your act together is the product of predictable and consistent good decision-making skills. It's, according to the dictionary, organizing yourself, your life, and your affairs so you are able to achieve what you want and deal with things effectively. You have your thoughts, emotions, behavior, habits, and life handled, organized, and squared away. None of it is unpredictable or out-of-control. None of it is difficult to deal with. You're at or exceeding the level of competence that would, typically, be expected from someone your age and/or in your situation. You're not trapped in the middle of destructive situations and cycles that set you back physically, emotionally, or financially. You're not burdening anyone you with anything you can, and should, be handling on your own. You're not in a position of being helpless and others are going out of their way to get you on track. Others look to you as the example, admire what you're doing and how you're doing it, and aspire to get their act together like you. Having your act together doesn't mean you don't have problems like everyone else, it means you're better at handling them and preventing them from reoccurring in your life instead of whining, bitching, complaining, and doing nothing. It means you have a cleaner, sharper, more professional, and more organized way of responding to and solving problems than most. A bar is one of the most commonly visited social settings. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the most frustrating. There are a few reasons why. To start with, you either drink or you don't. If you do drink, all the hard work you've put in on your confidence and body language is much harder to recall. It's not impossible, but the loss of inhibition and motor controls can severely damage your first impressions. And for those who do not drink, everything seems just a bit sillier when you're sober. So, to get the most out of a bar, you need to have a specific goal in mind and set limits for yourself - both in what you are willing to drink and what you're willing to put up with from other people.

Sitting there in a "deep" conversation with someone who has had entirely too much to drink is not going to be a lot of fun and will likely leave you high and dry at the end of the night. Much like at a party, friends can make bar hopping infinitely easier. They offer a safe haven when things get awkward, an instant excuse when you need to end a conversation, and a ripcord if you need to get out of the bar or club immediately. That said, try not to rely too heavily on your friends to keep you going through a long evening at a bar or club. They probably want to socialize too and don't need you inundating them repeatedly with your insecurities and concerns about what Susie or Jimmie or Tom think about you. I know it sounds harsh, but I'm looking out for your own wellbeing. Friends won't want to come with you to a bar if you cling to them like Saran wrap all night. So, force yourself out of your comfort zone and get out there to meet people. Everything in this guide has built up to this moment and the simple act of being a more interesting conversation partner. Luckily, the situations that provoke this response in you tend to be predictable. They're different between people--what bugs you, I don't notice, and what bugs me wouldn't even cross your mind. But within individuals, situations that provoke the desire to escape tend to be similar. Think of these situations as triggers. The predictable nature of your triggers is helpful because, once you get a handle on what situations are triggering, you can practice responding adaptively to them. With awareness of them, you can even anticipate that you will get triggered in the first place and plan accordingly. To demonstrate, I'll describe one of the most ubiquitous and mundane of choice-point moments in which we get triggered to turn away from our goals. Imagine that it's 10:25 p.m., you have washed up, and now you're in bed. Your goal is to go to sleep at 11:15 p.m. after an episode of your favorite show. You had a long day at work and are looking forward to this reward as part of your wind-down routine.

With the lights dim, you hit "Continue Watching" on Netflix, and suddenly Don Draper is before you. You breathe a sigh of relief as you sink into your pillow and get absorbed in the 1960s world of Mad Men. Before you know it, 48 minutes pass and the episode is over. This is your trigger. You think: No! I'm not ready for it to end! I don't want to deal with tomorrow yet. The sooner I go to sleep, the sooner I'll have to wake up. In your body, even if it feels subtle, your heart is beating a little quicker than it was in the middle of the show and your breathing has become shallow. Your mouth is now downturned and your nose is scrunched. You're feeling HN. If you had to name this emotion, you'd identify it as anxiety. The feeling of dread is palpable. Your urge in that moment is to hit "Continue Watching" and make these feelings go away by watching another episode. Actually, the screen is counting down. In fifteen seconds, if you just do nothing, it'll automatically start. So maybe you'll just do nothing... And then what happens? What is your behavior in this choice-point moment? You let the countdown continue.