Here's how to make forgiveness a part of your recovery: Make a clear choice. If you've harbored resentment and a desire for revenge against someone for a long time, your mind will resist your attempts to reverse direction and forgive. To signal that you are serious about getting free, create a contract with yourself. In your journal write, "I hereby pledge to forgive for the following offenses and for the following reasons." Be specific. Argue the case on paper for why forgiveness is the right choice at this time. Sign and date it, then put it somewhere you can easily reach when the going gets tough, as a "binding" reminder of your intention. Your body is your temple, so treat it well. Focus on a fun workout because working out will hardly feel like a work out when you're dancing, or swimming your heart out! (aim to exercise for at least 3 days a week for 30 or more minutes.) Preferably, exercise 6 days a week and get your heart rate up with aerobic exercise. Not only will it get your body into fighting shape, it will help you feel so much better about who you are, what you want, and what you attract into your life. For decades, scientists have been uncovering how certain foods, like sugar, excess fat, and artificial additives can cause vitamin depletion that leads to depression and unhappiness. Eat well, take care of your body and you'll feel better both physically and emotionally. And when you feel better emotionally, you'll become physically healthier. Once you get into this powerful cycle, you'll be ready to take on life with renewed vigour. What should you eat? There are a lot of foods to choose from, but generally speaking, the fewer preservatives, fats, sugars, and salts in the foods you consume, the better. Aim for non-processed foods, plenty of raw fruits and vegetables, and plenty of whole grains. Trust me - you will feel so much better when you take this step to feed your body what it really needs and desires. Next up we have skills - that library of cool things you can do that other people wish they could. Without a good base of skills, you'll start comparing yourself to people in ways that just plain isn't healthy.

It's a bad habit to start with, but if you don't have anything to show off and feel confident about, it can be hard to overcome that constant, nagging feeling that you're just not as good as the people you hang out with. The solution is simple - learn some new skills. Get out there and learn how to do things that will make you infinitely more interesting and confident in your abilities. I'm generalizing a lot here, but for good reason. You can literally learn how to do anything and draw interest from the people you meet. The key here is diversity, not outrageousness. Anchoring can have even more severe consequences. Remember the study that investigated the verdicts handed down by juries when told to consider the harshest or most lenient verdict first? Considering the harshest verdict first (standard practice in murder trials) resulted in harsher verdicts handed down than if juries considered lenient verdicts first.42 Our simplifying strategies can lead to a number of disastrous judgments. As you can see, we simplify our decisions, and simplifying can get us into trouble. But the picture isn't all gloomy. We obviously make many correct decisions and hold many correct beliefs. If we didn't, we wouldn't have survived very long. In fact, simplifying strategies serve us very well in many instances. When we use availability, we don't conduct an exhaustive search of all the relevant information, we just retrieve data from our memory that's the easiest to remember. This usually works well because we often retrieve common things, and common things are more likely to occur. We think the probability of getting a cold is greater than getting cancer because we see more people with colds, which leads to a correct judgment. However, we also easily retrieve sensational items that are not common, and so we judge their likelihood to be greater than they actually are. As a result, we overestimate the danger from anthrax, drugs, crime, and a host of other risks because the media emphasize these threats, making them foremost in our minds. Judging by representativeness also can work well, because similar things often go together.

However, if we focus only on similarity, we ignore other relevant information that should affect our decision, such as base rates and the reliability of the data. And so, these simplifying strategies can lead us astray. This can happen in the personal decisions we make every day of our lives, as well as in our professional decisions that have severe consequences for large numbers of people. One encouraging point: research suggests that when professionals perform job-related tasks, the biases evident in their judgments are usually not as great as when novices perform abstract tasks.43 Expert knowledge in decision-making tasks appears to reduce, but not eliminate, biased judgments. The bottom line is, we need to be aware that we use simplifying strategies when making our decisions, and that they can lead to problems, if we're not careful. Recognizing that fact is the first step to correcting a number of our decision errors. Some people think of the glass as half full. Some people think of the glass as half empty. I think of the glass as too big. Imagine that the United States is preparing for an outbreak of an unusual Asian disease that's expected to kill six hundred people. Two different medical programs to combat the disease have been proposed, and their consequences are as follows: Which of these two programs would you favor?1 If you're like most people, you would choose program A. Now consider the following case. Imagine, once again, that an outbreak of an Asian disease is expected to kill six hundred people. Two other programs (C and D) are available to combat the disease. There are times when you don't feel like meditating. The very idea seems obnoxious. Missing a single practice session is scarcely important, but it very easily becomes a habit. It is wiser to push on through the resistance. Go sit anyway. Observe this feeling of aversion.

In most cases it is a passing emotion, a flash in the pan that will evaporate right in front of your eyes. Five minutes after you sit down it is gone. In other cases it is due to some sour mood that day, and it lasts longer. Still, it does pass. And it is better to get rid of it in twenty or thirty minutes of meditation than to carry it around with you and let it ruin the rest of your day. At other times, resistance may be due to some difficulty you are having with the practice itself. You may or may not know what that difficulty is. If resistance to meditation is a common feature of your practice, then you should suspect some subtle error in your basic attitude. Meditation is not a ritual conducted in a particular posture. It is not a painful exercise, or period of enforced boredom. And it is not a grim, solemn obligation. Meditation is mindfulness. It is a new way of seeing and it is a form of play. Meditation is your friend. Come to regard it as such, and resistance will disappear like smoke on a summer breeze. We have already discussed the sinking mind phenomenon. But there is a special route to that state you should watch out for. Mental dullness can result as an unwanted byproduct of deepening concentration. As your relaxation deepens, muscles loosen and nerve transmissions change. This produces a very calm and light feeling in the body.

You feel very still and somewhat divorced from the body. This is a very pleasant state, and at first your concentration is quite good, nicely centered on the breath. As it continues, however, the pleasant feelings intensify and they distract your attention from the breath. You start to really enjoy the state and your mindfulness goes way down. Your attention winds up scattered, drifting listlessly through vague clouds of bliss. The result is a very unmindful state, sort of an ecstatic stupor. The cure, of course, is mindfulness. Mindfully observe these phenomena and they will dissipate. When blissful feelings arise accept them. There is no need to avoid them, but don't get wrapped up in them. They are physical feelings, so treat them as such. Observe feelings as feelings. Observe dullness as dullness. Watch them rise and watch them pass. Don't get involved. You will have problems in meditation. Everybody does. You can treat them as terrible torments or as challenges to be overcome. If you regard them as burdens, your suffering will only increase. If you regard them as opportunities to learn and to grow, your spiritual prospects are unlimited.