Open Book

In his 2010 book Happy, medical journalist and physician Ian Smith, MD’97, offers some tips on how to be and stay content. In the chapter titled “Simplicity is Bliss,” Smith offers five ways to simplify your life:

  1. Digital Declutter
    Take a “digital holiday,” where you turn off the BlackBerry and stop checking e-mail for a few hours or a few weeks.

  2. The Importance List
    Make a list of five items that can “serve as a guide to setting your priorities and will help you get the most out of each day.” Smith’s list includes “spending quality time with the children” and “reading at least four articles in a national newspaper.”

  3. Slow Down and Take It In
    Focus on the task at hand and stop multitasking, to get the most out of life and to achieve “the highest levels of happiness.” Slowing down allows you appreciate the beauty of the world around you.

  4. Release the Golden Handcuffs
    Having expensive things won’t make you content; in fact, it might create more anxiety if it makes you live beyond your means. “Any happiness we derive” from materialism “is short-lived at best.”

  5. Increase Your Me Time
    Take an hour out of each day to “be selfish and not worry about what others think.” Don’t worry about the kids, work, friends—read a good book or listen to your favorite music.


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