Improving well-being needn’t cost the earth

Martin Luther King did not say,  “I have a nightmare,”  when he inspired the civil rights movements.  He said, “I have a dream.”

So says Nic Marks,  whose own dream is –  we stop having nightmarish visions , of climate change challenges,  Al Gore’s ‘Inconvenient Truth’ ; of  the worst case scenario in  a world in recession. He suggests  we focus on  bettering our well-being . Nic  Marks is not a spiritual guru.  He is a statistician.   Stating  that Costa Rico is rated a nation with happier people than Canada, Western Europe or the US,  Nic says personal well-being  is not  related to one’s material possessions;  nor does it cost the earth to accomplish it.

Nic Marks prescription  :

1) Connect.  Build social relationships, which are the most important cornerstones of your life.

2) Be active. Step outside, go for a walk, turn the radio on . Being active is great for our positive mood.

3) Take notice of things going on around the world,  of the seasons  changing, of people around you.

4) Keep learning . Not so much for knowledge as for curiosity. Learn to cook a new dish; pick up an instrument you used to play as a child. Older people who keep learning and are curious have much better health outcomes than those who start to close down.

5) Give. Our generosity, our compassion, are hardwired to the reward mechanism in our brain. We feel good if we give.

Sounds simple.  What we need to do is internalise Nic’s  five points ; make a habit of  running  a checklist of our actions on any given day, on a daily basis.   First, listen to Nic Marks 17-minute talk : The Happy Planet Index


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