My top 5 ways to feel good

Obviously any list like this is going to be entirely subjective, but I've spent a while trying to cultivate a sense of pleasantness in my life and these are the things that have helped. I've avoided putting any sensual pleasures in there, such as sex or eating chocolate or drinking beer, as sensual pleasures are fleeting and suffer from a lack of longevity. It should also be noted that my top 5 changes quite a lot - this is not an all time list.

Here they are in no particular order.

1.Hang out with friendly people.

Nothing influences us more than the people we are with. If we associate with vagabonds and judgemental people, we naturally feel threatened and slightly ill at ease. If, on the other hand, we spend time with open friendly people who are supportive and smile a lot then we immediately fall into that groove. So, find some warm, friendly beings and let it all soak in.

2. Deep breathing.

Breathing is the gateway to relaxation and a sense of calm. This is because deep breathing activates your parasympathetic nervous system - the way you are when you are resting. By breathing deeply, you are encouraging your nervous system to enter it's calm, all-is-well-with-the-world state. Give it a go, it only takes one breath.

3. Hugging.

Hugging, or the sense of touch, makes us feel good because it releases the hormone oxytocin into our systems. (I suspect females get a bigger blast of this than males, judging by how much they like to hug). Oxytocin makes us feel safe, secure, and at home. If you don't have another human to hug, try a teddy bear or your pet. It's quite powerful and very pleasant.

4. Simplify your life.

The modern world is overwhelming us all with the sheer volume of information and mental stimulation on offer - TV, Internet, mobile phones, gadgets, shops, 24 hour news, and on and on. There's no point in keeping up - it's impossible - and if we try to we risk burning ourselves out. Tell yourself, less is more. Reduce your commitments, live lightly. Give your mind space to relax. Turn off the TV, throw away the paper. It will all be there tomorrow. Give yourself a break.

5. Cultivate contentment - tranquility meditation.

Contentment is sitting in a large, comfortable armchair with plump soft cushions that envelop us and make us feel like we do not have a care in the world. We are relaxed, we want nothing and we have nothing to do. Tranquility meditation is the soft, comfortable armchair of the mind that gives us this same state of feeling just by sitting quietly for a while. Meditation is not for everyone but, if can sit still for ten minutes, there's a world of good feelings inside your body and mind waiting for you to access.

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