Tal Ben-Shahar, The Harvard Professor Who Teaches How To “Be Happy”

15 January 2019

Professor Tal Ben-Shahar graduated in psychology and philosophy from Harvard University (USA) and later obtained a PhD. But fame came when his lecture on Positive Psychology became one of the most popular courses in the American university.

Prof. Tal Ben-Shahar is the author of a Best Selling booked called Happier and he travels all around the world to give tips on how to put his teachings into practice, which we have summarized here for you:

Let unhappiness enter

Allow yourself to be real; to be human. You don’t have to be happy all the time.

“When we deny painful and negative emotions – which are natural, they intensify,” says Ben-Shahar. The feelings of anger, anguish and anxiety exist independently of our own will. But we decide how to manage these emotions and what impact they will have on our lives. “Courage does not mean not to be afraid. It means being afraid and moving forward despite of it” he concludes.

Learn to cope with stress

According to The World Health Organization (WHO), we live a pandemic of stress, which impairs work and triggers several chronic diseases. Prof. Shahar argues that stress is not the problem: the issue is the lack of recovery time between stressful moments. “Winding down” or “relaxing” moments are fundamental to our physical and mental balance.

His tip is: during the day, take a break from whatever you’re doing for a minute. Breathe slowly and deeply at least every 2 hours. Count to 5 while you inhale and do the same while you exhale.

Value Relationships

“This is the number one indicator of happiness and health: people who invest in their relationships are healthier and happier,” says the professor. It’s all about relationship: romantic, family, friendship, professional…

But pay attention: “The biggest addiction in the world today is not alcohol, drugs or gambling. It’s the phone.”

Virtual relationships do not replace real ones. When you’re with your family or friends, keep your cell phone away and go back to the “old” eye-in-the-eye socialization.

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