With all the gloomy events and prognostications in the world today, it is immensely refreshing to hear Nic Marks sharing his research and his thoughts in this TEDtalk, “The Happy Planet Index.”

Marks cites five things to do to be Happy:

  • Connect with other people
  • Be active
  • Take notice of what is going on in your world
  • Keep learning
  • Give

These five are wonderful ways to instill happiness into our lives. I know because I practice them. To this list I’d like to add two additional things that I do that make me happy, and I hope generate happiness in the world around me.

  • Connect with nature
  • Pursue the inner journey

Western culture as a whole has become immensely detached from nature. It is remarkable to me that these days the modern agriculture of pesticides and chemical fertilizers is often referred to as “traditional.” The real traditional agriculture goes back thousands of years and involves cooperation with nature, not domination and manipulation. The simplest way for each of us to regain our connection with the natural world is to spend time in it. My chosen way to do this is mainly through organic vegetable gardening. It has the advantage of feeding my belly as well as feeding my soul.

By embarking on the inner journey we open a door to great discoveries. A few minutes of meditation now and then will help us see with greater awareness. More time spent in meditation provides greater rewards in both the spiritual and material realms.

Solving the world’s problems, and indeed, they are many, might be better accomplished by focusing on the positive of Happiness rather than focusing on the negative of Gloom. Nic Marks has got the right idea.