Can visualizing the most horrible things happening to us paradoxically make us happier and more appreciative of what we have? Ancient stoics thought so. But were they right?

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“That’s the problem with drinking, I thought, as I poured myself a drink. If something bad happens you drink in an attempt to forget; if something good happens you drink in order to celebrate; and if nothing happens you drink to make something happen.” – Charles Bukowski

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When you find yourself at a dead end in some area of your life, there’s only one thing you can blame: your thinking. Ultimately, you are where you are today due to the cumulative effect of every decision you’ve ever made.

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For my fourth challenge, I have decided to begin a daily gratitude exercise.

“A daily what?”

“What kind of new age bullshit is this?”

If those are your gut reactions, I can’t blame you. Gratitude sure sounds like the latest fad, except that it’s not.

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We all have fears. Walt Disney was afraid of mice. Matthew McConaughey is scared of revolving doors. For most of my life, I’ve done everything I possibly can to avoid cold water in the mornings.

38 days ago I finally went toe-to-toe with my fear by taking a one-minute ice cold shower immediately upon waking up. And I forced myself to keep doing it for 30 mornings.

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An ice cold shower in the morning has many significant health benefits, but the mental priming and the lessons it teaches us may be even more important.

I started my challenge – to have a one minute ice cold shower immediately after waking up – 22 days ago. Each day, without fail, I’ve gotten out of bed, taken a quick visit to the toilet and then jumped into the chilly embrace of an ice cold shower.

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