The New York Times edition for 1-10-16 included an op-ed commentary of potential benefit to mental health professionals, “To Be Happier, Start Thinking More About Your Death.”   The author, Arthur C. Brooks, has an usual background; he was raised by parents who were both college professors in which was described as a liberal home environment, was a professional French horn musician, and went on to become “a leading conservative thinker” and is president of the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

His commentary reviews research about how many Americans manage to tune out awareness of the fact that we do not live forever, and by avoiding awareness of death, particularly our own inevitable demise, we may not live our lives as wisely as we could.  He goes on to discuss how Buddhists teach about death, and even mediate about death, in order to “be here now” and live a more mindful life.  He recommends that we all live our life “as though this year will be our last,” and predicts that this will help us focus more on the present, make wiser choices and generally be happier.

This article may be helpful for the stressed mental health professional who needs to do a better job of “being here now” and needs help with prioritizing their life.  It may also be recommended to clients/patients who are facing similar challenges.

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