WellesleyWeston Magazine

SUMMER 2018

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/978308

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on health and leadership, and co-author with his brother, Deepak Chopra, of their joint memoir. Sanjiv Chopra and his wife, Amita Chopra, a pediatrician and meditation teacher, have lived in Weston for more than 32 years. Their son and two daughters graduated from Weston High School. Gina Vild is associate dean and chief com- munications officer at Harvard Medical School. After moving to Wellesley 29 years ago, she was active in the local schools while raising her son and daughter. For nine years, she wrote a col- umn in The Wellesley Townsman on education and children. On a cold winter evening, the co-authors and I met at the Chopras' home. Enticing aro- mas from the large open kitchen filled the adjacent living room where we spoke. Photographs of family and friends and mementos of their travels abroad leant a feeling of warmth and welcome. Vild and Chopra sat in a pair of marvelous golden arm- chairs whose arms are sculpted swans. The intricately carved chairs, like other pieces in the room, were designed by Amita's sister in Delhi. "A recent search on Amazon turned up 256,000 books on happiness," began Vild, "So why did we write this one? What makes it different?" It is the blending of genres, she said. Ancient wisdom. The words of great poets and the Buddha. Inspiring stories about real people who changed their own lives and the lives of those around them. Scientific and academic studies that support the teachings of ancient Greeks and modern thinkers alike. And finally, practical tools and resources that anyone can use to increase their own happiness. Among the benefits can be longevity and better health. They cite a formula developed by the psychologist Martin Seligman: H = S + C + V. Happiness equals the "set point" we inherit, plus the "con- ditions of living," plus "voluntary actions" or choices we make. According to the formula, 50 percent of your happiness is deter- mined by your genetically determined set point — the happiness level you are born with. Only 10 percent is based on how satisfied you are with your living conditions. A Beverly Hills mansion, a slum, or subur- bia can be equally satisfying as long as one's basic needs — food, water, a place to sleep — are taken care of. But 40 percent of your happiness quotient comes from choices that are within each person's control. Mega lottery winners illustrate this point. Chopra said evidence shows that big winners in the lottery are euphoric for a fairly short period, as brief as three months. But within a year, many, if not most, return to their baseline level of happiness — their set point. Some are even less happy than they were before. Only those who donate some of their newfound wealth to charity or help others become happier than they were. What, then, can you do to boost your happiness quotient long term? They encourage us to spend time with family and friends, practice H E R A T C H E K M E K J I A N Sanjiv Chopra Gina Vild 158 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s u m m e r 2 0 1 8 books "nurturing deep friendships is central to good health "

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