Tech + Health

07.31.14

Call Him ‘Poprah’: Pope Francis’s 10 Commandments for a Happy Life

The world may already be swimming with self-help advice, but it’s not every day the Pope himself shares his life-hacking tips.

Pope Francis—who routinely surprises believers and nonbelievers alike by doing things such as espousing revolutionary environmentalism and denouncing unbridled capitalism as “tyranny”—has just released his top 10 tips for achieving personal happiness. The holy listicle serves as further proof that the 2013 papal conclave elected Oprah as the new pope. “Poprah,” if you will.

Here’s the list, from an interview published in the Argentine weekly Viva (translation via Catholic News Service):

1. “Live and let live.”

2. “Be giving of yourself to others…If you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. And stagnant water becomes putrid.”

3. “Proceed calmly [in life].”

4. “A healthy sense of leisure … Consumerism has brought us anxiety, [causing us to lose a] healthy culture of leisure.” (On this point, the pope also urged families to turn off the TV when they’re eating together.)

5. “Sunday is for family.”

6. “We need to be creative with young people. If they have no opportunities, they will get into drugs.”

7. “[Environmental degradation] is one of the biggest challenges we have. I think a question that we’re not asking ourselves is: ‘Isn’t humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature?’”

8. “Needing to talk badly about others indicates low self-esteem. That means, ‘I feel so low that instead of picking myself up I have to cut others down.’ Letting go of negative things quickly is healthy.”

9. “We can inspire others through witness so that one grows together in communicating. But the worst thing of all is religious proselytism, which paralyzes: ‘I am talking with you in order to persuade you.’ No. Each person dialogues, starting with his and her own identity. The church grows by attraction, not proselytizing.”

10. “We are living in a time of many wars, [and] the call for peace must be shouted. Peace sometimes gives the impression of being quiet, but it is never quiet, peace is always proactive.”

Poprah’s prescription for a happy life includes being anti-war, never trying to convert people to Catholicism, saving the rainforests, and turning off your television set during family dinners. This is in stark contrast to some of the happiness tips featured on Oprah’s website, which includes “always tent the bacon” and “bring your own wine.”