“Pura Vida” (pronounced poo-rah vee-dah) is the phrase that greeted me on the “Welcome to Costa Rica” sign at the airport in Liberia, Costa Rica. I arrived there to spend a week at Blue River Retreat Center in Nosara.

Before I left home, several people who had visited Costa Rica wished me “Pura Vida”. It means “simple life” or “pure life” and is known as a way of life in Costa Rica. Instead of saying “hello” or “good morning”, one says, “Pura Vida”.

Costa Rica has been name one of the top happiest countries in the world. People there don’t stress about things the ways we in the United States do. No worries, no fuss and to Costa Ricans, happiness means being thankful for they have and not dwelling on the negative.

I have experienced moments of “Pura Vida” in my life. I’ve learned that I can create “Pura Vida” at any time. It’s an attitude and a way of life expressing gratitude and acceptance of what is.

I’ve contemplated on how to bring this feeling back home, and realized it’s a choice we make many times throughout our day. How will we react? How will we respond? How will we reply?

If this saying means to remain optimistic despite any circumstances that surround us, our attitude is the choice.

Here are a few ways to bring the essence of “Pura Vida” into your life.
*Stop for a moment. Just stop. Inhale deeply. While take a long exhale, look around you and appreciate one thing you see. Inhale and repeat until you feel a sense of calm.
*Plan to spent some time in a beautiful environment. Get to a lake, a beautiful park or a hike in nature.
*Beauty brings a sense of calm to our bodies.
*Walk barefoot in grass to reconnect with the earth and to feel it supporting you.
*Put a higher priority on your close relationships.
*Perhaps invite friends or family to come out with you on one of the above activities.
*Think about ways you can create more “Pura Vida” in your life.

By Pat Obuchowski