The Art of Living “Pura Vida”

A recent trip to Costa Rica taught me that our attitudes are a choice and that, at any time, I can create a way of life filled with happiness, gratitude and acceptance.

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Costa Rica ocean views

“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 for a week-long retreat at Blue Spirit 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”.  

I’ve found that Costa Rica has been named one of the Top 15 happiest countries in the world. People here don’t stress about things the way we in the United States do. No worries, no fuss and to Costa Ricans, it means, “being thankful for what they have and not dwelling on the negative.”

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

I’ve been contemplating how to bring this feeling back home and I realize 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 is simply remaining optimistic, despite any circumstances that surround us, I realize it’s a choice. Our attitude is a choice. 

Here are a few ways to bring the essence of “Pura Vida” into your life. 

  • Stop for a moment. Just stop. Take a deep inhale. Exhale and while you 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 spend some time in a beautiful environment. Get to a lake, a beautiful park, a hike in nature. Beauty brings a sense of calm to our bodies. 
  • Put a higher priority on your close relationships. Perhaps invite them to come out with you on one of the above activities. 
  • Take your shoes off, walk barefoot in the grass for a short time every day. Research has shown barefoot contact with the earth can produce nearly instant changes in a variety of physiological measures, helping improve sleep, reduce pain, decrease muscle tension and lower stress.

How can you create more “Pura Vida” in your life? 

Written by Pat Obuchowski

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