Monthly Archives: January 2015

a little list

Here is an abbreviated version of something I read this morning on Yahoo about activities that can maybe make us happier. The big picture/message works for me…if you care to, read and discover your thoughts…

1. Committing to goals

Like chocolate and peanut butter, goals and happiness are mutually reinforcing. The process is simple enough: Happy people have lots of energy, and that energy can be put toward pursuing their latest quest.

 

Psychologists say that the more we see a goal as a part of ourselves, the more it’s self-concordant — meaning we’ll bring more energy toward tackling it. University of Zurich psychologist Bettina Wiese says that “empirical research has repeatedly shown that striving toward self-concordant goals strengthens the link between goal progress and well-being.”

2. Finding meaning in your work

In 1997, Yale organizational psychologist Amy Wrzesniewski and her colleagues published an oft-cited paper about how people relate to their work. There were three ways of thinking about your work:

 

• A job: “Focus on financial rewards and necessity rather than pleasure or fulfillment; not a major positive part of life”

 

• A career: “Focus on advancement”

 

• A calling: “Focus on enjoyment of fulfilling, socially useful work”

 

Their finding: The people who found meaning in their work were happiest.

3. Spending time with people you care about

While it may sound like a Hallmark card, the research confirms that spending time with the people you love (or can at least tolerate) will make you happier. Interestingly, being at the “center” of a social network is a good predictor of well-being.

4. Cultivating a long-term relationship

The New York Times recently reported that “being married makes people happier and more satisfied with their lives than those who remain single — particularly during the most stressful periods, like midlife crises.”

 

The reason? Two people are more resilient than one.

5. Eating the fresh stuff

A 2013 study titled “Many apples a day keep the blues away” found that eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables had a positive correlation with happiness.

 

Specifically, the young people who ate seven to eight servings of fruits or vegetables reported higher happiness levels than their less-nourished peers.

6. Getting in exercise

An 8,000-person Dutch study of people between 16 and 65 years old made some very strong claims about the virtues of exercise. “Exercisers were more satisfied with their life and happier than non-exercisers at all ages,” the authors concluded. If you’re trying to work out more but can’t quite find the time, legendary psychologist Walter Mischel recommends “if-then” planning.

7. Buying experiences

According to Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert, if money doesn’t buy happiness, then you’re not spending it right. Chief among his spending principles is the insight that you should buy experiences instead of things.

 

In a survey of over 1,000 Americans, 57% of respondents said that they derived greater happiness from an experiential purchase, like a trip, concert, or other life event, over a material purchase, like a car, appliance, or other object. We like experiences more because we get to anticipate and remember them, the research says, and we appreciate them longer.

 

“After devoting days to selecting the perfect hardwood floor to install in a new condo, homebuyers find their once beloved Brazilian cherry floors quickly become nothing more than the unnoticed ground beneath their feet,” Gilbert and his colleagues say. “In contrast, their memory of seeing a baby cheetah at dawn on an African safari continues to provide delight.”

Let me note, I am not an advocate of an African Safari…just watching Nature in her peaceful existence would be enough for me to trump the insignificance of floors (#7).

I do wish more people could find more meaning and fulfilment in their jobs (#2) instead of dread of each work day – living for the week end is a tough way to live. I do understand firsthand the realities of life, however – just wishing.

I am totally on board with the fresh food suggestion (#5). How can packaged chemicals make anyone feel happy?

Anyway, just a few words for us to ponder. Nearly everything generated by the media has some angle and is pumped with a bit of propaganda but this was an appealing little list for me and I wanted to share – just in case it stirred you or possibly even nudged you in the direction of your dreams/purpose. Except for the African Safari, it seemed harmless and positive.

chicks

living the life…

 

 

Tic Toc

clockI can wind the old clock now, the one I ordered from Spiegel catalogue when the kids were little. It was some sort of adult life in the house then, when I was the only grown up there. It told time and chimed to remind me that it would soon be evening and my husband would be home and the kids would be more settled. It has been silent for so many years – silent because I eventually had no time to wind it, no time for it to tell me what time it was – it didn’t even matter then, it was just time – something I had plenty of. I was too busy, so busy, pushing through the channels of my life – quickly and many times without notice. It was what I needed to do then and I feel accomplished and satisfied. But now, now at 60, I wind it again, this old clock from a place that doesn’t exist anymore. I listen to what it says, I listen to each tick it makes and know that this is my life these minutes and seconds I hear in this house that is quiet now. I am aware, once again, of the time in my day and I am more careful with it for I know now, it is finite. I don’t mean for this to be a melancholy post – I am happy right now –  happy that I have come to this place in my journey, happy that I understand so much more and appreciate all that I have and that I value each tic . I am no longer teaching and the days are more spontaneous and magical for me now. I can pay attention to the clock that needs winding every 30 days and the kitchen drawer that needs sorting and the friend that needs help – I have it to give now. I can stay longer with my morning cup of coffee and paint more and devote time to creativity and listening more carefully to people and to my world. This is a happy post. It is one that took a while to write, for I have been busy doing something fantastic – raising a family, but now it’s time to be more by doing less. Love a Cup-WebThat’s it…my simple post for this Sunday morning… nothing more than an old clock ticking on the wall, one that I, once again, had the time to wind, one that’s last tic before today was in a house full of children growing up…my most stellar moment in time that has delivered me to this spot, a spot where I have time

b u

p s

wabi – sabi

DSC_0314I got a little interested in the Japanese concept of wabi – sabi. I find it so comforting to submit to the acceptance and even appreciation of imperfection. After stressing myself out over things being just right for a decade or so, I have found my way back to where I was and I love being here again. It is amazing how much worry and trouble you release when you put no value in “things”, specifically the appearance of things. I am not suggesting neglect; I am referencing “character marks” – like chips on furniture and scratches on floors and a slightly slanted tooth.

I found an article by Japanese architect Tadao Ando on wabi – sabi and I wanted to share it.

“Pared down to its barest essence, wabi-sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature, of accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death. It’s simple, slow, and uncluttered-and it reveres authenticity above all. Wabi-sabi is flea markets, not warehouse stores; aged wood, not Pergo; rice paper, not glass. It celebrates cracks and crevices and all the other marks that time, weather, and loving use leave behind. It reminds us that we are all but transient beings on this planet-that our bodies as well as the material world around us are in the process of returning to the dust from which we came. Through wabi-sabi, we learn to embrace liver spots, rust, and frayed edges, and the march of time they represent.”

DSC_0318

 

I think it is impossible to be happy if you think in terms of perfection since perfection does not exist in this life – let it go, celebrate the quirks and blemishes, the lines and scars, for these are reminders of living – release and breathe…

b u

p s