Posted in happiness, health, healthy living, inspiration, psychology, tagged friendship, goals, happiness, health, healthy living, inspiration, money, philosophy, psychology, science, spirituality on February 27, 2008 |
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Science says happiness leads to a long life, good health, resilience and good performance. On average, people who consider themselves happy live nine years longer than people who consider themselves unhappy.
Psychologist and Professor Ed Diener from the University of Illinois says there are three vital ingredients to happiness:
♦ Family and friends – the wider and deeper, the better. Friendship has a protective effect on our health.
♦ Finding meaning –a belief in something bigger, a sense of spirituality or a philosophy of life.
♦ Working toward and making progress on goals we find interesting, and which use our strengths and abilities.
Why doesn’t money make us happy? Because we adapt to pleasure. When we’re attracted to things that give us short bursts of pleasure – from a candy bar to a Corvette – the effect quickly wears off. We adapt less quickly to more meaningful things such as friendship and goals.
(I bet you have 10 unanswered emails from friends and family sitting in your inbox. Answer one everyday – even “I’m thinking of you!” will suffice – for ten days and see what happens. Let me know.)
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I read an excellent article by Kathy Kristof in the Morning Call newspaper yesterday called “Resolve to Spend Your Money on Things that are Truly Meaningful.” Here’s what stood out to me:
♦ Close your eyes for two minutes and think about what makes you happy. What gives you energy and fulfillment? Are you in a room full of stuff or a room full of friends? Are you in the wilderness? At a resort?
♦ How close is this to how you live your life?
♦ The room you’re sitting in is probably full of stuff that has to be paid for. And the picture in your mind might be about people and experiences, not stuff.
♦ Everyone has limited spending power. When you buy one thing, you’re giving up another. Are you happy with your choices?
♦ If you don’t have a values-based system to filter the hundreds of marketing messages you get everyday, you can get pulled into acquiring stuff out of habit. Starbucks on the way to work everyday, for example. ($5 x 250 days = $1250!) It’s faster to buy coffee than brew it, but is your life’s goal to get to the finish line first? Make sure your habits aren’t robbing you of the chance to reach more precious goals.
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Never mind that if you spell “resolution” backwards, the ending is “loser.”
I always make one New Year’s resolution in October. By January 1st, I know whether it’s viable or not and I don’t torture myself afterwards. That seems like a fine way to start a fresh year.
Based on a poll of 1,000 Americans over the age of 18, about 70 percent make New Year’s resolutions. The majority vow to lose weight (28%) or work out more (12%). The others say they’ll quit smoking, save money, get a new job or eat healthier. One in four say they are “very successful” at keeping their resolution. Half are “somewhat successful.”
The ones who succeed track their progress by charting and recording their behavior. The more specific the better — a measurable goal is key. Additionally, they set goals that are reasonable to achieve.
My resolution in October 2007 was to start a second blog and so far, so good! The “charting and recording” portion is built into the blog format so that’s one less thing to labor over. And it feels reasonable to scribble down thoughts from my over-active brain a few times a week.
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