Off-beat perceptions and life tips of the world and all its players.
Keep it clean, keep it honest and as a great friend told me, keep swimming!
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Anna Louisa first became interested in Faroese ponies because of a
children's book. She soon learned that these enchanting creatures,
ponies by size but often called horses due to their strength, were
almost extinct. Between 1850 and 1920 large numbers of them were
exported from their home in the Faroe Islands. By 1960 there were only
five left in the wild. Fortunately they have made a remarkable comeback
due largely to "the lady with the horses."
This is not an easy question to answer, of course, given how multidimensional a phenomenon happiness can be. Some researchers focus on small groups of people to figure out what makes the individual happier, while others investigate the bigger picture of what promotes happiness in countries and nations. One of the leading scientists who has studied both these perspectives is Ed Diener. A pioneer in positive psychology, he crafted a widely used definition of happiness (as “subjective well-being”) that features in a large number of studies and country rankings.
Diener is a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia and the University of Utah, and senior scientist for the Gallup Organization. I had the privilege of interviewing him to talk about what makes individuals and nations happy and the newest developments in happiness research.
According to the food and agriculture organization there are 821 million
people struggling with hunger worldwide. Though more prevalent in
developing countries, it is present even in wealthy nations. The United
States Department of Agriculture reports that 40 million Americans
struggle to feed themselves and their children sufficiently. These
households have difficulty purchasing adequately nutritional food, eat
less frequently, or may even skip meals entirely. To combat food
insufficiency in her community, Cathryn Couch began preparing and
delivering healthy, homegrown, organic vegetarian meals for those in
need. Her effort blossomed into the Ceres Community Project in
California's Marin and Sonoma counties. Offering enlightening
volunteering opportunities to youth and catering to low-income, or
struggling households that don't qualify for other services, the Ceres
Community Project is the beginning of a wave of kindness that is
inspiring other communities thro…
"Elegant simplicity can only be built on the firm foundation of right relationships. Our crises-mental, personal, social, economic, environmental, political, cultural, and religious-- have their origin in disconnection and separation. The moment we see that all things are connected, that we are all related, that everything depends on everything else, we start to see solutions. [...] When all our interactions are embedded in friendships and loving relationships, then we will act from a position of patience, acceptance, tolerance, forgiveness, and generosity." Long-time peace activist Satish Kumar shares more on right relationship in this excerpt from his new book 'Elegant Simplicity.'
This month, more than a dozen wealthy parents will appear in a Boston federal court, accused of using a criminal “side door” to get their kids into prestigious schools. Among those on the U.S. attorney’s star-studded list of indictments are Lori Loughlin, who played Aunt Becky in Fuller House, and Felicity Huffman, a Desperate Housewives regular. These parents bribed coaches with hundreds of thousands of dollars, took fake recruiting photos, and had their kids cheat on tests, all to score admission to schools like Yale, Stanford, and the University of Southern California.
While they might seem irrationally status-obsessed, they’re not outliers. The allure of brand-name schools was strong when I applied to colleges as a teenager. In my competitive high school, it was almost a given that you’d attend the most selective college you could g…
Phil Cass is making a difference in Columbus, Ohio. He describes how
shocked he was to discover that physicians have become the #1 group of
people who commit suicide in the U.S. Working with staff, he remade the
culture of the medical association, and their affiliate corporations,
into a highly participatory culture and spearheaded the creation a free
health care clinic for the uninsured. Over 5,000 Physicians now
volunteer in it. As Cass says, "I do think that a good heart, a strong
heart and a real heart, well positioned--I don't know if it can change
the world, but I know it can change the world around you."
Imagine what it would be like to eat at your favorite restaurant every day. Going there would be exciting at first, but with time it would simply become part of your routine—and you might even get bored with it.
Past research has found that we adapt surprisingly quickly to the good things we get in life, a phenomenon psychologists call hedonic adaptation. Doing something for the first time is likely to make us happier than doing something for the fiftieth time; we get used to it and take it for granted.
But do we adapt in the same way to giving good things to others? Research suggests that people who spend money on someone else experience a larger boost in happiness than people who spend money on themselves, at least in the short term. A recent study in the journal Psychological Science set out to test how the benefits of giving and getting compare over time, as they…
"Report after report documents how--despite more technologies aimed at
connecting people, ideas, and information--people of all ages continue
to experience greater and greater social and personal disconnection.
Why? Well, our body, mind, and spirit can only keep up with so much.
When overloaded, we may disconnect because it all is too much or feels
like it is too much. Disconnecting from our self and our immediate
surroundings may have been a conscious or unconscious strategy from back
in the day that helped us to get through. But if we don't tend to those
circumstances, past and present, and if we don't constantly hone our
ability to remain connected to ourselves, even amid what may feel
untenable, we may unconsciously or consciously disconnect. And
disconnection from ourselves can creep in gradually, stealthily, because
of what we choose to expose ourselves to or happen to be exposed to."
Founder of the Trauma Stewardship Institute Laura van Dernoot sh…
As psychologist Chris Willard often says, our phones can be our greatest enemy or greatest friend. While they can save us time and energy, educate and entertain us, and keep us safe in emergencies, they can also distract us from the things we need in life to stay happy and healthy.
And that distraction is often more than a casual annoyance. That’s because everything from our newsfeeds to our cell phone’s notification style follows proven algorithms that aim to keep us attached. As with slot machines, our phones train us to crave the next exciting, momentary distraction, and get sucked into checking every moment we are bored. Quite literally, phones are designed to fix our attention on the screen, not to promote healthy behavior.
Healthy living today requires defining the time and place for technology. It’s an exercise in self-awareness, because while we have the tools and knowledge to live well, we …
Climate change is destroying many places we love points out Trebbe
Johnson, and while some of us turn away from admitting this, others are
filled with sorrow. But here's what's most difficult: "Many of us are
simply afraid that if we allow ourselves to wade, even for a moment,
into the feelings of sadness for the living world that lap at the edge
of our consciousness, we will find ourselves pulled so ruthlessly into
grief and despair that we will never emerge." So how to grieve wisely
Joanna Rogers Macy is an environmental activist, author, and scholar of
Buddhism, general systems theory, and deep ecology. In this short video
she advises that pain alerts us to what needs attention. Pain is not the
enemy of cheerfulness, but tells us there is suffering. When we face
suffering, our hearts and eyes open to beauty. We are not alone in our
despair and when we have the courage to speak of it, it cracks open so
the love can be found. The key is not being afraid of the pain, not
being afraid of the worlds suffering. If you arent afraid, nothing can