Tag Archives: Happiness

Once Upon a Time Syndrome

Rainbow Castle

The best castle anywhere… ever.

There was probably a time in your past that you fantasized about being exactly where you are now.  Isn’t that strange?  At least in the West, us human beings have a bad habit of spending a lot of time focused on our future and our past, and not nearly enough time just enjoying the present.  The thing is, the future never looks exactly like you planned, and the past is unreachable and, as a result, we often romanticize it.

Stop and think for a moment, can you remember a time in your past that you wanted to be where you are today?  Maybe when you couldn’t wait to `grow up,’ or you couldn’t wait to be done with school, or you couldn’t wait until you got your first job, got married, or bought a house.

Think about that.  As children we are much better at living in the moment, and yet we still spend some of our precious youth fantasizing about how great it will be when we’re older.   This happens, even though life is as simple and enjoyable as a child as it ever will be.  And now you’re all grown up (presumably) and have some or all of those things you wanted, and what are you doing?  Are you living in the present and enjoying your accomplishments?

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Do You Realize?

Have you ever listened to The Flaming Lips?  You should.  In particular, this song is really good.

The message in this song is really simple and pure.  Spend time with your loved ones while you can, because you only have them on loan.  Also, the following line is one of my favorites,

Instead of saying all of your goodbyes, let them know you realize that life goes fast.  It’s hard to make the good things last.  You realize the sun doesn’t go down, it’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning ’round.

The way you frame your thoughts matters, as we’ve already discussed on this blog.  In a very real way, you control the reality in which you live.  Framing your thoughts in a positive way whenever possible goes a long way toward making a happier experience.

So just a friendly neighborhood reminder: appreciate your loved ones while you have them, and remember things are very rarely as bad as they seem.

Happiness and Money

I was cruising the internet the other day and came across this infographic from noomi.com.   It says everything so clearly that I see no need to elaborate really.  Essentially money does buy happiness when you need it for basic needs (food, shelter, etc.) and some small luxuries.  But after you get to a certain income level, money stops making you happy.  The good news if you’re rich is that you can also raise your happiness levels by spending money judiciously.  Read on…

Money-Happiness-Infographic

Infographic courtesy of noomi.com

I would guess that the $75,000/yr income threshold is actually lower for people who have substantial savings, too.

There you have it.  It’s science.  Money isn’t happiness, but it helps in the beginning.

Grateful for my Busy May

rearview mirror

Whew!  This month has been a whirlwind.  As I mentioned in my last post, this month was very busy for me.  The first weekend I went to a wedding (18 hours roundtrip on the road).  I’ve known the groom since high school and we were roommates for two years in college.  The second weekend me and my fiancee (yep, I’m engaged! A post on this is forthcoming) went to her brother’s graduation (10 hours round trip on the road).  The following weekend started our 6 day beach vacation (7 hours one way).  After the beach, we went straight to a conference where I was giving a presentation (8 and a half hours one way).  Then after a few days, came back home (9 hours one way).  So after a month filled with more than 52.5 hours on the road, you may be wondering at the title of this post.

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Spend Less Than You Earn and Get Out of Debt

Dolla' dolla' billz, y'all

Dolla’ dolla’ billz, y’all

Money issues are the source of a lot of our stress and problems.  Especially if you have joint finances with a spouse.  Here’s an article from the New York Times with research that suggests what everyone with a brain already knows: finance-related tensions raise the risk of divorce.  Here’s one from About.com’s ‘Divorce Support’ section that lists “Economic Tensions” as one of only four valid reasons to divorce your spouse.

But even if you aren’t married and worried about someone else, money is still a big stressor for most of us.  In this article I’m going to offer you some good advice that also happens to be common sense.  I know that in some circles it’s rude to talk about money, and it can be a touchy subject, but (unless you have oodles and oodles of money) having a financial plan is absolutely required for long-term happiness, so here goes.

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Self-fulfilling Prophecies

Fortune Teller

Photo Credit – vjeran2001

From Wikipedia,

“A self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true, by the very terms of the prophecy itself, due to positive feedback between belief and behavior.

In other words, a positive or negative prophecy, strongly held belief, or delusion – declared as truth when it is actually false – may sufficiently influence people so that their reactions ultimately fulfill the once-false prophecy.”

Pretty interesting.  I remember the first time I ever heard of this phenomenon.  I was a psychology minor in college, because I find psychology really interesting and it helped break up my science-heavy major classes.  One of the classes I took was called “The Psychology of Close Relationships.”  One day in class we had a big discussion about how our expectations are self-fulfilling prophecies.  In other words, if you think something will happen, then you subconsciously act in a way that encourages that thing to happen.

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