Steps toward a Happier Life

Here are a few take away’s from my informal happiness research, I plan to focus on one of these each day to improve my level of happiness and links to a related TED Talk video:

1. Accept that everyone struggles with being happy because of the natural human behavior effects, discussed below.  It’s not just me.OK happy face_full

2. Our memories directly effect our happiness, and focusing on happy memories or the positive aspects of an event will impact my emotions now and in the future.  Anything I can do to have an event end on a positive note will improve my emotion of that event, and taking time to reflect on the positive aspects of the event will improve the status of my memory of the event.  Dan Kahneman

3. Too much choice causes stress: choice of where to live, what job to have, who to marry and when, should we have kids and when, what to achieve…  Keep it simple.  Barry Schwartz

4. Happiness is based on comparing our current situation to some expectation.  Consider if the expectation is reasonable, and separately consider to what degree the expectation is helpful to have.  Even better is when we can tell ourselves that the things we have give us happiness.  Dan Gilbert

5. Keep a calm mind, to calm my mind I need to slow down and focus on one thing at a time.

6. Do something nice for someone.  Buy them a coffee, tell them a joke, give a sincere compliment.  Michael Norton

7. Love what I do by focusing on the good it provides.  Everyone contributes to society in some way, performing a task that we don’t have time or knowledge to perform.   Skilled labor is just as valuable as CEO’s.  Mike Rowe

8. Remind myself of my priorities, and try to avoid taking on too much.  I am too easily distracted by many different interests.

9.  Being Thankful.  Thank people for all the ways they contribute to my life and experience.  Science of Happiness webpage, this article by  Mike Robbins, or see tips and ideas about creating a gratitude journalDavid Standl-Rast, or check out the The Gratitude Experiment video.

10.  Make believe is a wonderful thing.  Play is a wonderful thing.


The Wisdom of Music

I just discovered this song by Sheryl Crow and it has so much meaning to me right now.  Watching events in Syria, Egypt, Pakistan, Kenya, …  also What It’s Like by Everclear has a a lot of meaning for me these days.

Lyrics to Redemption Day

I’ve wept for those who suffer long
But how I weep for those who’ve gone
In rooms of grief and questioned wrong
But keep on killing

It’s in the soul to feel such things
But weak to watch without speaking
Oh, what mercy sadness brings
If God be willing

There is a train that’s heading straight
To heaven’s gate, to heaven’s gate
And on the way child and man and woman wait
Watch and wait for redemption day

Fire rages in the streets
And swallows everything it meets
It’s just an image often seen on television

Come leaders, come you men of great
Let us hear you pontificate
Your many virtues laid to waste
And we aren’t listening

There is a train that’s heading straight
To heaven’s gate, to heaven’s gate
And on the way child and man and woman wait
Watch and wait for redemption day

What do you have for us today?
Throw us a bone but save the plate
Oh, why we waited ’til so late
Was there no oil to excavate?

No riches in trade for the fate
Of every person who died in hate
Throw us a bone, you men of great

There is a train that’s heading straight
To heaven’s gate, to heaven’s gate
And on the way child and man and woman wait
Watch and wait for redemption day

It’s buried in the countryside
Exploding in the shells at night
It’s everywhere a baby cries
Freedom, freedom, freedom

Gotta love this cover of Imagine by John Lennon

Facebook could be the answer for “Peace in the Middle East”?

It’s amazing how people are improving major problems in the world.

  • ViolenceRonny Edry is a graphic designer who is using Facebook to to spread love between Israel and Iran, but it has now spread to all nations around the world.  Just as violence begets more violence, we learn how Love can be spread as well, and multiplied.
  • EducationbuildOn is teaching kids in the US how to make a difference in the world and building schools in the most remote locations where the lack of education leads to extreme poverty.
  • Domestic Violence and Women’s Rights: the book and documentary Half the Sky gives a detailed view if education, violence, and sexual issues women face around the world, but also shows the local programs and support networks being developed by those same people suffering from the abuse.
  • Child Abuse: the Children’s Trust Fund in Massachusetts is focused on supporting families and parental development as a means to stop child abuse, we have to stop the cycle.