Happiness

The 4 Secret Ingredients for a Truly Happy Life


Be sure you have what it takes to cook up your own delicious life.

Although the definition of "a truly happy life" is relative, we all want it. Does truly happy ever seem like a far-fetched thought, or a rigged carnival game that keeps you striving for an unattainable prize? Maybe you just get one area of your life smoothed out and another area starts to wobble. It can be a constant battle and that's not how anyone wants to live.

Here's the deal... happiness is a recipe and you’re simply missing some key ingredients.
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Family

Handling New Responsibilities

At some point in time, we all face new and challenging responsibilities. It may be for work, for our family, or even for the sake of living on this planet with 7 billion other people.

These responsibilities can encompass small everyday things -- brushing our teeth, putting on clean clothes, taking showers, or eating dinner -- or special occasions -- buying gifts and sending thank you notes to loved ones on their birthdays. They can be boring and tedious like finishing up a report for work or attending that meeting that you really don’t want to go to.

The point is we all face responsibilities we’d rather not. The alarm goes off in the morning and we're filled with hesitation.
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Books

3 Ways You Might Be Making Yourself Miserable

There are many things that make us miserable that we can’t control. Our employer is forced to make cuts, and our job is part of the downsizing. Our colleagues are bullies. We’re born with a bad lung or poor eyesight. We’re too short for the sports team we’ve always wanted to join. There’s traffic, construction zones, storms, and a driver who was texting and smacked into your parked car.

But thankfully there are other...
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Happiness

5 Ways to Weather the Storm and Find Lasting Peace

"You can find peace amidst the storms that threaten you." -- Joseph B. Wirthlin
Does your mind ever feel like a tornado of whirling thoughts? And when that happens, do you wish for inner peace?

Well, not too long ago, after I quit my corporate job, I was stuck in that exact position. I realized that the degrees I earned and the jobs I chose made me miserable.

My inner chatter became unbearable, and my self-sabotaging, pestering thoughts sparked anxiety attacks, jitters, and nightmares. That forced me to go into therapy.
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Brain and Behavior

The Key to Success? Not Comparing Yourself to Others

The grass is always greener. I’ve been there, scrolling through newsfeeds on social media, talking to friends, seeing successful people all over the place. That's when the feeling starts to creep in that I’m not good enough, that I’m not motivated enough, that I need to do better.

It seems like we focus on the people who appear to be doing better than we are, instead of focusing on ourselves or those who may be struggling the most.

I think, "If I could just do what that guy is doing I’d have enough money to buy a house, to live comfortably for the rest of my days, and my worries would be over."
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Habits

Are You Clutter-Blind? Or Do You Know Someone Who Is?

One thing that continues to surprise me about the nature of good habits and happiness is the degree to which, for most people, outer order contributes to inner calm. More, really, than it should.

In the context of life of a happy life, something like a crowded coat closet or an overflowing in-box seems trivial -- and it is trivial -- and yet I find that I get a disproportionate charge of energy and good cheer from clearing clutter. An orderly environment makes me feel more in control of my life, and if this is an illusion, it’s a helpful illusion.
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Aging

All the Single Ladies — What’s Going On?

“So what’s the secret for getting a good marriage? asked my friend Ellen.

“Choose wisely and learn what it takes to stay happily married,” I blurted out. Yet many of us first need to believe that we can succeed in marriage.

It’s strange, when you think about it, how little planning is typically undertaken when it comes to decisions about marriage. Do romance and planning sound like concepts that don’t belong in the same sentence? In fact, both are needed for a good marriage.

Why shouldn’t planning happen?
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Happiness

3 Tips to Worry Less

I worry to some extent, of course, but I don’t think I worry as much as a lot of people. Many people worry about how much they worry!

The New York Times recently had an interesting article by Roni Caryn Rabin titled “Worried? You’re Not Alone.” In it, Rabin points out several intriguing findings in a Liberty Mutual Insurance research paper, the “Worry Less Report.” Apparently Millennials worry about money. Single people worry about housing (and money). People worry less as they grow older.

Some people -- for instance, like my sister Elizabeth -- feel that if they do worry about something, they’ll somehow prevent a bad thing from happening. Rabin points out, very sensibly, “Researchers say this notion is reinforced by the fact that we tend to worry about rare event, like plane crashes, and are reassured when they don’t happen, but we worry less about common events, like car accidents.”
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Happiness

7 Ways Knowing Yourself Leads to More Happiness


You need to know yourself a little better.

Who are you when no one sees you? When you have an opportunity to spend time alone, how do you fill that time? Just as importantly, what do you leave out?

When you know yourself well, you can answer these questions easily. When you don’t understand yourself, not only are the questions more difficult, days drift together rather than develop with a sense of organization and purpose.

So how do you know yourself better at any age? Tune in to your core.
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General

Identifying How You’d Like to Spend Your Days

I recently penned a piece about the importance of being selective. Because the reality is that we can’t do everything. Our time is limited. And trying to do everything only stops us from focusing on what matters most (to us). It overshadows it. One day might run into the next, and before we know it, a week has flown by. And yet we feel empty and unfulfilled. We feel aimless.

This might be because we’re unclear about what is actually significant to us. We might not know our priorities. Maybe we’ve been so busy focusing on the minutiae -- checking off random tasks and chores -- that we’ve neglected the bigger picture. Maybe we’ve been so busy following other people’s definitions of success and productivity and meaning that we’ve neglected to consider what feels true and right for us.

These questions can help you name what’s important to you and discover how you’d like to spend your days.
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General

How Quitting Facebook Helped My Mental Health

About a year ago, I quit Facebook. It had become a place for me to experience disappointment and agitation. Distant relatives whom I hadn't seen in years were messaging me for favors. The presidential election was gearing up and people were getting very vocal about politics. And some of my best friends were dropping out of the site or not sharing anything anymore.

I decided it was time to close my account and do something more positive with my time. It was hard to break the habit, but there was much to be gained.
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Books

Living a Life by Design Instead of by Default

Some days, or maybe most days, you might feel like a passenger in the backseat of your own car. You are being driven to destinations you don’t want to go by a driver you didn’t pick. You feel stretched too thin. You are exhausted. You feel overwhelmed. You are attending events you’d rather not attend. Your to-do list is filled with tasks you don’t want to do. And the things you do want to do? Somehow those aren’t on the list.

This might mean that you're living life by default, not by design.

Thankfully, this is something you can change. In his eye-opening book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, author Greg McKeown shares valuable tips on how we can start living (and working) by design. Essentialism is pursuing less and better (versus trying to get everything done). It is constantly asking the question: “Am I investing in the right activities?” And by "right," he means whatever is essential to you. It is being deliberate and thoughtful about our days.
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