I don’t want your bling, I just want some of your time

Monday, 4 May, 2015

Turning up, or being here, or more precisely, taking the time to turn up, or be there, is giving someone far more than you could possibly imagine, after all, what else is scarcer than time?

Simply turning up, ringing up, listening and being there is now the biggest compliment you can ever pay anyone. I remember one guest famously saying when asked whether he had bought a present for a celebrity’s birthday, “I’m here, that’s enough isn’t it?” It is. The next time someone turns up on your doorstep give them a big hug and say “Thanks”. Time. The most valuable asset on earth and the most generous of gifts. Give it, waste it, use it or lose it.

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People are generally happier in cooler countries, is that a surprise?

Friday, 1 May, 2015

Sunshine and warm temperatures. Two vital elements, together with a job paying a salary of seventy thousand dollars, for a happy life?

Don’t be so sure, says this year’s World Happiness Report, people resident in places with cooler climes, seem to be more content than those in warmer regions.

According to its ranking, the 10 happiest countries are Switzerland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Canada, Finland, Netherlands, Sweden, New Zealand, and Australia. Except for war-torn Syria and Afghanistan, the 10 unhappiest countries are all in Saharan or sub-Saharan Africa.

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You might just live happily ever after if you win big in the lottery

Friday, 3 April, 2015

It has always been said that those who win big lottery prizes tend to end up miserable. I’ve always had trouble making that compute though. If you struck it lucky, and sought sound financial advice, surely you’d end up far better off than you might have been before?

Now it turns out these sorts of pessimistic conclusions were based on incomplete research, often carried over a relatively short period of time. A large windfall can in fact make a positive difference to your life, as you’d surely expect it to.

The curse of the lottery was further debunked in a survey of more than 400 Swedish lottery winners by Anna Hedenus, a sociologist at the University of Gothenburg. She found that most winners refrained from splurging, preferring to save or invest the prize money, and that most reported being quite content. “The story about the unhappy, squandering winner primarily functions as a cautionary tale,” Dr. Hedenus says. “But this is not the common reaction to the lottery windfall.”

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When life’s complete, but there’s something missing still

Thursday, 5 March, 2015

Getting out of a bad place, some thoughts from New Zealand based programmer, writer, and entrepreneur, among other things, Derek Sivers. With a to-do list that’s been weighing a tad too heavily in recent times, I’m finding this to be good stuff:

When I’m upset, I don’t feel like doing anything but wallowing in it. But despite feeling that way, I brush, floss, go to the gym, make healthy meals, take the kid out to play, do the dishes, clean the house, pick up clutter, vacuum, pay my bills, answer my emails, take my vitamins, do the laundry, play with the kid some more, brush and floss again, turn off the computer early, turn off the phone, and get to bed early. It’s so mundane, but it really helps to feel on top of things. Things in life well-sorted so I don’t need to worry about them.

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Happiness is a skill, not something that might just happen

Tuesday, 24 February, 2015

To be happy, you have to work at being happy, you have to become skilled in being happy, this from gaming website Polygon:

I’ve often heard that happiness is a skill, not a feeling, and I realized how little time I was spending working on the skill of happiness, while waiting passively for the feeling to reach me.

And then there’s this:

If you have a large family or simply many obligations in life – and this is just about everyone – setting concrete, workable goals for what games you want to play or books you want to read and chipping away at the list in an organized manner may make a huge difference in how you approach your free time. These things became fun again, instead of feeling like obligations that waited for me at the end of every day.

Listing out everything you need to do, and almost rationing time to action said objectives, may not result in a life that’s particularly spontaneous, but it is about the only way to do everything. But don’t worry about that lack of spontaneity, we live in far too chaotic a universe for there to be a great many dull moments.

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All things in moderation, including anxiety

Thursday, 19 February, 2015

As if we could avoid it… anxiety, however, or a certain, limited I would think, amount of it, can be beneficial, it seems:

This picture of anxiety as a dark and pernicious force certainly has illustrious supporters. Even so, I believe that it is mistaken. It goes against the grain to say this, but anxiety can be a good thing. Indeed, I hope to persuade you that it is central to our ability to successfully navigate moral and social life. I won’t go as far as to say that we need more of it, but we should cultivate it. Worry is important; we should get it right.

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Expressive writing may be the key to a happier life story

Monday, 2 February, 2015

If you one, enjoy writing, and two, aren’t totally happy with the way things are, you could try re-writing your life story, adding a more positive slant in the process.

The concept is based on the idea that we all have a personal narrative that shapes our view of the world and ourselves. But sometimes our inner voice doesn’t get it completely right. Some researchers believe that by writing and then editing our own stories, we can change our perceptions of ourselves and identify obstacles that stand in the way of better health. It may sound like self-help nonsense, but research suggests the effects are real.

There appears to be some… method to this method, might this be another way of applying some positive thinking?

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Dangerous sex positions… say what?

Friday, 30 January, 2015

Holy moly… it seems some sex positions are more dangerous than others. I would think that some of what we see in, say, the Kama Sutra might be asking for trouble, but the four that have been identified here, are just a little more day to day, as it were. Linked in the interests of keeping everyone out there safe and happy…

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The three Fs of tooth care, floss, floss, and floss

Wednesday, 28 January, 2015

I hope my dentist sees me posting this… if you’ve decided you want to take better care of your teeth, then you ought to read this.

The main standouts though are to floss daily, and, somewhat surprisingly to me at least, not to brush your teeth in the shower. I can’t say I’ve known, or even heard of, anyone who does that, but I guess there’s a first time for everything.

Experts think the issue is underlying inflammation that can set off a chain of reactions capable of damaging the body’s normal functioning – which isn’t good even if you’re NOT trying to be a parent. (Bacteria that flourish in an unhealthy mouth can lead to heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and respiratory illness, research suggests.) A toothbrush’s bristles can’t adequately clean between the teeth or under the gums – but you already know that. What you probably don’t know is the correct way to floss (and you need to be doing it every day).

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On public speaking and anxiety disorders

Tuesday, 27 January, 2015

The prospect of speaking in public is probably enough to unsettle the best of us, but how does someone with an anxiety disorder manage? Scott Stossel, writing for The Alantic, outlines his preparations ahead of a speaking engagement.

Four hours or so ago, I took my first half milligram of Xanax. (I’ve learned that if I wait too long to take it, my fight-or-flight response kicks so far into overdrive that medication is not enough to yank it back.) Then, about an hour ago, I took my second half milligram of Xanax and perhaps 20 milligrams of Inderal. (I need the whole milligram of Xanax plus the Inderal, which is a blood-pressure medication, or beta-blocker, that dampens the response of the sympathetic nervous system, to keep my physiological responses to the anxious stimulus of standing in front of you – the sweating, trembling, nausea, burping, stomach cramps, and constriction in my throat and chest – from overwhelming me.) I likely washed those pills down with a shot of scotch or, more likely, vodka, the odor of which is less detectable on my breath.

How daunting is that? I may dread public speaking, but thankfully I don’t have to deal with an anxiety disorder.

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