The Serious Pursuit of Happiness – Learn to flourish and thrive so you can live a happy and fulfilling life. http://theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com Wed, 01 Oct 2014 16:50:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Chocolate Helps Health But Does It Bring Happiness? http://theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com/chocolate-helps-health-happiness/ http://theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com/chocolate-helps-health-happiness/#respond Fri, 21 Dec 2012 21:52:58 +0000 http://theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com/?p=405 Yes, chocolate lovers, in addition to boosting our spirits and feelings of happiness (briefly), chocolate has been shown to, in some instances, actually reduce some health risks. A recent study shows that there is a link between more frequent moderate chocolate consumption and lower BMI or body mass index. It can also reduce cardiovascular mortality. […]

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Yes, chocolate lovers, in addition to boosting our spirits and feelings of happiness (briefly), chocolate has been shown to, in some instances, actually reduce some health risks.

A recent study shows that there is a link between more frequent moderate chocolate consumption and lower BMI or body mass index. It can also reduce cardiovascular mortality.

Dark chocolate especially has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease by reducing the levels of blood sugar and bad cholesterol (LDL) and raising levels of good cholesterol (HDL).

So Chocolate tastes good, provides health benefits, and makes us feel happier (at least for the short term).

Sadly for our long-term happiness, chocolate and sugar highs don’t work.

Why?

The feelings don’t last. Inevitably there is some sort of letdown.

We adapt. The more we use something the more we become accustomed to it.

So to find long-term happiness it requires more than chocolate or any other artificial stimulus. It takes the 6 imperatives as described in The Serous Pursuit of Happiness book.

Based on years of study on the psychology of happiness it provide the tools you need to flourish, thrive, and live a happy life at www.theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com.

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What If the Mayans are Wrong – Can You Live a Happy Life? http://theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com/what-if-mayans-wrong-live-a-happy-life/ http://theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com/what-if-mayans-wrong-live-a-happy-life/#respond Mon, 10 Dec 2012 21:51:06 +0000 http://theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com/?p=402 What if the Mayans are wrong? What will you do with the rest of your life? One possibility is to learn everything you need to know to flourish, thrive, and live a happy life! Learn everything you need to know to flourish and thrive at www.theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com.

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What if the Mayans are wrong? What will you do with the rest of your life? One possibility is to learn everything you need to know to flourish, thrive, and live a happy life!

Learn everything you need to know to flourish and thrive at www.theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com.

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Using Willpower To Live A Happy Life http://theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com/willpower-to-live-a-happy-life/ http://theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com/willpower-to-live-a-happy-life/#respond Mon, 03 Dec 2012 21:48:43 +0000 http://theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com/?p=398 Can willpower help you live a happy life? Your willpower is stronger than you think – and it’s more like a muscle than a trait, so you can increase it over time by building it up a little at a time. Learn everything you need to know to flourish and thrive at www.theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com.

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Can willpower help you live a happy life?

Your willpower is stronger than you think – and it’s more like a muscle than a trait, so you can increase it over time by building it up a little at a time.

Learn everything you need to know to flourish and thrive at www.theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com.

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Sleep Matters to Your Health and Happiness http://theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com/sleep-matters-tohealth-happiness/ http://theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com/sleep-matters-tohealth-happiness/#respond Tue, 16 Oct 2012 19:06:47 +0000 http://theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com/?p=369 As if we need another reminder here in our sleep-deprived world (yawn), good sleep is important in promoting good health – and in providing you with the daily foundation for feelings of happiness. A recent study by folks from the University of Chicago has found that, in addition to making us tired and irritable and […]

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As if we need another reminder here in our sleep-deprived world (yawn), good sleep is important in promoting good health – and in providing you with the daily foundation for feelings of happiness.

A recent study by folks from the University of Chicago has found that, in addition to making us tired and irritable and less able to think clearly, too little sleep also plays havoc with our fat cells – which can lead to weight gain and type 2 diabetes. Fascinatingly, sleep deprivation (even for as few as four days in a row which is what they did in the study) increases levels of a hunger hormone and decreases levels of a fullness hormone – leading to overeating and possibly resulting in unwanted weight gains for some.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get 7-9 hours sleep per night…down from the 12-18 hours of sleep we needed as newborns. Please see if you can adjust your daily schedule to sleep more. OK, all for now…I have to get to sleep. And so should you for the sake of your health and your happiness!

Learn everything you need to know to flourish and thrive at www.theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com.

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The Rise of the Religious “Nones” – What It Might Mean To YOUR Happiness! http://theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com/religious-nones-means-to-happiness/ http://theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com/religious-nones-means-to-happiness/#respond Tue, 09 Oct 2012 19:14:04 +0000 http://theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com/?p=374 Could the rise of religious “Nones” affect happiness? What do I mean by the “Nones?” That was my first question when I was reading about a recent study by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. The “Nones” are those folks with no religious affiliation – and they are on the rise! In this […]

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Could the rise of religious “Nones” affect happiness?

What do I mean by the “Nones?” That was my first question when I was reading about a recent study by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. The “Nones” are those folks with no religious affiliation – and they are on the rise!

In this study, the “Nones” now make up just under 20% of people in the US. And there are other changes as well. In 1960, 2/3s of Americans were Protestant – both evangelical and mainline. Now, just 48%. When it comes to specific denominations, the “Nones” (at 20%) are now our nation’s second-largest category after Catholics (22%) – and outnumber the top Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptists, who rank 3rd. And, 32% of the “Nones” are under age 30 and unlikely to claim a religion as they age.

Today’s Millenials are more unaffiliated than any other young generations has ever been when they were younger.

So, what does this have to do with your potential for happiness?

Well, that’s the question for us here, isn’t it? Aside from the potential political ramifications, the fact that our religious organizations are playing a less significant role in American life might mean that, for some, the proven path to a happier life that is made up of some form of spirituality – in this case, the route of organized religion – might be becoming less available as religion falls out of favor. And, since religious beliefs have often formed the basis of many people’s values and beliefs and tenets about what kind of person they should aspire to be, this may also lessen the learning of and frequent practice of certain morally upright ways of thinking and acting which could risk our good character-formation opportunities. And, being a good person of good character is one of the most lasting strategies – indeed, a permanent strategy – to live a happier and more fulfilled life. So, if this is you, you might want to consider joining some secular group that shares your values and beliefs or revving up your own secular set of personal beliefs so you can still have the opportunity to have your spirits be buoyed by your spirituality. Up to you, of course – not every proven strategy for joy is right for all!

Learn everything you need to know to flourish and thrive at www.theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com.

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Your Character Matters When Finding Happiness http://theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com/your-character-matters-finding-happiness/ http://theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com/your-character-matters-finding-happiness/#respond Sun, 30 Sep 2012 19:15:09 +0000 http://theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com/?p=377 A new book (The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty) and study by Dan Ariely who teaches behavioral economics at Duke University sheds light on cheating, a character-diminishing behavior if ever there was one. It turns out that we humans cheat right up to the level that allows us to retain our self image as a reasonably […]

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A new book (The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty) and study by Dan Ariely who teaches behavioral economics at Duke University sheds light on cheating, a character-diminishing behavior if ever there was one. It turns out that we humans cheat right up to the level that allows us to retain our self image as a reasonably honest person. That is, we want to see ourselves as honorable, but also want to benefit from cheating – especially if we see others around us cheating. Cheating actually may be contagious. We know happiness is contagious – and so is obesity and smoking cessation – since they all spread throughout our social networks. And researchers say, when others around us cheat, we may recalibrate our internal moral compass and adopt others’ behavior – cheating – as our own. The researchers also found people tend to cheat more when tired or angry and, if they tell the same lies for a while, they may tend to believe them. So, what to do?

As Andre Malraux said:  “Character is Fate.” And, if you’ve read my book (and even if you haven’t), you already know that being a good person of high moral character is one of the most-lasting ways to permanently increase your overall well-being and happiness in your life. So, how do you resist cheating? Several ways are presented:  1. Stop cheating before it balloons to unmanageable levels, 2. Either use organized religion’s rites to help you reset your ethical compass (e.g. confession or Yom Kippur or Ramadan), or create your own secular version, and, 3. Hold honest people up as examples. Or, better yet both for your character and for your happiness: BE the example of a person who does the right thing!

Learn everything you need to know to flourish and thrive at www.theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com.

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Morning People are Happier and Healthier http://theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com/morning-people-are-happier-and-healthier/ http://theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com/morning-people-are-happier-and-healthier/#respond Wed, 08 Aug 2012 19:15:54 +0000 http://theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com/?p=381 Even though it’s afternoon as I’m writing this, a recent study from the University of Toronto suggests that “morning people” (you know who they are – the ones who function and feel best in the morning) reported being happier and healthier than the “night owls” in the study. Roy Baumeister of Floridy State university concurs, saying […]

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Even though it’s afternoon as I’m writing this, a recent study from the University of Toronto suggests that “morning people” (you know who they are – the ones who function and feel best in the morning) reported being happier and healthier than the “night owls” in the study.

Roy Baumeister of Floridy State university concurs, saying that, for most people, self control, discipline, willpower, and decision-making depend on our body’s basic supply of energy – and it’s highest in the morning and decreases by later in the day because we’ve used it for other things.

Many theories abound to explain this phenomenon:  biological clocks of “night owls” are out-of-synch with the normal day’s social clock and daily routines of school, work, family schedules or maybe the extra morning light gives those early risers a boost. No matter what the reason, even if you swear by being a “night owl,” you might want to try going over to the “light side” and see if your health and happiness can benefit! Maybe this would have been better if I had written it in the morning? It’s possible!

Learn everything you need to know to flourish and thrive at www.theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com.

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The Psychology of Obesity and Its Affect on Happiness http://theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com/psychology-of-obesity-affects-happiness/ http://theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com/psychology-of-obesity-affects-happiness/#respond Thu, 02 Aug 2012 19:16:55 +0000 http://theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com/?p=384 Can the psychology of obesity impact your happiness? As you probably are aware, we here in the USA are in the midst of an epidemic of obesity. The causes are many, and the solutions are fragmented at best.And, the psychology of WHY Americans are eating more than they used to – the psychology of eating […]

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Can the psychology of obesity impact your happiness?

As you probably are aware, we here in the USA are in the midst of an epidemic of obesity. The causes are many, and the solutions are fragmented at best.And, the psychology of WHY Americans are eating more than they used to – the psychology of eating – is trying to help find answers.

More than 1/3 of adults in the US are considered obese – including almost 20% of teens and kids.

The reasons are many:  food is everywhere at any time, we’ve been retrained to think large portions, eating throughout the day and late at night and in the car is acceptable – and, at the same time we’re eating more, we are less physically active. A deadly combination.

One additional factor postulated is the rise of mentally-involved tasks having to do with computers and technology, so that we’re on cognitive overload. This may wear out our self-control to resist food temptations – and we use food both as a fuel to recharge and a reward.

There is also the “buffet effect” where we eat more when presented with 50 different kinds of food instead of just a few.

Also, some research suggests that food addiction may be real since certain food cues have been demonstrated to activate the same brain areas as do drugs or alcohol for those addicted to them.

Whatever the situation, people who are obese face stigmatism continuously and in many ways in a culture that values thinness and fitness. And this stigma, while it may help motivate weight loss, may also lead to unhealthy behaviors like binge eating and, in addition to the health risks, also put the obese at increased risk for depression, anxiety, poor body image, low self-esteem, and, tragically, even suicide.

Even just the lack of self-control over your eating can diminish your happiness, since exerting self-control over your life in one intentional happiness-increasing strategy. Not exactly a recipe for joy and happiness – but, at least, psychology has joined the medical community to take on this huge public health challenge. More will be revealed.

Learn everything you need to know to flourish and thrive at www.theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com.

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A Gross National Happiness Index? http://theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com/a-gross-national-happiness-index/ http://theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com/a-gross-national-happiness-index/#respond Thu, 31 May 2012 19:17:45 +0000 http://theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com/?p=387 The global happiness movement now has a federally-funded panel to study whether we should use something like a Gross National Happiness Index to measure prosperity in addition to just using the traditional GDP (Gross Domestic Product). One reason for this interest is the paradox that exists at least here in the USA:  since 1972, over the past 40 years, […]

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The global happiness movement now has a federally-funded panel to study whether we should use something like a Gross National Happiness Index to measure prosperity in addition to just using the traditional GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

One reason for this interest is the paradox that exists at least here in the USA:  since 1972, over the past 40 years, US wealth per capita has tripled (at least until the past few years), but the Gallup and other polls indicate that Americans may not be any happier. It seems that happiness plateaus at about the $75,000 per year income level in the USA and, after that, additional income doesn’t translate well into additional joy.

In addition, the Gallup World Poll indicates that Denmark, Finland, and Norway are the top three happiest countries – and the USA is ranked eleventh now. So, in spite of critics and skeptics, cities in the US (Seattle, WA, Eau Claire, WI, Nevada City, CA, Somerville, MA) and countries around the globe (UK, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, New Zealand, South Korea) – even the United Nations – are looking for a broader index that would more adequately reflect people’s well-being.

The tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has had a Gross National Happiness Index since 1972. This groundswell of interest really moved into full swing in September, 2009, when Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist led a panel that concluded:  “the time is ripe…to shift emphasis from measuring economic production to measuring people’s well-being.” Not everyone agrees, but that goes beyond our purposes here.

Using Happiness Strategies

For you, individually, these developments could perhaps be an opportunity to reevaluate your priorities about what you think will make your happy? Certainly, poverty, fame, and fortune have failed – all you have to do is look around – so what is the answer?

The idea that an index can help measure happiness and help determine policy has merit, but doesn’t tell you what to do in your individual life. The good news is research also has shown you the way:  the serious pursuit of happiness is an active pursuit and an outcome from living your life in certain ways – intentionally thinking and acting in happiness-increasing ways, becoming a better person of high moral character, investing in building strong, loving relationships with family, friends, colleagues at home, at school, at work, and making your unique contribution to the world maximizing your special skills and talents to make the world a better place for you having lived here. These are the imperatives you need to emphasize in your life – and sustainable happiness can be your reward!

Learn everything you need to know to flourish and thrive at www.theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com.

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Moving More, But Not Enough – Take A Walk For Happiness http://theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com/moving-more-but-not-enough-walk-for-happiness/ http://theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com/moving-more-but-not-enough-walk-for-happiness/#respond Fri, 30 Mar 2012 19:18:19 +0000 http://theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com/?p=390 When it comes to improving our health and increasing our feelings of happiness and positive emotion, moving more is one sure-fire way to do so. And, according to a 2010 National Health Interview Survey, as with so many things in life, there is the “good news” and the “not so good news.” The “good news” […]

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When it comes to improving our health and increasing our feelings of happiness and positive emotion, moving more is one sure-fire way to do so. And, according to a 2010 National Health Interview Survey, as with so many things in life, there is the “good news” and the “not so good news.”

The “good news” is that in 2010, more people are walking regularly. 62% of adults say they walked at least once for 10 minutes or more in the past week, up from 56% in 2005. And, since walking is one of the easiest and most accessible to move more, that’s good news!

But there is still room for improvement:  half of adults are NOT getting enough physical activity including fully 1/3 who report being inactive. In another National Cancer Institute study, fewer that 5% of adults were meeting the recommendations for physical activity.

Take a Walk For Happiness

Currently, the US government recommends that, health permitting, adults should try to get 2 ½ hours of moderate-intensity physical activity a week (like brisk walking) or 1 ¼ hours of aerobic activity (like jogging or swimming) or a combination of the two. For best results, activity should be done at least 10 minutes at a time.

So, of course check with your doctor before beginning any physical activity regimen, and see what you can do to intentionally plan your week so you can find time to “move more.” Your health and your happiness will be your “thank you!” Have to go walk now! Maybe I should learn how to type and walk at the same time?

Learn everything you need to know to flourish and thrive at www.theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com.

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