Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!

Archive for January 24, 2014

A Checklist for Making Happy Decisions about Spending Your Time, Energy, and Money

We all have to make decisions about how to spend our precious time, energy, and money.

Because of my happiness project, I now explicitly ask myself, “Will this decision make me happier?

I consider:

1. Is this decision likely to strengthen my relationships with other people? Strong relationships with other people are a keythe key—to happiness, so decisions that help me build or strengthen ties are likely to boost my happiness. Yes, it’s a hassle and an expense to go to my college reunion, but it’s likely to have a big happiness pay-off.

2. Will this decision provide me with novelty and challenge? Novelty and challenge make me happier—but they also make me feel insecure, intimidated, frustrated, and stupid. To get past that hurdle, I remind myself that in the end, I usually get a big shot of happiness. When I considered adding video to my site, I reminded myself that the process of mastering the process would likely make me happier. And it has.

3. What is the opportunity cost of this decision? (“Opportunity cost” describes that fact that doing one thing means foregoing alternatives.) Energy, time, and money are limited. Even if a decision would bring happiness, if it means that I have to give up the opportunity to do many other happiness-boosting activities, it may not be worth it. I could dedicate many hours to learning about classical music, and in the end, I might enjoy classical music more, but that activity would crowd out too many other things that I want to do more. Like read children’s literature.

4. Does this decision help me obey my personal commandment to Be Gretchen? I want to shape my life to reflect my temperament, interests, and values. I ask myself: Am I making this decision to “Be Gretchen,” or because I want to impress other people, pretend that I’m different from the person I actually am, or deny a truth about myself?

5. When I consider a particular course of action, do I feel energized or drained? InHappier at Home, I write about how I conquered my fear of driving. I dreaded doing this, but I was also energized by the thought of tackling this nagging worry.

6. How happy are the people who have made that particular decision? In Daniel Gilbert’s book Stumbling on Happiness, he argues that the most effective way to judge whether a particular course of action will make you happy in the future is to ask people who are following that course of action right now if they’re happy, and assume that you’ll feel the same way. Going on a family trip to DisneyWorld. Getting a hamster. Learning to usePinterest. Working as a paralegal. Volunteering. In evaluating the likely consequences of a decision, other people’s experiences of happiness—or lack thereof—can be very instructive for me.

7. I remind myself to “Choose the bigger life.” People will make different decisions about what the “bigger life” would be, but when I ask myself that question, it always helps me see the right answer, for myself.

This consideration might help answer questions, big and small, such as:

  • Should I buy a tent?
  • Should I organize a party?
  • Should I go to medical school?
  • Should I have a baby?
  • Should I buy a new kitchen table?
  • Should I sign up for Spanish lessons?
  • Should I get a dog?

There’s no right answer or wrong answer — only the right answer for me.

How about you? Have you developed questions for yourself, or other strategies, to help make wise decisions?

For more on this subject, check out The Happiness Project.

I love book clubs — I’m in four book groups myself. If you’re reading Happier at Home or The Happiness Project in a book group, email me for the one-page discussion guide. Or if you’re reading them in a spirituality book group, Bible study group, or the like, email me for the spirituality discussion guide.

By Gretchen Rubin

http://www.gretchenrubin.com

Photo: richardsmith155, Flickr

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Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today! I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

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5 Smells That Make You Kinder, Happier, Nicer

5 Smells That Make You Kinder, Happier, Nicer

Cinnabon knows what it’s doing. The smell of baking bread can make us kinder, says a study from Journal of Social Psychology by scientists from the University of Southern Brittany in France.

Wanting to test the notion that smells can influence behavior, the scientists had eight young men and women stand outside either a bakery or a clothing store, says the Independent. The participants were instructed to pretend to be searching for something in their bags and then drop an object (a glove, a handkerchief) while walking in front of a stranger.

People stopped to pick up the object about 77 percent of the time in front of the bakery, versus 52 percent of the time outside the clothing store, according to the researchers who observed the proceedings from some 60 feet away.

Eight participants is a small number but the scientists did repeat the experiment some 400 times, notes the Daily Mail. From their observations, they state that

“Our results show that, in general, spontaneous help is offered more in areas where pleasant ambient smells are spread.”

“This experiment confirms the role of ambient food odours on altruism.”

One wonders at possible practical applications of this study. Could the answer to us all getting along, dealing with anger management, turning the other cheek for each other and so forth — to nothing other than world peace! — be to waft the scent of bread baking around?

While contemplating such, here are four more smells that have been found to lift up our spirits.

Peppermint

Pepper-mint

Researchers from Wheeling Jesuit University found that the smell of peppermint boosted both mood and motivation in competitive athletes by making them run faster, do more push-ups and squeeze a hand grip harder.

Spice Apple

Best Apples for Baking

The smell of American spice apple has been found to help reduce blood pressure. Perhaps that’s why a cup of warm apple cider seems so inviting, not to mention the smell of an apple pie baking?

Lavender

Lavender hill mob

No wonder some refer to this smell as nature’s own “chill-out oil.” Lavender scent has been found to help reduce stress and relieve pain (possibly).

Coffee

Coffee Beans

Or more precisely, roasted coffee beans: a South Korean study found that this aroma reduces stress in rats. Scientists found that lab rats (who certainly have reason to be stressed) had lower stress levels after smelling roasted coffee beans.

As a serious coffee drinker, I would agree with this. But one has to wonder if not all smells are created equal for all people. My husband does not drink any coffee and is no big fan of the smell — but then, in some twenty years of daily contact with coffee’s aroma, he has never once complained.

Leesa recommends always using orgnic options whenever possible!

By Kristina Chew

Photos: bread: Thinkstock; peppermint: Sir_Iwan; apples: Veganbaking.net; lavender: Billy Reed: coffee beans: Peg Waggener.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today! I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

consult ~ www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

chews ~ www.Chews4Health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.Chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

learn ~ www.healthyhighway.wordpress.com

like ~ www.tinyurl.com/Facebook-HealthyHighway

join ~ www.tinyurl.com/googleplusHealthyHighway

link ~ www.linkedin.com/in/leesawheeler

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