Be Happy With What You Have

It’s often thought that if one had more money they would be happier, bills would be easy to pay and work would be less stressful. It turns out that that is not the case. Once one has their basic needs met the more they earn the less of an impact it has on their happiness.

Be happy with what you have and stop thinking that material wealth will solve your problems. Embrace the now and appreciate what is around you.

The idea of the hedonic treadmill can apply to discrete pleasures—like getting accustomed to better beer—or it can apply to an overall lifestyle. There is evidence that if an individual’s basic needs are met, after a certain point, increases in income do not lead to much greater happiness. As the money we have to spend goes up, so too do our expectations and desires—and with them the possibility of disappointment. A now-classic study from 1978 compared the happiness of lottery winners with a control group drawn from the same neighborhoods. The researchers interviewed lottery winners after the initial thrill had worn off. When asked to rate their present level of happiness, the lottery winners answered in the same way as did the control group. The two groups also made similar predictions about their future happiness. And when asked about a number of mundane pleasures—talking with a friend or eating breakfast—the lottery winners actually derived less pleasure than did the control group.

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Get Your Fika On

Coffee breaks in North America tend to be more about coffee than a break. In Scandinavia they focus on the break. In fact, they even have a special word for it: fika. They also add baked goods to the mix.

The reason the fika concept is important is that Sweden has the happiest workers around the world. There is no doubt that their fika practice contributes to their happiness at the workplace. So for a good day at work take breaks.

“It is the moment that you take a break, often with a cup of coffee, but alternatively with tea, and find a baked good to pair with it.” explains Anna Brones who co-wrote the book Fika: The Art of The Swedish Coffee Break (2015). “In our own [US] culture, where coffee has come to be more about grabbing a 16-ounce-grande-whatever, in a paper cup to go, coffee is more about fueling up and going fast. In Sweden, coffee is something to look forward to, a moment where everything else stops and you savor the moment,” she writes on Apartment Therapy. “In today’s modern world we crave a little bit of that; we want an excuse to slow down.”

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Pub Proximity Produces Pleasure

How close you live to a pub impacts your happiness, the closer you are the happier you’ll be! Oxford University and the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) released the study proving this fun bit of knowledge last week. CAMRA is all about keeping British pub culture alive and strong bro people keep drinking beer, which is good for you too.

The study was conducted in pubs in Oxfordshire, and it also found pubs were very important in providing a place where people could meet and make friends.
Professor Robin Dunbar of Oxford University, said: “Friendship and community are probably the two most important factors influencing our health and wellbeing.
“Making and maintaining friendships, however, is something that has to be done face-to-face. The digital world is simply no substitute.
“Given the increasing tendency for our social life to be online rather than face-to-face, having relaxed accessible venues where people can meet old friends and make new ones becomes ever more necessary.”

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Lessons on Happiness From the Happiest Man Alive

What’s the key to happiness? Not thinking about yourself.

Matthieu Ricard is a Tibetan Buddhist monk who has been deemed the world’s happiest man. Researchers scanned his brain to prove it. He has used his training to hone his brain to be ‘light’ and not carry burdens – something we can all learn from. A fundamental aspect of his approach is that he tries his best to not think about himself and to be as caring to others as he possibly can.

6. You can then use meditation to gain some space from negative emotions. Ricard says: ‘You can look at your experience like a fire that burns. If you are aware of anger you are not angry you are aware. Being aware of anxiety is not being anxious it is being aware.’ By being aware of these emotions you are no longer adding fuel to their fire and they will burn down.

7. You will see benefits in stress levels and general wellbeing as well as brain changes with regular practise in a month. Those who say they don’t have enough time to meditate should look at the benefits: ‘If it gives you the resources to deal with everything else during the other 23 hours and 30minutes, it seems a worthy way of sending 20 minutes,’ Ricard says

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Working Hard Isn’t All There Is

We are often told that the key to success is all in working hard, but that isn’t the case according to new studies. Hard work may get only so far. So instead of sweating bullets at your work, try to find what your good at and apply yourself there. It turns out that people who hire favour those who are perceived to be “naturals” instead of those who just work hard.

Why is this good news? Well, just relax a little and focus more on your own time instead of giving all of your limited time on this Earth to the company you work at.

“We may risk overlooking highly qualified candidates who possess various valued achievements, in favor of apparent ‘naturals’ who may actually be weaker,” Tsay tells Co.Design. “By recognizing our implicit preference for naturals, we can become better equipped to identify and hire the people who actually possess the achievements we value and who are more likely to help us attain greater success in the long run.”

Whether or not the naturalness bias holds true outside the lab, and just how it might vary based on an evaluator’s own distinct personality traits, is unclear. And of course its potential employment impact breaks both ways. Knowing that experienced professionals tend to side with innate talent, for instance, suggests it might be advantageous to flash some natural skills during investor pitches or job interviews, instead of focusing on dedication.

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