Vegetarians are Happier than Meat Eaters

I’m a vegetarian and I think I’m pretty happy most of the time; I thought it was constantly sharing good news that made me happy, but it might be my diet.

If you still eat a lot of meat, you might want to reconsider your diet and get a little happier. 🙂

The researchers found the vegetarians reported diets significantly lower in EPA and DHA, the omega-3 fatty acids that we get from eating fish, and which many studies have found are a key factor in improving both physical and mental health. So they expected to find the vegetarians would have higher incidences of issues like depression, anxiety, and mood problems. Instead, they found the opposite result. Vegetarians scored lower on depression tests and had better mood profiles than their fish- and meat-eating peers. “While dietary intake of EPA and DHA has an important role in brain function, we found no evidence that the absence of direct intake of these fatty acids in vegetarians adversely affects mood state,” the study reports. “These results challenge what is known about the link between dietary fats and brain function and suggest an unrecognized benefit of vegetarian diets.”

Read more at Planet Green.

Happiness: Think Fast!

You want to be happy? Well then pick up some crosswords or sudoku and get it done as fast as you can. No, don’t question it! Go!

According to some new study thinking fast will make you happy.

Results suggested that thinking fast made participants feel more elated, creative and, to a lesser degree, energetic and powerful. Activities that promote fast thinking, then, such as whip­ping through an easy crossword puzzle or brain-storming quickly about an idea, can boost energy and mood, says psychologist Emily Pronin, the study’s lead author.

Pronin notes that rapid-fire thinking can sometimes have negative consequences. For people with bipolar disorder, thoughts can race so quickly that the manic feeling becomes aversive. And based on their own and others’ research, Pronin and a colleague propose in another recent article that although fast and varied thinking causes elation, fast but repetitive thoughts can instead trigger anxiety. (They further suggest that slow, varied thinking leads to the kind of calm, peaceful happiness associated with mindfulness meditation, whereas slow, repetitive thinking tends to sap energy and spur depressive thoughts.)

It is unclear why thought speed affects mood, but Pronin and her colleagues theorize that our own expectations may be part of the equation. In earlier research, they found that people generally believe fast thinking is a sign of a good mood. This lay belief may lead us to instinctively infer that if we are thinking quickly we must be happy. In addition, they suggest, thinking quickly may unleash the brain’s novelty-loving dopamine system, which is involved in sensations of pleasure and reward.

Keep on reading

Toronto Cyclists Thank Car Drivers

The Toronto Cyclist Union has started a new campaign to thank drivers who treat cyclists with respect. Watch their promo video below and you can read about it by clicking here.

The “Cyclists Paving the Way” campaign is meant to dial down some of the rhetoric being heard in the so-called “war on the car,” says Yvonne Bambrick, executive director of the Toronto Cyclists Union.

About 5,000 cards with the words “Thank You” have been printed for cyclists to give to deserving drivers, perhaps by tapping on the car window at a stop light, Bambrick said.

A motorist who looks over his or her shoulder before swinging open their door into the street – sparing an oncoming cyclist the chance of collision – would qualify for a card, Bambrick says.

It’s “a chance for cyclists to thank the drivers who do see them, and do treat them with respect and as fellow citizens,” she added.

“We’re trying to move away from the angry stuff that happened over the summer,” she told a group at this weekend’s BikeCamp T.O. event, which the union put on to discuss cycling issues.

Thanks Shea!

Happiest Place on Earth is Costa Rica

The New Economics Foundation has declared Costa Rica as the happiest place on earth.

The New Economics Foundation looked at 143 countries that are home to 99 percent of the world’s population and devised an equation that weighed life expectancy and people’s happiness against their environmental impact.

By that formula, Costa Rica is the happiest, greenest country in the world, just ahead of the Dominican Republic.

Latin American countries did well in the survey, occupying nine of the top 10 spots.

Australia scored third place, but other major Western nations did poorly, with Britain coming in at 74th place and the United States at 114th.

The New Economics Foundation’s measurements found Costa Ricans have a life expectancy of 78.5 years, and 85 percent of the country’s residents say they are happy and satisfied with their lives.

Go Ahead, Live the Good Life

We all want a comfortable life and why not? Many people see the good life as a consumerist dream, but there’s no need for that. Here’s a nice article exploring ways to make the most of the world.

On waking

With less time spent working, the choice is yours — sleep in, go for a run, read a novel. Having rediscovered the real meaning of a good life, previously overconsuming rich countries have now cured most cases of work addiction. In this “downshifted” world the phrase “rush hour” has become a half-remembered curio. Our society has begun to get the hang of how computing and IT can make for smart work, rather than generate slave work.

Those choosing the early morning run enjoy fresh air and clear paths as dramatic reductions in traffic have transformed city air and streets.

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