The Meaning of Life

We’ve spent the month of April around here exploring the science of happiness.

We’ve covered a lot of ground in a short period of time. (A Tuesday/Thursday schedule only produces eight articles in April!)

To close out the month, I’d like to touch on a light and simple topic: the meaning of life.

Okay, maybe not THE meaning of life. I don’t think I’m quite qualified to definitively comment on that. But the importance of having SOME meaning in your life. Continue reading “The Meaning of Life”

Looking on the Bright Side

Here at Optimize Your Life we are spending 2018 improving our lives. Each month gets its own theme, and April’s is the science of happiness.

We’ve already learned that 40% of our happiness is fully within our control and changes based on our thoughts and actions rather than being linked to our situation or genetics. We’ve looked at some actions that we can take by imitating the surprising amount of happiness that get at work and we’ve looked at how changing our thought patterns by practicing gratitude and appreciating the present can make us happier.

Today I want to take another swing at the “thoughts” side of the equation. Let’s look at the science behind how we can adjust our mindset for a happier life. Continue reading “Looking on the Bright Side”

More Reasons Work Makes Us Happy

On Tuesday we explored some research showing that work actually makes us happier than we think it does.

While people regularly tell researchers that they prefer home to work, they tend to be happier at work than at home. 

Weird, right? 

In that article we explored the concept of flow, why it contributes to our happiness at work, and how to bring it home with us. Today, we’re going to explore some other unexpected benefits of work. Continue reading “More Reasons Work Makes Us Happy”

How Work Makes Us Happier (Seriously!)

When we look at ways to be happier, we usually don’t look to work.

Instead, we tend to see work as a necessary source of unhappiness. We work because we need money.

One of the premises of the financial independence movement is that we’ll be happier once we don’t have to go to our jobs anymore.

If you’re discounting work as a source of happiness, however, you’re missing out on quite a bit.

Not only do we tend to be happier than we think at work, there is much more happiness to be mined in this arena. Continue reading “How Work Makes Us Happier (Seriously!)”

The Shortest Path to Happiness

Here at Optimize Your Life we are spending the month of April exploring the science behind happiness.

We’ve already explored how much of happiness is in our control and last week we learned how hedonic adaptation makes many of our happiness gains fleeting.

The conclusion of that article included a call to focus on the 40% of happiness that derives from our thoughts and actions rather than our stuff and situation.

But what if there was a way to focus on our thoughts and actions in a way that also fought back against hedonic adaptation? Continue reading “The Shortest Path to Happiness”

Why You Aren’t Getting Any Happier

Generally when we think about what will make us happy, we think of situational things.

If we could get that promotion, lose a few pounds, make more money, or have whiter teeth, then we’d be happy.

As we learned last week, though, these only account for 10% of our happiness.

It’s even more dire than that, however. Any improvements in our happiness within this 10% are only temporary, thanks to hedonic adaptation. Continue reading “Why You Aren’t Getting Any Happier”

Could You Be Happier?

Alright, so we all want to be happier.

We make, save, and spend money to increase our happiness. We increase our productivity to achieve more success in order to be happier. We manage our time better so that we have more free time to pursue things that will make us happier.

But can we actually make ourselves happier?

Before diving into an exploration of the things that will make us happier, it is worth stopping and understanding whether it is even possible to improve our own happiness in the first place. Continue reading “Could You Be Happier?”

The Point of It All

We’ve covered a lot of big topics so far this year in our quest for a better life.

We spent January figuring out how to plan and strive for our ideal life. How to make changes big and small to achieve that dream.

In February we explored the basics of personal finance. We learned how to get control of our money and make a plan so that our money supports our ideal life, as well.

March was an exploration of time management so that we can fit more into the life we have now.

But how do these actually help us have a better life? What actually makes life better?

Continue reading “The Point of It All”