Helping Yourself By Helping Others

We’re spending the month of September exploring relationships and happiness.

We started by learning about the importance of relationships generally to our happiness before diving into specific relationships with spouses and kids.

Now we’re going to zoom back out and look at broader concepts.

Today, we’ll be exploring the extraordinary happiness benefits of doing things for other people. Continue reading “Helping Yourself By Helping Others”

Will Kids Make You Happier?

I’m a new father this year and when I decided to explore the intersection between relationships and happiness I knew I wanted to see what the research found on how children affect our happiness.

I’ve read a lot of research on children this year, but pretty much all of it had to do with best practices in raising them. Now I wanted to see the impact that children have on adults.

Do kids make us happier?

I could wax poetic about my own experience, but if you’ve been here before you know I’d rather dive into the data. We’re all biased when it comes to our own experiences, but aggregated data is less biased.

So what does the data say? Do kids make us happier?

Well…It depends on how you define happy.

And where you live. Continue reading “Will Kids Make You Happier?”

Does Marriage Make You Happier?

We know how important relationships are to our happiness.

Given that our closest relationship is with our spouse, our spouse (or lack thereof) should be a really important factor in our happiness, right?

This seemed like the obvious place to start in understanding relationships and happiness, so I dove into the research on marriage. The data on whether marriage makes you happier is…a bit complicated. Continue reading “Does Marriage Make You Happier?”

Getting Happier with Other People

We’re spending each month of 2018 exploring a different topic to improve our lives. Consistent with that goal, we’ve spent a lot of time this year exploring happiness.

In April we looked into the science of happiness.

In May we learned about the intersection of money and happiness.

And in July we jumped into happiness and philosophy.

For September, we’re going to spend one last month learning about happiness. This time we’ll be exploring the factor that may be the single most important: relationships. Continue reading “Getting Happier with Other People”

Thinking About Death

When we learned about the science of happiness back in April, we ended the month discussing the meaning of life.

Now that we are discussing philosophy and happiness, we will get just as heavy. But at the other end of the spectrum.

We’re going to end our philosophy and happiness month by discussing the importance of death. Continue reading “Thinking About Death”

Lead With Love

Our look at happiness through philosophy has led us to spend a lot of time with the ancient Stoic philosophers and today will be no different.

However, today we’re visiting a topic that is widely covered in all sorts of philosophies and even (or especially) religions.

Today’s topic is the idea that we are all connected, so we must lead with love and be kind to others. Continue reading “Lead With Love”

There is Always a Choice

You always have a choice.

This is not an empty maxim. Not an inspirational quote.

It is a fact of life. And recognizing this fact will make you happier and allow you to live a better life.

While there are times when things happen to us that are outside of our control, it is always our choice how we respond to them. Continue reading “There is Always a Choice”

Stop Reacting. Start Responding.

We’ve been spending the month of July exploring what we can learn from philosophy to live a better life.

Much of what we’ve learned so far has been about adjusting our outlook and mindset in order to get more out of whatever situation we happen to be in at any given time. I want to stick with that theme today, but I’d like to zoom in on one particular issue that tends to be problematic for people.

If we want to live a happier life, we need to recognize the difference between responding and reacting. Continue reading “Stop Reacting. Start Responding.”

Avoiding Disappointment and Recovering From Loss

Last week our journey into happiness and philosophy took us into the question of why bad things happen to good people. We learned that these bad things are a chance for us to overcome adversity and become stronger.

Which is all well and good, but doesn’t necessarily help us deal with the sense of loss or disappointment that can often accompany the bad things that happen to us.

For advice on that front, we’ll return to the Stoic philosopher Seneca. Continue reading “Avoiding Disappointment and Recovering From Loss”

When Bad Things Happen to Good People

We are continuing our exploration of happiness and philosophy today with a topic that cannot be addressed with science and data.

Why do bad things happen to good people?

This is a question that is asked often and one that is sometimes used as a suggestion that life is not fair

Seneca, who was a Roman Stoic philosopher, playwright, and politician had a different interpretation. Continue reading “When Bad Things Happen to Good People”