As Happy as an Old Person

As I’ve noted before, I’ve done a lot of reading on happiness. One consistent finding of studies across the spectrum is that older people are happier than the rest of us.

Despite the declining health that accompanies old age, study after study finds that happiness increases into our senior years.

The freedom of childhood is less happy. The health of young adulthood doesn’t compare. The financial stability of middle age doesn’t do it for us.

So what is it about seniors that makes them happy? And what can we learn from them?

Continue reading “As Happy as an Old Person”

Respond. Don’t React.

Usually when I think about articles to write, I start with the research.

My articles on happiness stem from research in positive psychology or from reading different philosophies of life.

When I write about money it is based in studies and statistics and calculation.

Today, I want to talk about something that I don’t have research on. Instead, this is something that I have used in my life for years and have found very helpful.

It’s a sort of mantra. A reminder to myself when things get stressful.

Respond. Don’t react. Continue reading “Respond. Don’t React.”

Death and Happiness

My grandfather passed away recently. It has been a tough few years for my family, but we have felt a lot of love and support from each other as well as from our community and network of friends.

My cousin gave an excellent eulogy at the funeral. One thing that he noted is that Papa has been insisting that every encounter with him could be the last for years. For at least the last decade, he has insisted that he is almost out of time. Continue reading “Death and Happiness”

Happiness Causes Success

Last week Cait Flanders wrote about how some people treated happiness as a general vibe that they exude and others pursued happiness as a destination. Thinking about this idea started me on a path that had me digging back through my notes on happiness research.

Our culture tends to treat happiness as a destination. Happiness is a goal for which you strive. And of course, the most surefire way to reach happiness is to be successful.

If we stop and think about this premise though, it falls apart. If success causes happiness, then we should be able to see the results. Continue reading “Happiness Causes Success”

The Things We Cannot Change

There is often a great power in quotes.

When someone can distill an idea or a philosophy into a short, memorable collection of words, it can become a kind of mantra for people. It can be a reminder of how they want to live their life and how to be their best selves.

One example of this is the Serenity Prayer. Continue reading “The Things We Cannot Change”

The Ancient Art of Being Thankful for What We Have

In looking into ways of dealing with disappointment we explored the Stoic practice of imagining the things that could go wrong in our lives. This is a great tool for helping us blunt the painful feeling of disappointment that accompanies loss.

However, this is not the only benefit to this practice.

Continue reading “The Ancient Art of Being Thankful for What We Have”

Should You Give Meditation a Try?

Hello, friends! If you are an American reader, then happy election day! Please make sure you go out and vote today. I know that this election season has been long, draining, and often demoralizing, but sitting out the election is giving up your chance to weigh in on who should make and enforce the laws. These choices matter! Especially at the state and local level. Google “my ballot” and enter your address for a run down of every office and referendum that you get to vote on. Do your research. Vote. It really does matter.

Now on to your regularly scheduled programming:

I am a person who generally makes decisions based upon logic and rational factors. As such, I avoided trying meditation for a long time. How could doing nothing for a stretch of time every day actually help me?

But then the studies started coming. Science turned its attention to this ancient practice and decidedly said, “Matt is an idiot.” Continue reading “Should You Give Meditation a Try?”

Finding Happiness Through Flow

If you stop and think about the times when you were most happy in your life, you probably don’t think of times when you were sitting around and watching television. Instead, maybe you’ll think about a time you skied a difficult slope. Maybe you’ll think about a time where you were hanging out with your friends or playing with your kids. Maybe you’ll think about completing a challenging task.

The thing that ties our happiest moments together tends to be that we are completely engaged with what we are doing and lose track of time.

This is a state called flow. Understanding flow is a key to living our happiest life. Continue reading “Finding Happiness Through Flow”

Social Media is a Lie

Today we have a story, a lesson, and a plea.

The Story

I live in an apartment building with a roof deck. Our roof has a clear view to the horizon in the west.

Because of this, on many evenings I will grab a book or a podcast (or nothing at all) and sit on the roof to take in the sunset.

The sunset from our roof, as captured by my lovely and talented wife.
The sunset from our roof, as captured by my lovely and talented wife.

Continue reading “Social Media is a Lie”