Random Musings about Happiness
When you’re done here, stop by The Digerati Life and read my article, Buying Bonds? Effect of Interest Rates on Bond Value and Yield
I talk about money too much. First, I teach an Investments Class at a local university, main topic; investing to make more money. Next, I am a professional portfolio manager, main duties; managing investments to make more money. Finally, I’m a personal finance blogger, goal; to teach wealth building strategies.
When Money Talk isn’t Enough
I pepper my financial topics with values, life, and leisure and focus on “wealth in life“, which is not about money. Life is so much broader and richer than amassing dollars (euros, GB pounds etc.). So for today, I’m going to ramble about other things in that make life richer which have little to do with money. Included in this ramble is breaking research about how your emotions and feelings impact your life.
My family has accused me of working too much, and they are right. The interesting dichotomy is that sometimes working less, yields greater productivity. Take a break, go for a walk, and come back totally inspired. Go to the mall, a park, or a coffee shop and free your mind. For me, the results are a certain calm and renewal. (Okay, the mall might be a bit of a stretch ).
Improve Your Emotional Well Being
A recent Newsweek article, The New Science of Feelings, explains “Research finds the neural basis of your responses to life-and how you can change them.”
The takeaway from this article was that emotional style comes from certain regions of the brain. The elements of emotional style including resilience, outlook, self-awareness, social intuition, attention, and sensitivity to context can determine how quickly you bounce back from advertisity, your overall outlook on life, how successful you are and your overall level of happiness. And these emotional tendancies are not stable, but can be changed. That is the shocker. Apparently, mindfulness meditation can help improve your emotional style and even help one recover from depression.
Focus totally and completely on the task at hand, and your emotional state can improve. Is this the secret to happiness? Probably not, but it is a start. Consider the research on resilience stating that those who bounce back from setbacks are better equipped to deal with life than those who don’t. One of my personal strategies is to pull my waundering mind back to the task at hand! This helps control the worries and what ifs.
Prioritize Pleasurable Activities
Don’t be afraid to have some fun, devote yourself to a hobby or pleasure. I gain tremendous satisfaction from art and design. A years subscription to a design magazine weighs in at about twenty bucks, for literally hours of enjoyment. I am still reading 5 year old magazines and enjoying them as much as the first time I opened the cover.
Stop Thinking About Yourself and Do Something for Someone Else
Think about giving back. It is really true that service offers the giver as much or more than the receiver. Don’t think in grand gestures, the smallest act of generosity can make a difference in your life and others. I’m usually uncomfortable talking about my commitment to service (does it make me sound self richeous?). Yet, I look for opportunities to brighten others’ days. Even a smile, an offer to help a neighbor, a few hours volunteering, or even just opening up your wallet can make a big difference.
One day when I was feeling down, I was at a new employee work mixer. Instead of focusing on “poor me and my insignificant problems”, I decided to reach out to the new employees and make them feel welcome. I pushed myself to reach out and focus on others. My outward attention totally twarted the “poor me” feeling I came in with.
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What makes your life fuller?
image credit; Ayham Al-Hawi