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5 Mistakes I Continue To Make in My Marriage: Gretchen Rubin

5 Mistakes I Continue To Make in My Marriage: Gretchen Rubin | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

A friend told me that of everything I’ve written on this blog, this post was his favorite. So I decided to re-post it today, updated and expanded.

One of the main themes of my happier-at-home project is marriage. For me, as with many people, my marriage is one of the most central elements in my life, my home, and my happiness.

 

When I reflected about the changes I wanted to make, I realized I had five particular problem areas in my marriage. Here they are, along with the strategies I try to use to address them, though they remain challenging:

 

1. Demanding gold stars. Oh, how I crave appreciation and recognition! I always want that gold star stuck to my homework. But my husband just isn’t very good at handing out gold stars, and that makes me feel angry and unappreciated. “Words of affirmation” are definitely my love language.

 

In response, I now think more about doing things for myself. I used to tell myself I was doing nice things for him – “He’ll be so happy to see that I put all the books away,” “He’ll be so pleased that I finally got the schedule figure out” etc. – then I’d be mad when he wasn’t appreciative. Now I tell myself that I’m doing these things because I want to do them. “Wow, the kitchen cabinets look great!” “I’m so organized to have bought all the supplies in advance!” Because I do things for myself, I don’t expect him to respond in any particular way.

 

2. Using a snappish tone. I have a very short fuse and become irritable extremely easily – but my husband really doesn’t like it when I snap at him. He’s funny that way.  Many of my resolutions are meant to help me keep my temper in check. I don’t let myself get too hungry or too cold (I fall into these states very easily); I try to keep our apartment in reasonable order, because a mess makes me crabby; I try to control my voice to keep it light and cheery instead of accusatory and impatient. Confession: I’ve worked on this issue relentlessly for years, and I flew into a ten-second rage just last night.

 

3. Not showing enough consideration.  Studies show that married people treat each other with less civility than they show to other people — and I do this with my husband, I know. I’m working hard on basic consideration, such as not reading my emails while talking to him on the phone, emailing photos of our daughters etc. Very basic, I know.

 

4. Score-keeping. I’m a score-keeper, always calculating who has done what. “I cleaned up the kitchen, so you have to run to the store” — that sort of thing. I’ve found two ways to try to deal with this tendency.

First, I remind myself of the phenomenon of unconscious over-claiming; i.e., we unconsciously overestimate our contributions or skills relative to other people’s. This makes sense, because of course we’re far more aware of what we do than what other people do. According to Jonathan Haidt’s The Happiness Hypothesis, “when husbands and wives estimate the percentage of housework each does, their estimates total more than 120 percent.” I complain about the time I spend paying bills, but I overlook the time my husband spends dealing with our our car.

Second, I remind myself of the words of my spiritual master, St. Therese of Lisieux: “When one loves, one does not calculate.”

 

5. Taking my husband for granted. Just as I find it easily to overlook the chores done by my husband (see #4), it’s easy for me to forget to appreciate his many virtues and instead focus on his flaws. For example, although I find it hard to resist using an irritable tone, my husband almost never speaks harshly, and that’s really a wonderful trait. I’m trying to stay alert to all the things I love about him, and let go of my petty annoyances. This is easier said than done.

 

I have Eight Splendid Truths of Happiness, and the Sixth Truth is: “The only person I can change is myself.” I can’t assign resolutions for my husband to follow (as tempting as that sounds; it wouldn’t work). Nevertheless, I’ve found that when I change, a relationship changes, and the atmosphere of my home changes.

Jim Manske's insight:

"Mis-takes":  An opportunity for a "do-over", a take two after the first take when perhaps you made choices that created unintended consequences...

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How This Inner-City Baltimore Principal Is 'Tearing Down Barriers' Between Students And Police

How This Inner-City Baltimore Principal Is 'Tearing Down Barriers' Between Students And Police | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
While some Baltimore students were met with consequences for their participation in the city’s fiery riots, punishing kids wasn’t on Nikkia Rowe’s agenda when classes resumed on Wednesday. Rowe, the principal of Renaissance Acad...
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This meets my needs for inspiration and hope!
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Beyond Capitalism and Socialism: Could a New Economic Approach Save the Planet?

Beyond Capitalism and Socialism: Could a New Economic Approach Save the Planet? | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
A holistic approach to the economy is necessary to avoid social, environmental and economic collapse, according to a new report by the Capital Institute
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Social Intelligence and the Biology of Leadership

Social Intelligence and the Biology of Leadership | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
New studies of the brain show that leaders can improve group performance by understanding the biology of empathy.
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Go With Your Gut | Brain Blogger

Go With Your Gut | Brain Blogger | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
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Fascinating links of interdependence! I have noticed a profound increase in well-being as I have increased my consumption of kimchi, kefir, cultured butter, and other probiotics...
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An Ecomodernist Manifesto

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A bit of a long read, and I found it stimulating, motivating, clarifying and hopeful...how about you?

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Chemists' Feat Hailed As Major Breakthrough

Chemists' Feat Hailed As Major Breakthrough | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
In what's being called a win-win for the environment and the production of renewable energy, researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley, have achieved a major breakthrough in artificial...
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The Link Between Exercise and Happiness [INFOGRAPHIC] - Goodnet

The Link Between Exercise and Happiness [INFOGRAPHIC] - Goodnet | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Happify delves into the science of how getting fit can boost your mood.
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2015’s Most Electrifying Emerging Tech? World Economic Forum Releases Annual List

2015’s Most Electrifying Emerging Tech? World Economic Forum Releases Annual List | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Writing lists forecasting technology is a bit like writing science fiction. Prerequisites include intimate knowledge of the bleeding edge...
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Restaurant Allows Customers to Wash Dishes for a Free Meal

At one restaurant in Pennsylvania, you don't need cash or a credit card to pay for your meal. According to Penn Live, Healthy World Cafe functions on a "pay-how-you-can" model which allows customers to eat for free "in exchange for volunteering their time." This means customers can sweep the floors, do dishes, or break down boxes for a hot plate of food.

 

Healthy World Cafe started out as a pop-up concept at a local church but will open in more permanent digs April 6. Manager Liza Naylor notes that the goal of the cafe is for every customer to eat and for them to eat healthy. She adds that not everyone volunteers their time for a meal.

 

Nearly 80 percent of customers pay for their meals, while 20 percent eat for free and volunteer. Diners can also "pay-it-foward and cover the cost of other diners' meals." As for the food, the cafe buys its ingredients from "local famers and purveyors." The menu itself tends to lean vegan and vegetarian because those dishes are the least expensive. However, there are meat options too. Diners can expect dishes like chicken salad sandwiches on foccacia, swiss chard quiches, and Middle Eastern bean salad.

 

Healthy World Cafe is far from the first restaurant to accept alternative forms of payment. In February, a pop-up cafe in London accepted hugs as payment for cookies and tea. McDonald's launched a promotion in January where customers can pay for meals with "lovin'" — such as giving someone a compliment or taking a selfie — in place of real money. cash or a credit card to pay for your meal.

 

According to Penn Live, Healthy World Cafe functions on a "pay-how-you-can" model which allows customers to eat for free "in exchange for volunteering their time." This means customers can sweep the floors, do dishes, or break down boxes for a hot plate of food. Healthy World Cafe started out as a pop-up concept at a local church but will open in more permanent digs April 6. Manager Liza Naylor notes that the goal of the cafe is for every customer to eat and for them to eat healthy. She adds that not everyone volunteers their time for a meal. Nearly 80 percent of customers pay for their meals, while 20 percent eat for free and volunteer.

 

Diners can also "pay-it-foward and cover the cost of other diners' meals." As for the food, the cafe buys its ingredients from "local famers and purveyors." The menu itself tends to lean vegan and vegetarian because those dishes are the least expensive. However, there are meat options too. Diners can expect dishes like chicken salad sandwiches on foccacia, swiss chard quiches, and Middle Eastern bean salad.

 

Healthy World Cafe is far from the first restaurant to accept alternative forms of payment. In February, a pop-up cafe in London accepted hugs as payment for cookies and tea. McDonald's launched a promotion in January where customers can pay for meals with "lovin'" — such as giving someone a compliment or taking a selfie — in place of real money.

Jim Manske's insight:

An experiment in compassionate economics...imagine a world based on an economy of needs!

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17 Ways to Be Kind to Yourself

17 Ways to Be Kind to Yourself | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
It’s time to befriend yourself and start showing yourself kindness. Here are 17 ways to be kind to yourself.
Jim Manske's insight:
Favorite line: There’s only one person in the world you’ll always have a relationship with, and that’s yourself. Therefore, you better start making sure that you’re a good companion to yourself. Live your best life by being kind to yourself.
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Compassion Is A Strength, Not A Weakness

Compassion Is A Strength, Not A Weakness | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

We are all a part of a mindful revolution.

As a mind-body medicine physician, it fills me with hope to watch the “mindful revolution” occurring in the business world. In the last six months we have see the the theme of mindfulness on the cover of Time magazine and hearing about how numerous business schools are incorporating mindfulness based training programs into curriculum. You may even be a part of this mindful living community because you heard me speak at your company on the neuroscience behind mindfulness.Self-compassion and compassion towards others are two of the steps I discuss my mindful living program, “Mindset Matters”. The same question arises from corporate and coaching clients alike.


Via Edwin Rutsch
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Remembering Marshall Rosenberg | Mindful

Remembering Marshall Rosenberg | Mindful | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

On Saturday, February 7th, Marshall Rosenberg, a psychologist, founder of Nonviolent Communication(NVC), and a pioneer in the compassion movement, passed away. The impact Marshall had on our culture is immeasurable as the ripple effects continue to be felt moment-to-moment through thousands and thousands of people.

 

He has been a great influence on my personal and professional work, helping provide an essential framework for understanding our emotional needs and the needs of others. In a world that can often feel disconnected, he leaves us with a wholeheartedly effective path toward connection and healing.

 

One of many examples came from his work in the 1980s when Marshall taught NVC to Palestinian refugees. On his way to the camp he was greeted with people shouting at him: “Assassin! Murderer!” Although, naturally, he had the inkling to leave, he instead engaged compassion, focusing his attention on what the men were feeling in that moment, which opened the door for a compassionate dialogue to ensue. As the story goes, he was later invited to Ramadan dinner.

 

Marshall taught us the essential truth that underneath it all, we have the same needs: to feel cared about and understood. We all want to feel safe and have a sense of belonging. He helped us see the humanity behind each and every one of us no matter our background. Even with our enemies he calls for a radically different kind of communication: “Our best protection is to communicate with the people we’re most of afraid of. Nothing else will work.”

 

Thank you, Marshall, for the compassion you taught us, the lives you have touched and will continue to touch through the rest of us.

Jim Manske's insight:

Sweet to see this acknowledgement...

 

It leaves me wondering how many thousands of people continue to benefit from Marshall's gifts to the world...

 

I learned that there will be a memorial service soon:

 

From the President of the Board for CNVC:

 

Dear all,

On the 29th of this month a Celebration of Marshall Rosenberg’s life and teaching will be held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in the United States.

Valentina, Marshall’s children and Rabbi Deborah Brin will be organising the gathering, which will begin at 4pm, local time.


We imagine many people would like to be a part of this event and invite you to find ways to do so where you live, as a form of strengthening your community ties and commitment to living nonviolently.

If you have a project activity, a community gathering or a training on that day, maybe you would like to incorporate this event in your day in some way. If you are free you might find this is a meaningful day to gather with community members and commemorate what we received from Marshall and it’s meaning in our lives.

This might also be an opportunity to invite donations to your work and projects locally. Donations to CNVC would also be warmly received, and can be made here: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/cnvc

 



The ceremony in Albuquerque will be live streamed, so that everyone who has access to the internet will be able to watch as it happens. 


I am touched once again by the desire of Marshall’s wife and family to seek ways to include the entire community in their mourning and commemorating a husband, father and friend. The 29th is an invitation for all those whose lives have been so enriched by his path and heart to gather in his memory and celebrate his spirit.

In gratitude,

Dominic

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Peacemaker leaves lasting legacy of Nonviolent Communication

International peacemaker and founder of the Centre for Nonviolent Communication, Marshall Rosenberg passed away last month. Daren De Witt recounts his remarkable life and how he helped spread Nonviolent Communication throughout the world
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Savoring that Marshall's legacy continues to be celebrated!

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Gut Feelings--the "Second Brain" in Our Gastrointestinal Systems [Excerpt]

Gut Feelings--the "Second Brain" in Our Gastrointestinal Systems [Excerpt] | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
There is a superhighway between the brain and GI system that holds great sway over humans
Jim Manske's insight:
I had a gut feeling to share this with you....interdependence is multidirectional?
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John Oulton's comment, May 2, 5:13 PM
Police officers and other law enforcement careers have a good grasp of this, as in a "second brain" such as the CNS. Their discretion will be handy.
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15 Simple Ways to Spread Kindness in Your World Starting Today

15 Simple Ways to Spread Kindness in Your World Starting Today | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.” Albert Schweitz
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8 Life-Changing Lessons from TED Talks on How to Be Happy

8 Life-Changing Lessons from TED Talks on How to Be Happy | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Ever wonder if you could make yourself happier? You can. Here's how.
Jim Manske's insight:
What if happiness is our basic nature, and all the techniques and technologies to "make us happy" work because they support a simple recognition of Who we actually are?
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The Age of Wind and Solar Is Closer Than You Think

The Age of Wind and Solar Is Closer Than You Think | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Renewable energy, spurred by a crisis in climate, may usurp fossil fuels by mid-century
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Will Maui lead the way and become the first island to demonstrate that we can do this?
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The 5 Happiest Countries And What Makes Them So Happy - PsyBlog

The 5 Happiest Countries And What Makes Them So Happy - PsyBlog | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

Only one country in North America is amongst the world's happiest.

Jim Manske's insight:

Favorite quote from the article: “The aspiration of society is the flourishing of its members. This report gives evidence on how to achieve societal well-being. It’s not by money alone, but also by fairness, honesty, trust, and good health. -Jeffrey Sachs

 

Who doesn't want happiness?

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4 daily habits that will make you happier

4 daily habits that will make you happier | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Happiness comes from your own actions.
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What's going well right now?
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How Fear Melts Away When We Stop Resisting the Present

How Fear Melts Away When We Stop Resisting the Present | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Fear triggers our fight or flight response and causes us to struggle and resist the present. What if, instead of running from fear, you stuck with it?
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Vulnerable honesty | Yoram Mosenzon | TEDxAmsterdamED - YouTube

In this funny, personal, and honest look at the way we as humans approach communication, Yoram Mosenzon teaches us the difference between true honesty, and w...
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Aung San Suu Kyi on What It Takes to Be Free from Fear

Aung San Suu Kyi on What It Takes to Be Free from Fear | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Fearlessness may be a gift, but perhaps most precious is the courage acquired through endeavor, courage that comes from cultivating the habit of refusing to let fear dictate one’s actions, courage that could be described as ‘grace under pressure’ — grace which is renewed repeatedly in the face of harsh, unremitting pressure. Within a system which denies the existence of basic human rights, fear tends to be the order of the day. Fear of imprisonment, fear of torture, fear of death, fear of losing friends, family, property or means of livelihood, fear of poverty, fear of isolation, fear of failure. A most insidious form of fear is that which masquerades as common sense or even wisdom, condemning as foolish, reckless, insignificant or futile the small, daily acts of courage which help to preserve man’s self-respect and inherent human dignity. It is not easy for a people conditioned by fear under the iron rule of the principle that might is right to free themselves from the enervating miasma of fear. Yet even under the most crushing state machinery courage rises up again and again, for fear is not the natural state of civilized man.
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Instilling empathy among doctors pays off for patient care - CNN.com

Instilling empathy among doctors pays off for patient care - CNN.com | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
This skill is increasingly considered essential to establishing trust, the foundation of a good doctor-patient relationship.
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The 5 Daily Rituals That Will Make You Happy

The 5 Daily Rituals That Will Make You Happy | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
You know what percentage of people are really happy? Not “oh, life is pretty good”, I mean people who are flourishing. They feel their lives are fulfilling, meaningful and brimming with potential.

 

17%.


Only 17 percent of the adult population is said to be flourishing, fulfilling their potential for happiness, success, and productivity. Less than one in five. And the question that follows is, of course: how do I become one of those people?


I’ve been accumulating the research on happiness for a while. Good news is: there’s a lot of it. Bad news is: who can remember to do all that stuff?
Well, one expert finally put it together into a simple 5-part formula.


Christine Carter is a sociologist at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center which studies the psychology and neuroscience of well-being. She looked at the research and exhaustively compiled it into her book, The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work.

 

So what’s this formula to find your “sweet spot” of happiness — without completely overhauling your life?


Take Recess + Switch Autopilot On + Unshackle Yourself + Cultivate Relationships + Tolerate Some Discomfort = The Sweet Spot

 

Okay, but what do we actually need to do?

 

Don’t worry; it’s pretty easy. Let’s break it down:
 
1) Take Recess

Most of what we do all day is “instrumental.” What’s that mean? It gets something done. It’s practical. It achieves a goal.

 

But these days we seem to be doing more and more that’s instrumental and a lot less that’s just fun. We forget to play. Is that so bad?

 

Actually, you have no idea how bad it is. Noted psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi tried an experiment: he told people to just do instrumental activities all day long. No fun allowed, literally.
The old saying is “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” It’s more accurate to say, “All work and no play gives Jack a clinical anxiety disorder in under 48 hours.” Seriously.

 

Csikszentmihalyi unintentionally induced textbook cases of generalized anxiety disorder in people simply by instructing his subjects as follows: From the time you wake up until 9: 00 p.m., he explained, “We would like you to act in a normal way, doing all the things you have to do, but not doing anything that is ‘play’ or ‘non-instrumental.’” …Following these instructions for just forty-eight hours produced symptoms of serious anxiety in research subjects—restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension—all by eliminating flow and play from their lives. In other words, we get anxious when we aren’t having any fun.


After 2 days he ended the experiment because of the extreme negative effects it was having on the test subjects.


So by trying to be so productive and get so much done you’re probably stressing yourself out. What to do?


Schedule a little bit of fun every 90 minutes or so. Nothing productive allowed.


Via The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work:
Today, take a good old-fashioned recess in the middle of the day. Go ahead and do your hardest or most dreaded work— or whatever you need to do— but after about sixty to ninety minutes of focused attention, honor your ultradian rhythms and take a break. Rest… The only rule is that what you do during recess must be restful or playful; it can’t be “instrumental” in any way.


You can actually get more done sometimes by being a bit of a slacker. Vacations make you more productive.


By working 60 hour weeks you can get a lot done. But when you work that hard for too long, your productivity drops off. After 2 months of 60 hours a week you’ll actually accomplish less than if you’d only been working 40 hours a week.

 

One study, on construction projects, found that “where a work schedule of 60 or more hours per week is continued longer than about two months, the cumulative effect of decreased productivity will cause a delay in the completion date beyond that which could have been realized with the same crew size on a 40-hour week.”

 

You might be worried that taking breaks will mean you still get less done. But we’ve got a solution for that.
 
2) Switch Autopilot On

You spend 40% of the day on autopilot, engaging in habits, not actual decisions.


One paper published by a Duke University researcher in 2006 found that more than 40 percent of the actions people performed each day weren’t actual decisions, but habits.


And we get more done when we’re on autopilot, actually. Not having to make decisions uses less willpower.


So start building better habits. You don’t “decide” to brush your teeth, it’s just something you do and it’s not a struggle. With more habits like this you can get a lot more done in less time with little stress.
At first, just try little habits. Connect them to things that are already part of your routine.


“After I start the dishwasher, I will read one sentence from a book.”
“After I walk in my door from work, I will get out my workout clothes.”
“After I put my head on the pillow, I will think of one good thing from my day.”
Another easy way to break in a new good habit is to use what happiness expert Shawn Achor calls the “20 second rule.”


Anything you want to accomplish, find a way to make it 20 seconds easier to get started on (like putting your workout clothes next to the bed). Anything you want to stop doing, make it 20 seconds harder to start (hide the candy where it’s hard to reach).


From my interview with Shawn:
If you can make the positive habit three to 20 seconds easier to start, you’re likelihood of doing it rises dramatically. And you can do the same thing by flipping it for negative habits. Watching too much television?

 

Merely take out the batteries of the remote control creating a 20 second delay and it dramatically decreases the amount of television people will watch.


You’re having more fun and becoming more efficient by turning routine tasks into habits. Great. What else will bring you more happiness. The answer is “less.”
 
3) Unshackle Yourself

Do less.

 

Really, you can. Christine puts it pretty simply:
Decide on your five top priorities and say “no” to everything else.
We spend so much time reacting rather than following through with our goals.


Whenever I tell people they need to do less the reaction is pretty much like I told them to grow wings and fly: “That’s impossible!”

 

But then I ask them 4 questions about a task and very, very rarely can they honestly answer “yes” to each one:
Does this thing really need to be done at all?
Do you absolutely have to be the one to do it?
Does it need to be done perfectly or will “pretty good” actually be enough?
Does it need to be done right now?


Like I said, very few tasks get a “yes” for all four. And that means you can either ignore it, delegate it, do it quickly or make it one of tomorrow’s top five.


You can do less. And less means less stress and more time for fun.

So that means less on your plate. So what should you fill your plate with?
 
4) Cultivate Relationships

Christine pulls a quote I love from the wonderful book Triumphs of Experience:
…there are two pillars of happiness revealed by the seventy-five-year-old Grant Study…. One is love. The other is finding a way of coping with life that does not push love away.


If you ask psychology researchers, economists, insurance adjusters and old people they will all agree on the single most important key to happiness: relationships.

 

That’s not hard to believe. What is surprising is just how far that truth extends.

 

Michael Norton and Elizabeth Dunn (authors of the book Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending showed that merely talking to the barista at Starbucks makes us happier.

Researchers sent people into a Starbucks with five dollars each to buy themselves a latte. Half were instructed to get their beverage as fast as they could, to “get in, get out, go on with the day.” The other half were instructed to “have a genuine interaction with the cashier ”— to smile and initiate a brief conversation. The folks who smiled at the barista left Starbucks feeling more cheerful. In the words of the study authors

 

Michael Norton and Elizabeth Dunn: “Efficiency, it seems, is overrated.”
So you can do that if you’re a daily Starbucks drinker but just like with networking, the easiest way to work on relationships is to first strengthen the ones you already have.

 

Little cracks appear in our relationships all the time, and while we can certainly spend a lot of time and energy examining fissures and assigning blame— or pretending they aren’t there or never happened—often the easiest thing is to just repair the crack. Without getting into it again, without raising past hurts, without projecting into the future. Often a hug and an “I love you”— or an apology and a heartfelt expression of gratitude— is all it takes.


You don’t need to buy gifts or go out of your way. Just give your attention. Listen. Ask about the good things that have happened to them lately and be happy for them. It’s that simple.


Okay, last one coming up. And it’s a bit ironic. Want life to happier? Then make it a little harder…
 
5) Tolerate Some Discomfort

Many of us come home from work and think, “I just want to sit down and do nothing.” 


And that’s understandable if you’re overworked and burned out. But “doing nothing” is really not what will make you happier.

 

Sitting on the couch watching TV does not make your life better:
…heavy TV viewers, and in particular those with significant opportunity cost of time, report lower life satisfaction. Long TV hours are also linked to higher material aspirations and anxiety.

 

Research shows we’re generally not inclined to do what makes us happiest, actually. We do what’s easy.

Studies have found that American teenagers are two and a half times more likely to experience elevated enjoyment when engaged in a hobby than when watching TV, and three times more likely when playing a sport.

 

And yet here’s the paradox: These same teenagers spend four times as many hours watching TV as they do engaging in sports or hobbies. So what gives? Or, as psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi put it more eloquently, “Why would we spend four times more time doing something that has less than half the chance of making us feel good?” The answer is that we are drawn—powerfully, magnetically—to those things that are easy, convenient, and habitual, and it is incredibly difficult to overcome this inertia. Active leisure is more enjoyable, but it almost always requires more initial effort—getting the bike out of the garage, driving to the museum, tuning the guitar, and so on.

 

One of the things research has consistently shown makes us happy is striving. Making progress in things we find meaningful is incredibly motivating.

 

Engaging in things you’re good at has been shown to powerfully boost happiness. People who deliberately exercised their “signature strengths” on a daily basis became significantly happier for months.
Via The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work:
When 577 volunteers were encouraged to pick one of their signature strengths and use it in a new way each day for a week, they became significantly happier and less depressed than control groups. And these benefits lasted: Even after the experiment was over, their levels of happiness remained heightened a full month later. Studies have shown that the more you use your signature strengths in daily life, the happier you become.

 

But how do you prevent this from becoming yet another stressful chore?
This isn’t your boss forcing you to do something. This is you choosing to push yourself so you get better.

 

Navy SEALs treat problems like a game. Similarly, Shawn Achor says to see obstacles as a challenge, not a threat. And Christine agrees.

 

When we use our minds to “reappraise our stress response,” as scientists call it, from stress to challenge, we can actually change the typical physiological response itself from a stress response to a challenge response… Researchers have found that when people reframe the meaning of their physiological response to stress as something that is improving their performance, they feel more confident and less anxious.

 

Moreover, their physical response to the stress actually changes from one that is damaging to one that is helpful.


Let’s tie it all together into something simple that we can use.
 
Sum Up

Here’s Christine’s five step formula:
1. Take Recess: Going two days without anything fun creates anxiety. Take breaks.
2.  Switch Autopilot On: Make unpleasant tasks into habits. Tie them to things you already do.
3. Unshackle Yourself: Decide your five priorities for the day and say NO to everything else. Does it have to be done? Do you have to do it? Does it have to be done perfectly? Does it have to be done now? Probably not.
4. Cultivate Relationships: They are the single biggest happiness booster. Celebrate the successes of those you love.
5. Tolerate Some Discomfort: Push to keep getting better. Mastery brings joy. Striving creates smiles.

 

One of the secrets of the happiest people isn’t merely that their brains are wired that way, but they also engage in activities on a daily basis that keep them flourishing.

 

Try the above five things on a daily basis for a few weeks and see if they can make you happy. As Aristotle said:
!We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

Jim Manske's insight:

May we all become the 17%...after all, it is one of the things that we all want!  To be happy, to be fulfilled, to flourish and thrive!!!

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Nich Rogers's curator insight, March 18, 10:17 PM
Great simple insights anyone can do. Yes, that's YOU
Scooped by Jim Manske
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