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Friday, February 11, 2011

The Pursuit of Happiness

I recently attended a World Volunteer Conference (where I saw Jet Li) and it was like stepping into a motivational session. Many of the keynote speakers were sharing their story of how they have found their happiness through volunteering.

Jet Li shared that while he was making a lot of money and having all the women in the world, he wasn’t happy. He only found real happiness when he started to give. Thus he started the One Foundation and a slew of charitable acts.

Instantly, I felt rejuvenated and revived. I felt a huge urge to throw my worries and fears about making ends meet, go out, hug the tree and love the world.

Then I stopped, and thought, “Easy for him/her to say! He’s a multi-millionaire!”
Yet I guess, until we truly are millionaires ourselves, we won’t know if happiness is attained then.

How can we be happy without being rich?

1. Spend Time with the “Right People”
The people that make you happiest will generally be friends, family and romantic partners. Once out of school, guess where we spend the most time at? Work. Unfortunately, not many of us have a best friend at work, even rare that we like our boss.


Sounds like a bleak situation but here’s what you can do to increase happiness.


Avoid small talk. A related predictor of happiness is how much substantive discussion a person engages in, compared to small talk. Generally, small talk makes people unhappy, and often, work relationships involve a disproportionate amount of small talk. If you want to increase your happiness, it’s far better to find one or two colleagues with whom you can have a real discussion than to engage in small talk around the water cooler.

I had a colleague who sits in front of me. We became lunch khakis, and slowly over lunch we let each other into each's lives. Though i enjoy my workplace in general, having him as a best friend at work made it even better. No office romance occured.

2. Spend time on “socially connecting” activities
such as volunteering and spending time with friends. Work doesn’t count. Unless your job is particularly fulfilling and your colleagues are your best buds, work is not ’socially connecting’ and is generally one of the more unhappy parts of the day. Commuting is also gets high marks for making people unhappy.


Volunteering has been proven to be a good way to increase happiness.
Memory is important, because it helps us take an event that happened in the past and extend its ‘worth’ into the future.

3. Day Dream
This is my favourite! Research has shown that the part of the brain responsible for feeling pleasure can be activated just by thinking about something pleasurable. And we often enjoy the anticipation of something pleasurable more than the actual experience that we think is going to be so great. The most common example is vacation planning, which some find more pleasurable than the vacation itself.

4. Expand your time
No, this does not mean you have to find a warp in the space-time continuum (although it might help). Focusing on the “here and now” slows down the perceived passage of time, allowing people to feel less rushed and hurried. How can we do that?



Breathe slowly. Just for a few minutes. As the authors write: “In one study, subjects who were instructed to take long and slow breaths (vs. short and quick ones) for 5 minutes not only felt there was more time available to get things done, but also perceived their day to be longer.”
Volunteering makes it seem like you have more time. In general, spending time on someone else makes people feel like they have more spare time and that their future is more expansive.
Pay people to do the chores you hate. Activities that we choose to do generally make us happier than those that are obligatory. So if you can afford it, hire someone else to do some of the ‘obligatory’ tasks, such as cleaning the house. Then use the time you’ve ‘bought’ not to catch up on work, but to do something you genuinely enjoy.

I HATE doing the household chores. However, once i told myself it's actually not that bad. It's exercise = keeps me slim and i start DAY DREAMING that i am like Cinderella (the Prince will come some day), i actually enjoyed housework. It'll be another story when i get married.


5. Age changes the way people experience happiness.
Youths tend to equate happiness with excitement, but as people get older, happiness is associated with feeling peaceful. Young people get more happiness from spending time with interesting new acquaintances, while older people get more enjoyment from spending time with close friends and family.

So What Makes Old People Happy (according to Stock Images)?

1. Convertables


2. Scooters


3. Bike dates


4. Tag


5. Strawberries


6. Scarves


7. Computers


8. Getting their blood pressure taken


9. The phone


10. Boobs


11. Balls


12 Slides


13. Fitting Rooms


14. Light Bulbs


14. Lollipops


15. Needles


16. Bingo


17. Retirement


18. Feeling Young


19. Playing With Friends


20. X-Rays


21. Ear buds


22. Running In Water


23. Banging Gongs


24. Raising Their Hands


25. Washing Each Other


Find your Happiness, Whatever It may Be.

1 comment:

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