Happiness – the often elusive thing that nearly everyone is searching for. We all have different ideas, preferences, and desires for our lives. But after years of scientific research, it has been suggested that certain things make the good majority of us happy. To be more specific, happiness does not result from reaching “bigger and better” signs of success, but rather from looking for contentment from new and fresh experiences in our quest for a life that is considered well lived. So, what kinds of experiences provide the best happiness benefits? Well, scientific study has discovered that these 10 ways will increase your everyday overall happiness:
- Make little changes in your daily routine, such as getting more sleep, exercising, getting out into nature, and meditating.
- Read more books. Read books to learn—research suggests that lifelong learners remain healthy and engaged, and live long lives. Read books as an escape from your everyday life, Read books—it will make you happy. (One of my personal favorites. I have always loved to read, and write as well. Check out my books at www.solitaireparke.com)
- Find your right fit or match, both personally and professionally. If you love what you do and who you are with, you’ll position yourself for personal happiness and professional success.
- Be grateful. Two specific activities help foster a greater sense of gratitude. First, keep a daily gratitude journal. Second, pay a “gratitude visit” to someone from your past that has had a significant impact on your life, and let them know how you feel.
- Smile more—even if you don’t feel like it. Research shows that the simple act of smiling can trick your brain into a happier state.
- Take pleasure in simple, everyday moments. Appreciating life’s small moments, such as a beautiful sunny day, plants sprouting from the ground, and skipping rocks at the beach, teaches you to be more grateful for what you have, especially during moments of stress and anxiety.
- Perform random acts of kindness. Do good deeds. Volunteer. Be charitable. Shop for someone else! Studies have shown that you can help yourself by doing good things for others.
- Spend money on experiences versus things. Studies have shown that buying an object—a car, handbag, or kitchen gadget—can quickly lead to buyer’s remorse. On the other hand, investing in experiences—a concert, a camping trip, music lessons—leads to greater happiness. Experiences create “happiness residue,” and our perceptions of them often get better over time.
- Avoid comparisons. Whatever you may think of someone else’s life, particularly as viewed through the phony, filtered lens of social media, it’s almost certainly messier than you imagine. It’s easier to embrace and learn to love your own imperfections, if you don’t conjure up myths about how perfect everyone else’s lives seem.
- Build and maintain close relationships. Having a small number of tight, meaningful relationships is one of the highest predictors of happiness. (Pets are wonderful companions too!)
We all lose sight of some of the happiness priorities, so don’t feel bad if you do. In this world we battle on a daily basis the relentless marketing and expectations of society that attempt to lead us down paths to happiness that lie somewhere else. We don’t need to over-complicate things. It’s the simple things in life that matter most. Live each moment with purpose and intent – live each moment as if it were your last and enjoy the people around you. You have one life – so live each minute to the fullest!
“Attaining lasting happiness requires that we enjoy the journey on our way toward a destination we deem valuable. Happiness is not about making it to the peak of the mountain nor is it about climbing aimlessly around the mountain; happiness is the experience of climbing toward the peak.”
It’s about time for another novel, this time Part Two of the Daughter of the Dark Lord Series. The first book, Daughter of the Dark Lord – Part One – The Burning Sky, has been out for a while now, and is available at a variety of locations – all of which can be reached from my website – www.solitaireparke.com.
I am very anxious for you to read the Daughter of the Dark Lord books as they are the prequels to my previously published Dragomeir Series – a must read for anyone who loves dragons and other wonderful creatures – also available at my website. I’ve always been intrigued by dragons. They are magnificent creatures who interact in the most extraordinary ways with their riders and fellow beings, and have characteristics that are remarkably like humans at times. They’re really quite wonderful, contrary to all the bad press they’ve been given so much of the time.
The second book in the series, Daughter of the Dark Lord – Part Two – The Alberra Project, is almost finished, I am happy to say. These last few months have been a bit crazy, as life and the consequent stress of other projects seemed to take over from time to time, but I am hard at work on Book Two and it has progressed quite nicely. So, before long it will move forward into editing mode, there will be a cover reveal, and it should be out before year’s end.
In the meantime, check out my other books at www.solitaireparke.com.
Happy Summer Reading!
If you’re struggling with feeling tired, uninspired, or have writer’s block, maybe you should take a good look at your diet. We tend to blame everything for not being at our peak performance, but what if it’s partially as a result of what we eat? Creative minds place very tall demands on our brains, and to do our best work we should think about what affects our productivity. We probably won’t produce our best work if our bodies feel tired and sluggish. So check out the list below:
FOODS FOR CREATIVITY
- FISH – High in Omega3 fats which are essential for healthy brain function
- EGGS – Contains choline which enhances memory and reaction times
- WHOLE WHEAT BREAD, PASTA, AND BROWN RICE – They are digested more
slowly than their white equivalents, so you don’t experience creativity-killing energy
highs and lows
- BANANAS – Contains potassium needed for oxygen flow to the brain, keeps energy levels up with just the right amount of glucose
- BLUEBERRIES – Contain antioxidants which improve memory
- UNSALTED NUTS AND SEEDS – Great source of proteins and fats which provide long-lasting energy
- BROCCOLI – Your brain’s best friend. Contains Vitamin K which enhances cognitive functions – works best when eaten raw or roasted with olive oil and garlic
- SWEET POTATO CRISPS – Baked crisps, thinly sliced, with a little salt. Contains more potassium than bananas – needed for oxygen flow to the brain
If you know there are certain foods that will tempt you, just don’t keep them around.
Make sure you don’t over-indulge. Even healthy foods and snacks can quickly lead to a
sugar crash. (Avoid foods and snacks containing high fructose corn syrup).
It’s always a good idea to eat a healthy breakfast to start your day.
Have a snack a couple times during the day – maybe an apple or some unsalted nuts.
These are some ideas that should help to keep the creativity flowing and keep your brain functioning all day. So, what works for you? If you have a special diet that helps you to write, think, and learn better, let us know.
Don’t step on the sidewalk cracks, walk under any mirrors, and stay away from black cats are a few of the taboos on Friday the 13th. We’ve all heard them before. Most people do not take it too seriously, but there are some who dread the date. By the way, if you’re interested, the word paraskevidekatriaphobia means fear of Friday the 13th! If you were looking for a definitive answer, there really isn’t one. Like many cultural traditions and long-running superstitious beliefs, the exact source is unknown. It is most likely the result of many different factors, strengthened over time by a combination of specific incidents, folklore and religion that have evolved over hundreds of years to create what we now refer to as the unluckiest date in the calendar. Here are a few of the beliefs about Friday the 13th:
- Some superstitions about Friday the 13th are rooted in the guest list of the Last Supper. Judas was the 13th guest at the table, and Jesus was crucified on a Friday. Coincidence?
- On Friday the 13th in 1307, thousands of Knights Templar were arrested on orders from King Philip IV of France because of suspicions that their secret initiation rituals made them “enemies of the faith.” After years of torture, they were burned at the stake. Dan Brown’s novel The DaVinci Code popularized the link between the Knights Templar and Friday the 13th.
- The first specific written reference to Friday the 13th as an unlucky day was in an early-20th century novel by Thomas W. Lawson, called Friday, the 13th. Ironically, a ship named after Lawson was caught in a storm and shipwrecked on the night of Friday the 13th, 1907.
- Superstition can result in an economic dip. Donald Dossey, founder of the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute, says U.S. businesses lose millions of dollars on Friday the 13th, because some people are reluctant to leave their homes.
- Friday’s position as the unlucky day may have been strengthened by it being the day of execution of criminals for many years, commonly called Hangman’s Day.
- Scandinavians believed 13 signified bad luck because their 13th mythological demigod Loki was an evil one who brought great misfortune upon humans.
- Hindus believed that it was unlucky for 13 people to gather in one place.
- Most skyscrapers and hotels lack a 13th floor, which specifically comes from the tendency in the early 1900s for buildings in New York City to omit the unlucky number (though both the Empire State Building and the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel have 13th floors). Street addresses sometimes skip from 12 to 14, while airports may skip the 13th gate.
- Allegedly, the popular Friday the 13th films were so-named just to cash in on this menacing date recognition, not because the filmmakers actually believed the date to be unlucky.
- Black cats have been seen in Western cultures as an omen of bad luck — they have been associated with witches, and many cultures believe that a black cat crossing your path means you will suffer disaster or even death. Gamblers are especially fearful of the black cat curse – many of them believe that if they see a black cat while going to a casino, they should abandon their plans to gamble there.
Do you consider Friday the 13th to be an unlucky date? Has anything bad ever happened to you on this day before? Do you have any superstitions to help you avoid bad luck? Add your comments below.