I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and reading about happiness. What does it mean to be happy, and how can people work to become happier?
If you think about health and wellness, so much of our resources are focused on combating the negative, whether it be curing an illness or preventing a problem from developing. In fact, when you talk to people about their health (as I’ve done in many user tests and ethnographic research sessions), they’re rarely motivated by these sorts of ideas. Sure, people want to be healthy, and they don’t want to be sick. But they want to be healthy in order to do something else. What they want, in short, is to be happy, and they see their physical health as a way to help them do that.
Like pretty much everything worth doing, there’s no single easy or right way to achieve happiness. But in all the reading I’ve been doing, not to mention my own experience, one thing is definitely true: You can only be happy if you pick things that are right for you. Being authentic is a key ingredient in being happy. Continue reading Authenticity as a Path to Happiness→
For a change of pace, I thought it might be fun to do posts on Fridays about stuff that’s purely recreational, not academic. To kick it off, I have a great summer (fall, winter, and spring) beer recommendation: Tröegs Hopback Amber Ale!
In my own words: I love this beer because it hits this great middle ground between different beer styles. It’s a little hoppy, but doesn’t get anywhere near IPA territory. It’s got a robust taste without being super-heavy. I think Hopback goes well with food or on its own. If I see it on a beer menu, the only reason I might not order it is in order to try something new. It’s definitely one of my most favorite beers, and I find when I recommend it to other beer drinkers, they usually enjoy it, no matter their usual favorite style of beer.
The Tröegs Brewery is in Pennsylvania, and their beers are fairly easy to find on draft throughout Boston and the Northeast. If you’re near a Yard House, they often carry several Tröegs beers on draft.
This post has been auto-scheduled to appear on my blog. I’m not here posting it, because I am on a beach (or possibly by the pool, in a cabana, or napping in a comfy hotel bed). And you know what? This is a good thing for my work and well-being. Some awesome vacation facts include:
For all of these reasons–plus my love of traveling–I just can’t understand all the Americans who don’t use their vacation days. I consider it my duty as a psychologist and an employee to use mine well. I hope you will too!
I’m not a huge tv watcher, but lately I’ve started watching the show The Good Wife. I’m only five years late to the party. The Good Wife stars Julianna Marguiles as Alicia Florrick, a lawyer returning to the work force after her husband is jailed for political misdeeds. It took me a while to realize it, but one of the reasons I like the show so much is that Alicia, despite being “the good wife” who stood beside her husband as he admitted corruption, is actually a strong female character. One of her best traits? Continue reading Saying No→
I just recently read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin for a new book club I joined. On the surface, this is not the type of book I read. I am not a big one for self-help guides (probably because, as a psychologist, I’m fixated on all of the oversimplifications and omissions in these types of popular audience books). I also, sad to say, do not usually radiate positivity and optimism. Let’s just say people aren’t usually surprised I’m from Boston and I do pretty well in New York, too.
So I was surprised to find that the book quickly hooked me. Even more surprising, I actually took action and made some small changes in my life, before I had even finished the book. I made some hard choices about donating clothes I never wear, which both clogs my closet and fills me with unneeded regret about my appearance (and lack of cutting edge style). I took my kitchen knives for sharpening, an inexpensive task that for some reason daunted me but will restore the joy I find in cooking. I redoubled my efforts to find a wireless headset for when I work from home, so I’m no longer tethered to my desk during calls and longing for a chance to grab a glass of water or stretch my legs. Oh, and I got a manicure, which I always need because my nails look terrible–and never get, because my hands look terrible. Even aside from the effects of the changes, just doing these things made me feel good.
Not surprising, since taking action is a way of exercising one’s autonomy. I like the idea of willfully doing something just because I know it will bring me pleasure. I plan to do more of it.
I have lots more thoughts on The Happiness Project I’d like to share, but for now, I’ll leave you with the link to Gretchen Rubin’s site, where she provides toolkits to try a Happiness Project of your own.