Choose life. Life is wonderful.

Sunday, 27 January 2019

SOME THOUGHTS ON HAPPINESS



“Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.” 

 Aldous Huxley

Chance photo taken in my garden

I love quotes. They can be gems. Wisdom in a nutshell. They make me think, and as I come across quotes that are relevant or interesting I save them for my blog. I have read that people who read blogs don't want to have to think, but I am sure this can't be true.

As the New Year starts it seems timely to think about happiness. 

 I try to find happiness in the small things. A cup of coffee or spotting a toadstool can spark happiness. Snuggling under a warm quilt or watching the waves. Financial necessity makes my life 'small', but it is still happy because I consciously set out to enjoy and be grateful for the small things.

Daniel Kaheneman, a cognitive psychologist, winner of the 2002 Nobel prize for Economics, argues that we are more concerned with satisfaction than happiness which is only fleeting. He contends that happiness and satisfaction are  2 different things.

He spent years studying happiness, yet now he considers satisfaction and life satisfaction of greater importance to people. In his podcast Conversations with Tyler (19/12/2018) he states that people want to maximise their satisfaction rather than their happiness. For example in his research Kaheneman found that spending time with friends scored highly for making people happy. Yet these same people did not make socialising a priority, rather they undertook activities which may not bring immediate happiness but would bring satisfaction in the long term, such as working on a career.


Paul Dolan, Professor of Behavioural Sciences at London School of Economics is an expert on the measurement of happiness. He states that, 'Happiness is situated in what we do and who we spend time with. It does not reside in some story we think should make us happy.' In his book Happiness By Design (2014) he writes that 'the stories about how we ought to live our lives' can hurt us as much as they may help. So we shouldn't compare ourselves to others. We must find happiness within our own limits and in our own way.

In his article, 'Why the Quickest Route to Happiness May be to Do Nothing', David Robson wrote, ' Happiness really is like a timid animal. And once you stop chasing it, you might just find that it naturally appears of its own accord.' 


Dragon boats on the lake

Peter and I like to walk along Lake Illawarra and spotted these dragon boats on Tuesday morning.

Dragon boats in the distance



In the garden

I found this clump toadstools on my neighbour's footpath. I love toadstools so had to include this photo. Toadstools make me happy.

Toadstools on my neighbour's footpath

I came across an article on the internet about mint and using it to keep insects, spiders and mice away. So I did some more research and it seems that this does in fact seem to be the case. One of the things I am not short of is mint. I have a whole garden of it.


My mint garden
Some of the leaves are gigantic.


Gigantic mint leaves in my garden
So I have started putting vases of mint around my house to keep the critters away. 


Jar of mint in kitchen

Mint on my coffee table

My hope is that the mint will grow in the water and I won't have to replace it. The only problem is that something is eating my mint and I can't seem to see what it is.

I don't have any rodents in my house at the moment but I do have the occasional cockroach. So I am hoping they will all disappear. I will let you know how it goes.


Axis Mundi

Below is a poem I love. It represents why I write my blog. It's all about the small things. The things that don't cost much. The things we need to stop and appreciate. Beautiful things, that can just slip by if we don't take the time to notice.

This poem sits well with the quote above at the beginning of this post. "Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities," but we have to take the time to 'see' that happiness. 

Read and enjoy.


AXIS MUNDI

The point at which heaven and earth meet.
There are other definitions. But think about this one. 
Better yet, think of it this way:
"A" point at which heaven and earth meet.
There is a point at the base of a baby's neck where heaven meets
earth.
And, certainly,
when fall moves into winter,
in the late afternoon light filtering through not-quite-bare
branches,
there is a certain shimmering essence that nearly breaks the 
heart.
Consider the point at which,
lying on your back,
you look up into a blue sky and, in a moment of grace, imagine a
worthwhile tomorrow.
Or when an unexpected wind sweeps around a corner and brings
with it a hint of some distant unknown sea
Maroon and gray and gold strata on a rocky headland
above a green-gray sea.
Tea in a special cup.
Points at which heaven and earth meet.
A string of points, connected, make a line.
A line can be followed, to a destination,
can draw us in.
Axis mundi.

Dianne Crumbaker



Interesting sites


1. Entire Swiss village to become hotel.

Photo source
This old village in Switzerland is being saved from decay by being turned into a hotel. Click here to read more.




2. Why your brain is wired for pessimism.


About 25 years ago I read a book by Martin Seligman titled 'Learned Optimism' in an attempt to become more optimistic. At that stage I was not aware that I suffered from depression to the extent I did. This article by Martin Seligman discusses the reasons he thinks half of us are wired for pessimism. Click here to read more.



3.  Giant prehistoric bird eats Neanderthal child's bones.


Photo source




Evidence has shown that at giant prehistoric bird in Poland ate a Neanderthal child's bones. Click here to to read all about it.

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