Have you ever wondered why Scandinavian countries continue to show up at the top of all surveys and research done on happiness? Especially when you consider that for much of their winters they have very little sunlight and temperatures are freezing. Still, over and over those countries demonstrate that the people who live there rate highly in what most researchers call “subjective wellbeing.” So even though that environment is near the bottom of my personal list of where to live, and I doubt the people there walk around with giddy smiles on their faces, they clearly have something precious and desirable. Is it possible that what makes living there so unparalleled is something called “lagom?” And could it be that lagom is just the Swedish word for the practice of rightsizing?
Let me tell you a little secret. I am a bit obsessed with the peeling on the manzanita tree. It’s similar to the attraction you might get after your husband or child gets a sunburn and you see their skin start to flake and peel off. The temptation to “help it along” is very strong in me. I would never touch a scab, but there is something about that flaking skin. So, every summer when we stay in the mountains and I see the manzanitas beginning their annual shedding, I just have to participate. Naturally that got me wondering. I know humans peel after a sunburn, and snakes and other reptiles peel on a regular basis. But why the manzanita? After a little research I realized how I too might benefit from an “annual shedding and letting go.” And perhaps it would be SMART for each of us to consider our own benefits from peeling away certain parts of a life we may have outgrown.
We’re back with another SMART Living 365 Vlog! Join both Thom and me as we share a discussion on why the topic of “living everyday as though you are dying,” just might be the most important thing any of us can think about today. It’s been on our minds lately and we thought it not only made a provocative discussion, but it also helped to remind us both that every day is precious and that we need to make the most of it. Agree? After you watch it, if you have any ideas or thoughts you can add to our discussion, please share them either on YouTube or here in the comments.
When was the last time you hugged a tree? Believe it or not, I’ve spent the last couple of days doing just that. Remember a couple of weeks ago I recommended that we all spent at least 21 seconds a day hugging someone (or a pet) that we care about for our own physical and mental health? But what about trees? Ever since I finished a book titled Braiding Sweetgrass, the act of connecting deeply with nature has become so much more necessary than I ever realized. So, while I don’t know if any of you reading this will ever be motivated to do the same, I wanted to at least invite you to consider how important that connection could be to both your wellbeing and that of Mother Earth as well. [Read more…]
A great amount of validated research proves that volunteering is good for both our health and our longevity. But unfortunately only about one in four people in retirement (or 27% of those over 65) actually volunteer in any given year. Then a week or so ago I had a zoom chat with some friends, all women who are retired, and for the most part none of volunteered or even wanted to. Each were healthy, smart (if I do say so myself) and came out of advanced creative professional occupations before retiring. Plus, I know that they are all readers so surely they are aware of the benefits attributed to regular volunteering? Naturally, that got me wondering why. What would keep any of us from volunteering when it is so beneficial to us? Here are five things I think stand in the way. [Read more…]
Hi! My name is Kathy and I’m a happiness addict. Just about any article or podcast that explores the topic jumps to the top of my to-do list. That’s why, when I saw that The Atlantic magazine was hosting an all-day online conference called In Pursuit Of Happiness I signed up. While I only watched a small portion of it live, I later spent a couple of days listening to over a dozen speakers with a wide variety of “happy” topics. And you know what? Even though I am pretty well versed in happiness ideas and research, I learned a few things that I thought would be good to share. Interestingly enough, one of the suggestions about how to be happier included the idea that we should share anything we hold dear to us because that helps magnify the experience. So here goes!
This weekend I will be turning 66 years old. When I was young that sounded pretty old, but as any of us who have arrived here (or beyond), our age has little to do with how we think and feel at a particular number. I am actually quite happy to be 66 for all sorts of reasons and while I can’t do some of the things I did at younger ages (nor do I want to!) , my awareness, my sense of self and the world, my internal and external resources are far, far better than then. Plus when checked it out, I realized that SMART Living 365.com will be turning 10 years old in a week or two. So it is a time of birthdays for both of us and what better way to celebrate than to throw my version of a potlach! Are there gifts? Of course—what kind of potlach would it be without them?
Richard Leider, co-author of the new book, Who Do You Want To Be When You Grow Old? highlights four things that many seniors feel are missing in older age. Those four things, along with numerous other gems of wisdom, are included in this book that was sent to me to review. And while I don’t know about you, with my 66th birthday happening later this month I grow increasing interested in such topics. Plus, as a person who has suffered from FOMO (fear-of-missing-out) much of her life, I don’t want to be one of those used as an example with such regrets. In fact, not only do I not want to miss anything that will keep me from experiencing what the authors call “the good life”, I look forward to becoming all I can become as I grow older.
What if I told you there was one simple step you could take that would very likely improve your life when you get older? Would you take it? I’m guessing most of us say we would, but evidence is to the contrary. That simple step is getting your hearing tested and if the test proves you have a hearing loss, you get and wear hearing aids. See I told you it was simple. But statistics show that even if you need them, you won’t wear them. That’s unfortunate for many reasons because I am here to tell you that after wearing hearing aids for six years now, I am a huge fan. It’s not just because I can hear as good (or better now!) than most. Instead it is because of all the proven health benefits that come from wearing aids that correct my hearing loss.