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?
Why Rightsizing Works For Anyone At Any Age And Any Location
This last week Thom and I led a discussion group about Rightsizing. It is something we’ve wanted to do ever since writing about it here on the blog during the last four or five years, and then after publishing the book, Rightsizing—A SMART Living 365 guide to Reinventing Retirement last year. Because we are so passionate about the topic, it was great to gather with others who are either curious or equally excited about the benefits. And as we suspected, the topic is so rich that no matter where any of us are on the path, each of us can learn something from every other person’s example. It boils down to the simple fact that quality always tops quantity. [Read more…]
10 Ways To Be More Hopeful And Happy In The New Year
For as long as I can remember I have always encountered a new year with optimism and hope. Even when Y2K or the Mayan 2012 (remember them?) were on the horizon and then passed, I believed that any obstacle we faced in a new year could be overcome by either going over, around, or through the problems in front of us. Now here in 2017, we are faced with new and interesting challenges. But again, it is not my nature, nor the reality that I live in, to believe that optimism and hope are suddenly impossible. As I, and others far wiser than me have said, “Pain may be inevitable, but suffering is always optional.” With that in mind, I’ve spent the first few days of the year coming up with what I believe are ten ways to embrace more happiness and hope in the next 365 days. [Read more…]
What Do We Really NEED To Be Happy?
Years ago, Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs was a popular way of understanding human motivation and ourselves in general. His work was one of the first to look at what allowed people to thrive, rather than struggle in dysfunction, and preceded the field of positive psychology as we know it today. Beginning with a basic need to merely survive, Maslow showed how some people evolved beyond that to eventually arrive at a pinnacle: self-actualization. But while Maslow’s theory made a major contribution to developmental psychology, there are new theories replacing his. Could human happiness and motivation really be as simple as the three needs in Self-Determination Theory (SDT) or the six factors in The Ryff Scales of Psychological Well-Being? And is it really possible to know what we humans need to be happy? [Read more…]
Letting Go Of The Clutter In Your Mind
A common theme on this blog is simple living and minimalism. Those topics are all about letting go of stuff and clutter in our lives so that we can all better focus on what really matters. If you do a Google search you’ll see tons of books and blog posts around the idea, including a recent best seller called, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. And while all of that focus on cleaning up your space is important, most of it ignores how cleaning up your thinking and what goes on in your mind is even more vital. Call it magic or merely life changing, once we learn to empty and let go of the chatter and mind clutter, chances are good that the exterior space around us will be equally free of distraction. [Read more…]
My Top 10 Favorite Quotes From Abraham-Hicks
For the last couple of years one of my favorite speakers to listen to when taking my morning walk is Abraham-Hicks. Regardless of whether the source of their inspiration comes from one woman’s mind or channeled spirits from a higher realm, I find much of it to be an empowering way to look at life. With a big emphasis on finding happiness and feeling good about life in general, what I hear during my morning walk is both healthy for my body and good for my soul. This week I heard Esther Hicks say something that made me stop, pause and make a note to myself as a reminder. That’s when I realized it might be good for me to share other favorites that prove beneficial to me on a regular basis. [Read more…]
Is Gardening A Simple Cure For What Ails You?
I keenly remember my mom working a garden in several of the homes she lived in later in her life. One was little more than rock and gravel patch of dirt, yet she managed to harvest a few tomatoes and zucchini in spite of the inhospitable ground. And while I always enjoyed the taste if she had any extras, my life was far too important and fast paced to even imagine having the time or interest. Now here I am so many years later, spending time nearly every day nurturing tiny green plants in my care. Though it’s taken a while, I’ve gradually come to realize that many of the hidden benefits my mother harvested from her garden went far beyond the obvious. In fact, after reading up on the benefits of gardening I’ve come to realize that this simple action might be a cure for what ails many people, as well as the planet herself. [Read more…]
Repositioning Your Life—Seven Steps To A New You
A big part of living SMART 365 is recognizing and discovering new and beneficial ways to create a life of wellbeing and happiness. Like so many other things in life, the journey is not a destination—rather it is an ongoing process of growth, experience and expression. In some ways it is similar to something that occurs in the commercial real estate field in the U.S. What? That’s right, no matter how wonderful a property (or a life) has been in the past, there comes a time when it is necessary to “reposition” it in order to experience its highest and best use. Although human lives are far more complex, we can learn a few things about change, creativity and feasibility by taking a deeper look at the art of repositioning. [Read more…]
The 1%, Inequality and You
If you’re anything like me you might not have thought much about inequality over the last week/month/year. If you are white, upper middle class, have no debt, a good family income and are healthy—it doesn’t cross our mind much. Unfortunately, if you don’t fit in any of those categories, there is a good chance that you experience inequality in dozens of ways on a regular basis. Even worse, you might not even be aware of how your opportunities for a better future for yourself and your family are slowly being eroded. But because SMART Living 365 is about waking up and living consciously, responsibly and sustainably in everything we do—and then making choices and decisions that lead to greater happiness and wellbeing—learning about the growing inequality in our country is essential. [Read more…]