Do you feel lonely? You are not alone.

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With ever expanding avenues and opportunities for connection that technology provides, we may expect loneliness to be a thing of the past – but unfortunately that is far from the truth.

Loneliness can be defined as a subjective, unwelcome feeling of lack or loss of companionship. It happens when we have a mismatch between the quantity and quality of social relationships that we have, and those that we want (Perlman and Peplau, 1981).

This lack of connection and companionship varies in severity – from a feeling that comes and goes, happens primarily at certain times (like holidays), or it could be something you feel most of the time. Loneliness can be classified as emotional (when we miss a particular person and their companionship) or social (when we miss a wider group or network of friends).  Continue reading

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3 Key Insights for Increased Health & Happiness – from an 80 yr Harvard Study

 

Almost 80 years ago, a group of researchers at Harvard embarked on a research project that still continues today – one which has tracked the lives of 724 men and investigated their health (mental and physical), professional lives, as well as relationships.

In looking at the key factors in building a fulfilling, long life – this study has some surprising insights, which can help you appropriately invest your time and energy.

 

1 – Wealth, Fame, and Hard Work have Little Impact

So many of us get caught up in the rat race – pursuing success in the hopes of creating better more fulfilling lives, and supporting the people we love. A recent study asked millennials about their life goals – with 80% indicating wealth and 50% fame related goals. Metrics echoed by the study’s participants when they were of similar age, who said that they believed that wealth, fame and high achievement were key.

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Connection Project

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Connection.

It’s been a topic that has been on my mind often, as of late – although my curiosity first was peaked back in 2015 during my Happiness Project, where I researched and implemented 12 life hacks to increase positivity and balance after some especially difficult personal setbacks.

During the project, I tried gratitude journaling, meditating, exercising, creating uplifting playlists, disconnecting from technology, prioritizing sleep, auditing my life, making time for passions, giving back, saying no (setting boundaries), as well as investing in meaningful connection.

Invest in 5 intentional relationships – a sense of connection with others has been shown to increase happiness. Take time to really consider the people in your life – your friends and family – and determine 5 key relationships. If you can’t think of 5, it’s time to get out there and meet them! Find ways to invest in these people often: carve time out of your day to ask and listen to them, organize dinner parties, arrange coffee dates, go on nature walks, tell them how much you appreciate sharing moments with them.

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Transportation: the balancing of sustainability and ease

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I’ve been car-less for over 5 years now. Despite what many people assume, my licence was not plucked from my shaking hands after a terrible accident nor was it a product of bad financial decisions.

I got rid of my car for a much simpler reason: I wanted to.

My choice to go car-less was one of the first challenges I undertook, as I worked to better align my life with my personal values.   Continue reading

Inspirational Person: Jamie McKay, Sustainable Building Consultant

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Jamie McKay is self described “Husband, Father, principal at Morrison Hershfield (15 yrs), LEED Fellow, adjunct teacher (Carleton University), lecturer (CaGBC & USGBC), engineer, environmentalist, dumpster diver, artist/designer/builder, canoe paddler, skateboarder, and telemark skier – and that about sums it up”. Quite impressive!


Jamie, as a recognized leader in Sustainable Building Design, where was your passion born?

In 1995 I graduated from Civil Engineering at Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario) and headed to the Yukon Territory, in search of adventure and autonomy. I met many people living radically different lives than anything I’d ever seen before, and was exposed to many new ideas. It was there that I first found my passion for the environment and self-sufficient housing. This was also where I met my wife, a staunch environmental activist. I began to seek out any information I could about the field of sustainable construction, and ultimately moved to Victoria (1997) and Vancouver (1999). It was there that I became involved in the emergence of the green building industry, and got inspired by local legends: David Suzuki, Peter Busby and Guy Dauncey. One of my first deep green projects was Dock Side Green in Victoria, B.C. (a Windmill project) Continue reading

Everything is connected – our bodies, our world.

This absolutely powerful TED talk by Eve Ensler, touched me in a way I cannot explain. She shares her heart wrenching insights into the connection between our awareness of and compassion for our bodies and the body of our world.

Cancer exploded the wall of my disconnection. I suddenly understood that the crisis in my body was the crisis in the world – and it wasn’t happening later, it was happening now. Suddenly my cancer was the cancer that was everywhere: the cancer of cruelty, the cancer of greed, the cancer that gets inside people who live downstream from chemical plants (and they are usually poor), the cancer inside the coal miners lungs, the cancer of stress for not achieving enough, the cancer of buried trauma, the cancer in caged chickens and polluted fish, the cancer in women’s uterus from being raped, the cancer that is everywhere from our carelessness.

In his new and visionary book, New Self, New World, the writer Philip Shepherd says, “If you are divided from your body, you are also divided from the body of the world. Which then appears to be other than you or separate from you, rather than the living continuum to which you belong.”

Before cancer, the world was something ‘other’. It was as if I was living in a stagnant pool, and cancer dynamited the boulder that separated me from the larger sea. Now I am swimming in it. Now I lay down in the grass and I rub my body in it, and I love the mud on my legs and feet. Now I take a daily pilgrimage to visit a particular weeping willow, and I hunger for the green fields in the bush, and when it rains, hard rain, I scream and run in circles. I know that everything is connected.

 

I hope her pure passion resonates with you – like it did with me.

What struck you about her talk? Please share below!


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