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
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.
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.
The end of a calendar year is always a time of reflection for me – remembrance of the beauty hidden in small moments and what they have collectively taught me.
2015 was both challenging and immensely rewarding. However, it wasn’t the obvious things (such as achieving my MBA or P.Eng) that stand out when I reflect, but rather matters of the heart: relationships which helped me to grow, illness which made me aware of the fragility of life, and a happiness project which significantly altered the way I choose to interpret experiences.
This past year shook me Continue reading
This is the final stretch of my Happiness Project – a resolution to explore happiness. I have been attempting 3 new tactics every quarter of 2015, and I invite you to join me!
After much deliberation, the final three happiness tactics are as follows:
- Audit & Assess your life – Book an hour or two over the next week. Sit down with a notebook, and be realistic about what a current week looks like for you. Track how much time is spent on different activities. Which of these activities do you enjoy? Which ones do you not? Are there activities which you love or find meaningful which you aren’t currently making time for? Would you rather have more time with family and pay a company to upkeep your home? Could you negotiate a swap with a friend (ie. you fix things up in their home, they cook home made meals for you) to do more of what you love and less of what you don’t? Question long held assumptions. Get creative. Implement changes.
Every season, I share artistic expressions that have inspired me. This month I’d like to share some music that has resonated. In particular, in line with my Happiness Project – I wanted to share some of the tracks that made it to my Happy Playlist. Continue reading
This year, I made a resolution to explore initiatives to create an atmosphere of positivity and balance in my own life – an initiative I am calling my Happiness Project. My plan is to introduce 3 new tactics every quarter of 2015, and I invite you to join me!
I’m excited to announce the three new happiness tactics (for April to June) are as follows: Continue reading
I was watching a home video of an interview with my Nanny. She was being asked a host of questions, including what she most wanted for her children – and without hesitation, she said confidently and with a great deal of love…
To be happy.
The pursuit of happiness at times gets a bad rap for being fake, selfish, or an ultimately futile goal. However, what could be more important than creating an atmosphere of positivity and balance in your own life, regardless of circumstances? How can you truly support others, or have the ability to make change in the world if you are not at peace yourself?
This past year my Telfer MBA team did a data analysis project on the Happy Planet Index (incredibly, US ranks in the lowest category of HPI, Canada is middle of the pack, while Mexico is one of the highest). We compared HPI to a large number of factors – including life expectancy rates, war deaths, alcohol consumption, etc – with little correlation. We came to the surprising conclusion that happiness is not heavily dependent on what is happening to and around you.
So what do happy people do differently than the rest of us? I plan to go on a mission to figure this out – and will be periodically updating you on my findings. I will pursue it, like I do any other goal, with tangible actions. I plan to try 3 different happiness tactics every quarter of 2015, and I invite you to join me! The tactics for January to March are as follows:
- Find 5 things you are grateful for everyday – This could be a morning reflection you whisper to yourself while rolling out of bed, or a journal entry on the good things that you remember from the day. The way you choose to recognize the 5 things is completely up to you, but the key thing is that it happens daily.
- Remove one negative thing from your life – Create some breathing space by letting go of something that is currently toxic. This could be an activity you no longer enjoy, an energy sucking relationship, or a self-destructive habit.
- Start meditating – I meditate every once in a while, but I want to make this an unshakable part of my daily routine. This can take as little as 5 minutes a day, so it is manageable for even the most packed schedule.
Make happiness a priority this next year with me, and improve not only your own life, but those close to you as well. Keep me updated on your experiences below!
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