Happiness

Articles about what factors promote happiness. Particular attention is paid to the social environment.

“Thanksgiving” Reminds Us How Gratitude Makes Us Happy

Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday for quite a while.  Of course, it is wonderful to see family and friends, as well as to eat great food.  We recall how our Thanksgiving holiday is meant to show gratitude for what we have.  For most of American history people had relatively little by current standards.  Now people recite make small gesture of  thanks for their family, friends, faith, flag, wealth or some other external influence.  In fact, Thanksgiving now serves to whet our collective appetites for more. Over the past few decades, Thanksgiving has become the launch pad for an increasingly-crazed, Christmas consumption binge.  Clearly this has changed because capitalism needs people to keep buying more new stuff – see my earlier article “Karl Marx would be Marveling at Capitalism’s Collapse.

This article explains the true nature of gratitude and how to practice it regularly and routinely.  For the last few years at Thanksgiving I have meant to write an article about the relationship between happiness and gratitude.   This year I have done it!  I’m more convinced that how grateful we are for our life, the happier we tend to be.  This is true because focusing on the positive and being thankful for what we have makes us feel better about our situation.  It also is true that we attract more of what we are grateful for into our lives.  First, I want to clearly and carefully express my personal gratitude for where my life is now; and where it is heading.   Next, I have collected and edited some well-written articles about the clear, even scientific, connections between gratitude and happiness.  I open and end with carefully selected quotes about gratitude, happiness, and Thanksgiving.  Click to Learn and Leave Comments.

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More Play and Less Work Will Make Us Much More Hip, Happy, and Wise

Americans tend to not be as happy as we should be – especially considering our disproportionate share of the world’s wealth and resources.   Having been one for almost 60 years, I can personally and professionally attest to the fact Americans tend to be among the most up-tight and least content of all cultures.  We have been conditioned to expect more, better, and cheaper – a real sense of entitlement and ego-driven arrogance. One of the problems is that most Americans equate having fun (i.e., play) as something they need to pay for (e.g., new gadgets and games; tickets to sporting events; fast cars and more.)  As a culture, we need to rediscover our willingness and ability to have fun (play) that does not cost so much.  We need to play our own music and dance our own dances.

In this article I focus on the important role that play has in keeping us happy and healthy – as well as hip and high.  In particular, I review a wonderful book entitled “Play” by Dr Stuart Brown.  You can also read interviews with the author He is also the founder of what must be a great place to work:   The National Institute for Play which uses science to discover all that play has to teach us about transforming our world.   Then I have collected a “Top 40” awesome quotes about play – why, how and when to do it.  Then I present a series of articles about how  and why we need to play moreBTW – when reading about how play affects children recognize that the information generally applies to adults and children of any generation.  Click below to read how to play more now – and Why it OK to do it!!

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Categories: Happiness | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Which Countries Have the Happiest People?

Where we live has a clear and convincing impact on our overall well-being, including our ability to become and stay happy.  Each country has an individual culture and social order.  These influence how individuals perceived themselves and their role in the larger society.   Country of residents influences our opportunities for creative growth and interpersonal connections (both of which are vital for happiness.)

The Gallup polling organization has recently completed the most extensive survey research to learn which countries have the happiest people and why.  In this article I have collected the major news stories about this research, Gallup’s own analysis, and the original journal article.   Results are particularly troubling for the US since we do not fare very well in the rankings (related to our poor performance in education and health care.)  The top countries include several from Scandinavia and Central America.  Click below to read all about this important and innovative research.

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Categories: Happiness | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

Hippest Communities Create the Happiest Citizens

Carrboro, NC 7-4-9

Carrboro, NC July 4, 09

We are all influenced by the people and places where we live. In particular, research shows that the communities we live in shape our ability to pursue and attain real happiness.  My own professional interests have always included a focus on community development and creativity.   After living and traveling to some great places, I am able to identify and describe some real differences that can only be found by experiencing life in different communities.  I hope this will help you gain insights into what are the best and worst places for you to live.

This article represents a renewed emphasis and focus for The HipHappy Times.  From now on, most of my writing will be focused on how to get and stay happy.  I will focus on the role of social institutions on quality of life for individuals and communities.  I hope you enjoy and learn.  My first is a tribute to my relatively new (two years) hometown of Carrboro, NC. Learn about what makes a community cool and creative by reading my entertaining and educational Powerpoint presentation about why as Jim Morrison said  “The West is the Best – Get Here and We will do the Rest.”

Click on this link to view a PDF Version of  a presentation I have shared with community leaders entitled:  C2HC2 (Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Chatham County) as the Creative Corner of the Research Triangle Park.l

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Categories: Happiness | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Cats Are Creative, Cool and Compassionate

Spring is the best time to pay tribute to my true friends through thick and thin – my cats. Just as people feel passionately about their kids, dogs and other companions, many of us also love our cats. They are smarter and cleaner than dogs. They can be alone for extended periods – but cats do not like to be alone. Above all they model the peaceful, Zen lifestyle that I and many others are trying to achieve. Read this post to understand the many benefits of cat ownership. This features many of the best quotes ever on our furry friends. Also, learn why cats make the perfect therapy animals for the elderly, young people and anyone who would prefer minimal responsibility for maximum cat-love. Continue reading

Categories: Environment, Happiness | Tags: , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Freedom is Our Power, So Use it or Lose It

American society is at a historical crossroads. We now have the chance to rebuild our lives and communities; but only if we are left free from excessive corporate and federal government meddling. It is clear that the Bush administration has tried aggressively to take away our freedoms and control our behaviors. However, as Bob Marley it is time to “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds.” In this post I give you some well-tested strategies for regaining our personal and collective freedom. As always, I hope you enjoy the pix and cool quotes!! Continue reading
Categories: Activism - Occupy, Happiness | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

How to be Happier Most of the Time

As a social scientist I have been studying the conditions that promote happiness in life. There is a lot of information out there so I will continue to share the best with you. Movies like “The Secret” explain that we must create our own happiness through our thoughts. Get on with it now… no sense waiting for anyone or anything else to come into your life. The happier you are – the more happiness you attract into your life. Continue reading

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What’s Love Got to Do with Valentine’s Day?

Feel like I need to rant a bit about Valentine’s day as a Hallmark and Hershey Holiday. Many people – especially those who are in “committed relationships” – feel pressure to spend money to make their partner feel loved. However, we need to show love to all people all the time. So I want to rant a bit about this capitalist holiday; but really try to tell the bigger story about why “Love is a Beautiful Thing” that grows as we share it. I have included my own selection of the top 40 Love Quotes. Continue reading

Categories: Happiness, Women | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Bumper Sticker Philosophy

Sometimes the most important wisdom is the shortest and simplest. I have the back of my 1995 Jeep Cherokee covered with bumper stickers. Cool to watch people behind me smile and even discuss what I have on the back. So I went online and collected about 30 pages worth in a word document. Have kept the choicest nuggets for your entertainment, education, and your enlightenment. Continue reading

Categories: Happiness, Visionaries | Tags: | 7 Comments

Choose Your Roles Carefully

One of the latest trends in social science is to study what makes people happy – instead of screwed up. As a sociologist I am most interested in how the society around us influences our chances for and attainment of happiness. Here I discuss how to balance some of the multiple roles – as well as how to pick the rights ones at different points of life. Hope you enjoy and leave comments!! Continue reading

Categories: Happiness | Tags: | 2 Comments

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