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.
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 more. BTW – 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!!
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.
One of the first things FDR did when he became president in 1932 was to end the failed prohibition of alcohol. This single act freed up resources for needed public works programs and added lots of new tax revenue. That also dramatically improved public mood as promised by his 1932 campaign song “Happy Days are Here Again.” Another benefit was the dramatic drop in crime and fewer prisoners. We will see these and other major benefits once the wasteful weed war ends.
President Obama has the same chance to restore a sense of freedom and happiness in our country. One easy thing to do is end the unethical and ineffective war on medical marijuana. This will also improve how the rest of the world views the United States. Read all about what we all can do to persuade and pressure our new president to “Do the Right Thing” for millions of medical patients and recreational users across the country and around the world. The US is the only country standing in the way of global ganjah legalization.
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
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
This BLOG was originally written in honor of Earth Day (April 22) of 2007. We all need to do a much better job of caring for our only planet. This is from the work of the amazing Barry Commoner. This was originally posted on hiphappy.blog.myspace Continue reading
One of my favorite BLOGs are the tributes that I pay to musicians and others who have had an enormous influence on my life. This BLOG was originally posted on May 17, 2007 at my MySpace Blog. Hope you enjoy the lessons and love!! Continue reading