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Just Like a Butterfly by Tori Leckie

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Originally posted on December 6, 2011 by Tori Leckie

I was working on a magazine feature not long ago about the science of happiness. Fascinating. My intrigue first began post hearing an interview on Dubai Eye with a professor of happiness based here in the UAE. He started the discussion by saying that in the history of Harvard, the course with the most popular sign-ups EVER was one on the science of happiness.

I’m already a sucker for books on positive psychology and personal development so digging a little deeper into this whole subject has kept me entertained for hours …

So today … Tori’s top takeaways from her reading and research so far … it’s not brain surgery, indeed many are obvious. But sometimes, we forget. We get so wrapped up in looking forward that we forget to focus on the now.

* Seeking ‘happiness’ alone is misguided; happiness is a byproduct of loads of different things in life: a meaningful purpose, passions, relationships with friends, family, lovers and others etc

* Natural selection has wired us in such a way that it’s not the outcome but the process that makes us happy. Happiness comes from feeling we are making progress rather than achieving specific outcomes. This is why we should always break our big goals down into little goals

* Your prefrontal cortex is prone to a cognitive illusion called the impact bias … what this means is that our brain vastly over estimates how happy certain outcomes will make us feel e.g. ‘If only I had X, I’d be happy’

* To be happy with work, three key needs need fulfilled: autonomy--you have control over your time and what you do, competence--being excellent at a useful and valued skill and relatedness--feeling connected to others

* We overestimate the effect that acquiring material goods will have on our long-term happiness. That 60-inch TV, VB handbag or jewel-encrusted pair of Manolos will not make much of a long term dent (other than to your bank balance) after the initial high. Once over a minimal threshold of wealth, increases do not bring much extra happiness

* Work out. It gets you into a meditative-like state and pumps natural painkillers through your brain. We’ve all heard of the ‘runners high’ … and many of us experience it regularly first hand. Learning to push yourself when exercising makes you more resilient when facing the inevitable hardships in life. Exercise also powerfully boosts your mood and alleviates depression among those unfortunate enough to suffer from it

* To those of you who worry constantly about what people think of you: they’re thinking about you less than you imagine. Other people are thinking about themselves, not you

* Take more chances. ‘Worst case scenarios’ don’t usually transpire and are not as painful as you imagine they will be. Terrified to ask someone out on a date? Do it. If they say no, you will NOT be crushed forever with humiliation; it will be nowhere near as bad as you think it will be. (And, all else being equal, you have about a 50% chance of a stranger agreeing to a date with you--not bad odds)

* Fulfilling, intimate, close relationships are important, but never reply on others for your own happiness / feelings of content … that should come from within

* Don’t just ‘count your blessings’; vividly visualise how your life would be if those blessings were suddenly taken away from you. This elicits sincere gratitude

* ‘Chase your dreams’ is good advice. Find a way to make money doing what you would do if you couldn’t make money out of it !" the thing that gets you into a flow state. But this must be tempered with a dose of reality: there is no magical occupation in life that will fill you with endless delirious happiness. Thinking otherwise will lead you to be relentlessly unhappy and dissatisfied

* Having too many options leads to perennial dissatisfaction. The freedoms you have and the multiple alternative life possibilities available to you, are, paradoxically, a source of enormous dissatisfaction.

* Simplify your life. You are probably doing too many unnecessary things that clog up your schedule, stress you out, dilute your productivity and detract from the day to day enjoyment of life

* If circumstances in your life are causing you unhappiness, sit down with a pen and paper and work out what the problems are and what steps you can take to eliminate the problems. Do not ruminate--" eliminate!

* Not everyone will love and adore you. Some people will detest you and they will be multiplied if you become successful. Don’t waste your time trying to make everyone like you

* We are wired in such a way that losing stings more than winning brings pleasure … but some suffering is inevitable; it the flipside of having a mind capable of intense joy and love.

* Be friends with happy people. Get rid of toxic friendships. Who you surround yourself with is crucial to your well-being, your life satisfaction and your success in personal endeavours.

Quite a lot here I know … perhaps a post worth printing out and sticking to the fridge. Or perhaps just remember the wonderful words of Henry David Throeau:

“Happiness is like a butterfly. The more you chase it, the more it eludes you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it comes and sits softly on your shoulder.”

Link to original blog...Just Like A Butterfly

Giving Thanks

Friday, November 22, 2013

Each time the holidays roll around, we begin thinking about gifts and travel plans. But what matters most, is the time we spend with our friends and family. It’s a time of gratitude and joyfulness, and it’s a time to enjoy a meal around the table in that spirit.

In recent years, frying the Thanksgiving turkey has become a trend. While it can result in a delicious meal, we should all make sure to put safety first. Allstate has prepared three tips to help you be safe should you decide to fry the turkey:

1) Hand-dry the Turkey before Frying - Never place a frozen turkey into hot oil, as it can cause oil to spill over. Make sure that the turkey correlates properly with the fryer size.

2) Use Premium Oil to Fry- Preventing fires starts with choosing the proper oil quality; peanut and safflower oil are viable options. Leave room at the top of the fryer for oil to prevent any accidental spills.

3) Cook Outside - While it might be expected that everyone would know to cook a turkey in a fryer outside, it’s not always clear. Make sure to cook outside and stay clear of any wooden decks or structures as well as low hanging branches.

Safety is paramount when preparing the Thanksgiving feast, whether you decide to fry a turkey or bake tofurkey. While you prepare to greet your family and spend time with friends this year, it’s also a time to share that spirit of gratitude with others.

Unfortunately, many around the world, particularly those impacted by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, even having a guaranteed meal is a gift. Those who have the means, have the opportunity to give more than time and presents to their loved ones; we can all be humanitarians and even small donations can be felt on the other side of the globe. There are a number of organizations, such as American Red Cross, Doctors without Borders, and Mercy Corps, who are working to help those affected by the natural disaster. See a larger list of organizations in this NBC News article. Thanks for making a difference and have a very happy and safe Thanksgiving!

Tips to Have a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

thankstraditionsdinner_15596_469x299.jpgThe holiday season is always a happy time of year to enjoy with friends and family. Thanksgiving is filled with delicious food and gathers friends and loved ones to enjoy the meal together. While celebrating, we should also remember to take precautions to keep the holiday season both festive and safe. Here are some tips to keep in mind this Thanksgiving: 


  • Many may want to sneak a bite before the great feast, but it is important to keep the kitchen clear of too many people. This could be a potential hazard to start a fire or spill hot food on fellow guests.
  • Always have both heat resistant gloves and a fire extinguisher closely accessible.
  • Turn pot handles away to ensure that you and your kitchen helpers don’t accidentally walk by and knock the pans off the stove.
  • Never pour water on grease fires! This will cause the fire to spread. Instead, grab a lid and slide it on top of the pan and turn off the burner - lack of oxygen will extinguish the fire.
  • Try to avoid deep fryers. It’s difficult to know the correct amount of oil put in the pan and often when you are ready to place the turkey in, the oil can become displaced, causing an unstable fire.
  • Candles are always an essential accent to the holiday season, whether it be for scent or just to set the mood, but they can be dangerous if not attended. If candles are lit please make sure to keep an eye on them and out of a child’s reach.

Many of these tips were provided by our friends at Underwriters Laboratories, making household items safer for your family. Holiday safety is very important and should always be a top priority. Since the holidays are such a happy time, people often forget to be mindful of things that could potentially be harmful for our loved ones. Here at Salmon Agency we encourage you to be safe and have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Thank you for your business and looking to us as your trusted advisor for your “whole” life. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones!

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