satisfaction http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8590/all en-US 5 Ways to Stop Wanting More Without Settling for Less http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-stop-wanting-more-without-settling-for-less <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-stop-wanting-more-without-settling-for-less" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy-businesswoman-466482869-small_0.jpg" alt="happy businesswoman" title="happy businesswoman" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="148" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many people invest their hope for a happier life in future achievements. For you, this could be a higher salary, a family milestone, or a more relaxed lifestyle.</p> <p>In reality, there will always be another achievement on the horizon. Happiness can only be enjoyed today, in the present moment. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-why-you-settle-and-how-to-stop?ref=seealso">This Is Why You Settle (and How to Stop)</a>)</p> <p>Accordingly, we find ourselves in this daily tension between pursuing more and enjoying what we have. Here are a few tips for being happier with what you have today.</p> <h2>1. Identify Your True Sources of Happiness</h2> <p>It's all too easy to mistake money for happiness. After all, there is a certain fulfillment and excitement that comes when larger and larger amounts of money are acquired. Unless your passion in life is green paper, you really have no interest in money. You desire what money <em>can buy</em>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-lot-of-people-dont-understand-what-money-really-is-do-you?ref=seealso">A Lot of People Don't Understand What Money Is &mdash; Do You?</a>)</p> <p>But then again, unless you're an extreme hoarder, you don't really desire to own things. You desire the enjoyment you derive from using the things you own. What's the point of all this? Understand what you actually want and don't waste your time on anything else.</p> <p>If your goal for more money is spending more time with the family, stop worrying about the money and start spending more time with your family. There are ways you can cut straight to the core desire, and the fewer middlemen, the better.</p> <p>Take the time to actually write down your priorities. Create a budget based on those priorities and begin identifying where you are spending money but not deriving any enjoyment. You can then shift your allotment of time and money to align with your true priorities.</p> <h2>2. Set Attainable Goals</h2> <p>Achievement is a relative term. For one person, getting featured positively in the local newspaper is a once-in-a-lifetime type success. For another, getting elected to Congress is the minimum entry for their ultimate ambition.</p> <p>The personal fulfillment we derive from our achievements depends entirely upon how we view them. By setting finite, attainable goals for ourselves, and then celebrating each victory, we allow ourselves to enjoy the journey instead of bemoaning what we haven't yet attained. Break down your ultimate goal into quantifiable steps, so that each step you take is an accomplishment you can celebrate.</p> <h2>3. Celebrate What's Meaningful</h2> <p>You'll find &quot;enjoy the little things&quot; on a lot of these lists. That sounds nice, but it's not as though we can just make ourselves enjoy things we don't find enjoyable. We can, however, celebrate the moments that are truly meaningful to us.</p> <p>The key is living in the <em>now</em> and recognizing when it's time to stop and celebrate. Your responsibilities and pursuits are always a text away. Your ability to enjoy what you have depends on your capacity to stop and celebrate what is meaningful today.</p> <p>Go back to your priority list. Spend a few moments each day thinking about your top priorities and what they mean to you today. If family is the most important, spend a few moments celebrating your family each week and verbally affirming each member and why they mean so much to you.</p> <h2>4. Prioritize Your Community</h2> <p>If there's one thing I've found to be true in my life, it's that <em>what</em> I'm doing and <em>where </em>I'm doing it aren't nearly as important as <em>who</em> I'm with. Your community will account for much of your satisfaction and happiness in life. And just like the <em>what</em> and the <em>where</em>, you have complete control over the <em>who</em>.</p> <p>Don't invest your time in negative people. If you find yourself connecting best with negative people, there are probably some painful wounds in your life that need healing. Spending time with positive, uplifting people is contagious. Spending time around people with correct priorities rubs off. Spending time with people who are deeply committed to their friends and family prepares you to foster those same meaningful relationships in your own life.</p> <h2>5. Give &amp; Receive</h2> <p>It's not all about us, and understanding this truth allows us to be happy with what we have. By investing in others, we allow their accomplishments to increase our own happiness and satisfaction. By receiving from others, we allow ourselves to realize we aren't alone &mdash; it's not us against the world &mdash; and we set ourselves up to benefit from the victories of others.</p> <p>One practical way to do this is by giving to charity. Research shows that those who give and volunteer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-giving-to-charity-is-good-for-you">are actually happier</a> and more deeply satisfied with their lives.</p> <p>But you don't have to invest only in strangers. What are your friends' dreams? What is your cousin's dream? What is your son's dream? Invest in their success. Invest in where they want to go, and you'll find their success as rewarding, if not more so, than your own.</p> <h2>Happiness Is Not a Quest</h2> <p>The most important thing to understand is that happiness is not a quest. You will never find or achieve it. You can be happy today or you can not be happy today. In many ways, the choice is entirely yours.</p> <p>You can never &quot;arrive&quot; at happiness. If you can't enjoy life with $30k a year, you won't enjoy it with $50k. Spend a few minutes today thinking about what is truly important to you and allow yourself to enjoy what you already have.</p> <p><em>Are you happy with where you are right now? Why? Or, why not?</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jacob-mcmillen">Jacob McMillen</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-stop-wanting-more-without-settling-for-less">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-can-do-to-be-happier-today">10 Things You Can Do to Be Happier Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-can-do-today-to-be-happy">10 Things You Can Do Today to Be Happy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-feel-better-fast">25 Ways to Feel Better Fast</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/100-small-things-that-can-bring-you-joy">100 Small Things That Can Bring You Joy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-things-scientists-say-will-boost-your-happiness-today">11 Things Scientists Say Will Boost Your Happiness Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development happiness satisfaction value worth Mon, 21 Jul 2014 13:00:02 +0000 Jacob McMillen 1161541 at http://www.wisebread.com 29 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Happier This Year http://www.wisebread.com/29-scientifically-proven-ways-to-be-happier-this-year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/29-scientifically-proven-ways-to-be-happier-this-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/pet-155823880.jpg" alt="woman with dog" title="woman with dog" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I don&#39;t know anyone who doesn&#39;t want to be happier. Do you? This desire seems to be nearly universal. However, the path to happiness often feels convoluted and difficult, where two steps forward seem to become three steps back. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-happiness-habits-7-ways-to-feel-better-now?ref=seealso">Happiness Habits That Help You Feel Better Now</a>)</p> <p>Fortunately, science can inform our pursuit of happiness. Happiness is a popular field of study among researchers, and there are ways to become happier that can suit every budget, lifestyle, and personality. Skeptical? Here are 29 scientifically supported ways to become happier this year.</p> <h2>1. Work With Your Hands</h2> <p>Garden. Build something. Cook dinner. Any sort of manual labor can <a href="http://www.lhj.com/health/stress/mood-boosters/want-to-be-happier/">improve your level of happiness</a>.</p> <h2>2. Practice &quot;Taking in the Good&quot;</h2> <p>Avoid focusing on the negative and actually receive the good that exists in your life. Taking a moment to reflect on positive experiences as they occur <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/10/how-to-build-a-happier-brain/280752/">builds neural networks</a> that later help us be more resilient, or confident, or happy.</p> <h2>3. Help Others</h2> <p>Lend a hand to someone close to you, even when you&#39;re busy. Seeing a need, even a small one, and meeting it, will <a href="http://www.news.wisc.edu/21983">make you happier</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-nice-people-can-get-ahead?ref=seealso">Ways Nice People Can Get Ahead</a>)</p> <h2>4. Stop Caring About What Others Think</h2> <p>You can&#39;t make them happy, and trying to will <a href="http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/ten-things-stop-caring-about-you-want-happier.html">drain your own happiness</a>.</p> <h2>5. Let Go of Perfection</h2> <p><a href="http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/11/01/give.up.perfection/">Let go of perfection</a>, in all areas of your life. You are worthy now. You don&#39;t have to wait until you&#39;ve reached the perfect weight, or the perfect career, or the perfect frugal lifestyle to know that.</p> <h2>6. Become Calm</h2> <p>Grow in mindfulness, and <a href="http://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/how-to-be-happier-more-calm-googles-happiness-guru.html">the inner calm</a> that goes with it. This takes discipline, but pays off when the practice becomes second nature. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/banish-stress-easy-ways-to-get-calm-now-and-forever?ref=seealso">Easy Ways to Get Calm Now and Forever</a>)</p> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/happier-relax-1948674-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <h2>7. Hold the Small Things</h2> <p>Embrace life&#39;s small pleasures, rather than holding out for big ones. Even the smallest pleasures can <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/dorieclark/2012/02/29/why-you-should-embrace-the-small-pleasures/">raise your happiness significantly</a>.</p> <h2>8. Write It Down</h2> <p>Keep a daily list of the things you&#39;re thankful for. You can even share your list with others. Writing things down makes them real to our brains, so this practice <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/science-shows-that-saying-thanks-can-improve-your-health-and-happiness">solidifies your happiness</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-say-thanks?ref=seealso">20+ Ways to Say Thanks</a>)</p> <h2>9. Guzzle H2O</h2> <p>Drink plenty of water. Hydration <a href="http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2009/091123.htm">improves mood</a>.</p> <h2>10. Disconnect</h2> <p>Get off Facebook, and interact with people in real life. People who spend more time on Facebook are <a href="http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0069841">not as happy</a> as those who interact off of it.</p> <h2>11. Fake It &#39;til You Make It</h2> <p>Put a smile on that face. The effects are modest, but a simple smile actually can <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/1989/07/18/science/a-feel-good-theory-a-smile-affects-mood.html">improve your mood</a>.</p> <h2>12. Embrace the Great Outdoors</h2> <p>Spend more time outside. Fresh air, sunshine, and the great outdoors will do you a <a href="http://www.davidsuzuki.org/media/news/2013/07/report-confirms-daily-dose-of-nature-boosts-happiness-wellbeing/">world of good</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-have-free-outdoor-fun?ref=seealso">50+ Free and Fun Outdoor Activities</a>)</p> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/happier-couple-4487959-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 302px;" /></p> <h2>13. Stop Whining!</h2> <p>Cease with the whining, already! Whining is negative, and <a href="http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2012/08/09/colleagues-complaining-why-you-need-to-tune-it-out/">negativity leads to unhappiness</a>. Whining doesn&#39;t only make you unhappy, but brings down those around you, too.</p> <h2>14. Hold Your Tongue</h2> <p>Don&#39;t express your anger. Venting anger <a href="http://psp.sagepub.com/content/28/6/724.abstract">makes you feel worse</a>, not better. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-manage-powerful-emotions?ref=seealso">6 Ways to Manage Strong Emotions</a>)</p> <h2>15. Use Your Time Well</h2> <p>Make time for the <a href="http://tinybuddha.com/blog/3-tips-to-be-happier-in-work-and-in-life/">things that make you happy</a>. If it makes you happy, it is worth finding the time to do.</p> <h2>16. Get Your Sweat On</h2> <p>Exercise, exercise, exercise! When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals that literally mean you <a href="http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/exercise-happiness.htm">cannot be depressed</a> as long as they are around.</p> <h2>17. Leave Blame Behind</h2> <p>Stop blaming other people for the things that go wrong in your life. Take responsibility and change the things that <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sapient-nature/201112/taking-personal-responsibility-your-happiness">you can change yourself</a>.</p> <h2>18. Zzzzzzzzzz</h2> <p>Get the sleep you need. <a href="http://www.nature.com/ncomms/journal/v4/n3/full/ncomms2461.html">Well-rested people are happier</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-foods-that-can-help-you-sleep?ref=seealso">10 Foods That Help You Sleep</a>)</p> <h2>19. Talk It Up</h2> <p>Tell people when they do something that you appreciate. Verbalizing your gratefulness not only <a href="http://blog.bufferapp.com/how-to-rewire-your-brains-for-positivity-and-happiness">improves your happiness</a>, but theirs as well.</p> <h2>20. Engage in Aid</h2> <p>Spend two hours a week serving at a homeless shelter or otherwise helping those less fortunate than you. <a href="http://blog.bufferapp.com/simple-productivity-tips-science">One hundred hours a year</a> seems to be the magic number, at which time helping others in these ways improves your happiness.</p> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/happier-119820672-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <h2>21. Reach Out</h2> <p>Find a community of other people, and invest yourself in it. Actively caring for people will <a href="http://www.forbes.com/pictures/ehjh45jdei/invest-in-community/">make you happier</a>.</p> <h2>22. Don&#39;t Fear Failure</h2> <p>Learn new things, even if you <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/second-wind/201206/anything-worth-doing-is-worth-doing-badly">do them badly</a>. Anything worth doing is worth doing badly. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-embrace-failure-keep-going-and-win?ref=seealso">How to Embrace Failure and Win</a>)</p> <h2>23. See Yourself Different</h2> <p>Visualize who you want to be. <a href="http://www.llewellyn.com/encyclopedia/article/244">Visualization leads to success</a>, so if you visualize yourself happy, you are more likely to become so.</p> <h2>24. Pay Attention</h2> <p>Stop, look, and listen to the everyday moments of your life. In today&#39;s hustle-bustle culture, we <a href="http://motherboard.vice.com/read/pay-attention-daydreaming-may-be-making-you-unhappy">miss happiness</a> if we don&#39;t focus on the present.</p> <h2>25. Find a New Mantra</h2> <p>Repeating a mantra is a way of meditation, and this <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3156028/">positive meditation will make you happier </a>and more resilient. Basically, if you repeat positive thoughts over and over, you will be happier. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-mantras-that-will-transform-your-life?ref=seealso">10 Life-Changing Mantras</a>)</p> <h2>26. Don&#39;t Eat Alone</h2> <p>Eat your meals with other people. Eating alone <a href="http://blog.bufferapp.com/10-things-to-stop-doing-to-yourself-to-be-happier-backed-by-science">brings you down</a>.</p> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/happier-friends-5162591-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <h2>27. Get Creative</h2> <p>Express your <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2804629/">creativity</a>. Art, music, dance, woodworking, <a href="http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/singing-happy1.htm">singing</a>, etc., are all great options for a creative outlet. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-boost-creativity?ref=seealso">20+ Ways to Boost Creativity</a>)</p> <h2>28. Make Your Choice</h2> <p>Choose happiness. It&#39;s easy to believe that our happiness level is a sort of built in set point, but <a href="http://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/choosing-to-be-happy">choosing happiness</a> actually makes us feel happier.</p> <h2>29. Dream About Getting Away</h2> <p>Plan a vacation, even if you can&#39;t take it. Sometimes <a href="http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11482-009-9091-9">visualizing yourself having fun</a>, without going through the stress involved in actually making it happen, can make you happier.</p> <p><em>How do you make yourself happier? Be sure to let us know!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/29-scientifically-proven-ways-to-be-happier-this-year">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-51-easy-ways-to-live-a-happier-life">Flashback Friday: 51 Easy Ways to Live a Happier Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-feel-better-fast">25 Ways to Feel Better Fast</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-things-scientists-say-will-boost-your-happiness-today">11 Things Scientists Say Will Boost Your Happiness Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-happier">Book review: Happier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/that-what-if-you-knew-you-were-going-to-die-question">That &quot;What if you knew you were going to die&quot; question</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips happiness satisfaction science Thu, 23 Jan 2014 11:24:14 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1112731 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Things You Can Do to Be Happier Today http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-can-do-to-be-happier-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-things-you-can-do-to-be-happier-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/frame-5060775-small.jpg" alt="woman framing face" title="woman framing face" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="179" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Not every day can be the best day of your life, but there are lots of ways to make a bad day better. If you&#39;ve got the blues, turn that frown upside down with these ideas on how to be happier<em> right now</em>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/44-ways-to-improve-your-health-and-happiness">44 Ways to Be Healthier and Happier</a>)</p> <h2>1. Fit in a Workout</h2> <p>We&#39;ve all experienced that feeling of general unhappiness with ourselves when we&#39;ve eaten one too many French fries and skipped the gym. But you can change that by mustering up the motivation to sweat out your stress before work, during your lunch break, or at the end of the workday if you need a pick-me-up. Studies show that<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/09/exercise-happy-enthusiasm-excitement_n_1263345.html"> physically active people experience greater feelings of excitement and enthusiasm</a>, and if you want to be like them, it&#39;s time to get movin&#39;.</p> <h2>2. Perform a Good Deed</h2> <p>It&#39;s hard not to experience a feeling of momentary euphoria when you&#39;ve done something nice for someone else. Performing a good deed with the purpose of making yourself feel better isn&#39;t exactly altruistic, but, hey, if you&#39;re making someone else&#39;s day better, you might as well reap the benefits too, right? A few small-but-impactful deeds include paying for someone else&#39;s coffee, helping your neighbor bring in groceries, or offering to pick up a friend&#39;s kids from school when you know they&#39;re busy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-frugal-ways-to-pay-it-forward">Frugal Ways to Pay It Forward</a>)</p> <h2>3. Cross an Item Off Your To-Do List</h2> <p>There are few feelings better than the one that comes with accomplishing a task that&#39;s been nagging you for days. Set your sights on a particular task on your list and get it done. When it&#39;s finished, you&#39;ll feel a sense of relief that will make your entire day run a little smoother. If you don&#39;t have a to-do list, make one right now. Crossing off even the most insignificant of tasks will result in instant gratification. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-to-do-lists-more-effective-with-these-5-simple-hacks">5 Hacks to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective</a>)</p> <h2>4. Eat Something That Will Hit the Spot</h2> <p>Granted, this is a slippery slope, but we all need to satiate our cravings every once in a while. There&#39;s just something about a tasty, often-forbidden treat that&#39;s always capable of putting a smile on that mug. If this is how you choose to feel better today, go for it. Just keep yourself in check. A small milkshake is OK; an entire pie is not. (At least not until Thanksgiving night, anyway.)</p> <h2>5. Indulge in a Nap</h2> <p>For most people naps are a rarity, which is why it&#39;ll make you so happy to take one today. It&#39;s probably not ideal to sleep at your desk, so if you want to catch a few winks midday in hopes of the rest of it going smoother, head over to the parking lot and curl up in the backseat of your car. There&#39;s absolutely nothing wrong with that, either. It&#39;s your lunch break; you can spend it however you&#39;d like.</p> <h2>6. Take the Day Off</h2> <p>Most unhappy moments can be remedied with a quick fix, the likes of which populate the rest of this list. But sometimes&hellip; well, sometimes you just need a break from life all together. If you&#39;re having one of those, take a personal day and concentrate on yourself. Hit the gym for an hour, accomplish a task on your personal to-do list, and take a nap. Do whatever it is you want to do to get back to your happy place. There&#39;s no shame in waving the white flag for a few hours &mdash; so long as you&#39;re using that downtime productively, evaluating what&#39;s got you down, and finding ways to make yourself feel better.</p> <h2>7. Meet a Good Friend for a Drink</h2> <p>Alcohol and idle chatter with a good friend go together like rum and Coke, like gin and tonic, like&hellip; what are you waiting for? Call your buddy and meet them at the bar.</p> <h2>8. Watch Feel-Good Videos Online</h2> <p>How many times have you gotten sucked into the YouTube abyss of clumsy pandas, stick-em-up kittens, and kids that say the darndest things? And every time you do, you get up smiling and happier than before you pressed play, right? If today isn&#39;t your day, search for a few of your favorite videos (or find a few new ones by browsing your Facebook News Feed) and let your cares melt away as you enjoy what the Internet has to offer.</p> <h2>9. Create a New List of Short-Term Goals</h2> <p>How can anyone be happy if they have nothing to work toward? If you&#39;re feeling unhappy because you&#39;re feeling lost, perhaps you need new goals. Creating a new list of short-term goals will not only motivate you to accomplish something, but &mdash; as mentioned earlier &mdash; you&#39;ll experience happiness once you&#39;ve accomplished that something. Short-term goals can include cleaning your house, organizing your work life, registering for a local race, tending to your garden, and lots of other stimulating, give-your-life-more-meaning activities. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-it-done-how-to-measure-your-goals">How to Measure Your Goals</a>)</p> <h2>10. Make a Few More Bucks</h2> <p>More money in your pocket = more happiness on your face. To earn quick cash that&#39;ll turn your mug from glum to glowing, pick up a quick gig on Craigslist, sell an unwanted item on eBay or Amazon, or cash in all that change you&#39;ve been saving for a day just like today. Funny how dead presidents always have a way of making it a better day.</p> <p><em>Do you have tips on how to be happier right now? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-can-do-to-be-happier-today">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-stop-wanting-more-without-settling-for-less">5 Ways to Stop Wanting More Without Settling for Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-can-do-today-to-be-happy">10 Things You Can Do Today to Be Happy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-feel-better-fast">25 Ways to Feel Better Fast</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/100-small-things-that-can-bring-you-joy">100 Small Things That Can Bring You Joy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-things-scientists-say-will-boost-your-happiness-today">11 Things Scientists Say Will Boost Your Happiness Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development happiness mood satisfaction Fri, 11 Oct 2013 10:36:03 +0000 Mikey Rox 1005121 at http://www.wisebread.com The Key to Happiness: A Case Study http://www.wisebread.com/the-key-to-happiness-a-case-study <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-key-to-happiness-a-case-study" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/The Key to Happiness a Case Study PIC.jpg" alt="rooftops" title="rooftops" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="333" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoNormal">What constitutes happiness? Surely it is not correlated to the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-truth-about-wealth" target="_blank">number of 0&rsquo;s</a> in our bank accounts. Is it then the level of comfort we live in? Our friends and family? A satisfying career? Or is it an individual choice, based on satisfying nothing more than life&rsquo;s basic necessities?</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Our case study describes two people with very different lives. Please read these descriptions with an aim to determine who is happier of the two. <strong>There is no right or wrong answer, and this is not a trick question.</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <h3><strong>PERSON A</strong></h3> <p class="MsoNormal">She has it all. She lives in a beautiful and trendy <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-myths-about-real-estate" target="_blank">condo</a> in one of the most sought-after areas in town. Her place is filled with beautiful and funky furniture, her stainless steel kitchen has all the gadgets, and she has more deck space behind the unit than she knows what to do with.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">She has an amazing job, and makes well over $100,000/year. In fact, with each year she has been in this job, the easier it has become, the less she has had to work, and the more money she has made; a pattern with a possible plateau but no real end in sight.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">She drives a sportscar, and has all the toys she wishes for, including a motorcycle and skydiving gear among other expensive play-things. When she wants lobster, she eats lobster.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Her social life is very active, and her boyfriend adores her.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <h3><strong>PERSON B</strong></h3> <p class="MsoNormal">She has almost nothing. A few outfits, some toiletries, and her laptop make up her worldly belongings. She doesn&rsquo;t even have a true home, as she wanders from place to place, living mostly in furnished accommodations and often making due with shared facilities and transient friends.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Although she loves her job, it is not exactly a cash cow. She constantly keeps one eye on the budget, employing frugal living techniques to make her dollar stretch as far as it possibly can. Some of her friends who don&rsquo;t understand her ways call her &ldquo;cheap&rdquo;. She prefers the term &ldquo;frugal&rdquo;. Her accusers are the same people who buy lunch every day and drink a case of beer every night; they think she is cheap because she packs her lunch and drinks water.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">She drives a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/seven-tips-for-buying-a-second-hand-car-and-walking-away-happy" target="_blank">20 year old car</a> (out of necessity) that is an eye-sore but which runs well. She refuses to buy toys, and in fact unless she is prepared to fit it into her backpack and carry it, she refuses to buy anything at all.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">She loves food though, and finds <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/soy-milk-tofu-and-veggie-burgers-for-pennies-anyone" target="_blank">creative ways</a> to enjoy and stoke her passion for cooking. Although she cannot remember the last time she had lobster, she counts it among her favorite foods.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Her social life is very active, and her boyfriend adores her.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Who is happier?</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Before we explore the answer to this question, let us first determine the <strong>basic necessities of life</strong> (in no particular order):</p> <ul> <li>water &amp; food</li> <li>shelter</li> <li>social activity and stimulation</li> <li>money</li> </ul> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Ultimately our needs boil down to the above four items. We need to eat, we need a place to sleep, we (most of us at least) require <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/seven-ways-to-be-the-life-of-every-party" target="_blank">social interaction</a> to stay sharp, and we need money to support ourselves (in the developed world anyway, and arguably everywhere). While some people might argue the primal needs for one or two of these items, most of us would agree that with these four building blocks in place, we can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/vision-boards-dream-big-play-with-pictures-and-watch-your-life-change" target="_blank">create a happy life</a> for ourselves.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Both people in the scenario above have all of the above items. They obviously both eat, and they both have active social and romantic lives. Although Person A has a considerably more elaborate and luxurious home as a shelter, Person B has what she <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-truth-about-wealth" target="_blank">needs</a>. And consistent with the discrepancies, Person A obviously has more money than Person B, with a freedom to spend it at will. Does that make Person A happier though? On the surface it would appear that at least Person A would feel less stress about her financial matters than Person B. <strong>But is this true?</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Although Person A works incrementally less and makes more money each year, <strong>she is married to her career and on some days would say she feels trapped by it</strong>; there is no turning the switch off or leaving work at the office for her. She is financially rewarded for her efforts, yet she has a nagging voice in the back of her head that insists she is missing out on something bigger, something deeper, just something.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">And although Person B seems consumed by her desire to scrimp and save money, she also does not work too hard. <strong>She enjoys every minute of what she does</strong>, and continues to call the shots. She makes enough money to support herself comfortably (albeit frugally), consistently reach her goals, and she manages to &ldquo;work to live&rdquo; instead of &ldquo;live to work&rdquo;.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">So who is happier? Both have it all, in their own ways. Both are reaching their goals, and both have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-frugal-balance-staying-away-from-financial-extremes" target="_blank">financial yins and yangs</a> inside of them. We all want more money, but then again <strong>there seems to be a price tag that comes along with a higher income; it is a higher cost of living</strong>. The more your salary increases, the more your expenses do too, without you even noticing it.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Harping on the adage about money not leading to happiness is overdone. Both Person A and Person B have all the ingredients for success and happiness. Their basic needs are met, and everything else is simply for comfort or entertainment. Is a child with a Nintendo Wii really happier than a child in a developing country with nothing more than a wheelbarrow to play with? No, of course not.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">So instead of determining who is happier in the above scenario, it may be more constructive for you to determine which person YOU would prefer to be. <strong>You may not even need to change anything significant about your life; it may simply be a shift in perspective and action that is required.</strong> Once all of life&rsquo;s basic necessities are met, the rest is <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/looking-for-answers-in-life-heres-your-key" target="_blank">truly superfluous</a>.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">I am both of these people. I made my choice to become Person B, and I happily live by it every day. What will it take for you to find &ndash; and use &ndash; your own key to happiness?</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-key-to-happiness-a-case-study">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/looking-for-answers-in-life-heres-your-key">Looking for Answers in Life? Here&#039;s your Key...</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/seven-ways-to-be-the-life-of-every-party">Seven Ways to be the Life of Every Party</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/vision-boards-dream-big-play-with-pictures-and-watch-your-life-change">Vision Boards: Dream Big, Play with Pictures, and Watch your Life Change</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-cost-of-full-time-travel">The Cost of Full-Time Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-costa-rica-lesson-awwwwwww-they-got-me">The Costa Rica Lesson: Awwwwwww They Got Me</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Lifestyle Art and Leisure basic needs fulfillment happiness satisfaction Wed, 21 Jan 2009 21:03:59 +0000 Nora Dunn 2763 at http://www.wisebread.com Raise your standard of living by focusing your spending http://www.wisebread.com/raise-your-standard-of-living-by-focusing-your-spending <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/raise-your-standard-of-living-by-focusing-your-spending" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/sundial-in-herb-garden.jpg" alt="Sundial in herb garden" title="Sundial in Herb Garden" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you tired of reading the same frugality suggestions? I&#39;m talking about the repeated exhortations to eat out less, turn off your cable, and stop buying expensive coffee drinks. Tired as they are, these suggestions keep showing up for a reason: they&#39;re examples of the key insight that the best way to raise your standard of living is to focus your spending on the things that give you the most pleasure.</p> <p>I&#39;m not even going to bother listing the things I&#39;ve quit buying because they didn&#39;t give me as much pleasure per dollar as the things I do still buy. Every one is either something where you agree with me (and therefore have already cut your spending on that) or else something where you disagree (and would considering cutting that spending a drop in your standard of living)--or it&#39;s an item where you really haven&#39;t thought about it much.</p> <p>My suggestion is that you think about it.</p> <h2>Know Your Spending</h2> <p>Pull out the past few months credit card bills and your check register or checking account statement. Make a quick list of everything that you&#39;ve spent money on in the past three months. (If you already track your spending, you can skip this step and use the data you&#39;ve already got.)</p> <p>Now, rank every purchase in order by how much pleasure it gives you <strong>right now</strong> to have spent that money. If it gave you great pleasure at the time <strong>and you remember that pleasure fondly,</strong> go ahead and give it a high ranking. If, on the other hand, the pleasure it gave you was transitory, go ahead and put it somewhere in the bottom half of the list.</p> <p>Now, rank the list a second time, this time by dollar amount.</p> <p>Are those two lists the same? They ought to be. Anything that you&#39;re spending big bucks on ought to be near the top of that list. If it&#39;s not, then you probably want to make some adjustments.</p> <h2>Adjust Your Spending</h2> <p>There are, of course, a thousand impediments to actually adjusting your spending to bring it in line with what gives you the maximum pleasure. Most of them have to do with spending that&#39;s &quot;required&quot; for one reason or another.</p> <h3>Taxes</h3> <p>If you&#39;re accurately and comprehensively tracking your spending, you&#39;ll probably find taxes near the top.</p> <p>There are plenty of things you can do to <a href="/topic/personal-finance/taxes">lower your taxes</a>, but I&#39;m no tax expert, so I can&#39;t help much there. Let me just suggest that an alternative way to increase the value received for money spent is to become politically active.</p> <p>Especially at the local level, it&#39;s possible to have way more influence over how this money is spent than you might imagine. Just becoming informed about how the money is spent can make a difference. (To the extent that it&#39;s well-spent on programs that you support, you can feel better about it. To the extent that it&#39;s ill-spent on programs that you oppose, you may be spurred to become politically active.)</p> <h3>Interest on old debts</h3> <p>I don&#39;t expect that you&#39;re getting much pleasure from the interest on your credit card debt (or even the interest on your student loan or mortgage debt).</p> <p>Like with taxes, this is one of those things that you&#39;re pretty much stuck paying. Unlike with taxes, though, there&#39;s a light at the end of the tunnel--get your debt paid off, and you don&#39;t have to pay interest on it any more.</p> <p>In the meantime, make sure you&#39;re <a href="/topic/personal-finance/credit-cards">getting the best terms</a> you can. On the other hand, don&#39;t let the fact that &quot;interest on debt&quot; is right at the bottom of your list in terms of satisfaction prompt you to spend more time on this item than it&#39;s worth. Unless you&#39;ve gone through this exercise recently (and carefully), there&#39;ll be plenty of other places you can cut spending on things that don&#39;t bring maximum satisfaction.</p> <h3>Rent or mortgage</h3> <p>This is a special case of &quot;required,&quot; in that it tends to be expensive and difficult to change what you&#39;re spending on lodging. You can potentially change your rent every year--if you can face having to move. With a mortgage it&#39;s even worse--you not only have to move, but you have to sell the house you&#39;ve got (never easy or pleasant, and especially hard just now).</p> <p>Still, housing is probably one of your top three expense categories--you ought to be looking at that list of where you&#39;re money is going and saying, &quot;Yeah--I&#39;m so glad we&#39;re paying $X a month on this place--it&#39;s worth every penny.&quot; If you&#39;re not, you definitely want to make some adjustments. If you don&#39;t want to move, consider getting a roommate or taking in a boarder. If you are willing to move, there are <a href="/twelve-ways-to-become-rent-or-mortgage-free">many options for cheaper housing</a> besides just moving into a slightly cheaper place (although that&#39;s worth considering too).</p> <h3>Other things</h3> <p>The most bang for the buck comes up at the top of the list--that&#39;s where the money is. But it&#39;s still worth working your way all the way down the list. There&#39;s plenty of spending at the bottom.</p> <p>Look at each line and ask whether that item gave you more pleasure than the items below it. If not, spend less on it going forward.</p> <p>Be especially cautious of items where you&#39;re inclined to answer with weasel-words along the lines of &quot;Well, I deserve X.&quot; If looking back on your purchase of X you remember the pleasure it gave you fondly, then just rank it where it goes in the list. If not, then spend less on it so that it moves down the list to wherever it belongs. </p> <p>Be cautious as well of the items where you&#39;re answering with, &quot;Well, it&#39;s important to the kids (or the wife or the husband or the in-laws or whoever).&quot; If &quot;whoever&quot; is a member of your household, then he or she ought to be going through this exercise with you, and can speak up his own self. Otherwise, I suggest that you&#39;re not doing yourself any favors by taking other people&#39;s interests into account when you set spending priorities.</p> <h2>Tactics</h2> <p>That&#39;s my suggestion for raising your standard of living: <strong>focus your spending on what gives you the most satisfaction.</strong> To that end, here are a couple of small tactical ideas that might be useful.</p> <h3>Buy quality </h3> <p>Plenty of things will please you in the first minutes or hours after you purchase them, but the real test is whether you&#39;re still as pleased with it weeks and months later. To that end, remember:</p> <ul> <li>High quality items that work well and last a long time are usually the better choice. </li> <li>Superior experiences are often worth the extra cost.</li> </ul> <h3>Take advantage of deals</h3> <p>Whatever you buy, the satisfaction-to-cost ratio improves when you pay less. There&#39;s a whole section of Wise Bread devoted to <a href="/topic/deals-and-coupons">deals and coupons</a>.</p> <p>Using deals effectively depends on have a clear understanding of what you want to buy, what it&#39;s worth to you, and what a typical price is. It&#39;s no good to buy stuff you don&#39;t need, just because it&#39;s cheap. And you certainly don&#39;t come out ahead by buying something that&#39;s supposed to be cheap but that actually isn&#39;t. </p> <h2>Matching Your Lists</h2> <p>When your spending matches your priorities, the two lists--one ranked by spending, one ranked by pleasure--are just the same.</p> <p>It&#39;s really pretty satisfying to make that happen. It&#39;s because of the power of this idea that so many personal finance writers try to get you to keep track of your spending. They all know from personal experience that going through the exercise produces surprises--useful surprises--for everyone.</p> <p>Short of actually tracking your spending every day, though, this &quot;snapshot&quot; version (looking through your last three month&#39;s spending) can give you a lot of the same information.</p> <p>Putting every dollar of spending where it gives you the maximum satisfaction is the most powerful tool there is for raising your standard of living. </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/raise-your-standard-of-living-by-focusing-your-spending">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer">9 Dumb Ways You&#039;re Going to Waste Money This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-hacks-for-single-living">10 Frugal Hacks for Single Living</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-save-on-a-shoestring">25 Ways to Save on a Shoestring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emergency-belt-tightening">Emergency belt-tightening</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/making-the-most-of-your-guilty-pleasures">Making the most of your guilty pleasures</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Life Hacks budgeting frugality pleasure satisfaction spending Tue, 22 Jan 2008 22:48:42 +0000 Philip Brewer 1661 at http://www.wisebread.com