3 Things You Can Do to Improve Happiness and Well-being

Image

Here’s what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a leading expert on well-being and author of Flow: the Psychology of Optimal Experience says you can do to improve happiness and well-being:

  • Be attuned to what gives you genuine satisfaction. Although many people assume that popular activities like watching TV are enjoyable, their own reports generally indicate that they feel more engaged, energetic, satisfied and happy when doing other things.
  • Study yourself. To better understand their own happiness, Csikszentmihalyi says, people should systematically record their activities and feelings every few hours for a week or two. In recording your observations, try to focus on how you actually feel, rather than what you think you ought to be feeling or what you expect to feel. Afterwards, note the high points, particularly, and the low ones. Then try to adjust how you spend time according to your findings.
  • Take control. Repairing unhappy conditions requires active effort. People often assume external conditions will change for the better or let chance determine their response. That’s a mistake. “Get control,” Csikszentmihalyi says. When things aren’t right, “you have to put in the same effort you would if your business were in trouble. Just as markets move, life changes too.”

The above is an excerpt from a Time magazine article. Click on link for the original article, Getting Serious About Happiness, by Jeremy Caplan.

 

A few thoughts on art…

Image

Amazing by Mel Bochner, 2011

Let’s put it this way. I am an art fanatic. This is mostly confined to looking, of course, and admiring others’ work. I actually spent my first three days in London inside the National Portrait Gallery (and almost got picked up by a charming old Scotsman) but I’ve not seen the usual London tourist spots like the Tower of London etc. Even my MBA thesis–which one would expect to be as far from art as possible–was based on the management issues of a Scottish art gallery.

I have eclectic tastes in art, as in the books I read. And I think that is great not to be able to be easily stereotyped. I really do not know much about art appreciation. Nor can I tell you much about art, artists, art history or different periods and styles. I just know what I like. Its all to do with emotions and little to do with anything else…

Sometimes I like things that just draw my eye. These are not the kind of things I’d go after, seeking out an exhibition or even visit a website for. But this piece, by Mel Bochner, which I saw in a NY Times slideshow really took my eye. So here I am sharing it with you.
It piqued my interest. This is why I visited the artist’s own website. That is even more interesting. Here are some visuals you will see… But I do recommend a visit, when you have a few minutes to spare.

Mindculture is about giving new experiences to our minds. And imagining what an artist was trying to convey, what was going though their mind, what made them come up with one piece or another is really something I enjoy. Giving flight to imagination is great for anyone’s mind.

Here’s an article from the New York Times about a current exhibition–Mel Bochner: Strong Language–at the Jewish Museum in New York.

Words have been the subjects and primary constituents of the enigmatic yet acerbically provocative paintings Mel Bochner has been creating over the past 12 years. “Mel Bochner: Strong Language,” an elegantly produced exhibition at the Jewish Museum, gives them their due and traces their roots back to text-based works that Mr. Bochner created in the ’60s and early ’70s, when he was one of New York’s pre-eminent Conceptual artists.

There is a great slideshow of a few works, including Amazing above.

Here are some other Mel Bochner works from different periods.

No, 2002

Image

Portrait of Robert Smithson, 1966

Image

Two Planar Arcs, 1977

Image

That is all for now. The artist’s website is really worth a visit.

Enjoy the visit!

And if you really enjoyed this feature, please let me know so I can do similar ones in the future.

Rewiring Your Emotions (via Mindful.org)

Image

Think you’re destined to respond the same way emotionally to the same old triggers?

Not necessarily so, says Sharon Begley. With a little mind training, you can chart new pathways. 

Here’s the full article: Rewiring Your Emotions

 

 

Neuroscientists and psychologists find links between handwriting and learning (NYT article)

Image

Have you entirely given up on handwriting? Do you still believe it helps you organize your thoughts even if you work on a computer to put together a document? Well, you may be right.

Here’s what a New York Times science article, What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades, says:

“When we write, a unique neural circuit is automatically activated,” said Stanislas Dehaene, a psychologist at the Collège de France in Paris. “There is a core recognition of the gesture in the written word, a sort of recognition by mental simulation in your brain.

“And it seems that this circuit is contributing in unique ways we didn’t realize,” he continued. “Learning is made easier.”

You can read the complete article at the above link.

Here are a few more links you’d find interesting:

Please don’t let your kids give up on cursive altogether. And try writing something yourself, especially if it has to do with learning important things.

What are your character strengths?

24CharacterStrengths image source-viacharacterblogdotorg

Shown above in visual format are what researchers in the field of positive psychology call character strengths. There are 24 and each of us have many of these to some degree. What are yours?

There are online tests to see where you stand on each one. How far or lower they are ranked.

Here’s one link (for which you must register, but its free):

I am nearing the end of a Coursera online course by the RELAY Graduate School of Education. While the  course is about Teaching Character and Creating Positive Class Rooms the course content is very useful for everyone. Many of us participants are benefiting personally in terms of figuring out our real character strengths and also weak areas.

The discussion forums are brimming with great ideas on how to use this info with kids in classrooms, outside, and at home.

Even though it may be too late to take part in the course, you may want to check out the videos and understand the concepts. There are lots of resources for you to check out as well. The course ends in a week or so.

But you can download the content for future reference provided you register in the course. Hopefully it will run again sometime.

The course is led by Dave Levin whose work with KIPP academies is mentioned in the book How Children Succeed. Other people I read about in that book, like Dr Angela Duckworth and Dominic Randolph, another educator like Dave Levin, are interviewed.

There are real case studies from real class rooms in action.

Researchers into relevant topics are also interviewed. These include:

As I’d read many things about the course content, including the above books, I found it even more interesting. Especially the explore section with additional resources.

Check this out. You’ll thank your self and your kids will thank you too.