Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Seattle Times: Nation & World: In survey, Puerto Ricans say they're happiest

The Seattle Times: Nation & World: In survey, Puerto Ricans say they're happiest

. . . Never mind the low income or the high murder rate, the double-digit unemployment or the troubled public schools. Puerto Ricans say the emphasis on extended family, an easy warmth even among strangers and a readiness to celebrate anything, anywhere, at any time all contribute to a high quality of life here.
'There are over 500 festivals in Puerto Rico, and there are only 365 days in a year,' said Francisco Cavo, a U.S. Army medic at Fort Buchanan, near San Juan. 'That's a lot of fun on the schedule.'
The United States ranked 15th among the 82 societies in the study by the Stockholm-based World Values Survey, which was based on interviews with 120,000 people representing 85 percent of the global population. That put the United States ahead of Britain, Germany, France, Japan, China and Russia, but behind Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Ireland, the Netherlands and Canada.
The subjective well-being rankings are one part of an ongoing study of social, cultural and political change by a global network of social scientists.
The rankings are based on responses to questions about happiness and life satisfaction. Generally, the wealthiest nations tend . . .

World Values Survey

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Hay House Radio | Radio For The Soul | Listen Live to Hay House Authors

Hay House Radio | Radio For The Soul | Listen Live to Hay House Authors

Internet Radio

Loretta LaRoche

The Joy of Stress
Every Friday
1:00-2:00 pm PST

Friday, April 1, 2005
Life is Short, Wear Your Party Pants!
Tap into an hour of laughter with Loretta, and learn how to de-stress!

Loretta LaRoche has helped millions of people find ways to lighten up and overcome stress. Now, in her delightfully humorous way, Loretta spends each Friday morning helping you release the tensions of the past week and bring out your joy, passion, and gusto instead.
Her techniques are a blend of old-world common sense and the most contemporary research in brain chemistry, psychology, and mind-body studies. Listen in as she dissects callers’ hectic, stress-filled lives and leads them through dozens of immediate, effective techniques for bringing them a sense of relief and happiness instead.
Loretta’s is the ultimate feel-good show! Listen live, or check out her archives for an hour of laughs . . . and learning.

Guardian Unlimited | Columnists | Will Hutton: How would Confucius vote?

Guardian Unlimited | Columnists | Will Hutton: How would Confucius vote?

. . . But the larger point is that the overwhelming majority of British volunteers are secular. They work for local welfare groups and hospitals, for children and the elderly, in schools, protecting animals and the environment. And their numbers increase by a million a year.

The reason they do so would hardly surprise Confucius; they want to put something back in an act of altruism that allows them to make a statement about what counts both to themselves and to others. Confucius raised this proposition to a code for life; the propriety or 'li' with which everybody, from court official to peasant, regulated their interactions with others was vital as a lived statement about how the integrity of social relationships created well-being; that the more harmonious they are, the better it is for individual and society alike.

This proposition is at the heart of Richard Layard's bestselling book, Happiness: Lessons from a New Science. Layard shows that it is now scientifically possible to show that the more we are in high-quality social relationships, the more the happiness hot spots in the brain light up. Intriguingly, in study after study, the British towns and cities that have . . .

Monday, March 28, 2005

Accentuate the positive

Accentuate the positive

. . . Rath pointed to a new Gallup study, which found that when managers focused on employees' strengths, 61 percent of the employees were engaged in the work and only 1 percent were actively disengaged: complaining about their jobs, sniping at their co-workers and bad-mouthing the company. When managers focused on employees' weaknesses, only 45 percent of the employees were engaged and 22 percent were actively disengaged.

Gallup research suggests a happy, productive workforce is dependent on a "magic ratio" of positive to negative interactions.

Forget the principles you learned in junior high science class. In this case, one positive does not cancel out a negative. The magic ratio Rath talks about calls for three positive interactions for every one negative.

That explains why an unpleasant exchange with a surly co-worker can ruin a perfectly good mood. But, as Rath's charts show, that surly co-worker is more than just a drain on a workforce's collective psyche, he's a drain on productivity, too.

A recent Gallup survey showed that employees . . .

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Why happiness is saying thanks - Health - Times Online

Why happiness is saying thanks - Health - Times Online

. . . Social factors, such as income and being married, contributed only about 8 per cent, he reckoned.

This fitted in with other work which showed that even when really good or really bad things happen to us — a big lottery win, say, or losing a leg — within a year we have usually returned to the level of happiness we previously had. So Lykken formulated his idea of the “set point” for happiness, rather like the one we are believed to have for weight. “It may be,” he wrote, “that trying to be happier is as futile as trying to be taller.”

Recently, however, in the wake of research by the positive psychologists, Lykken has made a U-turn. He says: “It’s now clear that we can change our happiness levels widely.”

One of the tools for such a transformation, being studied by psychologists at the University . . .

Friday, March 25, 2005

MSNBC - Spelling bees: U-N-S-T-O-P-P-A-B-L-E

MSNBC - Spelling bees: U-N-S-T-O-P-P-A-B-L-E

. . . “They’re like apple pie in America,” said Paige Kimble, director of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, the nation’s largest and most prestigious bee. “Bees are just part of the school experience.”

The Lincoln School Committee dropped the bee initially because of concerns that it was damaging to children who lost and it did not meet the goals of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Parents argued that the bee taught good study habits and provided students who might not excel in sports or theater a place to shine in front of their peers.

Many people in education agree, which may be contributing to the bee’s sustained growth despite budget woes that have landed many extracurricular activities on the chopping block. . .

Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Unix Guardian--As I See It: Surviving a Job Loss

The Unix Guardian--As I See It: Surviving a Job Loss

. . . In the January 17 special edition of Time, titled "The Science of Happiness," Diener's research is referenced, the writer noting that "it takes five to eight years for a widow to regain her previous sense of well-being. Similarly, the effects of a job loss linger long after the individual has returned to the work force."

Equating job loss with the loss of a spouse would, at first consideration, seem overstated. But while the comparison arguably exaggerates the emotional impact of unemployment, it makes sense if losing a job has symbolic meaning beyond the actual event. More than the literal loss of employment, it is the threat posed to these symbolic values that can produce such devastating and lasting emotional consequences.

Coincidentally, in the same article, a book called Authentic Happiness, which speaks to these values, is also referenced. Written by research psychologist Martin Seligman, it identifies the three components that Seligman's research shows to be essential to lasting happiness: pleasure, engagement, and meaning. The last two may explain why a job loss can be so devastating.

By engagement, Seligman means "the depth . . .

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Neuroscience, the Brain and Psychotherapy

Neuroscience, the Brain and Psychotherapy

The human brain is a wet, coconut-sized, walnut-shaped organ, the color of raw liver and the consistency of an overripe peach. Comprised of billions of nerve cells, each connecting electrochemically with an average of 10 thousand others, it’s the most complex biological entity known on earth. The number of possible interconnections among its neurons exceeds the estimated number of atoms in the universe. Just as remarkably, it can make such intricate and baffling self-transformations that many insist it will never be fully understood by its own kind. Because how it works is such a dumbfounding investigative riddle—the equivalent of studying a mirror with a mirror—therapists have preferred until recently to approach its actual functioning through the metaphor of the black box, rather than peel back the skin of the peach to discover what goes on inside.

Over the last couple of decades, however, technology has allowed us to open the black box, leading to what some have touted as the biological sequel to the Copernican revolution. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and CAT scans can now photograph the brain at work and play and even after therapy. With electron microscopes, the nuclear tagging of living human molecules, and other biochemical investigative techniques, scientists can now see what happens in . . .

Marriage Can Be Better for Hapiness than Merely Living Together

This paper is the first of its kind to study utility interdependence in marriage using information on subjective well-being of a large sample of people living in the UK over the period 1991-2001. Using “residual” self-rated health to provide instrument for spouse’s well-being and allowing controls on individual fixed effects, we find strong evidence of altruism represented by interdependent relationships in the reported well-being found only among spouses, and not by partners in cohabiting union. Panel data also show that the well-being impact resulting from “caring” can be used to predict future income, unemployment, and marital status for the individuals.

"New research by University of Warwick researcher Nick Powdthavee reveals that a married man or woman is significantly more satisfied with their life when their partner is satisfied with life. But he has also found almost no evidence of the same affect among couples that prefer cohabitation to marriage."

Mr Nattavudh Powdthavee

Mr Nattavudh Powdthavee

Mr Nattavudh Powdthavee

Research Interests
Applied Microeconometrics

Perceived Quality of Life Data in the Developing countries. Happiness Data analysis. Interdependence Utility in comparision utility models.

At the moment, I have been working on the Perceived Quality of Life data from the South Africa Integrated Household Survey ('93 & '97), Russia Living Standard Measurement survey ('96-'00), and the British Household Panel Survey ('91-'01). For the first three papers of my PhD thesis, I focus mainly on the externalities linked to others' unemployment and crime on the individual's reported well-being. The fourth paper examines the degree of utility interdependence among married spouses in the UK.

Working Paper
'Is the Structure of Happiness Equations the same in Poor and Rich Countries? The Case of South Africa', revised version, April 2003.
'Unhappiness and Crime: Evidence from South Africa', revised version, March 2004 [ Press Release], forthcoming in Economica.
'Are There Geographical Variations in the Psychological Cost of Unemployment in South Africa?', revised version, December 2004.
'Mental Risk-Sharing in Marriage: Evidence from Panel Data', revised version, November 2004. 'Non-technical summary for 'Keynotes' - the customer magazine of Siemens Business Services'
'Social Isolation, Work Hours, Money, and Happiness: An Empirical Study - Preliminary Results', February 2005.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Don't worry and live longer, study shows - Health -

Don't worry and live longer, study shows - Health -

Having a laid-back attitude to life can help you live to be 100, researchers have found.

A new Australian study has found centenarians seem to have a special ability to cope with stress, and move on from dramatic life events with a minimum of angst.

The study, presented yesterday at the second International Conference on Healthy Ageing and Longevity held in Brisbane, is the first in Australia to look at what makes up a centenarian personality.

Flinders University senior lecturer in nursing Charmaine Power said the research team was struck by the fact that most of the 24 centenarians from around the country interviewed for the study had no sense their lives had been "stressful".

"Yet some had been to war, or had been left . . .

Monday, March 21, 2005

Is Your Town Down? - Men's Health

Is Your Town Down? - Men's Health

Cities ranked by happiness levels

Maybe it was all those years of futility for the Phillies. Or the shadows cast by New York City to the north and Washington, D.C., to the south. Whatever the reasons, Philadelphia has earned the melancholy distinction of being America's most depressed city, followed closely by Detroit and St. Petersburg, Florida. We looked at antidepressant sales, courtesy of NDC Health; suicide rates, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and the number of days inhabitants reported being depressed, based on the CDC's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, accessed . . .

Cick above for rankings

Click here for related story

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Ha!Man Francois le Roux

Ha!Man Francois le Roux:

"Francois le Roux, gifted cellist, pianist, organist and composer, made spontaneous music the basis of his career. As the HA!man he infuses new life into the classical style, creates magic with his improvisations and applies technology innovatively. His performance is regarded locally and internationally as one of the most creative and inspiring in existence. His music style is accessible, energetic and moving, and his technique exceptional. For something different of the highest quality, come and experience the HA!man."

The Observer | Comment | Actually, I think I'll coach myself

The Observer | Comment | Actually, I think I'll coach myself

. . . In anticipation of the backlash, I have adopted a strategy. I will live in the moment, doing things patiently, generously, mindfully, without haste and in a stress-free environment. I am appointing myself my very own Slow Coach. You heard it here first.

Pay attention to Zaadz web services

The Happiness Gym (sm) - Discover and strengthen your happiness "muscles" thru Positive Psychology

Pay attention to Zaadz

Zaadz, the future home of the Happiness Gym and The Hapiness Foundation websites, is well worth watching because

1. They are on track to being the most comprehensive and affordable web services company in the world

2. They are people of the highest integrity

3. They will be marketing through word of mouth

4. Their web services will sell themselves

5. They pay commissions to affiliates

"This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no 'brief candle' to me. It is sort of a splendid torch which I have a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it over to future generations."

~ George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
British playwright & novelist

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Care2 Make a Difference

Care2 Log In?

We're all so busy these days... it's hard to take the extra effort usually required to make a positive impact on the causes we care deeply about. So, Care2's goal is to make it easy to make a difference.

We've developed a network of over 4 million individuals, hundreds of nonprofit organizations and thousands of eco-friendly companies - all interested in making the world a better place. By connecting like minded individuals with organizations and businesses aligned with their values we create the foundation for positive change. Forums Home Forums Home

What is the point of
What if you could poll thousands of people who have already faced the same life challenges you currently have and get the best solutions from them? What if you could quickly tap into their knowledge and wisdom? And in return, what if you could make somebody's life a little easier by sharing your experience? is a network of people helping people. It's people offering advice and counsel to others, and receiving actual tokens of gratitude in return.

Friday, March 18, 2005

The Observer | UK News | The Horse Whisperer is called in to tame children

The Observer | UK News | The Horse Whisperer is called in to tame children

It was immortalised on film by Robert Redford - the story of a Canadian who tamed wild horses with near-mystical sounds and signs. Now the techniques revealed in The Horse Whisperer are to be harnessed to improve discipline in school classrooms.
Sir Mike Tomlinson, the former chief inspector of schools who headed the government's review of A levels, is one convert, as is Dr Elisabeth Passmore, a former Ofsted director of inspection.

Monty Roberts, the original whisperer who inspired the film and has tamed more than 70,000 wild horses, flew to Britain last week to hold a three-day workshop for Global Education Management Systems (Gems), one of the biggest operators of independent schools in the UK. Gems hopes that its teachers will agree to adopt his ideas.

'Some people might think it's wacky to turn to an approach best known for horses, but this also has interesting things to say about children,' said Tomlinson. 'We think it's worthwhile listening to Roberts's opinions and to expose our headteachers to different and interesting people who have ideas that might be of use to them,

'We want to try everything that is innovative and interesting for headteachers; we want to encourage them to question current practice. We want to explore difficult and different areas [in education].'

In Roberts's programme, children are encouraged . . .

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

College of General Studies - graduate

College of General Studies - graduate

Master of Applied Positive Psychology
A new program at the University of Pennsylvania provides an important opportunity for psychologists, educators, life coaches, and health and business professionals interested in the application of the science of Positive Psychology. The Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) offers professionals- many of whom are working full-time - the chance to earn a pioneering graduate degree from an Ivy League university.

The Happiness Gym (sm) - Discover and strengthen your happiness "muscles" thru Positive Psychology

The Happiness Gym (sm) - Discover and strengthen your happiness "muscles" thru Positive Psychology

Click above for links to miscellaneous happiness websites

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Meanwhile: Looking for happiness in all the wrong places

Meanwhile: Looking for happiness in all the wrong places
. . . This musician's success was the latest in a series of indications that people seem more and more intent on finding happiness, however briefly and however they may define it. Apparently they are willing to pay street performers for a sample.
I asked the musician, Harvey Mooney, why he thought he was getting such a generous response. "Happiness is not normally part of their lives," he said. "The Undergound is where they suffer most. I make a good living doing this."
It is only a coincidence that I witnessed a happy London musician just as Prime Minister Tony Blair's people announced plans to establish a "wellbeing index" for Britain. It goes into effect around the end of next year and it will try to quantify and index the degree of happiness New Labour has been able to bring to the citizenry.
Not surprisingly, much mockery has ensued. The Daily Telegraph editorialized that the plan will "take some . . .

Monday, March 14, 2005

Midlife crisis? 40 is gateway to happiness - Sunday Times - Times Online

Midlife crisis? 40 is gateway to happiness - Sunday Times - Times Online:

FORGET the midlife crisis, the forties can be fun. The decade often associated with worries about mortality, failed ambition and sagging midriffs is actually a time of happiness, a study claims.
Scientists have identified an emotional “growth spurt” that makes people more relaxed and easier for others to spend time with. This quality, which the scientists are calling “agreeableness”, grows dramatically between the late thirties and early fifties.

The findings, based on e-mail questionnaires filled in by 120,000 respondents, suggest that feelings of self-fulfilment and acceptance of one’s own personality are more widespread than disillusionment.

They overturn the view propagated by films such as 10, the 1979 film in which Dudley Moore portrays a sexually desperate fortysomething pursuing the younger Bo Derek.

“I was very surprised by the findings,” said Samuel Gosling, a British psychologist at the University of Texas at Austin, who worked on the research.

“It was generally accepted that the human personality is largely set by 30, but this indicates that some elements of the personality not only keep developing but that this process accelerates in our forties.

“We start relaxing and

Happiness: Lessons from a New Science

Happiness: Lessons from a New Science

Carol Graham: Good afternoon. Welcome, everyone. It's a real pleasure to have Richard Layard and Stan Fischer here to discuss Richard's new book, "Happiness: Lessons from a New Science," and also the subject of happiness research and its applications to policy more generally. It's also in a way a surprise to have so many people in a room for an event on happiness in a policy town like Washington. In fact, this would have been unimaginable a few years ago.

In his book, Richard Layard provides a really bold challenge for any number of policies—fiscal policy, labor market policies, other policies—and he's based this on findings from a host of happiness studies. I think his work is extremely provocative, and perhaps it's a sign of things to come.


Psychology Today: Happy Hour

Psychology Today: Happy Hour

. . . Psychologists now believe that many of us can turn the well-being thermostat up or down a few notches by changing how we think about anticipation, memory and the present moment. Our sense of well-being is intimately tied into our perception of time. The problem is that we usually get it wrong. Memory tricks us--we don't remember our experiences properly, and that leaves us unable to accurately imagine the way we'll feel in the future. At the same time, expectations mislead us: We never learn to predict what will make us happy, or how to anticipate the impact of major life experiences.

Focusing on the moment may help us understand how to be happy. Besides, we have a built-in tendency to grow more cheerful as we get older: Aging helps us ignore the negative and shift our attention toward the positive. Finding happiness isn't hopeless--it seems to be just a question of time.

Youth is a downer, it turns out. Young people naturally pay more attention to the negative. Older people are faster News - Scotland - One smile can make you feel a million dollars News - Scotland - One smile can make you feel a million dollars

SEEING a smile can give more pleasure than sex or eating chocolate, according to new research.

Receiving a smile from a friend or relative generates much higher levels of stimulation to the brain and the heart than being given money or having a cigarette, according to clinical tests.

But the amount of pleasure depends on who is smiling: a child’s face or that of a celebrity has a much better effect than a politician or a member of the Royal family. The study found that smiles from Geri Halliwell and Robbie Williams created much greater stimulation and pleasure than those by Tony Blair or Prince William.

The research, carried out by the computer giant Hewlett Packard, suggests simple human interaction is still worth far more than material pleasure. The research found that Scots were among the most likely in Britain to return a smile from a stranger.

Tests were carried out on adult volunteers to

The New York Times > Washington > Government Report on U.S. Aviation Warns of Security Holes

The New York Times > Washington > Government Report on U.S. Aviation Warns of Security Holes

Despite a huge investment in security, the American aviation system remains vulnerable to attack by Al Qaeda and other jihadist terrorist groups, with noncommercial planes and helicopters offering terrorists particularly tempting targets, a confidential government report concludes.

. . . Of the more than 500 criminal cases involving aircraft handled by the F.B.I. in 2003, two were hijackings in the United States involving flights from Cuba that landed in Florida. More than 300 episodes involved undeclared weapons or other problems at screening and security checkpoints, while 175 cases were triggered by on-board interference or threats against crew members, often involving alcohol.

In one case, a passenger sprayed perfume at a flight attendant "in a hostile manner," the report said.

My observation: The assessment at the beginning of the article seems to me much more alarming than the facts presented at the end would seem to support. -- Al C. Life | How do I find purpose in life? Life | How do I find purpose in life?

How does one go about sensing or finding one's life's purpose? Do I simply have to try everything? That sounds so exhausting.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Sex better than cash in the happiness stakes - World -

Sex better than cash in the happiness stakes - World -

If you work long hours in hopes of a pay rise, you may want to consider going home early and jumping in the sack.

Increasing sex frequency from once a month to at least once a week provides as much happiness as a $US50,000 ($63,000) a year rise, says a paper titled "Money, Sex and Happiness: an Empirical Study," submitted to the National Bureau of Economic Research, one of the leading organisations in its field.

The findings come from two economists, David Blanchflower of Dartmouth College and Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick in England, who are leaders in a growing field known as "happiness economics", which includes research on how things like unemployment or the position of an employee's desk affect happiness. "People are interested in questions about what gives people satisfaction," Dr Blanchflower said. "We, as economists, look at money and marriage, and the obvious thing is to keep going."

In their 2004 study, Dr Blanchflower analysed

Link to paper itself

mfinley's Xanga Site - 3/12/2005 7:32:58 AM

mfinley's Xanga Site - 3/12/2005 7:32:58 AM

John I'm Dancing

I spent last night doing modern dance. Honest.

I got a mailing a month ago from the Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater Company. They do an annual conference called WASH ("Working with Artists, Sharing the Healing"). They gather together a number of caregivers (people who take care of people who are sick or disabled or dying) with artists. I was on the artist mailing list this time around, so I thought, why the hell now, and signed up.

This was unusual for me. First, I have never been known to move. My dance routine should fit on a barstool because that is my mental locus of movement. Contained. Whimsical. Dignified.

But I went. I figured, I took care of my mom the last year of her life, and I have two kids that sometimes require a lot of caregiving.

So we got together, and as a way to let down our guard with one another, we did some floor time, walking, bobbing, sweeping, touching. I was proud of myself , cuz I was out there making a jackass out of myself (this is my honest inner assessment) just like the rest.

Afterwards, of course, you feel freer, unembarrassed, and closer to the others. I suppose it's like karaoke -- public humiliation that is also a kind of yoga. the Stockholm Syndrome probably plays a role in it too.

What can I provide this group? I was thinking of group-writing some kind of caregiver's prayer, or a mantra to get people through difficult days. We'll see.

mfinley's Xanga Site - 3/12/2005 7:46:43 AM

mfinley's Xanga Site - 3/12/2005 7:46:43 AM

Some folks asked how they can get to know more about my friend's program to help people boost their emotional state. Remember my post on The Happiness Gym?

His name is Al Cannistraro. He's a former government employee who discovered Martin Seligman's "positive psychology" movement, and promptly enlisted. And now he coaches individuals online, in person, and by phone, on what they can do to be happier in life.

"Be happier." Not go around grinning like an ape, but feel better about oneself and one's prospects. Pay more attention to the good things of life, and feel grateful for them. Be more involved, seek out and enjoy better relationships. Squeeze more juice out of every day's orange. Or tomato. Or prune or whatever fruit gives you pleasure.

Al is currently offering a free mini-course, to get better acquainted with the topic. I am taking it, and it is great. It teaches you a lot about your own feelings and why you feel the way you do. And it points out some wonderful and easy instructions for how to do better and feel better every day.

If you want to try the free mini-course, do this. (Or do this. Do not do this, as his headline suggests -- cuz the dang link don't work.)

Hey, look at me -- a month after doing this, I'm doing modern freaken dance.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Negativity drains work-force productivity, economy, scientist says

Negativity drains work-force productivity, economy, scientist says

It didn't take a scientist to figure out that grumpy people make others feel lousy and feeling lousy makes them less productive at work.

But, in fact, researchers have quantified the effect of chronic negativity. And you'd never have guessed how expensive those scowls can be.

Negativity costs the U.S. economy $300 billion a year — and researchers consider that a conservative estimate.

Unfortunately, smiles and sunny outlooks can't be mandated in the company manual.

But managers can neutralize and even reverse damaging negativity through the measured use of employee recognition and praise.

And there's a scientific formula for that, too, said Tom Rath, global practice leader for strengths-based development for the Gallup Organization and co-author of "How Full is Your Bucket? Positive Strategies for Work and Life." Rath wrote the book with his grandfather, Donald O. Clifton.

Clifton died in 2003 and never saw the book published. He was a psychologist who pioneered the study of positive psychology and developed the dipper-and-bucket analogy that gives the book its title.

The metaphor goes like this: Everyone has an invisible bucket that is either filled or

Thursday, March 10, 2005

this is an audio post - click to play

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Doctor Happiness makes a house call - Western Courier - News

Doctor Happiness makes a house call - Western Courier - News

Dr. Happiness analyzes the science of happiness; although it is intangible and means different things to different people, Edward F. Diener told Western students that happiness makes for real and scientific results for people who value and pursue it.

Diener, psychology professor at the University of Illinois, delivered the lecture "Positive Psychology - The Science of Happiness" based on his research related to the science of happiness.

"We want people to think about their values in their lives in terms of what might make them happier," Diener said. "At the same time this is a new area most people don't know about."

Diener began his lecture by explaining subjective well-being, meaning how people evaluate their lives. This also is an umbrella term with various types of evaluation such as self-esteem, joy and feelings of fulfillment.

"People throughout the world believe that happiness is an important and valuable goal," Diener said.

He admitted money is necessary to survive in the current society, but also described materialism as toxic. Diener said that while people with an extremely high life satisfaction prefer love to money, people with extremely low life satisfaction tend to think money is

MSN Careers - Do Pretty People Earn More? - Career Advice Article

MSN Careers - Do Pretty People Earn More? - Career Advice Article

Studies show attractive students get more attention and higher evaluations from their teachers, good-looking patients get more personalized care from their doctors, and handsome criminals receive lighter sentences than less attractive convicts. But how much do looks matter at work?

The ugly truth, according to economics professors Daniel Hamermesh of the University of Texas and Jeff Biddle of Michigan State University, is that plain people earn 5 to 10 percent less than people of average looks, who in turn earn 3 to 8 percent less than those deemed good-looking.

These findings concur with other research that shows the penalty for being homely exceeds the premium for beauty and that, across all occupations, the effects are greater for men than women.

A London Guildhall

Monday, March 07, 2005

The Progress Paradox Posted by Hello

Rich Man, Poor Man (

Rich Man, Poor Man (

From the article (not the beginning):

In the days before Christmas in 2002, Jack bought a Powerball lottery ticket along with his biscuits. Some fools couldn't get enough of those tickets. Not the cowboy-man. He'd buy one only when the jackpot got big, like anything less than a couple hundred million wasn't worth his trouble.

On Christmas Day, the lottery ticket-buying frenzy peaked at 3:26 p.m. In convenience stores and gas stations across West Virginia, 15 people every second commemorated Jesus's birthday by plunking down $1 for a chance at a different kind of salvation: that Powerball jackpot.

It was about 11 o'clock Christmas night 2002 when Channel 3 out of Charleston announced what it said were the winning Powerball numbers. Jack was slumbering when his wife of nearly 40 years, Jewell, jostled him awake to say that his lottery ticket matched four out of five. Jack was clueless about what kind of payoff a four-number match brought, but he figured it had to be good for at least $100,000. He went back to sleep while visions of a six-figure windfall danced in his head.

The next morning, as always, he rose at 4:30 to get to work. Jack, 55, had been working construction since he was a poor 14-year-old in the hills. He'd built himself a nice life in this patch of West Virginia hard by the Kentucky and Ohio borders. He had a wife and a granddaughter who basked in his attentions, a brick house in a nice subdivision in neighboring Scott Depot, and a water and sewer pipe-laying business that employed more than 100 people. At 5:15 a.m., Jack snapped on the television and heard, to his surprise, that the winning ticket had been sold at the C&L Super Serve. What are the odds, Jack later said he was thinking, that one little convenience store would sell two lucky tickets? Just then the winning numbers flashed. The numbers broadcast the night before had been wrong. He had a match on all five numbers, not four.

Jack Whittaker had just won $314 million, the largest undivided lottery jackpot in history.

A few hours later, he ambled into the C&L Super Serve and calmly handed Brenda a bill, saying he'd been meaning to give it to her before Christmas. Brenda figured it was a $1 tip for helping him diet, taking care to pinch a little dough out of his bacon biscuits so the cowboy-man's big burly wouldn't go soft.

"He handed me a $100 bill!" Brenda recalls. "I looked at it, and I'm, like, 'Oh, no, no, no. I'm not taking

Happy days are here again- The Times of India

Happy days are here again- The Times of India: "The lexicon defines happiness as a state of pleasure and contentment. It is now evident that external factors like wealth, status or beauty can't ensure happiness.

And interestingly, according to researchers in the University of California, about 50 per cent of happiness is genetic and about 10 per cent is dependent on circumstances. That leaves 40 per cent unexplained.

Says Dr Chittaranjan Andrade, additional professor, Department of Psychopharmacology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), 'There is no medical or psychiatric definition of happiness. Happiness is usually defined as a state of satisfaction. It involves satisfaction with one's state of physical, mental and emotional health and has a lot to do with their social, spiritual and financial side of life too.'

It is a well-known fact that happiness is vital for good health. Corroborating this theory, a study conducted at Duke University Medical Centre, USA, proves that adults who are happy, but are suffering from a heart disease, have a 20 per cent more chance of living longer.

'Thoughts and emotions are controlled by hormones in the brain,' says Dr MJ Thomas, consultant psychiatrist, Sagar Apollo Hospital, Bangalore.

'Just as electricity moves from pole to pole, in the brain, impulses have to jump from cell to "

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Q & A

Q & A

TV Interview with April Witt, journalist, about the "Rich Man, Poor Man" Washington Post Magazine article, linked to above, about the lottery. Not a happy story, but fascinating.

Al C.

Forget dour Scots ... the feelgood factor tops the political agenda - [Sunday Herald]

Forget dour Scots ... the feelgood factor tops the political agenda - [Sunday Herald]

WITH the new Centre for Confidence and Well Being due to launch its programme of events on Tuesday and the Executive launching a discussion paper on confidence, boosting our egos is now firmly on the political agenda.
But a poll of Scotland’s high-fliers – who you’d expect to know a thing or two about self-possession – carried out by the Sunday Herald are split over our country’s supposed crisis of confidence.

The Centre of Confidence and Well Being, a “virtual” meeting place, has been hailed as a pioneering project to boost optimism and self-belief throughout the nation and end our widespread “cannae do” attitude. The plan is to encourage more positive attitudes, individuality and creativity. The centre will receive £750,000 over three years from the Scottish Exective and the Hunter Foundation.

On Tuesday at the Scottish parliament, the centre’s director Carol Craig will announce the Vanguard programme, the first installment in its three-year confidence project. For £1300, business leaders, politicians, strategists and practitioners in health and education can participate in 35 hours of lectures and distance learning conferences with Professor Martin Seligman, a specialist in positive psychology from the University of Michigan, and other leading lights in the field of confidence building. Some places on the course will be available at £400 to ensure that practitioners and organisations in the voluntary sector are able to participate.

The centre has received cross-party support and Craig expects the places on the course to be snapped up. Leading lights from Scottish society have mixed views.

Artist John Byrne is cynical about the whole affair: “If the American model spreading freedom and democracy is the exemplar of this confidence, then we should

Friday, March 04, 2005

Philadelphia Inquirer | 04/01/2004 | Give thanks, get a dividend

Philadelphia Inquirer | 04/01/2004 | Give thanks, get a dividend

Thank you. Could those words be the key to happiness?

Martin Seligman, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a leading figure in the positive psychology movement, has been exploring what makes and keeps people happy.

Fond memories, a sense of engagement, absorption and purpose in the present, and hope and optimism for the future are part of it, he says. But an essential ingredient is gratitude.

"Gratitude amplifies good memories of the past," says Seligman, whose most recent book is Authentic Happiness (Free Press, $14). "The more positive memories you have, and the stronger they are, the better your chances of achieving contentment, serenity and satisfaction."

If we Americans can't get no satisfaction, it may be because we're insufficiently thankful. "We are a society of ungrateful wretches," Seligman says. "Our society lacks gratitude rituals, formal ways of expressing thanks to those who have done well by us."

To remedy that, he prescribes the "gratitude visit."

Think of someone who has shown you kindness and made a difference in your life. Now write a "gratitude letter" to that person. Make it concrete and specific. Then call that person and ask to visit. Don't say why (surprise is essential). Read the testimonial aloud, slowly, making eye contact.

"It's important that it's not all in your head," Seligman says, "that you do this face-to-face with another human being."

The gratitude visit grew out of a course Seligman taught Penn undergrads in fall 2001. Senior Marisa Lascher suggested holding a "gratitude night": Class members would

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Wichita Eagle | 03/03/2005 | C'mon, get happy

Wichita Eagle | 03/03/2005 | C'mon, get happy:

"Happiness is in, say trend-spotters and psychologists. Much of the happiness talk is scientific, coming chiefly from the field of psychology, which for decades uttered few words on the topic. Psychology journal articles over the years mentioned depression or anxiety more than 150,000 times, noted psychologist David G. Myers in a new book. Happiness and 'life satisfaction?' About 12,000.
Now happiness is all the rage: what it is, where it comes from and the $64,000 question, can you get more of it? The ballooning field of 'positive psychology' emphasizes human strengths rather than weaknesses as a way forward in life.
'There's more and more emphasis on what's right about a person rather than what's wrong,' said Marita Wesely-Clough, trends expert for Hallmark Cards. 'The focus is on their good qualities rather than dwelling on mistakes of the past.'
Rick Snyder, psychology professor at the University of Kansas, delved into positive psychology in the late 1980s. His longtime research interest has been 'hope.' Snyder realized early on that happy people are 'high-hope' people, and his ongoing research has led to strategies to enhance hopefulness.
'I've been amazed at how powerful hope is,' he said.
Researchers have learned a lot about the "