George MacKerron wanted to know what makes people happy. An economist at the University of Sussex, MacKerron was looking for factors beyond basic survival needs and relationships that contributed to well being.
He launched a project called Mappiness in 2010, and soon had 20,000 participants and over a million data points from people reporting what they were doing and how they felt at the time. MacKerron found that we’re the least happy when at work, or sick in bed. Conversely, people were most happy when with friends or lovers.
Beyond that, it wasn’t who you were with that mattered. It was where.
MacKerron’s subsequent research paper concluded:
On average, study participants are significantly and substantially happier in outdoors in all green or natural habitats than they are in urban environments.
MacKerron factored in that happiness in natural environments might be tied to a vacation. Even then, the results stood.
Now contrast that with the fact that we’ve never been more disconnected from nature. From the book The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative:
Thanks to a confluence of demographics and technology, we’ve pivoted further away from nature than any generation before us. At the same time, we’re increasingly burdened by chronic ailments made worse by spending time indoors, from myopia and vitamin D deficiency to obesity, depression, loneliness and anxiety, among others.
We tend to treat nature as a luxury. Florence Willians, author of The Nature Fix, argues it’s a necessity.
It seems I came to the same conclusion when I decided that hiking was the only reasonable path to fitness for me. Sure, it’s one of the most effective forms of vigorous exercise you can do (on the way up), but that’s not why I do it.
I do it to be out there. It changes my entire perspective on whatever’s happening in my life.
They say there’s no quick fix for happiness, but that may not be true. Get out in nature this coming weekend, and see if you don’t feel better.
The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative (Amazon Associates)
Okay, so protein is really important — it’s essential for all bodily functions and for building and repairing muscle tissue. That said, is the overwhelming emphasis on protein warranted?
One supplement that I personally use as a sleep aid is magnesium. This mineral has wide-ranging effects in the body and may influence some of the processes that promote sleep.
Research shows that walking is a surprisingly strong health and fitness strategy. A study in Journal of Applied Physiology found that walking quickly with hand and ankle weights was comparable to slow running.
Walk This Way
Tap into a deeper sense of purpose and well-being with GGSC director Dacher Keltner, who guides a meditative walk through California’s Muir Woods in this 360° virtual reality video. Lots of great info in the text as well.
People who take short naps are happier than those who take long naps or no naps, a new survey finds. The conclusion comes from a survey of over 1,000 people’s napping habits and their happiness.
The Zen of Bozeman
Every time I hear of Bozeman, Montana, I think of Robert Pirsig — author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance who passed away weeks ago largely unnoticed. Pirsig taught creative writing at Montana State University in Bozeman before writing two quality philosophical novels. Did you know he had an IQ of 170? Yeah, I think we might have guessed that.
The quiet side of the Italian island has an outrageous number of pretty little beaches, a surprising and nourishing local cuisine, and centuries of fascinating history to get lost in. Best of all? It’s one of the least crowded parts of the Mediterranean.
Most of our money goes to the indispensable, not lattes and other frivolities. That’s why it’s so hard to save money, even though we know we should.
10 Minute Win
Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Canada found that meditating for just 10 minutes a day was enough to see significant results. As long as its done consistently, sitting still and breathing deeply for just 10 minutes can help you concentrate better throughout the day.
I’m Good Enough, I’m Smart Enough …
We are unhappy with who we are, sometimes in small ways but often in very fundamental ways. We doubt ourselves, feel inadequate, dislike our looks, criticize our failing harshly, feel uncertain about whether we’re worthy of praise or love.
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