Posts tagged happiness

Why the Places We Live Make Us Happy

I am fascinated by the relationship between our cities and our mental and emotional well-being. The relationship of urban form to physical health is finally getting some of the attention it deserves, but how the shape of our communities and neighborhoods affects mental health and the much more elusive concept of happiness remains under-explored.

New research, however, provides some intriguing clues. In particular, a fascinating study authored by a team from West Virginia University and the University of South Carolina Upstate, and published last year in Urban Affairs Review, examined detailed polling data on happiness and city characteristics from ten international cities.

Read more!

Learning to be Happy - Part 2

Little Pressure Here. Our Humanity Depends On It
by DK Holland 

Excerpt: Rush. Rush. Rush. Most of us are on the go, never resting, never reflecting: captives of our monkey minds. The irony and the pity is that we would be far more productive, creative and healthier—happier—if we regained our balance through mindful silence. 

Our hands are our first teachers: We engage them in all kinds of ways from infancy. And by twelve, we know what we want to be; in many ways, we are led by what our hands have taught us. The youth-led DIY handmade movement has given birth to new outlets, a creative revolt from the stifling rigidity of the monitor and keyboard: Etsy, Regretsy,, and Maker Faire all celebrate the making of things by hand. We are happy to see what has been made by others and even happier when we make things ourselves. With all that can be cold and hard in its mass production, the one-of-a-kind-ness of handmade warms the cockles of our hearts. It makes us smile. We are back in the cave, with our early ancestors, making bison skin booties for the little ones.

On October 30, 2011 our human bee colony reached seven billion. At least two billion of us are now on the Internet. And that’s good news: We have started to explore complex natural, social and scientific systems to solve problems holistically. It’s no coincidence that we are doing this at the same time we witness the world’s profound needs, up close and in real time (including, how do seven billion people get fed). All this is opening up the possibility that we, unlike our early ancestors, can adapt more rapidly to economic, social and environmental swings, to learn to grasp the big picture within amorphous conditions, to get the gist of it, and come up with important creative, sustainable solutions as our priorities shift.

Read the full article at Communication Arts.

Learning to be Happy - Part 1

Little Pressure Here. Our Humanity Depends On It
by DK Holland

Excerpt: A balanced, communicating, trusting team is greater than the sum of its parts. Those are the lessons of teamwork and lead to employability and the love of learning. Especially if you are encouraged to bring your unique perspective to the group, knowing that you don’t have to go it alone is like dying and going to heaven. A team with a problem to solve and filled with highly motivated, happy students (of any age), willing and able to leave their comfort zones to truly expand their thinking, led by a teacher confident to sit back, that’s what good learning is. 

If the purpose of evolution is indeed the development of consciousness, we will achieve that only by being open to new possibilities. Open to the possibility of happiness. Early civilizations lived in fear, blaming anything bad that happened to them on external forces—to gods (whom they bowed to) or strangers (whom they slaughtered). More and more we are looking inward, realizing our own complicity in charting our collective future for six billion humans and counting. So what does survival of the fittest look like today? It’s no longer the strongest, the meanest. It’s empathy, our ability to break down barriers, build trust among “strangers.” If happiness is something true, substantive and lasting (e.g., deep human connections, rich lasting experiences) not just simple pleasure which quickly evaporates, then what else does anyone want out of life but to be happy? 

Read the full article in Communication Arts.