behavior · happiness · Me

The top 5 regrets people make on their deathbeds – inspired by Lifehacks

WLA moma Henri Rousseau The Dream 3
People's #1 deathbed regret: not being true to themselves. Image via Wikipedia

They say hindsight is 20/20, and I find it very informative to find out what people wish they had done or are very happy they did, either at the end of a school year or sitting in a rocking chair on a porch in retirement. So this bit of anecdotal evidence is interesting, and while none of the regrets are surprising it’s good affirmation of what people’s priorities in life should be.

…the following regrets were first posted in The Observer in 2010, and we’ve recopied them for you here below. But instead of just the grandmotherly bits of advice about dreams having gone unfulfilled, we’ve supplemented each regret with some rockstar advice on how to not have these regrets in the digital age.

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people have had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

TNW Advice: We interview so many entrepreneurs here at The Next Web, some of whom will succeed, most of whom will fail. But it’s about going out and creating a reality out of what was once just an idea in your head.

read all 5 regrets, plus the added bits of TNW advice at The top 5 regrets people make on their deathbeds – Lifehacks.

What the five regrets basically constitute are making time for themselves, their friends and family, taking risks rather than playing it safe, and just giving space in their lives for happiness.

This is a really good exercise to do at any time, to see if you’re really living the life you want and what you can do to change it.

If you were told you were going to die tomorrow, this evening, whatever, what would your regrets be?

Mine would be:

1. Not taking that hiking vacation through Europe.

2. Not taking a sabbatical, more time for me.

3. Not finishing my thesis.

4. Not spending more time with my sister the last couple of years before she died, which translates into generally just spending more time with others I love before they kick the bucket.

5. Not starting a family.

behavior · brain · happiness · health · neuroscience · play · psychology

Want To Live To 100? Try To Bounce Back From Stress : NPR

Hint from featured profile Helen Reichert, who's 109? A sense of humor helps.

More and more research is finding that the ability to cope with stress and bounce back better correlates with long life. Just a reminder to take it easy…

Gerontologist and commentator Mark Lachs says one of the keys to a long, healthy old age is the ability to keep moving forward after life’s inevitable setbacks.

listen via Want To Live To 100? Try To Bounce Back From Stress : NPR.

One study found that 50 year olds with a negative outlook on life lived seven years shorter than those with a positive outlook.

What’s interesting is that more than avoiding stress it seems more important to have the ability to bounce back from it. So healthy coping mechanisms for handling stress, as well as a good attitude about life, seems to be more important than nutrition and exercise.

behavior · creativity · design · psychology · writing

How The Mundane Can Produce Creativity

I subscribe to this business blog, The 99 Percent (Success is 1% inspiration, 99% determination), that typically offers business strategies and stuff, but this article I found really interesting; the idea that having a ritual around your day actually allows your brain to focus on being creative:

You follow the same routine, sipping your coffee, browsing your email, skimming through the same blogs, the same news pages, the same social networks. As your colleagues arrive, you exchange the same greetings, the same gripes and gossip. As you drain the cup, you get the same itch for the same music, take your headphones out and plug yourself in. You open the same blank document, give it the same hard stare. The music kicks in.

Now you can begin.

If that sounds anything like your morning routine, you’re in good company. Over the years, as a coach and trainer, I’ve heard a similar story from hundreds of creative professionals. Of course, the details will vary – if you’re like me, your trip to work will be the “30 second commute” known to freelancers the world over, and you’ll be making your own coffee. You may incorporate meditation, or other exercise into your morning routine. And you may use a camera, easel, guitar or whatever instead of a computer.

But the chances are you’re living proof of one of the great paradoxes of creativity: that the most extraordinary works of imagination are often created by people working to predictable daily routines. There’s even an entire blog (sadly now on hold) devoted entirely to accounts of the Daily Routines of writers, artists, and other interesting people.

more via How Mundane Routines Produce Creative Magic :: Tips :: The 99 Percent.

It says the 3 common threads of these rituals are:

  1. Uniqueness – it should be something (or a combination of things) you don’t associate with other activities, otherwise the effect will be diluted.
  2. Emotional intensity – the kind you experience when you’re really immersed in creative work.
  3. Repetition – the more times you experience the unique trigger in association with the emotions, the stronger the association becomes.

Athletes, actors, and even accountants have these rituals, so why not creative types? What about you, what behaviors or rituals do you have to help you concentrate on being creative?

behavior · mental health · psychology

The New Science of Happiness — PsyBlog

Many 18th c. treatments for psychological dist...
Image via Wikipedia

This is a field I’ve skirted around in my blog, but now I’m interested in diving in and taking a deeper look at: Positive Psychology.

A new and blossoming field of psychology – positive psychology – has begun to uncover fascinating, evidence-based answers to many questions about happiness. I’ve been sizing up the most recent findings to reveal the emerging science of happiness.

What are the everyday sources of happiness?

Because happiness is something most of us aim for, how we define it has important implications for how we conduct our lives. To see why, compare these two competing definitions of happiness.

Excerpt from the article The New Science of Happiness — PsyBlog.

Many have argued that traditional psychology only explores what makes people sad, but Positive Psychology specifically focuses on what makes us happy. Do you agree/disagree? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

anthropology · behavior · community · culture · happiness · health · mental health

What Makes People Happy? The Economics of Happiness | The Art of Manliness

dad July 26 1936
Image by liberalmind1012 via Flickr

 

A very nice essay about what it takes to be a happy, healthy man, woman, or general human being:

Men have a certain innate restlessness. We’re always looking for a new adventure, wanting to feel like we’re progressing in life, and wondering if the grass might be greener somewhere else.Our ever-searching nature can be a good thing if it’s channeled into pursuits that really lead to greater happiness and satisfaction. But restlessness can also get us terribly off track if we expend our energy journeying down avenues that are really dead ends.

…the key to finding the truly greener pastures is to concentrate on going after the right things-the things that really will make you happier-instead of expending your energy in pursuit of a happiness mirage.

This is where the economics of happiness comes in. Numerous studies have revealed what factors in life are correlated with greater happiness. Now granted, these things correlate to greater happiness; they don’t necessarily cause happiness. But I always say it’s at least worth checking out where the happy people congregate. Below we highlight eight areas of a man’s life that we often associate with increasing or decreasing our happiness and analyze if the grass really is greener in those pastures.

 

Read the best ways to be happy (or unhappy) at What Makes People Happy? The Economics of Happiness | The Art of Manliness.

anthropology · brain · creativity · Mental · neuroscience · psychology

The Evolving Minds Of Humans : NPR

 

 

Where do we get artistic ideas and inclinations? What is it about the brain that makes us like art? Neurologist Antonio Damasio writes about his ideas why in his new book, Self Comes to Mind.

In his new book, Self Comes To Mind, neurologist Antonio Damasio argues that consciousness gave humans an evolutionary advantage. Damasio describes the differences between self and mind, and traces the evolutionary path of the human brain.

Where do we get the ability to create works of art, to be moved by a piece of beautiful music or to feel bad when someone says something hurtful?

via The Evolving Minds Of Humans : NPR.

His main focus is on consciousness, but touches on the idea of creativity, new thinking, and artistic desires as part of our evolution as humans.

Mental · Social

The End of the Best Friend – NYTimes.com

Florida Atlantic students celebrating a basket...
Humans are social creatures, and need close bonds and feelings of belonging. (Image via Wikipedia)

As the new school year begins, I wanted to mention this article from the New York Times about how schools are discouraging kids from making best friends.

Ahem. Let me repeat that. Schools are discouraging children from having a best friend.

That is just stupid.

Or, put more professionally…

“…such an attitude worries some psychologists who fear that children will be denied the strong emotional support and security that comes with intimate friendships.

“Do we want to encourage kids to have all sorts of superficial relationships? Is that how we really want to rear our children?” asked Brett Laursen, a psychology professor at Florida Atlantic University whose specialty is peer relationships. “Imagine the implication for romantic relationships. We want children to get good at leading close relationships, not superficial ones.”

read the full article via The End of the Best Friend – NYTimes.com.

This is where political correctness and “fairness” go waaaaay too far and ignore human nature and the absolute NEED to have a confidante in life, someone you can rely on, particularly someone outside of your family of origin. Will those people hurt you from time to time? Absolutely. But it’s part of learning how to work within a society and be a social animal.

Studies keep showing how adults today have less and less close friends, and would LIKE to have more. Discouraging kids from learning how to make close bonds with people is just setting them up for this trend to get worse when they become adults.

Now go call your best friend.

Mental · Social

Revenge of the Introvert | Psychology Today

I spent the morning reading Revenge of the Introvert in Psychology Today. This is an interesting article that talks about how prevalent introversion actually is in humans when given psychology tests, and why accepting one’s intraverted tendencies is okay.

From the creative side of things, the author Laurie Helgoe points out how mentally draining it is for introverts to force themselves to be more outgoing and social, and in fact they are better at problem solving and creativity when they have a chance to sit in a quiet corner (or go running, sit on the bus with their headphones plugged in) and contemplate.

What I found interesting also, from a social science aspect, was when Helgoe pointed out that while American culture strongly encourages extraverted behavior, other cultures like in Finland and East Asia value introversion.

As Helgoe states “…if every other person is an introvert, why doesn’t the cultural tone reflect that?”

Indeed.

But overall the article provides a great message of why introversion is a good thing (really, truly) and how all us introverts can thrive in an extraverted culture.

Headphones, anyone?

read more at Revenge of the Introvert | Psychology Today.

Mental

Discovering the Virtues of a Wandering Mind – NYTimes.com

via Findings – Discovering the Virtues of a Wandering Mind – NYTimes.com.

“Researchers [that] have been analyzing those stray thoughts, they’ve found daydreaming to be remarkably common — and often quite useful. A wandering mind can protect you from immediate perils and keep you on course toward long-term goals. Sometimes daydreaming is counterproductive, but sometimes it fosters creativity and helps you solve problems.”

more at Findings – Discovering the Virtues of a Wandering Mind – NYTimes.com.

Mental · Social

New Nicaraguan sign language shows how language affects thought | Not Exactly Rocket Science | Discover Magazine

A cool look at language and how it shapes our thoughts in the article “New Nicaraguan sign language shows how language affects thought | Not Exactly Rocket Science | Discover Magazine.”

NSL has been a goldmine for scientists, providing an unparalleled opportunity to study the emergence of a new language. And in a new study led by Jennie Pyers from Wellesley College, it even tells us how language shapes our thought.By studying children who learned NSL at various stages of its development, Pyers has shown that the vocabulary they pick up affects the way they think. Specifically, those who learned NSL before it developed specific gestures for left and right perform more poorly on a spatial awareness test than children who grew up knowing how to sign those terms.

more…