Monthly Archives: January 2018

Why Our Screens Make Us Less Happy, and Which Apps Make Us Sad

https://www.ted.com/talks/adam_alter_why_our_screens_make_us_less_happy#t-276728

These apps make you happy: Relaxation, Exercise, Weather, Reading, Education, Health

These apps make you sad: Dating, Social Networking, Gaming, Entertainment, News, Web Browsing

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Today is a Big Day!

” Today is a Big Day” has become my new life motto.  What it means is to treat today with the expectation that something pivotal to your life will occur.  Wake up like you would for a job interview or a date or a concert or show or exciting favorite activity or a birthday or a holiday or a party, etc.  Here’s how I came up with it:

I recently went on vacation during the Christmas and New Years holidays, and while I was on vacation I felt great.  When my vacation ended and I returned to the real world, I immediately felt my joy and excitement screech to a halt.  The first day back from vacation, my body started aching from sitting at a desk all day, and my happiness started diminishing as I resumed my dreary daily grind.  I didn’t like this feeling of living a suffocated life, and so I tried to figure out what it was about vacation that was so liberating, so that I could try to bring that into my non-vacation life.

My first idea for bringing vacation vibes to the daily grind was to walk more.  On vacation, I was always on my feet, sight seeing and exploring as much of the city as I could.  So I found time in my day to walk long distances.   This improved my life for sure: the work felt less long because I broke up my 8 hour day into 2-3 hour chunks with walks in between, and each day felt richer because instead of seeing the same limited scenery of my office and home, I was seeing a lot more scenery.  Not only was I seeing more scenery, but I was seeing more scenery with a leisure mindset, which psychologically relaxes the mind and creates more daily memories of leisure to offset the memories of work and the grind.

The walks cured my body aches, so the physical was addressed, but I still felt emotionally and spiritually dull because while it was nice to walk around, the sights weren’t that nice to see a lot of the time because I was fairly aimless in my walking around during my breaks.  Then I realized that while I was on vacation, I always walked with a purpose towards some well known tourist attraction that I knew would either be inherently good or would make for a good story when sharing with friends upon my return.  And so I realized the second element was to have a destination to walk to.  Now each day, I wake up and I outline the destinations I want to get to that day: sometimes it’s sight seeing, other times it’s running errands that I used to be too lazy to get out of the house to do but now I treat as easy solutions to the question “where do I go today,” and sometimes it’s self improvement tasks like cleaning my room or sorting my email.  As a result, I feel much more productive, much more engaged with my life, and awake.

Too often, people set the destination of their daily life to be exactly where they started.  They want things to stay the same, to repeat the same routine, to be the same.  And the problem with complacency is that it’s boring, and eventually the boredom will catch up with you and you won’t notice it as boredom, you’ll just deteriorate into a depressed, demotivated, and disconnected individual and be completely not self aware of that.  And the problem with staying the same is that it takes work to stay the same, because the world is constantly changing, every day is different.  So if the destination is to stay the same, and you have to work for it, and the reward for achieving your goal of staying the same is depression, what’s the point?

A better way to live life is to set a destination and travel towards it.  Travel while you’re on vacation, and travel while you’re not on vacation.

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