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Money Can Buy Happiness…But Not In The Way You Think

In a recent study, behavioral psychologist studied the impact of certain purchases on people's serotonin levels. This is a great study because people can always lie.

Somebody bought a car that cost him two hundred thousand dollars, he can tell you, "Hey, I'm happy I bought this car."

It is hard to fake serotonin levels. That person who bought the two hundred thousand dollar car may be making a big deal that he is happy but deep down inside he's worried about his car being stolen or getting all the money together.

Who knows what's going on in his mind but serotonin levels in blood test do not lie and yes, the Science is in. Buying stuff does make you happy but the problem is it doesn't last. You get caught in this endless spiral of wanting to buy more stuff to get that initial rush. Unfortunately, you can't just buy the exact same item.

That is not going to work. Interestingly enough, according to the study, when you buy experiences, the happiness lasts much longer. At the very least, the experience of newness, adventure, and curiosity lasts for weeks if not months. Some can even last years. In certain cases, it lasts forever.

 

Does that trip to the great wall of China really impact people's lives that fundamentally? Is going to Paris for two weeks or seeing the Colosseum in Rome that life-changing? Well, travel is able to deliver a sense of happiness and contentment not because you spent a lot of money. It is the experience.

You get from Point A to Point B and you become a different person. You break out from your shell, you put yourself in a position to explore things with a fresh set of eyes. When you’re traveling your expectations change. You are more likely to set aside your old tired assumptions and position yourself to absorb what life has to give on an immediate and raw basis. You allow this new experiences to impact the many aspects of what makes you who you are.

There are certain psychological inputs that you're aware of, there are emotional stimuli during the trip. You eat different foods and you see different things. Your whole consciousness and being that make up who you are, are engaged.

That's what happens in travel. So that happiness study that seems to suggest that when you buy experiences in the form of travel, you can be actually be happier for a longer period of time arrives at the wrong conclusion. It's not the money, it is the experience.

Understand the truth behind this. Even if you have only a dollar to your name, you can buy experience. You can allow yourself to use that money as a gateway to open up to what the world has to offer. In fact, if you train yourself well enough, you don't even need that money. That's just a catalyst.

You can just choose to live life, to live every morning, welcome every new day with a fresh set of eyes and with a fresh new heart. Click here to learn how to do exactly that.

You May Be In Trouble If You Haven’t Taken A Vacation Or A Long Weekend In A Long Time

How do you know if your life is off-balanced? There are actually quite a number of signs. The problem is not the absence of these signs or indicators but our willingness to perceive them.

Just as people can continuously drive over a bridge that's showing many small cracks, people can continue to live their lives even though there are signs of an emotional, psychological and spiritual breakdown in the works. It is really sad that people only sit up and pay attention when it's too late.

We have the same attitude when it comes to our mental, emotional and psychological well-being. These are all wrapped together, flow together, inform each other and fall under the general heading of personal spirituality. It really is too bad because the signs are everywhere, you just need to open your eyes to them.

Believe it or not, the most common sign that your life may be off balance in a very significant and fundamental way involves your vacation time. If you haven't taken a vacation or even opted for a long weekend since forever, you might want to slow down and ask yourself, "Why don't I take a vacation? Is it because I can't afford it?"

If you're really honest with yourself, there's very little you cannot afford. Thanks to credit cards, and thanks to the concept of saving, you can pretty much afford a significant chunk of what life has to offer. So it's not that. The real issue is you are unwilling to spend something other than money. I'm talking about your time.

You may be caught up in this emotional treadmill of aiming to get more and more stuff, to get higher and higher in hierarchy that you lose sight of the big picture. What's the point of gaining everything when you lose everything at the end?

That's precisely what's happening when you're on that treadmill. You keep saying to yourself, "Well, I'm not taking a vacation now because I'm getting ready for that ultimate vacation, I'm getting ready for early retirement, I'm building stuff and I'm sacrificing for a much better life." This is a serious sign.

Your life is completely off-balance because most people look forward to vacations, most people prize vacations and the fact that you won't even take long weekends speaks volumes to how much your values have gone off tract. You might want to step back and look at this as a dangerous sign.

Ignore that signal, and you only have yourself to blame when significant areas of your life truly cave in. You may be in serious trouble. To see how you can take practical steps, to regain control over the important areas of your life, click here.

You have to remember that your personal happiness is your responsibility. You cannot ignore this responsibility. You cannot sweep it under garage. You have to always take ownership of it and incorporate it into your daily decisions. It doesn't take much to live a balance life. Click here to find out how.

What’s The Big Deal With Emotional Wholeness, Anyway?

Have you ever sat down and just chilled out for a whole day? I'm not talking about playing a video game or watching stuff on Youtube, but just completely chilling out: possibly outdoors checking out some natural landscape or natural features, sitting down on a bench, watching the sunset. Have you ever done that?

If you had, and you're completely honest with yourself, don't be surprised if you come to the conclusion that there's something off your life, something doesn't feel right. You can't quite point what it is but you think that there's something missing.

You may be doing well enough at work, bills are getting paid, your mortgage is covered month after month, the kids are doing well enough from school, you can buy whatever you want, your debts are manageable, you rarely freak out when you get your credit card balance at the end of the month, but regardless of these, something seems missing.

You might want to consider emotional wholeness. You have to understand that the sense of contentment is an art. A lot of people think that contentment is some sort of product that can be bought. When we buy stuff that's worth a lot of money, that item is more valuable. If you are able to afford something that other people desire, you must be important enough.

We got so caught up in the outer indicators of value that we have lost sight of value itself. We are so caught up in buying contentment through getting more and more stuff that we confused value with price; possessions with being. Not surprisingly, many of us find ourselves in a situation where the more we buy, the less complete we feel.

It's not suppose to work this way. Wholeness enables you to occupy the moment. There's no need to explain; there's no need to be somebody that you're not; there's no need to make excuses; there's nothing to worry about. The past is the past, the future is yet to happen and here you are, in the moment, enjoying it and being in it.

The problem is we have lost sight of the concept of wholeness, we are so bombarded with so many different signals that throw us off the whole concept of wholeness. We've reached the point where most of us have forgotten the whole idea of wholeness.

Maybe, if we buy enough stuff, contentment and wholeness will come in. Maybe if we live in a big enough place, this will kick in. Again, this is just in the back section of your mind. this is real. This is the kind of emotional treadmill we find ourselves in. The more we buy, the more we consume, the more we burn out.

Invest in the way out

Instead of running yourself ragged on a treadmill, has it occurred to you that maybe, you can make things easier on yourself by just getting off the treadmill? Yes, you're supposed to level up until you breakthrough and get the prize. That's how it's marketed, at least.

You might want to reconsider the power of stopping and the power of the infinite now. Click here to learn more about emotional wholeness and how you can achieve it using practical steps.

The “More, More, More” Mindset Leads To Broken And Empty Lives?

If you are at a campsite and if you want your barbecue pit to heat up very quickly, the last thing you'd probably think of doing is to pump a huge amount of flammable liquid on it. If you're a responsible camper and know your way around your barbecue pit, you would layer on twigs and other twigs and branches and put logs on top. That's how you manage the fire.

Unfortunately, such long-term thinking is not rewarded by the modern world. We want the best the world has to offer right here, right now. That's how much of a rush we're in, not surprisingly, we believe that the more we have, the more valuable our lives become.

We have completely erased the wall between value and price. We size each other up based on how much stuff or rights to stuff we have. We create this mental hierarchy and people with the most things are at the top. In the west, a significant amount of people kill themselves every single year.

This is quite shocking because they are all provided for, they are not starving in the streets, and they have more than enough to eat. People are eating and living better now than ever in history, yet people are still killing themselves. This is not only about official suicides. There are other ways to measure suicide.

Other ways people kill themselves are through drunk driving, drug abuse, and accidental overdose. The more stuff you have, doesn't necessarily mean the more you've become. These are two totally different things and two totally different tracts. Sadly, modern society teaches us that they are one and the same.

You are worth more than the sum of the stuff that you consume. You are worth more than the status people accord you. It is also surprise that people live broken and empty lives because they are trapped in this endless spiral of more, more and more.

The more they eat, the hungrier they become. The more they drink, the thirstier they become. The more money they have, the poorer they feel. This applies across the board. Thankfully, there is a way out.

The possible solution

What is the way out? Well, instead of more, more, more; why not focus on less, less, less. Learn to let go. Focus on what you already have and learn to love what you already possess instead of beating yourself up desiring stuff you don't currently have. The old Zen Buddhist Maxim quote "less is more", is more relevant now than ever, at least to the west.

If you believe that your life is missing something or you're living an empty life, you might want to rediscover the concept of wholeness. You are more than just a consumption machine. You are more than just a demographic statistic that is supposed to be marketed to. You are more than your ability to make money. You are more than the status people accord you.

By looking at yourself as a self-enclosed whole organism with its own sense, own desire for purpose and meaning, your life and your perception of life starts to change. To get the inside scoop on an alternative path to personal meaning and reality, click here.

What Is Wholeness And Why Do You Need It?

We live in a modern world where the world pretty much slices and dices us. Just take a look at how marketing and political persuasion are done.

If you're trying to get some sort of political message across, you dig into the demographic of the audience you're trying to reach: their age range, gender distribution, occupation, and average level of education attainment. These are the types of questions that separate people and put them in a grid. Once you have a clear idea of this grid, you position to address these people on an emotional, personal and financial level.

This makes a lot of sense. Different people with similar intersections of demographic traits do tend to share some similarities regarding political views and social, economic, and political concerns. How can they not? They see certain aspects of reality together. This can lead to the same conclusions. Again, I speak in general terms here. While there are always exceptions to the rule, this is how things normally pan out. People are, by and large, creatures of their experiences. You can never discount the impact of environment on people. While this does not necessarily mean they are totally blank slates, what one experiences through life can and does have a big impact on how that person sees the world and how that person thinks things should be done.

The same applies to marketing. Believe it or not, when you log in to Facebook, it spies on you not only by paying attention to the stuff that you like and the topics that you comment on, but also based on your ad clicks. They then start showing you ads based on its best guess of what you are interested in. This is only possible through a series of highly complicated calculations to show and to get the right ads into the right people.

This is just a symptom of the fact that modern human existence, at least in the western world, is fragmented. It's rare for people to talk about other people as complete individuals. They either referred to a larger group that you're a part of, or based on what you can contribute in terms of one key aspect of your life: your ability to make money, to give of your time, or your talent.

Whatever the case maybe, people don't really consider each other a complete, self-sustaining, integral and comprehensive self-enclosed being. There's a reason why anti-hypertensive, anti-anxiety, and anti-depressant medications are always on the top five of legal prescription drugs year after year in the West. At some level, we are sick, as a society.

This is what wellness and wholeness tries to address. A holistic approach wellness that addresses the whole person. Human beings are unbelievably complex, it goes a long way to truly address the human condition. Isn't it time we start addressing our wellness issues from this perspective?

We have to stop looking at ourselves as some flat, monolithic, one-dimensional cartoon. Unfortunately, that's how the medical industrial complex views human beings. You only need to look at drug addiction rates, drug addiction divorce, suicide and other indices of personal and social dysfunction to see that there is something fundamentally wrong. Wholeness gets to the heart of this. We need it collectively and you need it individually.

Doing This Cripples Your Relationships

What is the number one sin that you could commit that will torpedo your relationships? What kind of action is guaranteed to throw your relationship with other people for a loop? This applies to all types of relationship. It may be a business relationship, an intimate relationship, or your relationship with your family members and close friends. It is guaranteed to cripple your relationship if you do this one thing.

What is this practice that corrodes your ability to connect with people in a deep and meaningful way? You might not think much of it because it seems basic and simple and a lot of people are too quick to dismiss it. A lot of people are even unaware that they are doing this.

Just like with anything else in life, big disasters usually do not happen overnight. Have you ever read about buildings collapsing or bridges giving way? If you read the literature or police reports or news reports on those catastrophes, there is a common thread. Usually, designs are already there but people are just too busy to care. They know that something is off because there are small cracks or there are some indication that the angle of the bridge is not right.

People sit up and pay attention only when it's already too late. That's how the human mind works. With that as a background, the number one practice that is guaranteed to cripple your relationship is the unwillingness to listen. I know, it may seem like a small thing. It might even seem like it is obvious but so many people drop the ball when it comes to this key relationship ability.

Are you really listening?

Do you really listen to people? Be honest. When you talk to somebody, people usually interrupt. They say stuff or try to cover stuff that they want to cover. Then they let the other person talk and butt in to cover the stuff that they want to make. They never really absorb what the other person is saying. They never take the opportunity to learn. Instead of talking and listening, they engage in some sort of verbal ping pong.

There is nothing wrong with metal sharpening metal. That's how we grow as people, grow mentally and become better creatures with cognitive abilities. The problem is we often go through the motions, and we don't really value the conversation for what it is.

When you really listen to somebody, you must assume that they can teach you something. That's the core assumption that you have to go back to and make the centerpiece of your conversation. Otherwise, it's going to be difficult for you to give the kind of respect and importance it needs for it to benefit. You need to remember that, because if you don't assume that you will learn anything from people, it would be very hard for you to listen.

Be honest with yourself. Ask and go back to my central question. Do you really listen? The moment you start rediscovering the art of listening, is the moment you truly reconnect with people.

The Best Scents to Reduce Stress

When people think of things that can help relieve stress, it usually has something to do with sight, touch, or sound - like a massage or hearing the rain fall during a light storm. While it may seem unlikely, your sense of smell can actually have a dramatic effect on your stress levels.

The idea of using certain scents to relax and relieve stress is referred to as aromatherapy, and it’s been shown to work fairly well. There are a wide variety of oils with different scents that you can use in aromatherapy, all with different unique effects.

Some are good for helping you relax, while others might invigorate you and help you get more work done. All of these can help you relieve stress in different ways. For example, if you’re stressed out because you’ve had a long day and you just need to unwind, then lavender might be a good option for you.

It makes you feel less stressed out, but also helps you sleep better, so don’t use lavender if you still have a long day ahead of you, because it may end up making you a bit sleepy.

On the other hand, if you’re in the middle of your day and it’s just not going well, then you can use rosemary instead. Rosemary also helps lower your levels of cortisol, but doesn’t have quite the same effect of making you tired.

Instead, it just boosts you up so that you can get the rest of your day accomplished. Similarly, lemon can have just about the same effects. Perhaps you’re a bit stressed because you’re not working as efficiently as you know you can.

In that case, a peppermint scent might help a lot. Peppermint has been shown to make you more alert and productive, which can help a lot of you’re just dragging through the day not getting much work done.

Cinnamon can also have this kind of effect. Different scents can have different effects depending on the person, so it may take some trial and error time to figure out which scents work best for you.

You might really not like the smell of cinnamon, so it wouldn’t have the same stress relieving effects on you that it would have on someone else. Try to sample a few different common scents and figure out what works well for you and what kind of effect it has and then use it throughout your day to combat stress and get a pick-me-up whenever you need it.

How Pets Can Help You Keep Stress at Bay

There’s been a significant amount of scientific research conducted around the idea of pets helping relieve stress in people. As it turns out, it’s been proven to work very well, for a variety of reasons.

Additionally, it was shown that the results tended to be best with dogs. The most significant factor in the stress relieving effects of dogs was all in our hormones. Petting and playing with a dog was shown to lower levels of cortisol, a hormone that causes the fight or flight syndrome with increased heartrates.

Petting dogs also increased our levels of oxytocin, a hormone that can relieve stress. This was an astounding discovery to many, and it probably relates to human’s early interactions with and domestication of canines.

So, when you’re playing with a dog at the park or with your own dog at home, that relaxed feeling you have is actually very scientific. Due to the fact that it works so well, many institutions have begun having days where dogs are brought in for stress relief.

For example, some universities have days throughout the semester where you can go visit a bunch of dogs in the library. This is used to relieve students’ stress, especially around the times of exams.

There are a few different ways that you can get in on this stress relief phenomenon. First, you could adopt your own dog or other pet. As long as your pet has ample space to move around and you have enough money to take care of them properly so that it doesn’t add to your stress, it’s worth the investment.

Just make sure you’re ready to take on the responsibilities of owning one before you make the leap into buying one. If you don’t feel ready to get a pet just yet, there are still many other ways that you can get to play with some animals.

Check around and see if you have a friend who might own one and hang out with them and their pet. You can also visit dog parks, where many pet owners are okay with you playing with their pets, as long as you ask beforehand.

Strangely, some cafes recently have begun to open up with a variety of animals in them, such as cat cafes or puppy cafes. There you can go get work done, order some coffee, and still play with a bunch of little animals running around the place.

Don’t Just Distract Yourself from Stress Temporarily

Often times when people feel stressed out, they turn to things that will only help them forget about it for a little bit. They might go out with their friends for a night and relax just to take their minds off of it or sit back and watch some TV or a movie.

There are plenty of things you can do to help yourself feel less stressed out in the moment, but you can’t limit yourself solely to those options. While temporary relaxation might help you destress for a day or two, it’s not an ideal proper solution as much as it is a BandAid.

If you want to really stop feeling so stressed out, you need to do something more difficult, which is finding the source of your stress and actually dealing with it at the root level.

Finding the real source of your stress can be quite challenging on its own. It’s very easy to identify something else as the source of your problems, while there’s another aspect that’s actually causing that initial problem.

For example, you might blame your stress on not having enough free time, so you begin cutting out certain activities or procrastinating about certain things in order to give yourself more time.

This might seem like a proper solution, but in reality, something else like poor scheduling might be the root of your lack of time, so you just have to keep following the trail to see where your stress is coming from.

By dealing with your true problems, you’ll find that you don’t have to come up with as many temporary solutions that will only help you for a little while. This is the only way to be able to resolve your stress long term, allowing you to focus more on what you really want to do in life.

Now, this isn’t to say that temporary stress relievers don’t have their uses. Temporarily relieving stress is a good way to give yourself some room to breathe and focus on finding long term solutions.

If you’re all caught up in your stress, you won’t be able to find the real sources very easily, but if you relax a bit, you’re more likely to be able to deal with your problems appropriately.

These temporary fixes start to become issues only when you start allowing them to distract you from actually finding long term solutions. Be proactive so that you enjoy more of what life has to offer.

Is Stress Contagious?

When people think about all the possible causes of their stress, they usually think about things like work, money, relationships, and things of that nature. These are good starting places, but they’re not always the answer.

A commonly overlooked cause of stress is the stress that other people are experiencing. Much like a disease, stress is contagious and can spread fairly easily. Humans naturally feel for one another and understand one another’s emotions, and therefore are prone to sharing a lot of emotions.

For example, if someone’s friend or family member is stressed out about their job, they can then become stressed out as well thinking about whether or not that person is going to be okay.

One of the ways that stress becomes contagious is by the changes in people’s personalities when they’re stressed out. When someone gets stressed, they may become more irritable, snapping at people for small or insignificant things.

In turn, the people on the receiving end of the irritability will become upset and stressed out themselves, and it just continues from there.  For some, this can be motivation to start addressing the sources of their stress, so that their friends will stop having to stress out as well.

However, for others, this can only add onto their existing stress, having to worry that their friend is worrying about them. The only way to break this back and forth cycle is to have good communication with your friends and loved ones about why you’re stressed out and to get down to it and solve your problems at their roots.

You should never be afraid to talk to your friends and family about why you’re stressed out as long as you do it in the right manner. As long as you remain calm about it while you’re talking, you shouldn’t cause too much extra stress.

And if your friends and family fail, you can usually find a therapist to talk to instead. You should also be able to tell someone when they’re stressing you out. Sometimes it can be a wakeup call for them, which can be a major relief for you.

Other times, they may continue to stay stressed out. In this case, do what you can to help them, and if that doesn’t work, you could always distance yourself a bit from them. There’s no use in continuing to stress yourself out over someone else’s problems - especially when you’ve done all you can to help them.

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