“There Is in This World No Function More Important Than That of Being Charming.”

1346726316_a91f3a31b9_m“There is in this world no function more important than that of being charming. The forest glade would be incomplete without the humming-bird. To shed joy around, to radiate happiness, to cast light upon dark days, to be the golden thread of our destiny, and the very spirit of grace and harmony, is not this to render a service?”

— Victor Hugo, Toilers of the Sea

A thoughtful reader sent me this quotation. It reminds me of one of my favorite lines, from G. K. Chesterton, which I quote several times in The Happiness Project“It is easy to be heavy: hard to be light.”

Though I must say, it seems to be slightly overstating the case to say that there’s no function more important than being charming. I think I can think of a couple of functions that are more important.

Agree, disagree?

Continue reading

8 Clever Relationship Tricks Happy Couples Use

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Whether you refer to it as an old wives’ tale, household hints, life trick, or novelty—basically it’s all the same thing. These days, they are called Life Hacks. Sometimes they’re a bit unconventional or silly, but in the end, they totally work.

In this case we’re talking about relationship hacks. Here are 8 funny things happy couples use to stay, well, happy. Enjoy! Continue reading

Foster Children and Online Technology: A Feeling of Control- A World of Danger

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Curtis was not in control. In fact, he had no control with just about everything in his life. After all, Curtis was in foster care.

Thirteen year old Curtis was placed into foster care after suffering neglect from a mother who was addicted to and sold illegal drugs. The teenager had been separated from his other two siblings, a younger brother and sister, as there were no foster homes in the area able to take in three children at that time. The foster teen’s father had been in and out of the family’s life, just as he had been in and out of jail. When Curtis arrived in his new foster home, he was confused, he was lonely, and he was scared. Curtis had been taken from everything he knew. He had been taken from his mother, his father, his brother, and his sister. He had been taken from his bedroom, his toys, his baseball card collection, his pet dog, his house, his home. The teen had been taken from his grandparents, his aunts, his uncles, his cousins, his neighbors, his friends, his teachers, and his classmates. Indeed, Curtis had been taken from everything that was familiar to him, everything he knew, and everything he loved. Continue reading

Ten Things Change-Makers Do

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Last month, I had the honor of attending the United Nations’ Conference titled- Commission On The Status of Women at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. I was present for several of the briefings. The conference drew in ambassadors, representatives, leaders, Deputy Secretary Generals, directors, policy makers, founders of non-government organizations, delegates, chiefs, ministers for human rights, and others from around the world. The event brought together incredibly bright minds from various backgrounds to examine ways to empower women through the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. I was also invited to partake in many side- events that were organized by many of the people present for the conference. Typically, these events were smaller and conversations took place over a meal or coffee. At one side event, there were eight of us sharing a meal at a local restaurant.

What struck me about those in attendance not only for the larger conference and also for these side-events is that these individuals were not only successful leaders, but they were clearly what one would consider change- makers/ over- achievers. As a clinical social worker and author, I’m interested in observing behavior patterns. During these events, I began to notice that these change- makers had some traits and behaviors in common that I thought would be valuable to share. This list is in no particular order of importance.

Ten Things Change- Makers Do: Continue reading

How to Free Yourself from Your Brain

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By Deepak Chopra, MD

On many fronts people feel the urge to change their lives–so why don’t they succeed? We live in therapeutic times. Advice surrounds us about achieving success. Yet when we set our minds to do something seemingly simple–losing weight, giving up a bad habit, acting nicer to people, and so on–something intervenes between the intention and the goal. This “something” exists in the relationship between the mind, which issues a desire or intention, and the brain, which is the physical apparatus for carrying out desires and intentions.

If you assume that the brain is the mind, which is the working assumption in 99% of neuroscience research, there is little room for solving the problem. It’s as if you hear a piece of music you don’t like on the radio, so you try to rearrange the radio’s parts. Obviously a mistake is being made there, but the relationship between mind and brain is subtler. It’s like a conversation between two people, where one person is dominant one moment and the other person is dominant the next. In the dialogue between mind and brain, most of the time the mind is automatically dominant. If you want to raise your arm, the brain sends the appropriate signals without obstacle of interference.

But sometimes the brain interjects its own feedback, and then the signals become confused. In the last post we discussed how brain-trained responses can make us virtual robots obeying old conditioning, habits, memories, and so on. The mind trains the brain to do X, and then without benefit of new training, the brain does X all the time. If you look at your own life, you can find endless examples of how brain-training limits your freedom of choice. For example, Continue reading

Engaged… Now what?

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by Desiree Hartsock
So your man finally popped the question in the most romantic way ever… Now what!?!

This is a question asked at least once by a newly engaged bride. Whether you have been planning your wedding since you were a little girl or barely thought about it, you are a new seed in this fast-growing pot known as the wedding industry.

It’s hard to know where to begin or what your first step should be. It’s not everyday that you plan a wedding… So, first things first. Continue reading

Reaping the Benefits of Creatine

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While most of us understand the vast importance of the quality of foods we put in our bodies, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle. After all, around every corner lurks fast food restaurants and other sources of convenience foods. However, you are what you eat, and making the conscious decision to improve your nutrition is important. Creatine is an often overlooked substance that provides numerous benefits, and there are some things you should know if you make the decision to incorporate its use. Continue reading

Mildly Medicated: Musicians Find Hope and Possibility After Diagnosis

By Jenna Basile of Mildly Medicated

Jenna Basile is the Bassist of the Modern Rock Band Mildly Medicated. What do you get when you combine a lead singer with Hemophilia, a guitarist with ADD, a guitarist with diabetes, a bassist with Tourette’s, and a drummer on HGH therapy? You get the modern rock band Mildly Medicated. Against all possible odds, these uniquely talented young musicians from Monmouth County NJ found each other in 2012, all unaware that each of them had medical issues.  It was only until they were discussing possible band names that they all realized that they shared a commonality.

I’m going to start this story backwards.  I can assure you it ends well, and I have found peace, love, and acceptance. I have forged a family out of people who were once strangers, I have found my passion, my defining life force, my balance. The road to all this enlightenment and nirvana was not exactly an easy one to walk as there were many obstacles in my way and many forks where decisions had to be made. Let’s back uScreen Shot 2016-04-07 at 8.22.08 AMp a little a put ourselves about 4 years ago. I was a young female going through my really awkward stage. I wasn’t hideous, but I wasn’t the belle of the ball either. I did not hang with the “popular kids” and my father spent long hours as an investment banker in NYC, and sometimes left to live in foreign lands for weeks or months. I took solace in playing music. My older brother was already an accomplished drummer, and it looked like he was having fun, so I decide to follow him and began studying piano. After almost two years, I was pretty decent, although if I was honest with you I don’t think I was truly passionate about the instrument, but I did enjoy the accolades. One night while practicing, I noticed that I was unable to strike the keys with precision. As I continued, I realized that I was losing control of my body as a whole; the movements that were happening were not of my own design. I freaked out and had to be taken to the emergency room. I remember when the doctor walked in after I had taken a battery of tests. Just the look on his face told me that my world was about to change. Continue reading

Intent.com: Why Forgiveness?

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It was almost 10 years later when one of our Intent staff writers realized she hadn’t dealt with a three year relationship that almost ended in marriage. Cliche? Maybe. But she had told herself it was over and that she needed to move on and that’s what she tried her best to do. But what does that look like in a real, tangible way? Almost a decade later, she was just learning of all the ways resentment, anger and grief were still impacting her physically, mentally and emotionally.

In the course of a lifetime, you will likely experience much more than just a relationship that doesn’t work out. Betrayal, disappointment and violence of all kinds may be part of your story and the idea of forgiveness or restoration seems painful and distant. So is it worth it? Is there something to offering forgiveness and focusing on gratitude? Continue reading

Care Connects WWII Survivors and Syrian Refugees to Bring Happiness

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As of almost 1 year ago, there were more than 4 million Syrian refugees, a number that increases daily as conflict grows across Europe. Babies are being born in refugee camps. Children are experiencing years meant for exploration, imagination and fun in a landscape that is scary, violent and often times changing moment to moment. They’ve experienced loss at far too young an age but they are not alone in this.

Care is an organization responsible for sending care packages to children affected by WWII. If anyone understands even a margin of what modern children in war-torn nations are experiencing, it is the survivors of WWII who are now being recruited by Care to write letters to children receiving packages today. Care was created in 1945

Does he go to school? Does he have a father? Does he have something to play with? I never played as a kid.
-WWII Survivor And Letter Writer

The first 20,000 Care packages reached the shores of France in 1946 and 70 years later, Care packages are still arriving on far off shores. Today those Care packages include letters from alumni who seek to help children feel known, heard and understood in this time of crisis. Watch their story: Continue reading

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