Tag Archives: The Good Life

Happiness Experiment no 41: practice your eulogy virtues not your résumé skills

David Brooks suggests in this short TED talk that within each of us are two selves, the self who craves success, who builds a résumé, and the self who seeks connection, community, love — the values that make for a great eulogy. Can we balance these two selves? Perhaps, once we know them both.  We would probably all agree that the things we want to be remembered for, our eulogy virtues are probably not the things we spend the most time thinking about.  If we focus more on why we think we are here on this earth and less about what we want to achieve maybe it will be easier to tap in to the virtues which matter most in order to live a good life.  If we make each action we take or each thought we think a legacy question it is easier to focus on what matters.  I often ask myself before I take action: “Is this really what I want to be remembered for?” If the answer is no, perhaps it is better to make a different choice. Watch this inspiring TED talkRead the rest...

Mattering never stops mattering whatever your age

This article from The Good Life Blog in Pyschology Today was written by Christopher Peterson, who was a professor of psychology and organizational studies and former director of clinical training.at the University of Michigan.  He held the appointment of Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, in recognition of his contributions to teaching. Peterson was among the 100 most widely cited psychologists in the world. He died at a tragically young age last year and according to all who knew him he mattered a lot to many people.  His book Pursuing the Good Life: 100 Reflections in Positive Psychology which is a compilation of his articles  from The Good Life Blog in Pyschology Today is well worth reading.

How Old Is Old?

Mattering never stops mattering.


Published on May 30, 2011 by Christopher Peterson, Ph.D. in The Good Life

I hope I die before I get old.

- “My Generation” by The Who (1965)

I recently led a workshop for mental… Read the rest...

Happiness experiment No 15: explore a new way to reduce stress

Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy. — Thich Nhat Hanh

The following article by the late Christopher Peterson Ph. D revisits a topic I have touched on in a previous Happiness Experiment blog post: the importance of smiling. Learning how to smile more was the first Happiness Experiment I wrote about when I began the blog last year and I think it is a topic worth looking at again as Dr Peterson’s article suggests.  If something as simple as smile can help us to recover from stress I think it is an experiment worth trying.  Take a look at this short Happiness Experiment No 1 video and read the article and decide for yourself whether you will give it a go.


Smiling and Stress

Smiling speeds recovery when a stressful experience is over.
Published on September 13, 2012 by Christopher Peterson, Ph.D. in The Good Life

Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes

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What can Anna Karenina teach us about happy families?

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

Leo Tolstoy

Jude Law's looks had to be disguised for the role of Karenin, while his costume was inspired by Tsar Alexander II

Keira Knightley and Jude Law in Anna Karenina

Positive Psychology and the Anna Karenina Principle

Does the Anna Karenina Principle apply to people’s well-being?

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

Leo Tolstoy

Tolstoy’s well-known opening to Anna Karenina is thought by some to apply not only to families but also more broadly. It has even given rise to a rule dubbed the Anna Karenina Principle*, which holds that it is possible to fail in many ways but to succeed in only one way, by avoiding each of the routes to failure.

An example was provided by Jared Diamond (1997) in his book Guns, Germs, and Steel. He discussed why so few animal species have been domesticated. Unless an animal is easy to feed, unless it grows rapidly, unless it breeds readily in captivity, unless it has

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