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Economics of Happiness

in Articles/Health/Productivity by

Happiness is an important, but often overlooked item when someone is discussing how successful and well developed a country is.

Countries are often pitted head to head against each other, vying for the top spots on charts measuring average incomes of households, net profit earned, GDP, per capita income, unemployment rates, crude-oil prices, and how much their stocks are worth. We are now judging a nation’s development through these old-fashioned statistics or numbers. These statistics are brought together with some standard mathematical formulas, however it’s a good question if these numbers can also measure smile or sadness on your face? However, as society evolves, many other types of measurements come to light, from the serious, like the pay gap between men and women, to the silly, like how many public washrooms there are per square kilometer. Despite all of these measurements, though, the happiness of citizens is rarely talked about. Measuring levels of positivity, though seemingly insignificant, can determine the number of people immigrating to the country, help depressed people get the support they need, and even strengthen economy.

The lack of good feeling can also be the product of other more malignant factors, such as lack of employment, or an abundance of stress in general. Naturally, people will gravitate towards countries that may be less developed, but are in a more optimistic state of mind. It is surprising that stress levels, anxiety, or depression rates are higher in the developed countries than their less developed fellows.

Depression and other mental illnesses are life threatening. It is imperative people suffering from internal diseases get the help and support they need, which is why the happiness quotient matters so much. People are often more likely to seek help when they are confronted with the cold hard truth. Filling out the questionnaire that determines their positivity towards life, they can easily see if they are crossing over into dangerous, depressive territories. Even better, workplaces can retrieve the results, and then discreetly monitor employees who may be at risk.

Happier workers make for more productive workers, and a boost in productivity will naturally lead to more profit and a stronger economy. Plus, with less negativity, there will be less tension and stress in the workplace, leading to a happier environment. Also, as mental illness causes many health problems, a higher degree of contentment will put less strain on healthcare systems, and save the money that is usually put towards antidepressants and similar medications.

Obviously, happiness is an important, but often overlooked item when someone is discussing how successful and well developed a country is. What people often forget is that the men and women working within society are the ones that truly matter, not profit. After all, money doesn’t necessarily buy happiness, nor does it buy you true friends and loyal family members to look out for you. Our society needs to change from the money, money, money mindset to a more beneficial, healthier train of thought that focuses on inner peace and the enjoyment of life.

At last, if people of the country are not happy, then we cannot call the country developed, doesn’t matter what numbers are saying and what policies their government is adopting. A smile on a face is important!

World’s Population Is A Lot More Obese Now

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Although there are regions where food scarcity is a seemingly insurmountable problem, causing people to become malnourished and susceptible to diseases, it is doubtless that the growing global prosperity is easing the lives of those who used to be extremely impoverished. However, as famine is being resolved by new agricultural technologies such as genetically modified organisms, irrigation, and mechanized farming, a new issue has begun to surface. Obesity, a disease that used to be suffered by only aristocrats who were able to gorge themselves on rich foods, has now become a pandemic. In fact, the number of people who are suffering from obesity is greater than that of those who are underweight.

This phenomenon is indisputable, with the amount of obese individuals rising from 105 million in 1975 to 640 million is 2014. Although we like to blame the United States for being the main contributor to this trend (one third of its adult population is a victim, after all), the global pattern associated with this illness is often surprising. Lesser developed countries such as Libya and Egypt have obesity rates of 40.1 and 41.6% respectively, signifying monetary wealth is not the only indicator. After all, Japan, which is extremely well developed, has an obesity rate of only 3.4%. Although genetics and environmental conditions may play a role, it is definitely culture that determines the spread of the phenomenon.

Social factors such as the consumption of highly processed, fatty foods and the inactivity resulting from a digitized entertainment industry all contribute to the frightening trends in obesity. In fact, sellers of unhealthy foods typically specifically target children with fun mascots and smiling kids who are blissfully unaware that what they are eating is entirely sugar. Although it is stereotypically Americans who fall prey to these marketing tactics, Canada is not immune. With almost a quarter of its citizens (adults and children) diagnosed with this condition, it is seeking to make drastic changes in order to prevent further developments of this disease.

One example of Canada’s commitment is the proposed revision of the Canadian food guide, which currently promotes several misconceptions. It suggests that fruit juice, which is commonly highly processed and sugary with almost none of the nutrients found in real fruit (such as fiber and vitamin A), is equivalent to a serving of fruit. As well, it treats all milk products equally regardless of fat content, which means cream cheese and skim milk are equally healthy in their eyes. Also, they condone oils, but fail to disclose the health benefits from olive and other vegetable oils. Hopefully, these issues will soon be resolved to better educate the country.

However, making a distinguished improvement in Canada and the rest of the world will take time and prolonged effort. From encouraging children to join sports teams and play outside away from screens to educating the general public on the necessity of a healthy diet and regular physical activity, large cultural shifts are needed to make obesity a problem of the past. Otherwise, we may soon see a decrease in lifespan and quality of life due to the burden brought by our advancements.

Be A Child Again

in Health/Living by

Do you remember those carefree days you spent when you were young, not a care in the world? Do you sometimes sit at home wondering what happened to the past version of yourself that loved ice cream cones, ran through sprinklers, and rode your bike everywhere? Obviously, we grow up and our interests shift, but you don’t have to give up being a kid for good. If you’re an adult every single moment of every day, it gets boring and stuffy; so go out and reclaim you childish side!

You don’t have to quit your day job in order to be childish, simple acts every day works just as well. In the morning, skip your coffee and get a hot chocolate. Instead of drinking wine, have some soda water. Just changing your diet to resemble a child’s can give you a fresh perspective. However, don’t go overboard. An occasional treat is fine, coke and chips for every meal is not.

This may sound like a no brainer, but going outside can raise your mood. Unless you were a very unhealthy and inactive child, playing outside with friends was probably the highlight of your day. Just for fun, schedule a sports tournament with your coworkers and friends over a weekend. It’s perfect for getting everyone together to unwind and be active. To make the day even more interesting, invite the children of your friends to join in. Before you know it, the day will have flown by in a flurry of fun and competition.

A huge part of being a child is the childish antics. It’s okay to be immature sometimes, so feel free to pull small pranks on your friends from time to time or make up inappropriate jokes. However, be aware your main responsibility is still to be an adult, so make sure not to go overboard. Also, make sure your pranks are harmless, and that your jokes are heard by your friends only after work hours, not by your boss in the office. Activities like a water balloon fight or laser tag, however, can be enjoyed with whomever you want.

With the right attitude, it’s very easy to awaken your childish side once again. Sometimes, you just need a break from reality and take a trip down memory lane. In fact, reverting back to a kid for a short time can boost your mood, and simplify your life. The next time you want to just bike the whole day away or break your diet for that snow cone, don’t feel guilty. It’s perfectly fine to indulge yourself.

From grief-stricken to a good time – Five tips to rise

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In life, everyone suffers some kind of downfall from time to time whether it be the passing of a friend or disappoint arising from a setback in their career. However, what defines a person is never their losses, but how they recover and learn about themselves in the process. Obviously, this is easier said and done, requiring effort and commitment to come to terms with grief and rise above it to face the brighter future, but the five steps outlined below simplify the process and provides a starting place for people who feel lost in the world.

Firstly, understand it is natural to be upset, and know that everyone, at some point in time, will go through a similar experience. However, after a few days, strive to get your life back on track by reintegrating one routine every day to gain back some control and sense of normality. For example, going grocery shopping, browsing your favorite store, and meeting up with a friend for coffee are all viable options designed to dull the impact of grief. Be open, and accept help from others. It is difficult enough to deal with pain even without having to shoulder the burden alone.

To cope during the earlier days, distractions are necessary to prevent sinking into a deep, dark hole of despair and depression. Exercising, watching television in moderation, and working on a hobby are all viable options for quelling the overwhelming desire to mope. This is not to say reminiscing about the past should be avoided at all costs, but it should be limited to only short periods of time in safety and comfort. However, if the pain does bubble to the surface unexpectedly, acknowledge it and move on without making a big fuss.

As many may already know, talking about loss is an important step on the road to recovery. It is still unacceptable to rant to your barista or post a five mile long status on Facebook, but having a chat with a few close friends can provide some relief. Closing in and detaching from the people who care is one of the most harmful actions you can take. Refusing to share with anyone is a sign of denial, which can slow down the recovery process and present barriers to future social interactions.

Although this may sound counterintuitive, do not only think of the good times. Remembering a friend’s laughter and companionship or how a supervisor once bought gourmet coffee for everyone at the office is normal and pleasant, but does nothing in the long run. To effectively deal with grief, your viewpoint needs to be at least somewhat impartial, taking into account the bad as well. Some negativity regarding your past can alleviate some of the feelings of losing something holy, allowing you to turn the rose-colored glasses towards the future instead.

Finally, believe in that you will overcome this hurdle, and find footing again in the very near future. Appreciate whatever glimpses of happiness that arise, without guilt or allowing judgment to register. It is genuinely all about perspective, with optimism always winning in the race towards recovery and living to the fullest once again. With the right attitude and an honest acknowledgment of pain with a reflective and open mind, the world will grow brighter in no time.

Though this process can be complex and difficult, the first step is always finding the courage and will to follow through with it in order to truly live once again. Grief is definitely unpleasant, but it is also a fact of life and denial of it will only aggravate the situation. Instead, take it in stride, learn from the experience, and rise up to reach the sky of happiness once again.

Dealing with Sadness – Ideas and Advice

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Dealing with Sadness - Ideas and Advice

We live in a crazily driven modern world. Our modern world and the pace of living in it often brings us all manner of complications, as well as a lot of fatigue and disappointment. For example, loss of a friend or family member may set us back in life. Even a friend or close family member who is in the hospital due to health problems may give you a sense of sadness that is very hard to shake off.

To cite other examples, if your new car breaks down or there are problems with your new home, you may find that sadness crops up and is difficult to deal with. In addition, a split with a partner or spouse may trigger sadness which seems to come straight from the core of your heart. If you are missing a friend back home or you live in a different country and you cry for your family and friends (whom you needed to left behind), your sadness may overwhelm you. Ego also factors in here. For example, you may imagine that your close friends do not admire you or that your boss is neglecting the efforts which you put in at work. Debt is another problem which brings sadness. Let’s say that you have have a big credit card bill in your hand and you do not have funds to pay the bill. This causes stress which may weigh you down with negative emotions!

There are a million reasons why people feel sad. In my personal life, I have faced sadness (even extreme) many times and I’ve successfully recovered from it. In order to help you do the same, I’ve written up some tips, which are meant to help you combat the ill effects of despair.

1. Short-Term Sadness is Okay: Every human being reacts to changing situations around him/her. It’s natural and normal to have these emotions. This kind of sadness is situational.  In other words, it’s related to our hardest life experiences. After all, a human being is not a machine. However, you do need to learn how to recover from it! Your recovery should be speedy in order to benefit your mental state, health and well-being.

If you are sad for days or months at a time, then you definitely need help or some outlet which will assist you with feeling normal again. Many things can work, such as talking to a good friend, reading a good book or finding a good video which helps you to understand the situation. If you’re seriously depressed, talk to your doctor – he or she can help.

2. Take Loss Positively: Losing a friend, co-worker, money, business, or anything else that you value may spark prolonged sadness and psychological setbacks. Keep in mind that nothing was yours which you lost! Think positively by reminding yourself that you enjoyed good moments with your friend or family member, or had some good experiences with your money or business.

If you gain perspective by reviewing your own personal history, you will realize that nothing is permanent. The best and brightest people of all time gained and lost during their lives, just like you have! Maybe you lost things that you used to own? This presents an opportunity to live a more humble life, without being enslaved by the need for luxuries and material possessions.

3. Feel Good About Your Mistakes: No one is perfect! We all make mistakes and, sometimes, we repeat these errors! Accept mistakes not as signs of weakness but as signs of courage. At least you tried! Consider the fact that all people in the world make mistakes and that you are no different from them! Laugh at your mistakes in order to change the way that you feel about them! Don’t be sad that you did something wrong.

Also, think about the fact that you may suffer from misconceptions. Maybe your family and friends are not thinking bad thoughts about you after all – maybe it’s just your imagination! People around you are very busy, they do not have time to think about your mistakes and weaknesses all of the time. So make an effort to avoid cluttering your mind with the idea that people are thinking terrible things about you.

4. Sad Poetry and Music are Ok in Moderation: Sad poetry, music, or literature may be used for short periods of time in order to fit your mood. Sometimes, I do listen to sad songs and feel good after listening to them, it may be the same for you. However, too much sad “entertainment” may actually trigger a downward spiral into depression. As I said earlier, it’s healthy to be sad for short periods of time, it’s okay to be sombre now and then.

However, healthy sadness is all about recovering from sadness quickly and returning to a happier state of mind!

5. Avoid Too Much Solitude: When you spend long periods of time alone, you may be prone to indulge in self-analysis and bad thoughts which keep your feelings of sadness alive. Many times, obsessive self-examination disconnects us from the realities of life which are all around us. For example, you may try to explore and connect with metaphorical images and figures when you are alone for long period of times! It’s better to live in the real world as much as you can, so do make sure that you go outside, get some fresh air, talk to neighbours or friends or take care of pets. This will help you to come out of your imaginative world which was created in response to your prolonged period of solitude.

There are many other strategies for dealing with sadness. However, I believe that the ones detailed here are great for self-help during tough times. Keep in mind that sadness and depression are closely related to each other. As I mentioned earlier, if you are always sad or frequently sad, please talk to your doctor. He or she can treat your depression and get you back on the right track.

Life Stays Healthy with Healthy Eating Habits

in Food/Health by
Life Stays Healthy with Healthy Eating Habits

The surge of rising obesity rates among all age groups is a matter of concern. In addition to increasing clothing sizes, it also increased our awareness of what we’re eating and how to be healthier. Though many people are well aware now that a minimum of six servings of fruits and vegetables are needed per day for good health, and high sugar foods are not good for you, converting knowledge into action is very difficult. I will show you how you can eat healthier and live better without completely rerouting your lifestyle.

When you eat anything, snacks included, be sure to measure out the portions so you know just how much you are eating. At mealtimes, use a smaller plate, so it takes less food to fill it up. You don’t have to be a scientist to recognize chips and burgers are not the best for you, so why do so many people still eat them? The answer is simple; many people eat unhealthily because junk food is delicious. If you say you don’t find pleasure in ice cream and Doritos, you are lying. Many people can’t stand healthy eating for this reason. Most of the times, without the thousands of chemical flavouring in processed food, the taste is bland. This doesn’t have to be the case, however. Most spices have no fat and low calories, but pack a punch. Cinnamon, lemon juice, vinegar, and oregano are all flavourful, natural things you can use to spice up your meals. In addition, there are many different blogs out there dedicated to providing delicious and healthy recipes.

Through discipline and patience, you can put yourself on the path to a better life. Sure, junk food can be tasty, but the flavour only takes a second to dissipate, and once it passes into your body, it is far from heavenly. It may seem difficult to cut out all of the chips and chocolate right away, but take small steps every day and you will soon see results. Though it may seem like a chore now, your body will thank you later by being energetic and healthy.

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