Nonfictional Thoughts: Lykke and HTBUWYP

I recently finished reading two nonfiction books (that were, in my opinion, very good); The Little Book of Lykke and How to Break Up with Your Phone.

I wanted to give some details about them and some of my thoughts, in case my random recommendation doesn’t carry enough weight.

The Little Book of Lykke: In The Little Book of Lykke, Meik identifies the six factors that explain the majority of differences in happiness across the world—togetherness, money, health, freedom, trust, and kindness—and explores what actions we can take to become happier. As he reveals, we can deepen our blissfulness and contentment with little adjustments in our behavior, whether it’s eating like the French (sitting around a table and savoring our time) or dancing the tango like Argentinians in Buenos Aires.

  • I really enjoyed the case studies sprinkled throughout the book, detailing how specific people or communities had made a change for the better/happier in their lives.  Like Michelle’s No Spend Year- to learn how to live well for less, put yourself out there, and remember that buying belongings won’t bring you the perfect life.  because it’s about experiences!
  • Apps like Kamino and Field Trip will give you the scenic route, rather than the fastest.
  • The Mappiness Project in the UK seems super cool- by mapping happiness around the world, researchers aim to understand how happiness is affected by the local environment.  You can sign up to participate.  And, no surprise: participants tend to be significantly and substantially happier outdoors.
  • The Parental Happiness Gap has a whole damn lot to do with the policies in place to support working families.  The US and Papua New Guinea are the only two countries in the world that do not have a policy in place to give mothers paid time off after having a baby.
  • Cooperation versus competition.  I’ve always been a humongous fan of musical chairs, but why are so many kids games competitive rather than cooperative?  What if a game were played where no kids were out but a chair was taken away every round- leading to all of the kids piling into one chair at the very end.  Sounds just as giddy and prone to accident.
  • Become a RAKTIVIST, a kind of Random Act of Kindness ninja/hitman. You can sign up on the website http://www.randomactsofkindness.org.

This next is a little harder because I’ve already returned the book though I finished it more recently- so this will be a bit shorter.

How to Break Up With Your Phone: Award-winning journalist Catherine Price presents a practical, hands-on plan to break up—and then make up—with your phone. The goal? A long-term relationship that actually feels good.  You’ll discover how phones and apps are designed to be addictive, and learn how the time we spend on them damages our abilities to focus, think deeply, and form new memories. You’ll then make customized changes to your settings, apps, environment, and mindset that will ultimately enable you to take back control of your life.

  • Disclosure: I don’t have much of a phone addiction, and I mostly read this book applying what I was learning to laptop time- particularly after I was hit with a particularly strong Spider Solitaire addiction a few months ago as a result of university stress (I can’t explain).
  • Apps, smartphones, websites, etc. are designed to keep interested, often in pretty sinister ways.  Not only do they tap into your dopamine circuits, but likes are pretty much designed to take advantage of peoples’ competitive natures and need to belong and have social approval.  And frequently you as a user are not alerted of likes in real time- platforms alert you of them when research/empirical evidence shows that it will have the biggest impact on users and encourage users to continue the most.
  • In 2007, when the first smartphones were released, many demographic trends changed sharply.
  • Among other data, the incidence of depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders, especially among younger people, increased significantly.
  • So now I’m trying to ask myself before I pop open my laptop or phone- 1) What could I be doing instead right now?, 2) What am I using this device for? (so that I can make sure I have a purpose rather than just ‘because’), 3) How am I feeling? (Am I using my phone or computer to relieve stress?).
  • I’m going to schedule a no screen weekend. I might cheat and do it when I go away for Independence Day. To an area that has no internet and no reception.
  • Streamline your phone. Make it harder to open the apps you tend to get lost in.  If things are less convenient to access, you’re less likely to access them ‘unconsciously’.
  • Engage in tech fasts. Sounds like fun.
  • All in all, I really liked how the data was set out initially and followed by a proposed 30 day detox plan- which wasn’t super applicable to me because mI’m more irritated by my somewhat extensive laptop time, but there were lots of great ideas I took away (and I’ve been using my laptop less!)
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Links Friday: Not So Much

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Again a pretty light Friday but at least it’s actually a Friday this time!
The Kentucky Derby is tomorrow and I went to the beach twice this week, as it’s the only reasonable place to be when the weather is over 80 degrees.  And I finished Middlemarch this morning.  Very exciting.

And say to my new beluga desktop background.

Happy December (!) Links

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I changed my desktop background (finally!). I was feeling the need for something pink and fluffy with unrealistic eyelashes.

Friday Fun Links 4/21

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Converting these to a weekly (rather than monthly) installment was the right idea.

Because there’s a lot of cool things that I want to talk about, but I also don’t want to inundate anyone.
Firstly, the big cool thing that’s happening in my life: my last ballroom dance show is today, probably my last one ever since I don’t really anticipate continuing with it after college.  I’m really excited (especially because I have a lot of very sweet family members and friends who have decided to come!), not so nervous (although maybe I should be!), and I’ll post with links to videos once they’re up (and if I don’t mess up in a very embarrassing way- but maybe even if I do).

I kind of swing wildly back and forth between treating myself and being absolutely austere and weirdly self-denying. I’m trying to find a nice middle road while simultaneously training myself out of excessive stress- by buying myself a nice little treat every time I get through something that made me anxious or was a ‘big deal’ (like a job interview, a big test, a deadline, or, you know, a ballroom show).  Should I write a list at some point of my mini self-gifts? I’m planning on it.

I also have succeeded in dragging a close friend down the fragrance rabbi hole (well, he’s made his first order from Surrender to Chance, so celebration might be a bit premature- but I think not 😉 ). But more on that later. Continue reading “Friday Fun Links 4/21”

Smiles of a Spring Semester

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I’m leaving on Friday (in all likelihood) for my final semester of university.  As always, I have very ambivalent feelings about my triumphant return.  Less free time is both a good and bad thing, though I’ve never had a hard time keeping myself occupied.  More dancing is also a mixed bag, as is nearing the end of my university experience.  For someone as… insular as I am, even being around my friends comes with conflicting feelings.

And an aside: The title of this post references Smiles of a Summer Night, an Ingmar Bergman title.  And I haven’t seen it and never will because I simply can’t bear with Ingmar Bergman.  I’ve tried many times.

I’m in a mad dash to catch up on 2016 movies.  I recently caught The Neon Demon and have Allied playing in the background as I type this.  I’ve decided it’s not worthy of my full attention (but more on that in a future post).

I’m thinking about what my goals should be for this coming semester, after having completely failed at my fall semester ones (namely dance more and see more of people that I’m going to miss post-graduation. And of course, those will be carried over (in some form) to this semester. Continue reading “Smiles of a Spring Semester”