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.

Friday Links 7/7

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As always when it’s the first links installment of the month, the above photo is my new monthly desktop background (tiled, of course!)
It’s Friday and the weekend and I seem to be living my best life- at least that’s how it feels when things go your way for a few days. I’ve been doing a lot of cooking, found the perfect denim dress (finally!) and have some nice plans for the days ahead (Hopefully involving watching some horse racing! And possibly a film).  And my birthday is coming up! I’ll be 22, which is a nice even palindrome.

There are a lot of potential posts in the offing, which means that I need to gather my thoughts into a more orderly order and then proceed. You may have noticed that my Baby Driver thoughts yesterday were a bit scattered- but I was feeling guilty for not mentioning it, as it’s a really great independent film, and we need more of them.

Let’s get down to business!

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Wellness on a $0 Budget

I talk about wellness way too frequently.  It’s getting to be one of my favorite topics, along with the inexhaustible lists of books and movies.  Partly it’s me (what kind of millennial yoga-loving anorexia-surviving introspective vegan would I be if I didn’t?) and part of it is the current craze for wellness, mindfulness, and all of the associated paraphernalia (rose quartz lamps).

Interrupting this broadcast: I HEAR THUNDER THANK GOD FINALLY

Anyway…

I have ambivalent feeling about the current cultural boom being experienced by wellness.  On the positive side, it’s helped me find more people who share my interests and brought my niche interests to a much wider audience.  Yay! An opportunity for new friends with new shared interests!
Additionally, as society and the market adapts to appeal more to this current cultural climate, it also suits me better.  There are increased vegan dining options, more articles around that I find compelling…. more things are available that resonate with my lifestyle and mindset. Continue reading “Wellness on a $0 Budget”

Daily Practices (That I Do and Don’t Practice)

Annually, this is the time of year that I find myself making resolutions.  Despite being completely not on board with New Year’s lifestyle changes, there’s something about late spring/early summer that makes setting personal goals a lot more natural.

Looking to the future just happens a lot more organically when the weather is beautiful and the anxiety of university has dissipated.

So in the spirit of a lifestyle adjustment, I’ve been thinking about this idea of daily practices.
Specifically, practices I wish I had, practices I’m glad I do have, and practices that I would like to let go. Continue reading “Daily Practices (That I Do and Don’t Practice)”

Friday Links 5/19

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Hey my graduation is this weekend! (Except not really because I’m not going!).
Did you go to your graduation? Almost everyone I’ve talked to has been some combination of stunned or outraged to hear that I’m skipping it- which is a reaction that’s quite taken me by surprise.
Neither of my parents went to their graduations, so I think I just kind of grew up not thinking it was a big deal. My cousin Sean went to his graduation but sat with his family in the audience.  And I went to my high school one (but I was valedictorian *pats on back* so I kind of had to).  But there are so many things I’d rather do!
Namely: anything. Sitting around in a big group of people and listening to speeches just isn’t my thing and I know that makes me sound terribly unsentimental, except I’m also such a nostalgic person that I know that can’t be it. Continue reading “Friday Links 5/19”