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A publication from Medium on personal development.


In Forge. More on Medium.

We put a lot of pressure on an emotion that can be just as easily evoked by a warm donut

Photo by Kenny Timmer on Unsplash

I grew up in Houston, Texas, which is to say, I have tasted the world’s best donut. Shipley Do-Nuts: sweet, pillowy poufs of buttery gold that make all other donuts taste like old tires. Maybe I’m exaggerating, but only a little.

One morning during a lull at work, a coworker and I drove to Shipley’s for breakfast. Waiting in line, I clapped my hands like a small child waiting to ride a pony. My coworker raised his eyebrow. “How sad,” he chuckled, “that a donut makes you so happy.” For a moment, I felt ridiculous. Then, I had a thought…

How I’m fighting my critical inner resistance, one day at a time

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There is a buzz in my brain. A hum. Like, when you go to a hotel room that has a kitchenette in it, and the low sound of the refrigerator keeps you up all night until your boyfriend sits bolt upright in bed and maniacally rips the plug out the wall? You know, like that.

The hum is restless anxiety of ‘needing to get stuff done’. It’s similar to that nagging sensation when you feel like you forgot something, but you’re not sure exactly what.

When I listen closely and intently, the hum starts to have a needling voice that…

To sustain your happiness, hold onto the shallowness

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

“EVERYONE, ANNOUNCEMENT”, my cousin messaged our family’s Facebook group. The breaking news? Jollibee, the holy grail of Filipino fast food, was opening a branch near her house in Canada. She added, “Sorry, I don’t have a lot going on.. so everything is exciting!”

Then recently, a friend tweeted a picture of himself sipping a cocktail, “I had my first indoor drink in a long while. It was so surreal.” I understood what he meant. It was the same bizarre happiness I felt when we ended up celebrating my mom’s 60th (60th!) …

New research on the link between altruism and happiness

Photo: Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

Suppose you’re given $10 that you can spend either to benefit someone else or to benefit yourself. Which course of action do you think would make you happier? A growing body of psychological research shows that, surprisingly, people are happier when they act to benefit others than when they act to benefit themselves.

For instance, in one of the earliest studies to investigate this link, participants rated their level of happiness in the morning and were then given either $5 or $20. One group of participants was assigned to the personal spending condition, being instructed to either pay for a…

A trip to Las Vegas taught me how to succeed without really trying

Las Vegas, NV, USA // Photo: John Gorman

I went to Las Vegas over the weekend in what was my first honest-to-goodness vacation since October 2019. I don’t typically love Vegas — I don’t club, gamble, or enjoy touristy things or bro-y meatheads — but there are few better cities in the U.S. for food, sunshine, and feeling like you’re “off the clock.”

You say you’re going to Chicago and work will send you texts and emails. You say you’re going to Seattle and work will assume you’re there for a job interview. …

🔦 Tip: Each morning, ask yourself, “What will be the highlight of my day?”

If someone were to ask you what the highlight of your day was, you’d probably have to think a bit. Maybe it was that note of praise from your manager, or the yummy leftovers you remembered you had in your fridge, or the moment your kid pronounced “L-M-N-O-P” as “armadillo pee.”

Next time, see what happens when you choose your highlight before your day begins. It’s a strategy suggested by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky, authors of Make Time. “Research shows that the way you experience…

😎 Tip: Have a WFO (Work From Outdoors) day.

Sometimes, to unlock your best work, you need a change in scenery. And for all of you working from home, a way to get one quickly is to move your Vitamin-D-deprived body outside. On nice days, why not relocate your workspace to your porch, balcony, or patio? This requires just a bit of prep work: The night before, you’ll want to pack a bag with everything you’ll need (water, snacks, sunscreen, a portable charger, and maybe a DIY laptop sun shade).

As Herbert Lui writes on Forge, changing your environment can…

A one-week plan to build the boundaries you don’t have

This is part two in a series. The first part explains what a happiness fence is and why you need one.

Life in the modern world is full of dogs shitting on our lawns. That’s how I think about a lack of boundaries. The relentlessness of our lives — the pinging, the ringing, the going, the rushing, the overwhelming calendars — tramples all over our pretty landscaping. We need a fence, a “happiness fence.” Check out my piece “It’s Time to Build a Happiness Fence” to learn what it is and why it is critical in the modern world. Today…

🥧 Tip: Picture yourself as a pie and ask: “What piece is feeling down?

Having a frustrating day? On Happy Brain Club, Alexander M. Combstrong shares a mental trick to keep yourself from unraveling: Imagine you are a pie. Then ask, “What piece of me is feeling bad?” When you think about it objectively, you’ll likely discover that the answer is quite specific: Maybe you’re overwhelmed by your inbox, or you’re mad at yourself for snapping at your kids, or you’re embarrassed about something you said in that Zoom meeting.

Now picture that slice in the context of the whole…

🤔 Today’s tip: Ask yourself, “How am I feeling today?”

We have apps and devices to track our steps, our sleeping hours, the time we spend staring at screens, and the progress we make on our daily tasks. But as Manoush Zomorodi notes in Forge, when it comes to measuring emotional well-being, there’s no substitute for the good old-fashioned check-in.

“At the end of the day,” Zomorodi writes, “no gadget can reflect how well I dealt with my anxiety over my to-do list; how satisfied I am with my execution of the tasks on said list; or whether I felt…


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