51 insightful ways to find happiness and live a purposeful life

  • 51 insightful ways to find happiness and live a purposeful life

When you ask people what they really want in life, most of the time happiness is in their top three list.
Happiness is not easily defined as it means different things to each one of us. Lately though, more and more research goes into that direction and people seem to be more mindful about the simple pleasures in life. Living in the now is no longer just a new age term someone wrote about in a self help book.

So if we all want it, why is it so hard to get?
You can’t buy it (or actually, you CAN according to point 6¬†below). It is not a point you reach in life. Often enough we don’t even know how to define it.
Happiness is a state, a state of mind, a way of living, being. Happiness is a choice.
Happiness is something we can all have. It’s actually not that difficult once you know how and practice a little every day ūüôā

So below is a list of some of my favorite videos and articles I keep stored away for those days when things are not going so well.
Because we all need a dose of reminding, a little help or even some serious, scientific proof.
The videos and articles are not all necessarily specifically about happiness. But about themes that can make you happy (there’s science to prove that) such as: sound, seeing (things differently), touch, design, purpose, smiling, play, food, other people and connections, dreams, time-off, beauty, positivity, faith, facing fear, health, exercise, laughter,

Enjoy and be happy!

HOW TO USE THIS LIST:

  • Watch one video or read one article or two each day.
  • If you are too busy to do this every day you are probably not happy (enough)!
  • Save them as bookmarks to read later.
  • Enjoy.

1. The Science of Happiness.
Just 42 seconds to learn the most simple secret to feel happier.
I do this every day before I go to sleep.

2. Change your Mind, Change your Brain: The Inner Conditions for Authentic Happiness
If happiness is an inner state, influenced by external conditions but not dependent on them, how can we achieve it?
Let Mathieu Ricard, Buddhist monk and biologist , show you how your mind has the power to make a huge difference in the quality of your life.
Meditation improves your health, your attention, your life expectancy, your attention capability and so on. He has a unique way of presenting things with his unassuming humor.
It is a long video, but well worth your time. So grab a coffee and listen while looking at amazing photos he took in the Himalayas. If you want to go deeper, visit the Mind and Life Institute.
Mathieu Ricard also did a TED talk called The habits of happiness.

3. Eve Ensler: Happiness in body and soul
Yes, this TED talk is about vaginas… But it’s also about happiness in both body and soul.
Eve Ensler, creator of “The Vagina Monologues,” shares how a discussion about menopause with her friends led to talking about all sorts of sexual acts onstage, waging a global campaign to end violence toward women and finding her own happiness.

4. Dan Gilbert: The surprising science of happiness
Dan Gilbert, author of “Stumbling on Happiness,” challenges the idea that we‚Äôll be miserable if we don‚Äôt get what we want. Our “psychological immune system” lets us feel truly happy even when things don‚Äôt go as planned.¬†Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert says our beliefs about what will make us happy are often wrong — a premise he supports with intriguing research, and explains in his accessible and unexpectedly funny book, Stumbling on Happiness.

5. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Flow, the secret to happiness
Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi asks, “What makes a life worth living?” Noting that money cannot make us happy, he looks to those who find pleasure and lasting satisfaction in activities that bring about a state of “flow.”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has contributed pioneering work to our understanding of happiness, creativity, human fulfillment and the notion of “flow” — a state of heightened focus and immersion in activities such as art, play and work

6. Michael Norton: How to buy happiness
At TEDxCambridge, Michael Norton shares fascinating research on how money can, indeed buy happiness — when you don’t spend it on yourself. Listen for surprising data on the many ways pro-social spending can benefit you, your work, and (of course) other people.

7. Barry Schwartz: The paradox of choice
Psychologist Barry Schwartz takes aim at a central tenet of western societies: freedom of choice. In Schwartz’s estimation, choice has made us not freer but more paralyzed, not happier but more dissatisfied.

8. Graham Hill: Less stuff, more happiness
Writer and designer Graham Hill asks: Can having less stuff, in less room, lead to more happiness? He makes the case for taking up less space, and lays out three rules for editing your life.

9. Daniel Kahneman: The riddle of experience vs. memory
Using examples from vacations to colonoscopies, Nobel laureate and founder of behavioral economics Daniel Kahneman reveals how our “experiencing selves” and our “remembering selves” perceive happiness differently. This new insight has profound implications for economics, public policy — and our own self-awareness.

10. Ron Gutman: The hidden power of smiling
Ron Gutman reviews a raft of studies about smiling, and reveals some surprising results. Did you know your smile can be a predictor of how long you’ll live — and that a simple smile has a measurable effect on your overall well-being? Prepare to flex a few facial muscles as you learn more about this evolutionarily contagious behavior.

11. Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work
We believe that we should work to be happy, but could that be backwards? In this fast-moving and entertaining talk, psychologist Shawn Achor argues that actually happiness inspires productivity.

12. Nic Marks: The Happy Planet Index
Statistician Nic Marks asks why we measure a nation’s success by its productivity — instead of by the happiness and well-being of its people. He introduces the Happy Planet Index, which tracks national well-being against resource use (because a happy life doesn’t have to cost the earth). Which countries rank highest in the HPI? You might be surprised.
Nic Marks gathers evidence about what makes us happy, and uses it to promote policy that puts the well-being of people and the planet first. He’s the founder of the Centre for Well-Being at the UK think tank New Economics Foundation (NEF).

13. Stefan Sagmeister: Happiness by design
Graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister takes the audience on a whimsical journey through moments of his life that made him happy — and notes how many of these moments have to do with good design.
Renowned for album covers, posters and his recent book of life lessons, designer Stefan Sagmeister invariably has a slightly different way of looking at things.

14. Benjamin Wallace: The price of happiness
Can happiness be bought? To find out, author Benjamin Wallace sampled the world’s most expensive products, including a bottle of 1947 Chateau Cheval Blanc, 8 ounces of Kobe beef and the fabled (notorious) Kopi Luwak coffee. His critique may surprise you.

15. Srikumar Rao: Plug into your hard-wired happiness
Srikumar Rao says we spend most of our lives learning to be unhappy, even as we strive for happiness. At Arbejdsglaede Live! 2009, he teaches us how to break free of the “I’d be happy if …” mental model, and embrace our hard-wired happiness.
Executive, educator, writer and life coach Srikumar S. Rao asks, “Are you ready to succeed?” — and in his famous course “Creativity and Personal Mastery,” he teaches his students how to do so

16. Matt Killingsworth: Want to be happier? Stay in the moment
When are humans most happy? To gather data on this question, Matt Killingsworth built an app, Track Your Happiness, that let people report their feelings in real time. Among the surprising results: We’re often happiest when we’re lost in the moment. And the flip side: The more our mind wanders, the less happy we can be.
Researcher Matt Killingsworth designs studies that gather data on happiness. One takeaway? “A Wandering Mind Is an Unhappy Mind.”

17. Jane McGonigal: The game that can give you 10 extra years of life
When game designer Jane McGonigal found herself bedridden and suicidal following a severe concussion, she had a fascinating idea for how to get better. She dove into the scientific research and created the healing game, SuperBetter. In this moving talk, McGonigal explains how a game can boost resilience — and promises to add 7.5 minutes to your life.
Reality is broken, says Jane McGonigal, and we need to make it work more like a game. Her work shows us how.
I just downloaded her game. Here’s the¬†website to¬†download the gameonto your phone or computer.

18. Laura Carstensen: Older people are happier
In the 20th century we added an unprecedented number of years to our lifespans, but is the quality of life as good? Surprisingly, yes! At TEDxWomen psychologist Laura Carstensen shows research that demonstrates that as people get older they become happier, more content, and have a more positive outlook on the world. Laura Carstensen is the director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, and has extensively studied the effects on wellbeing of extended lifetimes.

19. Steve Jobs: How to live before you die
At his Stanford University commencement speech, Steve Jobs, CEO and co-founder of Apple and Pixar, urges us to pursue our dreams and see the opportunities in life’s setbacks — including death itself.
As CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs spearheaded a few of the most iconic products in technology, entertainment and design.

20.¬†Neil Pasricha: The 3 A’s of awesome
Neil Pasricha’s blog 1000 Awesome Things savors life’s simple pleasures, from free refills to clean sheets. In this heartfelt talk, he reveals the 3 secrets (all starting with A) to leading a life that’s truly awesome.¬†Neil Pasricha uses the power of blogging to spread a little optimism each day about the awesome things that make life worth living.

21. Jeff Bezos: What matters more than your talents
In this Princeton University graduation address, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos makes the case that our character is reflected not in the gifts we’re endowed with at birth, but by the choices we make over the course of a lifetime.
As founder and CEO of Amazon.com, Jeff Bezos defined online shopping and rewrote the rules of commerce, ushering in a new era in business. Time magazine named him Man of the Year in 1999.

22. Viktor Frankl: Why to believe in others
In this rare clip from 1972, legendary psychiatrist and Holocaust-survivor Viktor Frankl delivers a powerful message about the human search for meaning — and the most important gift we can give others.
Neurologist and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl pioneered an approach to psychotherapy that focuses on the human search for meaning.¬†Frankl wrote 39 books, which were published in 38 languages. His best-known,¬†Man’s Search for Meaning, gives a firsthand account of his experiences during the Holocaust, and describes the psychotherapeutic method he pioneered.

23. Gary Vaynerchuk: Do what you love (no excuses!)
At the Web 2.0 Expo, entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk gives a shot in the arm to dreamers and up-and-comers who face self-doubt. The Internet has made the formula for success simpler than ever, he argues. So there’s now no excuse not to do what makes you happy.
Gary Vaynerchuk’s Wine Library TV combines an irreverent approach to wine and a shrewd social media strategy. It won him web fame and the cachet to spin off book deals, new businesses and his own entrepreneurship consulting firm.

24. Randy Pausch: Really achieving your childhood dreams
In 2007, Carnegie Mellon professor Randy Pausch, who was dying of pancreatic cancer, delivered a one-of-a-kind last lecture that made the world stop and pay attention. This moving talk will teach you how to really achieve your childhood dreams. Unmissable.
Carnegie Mellon professor Randy Pausch motivated thousands of students with his passionate teaching. Millions more around the world found inspiration in his moving “Last Lecture.”

25. Dan Buettner: How to live to be 100+
To find the path to long life and health, Dan Buettner and team study the world’s “Blue Zones,” communities whose elders live with vim and vigor to record-setting age. In his talk, he shares the 9 common diet and lifestyle habits that keep them spry past age 100.¬†National Geographic writer and explorer Dan Buettner studies the world’s longest-lived peoples, distilling their secrets into a single plan for health and long life.

26. Julian Treasure: The 4 ways sound affects us
Playing sound effects both pleasant and awful, Julian Treasure shows how sound affects us in four significant ways. Listen carefully for a shocking fact about noisy open-plan offices.
Julian Treasure studies sound and advises businesses on how best to use it.
I am so happy I don’t have to work in an open space.

27. Becky Blanton: The year I was homeless
Becky Blanton planned to live in her van for a year and see the country, but when depression set in and her freelance job ended, her camping trip turned into homelessness. In this intimate talk, she describes her experience of becoming one of America’s working homeless.¬†Becky Blanton is a writer, photographer and former journalist who found herself homeless, but bounced back to tell her story and inspire others.

28. Stefan Sagmeister: The power of time off
Every seven years, designer Stefan Sagmeister closes his New York studio for a yearlong sabbatical to rejuvenate and refresh their creative outlook. He explains the often overlooked value of time off and shows the innovative projects inspired by his time in Bali.
Renowned for album covers, posters and his recent book of life lessons, designer Stefan Sagmeister invariably has a slightly different way of looking at things.

29. Philip Zimbardo: The psychology of time
Psychologist Philip Zimbardo says happiness and success are rooted in a trait most of us disregard: the way we orient toward the past, present and future. He suggests we calibrate our outlook on time as a first step to improving our lives.
Philip Zimbardo was the leader of the notorious 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment — and an expert witness at Abu Ghraib. His book The Lucifer Effect explores the nature of evil; now, in his new work, he studies the nature of heroism.

30. Nancy Etcoff: Happiness and its surprises
Cognitive researcher Nancy Etcoff looks at happiness — the ways we try to achieve and increase it, the way it’s untethered to our real circumstances, and its surprising effect on our bodies.
Nancy Etcoff is part of a new vanguard of cognitive researchers asking: What makes us happy? Why do we like beautiful things? And how on earth did we evolve that way?

31. Stuart Brown: Play is more than fun
A pioneer in research on play, Dr. Stuart Brown says humor, games, roughhousing, flirtation and fantasy are more than just fun. Plenty of play in childhood makes for happy, smart adults — and keeping it up can make us smarter at any age.
Stuart Brown’s research shows play is not just joyful and energizing — it’s deeply involved with human development and intelligence. Through the National Institute for Play, he’s working to better understand its significance.

32. Don Norman: 3 ways good design makes you happy
In this talk from 2003, design critic Don Norman turns his incisive eye toward beauty, fun, pleasure and emotion, as he looks at design that makes people happy. He names the three emotional cues that a well-designed product must hit to succeed.
Don Norman studies how real people interact with design, exploring the gulf between what a designer intends and what a regular person actually wants. His work has resulted in some classic books, including “The Design of Everyday Things.”

33. Martin Seligman: The new era of positive psychology
Martin Seligman talks about psychology — as a field of study and as it works one-on-one with each patient and each practitioner. As it moves beyond a focus on disease, what can modern psychology help us to become?
Martin Seligman is the founder of positive psychology, a field of study that examines healthy states, such as happiness, strength of character and optimism.
His website.

34. Eva Zeisel on the playful search for beauty
The ceramics designer Eva Zeisel looks back on a 75-year career. What keeps her work as fresh today (her latest line debuted in 2008) as in 1926? Her sense of play and beauty, and her drive for adventure. Listen for stories from a rich, colorful life.
The legendary Eva Zeisel worked as a ceramics designer — whose curvy, sensual pieces bring delight and elegance to tabletops around the world.

35. Rob Forbes on ways of seeing
I love Rob! I have a similar way of looking at things when I travel or walk the streets. I usually take photographs of things people don’t even see.
Rob Forbes, the founder of Design Within Reach, shows a gallery of snapshots that inform his way of seeing the world. Charming juxtapositions, found art, urban patterns — this slideshow will open your eyes to the world around you.
Rob Forbes founded Design Within Reach, the furniture company that brought high design to the general public.

36. Rick Warren: A life of purpose
Pastor Rick Warren, author of¬†The Purpose-Driven Life,reflects on his own crisis of purpose in the wake of his book’s wild success. He explains his belief that God’s intention is for each of us to use our talents and influence to do good.
Pastor Rick Warren is the author of The Purpose-Driven Life, which has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. His has become an immensely influential voice seeking to apply the values of his faith to issues such as global poverty, HIV/AIDS and injustice.

37. Hans Rosling: Stats that reshape your worldview
Hans is the kind of guy whom I’d have loved to have as a teacher. Because he made something very dry become alive. And he was graphic, original and funny. Well and smart of course.¬†You’ve never seen data presented like this. With the drama and urgency of a sportscaster, statistics guru Hans Rosling debunked myths about the so-called “developing world.”
Check out his others talks on poverty, global population growth, religions and babies, changing your mindset, how the washing machine revolutionized the world.
And here is his website for more amazing stuff. Unfortunately he passed away recently. More reason for you to discover him.

38. Nick Vujicic Рwatch this and I dare you not to love life!
Nick is a very special guy who has no arms and legs but can hold you, grab you and not let you go! He shows you that you can do anything. Anything!
He will make you never complain about anything ever again. And you will live your life with the hand you’re dealt with. Here’s¬†his website.

39. Norman Cousins РLaughter as a cure for illness.
Cousins, the respected editor of the Saturday Review, had been given six months to live. He‚Äôd been diagnosed suddenly with life-threatening ankylosing spondylitis, a painful, degenerative disease of the spine. Cousins, who was in constant agony and quickly succumbing to paralysis, checked himself out of the hospital, which in his view “was no place for sick people” and into a hotel where under the supervision of a doctor, he began taking extremely high doses of Vitamin C punctuated by a regimen of intense belly laughter. His book ‘Anatomy of an Illness’ was also turned into a movie.
Related articles:¬†Healing cancer through laughter–¬†Laughteryoga.

40. Babies.
This video ALWAYS gets me laughing. And looking at how many views it got, laughter spreads. So get your daily dose here.
Or here. Or watch this baby wake up to his favorite song. Or babies who sing and lipsync metal.

41. Sarah Kay РIf I should have a daughter.

“If I should have a daughter, instead of Mom, she’s gonna call me Point B … ” began spoken word poet Sarah Kay, in a talk that inspired two standing ovations at TED2011. She tells the story of her metamorphosis — from a wide-eyed teenager soaking in verse at New York’s Bowery Poetry Club to a teacher connecting kids with the power of self-expression through Project V.O.I.C.E. — and gives two breathtaking performances of “B” and “Hiroshima.”¬†A performing poet since she was 14 years old, Sarah Kay is the founder of Project V.O.I.C.E., teaching poetry and self-expression at schools across the United States.

42. Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action

I have always been a proponent for WHY being more important than HOW or WHAT. Because asking WHY is what leads to creativity. Your WHY is unique to you.

Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?” His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers …¬†In 2009, Simon Sinek released the book “Start With Why” — a synopsis of the theory he has begun using to teach others how to become effective leaders and inspire change.

43.¬†Seth Godin on ‘YOUR ART’

In 2010, I went to see Seth Godin talk in Antwerp, Belgium and¬†loved to see him live. In¬†his Ted talk¬†Seth Godin argues the Internet has ended mass marketing and revived a human social unit from the distant past: tribes. Founded on shared ideas and values, tribes give ordinary people the power to lead and make big change. He urges us to do so. Here is another of his Ted Talks on ‘not being boring‘.

44. Create your project, even if it is crazy.

In 2010 I got involved in a¬†car dancing project. ?… I knooow! Don’t ask. It was so much fun. It combined creativity and laughter and lots of nice people. Three ingredients to a happier life. So in line with what Seth just before, go create your art!

45. Live your dreams right now!
Like Nick in 38, this video will urge you to go live your dreams, no excuses!

46. The 90 second rule and the Nirvana of the right side of your brain.
Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor is a Harvard-trained brain scientist who suffered a stroke in 1996‚Äďat the age of 37‚Äďin the left hemisphere of her brain. She spoke of her experience at the 2008 TED Conference and wrote a memoir titled¬†‚ÄúMy Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist‚Äôs Personal Journey‚ÄĚ.

47. The years are short.
This thought-provoking short slideshow (1 minute) about what you can learn from children and what it means to live in the now. It’s all about being happy about the small things, being happy now.

48. The Happiness Project

49. Barbara Fredrickson: Positive Emotions Open Our Mind
Barbara Fredrickson discusses how positive emotions broaden our awareness of the world, allowing us to become more in tune with the needs of others.
She also talks about the positivity ratio here. Check out her positivity ratio website here.

50. Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability
Bren√© Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. A talk to share.¬†Bren√© Brown studies vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame.
She also has a very interesting follow-on talk about¬†shame¬†and why we should listen to it. And in her¬†interview¬†with Oprah Winfrey, she say that joy is an emotion so many people seek, but, it’s by far the most terrifying feeling we face. Find out why we’re so afraid our joy will be taken away. Plus, discover why Dr. Brown says we can’t find joy without gratitude.
In her book Daring Greatly, Dr. Brené Brown identifies 10 qualities people living a wholehearted life have in common. Here, she discusses two with Oprah. Watch to find out why Dr. Brown says inauthenticity is contagious and why perfectionism is really another form of fear.

51. Soul Pancake.
Soulpancake organises activities, makes videos and art that touch people, raise philosophical questions, connect. I just love what they do.
They launched Kid President which is not only funny as hell but also very inspiring.

2017-07-10T22:49:46+00:00 July 14th, 2017|

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