10 Questions To Make You Think – June

Ready to answer some questions about yourself? These will bring you self-knowledge that is essential in order to achieve happiness.

  1. On a scale of one to ten, how healthy are you?
    Health plays a big part on our happiness. Can you feel completely happy when you’re ill or overtired? Probably not. So make sure your health is your priority.
  2. What do you feel grateful for today?
    The exercise of being grateful always brings great rewards. When you feel grateful, you become a more positive person which brings you and the ones around you more happiness.
  3. What makes you miserable?
    How can you change it, get rid of it or accept it?
  4. What makes a good friend?
    Make sure your friends have the qualities you value and you’re surrounding yourself with the kind of people that will create a positive environment of friendship.
  5. When was the last time you cried?
    Crying is not always bad. We can cry because we are emotional or even happy. Sometimes crying is necessary to release something that is haunting you inside and you actually feel relieved. Think about the reasons why you cried and how you felt after it.
  6. Which family member are you closest to?
    Family is very important in anyone’s life. Having a good relationship with family influences our happiness. Keep in touch with those you love.
  7. Is something in your way? Can you move it?
    It’s always healthy to think about what’s troubling us and work to find practical solutions.
  8. Something that made you worry today ___________.
    Reflect upon it. How much will this matter one year from now? What’s the worst that could happen? Don’t turn small things into catastrophic events.
  9. Did you exercise today?
    This is closely related to number one. Exercise is actually proved to boost your mood and energy. When you’re feeling down, sometimes the last thing you want is to exercise. However, if you force yourself, you will feel the benefits right after it. Make time for your health.
  10. Who is your closest companion?
    Don’t take this person for granted. Show him/ her how much you appreciate their company.

Perfect is overrated

“The elevator to success is out of order. You’ll have to use the stairs, one step at a time.” – Joe Girard

These days are the days of hurry, urgent, instantaneous. We all want what we want right now. But how much can we actually achieve in a hurry and without effort? I’m totally guilty of impatience and it’s hard for me to admit that getting what you want takes time. One reason for that was that I always had in the back of my mind that my life had to be perfect, that I needed to have exactly what I wanted in order to be happy. But that’s obviously impossible. Life is never going to be perfect. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be amazing.

Each day I’m learning to appreciate the present and accept my current situation. I have a goal and I want to achieve it but I learned to enjoy the journey. Many experiences in my life were not part of my goal but they are still great memories and some taught me important things. I never planned to work at at a club, Hard Rock Café and as a bartender. I never planned to live in hostels, dirty houses and with weird housemates. However, these were all experiences I had in my life and they made good stories and are now remembered as fun times. They were not specific situations that made me achieve my goals but they were still part of it. I had to work and live at these places to get my life started in Europe and sometimes to be able to get closer to what I wanted. I lived in a dirty house with weird housemates while I took the course that enabled me to be a teacher right now.

One step at time and working hard you can get closer and closer to the life you want. But still not perfect because perfect is overrated.


7 Ways To Test Your Happiness

This is not my post, I took it from a men’s health magazine. The test and results are not very relevant. The important part is the pieces of scientific research given after each question. However, the answers to the questions make you think about how you’re living your life. I left the results here but I honestly don’t think they are important. Thinking about your own attitude and deciding how you feel is much more relevant to your happiness.

Are You Happy?

1. How would you describe your MP3 playlist?

A) Full of escape songs.

B) Fast and furious. I get pumped up.

C) Thoughtful. I can relate to the lyrics.

Odele may be awesome, but she’s bringing you down. Moody music leads to self-focus, and that reinforces sad moods, says Jeffrey Green, Ph.D., a social-psychology professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. A better playlist: jam-band music, like Phish.


2. How often do you send text messages?

A) It’s practically my only way of communicating.

B) I use it as a fast way to be in touch.

C) I still prefer phone or email.

According to the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, text message addicts are less satisfied with their lives than people who use conventional communications. Instant messaging isn’t as good at building the strong relationships that sustain happiness, says Melanie Green, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the University of North Carolina.


3. How did your mom raise you?

A) She was more like a friend than like a parent.

B) I felt like a Brady kid. I always knew my needs came first.

C) Sad to say, she wasn’t ready to be a mom.

A study at the University College of London surveyed 356 young adults and found that warm maternal care significantly correlated to high self-esteem and low self-criticism, both of which are linked to happiness. If it’s too late to get that from Mom, make sure you marry well, and cultivate a supportive group of friends and mentors.


4. When shopping for a new television, you . . .

A) Debate it for a few weeks.

B) Head for superstore. Lay down credit card.

C) Shop around. Forever.

Unhappy people exhaustively search through every option for almost every decision, according to Kennon Sheldon, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of Missouri. And although those obsessives may end up with a better deal, they also bring more stress into their lives and are ultimately less content with their decisions, according to Sheldon.


5. You would rather buy a . . .

A) High-end watch.

B) Bicycle, kayak, or backpack.

C) Leather couch.

Instead of “having,” focus on “doing.” Investing money in experiences makes people happier than buying material possessions can, according to the journal Review of General Psychology. The thrill of a big purchase fades, but the social relationships built during an adventure endure.


6. What’s your strategy when it comes to dinner?

A) I fit it in when there’s time.

B) I prepare my meals at home as best I can.

C) I pick up fast food on the road.

Dinner may be the easiest way to improve your mood. Two-thirds of people say a good meal in a calm environment is a major source of happiness, according to the Journal of Happiness Studies. So, regardless of what you can cook, eat it at home. Avoid the burger-land franchises. “Fast-food restaurants are depressing places,” says Christopher Peterson, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan. “Even the people who work there are demoralized.”


7. When someone opens a door for you, you . . .

A) Say thank you.

B) Nod your head and move on.

C) Expect it as common behavior and don’t really acknowledge it.

Gratitude is a huge predictor of happiness, and showing it verbally makes a big difference. “It changes your mindset,” says Peterson. “We take the good for granted, but if the bad is all we pay attention to, life is going to be a very grim business.” However, saying thank you boosts mood by making you more aware of good things in life. And it has a sustained effect if you say it on a regular basis. Why not start right now?



1) A=3, B=2, C=1

2) A=1, B=2, C=3

3) A=2, B=3, C=1

4) A=2, B=3, C=1

5) A=1, B=3, C=2

6) A=2, B=3, C=1

7) A=3, B=2, C=1


17 to 21 points 
Are you on something? Would you share?

11 to 16 points 
You probably have good and bad weeks. Tip the scales in your favor by being more optimistic. If you think positively, you’re more likely to make good things happen. And, as a bonus, optimists have a 55 percent lower risk of early death than pessimists, so your happy mood may last a while.

7 to 10 points 
Unhappy with your score? It figures. Check the questions where you bottomed out, and follow the implicit strategies. Better smileage is within your reach.

Source: http://www.menshealth.com/health/are-you-happy/page/4

From this, we can make a list of seven things that make a difference to your happiness:

  1. The music you listen to
  2. The direct contact you have with people
  3. Your relationship with your parents
  4. Your ability to make decisions
  5. Your shopping habits
  6. Your eating habits
  7. Your gratitude

    I definitely need to work on number 4. What about you?


The Happiest Countries

The OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) came up with a tool to measure subjective well-being. On their website, you can see the Better Life Index which compares 36 different countries according to 11 categories. The categories are:

Housing: rooms per person, basic facilities and cost.

Income: earning and financial assets.

Jobs: employment rate, personal earnings, job security.

Community: having friends or relatives in case of need.

Education: years in education, performance, attainment.

Environment: air pollution and water quality.

Civic engagement: governmental transparency and number of voters.

Health: life expectancy and self-reported health.

Life satisfaction: positive feelings and experiences.

Safety: assault and homicide rate.

Life-work balance: number of hours worked and time devoted to leisure and personal care.

I think this is a really interesting survey to analyse. Australia ranked higher than any other country when taking all items into consideration. However, when considering only Life Satisfaction, the item which has the closest relationship to happiness, Australia wasn’t even in the top 10. Mexico had one of the lowest ranks in general but was tenth in Life Satisfaction.

I’m going to go into detail about some specific countries for the benefit of some special readers =)

The United Kingdom scored specially high on safety, community and environment. Personally, I think these items are very important.

I’m sad to say that Brazil didn’t score well enough in any of the items. Income was actually the lowest of all 36 countries. The highest in Brazil was work-life balance. No wonder. If they can’t make any money, they should at least work less hehe.

Sweden scored really high, being second in general right after Australia. Environment was the highest which should make my friend Camila happy knowing how important this is to her. The lowest item was income, which I have to say, was quite surprising for me.

I think it’s worth mentioning that if you want to make money, the place to go is the United States. No surprises there.

Germany was pretty much in the middle in all items. Education seems to be one of its strong points.

Now, the best past: on the website you can arrange the tool to find which countries are the best according to what you think is more and less relevant. Therefore, you can find the perfect country for you =)

According to the tool, Norway would be the best for me. Not really in my plans though. They should probably include weather in this tool.

You can find yours here: OECD Better Life Index

What do you think about this survey? Are these items important? Would you include or exclude any items to measure well-being?

Other sources:

World’s Happiest Countries 2013

How do you measure a country’s happiness