This Wednesday: Eleven internet tools to help make yourself happier.

Every Wednesday is Tip Day.
This Wednesday: Eleven internet tools to help make yourself happier.

The internet is a treasure trove. I’m constantly amazed by the astounding information and tools that are out there.

I’ve found several sites that provide great services that help boost happiness, in one way or another. I’ve used all of these myself and have found them extremely useful.

1. Happybirthday.com – one of the keys to happiness is keeping close relationships with other people. I plugged in dozens of birthdays to get reminders, and now I never forget a birthday. A friend of mine also uses Happybirthday.com to remind himself of happy anniversaries, like the day his daughter said her first word.

2. An RSS reader — looking for ways to use your time more efficiently? If you find yourself visiting a lot of different sites, use an RSS reader instead of your “favorites” list or typing in the URL. I use FeedDemon, but there are many readers from which to choose. It’s a far more efficient way to cruise through the internet.

For example, consider subscribing to my RSS feed! Subscribe to this blog’s feed.

3. Hack …

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How to boost your happiness by keeping a list of your “Things I’ve Learned So Far” or “Secrets of Adulthood” or “Notes to Self” or whatever.

A thoughtful reader sent me a link to Eric Zorn’s fantastic post, 50 things I’ve learned in 50 years, a partial list in no particular order. It’s a great read – amusing and thought-provoking.

His “50 things list” reminds me of my Twelve Commandments and my Secrets of Adulthood (in the left-hand column and reprinted below). His list is a mixture of admonitions for behavior and nuggets of hard-won wisdom (e.g., “cough syrup doesn’t work”).

On his excellent blog, Bob Sutton has a list of “Fifteen Things I Believe” which is a similar approach to trying to make sense and sum up experience.

Distilling your life wisdom into a list is certainly fun, and it’s also a happiness-booster. Every time I re-read my own list, I’m reminded of what I’ve identified as important lessons for myself. For example, probably not a day goes by when I don’t remind myself, “It’s okay to ask for help.”

And I love reading other people’s lists. Some highlights from Eric Zorn:

–It’s better to sing off key than not to sing at all.
–Promptness shows respect.
–Cough syrup doesn’t work.
–The Golden Rule is the greatest moral truth. If you …

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This Saturday: a happiness quotation from the Dhammapada.

“Set your heart on doing good. Do it over and over again, and you will be filled with joy. A fool is happy until his mischief turns against him. And a good man may suffer until his goodness flowers.” –The Dhammapada.

I’d read this quotation many times and never remarked on it much, but lately I can’t get it out of my head. That’s one reason I like to keep reviewing my treasure trove of quotations; sometimes, it takes years before I really start to appreciate a particular passgae.

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Pick the Brain has an intriguing post on the nature of happiness. Ah, an inexhaustible subject!

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New to the Happiness Project? Consider subscribing to my RSS feed: Subscribe to this blog’s feed. Or sign up to get email updates in the box at the top righthand corner.
If you’re starting your own happiness project, please join the Happiness Project Group on Facebook to swap ideas. It’s easy; it’s free.

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It’s Friday: time to think about YOUR Happiness Project. This week: read Sonja Lyubormirsky’s THE HOW OF HAPPINESS.

I’m working on my Happiness Project, and you should have one, too! Everyone’s project will look different, but it’s the rare person who can’t benefit. Join in — no need to catch up, just jump in right now. Each Friday’s post will help you think about your own happiness project.

I just finished reading Lyubomirsky’s book, The How of Happiness,and it’s the PERFECT book if you’re starting a happiness project. It lays out the different strategies to pursue to boost happiness and provides the scientific rationale behind each of them.

Lyubomirsky talks about the “40% solution” to happiness. Research shows that happiness is 50% a product of genetics, 10% a product of circumstances (wealth, health, age, marital status, etc.), and 40% a product of the way we think and how we live our lives.

Forty percent is a lot.

I was very interested to read The How of Happiness; for my work on my own Happiness Project, I pulled together much of the same research and devised, in many cases, similar areas of focus. Though I put my own idiosyncratic spin on it.

Doing it myself was more beneficial, because my Happiness Project is perfectly tailored …

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Have you ever had to struggle to resist buying some enticing gewgaw as a surprise for your child?

One challenge of parenthood is setting limits on myself.

For her birthday, I gave the Big Girl a giant book of optical illusions. She loved the book—pored over it, looked at it with her friends, kept it out on her beside table. I was so pleased with myself for choosing it.

Yesterday I was in a drug store that had a rack of cheap children’s books. I spotted a book of optical illusions, and almost bought it for her. Then I stopped myself.

She already had a book with 200 illusions; this book probably didn’t have much new. But even beyond that—more of something you love isn’t always better.

In fact, as I thought about it, I wondered if having two books of optical illusions might, in fact, dim her pleasure in the first book. It wouldn’t seem as magical. Also, she’d be more likely to get tired of the subject.

I remember that when the Big Girl was in nursery school, the school head told a story about a four-year-old who had a toy car he loved. He played with it constantly. Then when his grandmother came to visit, she bought him ten …

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