The Checkup: The Argument for Going to Happy Hour Tonight — for Your Health 

• From the director of a 75-year study on happiness and health: “Over and over in these 75 years, our study has shown that the people who fared the best [health-wise] were the people who leaned into relationships with family, with friends and with community.” So instead of heading home and curling up on the couch tonight, grab some friends and catch up over happy hour (we have plenty of healthy picks here) or go get your dance on or, if you’re not into going out, have a Netflix and chill session with your BFF — for your health. [The New York Times]
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The Magic of Ditching Email 

At least once a day, as I watch a wave of email alerts come across my desktop, I think to myself, “I wish I could quit email.” Email is like a little kid pulling at your pant leg and begging for Cocoa Puffs while you’re trying to grocery shop: It’s distracting. And a nuisance. And not nearly as cute as a child. But I can’t give up email because I work on the Internet and, well, that’s just not how the life of someone whose livelihood relies on things that happen on the Internet works.

So, I check my email six trillion times a day and dream about what it would be like to give it up. But thanks to a new study, I don’t have to imagine what it would be like anymore: As Science of Us reports, a recent small study got 13 employees at a government facility to ditch email for a week to see how it impacted their lives. Turns out, ditching email works all sorts of magic.  Read more »

The Checkup: Why You Should Stop Trying So Hard to Be Happy

• It seems, in this day and age, we are all obsessed with the idea of achieving — and flaunting on social media, of course — happiness: Finding a job that will make us happy, or a spouse, or the perfect pair of fall boots — you name it. But research shows, thinking too much about finding happiness and constantly questioning whether or not we are happy can stop us from actually stumbling on actual happiness. [Medium]
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How to Laugh at Your Worst Days (and Why You Should)

Shane Burcaw | Photo by Jeremy Cohen

Shane Burcaw | Photo by Jeremy Cohen

Shane Burcaw, 22, suffers from a debilitating disease, Spinal Muscular Atrophy (it’s related to Muscular Dystrophy). Despite his illness, or maybe, because of it, the Moravian grad is internet-famous: he’s written a book, founded a nonprofit called Laughing At My Nightmare (LAMN), and is currently jet setting around the country on speaking engagements. His idea? Laughter as prescription, in all your worst circumstances and on all your worst days.

Burcaw’s nonprofit, LAMN, fundraises for kids with MD and SMA, to make their lives “more awesome.” Burcaw has a vision of helping people with illnesses lead better lives, but also, of helping everyone realize on a day-to-day basis that if he can laugh at his lot in life, they can too. We caught up with Burcaw at his house in Bethlehem where his team is preparing for world domination with their positivity and laughter movement. Burcaw, who has a wicked sense of humor, chatted with us about his (multiple) tattoos, the upcoming LAMN 5K , and Rainn Wilson’s bathroom.  Read more »

5 Ways to Be Happier This Week

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

As a psychologist, I’m often asked for my professional opinion about how to be happier. There’s no easy answer, of course, but over the years I’ve developed what I believe to be the five keys to happiness. These are principles I strive to live myself, day in and day out; sometimes I’m successful, sometimes I’m not. But what I’ve learned is that keeping these concepts front and center has gone a long way toward helping me feel happier and more fulfilled.

Won’t you give it a try this week?  Read more »

These Four Letters Could Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolution

letters

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If you’re anything like me, in the past 24 hours you’ve made declarative statements like, “I’m never eating white flour again!” or “Today will be the day I stop watching so many Law & Order: SVU marathons!” Then you’ve promptly broken said vows with a bowl of cheese-stuffed ravioli in one hand and a remote control in the other—rinse, repeat.

The phrase “talk is cheap” comes to mind here, but next time I set my lofty goals, I might just be able to keep my word, thanks to this nifty trick: The folks over on Science of Us have clued us in to a four-step technique that research has shown helps people to actually achieve what they set out to do. Like, for instance, it helped people who wanted to eat more fruits and vegetables actually eat more fruits and vegetables—instead of, you know, just saying, “I’m going to eat more vegetables!” and eating pasta instead. Impressive.

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