• new words for happiness and love I’ve been tracking a bunch of lovely, evocative words that have no English equivalent for a while. There’s a joy to learning these “loanwords”. They remind us that there are still things out there that remain undiscovered, unencapsulated. This naivety to the human experience comes as a nice relief. I think also we enjoy the more
  • Each of us is responsible for everything I’ve been reading Simone De Beuvoir’s The Blood of Others. It’s a grating read. It cuts to the pain of an ethical quandary that I feel should grate at us all – are we responsible for everything? Or should we just take care of ourselves? It goes to the heart of existentialist angst – the more
  • Why my battle to tame my wandering is a good one A thought. I was reading the follow-up to a wellbeing study I’d heard about ages ago that uses a phone app to track real-time moments in happiness. Psychologist Matthew Killingsworth who put the project together tracked daydreaming as well. And found this: Daydreaming is not good for well-being. Which surprised me, and it might you. more
  • happiness that doesn’t depend on what happens I’m facing a big challenge at the moment. It’s something that’s been building up for a while: finding out what life is like – and what I’m like – when there is no “something next”. When nothing is about to happen. Boy. What would that feel like? I’m always onto something next. Surely I’d be more
  • are you all dress rehearsal, no play? It’s hit me just recently: this is the rest of my life. This awareness has arisen because I’ve had to face a few realities lately. I’ve led my life thinking it would look a certain way: high school, uni, work, husband, house (that I’d build with a view into bushland), things to own, kids with more
  • a *fresh* technique for working out your life values This week in Sunday Life I find my sweet spot It always surprises me when I come back as a “glass half full” type in aptitude tests because there are few people more down on positive thinking than me. I blame it on vision boards. Seriously, those silly craft projects geared at manifesting husbands and more
  • I find what happy women get right This week in Sunday Life I’m unbalanced I believe I’ve found the very latest first-world lament. “I’m so sick of trying to get enough ‘me time’,” my friend Sal shared over the phone during the week. “I think it’s easier just to be overcommitted and be done with it. Know what I mean?” I would’ve more
  • how’s this new happiness trick: do the opposite This week in Sunday Life I do the opposite George Costanza is not one of life’s most inspired or bountiful contributors. But there are two things I give him full props for: the under-the-desk nap (I employed it during my newspaper days doing the 4am shift; the trick is to pull the swivel chair in more
  • my Sunday Night interview with the Dalai Lama I interviewed His Holiness for Sunday Night on Channel Seven. Here it is… I mentioned on Twitter at the time…afterwards I was in the hotel lobby working on my laptop and he and his entourage bustled by. HH gave me a double thumbs up and a wink. Life highlight. The next day he blessed me more
  • the scientific reason why smiling works This week in Sunday Life I smile Recently reader Richard wrote to say he didn’t like that in the photos of me as a kid (I believe he’d been Facebook-stalking my family albums) I’m always scowling. Well, thank you Dick for noticing such a detail. And, heck, you’re right! I’ve always hated having my picture more
  • what the Dalai Lama told me… This week in Sunday Life I try “infinite altruism” There’s something special about His Holiness the Dalai Lama, if I can be permitted such an obviousism. Something disarming. It’s the way he answers questions like, Is being gay OK? His response to a journalist once makes me smile: “I will ask ‘What is your companion’s more
  • a short thought about giving back I’ve been thinking about this all week since seeing the Happy! movie (it’s screening over the weekend in Melbourne at five locations…definitely catch it if you can). You see, in the film, there’s this Danish guy who used to be rich and fancy and he volunteers at Mother Teresa’s Home for the Dying (which is more
  • some Happiness & It’s Causes reflections I think I mentioned, I chaired the Happiness & It’s Causes Conference in Brisbane on Friday. I know a few of you were there. It really was very special…Big minds, big hearts, grappling with all the stuff that counts. Lots of stuff on using our minds for good, chimps and peace (ergo the cute-as pic more
  • Depression or mood issues? It could be sugar… As you read this I’m en route to Brisbane to present at the Happiness & It’s Causes conference…and to interview His Holiness The Dalai Lama for Channel Seven. As fate would have it, I’m chairing the presentation and panel discussion at the conference on Friday that sugar expert David Gillespie is doing – Eating Your more
  • we’re bone-heavy creatures…keep close I wrote yesterday in Sunday Life about going retro with my work habits…that I write out things longhand and that I’ve taken to using index cards to map out ideas before sitting down to a computer screen. It gets me closer to my creativity and slows things down to the pace at which I create more
  • where women go wrong: they give away their feminine power Satoshi Kanazawa, evolutionary psych and author of Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters came out with some statement this week that men typically lie upwards and women typically lie downwards. He uses this argument to then highlight a point I think he’s rather proud of: the one thing that women don’t realise about their feminine more
  • is it time to stop the twitter sycophantic-a and get real? In Sunday Life this week I get more authentic online A theme that crops up consistently in this weekly flirt with life betterment is something I call “too much-itis”. Or “battered (by) life syndrome”, a condition charcterised by a sense that too many commitments and distractions are dragging us down. The American Academy of Pediatrics more
  • Question: “you’re an anxious person, how do you enjoy life!?” Reader Cammy this week asked me this: “I’m an anxious person, very annoying, but you have made me feel like maybe I can deal with it. Thanks!! How do you deal with anxiety and  enjoy things when you’re feeling anxious. Please! I would love to know what you do.” I’m a very anxious person. It’s more
  • Sunday Life: how to stop being distracted and live in the now! This week I reign in the mind wandering Back when I edited a women’s magazine I learned very quickly that a lot of women worry that when they’re having sex they’re thinking about the washing in the tub that needs to be hung out, or the pork in the freezer that needs to be defrosted, more
  • sunday life: the benefits of *not* being happy This week I get sad I’ve been writing this column for a while now – 72 weeks to be exact – and I have to confess, I’ve had it with trying to be happy.  It’s all become too much. While this column is a somewhat tortured search for a better life, most of the literature more
  • how much must you earn to be happy? that would be $75K a year for you. Every week heralds some new study about what makes us happy. I always like the money ones. We all rather love to hear that having a lot of money doesn’t bring happiness. Thank the Lord, hey! Those poor rich suckers…barkin’ up the wrong tree, aren’t they!? But what do you make of this new Princeton more
  • sunday life: the secret to happiness (a chat with Gretchen Rubin) This week I get happy…close to home Gretchen Rubin calls it her “Beautiful House” moment. As in, “This is not my beautiful house”, the existential lament from the Talking Heads hit “Once in a Lifetime”. Gretchen’s life was ticking along just fine. She had a beautiful house. Two kids. And all the rest. But she more
  • a happy thing, a grumpy thing I’m sensing flatness today…I think some days just have flat vibes. Watch this and see if you don’t feel better. Yes, I know, I know – shame about the canned laughter. And it would seem they’ve added extra squeak. Grumpy much?
  • sunday life: in which the dalai lama tells me his secret to happiness This week I meet the Dalai Lama. And can I be honest? The experience nearly turned me inside out, what with the three days of fretting beforehand. I’d been invited to meet His Holiness, the spiritual leader of the people of Tibet, and ask him, on behalf of all you lot, how to make life more
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