Archive for the ‘Happiness’ Category

Asheville Reminds Me of Summer Camp

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009
Frog in Asheville

Frog in my front yard

From about the age of 8 or so until I was probably around 12, I spent 2 weeks every summer in a place called Camp Segowea. I think it was in Massachusetts, somewhere in the mountains in or near the Appalachian Trail. It was very green and misty and rustic and full of bugs and little critters everywhere.

Since moving to Asheville, which is way further south but still in the Appalachian Mountains, I frequently feel as though I’m at summer camp. Whether it’s the morning drizzle that quickly dries up and turns to sunshine or a small road that is full of trees, flowers, and ferns, I can’t help but be reminded of Camp Segowea. I know “you can’t go home again”, but there’s something very comforting about that feeling.

It’s pouring rain right now, which also reminds me of summer camp, and my cat spotted a little visitor from his perch in the window. This is the first frog I think I’ve seen in the wild, probably since summer camp. It’s been a long time anyway.

I went outside to take a photo and he didn’t seem bothered by me at all. He’s still there, enjoying a big puddle on my walkway. That’s about how I remember frogs to be. The boys at camp used to catch frogs and have frog races. All they had to do was walk up to a frog and grab it – they never tried too hard to run away.

[] [Digg] [Facebook] [Google] [Ma.gnolia] [MySpace] [Reddit] [StumbleUpon] [Technorati] [Twitter] [Yahoo!] [Email]

Gregory is home!

Friday, January 16th, 2009

It feels like a dream. But here he is, purring on my lap – skinny, exhausted, but otherwise doing fine. He was 17 miles away in the town of Weaverville. Luckily my number was on his collar and he is so friendly that he eventually wandered up to someone who thought he might be lost. I cannot begin to describe how relieved, happy, grateful I am right now.

Tomorrow I am going to talk to my neighbors and see if I can figure out how he got all the way out there. It’s not that I care so much, I just would like to not have to think that I have a twisted cat-hating neighbor who would do such a thing on purpose.

Gregory is home

[] [Digg] [Facebook] [Google] [Ma.gnolia] [MySpace] [Reddit] [StumbleUpon] [Technorati] [Twitter] [Yahoo!] [Email]

Moving forward

Saturday, April 12th, 2008

TuhabonyeThis Tutsi man was nearly burned to death along with 100 of his friends and neighbors by rival Hutus. He narrowly escaped through a window but suffered severe burns that reached all the way to the bone of his right shin. He is now set to run in the London Marathon and hopes to make it to the Olympics.

In 1996, he came face-to-face with the man in charge of killing him and those many others who were not so lucky. As this mass murderer begged forgiveness at Tuhabonye’s feet, he let him go free.

“If I can let someone who tried to kill me go free, I can do anything – it inspired me.”

What are you still holding on to?

Read the full story on BBC.

[] [Digg] [Facebook] [Google] [Ma.gnolia] [MySpace] [Reddit] [StumbleUpon] [Technorati] [Twitter] [Yahoo!] [Email]

Study: Anti-depressants don’t work

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

Anti-depressants don't workThere is a horrifying trend in the U.S. to put everyone on pharmaceuticals for mood disorders, rather than trying to find and correct the underlying cause. The medical industry wants us to buy into this idea that we are helpless victims of circumstance, rather than in control of our physical and mental health. They dismiss diet, exercise, and environmental factors as possible minor contributors, but even that seems to be too “inconclusive” for them.

As far as I can tell, they will slap a “disorder” label on perfectly normal people, just so they can cure them with pills. I remember a commercial from a few years ago for an anti-depressant that directed people to ask their doctor about some pill if they have felt depressed for longer than 2 weeks. Anyone who has ever been dumped, worked at a job they hated, or suffered a loss in the family has surely felt depressed for at least that long. I have, and I didn’t take any pills, but somehow I turned out just fine.

Aside from the big question of whether we really need all of these pills, there may be a bigger question of whether these pills even work at all. Leave it to the U.K. to tell us what many have suspected all along: Antidepressants don’t work. For most people, that is. This is a very interesting article that offers an alternative view to our current pharmaceutical culture.

Sadly, in their list of treatments that do work (at the bottom of the page) they make no mention of diet. I can tell you first hand, as can many others, that what we eat and drink does affect mood. Because the effect is often not immediate, many people may not see the connection.

  • Alcohol: Without exception, when I drink alcohol, I will feel depressed 1-2 days later. Old, familiar, self-hating comments will repeat in my head.
  • Sugar and processed carbs: After the sugar high wears off, I will barely feel like making an effort to do anything. I may also start feeling like there was no reason to get up in the morning since I’m wasting my life away anyway.
  • Gluten and wheat: Similar effect to sugar and processed carbs only more severe and with the added physical symptoms of lethargy, headache, achy muscles, and sore throat to make me feel like doing anything is too much trouble.

On the flip side, many people who have adopted a raw food diet, or given up dairy or meat, have reported feeling happy and unburdened. Some have given up their medications just from changing the way they eat. I do not know why diet is so often overlooked or considered only a minor player in our mental health. As individuals, we need to take it upon ourselves to find a diet and lifestyle that works best for us. Doctors aren’t going to offer much useful guidance.

[] [Digg] [Facebook] [Google] [Ma.gnolia] [MySpace] [Reddit] [StumbleUpon] [Technorati] [Twitter] [Yahoo!] [Email]

The Paradox of Choice – Why More Is Less

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

I watched this video today and realized almost immediately the cause of at least half of the anxiety and unhappiness that permeates my life. Generally speaking, I am a fairly happy and care-free person. I don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future. Well, not too much at least. But even so, I realize now that there is a constant undercurrent of anxiety as a result of the multitude of choices I am faced on a daily basis.

Just watching this video, and being made aware of the phenomenon, lifts a lot of the weight off my shoulders. This seems like an important component of simplifying your life, which I think is essential for happiness.

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video
[] [Digg] [Facebook] [Google] [Ma.gnolia] [MySpace] [Reddit] [StumbleUpon] [Technorati] [Twitter] [Yahoo!] [Email]