The Art of Happiness: 4 Things You Need to Know

Everyone has dreams and aspirations. Some people strive towards certain long-term goals, integrating their sense of self, their career, their relationships, and other aspects of their lives mindfully — and in such a way that they organize particular steps on how to find success and work on that plan. Others are more content to live each day to the fullest, making the most of the different aspects of their lives even without a precise set of objectives, and finding small successes in short-term goals that they achieve. Either way, everyone is trying to figure things out. In my understanding, what we’re really trying to figure out is the art of happiness.

I’m sure all of us have wondered, some more often than others, if we’re currently happy with our lives. And if we realize we’re happy, we then ask, how do we continue being so? And if we realize we’re not, how do we start working on it? I don’t have a degree in psychology or anything, and I’m sure I’m only one of too many people to reflect out loud about the art of happiness, but let me speak from experience and take a crack at it anyway.

1. Start here and now.

First and foremost, it’s important to stop delaying or postponing the search of what makes you happy. It helps to start simple. You don’t have to engage so deeply in a philosophical discourse and quote from famous ancient Greek scholars. You don’t have to get a life motto tattooed on your arm and consistently try to stick by it everyday. You don’t have to repaint your entire house so that it will look cheerful and inspire you to feel the same. If any of those helps, good. But what matters is this: start today.

The desire to have a profound definition of happiness will put so much pressure on you. Instead, focus on the many unexpected little ways to start reflecting on your life and the art of happiness. Simply reading a book, dressing up nicely for yourself, baking cookies or walking around the community might be able to help. The point is for you to put yourself in the mindset of actively wanting to be happy, instead of merely letting your ordinary day-to-day routine pass you by.

2. Work towards a healthy lifestyle.

Now that you’re in the mindset of being happy in small and simple ways, it’s also time to introduce small and simple changes to your lifestyle. After reflecting on the ordinary things you do everyday, it helps to identify how you want to make them better.

Think about the lifestyle trends that will most benefit you. For instance, you may find fulfillment by participating in sustainability efforts, whether through fashion or recycling. Another definitely beneficial step is to pursue the healthy lifestyle you’ve always known you needed, whether that means putting effort into a plant-based diet or a regular exercise routine or both. After all, a healthy body and a healthy mind should work together. Relax once in a while. Take breaks from social media. I’m sure being more mindful of your lifestyle practices will eventually have a payoff.

3. Make positive memories.

No man is an island. As creatures with a social nature, it’s a significant part of our lives to cultivate our interpersonal relationships. But it’s not enough just to ask your family or friends how they are every once in a while. To properly keep up with our intimate connections, we have to ensure we spend quality time together.

Do a fun activity with your peers, something that you miss because you haven’t done in so long. Go bowling. Redo your garden with your family. Have a picnic with your nieces and nephews. I’m sure there are a lot of positive memories from the previous years that you go back to whenever you’re feeling down, so what’s stopping you from creating more of those? Bond with your loved ones, help each other make fantastic memories, and I don’t know, take some selfies to immortalize those great moments? Again, it doesn’t matter how you do it; what matters is that you do.

4. Express gratitude and exercise kindness.

Here’s where I go scientific about the art of happiness. Some studies have tried to recognize certain predictors to our well-being, and they consistently include these: gratitude and kindness. Feeling grateful is an awesome mindset to maintain, though it doesn’t come naturally. We spend so much time wanting more that we forget to be thankful for what’s already there for us. We forget that sometimes, good enough is good enough.

It takes practice to inculcate gratitude in oneself, so make it part of your life. Write a thank you note each day — to a parent, a friend, a co-worker, or even a stranger. (Science says you don’t even have to send the letter of gratitude, so long as you write it down and get to think about it.) If you’re a spiritual person, say thanks through your prayers before going to sleep.

Perhaps most effectively, feel grateful and pay it forward. Interestingly enough, gratitude works best when the positive feelings associated with it translate into kindness. Don’t be afraid to help out. Not only will it make you feel good about yourself, performing acts of kindness can even give you actual health benefits. Heck, it might be the best lifestyle trend (please refer to Tip #2) that you can introduce to yourself.

These are only a few steps that you can initiate towards discovering the art of happiness. The specific answers, of course, will depend on your own history and your future goals. But then, if you’re only going to follow four words from my list of tips, choose these: start here and now. You might be surprised at the happiness — and more potential of it — that is already present around you, if you just look close enough.

* This post is inspired by BeepBeep Nation, an app that provides a platform for people to request for the help they need and others to offer their help. By facilitating face-to-face human interaction and creating a culture of kindness, it aims to make the world better. The EMINENT token, also known as the fuel for the BeepBeep Nation app, is now available for sale!

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Helpers, Requestors, and Spontaneous Friendships

In a world where we’d rather send links to interesting articles and random memes to our friends, pester them in our chatboxes, and click the “Like” button on their vacation photos, it’s hard to remember what the old times were like. Even though we still meet up every now and then with friends for coffee or cocktails and catching up on each other’s lives, one thing I do miss is experiencing spontaneous friendships.

I know part of adult friendships is really just exerting small efforts to maintain your high school or college peers, or perhaps revelling in your co-workers’ company for Friday nights. Meeting new friends is almost out of the question. (The only new people we let into our lives are mostly new business affiliates. At least that’s what happens with me.) But I can’t help but wax nostalgic about the times when you would randomly talk to someone, discover that they’re super interesting and that you jive so well, and then exchange contact details. Where are those circumstances now?

I mean, I’m aware that online friendships are not so bad. I see my teenage niece and nephew spend hours on Twitter and I wouldn’t berate them for it. They get the online social life that they need. But I can’t help but ask if they ever wonder about some kind of bonding other than their friends tweeting about their dog or Snapchatting their sandwiches. Do they even go to sneaky house parties nowadays? Kidding. But on a more serious note, I think technology brings people closer together, but it also maintains this distance between people somehow.

That’s why the BeepBeep Nation app is an amazing project to look forward to. Not only does it offer a platform for people to request for the specific kind of help they need — like perhaps sharing a ride or having a tour guide — and then for other people near the area to respond, it does so with an exciting motive in mind. Let’s see what the creators have to say:

[We’re returning] our users to the days when being social means actually meeting up in person and talking to each other face to face, instead of doing it mainly through the screen of a smartphone and hardly ever seeing each other.

[I]n what appears to be a paradox, we’re using cold technology itself to enhance warm human values and human interaction in ways that are far removed from the technology itself.

The people who beep when they need something are called requestors, while the people who provide help are called helpers. BeepBeep nation aims to foster dynamic and spontaneous friendships between requestors and helpers, as everytime a need arises, so does the opportunity to get to know someone new. At the end of the day, not only do you get the help you need or feel good for helping, you just might create new and exciting friendships.

So here’s to prospective requestors: don’t be afraid. Your hands might be full to do a particular thing, so look for an extra hand. It’s actually a sign of maturity to realize you can’t do everything alone. Seek help and if you want, you can give your helper a gratitude tip, you can simply say thanks, or maybe keep in touch. Not only can asking for help make you feel human, it will also show your interest in other humans who can be there for you.

And here’s to prospective helpers: it doesn’t have to be a big effort to help out. Sometimes, you may not even have to go out of your way. Shopping for a requestor’s item at a store you’re going to anyway doesn’t cost any extra time, right? Not only can doing a little kindness make you feel good, you can also inspire the person you’re helping to pay the kindness forward. And what’s a tiny favor in exchange for possibly great, spontaneous friendships?

And of course, while the guarantee of friendship still depends on the people involved, at the very least requestors and helpers could have a random, engaging conversation for the day. What’s not to love about that?

To get started on BeepBeep Nation, find out more about the EMINENT token a.k.a. fuel for the amazing app. Coming soon in selected cities worldwide!

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The EMINENT token: Your Token to Creating Kindness

Today, it’s almost impossible to imagine a world where progress isn’t defined by how far we’ve come along with technology. It’s simply true that gigantic technological developments such as the Internet and its plethora of facets have given us convenience in ways that previous generations of people have only begun to imagine.

It’s undeniable that in a huge way, the Internet shapes the way our global economies and political landscapes are evolving. However, in small ways, it also shapes how people interact with each other now. Insofar as technology sometimes gets in the way of real face-to-face social interactions, it also has the enormous potential of improving our relationships.

The BeepBeep Nation app wants to utilize that potential in its mission of making the world a better place. By providing a platform to connect a person who needs help (requestor) and a help provider (helper), it promotes and encourages a helping economy. With this, every kind of help is always just one beep away. Simply put, the app offers the means towards sharing our lives to others and creating kindness in the world.

And how do we get started? A token especially made to fuel the BeepBeep Nation app will be launched soon, and it will be our token to creating kindness and experiencing human interaction on a whole new level of warmth. The EMINENT (EMN) token will be used by requestors to pay for their help requests called Beeps or to give Gratitude Tips to their helpers, though the latter is not required. After all, the goal is to build this helping economy on the willingness of people to help out.

Cashless, seamless, and convenient for users, the EMINENT (EMN) token fuels the BeepBeep Nation app and enables people to be more compassionate in a truly efficient and effective way. With just the push of a button, you can easily ask for help from people nearby or easily offer help to those who need it. By constantly giving people opportunities to help out,  wherever they may be and whatever kind of help is needed, the EMINENT token will ultimately fuel a culture of kindness. By joining the mission of creating kindness in the world, people will be able to lead more fulfilled, meaningful lives.

The word”EMINENT,” if used in the context of a person, means “respected”; and as an attribute of a person, it represents a positive quality that is noticeable. EMINENT is what BeepBeep Nation users should aspire to be when they use the app. And it might only take a little effort to get going on creating kindness and being eminent, yet the results might be huge. After all, through the EMINENT token and the BeepBeep Nation app, we could see a future where kindness is shared everyday, human-to-human. A future where the world functions on both technology and compassion.

I’m sure all of us have reasons to help people in need. They might include these: being able to make new friends or business contacts, getting to have a truly engaging conversation with someone, feeling good about doing something good, and most importantly, participating in an inspiring mission of planting seeds of compassion in the world. So don’t be afraid to contribute to this helping economy soon, for yourself and for others.

Creating kindness through the EMINENT (EMN) token is not only convenient, it might just make big waves of change. Truly, with just one Beep, you could make the world a better place. ICO coming soon!

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The Science of Gratitude (or Why It’s So Healthy to Say Thanks)

When I was a kid, my parents taught me what they call “magic words.” This includes saying please, I’m sorry, and most importantly, thank you. Vague memories of preschool also have a similar lesson; I remember my playmates and I practicing that habit as encouraged by our awesome teacher Mrs. Silverstone. When Nick lets you borrow his toy truck, say thank you. When Amy shares her fruit bites, say thank you. When Karl and Jessica make you join in their game involving color blocks, say thank you.

I myself don’t have a kid yet, but I’m pretty sure I’ll definitely teach my son or daughter the same thing. Especially after reading stuff here and there proving that something like it really exists — the science of gratitude.

In a research study involving around 300 adults who sought psychological counselling services at a university, it has been found that feelings of gratitude do not only help well-adjusted individuals, but also those who had mental health concerns. The participants — most of whom reported clinically low levels of mental health, and struggled with depression and anxiety — were divided into three groups. Although all three groups received counselling services, Group 1 was additionally asked to write one letter of gratitude every week. Group 2 was asked to write about their deepest negative thoughts and feelings. Group 3 didn’t do any writing.

Those who wrote gratitude letters reported significantly better mental health four weeks and 12 weeks after the writing exercise ended. The researchers then decided to delve into the more physical science of gratitude  and found out that their gratitude exercise had actual lasting effects on the brain. Using an fMRI scanner to analyze how the participants’ brains were processing information, the researchers asked Group 1 (gratitude letter writers) and Group 3 (people who didn’t write) to do “pay-it-forward” tasks. They were to be given money by a benefactor, and they can decide how much of it they were going to give back to a cause of their choice.

The researchers found out that across participants, the brain activity of people who felt grateful and the brain activity of people who felt mostly guilty and obligated to do the task were very distinct. When grateful people donated more, their medial prefrontal cortex became more sensitive. This is a part of the brain associated with learning and decision-making. Interestingly, this higher sensitivity was also more identified in the group who were gratitude letter writers in the previous experiment.

Other studies involving the science of gratitude also yielded fascinating results. It has been linked to better quality of sleep, as well as decreased blood pressure. And in seeming accordance with the neurological findings of the study I described a while ago, gratitude has been linked to a boost in willpower and impulse control, helping people make better decisions like avoiding overeating, exercising more and attending regular checkups.

So don’t be afraid to need help. What’s important is to remember to feel grateful and to express it to the people who are there for you.

If you want to read more about the science of gratitude, here’s a link to various research projects. If you want to participate in a cause that encourages people to get help and feel grateful, check out the BeepBeep Nation App. It provides a platform for people to request for the help they need (called requestors) and for other people to respond (called helpers).

Once the task is done, requestors may give a gratitude tip to their helpers. However, it’s not mandatory, because as we have seen scientifically, gratitude is so much more real if it’s willingly felt and reciprocated. Of course, requestors themselves may also want to be helpers to somebody else if they want to pay it forward. Visit this article to know more about BeepBeep Nation’s take on motivation and gratitude.

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Holocaust Survivor Donates $1 Million To U.S. Veterans

When soldiers become veterans, heroism often wanes. However, a few special groups, such as Semper K9 Assistance Dogs, are giving back to deserving warriors. Yearning to thank his WWII rescuers, Holocaust survivor Bernard Darty is donating $1 million to American veterans.

“It’s one of the biggest donations we’ve ever gotten and will be hugely impactful,” said Michael Linnington, chief executive officer of the Wounded Warrior Project. “He feels an enormous sense of gratitude for our service members.”

Darty was 10-years-old when he went into hiding in Savigny-sur-Orge. Moved by American troops participating in rescue missions for hurricane victims, Darty felt it was his duty to make the pledge.

“First, Americans saved us, and then 50 years later they welcomed us,” he said.

While the current state of the U.S. is turbulent, Darty wants only to highlight its true heroes. In this day and age, they could use a break.

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Man Treats 70 Strangers To Thanksgiving Dinner

People in predicaments will often feel for others in similar situations. When new mom Elisabeth Anderson-Sierra learned she could produce more breastmilk than usual, she donated 5,000 pints to parents-in-need. Having to spend Thanksgiving alone since 1985, Scott Macaulay is treating strangers to a turkey meal for the 32nd year in a row.

“The whole idea of this is to replicate somebody’s home,” he says. “I bring in sofas, oriental rugs and fake fireplaces so that everyone will feel like they’re in somebody’s living room. Then, I put myself in charge of the cooking and some of the guests chip in to serve dinner and clean up.”

Hosting dinner at the Greet Street Baptist Church, Macaulay says the gatherings are less about the food and more about family. Many of his visitors are widows and widowers or single parents. Macaulay’s ex-wife even once made an appearance. After the meal, guests share what they are most thankful for.

“I save all of their submissions because it’s sentimental,” he [says]. “Most people are thankful for their health, while others are thankful for things like, ‘My son is now speaking to me.’ Everything always comes from the heart.”

Who knew turkey could bring people together?

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