Feeling Stressed? Hug A Tree

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Living in a big city, it’s not always easy to find a forest — but the health benefits might be worth it. A new article in The Atlantic suggests that living near tree might not only improve your mental health, but your physical health as well:

It is becoming increasingly clear that trees help people live longer, healthier, happier lives—to the tune of $6.8 billion in averted health costs annually in the U.S., according to research published this week. And we’re only beginning to understand the nature and magnitude of their tree-benevolence.

tree map Map courtesy: US Forest Service

Growing up in Missouri, we had lots of trees around. We had a thicket in the backyard where I would enjoy watching all sorts of familiar birds, like cardinals, blue jays and chickadees. But occasionally we would get a bird that didn’t come around very often, like a catbird. And it turns out that my neighborhood wasn’t alone. I recently went home to visit family, and I was amazed and the vastness of all the wooded areas there. It’s no wonder people are generally happy and laid back there!

Here’s hoping you have some trees around you that you can enjoy. If not, hopefully you can carve out some time to visit a wooded area and connect with nature, even if just for a little bit. It may just help you breathe a little easier.

 

 

 

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Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park near Santa Cruz, CA

(h/t The Atlantic)

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Start Spreading The (Good) News

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Would you be happier if you saw more “good news” and less gossip in those grocery store checkout line magazines? Sandi Krakowski of A Real Change notes in Entrepreneur that with the emergence of social media, stories that inspire people are having more of an impact that gossipy or negative news stories:

News that inspires and motivates is now being sought out just as much if not more than news that tears down and is destructive.

As an assignment editor at a television news station, I can tell you that it’s sometimes tough to find “good news” stories that can be told in a visual, compelling way. I’m always on the lookout for stories that bring a smile to our viewers’ faces, and I’ve even been a part of special stories focused on people making a difference in the community. But Krakowski notes that even “bad news” can sometimes have a silver lining:

Good journalism still reports bad news as it’s a normal part of our everyday existence. But it’s important to note that with every bad report, many are still searching for hope in devastating situations.

It’s a good reminder that while bad things happen, it’s important to focus on the good things that can come from them — and the world is full of people who want to support, share, and help however they can.

(h/t Entrepreneur)

TUESDAY TUNES: “The Gambler”

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“The Gambler” is more than just a karaoke favorite or a song to play in your head while at the poker table in Reno: It’s about perfect timing. It’s about luck. It’s about taking risks; losing and winning. It’s about how to play your hand:

Every gambler knows
That the secret to survivin’
Is knowin’ what to throw away
And knowin’ what to keep

It’s also about the whisper-crooning of Kenny Rogers. A man this smooth would never make a poker mistake, but even if he did, he would do it with a grace that would seem like he won even when he really didn’t. And that’s confidence, perhaps the gambler’s greatest trick of all…


“The Gambler”, Kenny Rogers

Lyrics courtesy: AZ Lyrics

On a warm summer’s eve

On a train bound for nowhere
I met up with the gambler
We were both too tired to sleep
So we took turns a-starin’
Out the window at the darkness
The boredom overtook us, he began to speakHe said, “Son, I’ve made a life
Out of readin’ people’s faces
Knowin’ what the cards were
By the way they held their eyes
So if you don’t mind me sayin’
I can see you’re out of aces
For a taste of your whiskey
I’ll give you some advice”

So I handed him my bottle
And he drank down my last swallow
Then he bummed a cigarette
And asked me for a light
And the night got deathly quiet
And his faced lost all expression
He said, “If you’re gonna play the game, boy
You gotta learn to play it right

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done

Every gambler knows
That the secret to survivin’
Is knowin’ what to throw away
And knowin’ what to keep
‘Cause every hand’s a winner
And every hand’s a loser
And the best that you can hope for
Is to die in your sleep”

And when he finished speakin’
He turned back toward the window
Crushed out his cigarette
And faded off to sleep
And somewhere in the darkness
The gambler he broke even
And in his final words
I found an ace that I could keep

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done

MONDAY MOVIES: “Up In The Air”

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“Up In The Air” is one of the best movies ever made about working — especially following the 2008 Great Recession.  The movie struck a cord with people who had lost their jobs as a result of the economy as well as people who remained employed but felt a sense of loss.

In the movie, George Clooney and his co-workers are hired by corporations to conduct layoffs. It seems heartless, but he’s being hired by a company to provide a service (which also seems heartless, but there are a variety of reasons and factors involved) and he does it with a kind of detached compassion that gets the job done but also takes a little bit of pain out of the process.

As you might imagine, the movie involves all the dynamics of an Oscar-nominated film and Golden Globe-winning screenplay: Witty and thought-provoking dialogue, complex relationships, laughter and tears. But it’s really about Clooney’s character, how hard he works, and why he loves what he does. It’s a spotlight on how engaging with people, no matter what job you’re doing or how long you’ve been doing it, is one of the most powerful skills you’ll ever have.

up in the airPic courtesy: Paramount Pictures

 

Home Brew: Making Coffee & Saving Money

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For many people, getting a cup of coffee before work is essential… it’s a helpful pick-me-up, as well as a morning ritual. But whether you make it at home or buy it at a coffee shop (such as Starbucks) makes a huge difference.

USA Today made a handy calculator to help you figure out the cost — though you might not like the results if you don’t brew at home. Here’s what it looks like when you compare one cup of coffee made at home to one cup brewed for you at Starbucks:

MAKE AT HOME STARBUCKS
Monthly = $2.40 Monthly = $63
Annually = $29.20 Annually = $766.50
30 years = $876 30 years = $22,995

So, it would appear that brewing at home saves a ton of money — $22,119 in fact. That amount of money can buy a lot of things: A new car, a college education, a downpayment on a home. And you don’t have even to give up your Starbucks coffee… when you make it from home, you avoid the lines and the waiting. Drink up to saving some money on your next cup of Joe!

(h/t USA Today)

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The Big Crabapple?

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Should New York City’s nickname be “The Big Crabapple”? I ask because our nation’s biggest metropolis was recently named by researchers as the unhappiest city in America, according to the New York Post.

The research asked respondents “In general, how satisfied are you with your life?”, and New Yorkers are the least happy — followed in their misery by Pittsburgh, Louisville, Milwaukee, and Detroit. But with millions of people and millions of things to do, there must be something more to NYC than just finding happiness?

“Our research indicates that people care about more than happiness alone, so other factors may encourage them to stay in a city despite their unhappiness”

So it seems that for many people, being happy isn’t necessary relevant. For instance, if you have a job you love and you’re at the top of your career, why leave? Getting rid of an opportunity may make you unhappier, even if it means moving out of a town you don’t like.

Whatever the case, the top five happiest places in America are, interestingly, in the South: Norfolk, Virginia; Washington, DC; Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; and Atlanta, Georgia. I’ve always enjoyed visiting the South — and it appears that living there is the way to go for lots of people.

How about you — are you happy where you live? Would living somewhere else make you happier, less happy, or not make a difference? I’m curious… let me know what you think!

nyc

Pic courtesy: timsklyarov.com

 (h/t New York Post)

Knitted Wisdom

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I’ve always loved the quote “Done is better than perfect”. Sure, no one likes to deliver a sub-par performance, but when the deadline comes, something is better than nothing. The same goes with motivation. Sometimes we get hung up on the difficulty or minutiae of a task, and it seems impossible to get started. More and more, I enjoy the Nike slogan “Just do it”. It’s so simple – yet there’s so much wisdom there.

With all this in mind, I ran across these delightful faux-knitted pearls of wisdom as illustrated by Mashable. Enjoy!

diy_quotes_rossetti(h/t Mashable)