Wednesday, October 9, 2013


"Much of education is oriented toward making a living instead of making a life." Dr. Roger Walsh. 

In his wonderful TEDxUniversityofNevada talk "Hackschooling Makes Me Happy." Logan La Plante introduces the happiness research of Dr. Walsh. (It's worth watching the 13 minutes video--especially with your kids). 

"When I grow up, I want to be happy." Logan says, and presents Dr. Walsh's 8 key TLC's or Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes as the user guide.

  1. Exercise
  2. Diet and Nutrition
  3. Time in Nature
  4. Relationships
  5. Relaxation and stress management
  6. Recreation
  7. Religious or Spiritual Involvement
  8. Service to Others or Contribution

So many of us are oriented toward making a living instead of making a life. In the juggling of priorities, the happiness ball keeps falling on the ground and rolling under the couch where it lies forgotten--along with dust bunnies and stale popcorn. 

What if juggling priorities is the wrong way of going about being happy? What if leading a happy life is more like making (and eating) a really good picnic in which there are the most delicious ingredients eaten in good company in a gorgeous, quiet setting? 

We tend to think This or That, rather than This AND That. I can make money or be home with my kids. I can work hard or have good relationships. But maybe the key is to blend or stack. "How can I do this and that and that and this? How can I build a good career and be happy and work with people I like and get outside during the day and contribute and pray and have fun?".

In healthy lives and companies, there is evidence of people blending what makes them happy into their work lives. There are walking and running groups where coworkers run through parkland at lunch. Or meal-shares where colleagues take turns bringing healthy lunches for each other. "Cone of silence" drinks where concerns are shared and worked through. Yoga classes, massage, meditation groups or sleep pods for de-stressing. Mentoring, volunteerism and fundraising campaigns build relationships and spirits while in service to others. Some, like the Mustard Seed combine TLC's by making delicious food in service to the homeless.

Hmm. You don't have to change things up too much to make life just a bit better. 

To help shift my thinking and doing, I'll make myself a report card using the 8 TLC's as headings and post it here when I'm done. At the start of each week, I'll look at where I'm feeding my happiness on all 8 fronts, then report back in to myself at the end of the week. Maybe I will get my boyfriend, and my mom and dad to do it with me? Want to join me? Who can you bring along on your lifestyle hack?

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