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February 9, 2012
If You Want To Be Happy, Don't Take Life So Seriously and Don't Put a Price On Your Time


An engaged humility, an acceptance of life’s pains and promises and how you pass or spend your time are major keys to your happiness.


Happiness has a protective effect on biological pathways and is just as important as diet and physical activity in advancing your health and wellness.

A new study shows people who put a price on their time are more likely to feel impatient when they’re not using it to earn money. And that hurts their ability to derive happiness during leisure activities.

Treating time as money can actually undermine your well-being," says Sanford DeVoe, one of two researchers at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management who carried out the study.

Prof. DeVoe and PhD student Julian House based their conclusions on three experiments. In each, a sub-group of participants was primed, through survey questions, to think about their time in terms of money. This group subsequently showed greater impatience and lower satisfaction during leisure activities introduced during the experiments. However, those put into the sub-group reported more enjoyment and less impatience when they were paid during one of those activities, which was listening to music.

The experiments’ results demonstrate that thinking about time in terms of money "changes the way you actually experience time," says Prof. DeVoe. "Two people may experience the same thing, over the same amount of time, yet react to it very differently."

Another study, as reported in Atlantic Magazine, was summed up beautifully by the journalist Joshua Shenk: "Herein lies the key to a good life--not rules to follow, nor problems to avoid-- but an engaged humility, an earnest acceptance of life’s pains and promises."

In other words, one can only carry the burden of a big ego and lots of pride for so long before your proverbial knees will buckle. Don’t take life too seriously. We all have weaknesses. Do you really want to battle your dark side year after year? Or might it just be time to lay down your arms, take a deep breath, and enjoy life. It’s shorter than you think.

With growth over the last several decades in jobs paid by the hour, it’s important for people to be "mindful," of the impact this can have on their leisure enjoyment, he says, and allow themselves "to really smell the roses." Being mindful and putting the balance on the lighter side of life is critical for overall happiness.

One last point is to share your happiness. The happiest people are those who sustain meaningful, healthy relationships with friends and family. One can never give enough hugs, say enough "I love you's," and send enough "I miss you's." Do it today and you'll see the difference immediately.


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