13 Aug Spend your Life
Research has shown that strong personal relationships are one of the most significant contributors to happiness. A 2002 study conducted by psychologists Edward Diener and Martin Seligman at the University of Illinois discovered that the most prominent characteristics common among the 10 per cent of students with the highest levels of happiness were strong ties to friends and family, and commitment to spending time with them. Deep loving connections fulfil something very basic in us, and many people cite their children as bringing them the most happiness. A Time poll conducted in 2004 asked 1009 adult Americans, “What one thing in your life has brought you the greatest happiness?” An incredible 35 per cent of respondents said “children and grandchildren”. And you don’t have to spend much, or anything at all, to spend time with friends and family. Sharing home cooked meals, scenic walks or a coffee, for example, are inexpensive activities. And for kids, playing footy or soccer in the park, board games, reading stories, or just getting lost in their imagination can be endlessly entertaining. Recreation and Leisure
Even if you love your job, spending time doing things that you like to do – for pleasure, for fun, intellectual curiosity, or any other number of reasons – contributes much to quality of life. This includes, but is certainly not limited to:
- Hobbies – This can range from art, music or language classes to going to lectures to joining a sports team. Most people spend their days in the same repetitious activities, whether this be at work or at home. Participating in hobbies engages different parts of our brain which may be more dormant in day-today activities. Learning new things can be a joy at any age and often makes us feel revitalised. There are plenty of organisations that offer classes or courses for adults – the CAE being one of the bigger ones – and many universities too offer programs of free lectures. Group classes can also be socially beneficial, introducing you to potential new friends with whom you already have a common interest.
- Travel – Whilst it may appear counterintuitive due to the cost, travel is actually extremely important to your financial wellbeing. The reason we save in life is to enjoy our money at a later date. However, often people don’t set appropriate timeframes for their spending and end up waiting until they are of ‘retirement age’ Travel is great because it broadens the mind, can force you to relax and is a lot of fun.
- Entertainment and eating out – There are many great ways to enjoy your time whilst not travelling or on holidays that are also budget conscious. Group deal sites such as Groupon and OurDeal allow you to enjoy finer things in life (such as exotic meals and adventures) at a significant discount. Because they tend to expire within three to 12 months, you are discouraged from delaying your experience. But in a big city, there’s always plenty to do without having to spend too much. Sites like Urbanspoon are great for checking out restaurants, for example, with plenty of user reviews and clear price indications.
Act of Selflessness
Giving back to society through volunteering can also tremendously increase a person’s happiness. Even if the tasks you are assigned to are tedious, you can feel quite uplifted in knowing that they’ll make a difference to someone else’s life, and this gives you a sense of purpose. Moreover, identifying your personal strengths and finding new ways to deploy them, in the pursuit of a greater purpose, can bring immense satisfaction. People are drawn to doing what they’re good at; it can make you feel more capable, useful and brings stronger feelings of accomplishment – like you’re making more of a difference. [titled_box title=”Case Study ” bgColor=”#ff8400″ textColor=”#ffffff”] [pullquote3 quotes=”true” align=”right” variation=”orange” bgColor=”#ffffff” textColor=”#eda617″] Joel and Ilana are happier overall, as they are spending some of their time in different ways than before. Joel is taking guitar lessons one evening a week after work, which delights his musical tendency. Ilana has started volunteering with a local charity on one of her days off while her children are at school, which she enjoys. [/pullquote3]Joel is starting to resent his work life and environment a bit; things are starting to seem a little monotonous. He begins to remember that when he was younger, he really enjoyed learning and playing music, and that he was good at it. But he hasn’t picked up an instrument in years. He speaks to his wife about these feelings, and she encourages him to take an evening a week to learn the guitar with a music teacher. And the music might even become something that he could share with the whole family, she says. Ilana starts to feel that she would like to do something more meaningful, and give some of her free time volunteering. She also speaks to Joel about this, and he tells her about a small, local charity that he read about recently in the local paper. Ilana starts volunteering one morning a week with the charity. They give her administrative work to do. She finds that the charity is not very well organised, as they have not previously had the resources to implement efficient administrative systems. As a very details-oriented person, Ilana finds that she is able to be of great help to the organisation in terms of working quickly and putting more efficient practices into place. This in turn makes her feel useful and like she is really making a difference.[/titled_box] SOURCES: 1.http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/science-scope/study-suggests-health-not-wealth-determines-happiness/
About Reuben Zelwer
Reuben Zelwer established Adapt Wealth Management in 2011 to help time poor clients achieve financial freedom. For over 15 years, Reuben has helped professionals, executives, business owner and those approaching retirement make the most of their circumstances by making good financial decisions. Reuben’s professional practice is complemented by substantial voluntary work, which has included setting up financial literacy and savings programs in the local community.