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By Emily Crone
January 13, 2012
This week I’ve been reading “Spontaneous Happiness” by Dr. Andrew Weil, a book in which he explores what happiness is on a cultural, personal and biological/chemical level. He’s a fascinating man who helped found integrative medicine, and he weaves in concepts from both the East and West.
In the book, he argues that we don’t need to be “happy” all the time — people misuse the term. Instead, the goal is to experience serenity and contentment on a day-to-day basis as our baseline. Then when something great happens, we’re happy, and when something bad happens, we’re sad. Then we drift back toward our neutral, yet peaceful, place of contentment.
I’m at a part in the book now where he’s discussing numerous ways to find more serenity in your everyday life, and I’m amazed to realize that nearly all of his suggestions are free. So many people seem to be stressed out by money problems and debt, but there are so many ways to reduce this anxiety without spending any extra money. We don’t need expensive vacations or costly therapy to get a little peace back in our lives.
Weil’s only major suggestion that costs money is to take supplements such as omega-3 fish oil, and while that’s ideal, it’s optional. Here are just a few of his many free suggestions for boosting your mood:
I’m not quite done with the book just yet, but I’ve really enjoyed what I have read so far. He has a very holistic view of contentment and happiness, and I’ve already listened to less news, and replaced some of my rock music with classical music. I think it has helped! The daily stresses of work, money, family, pets, etc., can be a lot to deal with, so I love the idea that there are all of these free strategies available to help us feel like we’re getting some of our life back.
Before you unplug, however, read on for my roundup of my top 10 favorite personal finance blog posts from the past week.
1. Credit Karma Blog discusses financial guru Suze Orman’s new branded prepaid debit card and how it’s different from other cards out there.
2. The winter blues got you down? Financial Highway lists some fun and frugal family activities you can do together this winter.
3. Moolanomy explains what number you should look for if you want a good credit score and which factors affect it.
4. Enemy of Debt reveals why following through with your New Year’s resolutions will benefit your health and your finances.
5. Does this recession have you convinced that older generations had it better than we did? Tight Fisted Miser uses some anecdotes to show that we have it FAR better than our parents and grandparents.
6. The Consumerist tells readers about a new MasterCard that might just outsmart potential identity thieves.
7. No Credit Needed discusses the importance of an emergency fund, especially during the process of paying off debt.
8. Saving Advice lists 30 strategies you can use to make some extra cash and snowflake your debt away.
9. Money Under 30 explains why budgets don’t work for so many people and why you should use automation instead.
10. The Finance Buff wonders why it sometimes seems that everyone else has more money than he does and suggests several reasons why this might be happening.