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How to be satisfied & happy
Old 05-31-2008, 05:56 AM   #1
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How to be satisfied & happy

This show airs on NPR - It is intelligent.
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Notice how important Gratitude is. Just verbalizing your gratitude once a day can make you happier.


Week of February 13, 2007

In this hour, we explore Satisfaction. If, in the immortal words of the apparently immortal "Rolling Stones," you feel you "can't get no... satisfaction" you're not alone. Research suggests that when it comes to pursuing satisfaction, many Americans are going the wrong way. It seems we would do well to rethink expectations, scale back on options, and be grateful for what we have. Guests include Dr. Barry Schwartz, professor of social theory and social action, Swarthmore College; Dr. David Myers, professor of psychology, Hope College, Michigan and Dr. Mike McCullough, associate professor of psychology and religion, University of Miami; philosopher-diva, singer-songwriter Nora York; veteran restaurant reviewer Mimi Sheraton; and storyteller Peninnah Schram. Plus commentary from John Hockenberry.
Host Dr. Fred Goodwin begins with an essay in which he points out that Americans are over-investing time and effort in activities that fail to bring them commensurate satisfaction. Research suggests that high life satisfaction is associated with what Dr. Goodwin calls "the old fashioned stuff: stable marriages, close family ties, good friendships, and involvement in religion."
Next, storyteller Peninnah Schram puts satisfaction in perspective with the tale of a man who thinks he's unhappy, until he follows his rabbi's advice and moves a cow, a goat, and some chickens into his family's tiny house. Talk about misery. Following the wise rabbi's directions, he then moves the livestock out of the house. At last, life is sweet.
Ms. Schram is the director of the Jewish Storytelling Center at the 92nd Street Y in New York and the author of seven books of Jewish folk tales, including Jewish Stories One Generation Tells Another. She can also be heard on the CD and audiotape All About Hanukkah in Story and Song.
To contact Ms. Peninnah Schram, or to learn more about her work, please visit this web site or write to Ms. Schram at 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10128. To purchase Ms. Schram's books, audiotape, or CD, click here.
Dr. Goodwin then interviews Dr. Barry Schwartz, professor of social theory and social action at Swarthmore College and author of The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less; and Dr. David Myers, professor of psychology, Hope College, Michigan. In the past forty years, Dr. Myers points out, Americans's real income has doubled yet in the same time frame, the divorce rate was doubling, teen suicide tripling, and violent crime quadrupling. Dr. Schwartz suggests that the increased dissatisfaction with life is related to the dizzying proliferation of choices that face us on a daily basis, from what kind of jeans to buy, to whom to marry, to what religion to practice, to what career to pursue. The work of sorting through choices is wearing and the work of passing up choices can leave us filled with regret for the paths not taken. Those most prone to taking on exhaustive (and exhausting!) comparisons of all available options, for instance in planning a vacation, Dr. Schwartz calls "maximizers." He contrasts them to the easier going, more easily satisfied folk he calls "satisficers" (rhymes with "sacrificers."). While maximizers may end up doing "better," in some respects, than satisficers (for instance, landing jobs with fatter salaries), paradoxically they are less satisfied with what they get.
Want to increase your level of satisfaction? Dr. Myers suggests committing to friends, family, and aerobic exercise. Dr. Schwartz says develop realistic expectations (so that good vacation isn't marred by not being the most fabulous fantastic vacation ever in the whole wide world) and "choose when to choose." Don't feel you have to do detailed studies of every choice you face and once you've made a decision, move on. (Cue up Edith Piaf singing "Non, je ne regrette rien...")
To contact Dr. David Myers or learn more about his research, please visit his web site or write to him at Hope College, Holland, MI 49422-9000. To purchase his book, Intuition: Its Powers and Perils, click here.
To contact Dr. Barry Schwartz, or to learn more about his work, please visit his web site or write to him at 500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, PA 19081-1397. To purchase his book, The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less, click here.
Next, philosopher-diva, singer-songwriter Ms. Nora York performs a song about dissatisfaction, entitled "What I Want." The song's lyrics return again and again to "I want what I can't have, need what I can't want..." Despite rave reviews from critics, Ms. York tells interviewer Emily Fisher that there's always something more to...want. "What I Want" is also the name of the CD that Ms. York is now recording; its release is planned for Fall, 2004.
To learn more about Nora York andher upcoming performances and CD, or to send her an email, visit
After a short break, Dr. Goodwin returns to interview researcher Dr. Mike McCullough, associate professor of psychology and religion at University of Miami. Dr. McCullough is a co-editor of The Psychology of Gratitude, published by Oxford University Press. His research suggests that taking a few minutes at the end of every day to write about events of the day for which you feel thankful will boost your sense of life satisfaction. You're also likely to sleep better and your spouse is likely to find that you seem happier with your life. His research suggests that people suffering from life-altering diseases also benefit from this "prescription." "Gratitude is an important coping skill," notes Dr. McCullough. He suggests that programs like Alcoholic Anonymous, which urges recovering alcoholics to cultivate an "attitude of gratitude," may tap into what he calls "folksy wisdom" that social scientists are only beginning to study.
To learn more about Dr. Mike McCullough's research or to contact him, please visit this web site or write to him at University of Miami 5202 University Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33124. To purchase The Psychology of Gratitude, click here.
In the program's last interview, The Infinite Mind's Devorah Klahr speaks with veteran restaurant critic Ms. Mimi Sheraton, whose high standards have long safeguarded diners against the horrors of canned peas and sloppy service. Ms. Sheraton's new book is a memoir, "Eating My Words: An Appetite for Life," published by William Morrow. While some restaurateurs have found her more scathing reviews hard to digest, Ms. Sheraton says she goes to restaurants optimistically, "hoping for the best every time."
To contact Ms. Mimi Sheraton, write to her care of HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022. To order Ms. Sheraton's memoir, "Eating My Words: An Appetite for Life" click here.
Finally, a slap on the cheek to satisfaction. Commentator John Hockenberry takes on the long-standing, score-keeping, getting-even mentality behind "getting satisfaction" for quarrels that demand to be redressed. He points to what's happening in the Middle East and North Korea. Mr. Hockenberry suggests that brandishing holy books, waving flags, and shedding blood will not put an end to the outrages they seek to redress. The pursuit of such "satisfaction" creates new scores, and the settling of those scores, new

Sometimes death is not as tragic as not knowing how to live. This man knew how to live--and how to make others glad they were living. - Jack Benny at Nat King Cole's funeral
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Old 05-31-2008, 06:33 AM   #2
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Good thread...

- Hurry! to the cliffs of insanity!
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Old 05-31-2008, 07:10 AM   #3
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This past week I used a new putter and made putts like crazy. Won most of the bets. A very satisfying week and happy one. Of course the week is not over.
Retired 3/31/2007@52
Investing style: Full time wuss.
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Old 05-31-2008, 07:11 AM   #4
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So true! We have so much to be grateful for and need to remember it.
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Old 05-31-2008, 08:11 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by dex View Post
Notice how important Gratitude is. Just verbalizing your gratitude once a day can make you happier.
I'm so grateful for this info Dex. Hey! It works - I feel better already
I purr therefore I am.
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