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happiness

Unless you grew up in the fictional world of a Steve Martin film, chances are your relationship with your family is more complicated than you'd like to admit.

The dynamics within the family unit can be hard to wrap your head around, and while we love them dearly (flaws and all), sometimes it's necessary to take a step back from all the drama.

Well, research from Michigan State University has revealed that close friends may actually bring us more health and happiness than family members.

Researchers conducted a study in which over 300,000 participants were asked how much they value their friendships. Results showed that those who put a higher value on relationships outside the family unit were happier and healthier overall. However, this only works if you actually get on with your mates.

Another study looked at almost 7,500 people ages over 50 and examined the correlation between their friendships and the state of their health and found that those with stressful friendships were at a higher risk of developing diseases like cancer and diabetes.

The author of the study, William Chopik told The Guardian: "With friends you are more likely to do activities – they provide an outlet. You can say things to friends and they are less judgmental. There is a distance there that provides a level of honesty."

The study also concluded that people with strong social bonds of any kind, increased their chances of living longer by an incredible 50 percent.

So, next time your friends tell you they're too busy to hang out, remind them that they're actually gaining precious hours by simply enjoying your company.

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Nowadays, we are almost hardwired to strive for world domination and to splash our success all over social media.

That's why we are gobsmacked at the results of this latest One4all's survey.

1,932 adults including 283 third and fourth level students seem to have ditched the old idea that money is a measure of success.

Happiness has now become the new currency, with 72 percent of the people surveyed saying the definition of success is being happy.

Furthermore, Ireland seems to have pulled out of the doom and gloom of the recession as 6.4 out of 10 students feel positive towards their career prospects here. – It's a miracle. 

Shockingly, only one in 100 students picked their third level subject based on the financial opportunities a career offers.

These results even surprised career and coaching psychologist Sinead Brady, and she spoke to SHEmazing about this shift and why happiness is reigning queen.

Usually, people seek Sinead's help because they're unhappy in their job and according to the expert, this is normally due to selecting a career for financial gain, rather than happiness. 

"People tend to have that kind of revelation may be in their early 30s and they’re kinda going; 'I have at least another 30/40 years to work and I’ve chosen this career at 17 or 18 that I don’t really like anymore, and now I really want to change,'" said Sinead. 

That realisation is having a knock-on effect on the advice given to younger generations, Sinead explained that relatives are now encouraging young people to pursue a career based on their interests, rather than how much money they could make. 

A job for life

That type of mentality, paired with the ever-changing world of technology is starting to refine our outlook on careers.

"The notion of one job for life and a linear progression – that you start at whatever you choose at college, if you decided to go to college or whatever you trained for directly after you finished school, that's what you stay in for the rest of your life. People are no longer willing to accept that as a reality," said the expert.

Sinead continued by saying people are now exploring all their interests and that 65 percent of children who entered primary school in 2016, will do jobs that haven't yet been created.

"But the really interesting thing is the people who are graduating from college now, are the people who will create those jobs," added Sinead. – So no pressure, lads – only the future generation at stake here.

Social media and success

Social media has made the global community feel smaller, and this has translated to when people are looking at careers – they realise that the world is a "very tiny place." 

"They're used to having these interactions and engagements with on a global context," said Sinead.

Unsurprisingly, the expert warns that social media isn't always a positive place and shouldn't be used to measure your own success. 

"It can make people very self-conscious and there's a lot of comparison around what success should be, particularly in the influencer arena," Sinead explains. 

In fact, the survey shows that three things really define success for our student generation – being happy, healthy and having a loving family. 

"When we look at the research, it's being happy in your work, being healthy and having a loving family. And they're actually the defining factors of success for young people at the moment, and I think that's a breath of fresh air," said the expert.

"It gives us an insight into what people actually want, they want a life and it's not about balance, it's about blending your personal and professional life together – so that you feel you can be successful as a person," added Sinead.

"If this is a reflection of the young people that are going to run our country in the future, it's really refreshing." – we couldn't agree more.

Now we must disclaimer, but under no means do you go out and quit your job in the morning – you can't just live off of love and happiness – we do need to pay the bills and the brunch we really can't afford, but adore nonetheless.

Sinead explains that there is a certain amount of moolah we need to live, but once you can provide that and you're "engaged and creative" in your work – you can be happy out.

So it's really fantastic news all round – but wait – things are going to get that bit sweeter.

One4All has launched its annual ‘Design a Gift Card’ competition TODAY.

The competition gives artists, designers and photographers across the country the incredible opportunity to get national exposure for their work. The winning design will be turned into a gift card and sold in An Post outlets nationwide and online in 2019.

So why not give it a go? Check it out here – You really have nothing to lose.

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The secret is out, and it is exactly what we want to hear!

Oprah Winfrey has revealed the key to her happiness and, surprisingly, it is not how much money she has.

The TV host is worth $2.8 billion and regularly donates to charities all around the world, according to Forbes.

However, Oprah revealed that reason she is so fulfilled is because she sets time out of her schedule to do nothing.

Yes, you read that right. She makes sure to sit around and give her mind a break from all those hectic thoughts about work, family, and life.

In an interview with Vogue, Oprah explained her habitual process of relaxation. This is my time to myself, she said: ‘I can just take it all in. I can just be.’

This zen master has seemed to figure out the key to being satisfied with one’s self, and she is slaying it!

This is not just a few minutes out of her day either. Oprah takes as much time as necessary to transform her thoughts into a channel of positivity.

‘I can go weeks and never turn on a television. I’ve gone a summer not having it on,’ she said in her interview.

We can all relate to the fabulous female icon in this context!

During the long work day, all we can think about is that moment when we get home, put our feet up, and watch the next episode of our current Netflix addiction. But Oprah asks us to change it up, hop in the bath, and empty our minds.

Doing nothing is the perfect way to unwind after a long day, and now we have an excuse to cancel plans we made yesterday (back when we were full of hope and energy). 

Just ask yourself, what would Oprah do?

We need our alone time and according to this self-content billionaire, it is the secret to lasting happiness.

Looks like we have a new hobby to add to the CV!

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So, while we humans might like to think we're a sophisticated bunch with an extensive list of wants and desires, new research has shown that we're actually quite the opposite.

Sure, shiny new cars and expensive designer handbags might give us that temporary boost of happiness, however, when we look at the bigger picture, it's plenty of shut eye and an active sex life that brings us the most joy.

Developed by Oxford Economics and the National Centre for Social Research, the new happiness index has found sex and sleep have the biggest influence on a person's happiness and well-being.

For the study, 8,250 people were asked how satisfied they were with various aspects of their lives. Participants were then given a Living Well score based on their answers, averaging at around 62.2.

Interestingly, those who reported getting more sleep scored 15 points higher than those who struggled, while those with an active and fulfilling sex life scored seven points higher than those without.

What's more, researchers discovered that an increase in household income lifted scores by just two points.

Other factors which were deemed more important than money included living in a strong community, job security, and the health od close relatives.

So, it turns out our mothers were right all along – money really can't buy happiness.

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Thought money couldn't buy you happiness?

Well, to be honest, we've always had our reservations about this bold statement and it now looks like we were right all along. 

An international team of researchers have proved that money really can make you happier – that is, if you use it to pay other people to do your chores.

Now, that's not to say you should rush out and hire a cleaner, a gardener and a personal chef, because let's be real, who has got the cash for that?

But, trading your money for time every now and again could prove hugely beneficial to your mental health and well-being. 

The researchers, led by Ashley Whillans, began with survey data from nearly 4,500 people from the United States, Canada, Denmark and the Netherlands.

Participants were asked whether they paid other people to do “unenjoyable daily tasks” in order to “increase their free time”, to which 28% answered, yes. 

In fact, these people spent an average of €126.59 per month, buying extra time. 

And while they may have been left a little out of pocket, what they lost in cash, they made up for in happiness. 

Results suggested that people who traded their money for time were more satisfied with life than those who didn't.

“Deconstructing this interaction, time stress was associated with lower life satisfaction among respondents who did not spend money on time-saving purchases," the authors wrote in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

“For respondents who spent money on time-saving purchases, the negative effect of time pressure on life satisfaction was not significant.”

So, next time you feel like indulging in a bit of retail therapy, you might want to consider trading your money for minutes rather than material items.

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The human race is full to the brim with weird and wonderful people, each one different from the next and yet, through all our differences shines one common desire – we all want to be happy.

And while you might think happiness lies at the bottom of an over-flowing Penneys bag  – the answer is actually far better for your bank account. 

A recent study has found that using your cash to buy presents for you friends and family will actually make you feel better in the long run.

During the experiment, participants were split into two groups. The first were were told do splash out on something nice for themselves, while the second were told to spend their money on something for someone else.

Interestingly, the selfless group proved to be the happier participants.

According to the study, areas of their brains gave off a “warm glow” when they completed their good deed.

What's more, the scale of the generosity made no difference to people's happiness, meaning that even the smallest act of kindness could produce the same effect.

Lead researcher, Philippe Tobler said, “You don't need to become a self-sacrificing martyr to feel happier. Just being a little more generous will suffice.”

So, next time you're in need of a little pick-me-up, surprise your pals with a little treat – Everybody wins!

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His net worth is $100 million (€88m), yet Steve Wozniak believes happiness has nothing to do with dollar signs.

The engineer, who founded Apple along with Steve Jobs and Ronald Wayne, believes that the formula for being content with your life is "smiles minus frowns."

Speaking to CNBC this week, said that smiling "was my original formula when I was about 20 years old.

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"Create jokes, create humour everywhere you go. That keeps you happy."

He also noted that when facing challenges in your life, you need to be resilient, and you can't hang onto things that go wrong.

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"Don't be bothered when things don't go your way. Just think out how to be constructive… don't waste your time blaming people and being upset, because those feelings will destroy your psychology."

So, in other words, if you feel your life has taken a U-turn, or you're not in the place where you thought you'd be, stay strong, and you know… keep on smiling.

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In today's world everyone seems to be SUPER busy.

Whether it's going to events, the gym, preparing meals, nights out with friends, work – it's like we barely get a minute to ourselves.

Yet, when we are run down or are feeling low, it's hard to know where to put the blame.

A million and one quotes (and now memes) have been written about the value of time and how precious it is. But I think the real question is, how can we make the most of it? Is it running ourselves ragged between work and play or is it taking a small bit of time out for ourselves to recuperate and recover?

Performance vitamin Berocca teamed up with health and wellness expert Pat Divilly to see how people can boost their productivity from day to day.

Pat's outstanding story saw him leap from having to borrow bus fare from his father to return home to Galway and then beginning his business with fitness classes on Barna beach to his current occupation which sees him give motivational speeches all over the world.

We asked Pat what we think are the most important things to consider in our lives, and how we can boost our moods and productivity in just a few simple steps:

 

1. A lot of people work with websites, social media, computers, etc nowadays and find it hard to break away when they have time off? What's your advice for stepping away from your laptop/mobile screen?

Sit in any restaurant and you'll see couples, groups of friends, colleagues or families buried in their phones. We've become so used to constant busyness and distraction that we need to re-train ourselves to be comfortable away from the 'noise'. We all lives busy lives but 10 minutes of time with a loved one without a phone in your hand would mean a lot more than 60 minutes of giving a small fraction of your attention to them. 

In terms of switching off from work in the evening, when I'm working I'm working and when I'm off I'm off. I used to find myself buried in work but in the back of mind thinking about my plans for the evening. Then, when with family and friends I'd often find myself distracted thinking about work I didn't finish. Most of us spend so much time in that grey area that we need to find an off time in the evening where we switch off from work mode. That'll mean less procrastination and distraction during the work day but the off time gives us a goal time to get our work polished off!

 

 

2. One of your tips is to "know what you want from life." For people who might not know, or who are struggling to find their vocation, what road would be the best to go down?

One great way of looking at this is to identify times in your life where you've been at your happiest and seeing what sort of vocation could provide some of these experiences or similar feelings. For example if you're happiest times were travelling and meeting new people is there a way you could pursue these kind of experiences in your work life? 

Most of us spend our lives working crazy hours to have the money to do the things we love in our spare time. So what if you could find work that allowed you to pursue at least some of your passions during your work day?

Another great exercise is to write out in detail what your perfect average day would look like in as much detail as possible. Who would you live with and where? What would you do for work and what type of people would you work with? What would you do in your spare time? This exercise can open people’s eyes to the reality that this 'perfect day' oftentimes isn't as far away as they think and is financially within reach.

 

3. When faced with hard tasks in work, and indeed, life, what's the best way to move forward and face the challenges?

I think in any area of life when things go pear shaped our gut reaction is to focus on the negative aspect of the issue. People often dismiss positive thinking as 'airy fairy' but to me positive thinking is saying- “Yes this has gone very badly, how can I make things better” rather than dwelling on the problem. Whatever we focus on tends to magnify. So if you focus on a loved one’s negative traits you'll only see the negatives in them even though there are plenty of positives. The same with a problem. Focusing on the problem is like looking in the rear view mirror. To move forward you've got to focus on the solution, or the windscreen!

 

 

4. Would you have any advice for people who are unhappy in their job and want to change it?

For those who are unhappy in current job but unsure of their next move I think the best thing someone can do is commit 100% for 30 days to giving their job everything they can. We can get dejected and frustrated with work, go through the motions and focus on the negatives. With work taking up 1/3 of our lives I think we need to do everything in power to enjoy our work day as best we can.

So for 30 days even if unhappy in the workplace focus on being the most helpful, friendly and enthusiastic employee in the job. Giving your job (regardless of how you currently feel about it) everything for 30 days will massively increase your confidence, self-esteem and self-worth.

 

5. What's your top 3 tips for getting through a rough day and finding the purpose behind it all?

Acknowledge and help those around you. Generally when are stressed or miserable it boils down to us being too focused on ourselves and our problems. When we look to help and acknowledge those around us it takes us out of our own heads and gives us a sense of pride. 

A gratitude journal is a great way of shifting your mode from negative to positive. It's easy to see other people’s highlight reel lifestyles on social media and feel hard done by, but when we begin writing down all the things we are grateful for in life it shows us how lucky we really are. 

Along with the gratitude journal it's great to write down a way you could have made the day better and 3 small steps you can take the next day to get you back on track.

 

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The Love What Matters Facebook page always manages to give us a smile (or a tear) with its wonderful array of personal stories about love and family, sent in by people from all over the world.

One post in particular, which went up last night, has already racked up close to a million likes, despite being one of the simplest stories ever shared on the page.

The picture, taken in a shopping mall, shows an elderly couple leaning over a make-up display.

"This husband was helping his wife choose a make-up that matched her skin tone," the photographer explains. 

"She was so concerned about finding the right one and he was so unbelievably helpful. She was having a 'girl' moment, in a panic struggling to find the right one.

"He calmed her down, helped her find her colour and kissed her on the forehead.

"It was such a simple way to show how big his love was for her. A perfect reminder that our bodies grow old but our love doesn't have to."

If you're not crying after seeing that post, we guarantee you will be after reading some of the 65,000 comments posted below it, from other people sharing their own experiences of true love:

Amazing. 

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Lately, we've been hearing a lot about the pitfalls of social media, but now, science has confirmed it: staying away from the "reality distorting" Facebook is likely to increase your happiness. 

A study carried out in Denmark has revealed that even as little as a week away from the social networking site could increase your satisfaction in life and significantly reduce stress. 

Researchers from the Danish Happiness Research Institute (yep, that's actually a place) divided a group of 1,095 people, aged between 16-76, into two groups. 

One group was given their usual access to the site, and the other shut down their profiles for a week. 

“Facebook is a constant bombardment of everyone else’s great news, but many of us look out of the window and see grey skies and rain,” Meik Wiking, CEO of the Institute, tells The Guardian

“This makes the Facebook world, where everyone’s showing their best side, seem even more distortedly bright by contrast, so we wanted to see what happened when users took a break.”

Before and after the experiment took place, the participants were asked to rate their life satisfaction out of ten. They also had to comment on how active their social lives were, how good their day-to-day concentration was and if they compared themselves to others.

The resulting study, The Facebook Experiment: Does social media affect the quality of our lives? revealed that those who abstained from the social network had a higher life appreciation, a richer social life and fewer difficulties when concentrating. 

Sophie Anne Dornoy, 35, took part in the study and said: “My to-do list was getting done faster than normal as I spent my time more productively. I also felt a sort of calmness from not being confronted by Facebook all the time.”

“It felt good to know that the world doesn’t end without Facebook and that people are still able to reach you,” she says.

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We all have those slow, sluggish days where all we want to do is put our head under the duvet and stay there.

However, there are ways you can help yourself to feel at your personal best all day!

Here are some things you can do to help keep your energy levels up throughout the busiest of days.

Stay hydrated
It’s no secret that drinking water is great for you. Not only does it stimulate your mind and help you to focus, it’s also essential to keep your skin clear and your organs working in peak condition.

Keep fit
Even thirty minutes of exercise each day will have you feeling amazing. Working out releases endorphins and keeps the immune system strong and healthy.

Eat the rainbow
Filling your daily diet with a variety of fruits, veg and other natural plant-based foods will ensure you are keeping your body healthy and reducing the risk of disease. Eating a rainbow of fruits and veg is also a great way to stimulate the appetite thanks to all the different colours and textures and help keep those energy levels up.

Take Pharmaton Active Life
Leading busy lives is not always easy; from meetings and lectures to date nights and taking time for cocktails with the girls – we are always on the go. To help keep your energy levels up, try supplementing your diet with Pharmaton Active Life. Containing Ginseng G115, essential vitamins and minerals, Pharmaton Active Life will help you get the very best out of your day.

Brought to you in association with Pharmaton Active Life.

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Life can be tough sometimes, but for many of us, there are small things that can instantly lift our mood. Let's see how many of these you can relate to…

1. Using your favourite mug
Until you realise someone else got there first…

2. Strong selfie game
You can't deal with real life today, but you're all Valencia'd up and ready to wow your social media followers.

3. When you realise your knickers match your bra
Theres just an odd sense of achievement and confidence to seize the day.

4. When winged eyeliner works
The fact that you didn't end up having an emotional breakdown sends your mind into overdrive: "Who am I? What has happened to me? Take me back to Krypton."

5. Titanic being on TV 
DVD just isn't the same. Yessss, it isn't even Christmas. Productive things will have to wait three hours…

 

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