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November 24, 2008

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I love what you have to say. This list is from "Yes!Magazine" (which is a terrific thing in and of itself) and I have been waiting for an opportunity to interject this into a conversation since I read it today. It fits with your thoughts and the full explanation in the magazine for each item has even broader applications.

10 Things Science Says Will Make You Happy

1. Savor Everyday Moments

Participants who took time to savor ordinary events [such as eating] that they normally hurried though or to think back on pleasant moments showed significant increases in happiness and reductions in depression.

2. Avoid comparisons

Instead of comparing ourselves to others, focusing on our own personal achievement leads to greater satisfaction.

3. Put Money Low on the List

The more we seek satisfaction in material goods, the less we find them there. The satisfaction has a short half-life.

4. Have Meaningful Goals

Whether learning a new craft, or raising moral children, ["making a meal plan my favorite Sunday chore"] are far happier than those who don't have strong dreams or aspirations. Happiness lies at the intersection between pleasure and meaning.

5. Take Initiative at Work

When we express creativity, help others, suggest improvements, or do additional tasks on the job, we make our work more rewarding and feel more in control.

6. Make Friends, Treasure Family

We don’t just need relationships, we need close ones” that involve understanding and caring. ["I like food because it’s a universal connector."]

7. Smile Even When You Don't Feel Like It

It sounds simple, buy it works. Happy people see possibilities, opportunities and success. Even if you weren't born looking at the glass as half-full, with practice, a positive outlook can become a habit. ["I’m afraid that if I don’t learn these skills, they will be lost to future generations."]

8. Say Thank You Like You mean It

People who keep gratitude journals on a weekly basis are healthier, more optimistic, and more likely to make progress toward achieving personal goals. ["My husband even asked if we could send a Christmas card to the makers of his favorite product, peanut butter, because he loves it so much, and he wants them to know."]

9. Get Out and Exercise

Exercise may be just as effective as drugs in treating depression, without all the side effects and expense. Regular exercise offers a sense of accomplishment and opportunity for social interaction, releases feel-good endorphins, and boosts self-esteem. [Okay, is this just implied...]

10. Give it Away, Give It Away Now!

Listening to a friend, passing on your skills, celebrating others’ successes, and forgiveness also contribute to happiness. Those who spend money on others reported much greater happiness than those who spend it on themselves. [Happy Thanksgiving!]

www.yesmagazine.org

Deming - I think that's a great post all on its own!

I agree with and can attest to all ten points, perhaps especially number eight. I suspect gratitude is the root of all optimism.

From someone who shares your discomfort with killing things (I often move the spiders I'm ordered to kill into the backyard.) killing a chicken is less traumatic for me than squashing a bug. The difference, in my head anyway, is that the former is a meaningful act, whereas the other is not so. My dear friend, the Madfarmer, whose farm is where I experienced this particular part of my food economy, always whispers, "Peace friend," as he kills them. Some people no doubt would find such a gesture empty or even ironic, but to me, it suggested all the truth of our being a part of the world. One creature dies so another can live. It isn't always fair, clean, or pleasant, but on that day, it was dignified.

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