Advertisers and investment professionals are telling me the secret to improving my life is to give up my gourmet coffee. One pitch says if I sacrifice a daily $2.50 latte, I will have a king’s ransom in a year’s time. With so many people suggesting this approach for reallocating dollars, I’m starting to feel a little sorry for the coffee people. Still, the budget gurus have a point: We sometimes fritter away time and money because we aren’t making conscious choices.
One need look no further than a newspaper’s advice column to better understand the human condition. Amazingly, the questions don’t change all that much over time; neither does the advice. Do we ever learn?
Few of us actually write letters to columnists, but nearly all of us seek the advice of friends or family at some point in our lives. In a recent online survey I conducted, respondents were asked to share some of the best and worst advice they ever received.
You’ve met the type. They take a step toward you in conversation and you take a step back. They advance in your direction and you inch away. The dance continues until you remember a sudden appointment and run for the door, wondering if you are developing claustrophobia. The answer lies in something social scientists call proxemics. It boils down to someone invading our personal space. When this happens, we are often uneasy without even knowing why.
If you are resolving to take better care of yourself in the coming year but find the prospect of a full-blown vacation too expensive, consider taking the “bloom-where-you-are-planted” approach and stay home.
Physician and holistic health pioneer Rachel Naomi Remen once confessed that as a pediatric intern she was an unrepentant baby kisser, often smooching her little patients as she made her rounds at the hospital. She did this when no one was looking because she sensed her colleagues would frown on her behavior, even though she couldn’t think of a single reason not to do it.
If your last vacation left you fatigued, bloated, or vowing to disown your relatives, it may be time to revisit the purpose of getting away from it all. While there's some value in simply changing your routine and surroundings, there is such a thing as vacation hangover from eating and drinking like a Roman, going on blister-generating sightseeing excursions, and weighing a bit too heavily on a branch of the family tree. If your vacation pictures make you cringe, it might be time to rethink your leisure time.
With the wild fluctuations in the stock market, financial sages keep giving the same advice: “Invest for the long term. Don’t be alarmed by short-term losses.” It’s a good reminder that the best investments usually are ones that require foresight and patience. It’s hard to keep in mind with all the scary headlines, but it’s an enduring truth.
Americans successfully got on the bandwagon decades ago to reduce various kinds of pollution in their environment. But one form of pollution may not be receiving the attention it deserves. The culprit is noise and managing our exposure can benefit our health.
I’m what’s known in consumer advertising as a home enthusiast. It may be a nesting instinct in overdrive, but I never stop trying to improve my living space. Recently, I went a step beyond my usual fussing about and brought in a feng shui consultant to check out my house chi (natural energy). What I learned is there are simple rules anyone can use.