There are two kinds of optimizers: those who write programs, and those who hack what other people have written. Kevin Burton is a perfect example of the latter. With his all-American look, Burton seems to have just stepped out of a Gap ad. But that doesn't mean he can meet women on his own. For that, he relies on a sneaky little program he invented called the AIM Sniffer.

“Hangry” people are not happy people, and sometimes the simplest mood-upping-fix is a quick nosh on something relatively healthy, Mramor said. “Dark chocolate, in moderation, is a good thing,” she added. “Eat a balanced snack with proteins, carbs and fats, which balances blood sugar and improves mood.” Maybe grab an apple with some cheddar cheese or peanut butter, spread an avocado on toast or dip into a greek yogurt with whatever fruit topping suits your fancy.


The groups were then tested six months later to assess their relapse rate. Of those who had taken the medication alone, 38 percent had slipped back into depression. Those in the combination group were doing only slightly better, with a 31 percent relapse rate. The biggest shock, though, came from the exercise group: Their relapse rate was only 9 percent!
Commitments to yourself can be difficult to enforce but will ultimately feel good. For example, I made the commitment to bring reusable bags with me when I buy food, but I kept forgetting them. So I added the commitment to go back to my car and get them if I forgot. The next time I found myself at the supermarket without the bags, I thought “I’m too busy to go back to the car.” Then I realized that I will always be busy, and I am a powerless person if I can’t even honor a commitment to myself. So I went back to the car to get the bags, and I never forgot them again because I didn’t want to waste time going back to my car. You will not want to waste time starting over with Day One. You will want to honor your commitments to yourself and thus enjoy a new happy habit.
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A team of psychologists recently studied brain scans of volunteers who wrote about an emotional experience for 20 minutes a day for four sessions. They compared the scans to those of volunteers who wrote down a neutral experience for the same amount of time. The brain scans of the first group showed neural activity in a part of the brain responsible for dampening strong emotional feelings, suggesting that the act of recording their experience calmed them. This same activity was absent in the volunteers who recorded a neutral experience.


Visiting a museum or seeing a concert is yet another way to boost your mood. A study that examined 50,000 adults' levels of life satisfaction in Norway found that people who participated in more cultural activities reported lower levels of anxiety and depression. They also had a higher satisfaction with their overall quality of life. So go see a play or join a club!

How does this apply to dating and mating? Anything that constrains your options, or your partner’s, limits the information contained in the choices you make. That means that some people may routinely misinterpret the behavior of their partners and think that something may signal commitment when it does not. That also means that some couples that have been together a while, with an unclear future, and that also have the constraints that come from living together, may have difficulty reading clearly in each other what they want for the future.
“Generally if people compare themselves to those who are worse off, they’re going to feel better,” continues Bauer, now a research associate at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and a clinical psychologist at Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Associates of Toronto. “When they compare themselves to people who are better off, it can make them feel worse.”
Of course, as expected, some critics could not be swayed. Dr. Hilde Mosse told the Emerson School that romance comics presented a “distorted picture of love.” However, it was Dr. Mosse’s colleague and co-founder of the Lafargue Clinic in Harlem, Fredric Wertham, who posed the greatest threat against all genres of comics, including romance comics. As Amy Kiste Nyberg writes in Seal of Approval: The History of the Comics Code:
But perhaps this isn’t the complete picture. While happiness is generally understood as a mood, there are other ways to understand happiness. Let’s look at an analogy, health. We know that it is possible to be wrong about our state of health. You may feel great but be on death’s door. People drop dead of heart attacks without warning. You go for your annual check-up with no complaints only to have blood tests returned with bad news.

Jungian psychoanalysts take this idea further, and see romantic love as a “projection” of a key part of one’s inner world onto someone else. Basically when we meet someone new who “sparkles” for us, we use them as a canvas for us to place all kinds of wonderful things from our imagination onto them. This basically inflates the reality of that person into god or goddess-like status. The “perfect” person.


Endorphin is also stimulated when you stretch. Everyone can add stretching to their daily routine, because you can do it while you’re watching TV, waiting in line, or talking on the phone. Mild stretching brings circulation into constricted areas. Stop before you feel pain. Just because a little is good doesn’t mean a lot is better, nor is it needed to start feeling happier. If you stretch every day for forty-five days, you will not only feel good but also come to enjoy it so much that you will look forward to doing it every day.


The reason grudges are bad for your happiness is that the negative emotions associated with those feelings eventually give way to resentment and thoughts of revenge. This leaves little room in your emotional repertoire for anything else, like happiness, according to the Mayo Clinic. What's more, decades of research have linked the simple act of forgiveness to better overall heart health, less psychological stress, improved physical ability, and longer life.
The rationale: Feeling happy comes down to where you direct your thoughts. What are you thinking about most often? To take control of your focus, you have to feed your mind. What you feed your mind is what you become. So to become the best possible you, you need to give your mind the most nutritious content possible. To put it another way, Jim Rohn said, “Every day, you have to stand guard at the door of your mind.” Why? Because the longer you hold things – ideas, thoughts, feelings – in there, the more you start to accept them unconsciously. And then you start to develop meanings that take over your life, likely in ways that won’t serve you.

Do nice things for others. One study shows that people who were given a cash bonus at work were happiest when they spent a significant amount of it on other people. This doesn’t mean that you should spend all of your cash on your best friend, but it does mean that you should make a more concerted effort to do nice things for others, whether you’re helping a friend cope with her breakup just by being there or you’re volunteering at a homeless shelter. No act is 100% selfless, and it’s okay to help others while helping yourself feel happier, too.[8]
When I was growing up in my small town in Connecticut, my favorite neighbors were a white-haired husband and wife named Arthur and Lillian Webster. The Websters were local dairy farmers who lived by an inviolable set of classic Yankee values. They were modest, frugal, generous, hardworking, unobtrusively religious, and socially discreet members of the community who raised their three children to be good citizens. They were also enormously kind. Mr. Webster called me “Curly” and let me ride my bike for hours on their nicely paved parking lot. Mrs. Webster—if I was very good—would sometimes let me play with her collection of antique medicine bottles.
Committed love is built on a strong basis of mutual understanding. Now this may sound a bit obvious, and one may say this is a part of every relationship but mutual understanding goes much deeper. Love commitment is about understanding the unsaid words, unexpressed feelings and everything in between. Both partners in a relationship need to work upon and build the relationship nurtured with complete understanding.
What I learned from that experience is that commitment requires open communication channels and an “all-in” mentality by both people. Relationships require each individual to meet in the middle, with dual commitment for the present and future. Sure, nothing is promised, but when it comes time to progressing in a relationship and talking marriage, it’s critical for communication to be on point.
Avoidance is when you refuse to confront and deal with a challenge. Accommodation is when you seek to accommodate others’ wishes and desires, even at the exclusion of your own needs and preferences. Compromise is when each side offer and accepts mutual concessions, and collaboration occurs when both parties seek a win-win arrangement versus a win-at-all-costs one.
As an example of just the opposite of sufficient commitment, I vividly recall a little scene of a young couple at an airport. I was on a layover when I overheard their argument. (I wasn’t eavesdropping as much as they were talking so loudly that I could not help but notice.) The tension was about her wanting to dress warmer for the flight and him wanting her to stay dressed just as she was. She was in quite short shorts and some type of sleeveless, very light shirt. She didn’t want to be cold on the flight. 

No, I don’t mean you need to be a sacrificing person all the time, but this is something that starts to happen naturally. When the needs of your partner start becoming your priority, you know you are in a serious love commitment. It does not make you feel any lesser nor does it make you feel like you are losing out on something; in fact it gives you great joy and satisfaction.

One of the biggest attractions of dating is falling in love, and many people have sought long and hard to find a partner they can love forever. Life has a way of changing how people feel and perceive the world, and love is not immune to this phenomenon. Many couples are shocked to discover that their love may fade over time, but they still feel committed to their partner. That is because love and commitment are very different from each other.


At the end of her memoir Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert fell in love with Felipe, a Brazilian living in Indonesia. The couple swore eternal love, but also swore (as skittish divorce survivors) never to marry. However, providence intervened in the form of a U.S. government ultimatum: get married, or Felipe could never enter America again. Told with Gilbert’s trademark humor and intelligence, this fascinating meditation on compatibility and fidelity chronicles Gilbert’s complex and sometimes frightening journey into second marriage, and will enthrall the millions of readers who made Eat, Pray, Love a number one bestseller.
He committed to serving people in order to bring them into a relationship with God. He was insulted, humiliated and rejected by the people He made. He could have come to earth as anyone – He chose to become a servant – whose very nature was to be at others’ beck and call. He did not demand His rights – He came to serve people. A servant does not pick and choose how or when they will serve. They are at the disposal of those they serve.
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Feeling overwhelmed with life? Take the time to write it down. Having clarity of mind can most definitely lower stress levels, allowing you to enjoy yourself and embrace happiness in your life. Next time you are utterly frustrated take a piece of paper, pen and write everything that comes to mind. You are literally taking a brain dump, but it will leave you feeling rested and with some additional space in your brain for happy thoughts!

A typical romance story was told in the first person, allegedly from a true account confided to a trusted comic book professional. They generally followed a predictable dramatic arc, with a fairly wide range of crises — unrequited love, class barriers, jealousy, career conflicts, haunted pasts, etc. — inevitably resolved with a monogamous happily-ever-after ending. “Well, darling, suddenly I don’t love you anymore! I can’t explain it — but I just don’t!” announces Tony at the outset of “Changes of Heart,” the lead story from the April 1965 issue of Young Romance (the longest-running title in the romance pantheon). He and Brenda had been so right for each other. Then — boom! The thrill is gone! Brenda doesn’t know how she’ll carry on. She dates, but can’t get Tony out of her head. One night the doorbell rings — “It’s Tony!” she thinks. But it isn’t Tony, it’s Tony’s old friend Bill Oliver. Tony’s blown town with no forwarding address, and Bill thought she might know where to find him. Brenda breaks down sobbing, spilling the whole story. Bill listens sympathetically, then admits that he, too, was recently dumped. They start hanging out, and suddenly realize they’ve fallen for each other. “There was no need for words — our love was strong because it had been born out of pain.”

Some recent work in neuroscience as examined the brains of people in romantic love. They found that the brain areas involved with making judgments and with sense of self. What this means is that when we are in romantic love, out ability to make judgments about situations and the other person is actually impaired, and we lose our sense of individuality and over-identify with the other (Xu, et al, 2010).
Of course, as expected, some critics could not be swayed. Dr. Hilde Mosse told the Emerson School that romance comics presented a “distorted picture of love.” However, it was Dr. Mosse’s colleague and co-founder of the Lafargue Clinic in Harlem, Fredric Wertham, who posed the greatest threat against all genres of comics, including romance comics. As Amy Kiste Nyberg writes in Seal of Approval: The History of the Comics Code:

5This paper focuses on a particular kind of romance novel, namely the so-called “category romance”. As the name implies, category romances are popular romance novels that are published in a category or series (also called line or imprint), which groups together similar types of romance stories.3 Examples of category romance lines include the Blaze series (featuring sensual romances), the Intrigue line (featuring romances with a suspense subplot) or the Medical Romance imprint (featuring romances set in a medical context). Series membership traditionally determines a large part of the category romance’s identity, which is reflected in the prominent place the series imprint takes up on the category romance’s front cover (see figure 1). The front cover is traditionally also dominated by the eye-catching image of a couple (often partially undressed) locked in a passionate embrace. This image, known within the romance community as the “clinch”, has become an iconic visual marker for popular romance in our culture and renders the novel’s generic identity unmistakable (McKnight-Trontz 17 ; Wendell and Tan 170).


Live in the moment. Another trick to being happier is to learn to embrace the present moment instead of feeling regret for the past or dreading the future. Learn to enjoy the conversations you have, instead of thinking about where you’re going to go next or worrying about that thing you said twenty minutes ago. Learn to appreciate the things in front of you, the good time you’re having, and to cast away all thoughts of anything outside of your immediate experience. Obviously, this takes a lot of dedication, but you’ll see your happiness level rise dramatically once you get the hang of it.[2]
first. Spark your new trail each day whether or not you feel like it, and you will eventually pass it with ease, feeling happier and better as you go. You may not get the highs of your old happy habit, but you will learn to feel good without artificial highs and their inevitable side effects. You will be so pleased with your new habit that you will want to build another, and another.
Make time for reflection. Finding time to take stock of your experiences and to sit back and consider what the day has brought you can make you happier. You may not be very happy because you feel like you’re just going through the motions and doing have time to just sit still and ask yourself, “What the heck just happened?” Find a time each day – or at least each week – where you can just sit still, stare at some scenery, and think about all of the events that happened to you. You’ll feel a sense of calm and will begin to feel less overwhelmed with everything in front of you, and yes, this will make you happier.
After reading EAT, PRAY, Love by this author, I had high expectations. In this book Ms. Gilbert takes the reader through her struggle with the idea of marriage even though she has fallen in love and the only way she can really have a life with him is to marry him. She takes us on a world tour as they travel the earth together waiting for him to get a visa to enter the country, but the thing I learned and admired about this author is how much research and thought she gave to her decision to marry and what finally encouraged her to become comfortable with the idea of matrimony.
Your body has three layers of muscles. When you vary your exercise, you give the neglected, constricted layers more attention. Since they’re weak, they have to work harder, so you stimulate development where it’s needed instead of going overboard on the parts you overuse. Chasing an endorphin high is not worth the risk of wearing out a part and needing a parts replacement. Variety is a great alternative and one of the best ways to feel better.
While it’s hard to define (especially since it varies from person to person), some experts describe happiness as “a combination of life satisfaction and having more positive emotions than negative emotions,” while others view it as consisting of three parts: feeling good, living a “good life,” and feeling part of a larger purpose. There’s also a distinct difference between short- and long-term happiness: The former is a fleeting feeling, while the latter applies to how we describe our own lives.
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