In her waning years, Mrs. Webster was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. For almost a decade, this once-powerful woman wasted away in a manner that was agonizing to watch for everyone in the community. Her husband—that pragmatic old Yankee farmer—took care of his wife at home the entire time she was dying. He bathed her, fed her, gave up freedoms in order to keep watch over her, and learned to endure the dreadful consequences of her decay. He tended to this woman long after she knew who he was anymore—even long after she knew who she herself was anymore. Every Sunday, Mr. Webster dressed his wife in nice clothing, put her in a wheelchair, and brought her to services at the same church where they had been married almost sixty years earlier. He did this because Lillian had always loved that church, and he knew she would’ve appreciated the gesture if only she had been conscious of it. Arthur would sit there in the pew beside his wife, Sunday after Sunday, holding her hand while she slowly ebbed away from him into oblivion.
While we laugh at this story, it is a great illustration of what we are focused on this month – committed love. The difference here between the pig and the chicken, as illustrated, is that for one the donation was a contribution and for the other it was a commitment. This story aids our understanding of the difference between committed love and a love “contribution.” We are not called to contribute love to others, we are called to be committed to loving others.
“He died,” she said coolly, and that settled it. Her father had died of death. The way people used to die, I suppose, before we knew very much about why or how. “When he died, we ate the water buffalo at his funeral.” At this memory, her face flashed a complicated array of emotions: sadness at the loss of her father, pleasure at the remembrance of how good the water buffalo had tasted.
As a matter of fact, it’s already happening. Now that young girls like my twelve-year-old friend Mai are being exposed to modern Western women like me through crowds of tourists, they’re experiencing those first critical moments of cultural hesitation. I call this the “Wait-a-Minute Moment”—that pivotal instant when girls from traditional cultures start pondering what’s in it for them, exactly, to be getting married at the age of thirteen and starting to have babies not long after. They start wondering if they might prefer to make different choices for themselves, or any choices, for that matter. Once girls from closed societies start thinking such thoughts, all hell breaks loose. Mai- trilingual, bright, and observant- had already glimpsed another set of options for life. It wouldn’t be long before she was making demands of her own. In other words: It might be too late for even the Hmong to be Hmong anymore.
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!

The plan: You need to be around people who do what you want to be doing. If you keep putting yourself there, something will happen. And one of the best ways to feel happy is to spend time with others who share your passions. We all think about the people we see regularly, so make sure you’re on the minds of those that will lift you up, not hold you down. Having multiple models means you’ll make decades of process in weeks, not days. Yes, staying in an environment where you feel like you’re not good enough can be tough, but hold on. It’ll pay off in the long run.


Too often, we’re our own worst enemies. While it’s good to be aware of mistakes you’ve made and improvements you can make, beating yourself up on the regular is a surefire way to wind up singing the blues. In fact, experts believe that self-criticism can just make us more miserable. So instead of dwelling on your every failing, focus on how and why you value yourself. This shift will help make you stronger, more productive, less stressed, and, yes, happier.
4. Take action. If you’re in a bad situation, take steps to bring about change. If you’re having trouble with your new boss, you could decide to try to transfer. Or you could change your behavior. Or you could find ways to pay less attention to your boss. Ask yourself, "What exactly is the problem?" It's astounding to me that often, when I take time to identify a problem exactly, a possible solution presents itself.
10In other words, Genette suggests that the book’s materiality has two main functions : it is a zone in which the book’s producers and consumers negotiate the identity, meaning and interpretation of the text – a process that mainly consists of the producers’ attempts to direct the consumers’ reception of the text – and it serves to locate and reach the text’s primary target audience. These functions are the paratext’s main raison d’être ; indeed, as Genette remarks at the end of his study, functionality is “[t]he most essential of the paratext’s properties” :
Love isn't rational. It can't be controlled. If you allow a feeling that is so emotional and malleable to dictate your behaviour, you'll realise quickly that it only pans out when things are up, not when they're down. Commitment on the other hand, will guide you through both. Commitment is not dependant on the heartstrings, it's dependant on a conscious choice you make - and that, is something you have complete control over.
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10 Images of embracing couples have in fact been appearing on the covers of popular romance novels since British publisher Mills & Boon developed the format in the 1930s and 1940s, so the semantic association between an embracing couple on the front cover and the generic identity romance is long-standing in our culture (McKnight-Trontz 40). Still, the more sexualized version of the embrace known as the clinch did not become commonplace in the popular romance genre until the 1970s, when the so-called “bodice ripper” romance started featuring more sensual embraces on the front cover (McKnight-Trontz 23-24).
In one study, a research team from Massachusetts General Hospital looked at the brain scans of 16 people before and after they participated in an eight-week course in mindfulness meditation. The study, published in the January issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, concluded that after completing the course, parts of the participants’ brains associated with compassion and self-awareness grew, and parts associated with stress shrank.
Pride is a rudder that helps you navigate opportunities to get social recognition. It helps you steer between the opposite extremes of constant approval-seeking and cynical dejection, which actually can help you feel quite happy and content. Taking pride in yourself means more than just thinking it silently. It means daring to say, “Look what I did!” to another living soul. Asking others to respect your accomplishment is risky because you may be disappointed. People often protect themselves by insisting that social respect doesn’t matter or that it’s hopelessly unfair. But these rationales don’t help you feel better because they don’t soothe the mammal brain’s longing for the sense of security that social respect brings.
“‘Flow’ refers to activities that you get involved in, where you forget time and place,” Mramor said. “That can happen with writing, with music, with cooking. There have even been books written about how knitting causes happiness because it causes ‘flow.’” As long as you’re not throwing yourself into your chosen activity to distract yourself from other problems in your life, tapping into that feeling can produce big happiness gains. So get dancing, painting ... fill-in-the-blank.
Multiple studies suggest that meditating — focusing intently and quietly on the present for set periods of time — can help lessen feelings of depression and anxiety. Research in long term meditators (Buddhist monks, for example) shows that these peoples' brains are well developed in areas that could be linked to heightened awareness and emotional control.
My wife and I, in many respects, are opposites. I’m much more open with my emotions and feelings. She tends to keep them in. We both show our emotional intelligence in different ways. Socially, it takes me a little longer to get comfortable in a crowd, but then, I’m a total extrovert. My wife, who’s more introverted, is a social butterfly at galas and large social gatherings.
Hi, my boyfriend have very different ideas about commitment. We've been together 3 years , and, except the difficulties re his fear of a future , we are amazing together. After the 2nd year, I communicated to him that I wanted to live together and get married. He is afraid and will not agree. It isn't about money, sex, or our kids- it seems like this is about how we disagree. We absolutely never raise our voices, but there have been times we talk but don't really resolve . we have a good therapist. He said he does want to live together , but in no foreseeable future . it seems as though he is looking for perfection before he agrees. I am feeling increasingly frustrated - I feel as though I don't (and won't ) have a voice in this decision. He's an amazing man, but....I'm not happy. Any thoughts?
15This double semiotic codification – and its concomitant potential for divergent interpretations – is present in nearly every aspect of the category romance novel’s materiality. To illustrate how the dual semiotic decoding of these properties may work, I will focus on three illustrative examples in the rest of this paper. These analyses focus on three standard elements of the category romance’s paratexts : the front cover iconography, the line template in the design of the category romance’s material packaging and the preview scene that is routinely printed on the first page of a category romance novel.
I must add here that all my friends and relatives were raised with varying degrees of this same belief. With the possible exception of the very most conservative families among us, or the very most recently immigrated families among us, everyone I knew—at some basic level—shared this assumed cultural respect for the individual. Whatever our religion, whatever our economic class, we all at least somewhat embraced the same dogma, which I would describe as being very historically recent and very definitely Western and which can effectively be summed up as: “You matter.”
By contrast, I had always been taught that the pursuit of happiness was my natural (even national) birthright. It is the emotional trademark of my culture to seek happiness. Not just any kind of happiness, either, but profound happiness, even soaring happiness. And what could possibly bring a person more soaring happiness than romantic love? I, for one, had always been taught by my culture that marriage ought to be a greenhouse in which romantic love can abundantly flourish. Insidethe somewhat rickety greenhouse of my first marriage, then, I had planted row after row of grand expectations. I was a veritable Johnny Appleseed of grand expectations, and all I reaped for my trouble was a harvest of bitter fruit.
“‘Flow’ refers to activities that you get involved in, where you forget time and place,” Mramor said. “That can happen with writing, with music, with cooking. There have even been books written about how knitting causes happiness because it causes ‘flow.’” As long as you’re not throwing yourself into your chosen activity to distract yourself from other problems in your life, tapping into that feeling can produce big happiness gains. So get dancing, painting ... fill-in-the-blank.
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Negative stimuli get processed by the amygdala; positive or neutral memories gets processed by the hippocampus. Sleep deprivation hits the hippocampus harder than the amygdala. The result is that sleep-deprived people fail to recall pleasant memories, yet recall gloomy memories just fine. In one experiment by Walker, sleep-deprived college students tried to memorize a list of words. They could remember 81% of the words with a negative connotation, like “cancer.” But they could remember only 31% of the words with a positive or neutral connotation, like “sunshine” or “basket.”
Just try to frown while listening to upbeat songs (like any of the ones on our Ultimate Happy Playlist)—we dare you! Jamming out can help reduce stress—which leads to greater happiness in general. Plus, research shows listening to music with the goal and desire to become happier may actually lead to greater happiness than simply listening for the sake of listening. So the next time you pump up the volume, keep that positive intention in mind—you may just find yourself smiling a little wider.
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