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Live Well and Be Happy

Good Read (13)

New researches in America found that social separation or lack of social connection increases the risk of heart disease by 29 per cent and stroke by 32 per cent. Socially isolated individuals especially those in middle age, have a 30 per cent higher risk of dying in the next seven years. Social isolation is a growing epidemic in the world. Declaring loneliness is seen as a stigma of admitting our failure in life.  read more...
In this article, Gary Hayden explores the virtue of empathy. The feeling of empathy or compassion motivates us to act in good and unselfish ways to reduce the amount of suffering in the world around us. It is believed that compassion makes us happier. According to the Dalai Lama, “…It is a mental attitude based on the wish for others to be free of their suffering and is associated with a sense of commitment, responsibility and respect towards others.” The writer believes that compassion helps us to connect with people in a warmer and friendlier manner and, in return, we enjoy better relationships and live more fulfilling lives. read more...
Notably, one of the most liveable cities in the world, Copenhagen is also the most walkable. Denmark has been consistently ranked highly in global indices on education, health care, social mobility and human development. It is probably no coincidence that it is also a country renowned for its people-centric urban planning which promotes cycling and walking. Notwithstanding that it has taken the city planners over 50 years to create good pedestrian environments, the philosophy of “pedestrians as a priority” cuts across the whole Denmark. The writer then looks back at such development in Singapore and how it compares.  read more...
The writer, a columnist, who writes for the Financial Times for the last 31 years is calling it quits next summer. She is going to teach trigonometry in a school in inner London where the shortage of teachers is worst. Rationalising her decision to walk away from the job she loves and that pays well, did not seem like a big struggle as she puts it, “But the biggest thing, which readers may find hard to swallow given my entire career has been based on ridiculing others, is that, for my next act, I want to be useful.” read more...
Ever imagine what your life will be like without your mobile phone? Lucy Kellaway shares her story of being without her smartphone for a whole week on a work trip and back. The rediscovery of doing things we once did in our old non-digitised world is not only refreshing but ironically liberating. Like talking to someone at a conference (networking instead of reading off your smartphone), asking for directions on the street (beats Google Maps), and taking a bus when you cannot Uber. Finally, you’ll find that you have more time to think and admire the world around you. read more...
Gary Hayden used to put people in pigeonholes when he was young. He realises now that labelling people that way is all nonsense. Humans are complex, we should not be labelled and we have the capacity to change ourselves when exposed to new and conducive circumstances. Having exposed himself to long-distance walking which he thought he dislikes, he soon found himself enjoying long walks in the countryside. Quoting Prof Michael Puett in his book, The Path: A New Way To Think About Everything, "Every person has many different and often contradictory emotional dispositions, desires and ways of responding to the world." read more...
The fact that life is transient makes it so precious. This article reminds us to be mindful of the miracle of existence and to savour each fleeting moment of beauty and enjoy life’s experiences while they last. We should appreciate each sunrise, each blossom, each meeting with friends, and each cup of tea. As Gary Hayden watches a little girl blowing bubbles among the cherry blossoms in Japan, the bubbles vanished before him, he knows the blossoms will soon be gone too – he savoured that moment alongside the little girl’s father who sat nearby. Japanese hold ‘hanami’ parties to enjoy cherry blossoms which is symbolic of the fleeting beauty of life and its experiences: here one moment and gone the next. read more...
Each one of us in Singapore is responsible for 1,395kg of solid waste last year according to NEA. Have you ever thought what it would be like to have a waste-free life? Jessica Cheam of Eco-Business tells us about her quest to achieve this in her Project Zero Waste experimental living. With more than 80 percent of us living in apartments, any trash simply disappears down the rubbish chute – all too convenient! Our first priority should be to Reduce consumption; then Reuse wherever possible, and Recycle when items cannot be reused. The all too familiar 3Rs do not work the same when it comes to achieving zero waste. read more...
We all know the fragility of life, yet most of us live each day in a way that is quite inconsistent with this knowledge. Professor David Chan expounds on finding meaning in life which is not the same as the meaning of life. He helps us understand why having a personal sense of life’s meaning leads to longevity, happiness and even a better society. He goes on to introduce the 5 Cs to find meaning in life for individuals – Complementarity; Congruence; Commitment; Contribution; and, Community. read more...
How would you react when you are woken up at 5am in the morning by the loud call of the koel, a bird, outside your bedroom window? Living in urban Singapore, we often forget that there is a natural world around us. The writer reminds us that there is more to life on this planet than urban comfort and utilitarian convenience. Stopping to listen to the thrumming cicada chorus, or the call of the koel, or watching the family of otters in Bishan Park, perhaps could help us reconsider our relationship with the natural world and what we are doing to it. read more...
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