Are My Relationships Making Me Happy and Healthy?


Robert Waldinger

TED Talks are something I’ve really enjoyed watching for a number of years now, and I’ve found many of them very informative and insightful.

One of my good friends from University posted this today, stating that she has also watched many of the talks, but found this TED talk by psychiatrist Robert Waldinger to be the best one she had seen to date. After I watched it, I understood why she said that, and I think I have to agree, if not the best, it’s one of the most important for people to watch.

I’ve long believed that relationships are what life is all about, and the most important  thing about being a happy healthy human being. The 75 year study that Dr. Waldinger has participated in, bares witness to this fact.

During the special holidays such as Easter, we become more poignantly, and sometimes even painfully aware of how important our relationships are as we gather together or not.

Sadly the reality is today there are increasingly more people who are alone and lonely, whether through circumstances beyond their control, or because they have chosen to isolate themselves in one way or another for a myriad of reasons. This leads to unhappiness and ill health. If we can make an effort to reach out to another in love, this can make all the difference, to not only to someone else’s happiness and health, but also to our own health and happiness.

We need to take care not to take our relationships for granted and need to make them relationships of quality, and substance. It will surely make for a happier and healthier world.





Big Brothers

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Today is a sad day for me.  I am remembering my late big brother, Guru Ralph, who died 14 years ago at the age of 59, and he’d be 73 on this day March 26th. It’s hard for me to talk about, painful and all, but I think it’s always therapeutic to talk about difficult feelings instead of keeping them bottled up. I had a life time of that, and it’s toxic to always keep painful feelings suppressed.

From the get-go my brother was always my hero. Once I hit puberty though we came to logger heads. He was very protective naturally, being a ten years older. But I was having none of it once I hit my teens. Not him or any one else was going to tell me what to do. I was a sixties wild child.

Our age difference meant, he grew up in the 50s and was a die hard greaser. Black and white t-shirts,  blue jeans with cuffs, Converse running shoes, Brill Cream,  shirt sleeves with his smokes rolled up in them, Rock & Roll music and the whole deal. I was the opposite, or so I thought.. I was what I call a fringe hippie, not quite old enough to be a full fledged hippie, but I was determined to try hard to be one.

I learned so many things from my brother Ralph and especially once I became an adult. He taught me by example, how to live life with grace, humour, humility, strength, and courage in the face of adversity.

We always had a laugh about his nickname Guru Ralph because he’d come up with these crazy sayings, like ” Do unto others , then beat it.”

Many years ago when I was young and foolish, I resented him trying to tell me what to do, now I wished my big brother was around to do just that, because he lived up to his nickname, Guru Ralph, in lots of ways. He was full of wisdom. My big brother Ralph was the best brother a little sister could ever have,  I’ll miss him always, and he’ll always be my hero.

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How Dirt Makes Me Happy

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There is nothing that makes me happier quite like gardening, and growing seeds to transplant into my garden in the Spring. My little grow mat warms my seeds quickly germinating them and really works like a charm, giving me about a two to three week jump on the season.

Gardening works like a charm too because it awakens our primal urge to connect with the earth and uniting with nature. Getting outdoors into the fresh air, exposing ourselves to the sun, gives us our much needed Vitamin D.

The microbe Mycobacterium vaccae  releases serotonin, the happy chemical in our brain, a natural anti-depressant and strengthens the immune system, and mirrors the effect on neurons in our brain the way Prozac does.

Individuals with Dementia have been known to benefit form gardening, lessening anxiety, depression and aggression. It is seen as being a preventative measure against the disease as well.

It has been reported in one survey that 80% of those who garden say they are happy and satisfied with their lives compared to 67% of non-gardeners.

Gardening makes me feel grounded. Grounding or earthing is an actual thing we can do by throwing off our shoes. It brings us back to a neutral balanced state when we make direct contact with the earth’s surface that has negative ions. These rush into our bodies discharging numerous unpaired positive ions, or free radicals we pick up every day.

Dirt makes me happy!