Life in the pursuit of Happiness


Saw a wonderful commercial this morning on TV. It was done for the Cheese marketing board here in Canada – and it argued that doing things that give you Pleasure makes life worth living. I think the actual caption was “Cheese – an Excellent Source of Pleasure”.

I was intrigued – not so much by the cheese – it looked like Brie wins hands down – probably because it’s so easy to cut – but by the concept.

Life lived in the pursuit of Happiness.

I guess it intrigued me because I just did a series of personality questionnaires for a study at my local hospital on how certain personality types handle stress – and the questions generally asked for me rate a series of statements from Totally Disagree to Totally Agree.

The questions were not generally upbeat. I feel like Killing myself appeared at least 3 times – and there was an entire series devoted to issues related to handling overwhelming emotions. As my daughter-in-law quipped – I’m probably a huge outlier in their study. But hey – they invited me to continue for 3 years. I don’t think they would have done that if my results wouldn’t be included.

Back to the pursuit of Happiness.

So what makes you happy is the first question. If you know what gives you personally pleasure – it’s much easier to figure out what to do to get more of the same.

For me – travel (well not the TRAVEL part – but the being somewhere new and different part) is hugely enjoyable. I love seeing new places, visiting new museums (or even old ones with new exhibits). And you know what totally makes my day – exploring new transit systems.

I loved it when we were learning how to use the metro system in South Korea – it was a hoot to see the different stations, to observe how people in South Korea behave when doing their normal getting from here to there routines. Particularly fun – sitting with the older citizens in the reserved seats – and seeing how they knew each other. And watching them compete for least infirm. You take the seat – no you take the seat – no, I’m clearly in better shape then you – it’s yours. Too funny!

All of which leads me to the subject of my next big trip.

I’m going to Bali – Indonesia. And I’m already loving it – because in Indonesia – I’m a millionaire – a 5 millionaire to be exact. And it only cost me $500 Canadian. But my friend says it’s easy come, easy go.

Well – I’m going to revel in my new status for at least a few days, thank you.

Signing off – The newly minted millionaire – The Soup Lady

My Daughter is getting Married!


On Monday, May 20th, Jamin Treeby of London, England, knelt in front of my daughter, Adrienne Eiser, and presented her with a beautiful emerald ring.

He told her that he wanted to Make her feel better for the rest of his life.

My Daughter joyfully and Tearfully accepted.

A wedding celebration is planned for Montreal in 2014.

The Bride to be is Beautiful, the groom to be is Handsome, The Mother of the Bride is thrilled, the Father of the Bride is Delighted and Proud.

Health and Happiness to Family and Friends – and to the Engaged Couple! May their Joy spread around the world.

Leslie and Victor Eiser

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Surprise – There’s a Science of Happiness! Who Knew?


Backpacks to Briefcases – Free Workshops for Concordia Students and Alumni

I don’t generally attend these workshops – the price is right (free) – but the topics generally are not that thrilling. I’m pretty sure my resume is about as good as it’s going to get, and I have a tough time getting all worried about how to be interviewed.

So imagine my surprise when I realized that one of the series was enticingly called – ‘The Art and Science of Happiness’. Interesting, eh? I didn’t know there was a science to happiness – but I’m willing to give it a listen.

The workshop – really a lecture with some audience participation – was run by Gillian Leithman – a phD student in the field of Postive physiology. Bet you didn’t even know there was a field of Positive Phycology. Well live and learn I say.

Turns out – at least according to Gillian – that our brain is hardwired for negative behaviors. We scan the world looking for issues to give us time to avoid them – and often miss seeing the positive things around us. If that sounds a bit like “Stop and smell the roses” it’s not a surprise – because that thought is one of the basic tenements of the field. We just don’t stop often enough – and spend too much time being on the alert for disaster to really be happy.

Gillian started us off by getting us to list 10 (if possible) things that make us happy. She then proceeded to explain the 3 different general types of happiness producers – pleasurable activities (like taking a hot bath), “Flow” (like losing ourselves in a book – or a blog), and Meaningful activities (like volunteering, or caring for our kids). The best is to have a mix of the different types so that you aren’t putting all your happiness eggs in one basket. I tend to “Flow” activist (writing is one of those), over Meaningful activities (I’m great at the grand-kids – but volunteering isn’t my strong suit).

At the end – her message was that you can change any behavior permanently if you can do it for 30 days. So she had us set a goal of being happier in 30 days by just picking an activity that corresponds to one of the above types of happiness (different from what you naturally do today) and just do it. To make sure you commit – it’s important to announce your intention. In my case – I’m trying to blog every day – and trust me, it is getting easier to keep it up after 30 days. In fact – this is my 54th blog. In 65 days. Pretty cool, eh?

The key question, however, is – Is writing a blog making me happier? Maybe. I am taking a more observant look at the world around me because I know I’m likely to be writing about it shortly. I love thinking about what I’m going to be saying – and I adore checking my visitor stats. So far my greatest number of visitors in one day was 111 – and that was just 2 days ago. How cool is that? And I do love writing – surprise, surprise.

So I think I’d have to say – Gillian – you were right. “Flow” activities – done regularly – do make for a happier outlook.

(Want to contribute a guest blog…. All in the name of making you happier of course… Just let me know.)

And if you want to get in touch with Gillian – her website is:
http:www.lifeskillstoolbox.ca
and her phone # is 514-824-1967

Happiness makes you fat – I don’t think so!


Happiness – Couples – and Weight Gain

It’s my happy marriage that makes me fat – at least as reported by Misty Harris for the Postmedia news. Oh – I really take an exception to that argument – and the lousy study Misty used to back up her reporting.

Here’s a subject that really makes me angry – People who really should know better publishing studies that just don’t make sense.

My newest ‘moan’ – Andrea Meltzer, assistant professor of psychology at Southern Methodist University in Texas latest study. Apparently her team studied 169 newlywed – followed them for 4 years – and reported that the more ‘satisfied’ couples gained more weight.

The headline – Does my marriage make me look fat? – sub-headline – Study: link between weight, happiness.

Last line of the article – “If you take one of those happy marriages that go on for 20, 30, 40 years, it could potentially become unhealthy.”

So based on a study of 4 years (no kids, still in honeymoon mode) – we are predicting what will happen after the same couple has been married for 40 years. Are you kidding me? What kind of evidence could they have that allowed for that kind of thinking.

And what does that tell me – fight with my husband more, it will keep me thin? Great message there folks.

Andrea – you should be ashamed of yourself. The study isn’t bad – but it doesn’t say anything about long term impact. There are studies out there that show that on average everyone gains some weight after age 20 – and I will bet that my readers will agree there. So now you are trying to blame that on being happy.

Honey – it’s not the huge piece of cheesecake that made me fat – it’s because I love you.

I don’t think so. Not long-term. Not even close.