happy posterDoes money buy happiness? Well, yes and no!

Money can buy things that give temporary pleasure but because we are adaptive creatures by nature, things only bring fleeting joy.

However when money is used to help you survive – food, shelter, safety – or when you are using it for experiences or to help others, it effects your happiness levels more deeply.  ...continue reading

Happy_posterIf you are lucky enough to have seen Happy: The Documentary by director Roko Belic, you've already learned some powerful - and surprising - findings about what truly contributes to happiness. (If you haven't seen the movie, I hope you do. Its strength lies in finding happiness even when the world does not cooperate.)

The movie has so many inspiring ideas that you might not know where to start. So here is a list of ideas to help you on your journey. But don't get overwhelmed - just pick one that you can see fitting into your life and get started. (You are always welcomed back for another): ...continue reading

What_Makes_You_Happier

According to the book Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives your odds of being happy increase 15% when friends in your immediate circle are happy.

Not only that but the happiness of your friends' friends (people you may not even know) increases your happiness potential by 10%. And perhaps most surprising, the friends of your friends' friends still impacts your happiness by 6%! In contrast increasing your income by $10,000, according to author Nicholas Christakis only increases your chance of being happy by 2%. ...continue reading

girls_and_puberty

Viewer-submitted question from theDear GMA Advice Guru Contest.

Dear Annie: I am the mother of twin pre-teens and I am ready to start navigating the mine field of inevitable puberty. I am amazed that some of their friends have hit puberty at such a young age. How do I best prepare my girls for the changes they will soon see in their bodies? At what age should they first see a gynecologist? ~ Wondering Mom

Dear Wondering Mom, ...continue reading

Christmas presents under the tree

Ahh... School is out and your kids have two weeks for fun, relaxation, getting bored, fighting with each other and spending up to 100 hours on some kind of screen. Sounds like a wonderful 'break'! Especially because that last one - which creates crankier offspring - is the default solution for many kids these days.

Fortunately with a little planning - you can help avoid some of the vacation pitfalls and all have a better time for your efforts. Here is a list of 10 things (from easier to more planned) that can help:

  1. Have a deck of cards with paper and pen on the kitchen table
  2. Have baking supplies handy - muffin or cookie mix ...continue reading

Electronic_Family_Xmas_Card

I know it was a joke. Someone posted one of those Christmas photos showing a dad and three kids all in the same matching jean colored shirts and pants. But in this photo no one is looking at the camera because they are all looking down at some electronic device.

I chuckle for a second until I remember that it's too true to be that funny. There is just something about embracing our weaknesses that bums me out.

But then I remember the good news... ...continue reading

5050_AdventureDear Reader,

In case you've been wondering why I haven't posted lately here's what's going on. Without going into detail, this year has had a few too many setbacks, sadnesses and life stresses. Not all bad of course but just a lot crammed into a short period of time.

Now I am big on living life with purpose but I found that trying to keep it all together was not working. So I went the other route and let a lot of it go.

Fortunately, this has made room for me to create my latest, greatest adventure... ...continue reading

You_Can_Do_ItIf you think you can or you think you can't, you're probably right. ~ Henry Ford

The 'I Can't' mindset is something I come across often. Sometimes it's from my children when I asked them to get up for school or my husband when he doesn't find time to exercise. Sometimes it's from a discouraged client who can't get behind his or her own goals. And sometimes it's from my own mind focusing on all the problems, all the reasons why not, all the barriers to success.

When I was considering going back to grad school at age 38, there were plenty of reasons why that was a bad idea. I'm too old. The kids are too young. It will be too hard. I don't have the money. Fortunately I worked through those obstacles because had I let them guide me, I would not have gotten that degree. And I would not be doing the work I love today. ...continue reading

iStockvideogaming

So your child REALLY likes video games. So if left alone, they would play 3, 4, 5 or more hours non-stop. So they resist your attempts to limit their time playing these games or sneak in extra time whenever possible. So you catch them lying or staying up late to play more and being irritable, angry or stuck in a moping mood when not able to play.

At what point do you wonder if this is normal or if it seems more like the signs of a video game junkie?

Part 1: Is Gaming Addiction Real?

A 2008 study from Stanford School of Medicine on video/on-line game playing and the brain found that male participants (more so than female participants) showed activation in the region of the brain associated with reward and addiction. Even many gamers will admit this. In fact according to a survey of over 40,000 gamers "about 50% of MMORPG (Massive-Multi-player Online Role Play Game) players would consider themselves addicted to the game." ...continue reading

Catching your child in a lie can be a troubling experience. Fear of moral weakness, anger at being manipulated or even hurt by a sense of betrayal, parents can react pretty strongly to these transgressions.

But it is important to remember both that it's a rare person who hasn't dabbled in dishonesty and that there's a big gap between telling a lie and being a pathological liar.

How we respond to our children's lying can make a difference in whether this is a stage or a profession. So before you get out that bar of soap or the tabasco sauce, it might help to understand the purpose and development of lying. ...continue reading