5 Reads: Human Happiness, Grounded Goals, Cutting Back on Alcohol and More

Five articles that have had me thinking over the last few weeks:

What the Longest Study on Human Happiness Found is the Key to a Good Life
Robert Waldinger and Marc Schulz. The Atlantic

Key quote: “In this sense, having healthy, fulfilling relationships is its own kind of fitness—social fitness—and like physical fitness, it takes work to maintain. Unlike stepping on the scale, taking a quick look in the mirror, or getting readouts for blood pressure and cholesterol, assessing our social fitness requires a bit more sustained self-reflection. It requires stepping back from the crush of modern life, taking stock of our relationships, and being honest with ourselves about where we’re devoting our time and whether we are tending to the connections that help us thrive.” Read the rest here.

Why Success Doesn’t Lead to Satisfaction
Ron Carucci. Harvard Business Review

Key quote: “Our brains’ reward system, especially the neurotransmitter dopamine, drives us to achieve goals and rewards us with a great sense of pleasure when we do. But that pleasure is short lived, as our brains are hardwired to also seek balance from extreme emotional states. That leaves us with an empty longing to repeat whatever experience brought us that pleasure in the first place.” Read the rest here.

How Cutting Back on Alcohol Can Help Depression and Anxiety
Richard A. Friedman MD. The Washington Post

Key quote: “You don’t have to suffer from clinical depression or have an anxiety disorder to experience the negative effects of alcohol. They occur even with moderate levels of alcohol consumption typical of normal social drinkers who are free of any psychiatric illness.” Read the rest here.

Brad Stulberg’s Advice for Setting Grounded Goals
Zoe Rom. Outside Magazine

Key quote: ““Instead of thinking about ‘this is what I want to accomplish,’ think ‘this is the path I want to walk,’” says Stulberg, in an interview with Trail Runner. “If you pick a mountain just because you want to be at the mountain’s peak without considering what it would be like to climb the mountain, that’s a pretty dumb way to decide what you’re going to do.” Read the rest here.

What the End of the Covid Public Health Emergency Could Mean for You
Dani Blum. The New York Times

Key quote: “The one word I have to describe this all is ‘confusion,’” said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco. “It’s confusing already to know where to get a test, who’s paying for what, what’s my co-pay going to be. Now it’s going to be a complex equation.” It’s not yet clear how the end of the public health emergency will play out, but here are health policy experts’ projections about how it could impact you.” Read the rest here.