Happiness Showdown: Time vs Money

Work-Life Balance has been a phrase associated with millennials and their desire for happiness. I still do not know how the headlines make this a bad thing.

I think the association of work-life balance to the younger generation is at least partially incorrect. I think that our generation has been forced to declare this desire because it was previously more prevalent. Due to new technology, our work can fit into our pocket, something the baby boomer generation did not have to worry about.

But does work-life balance, or time outside of work, truly make us happier? The University of British Columbia seems to think so.

They recently published a study looking at the trade-off between work and money.  They analyzed the impact of a person’s general orientation to prioritize time over money on their overall happiness. In doing so, they developed the Resource Orientation Measure to determine a person’s general orientation to prioritize money or time. People who prioritize time over money reported experiencing greater happiness. This association was small but statistically meaningful. They controlled for* materialism, material striving, current feelings of time and material affluence, and relevant demographic characteristics such as income, employment, marital status, gender, and age, and the results still held up.

So what does this mean for you?

You do you. If you are at a point in your career and life where you don’t mind long hours in exchange for pay you feel comfortable with – go for it. If you do crave personal time outside of work, now you have the scientific evidence to back up the happiness gained from prioritizing time over money!

Not sure how you feel about money vs time? Haven’t quite figured out that happiness could be your primary goal in life? Even before prestige, fame or money? – lets chat!

*To control for a variable means to reduce the effect of that variable on the outcome.

How to Stay Calm When the World Might Be Ending

This morning as I watched Morning Joe I felt the familiar stress of the uncertainty in the world right now. It seems everyone has become an expert in politics and its almost always a topic of conversation.  Personally, I try to achieve a balance between awareness (upset) and acceptance (not investing energy in anger). I believe it is our responsibility as a citizen of the country to express our feelings, however, I do not believe it is worth risking my personal happiness.

Here are my top 3 tips for staying positive and calm through uncertain and stressful times.

  1. Take Inventory. Reflect on the constants in your life and the things you have control over. For example: you have a home to go to everyday, maybe you have a class you attend after work consistently. Seek out stability and consistency in things you can control.
  2. Gratitude. There are a multitude of studies which show that gratitude is the the ultimate way to happiness. I try to make an effort to acknowledge everything that I have in the world and to appreciate those things. It is easy to get caught up int the next big thing that you don’t yet have or be (rightfully) worried about the future. However, if we can appreciate what we have now, it will only make the future brighter. Bonus points if you document this gratitude so that you can reflect on it on more difficult days!
  3. Distraction. Exercise (physical movement of the body) is often an amazing chance to distract yourself, to focus on something other than the issue at hand and I have never met someone who regretted doing to a workout.  Going to the movies, reading a book, meditating can also be excellent ways to distract yourself from your stress, and the real beauty of distraction is that it allows your brain to have new thoughts. I find that its easy to get into a cycle of negativity, but taking a break can let you see the situation with greater clarity.
  4. Action. Action may mean going to a rally, making a donation to an organization you believe in or volunteering on the weekend to show others that people are naturally good. Again, action can be good for breaking the negativity/anxiety cycle and it gives the added benefit of improving the world around you!

What do you do when the stress becomes too much? Does uncertainly worry you or do you thrive on the adventure?

I dare you to do a 30 day challenge

Years ago, a friend of mine would do fitness challenges based upon his age. If he was 27, he would run, bike or swim for 27 days straight. I have been consistently active for over 5 years now, however, I never was one for hitting the gym everyday, averaging probably 4-5 days a week.

When I started running, this would change depending on my cross training program. When I was triathlon training, I was at the gym/pool/street (to run/bike) about 6 days a week. During marathon training this fall, I ran 3-4 days per week and tried to get in yoga one extra day – SO MUCH RUNNING!
But recently, I did something crazy and canceled my gym membership. I realized a few things.
(1) It opened up money for boutique gym classes like PureBarre, etc.
(2) I can roll out the mat at home (in my little Brooklyn apartment) and get a pretty impressive workout following videos.
So after ditching the gym, I needed a way to make sure that I was doing more than running 3 days a week for half marathon training and I decided I would work out 30 consecutive days in honor of my 29th birthday. Today is Day 30 and I ran with my running group, Brooklyn Back of the Pack (come run with us if you are less speedy and in NYC!). I feel totally exhausted and super fulfilled.
I am definitely a believer in the “challenge concept”: do something for a certain number of days and then make a decision about what to do next. This can be particularly useful for things like getting up early, going to the gym or making your bed. It takes away the permanence, the feeling that if you do something now, you have to do it forever. It opens up the door for kindness and flexibility for yourself, but gives us a reason to START.
Are you good at starting new habits? Would it be helpful to try something for a set amount of time first? What habits are you trying to start (or to give up?) Let me know what you think on facebook.