Friday, March 11, 2011

Is Walking A Key To Happiness?

Who knew, the Pope is a walker. Photo taken by Sammy Sabine at 2011 New Orleans Mardi Gras.

Feature Entry: Is Walking A Key To Happiness?

The MoneyWalker, like most bloggers, follows the blogs of others. This morning I tuned into Gretchen Rubin’s award winning “The Happiness Project.” Today she interviewed Piers Steel author of the book, The Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Stuff Done. Steel opines that “procrastination isn't tied to perfectionism or laziness, as many people believe, but rather to impulsivity. Impulsive people have trouble getting themselves to do things they don't want to do.” I suppose I can add impulsivity to initiative disorder as a reason to put off my morning walk.

Steel also promotes walking as a source of happiness. Gretchen asked Steel: “If you’re feeling blue, how do you give yourself a happiness boost?" Responds Steel: “
My strategy isn’t to pursue happiness as directly as others often do. It doesn’t work, at least for me, quite as well as I would wish. I’m more of an Aldous Huxley adherent, “Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.” So I seek accomplishment and meaning and through these activities I find satisfaction with my life. In a pinch, however, a really vigorous exercise routine dependably burns away gloom; sore muscles reacquaint you with your body and get you out of your head.”
Thus, to use Pers Steel’s strategy to experience happiness we should focus on tasks that involve accomplishment, meaning, satisfaction, and exercise.

Steel also shares the MoneyWalker’s propensity to repurpose, recycle, and rebuild objects that are broken or discarded. Rubin asked Steel: “What’s a simple activity that consistently makes you happier? Steel:
“Fixing or building things. I’m the type of guy who likes assembling IKEA furniture. Perhaps it acts as a counterpoint to the writing [one’s regular work] I do, but there is something wonderful about holding something physical in your hands and feeling the steady progress as an object reaches completion. Even better, when my five year old son’s Christmas gift, a train he adored, broke within a few weeks, he held back a tear as he placed his toy confidently in my hands. I’ve fixed so many over-loved toys in the past. A little disassembly, a bolt to keep the piston in place, and “good as new,” as he likes say when he gets it back."

So is walking a source of happiness? It is for the MoneyWalker. He is happy when the scales report a downward trend. He is happy when he experiences the sounds, sights, smells, and social flavors of his Mid-City neighborhood. He is happy by the maintenance of a relatively thin waist line. He is happy when finding loose change or objects discarded that are then repaired and recycled. He is happy when the physician announces glowing and positive results of the latest physical check-up.

But don't take the word of the MoneyWalker, ask the Pope, his photo says it all!


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