Well-being posts

A list of well-being posts from the Econation Blog.

The importance of relationships

Close relationships, more than money or fame, are what keep people happy throughout their lives. This fact has been revealed in study after study, including one of the longest ever studies of human well-being.

“Taking care of your body is important, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too,” said Robert Waldinger, the director of the Harvard Study […]

Extrinsic vs intrinsic

There is a deep divide between what our economy provides and what makes people well. This division is caused by the difference between what is intrinsic and what is extrinsic – and which one of these is generally best for people. Our economy is focussed on providing extrinsic effects when people, and society in general, are largely motivated and rewarded […]

Life is easy

I strongly encourage you to watch this TEDx talk. It’s a little bit cheeky to have a blog post that is a Youtube video, but I could have banged on for ages like I often do and never have got across what Jon Jandai, a Thai farmer does in 15 minutes so plainly. It’s a powerful message about well-being from a […]

More good with less

‘Do more with less’ is a catch-cry in the sustainability movement but it is also a catch-cry for businesses who despoil the environment. The point is that doing more with less is fine if what you are doing is good – but what if it’s bad? Modern western economies seem to be obsessed with efficiency when usually this is just being […]

The best things in life

Money, where it comes from and what it can buy, is not everything. In our society, the economy gets way too much attention – in policy-making and political rhetoric, in the media, even in the education system. This is amplified by the unrelenting bombardment of advertising and promotional messages the average person faces every single day.

The obsession with the economy is unhealthy, unsustainable and […]

The modest lemon

Throughout history lemons have been used by humans not just as a flavourful food ingredient but also for its health and other practical benefits. The following (incomplete) list of benefits will hopefully motivate everyone to plant a lemon tree now.
Culinary Benefits
Most people know the culinary uses of lemons. They are used in baking, desserts and refreshing drinks. Lemons are a […]

Too much!

The following list of data* highlights the fact that people in modern economies, like America, have too much stuff. Not only is it more stuff than is needed for a life of well-being, it is weighing us down, it is a burden in the true sense of the word.

1. There are 300,000 items in the average American home (LA Times).

2. The average […]

Creative consumption

The ‘consumption’ of creative goods and activities is more sustainable than the consumption of purely material material goods. A creative economy is where production and consumption involves the processing of ideas, symbols, and emotional experiences rather than the dissipation of energy and the break­down of matter.

A study done by the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi showed that there was a negative relationship between energy […]

The LAW of good health

LAW stands for Light Air Water. These three things are essential for life. They are probably the most crucial ‘nutrients’ and yet too many people take them for granted and don’t factor them into their health plans.
Light
People need adequate exposure to daylight to provide optimum health. Spending time in the sunshine lifts peoples’ moods and the opposite tends to depress people. SAD (seasonal affect disorder) is […]

The Humble Onion

There is nothing more humble than an onion. They are cheap, plentiful and easy to grow yourself.

Onions are a staple ingredient in the cuisine of many cultures worldwide. These savoury root bulbs are one of the most versatile vegetables and can be consumed raw or cooked, imparting a delicious flavour to many different styles of meals.

Discoveries over the years have […]

Contraception, Human Nature, and Sustainability

The evolutionist Richard Dawkins has explained that humans’ are innately selfish, greedy and interested in short-term gains over long-term benefits. He points out that because of its short-term, opportunistic characteristic Darwinism is not friendly to the values of sustainability. As Dawkins points out humans, like all animals, innately take advantage of present opportunities without thought for future repercussions. Whilst humans […]

Nature Deficit Disorder

Most people spend about 95 percent of their time inside: in houses, cars, shops, cafes and offices. We are becoming an indoor species increasingly shut off from sky, land, waterways, plants and animals. Nature is becoming more and more abstract to us. We are disconnected from it and yet we are still very much part of it because everything we […]

Eating wisely

It was the author of The Omnivores Dilemma, Michael Pollan, who summed up the wisest diet with the epigram: Eat food, mostly plants, not too much.

He expanded on this pithy advice in an article for Time Magazine called “Six Rules for Eating Wisely”. Having done research for his book Pollan found that the way food is processed and produced is […]

Christmas on the run

For many people Christmas is the most stressful time of the year. It shouldn’t be.

Yes, Christmas is a traditional time of giving, there’s nothing wrong with that at all. But what are we giving? Ourselves a heart attack, it seems.

Christmas advertising seems to start earlier each year. This may not be the case but there were definitely Christmas ads being […]

Soft landing or brutal crash?

Energy will never be as cheap as it is now. The question is do we act now and transition to a low-energy society while energy is still cheap, or do we paint ourselves into a corner?

Global trade will only work until cheap fossil fuels run out. This is definitely going to happen (read more about Peak Oil) although no-one knows when. […]

8 good reasons to take your kids camping

There are many good reasons why you should get your kids out camping. It might be easier to stay at home where everything is convenient, where there are wall-sockets, appliances and gadgets, but then you and your children miss out on the joy and many benefits of camping.
1.     Camping is a treat for all the family
It is a great way to get away from […]

Microadventures

As Art Buchwald said, “The best things in life are not things”. The best things in life are intangibles like relationships, life events and experiences. Good experiences last a lifetime, at least as memories, and they can give us joy and build confidence, skills and vitality. Significantly, consuming experiences, and not material goods, is better for your well-being and for the planet. […]

In praise of the bicycle

Do you remember riding your bike as a youngster? The exhilaration, freedom and sheer joy of propelling yourself wherever you wanted go? Your bike was literally your ticket to ride!

In a sense cycling has always been a freeing, sometimes even rebellious activity and it led H.G. Wells to say “When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not […]

Why cash is best

There are a number of good reasons why cash is best when buying things: For a start it’s real. Paying in cash forces you to consider the real purchase price. You have no choice but to consider how much money you’re paying overall, and not just what you’ll have to pay as a deposit or on a periodic basis.

Making Do

In any situation or circumstance people have to make do with what they have. In modern western market societies give us more goods and services than we need for well-being. People work hours longer than they need to and often go into debt so that they don't have to make do. Subsequently the art of making do has been lost. We New Zealanders have a long proud tradition of making do.