You won’t find a happier guy than Zeke. He didn't let life's setbacks get him down.
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It's easy to feel like life is a treadmill.

We're constantly working to make a living, running forward full speed. Sometimes, regardless of how hard we work, there just isn't enough money to go around. It's hard, and it's frustrating, and it can be completely consuming. When you work hard, you want to enjoy life, but access to so much is tied to being able to afford it. 

Here's one guy who's found that his bank account didn't have to determine his happiness. His memories and experiences mattered more. 



Zeke, a World War II pilot, hasn't had the easiest life, but you can't tell by listening to him. He's filled with a love for the small moments that changed his world and made it better. As he puts it, "I'd rather be rich in life than rich in money." 

Now, there's no denying that money is critical to survival.

It's a little easier to take a step back and have this perspective when every single day isn't a fight just to keep a roof over your head. But what Zeke discovered is that once he managed to get the necessities covered, his happiness didn't come from acquiring more things. 

There are ways to find moments of pleasure, regardless of what's in your bank account.

Following Zeke's lead, here are a few tips on how we can all find moments of pleasure in the midst of life's chaos, regardless of what's in our wallet.

1. Relationships matter. So much.

Relationships take a lot of work, but they’re worth it. And I'm not just talking about romantic relationships — although apparently committing to a life partner can add three years to life expectancy. Think about shows like "Friends." Could Rachel have dealt with career challenges and the back and forth of her relationship with Ross without her friends in her corner? Maybe, but it would have been a lot harder.

The people in our lives shape our view of the world and the ways in which we experience it. Healthy relationships make us healthier.

Arthur Aron, Ph.D., psychology professor and director of the Interpersonal Relationships Laboratory at New York’s Stony Brook University, told The Nation’s Health that “relationships are — not surprisingly — enormously important for health, and there are lots of studies on the biological processes that account for the link between relationships and health.” 

So make friends. Dive into love. And nurture those relationships. Because they just may help you to live longer and happier.

2. Go outdoors and smell the fresh air!

Getting outside as often as possible has proven health benefits. From increased brain function to aging gracefully, it seems like spending time outside is the cure-all for a lot of things.

Environmental psychologist Judith Heerwagon told The Huffington Post, “just looking at a garden or trees or going for a walk, even if it’s in your own neighborhood, reduces stress. ... There’s something about being in a natural setting that shows clear evidence of stress reduction, including physiological evidence — like lower heart rate.”

Best of all? Outdoor activities usually don’t cost a dime. So take a walk, look around you, and let nature work its magic.

3. Enjoying art — for free? Yes, please.

There are some cities that have free events down to a science. In other areas, finding a free show takes a little bit more effort, but they’re out there

Regardless of whether you’re being treated to a world-class performance of Shakespeare or a band of kindergarteners practicing their choir tunes, getting out of the house helps you to form memories, meet new people, and do something. Best-case scenario, you see an amazing show that stirs you in some way. Worst-case scenario, you have a story to tell. Either way, you just may have some fun mixing things up.

4. Remember, there's always a new day.

As Victor Hugo wrote in "Les Miserables," "even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise." There’s no science there, just the wise words of a revered author. We’ll take it. Life is an obstacle course, but it’s good to remember that there’s always another day, another chance to wake up and make your day and your life what you want it to be.

Each day won’t be the best day ever, but it also won’t be the worst ever. It’s essentially the Kaizen theory: If we make continual small improvements, in time we’ll see big change.

Money will always be a stressor; we can't escape it. But if you keep working toward the life you want to live, hopefully after a few years you’ll look back and see that you're living it. 

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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Researchers at Harvard University have studied the connection between spanking and kids' brain development for the first time, and their findings echo what studies have indicated for years: Spanking isn't good for children.

Comments on this article will no doubt be filled with people who a) say they were spanked and "turned out fine" or b) say that the reason kids are [fill in the blank with some societal ill] these days are because they aren't spanked. However, a growing body of research points to spanking creating more problems than it solves.

"We know that children whose families use corporal punishment are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and other mental health problems, but many people don't think about spanking as a form of violence," said Katie A. McLaughlin, director of the Stress & Development Lab in the Department of Psychology, and the senior researcher on the study which was published Friday in the journal Child Development. "In this study, we wanted to examine whether there was an impact of spanking at a neurobiological level, in terms of how the brain is developing."

You can read the entire study here, but the gist is that kids' brain activity was measured using an MRI machine as they reacted to photos of actors displaying "fearful" and "neutral" faces. What researchers found was that kids who had been spanked had similar brain neural responses to fearful faces as kids who had been abused.

"There were no regions of the brain where activation to fearful relative to neutral faces differed between children who were abused and children who were spanked," the authors wrote in a statement.

Keep Reading Show less
Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less