Increase your Subjective Well-Being

July 8, 2009 at 10:56 pm | Posted in life | 1 Comment

I just graduated college. I’m living at home. I can’t get a job. My boyfriend is across the country (and then he’ll be across the world). And I have no idea what to do with myself each day, let alone for the next year or five. This can lead to a lot of feeling a little bit down, a little bit in need of a boost. But with all this time on my hands, I’ve stumbled upon a few things that I’ve found to make me feel a bit happier.

And so why not share a few of those gems I’ve become a little obsessed with lately?


It touches the soul. Or makes us feel giddy, pumped, excited, alive. There’s a song on the radio now called “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved.” I can’t say it’s the most original song out there, but something about it grabbed me every time I heard. Finally I got my butt on Google and discovered The Script. I downloaded their self-titled album and am in love with it. It has just enough diversity in sound to keep you interested and still sound like the same band. And it’s good! Some songs will make you really feel something, others are just fun to listen to. A great listen for any mood!

There’s one other song that’s out on the radio now that always makes me feel happy. That’s Black Eyed Peas‘ latest release, “I Gotta Feeling.” Even when I’m stuck at home and am not really looking forward to any particularly “good” nights, the song still makes me feel great and transports me back to various times in my life where I’ve just felt so good and I looked forward to the immediate future knowing that “tonight’s gonna be a good night.”


To be quite honest, I’ve watched a lot of movies lately but not a lot I’ve loved that much. I’m pretty sure, for me, a lot of times how much I like a movie is 85% dependent on the mood I’m in when I watch it. Last night, I was in desperate need of a feel-good romantic comedy. I’m a sucker for movies like Bend it like Beckham and Princess Diaries. I love Love Actually, Across the Universe, and Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (yes, more than the original). I know every line to 10 Things I Hate About You and Mean Girls. Heck, I know every line to the first two High School Musical movies (though it’s a different kind of love – how can you not find humor in every word, idea, action, and facial expression in those movies?) and I live for pretty much anything Disney puts out in theaters (Up rocked my world). I sob at movies like P.S. I Love You and Moulin Rouge.

So now you have an idea of my tastes and are quite likely to hold little regard for my recommendation, but I’ll give it to you anyways. The movie I fell in love with last night was Penelope. Now apparently everyone else remembers the previews for this. I must have been abroad when it came out because I’ve never heard of it. But it takes a fairly typical storyline and added a very unique twist to it. I won’t spoil what that is, but I will say that I really loved what they did with it, and it will make you think for a second about the usual fairytale story and how much better this version is! Overall, the movie is funny (love Reese Witherspoon in it) and makes you feel good. It’s one of those pieces that doesn’t really occur in any distinguishable time or place (a whole range of accents, dress, and contraptions exist) but gets away with it beautifully. If anything, that adds to the movie. And I’ve got to be a typical googly-eyed girl and say that James McAvoy is heavenly in this film!


Finally, as someone who watches pretty little television (especially between May and February when Lost isn’t on), I am probably way behind in my newfound love for a couple TV gems, but I’ll share them anyways. For one, I discovered upon moving home that we have a channel called Planet Green. Now granted, you can’t sit and watch it all day or you’ll probably see the same episodes four times, but that’s the same as most other Discovery-owned channels. The shows are interesting, educational and innovative. It’s about time someone catered to all those people who want to do something to take care of the planet. Even Emeril has a show! He basically just shops at Whole Foods and then cooks, but still.

Another new obsession is Craig Ferguson. Yeah, I know he’s been around for a while, but I never watch late night talk shows. However, I’d stumbled across him on TV a couple times in the past and he always left me cracking up. The guy is hilarious, and I won’t lie, something about his accent bring me such great pleasure just listening to him, I’m hypnotized into watching the show. Perhaps my Scottish roots are what make the likes of Craig and James McAvoy so irresistable. I’ll stick with that.


Yes, finally something that you can guiltlessly pursue! Food for the mind! I just made a trip to the library (well, libraries) and came back with a stack of books I could just barely carry on my own (the key is using your chin to hold the pile steady). More than half of them are travel books, and I’ve really only started reading two of them, but I already consider them recommendation-worthy.

First is Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner. So far it’s a great read. Basically, he’s trying to discover the happiest place in the world by traveling to various countries that are supposed to be among the happiest and investigating if they are truly happy and why. It’s humorous and full of interesting facts and will certainly make you think a little more deeply about happiness and life in general.

Secondly, The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss. This guy is amazing. He’s accomplished all kinds of crazy things that are inspiration enough to make you want to get off your couch and do something. Again, I’m not too far into this read yet because I want to actually do the thinking exercises in the book – for once in my life actually write down my answers and everything – but this is hard when walking on the treadmill or subathing (ok, I guess it wouldn’t be that hard to do while sunbathing, but I didn’t feel thoughtful enough) which is where I do most of my reading. But I digress. Even a mere fifty pages in, I can already tell you that this book will get you thinking about the accepted path and the way we live our lives in America (and most developed countries, for that matter). For years I have thought and felt many of the things Ferriss suggests and addresses in the book, but now, having just graduated into the “real world,” I was starting to lose my grasp on those so-called fantasy ideas and feeling the pressure to conform to the norm. Reading this book has reawakened some of my spirit and already made me want to take some action and go experience things that make me excited. Inspiring read!

These two books are interesting to read together. They overlap and diverge on a variety of things already, but they both are eye-openers to different ways of living, thinking, and experiencing.

Now shoo!

Go make yourself feel good. Whether you call it happiness, excitement, or subjective-well being – it’s yours for the taking. Take a break, indulge in some of the above entertainment, and enjoy the boost.


1 Comment »

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  1. Really great and uplifting article. I personally find books to be very uplifting as you can easily get lost in a whole new world. It all depends on your own imagination.

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