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A Satisfying Life: Two Little Rules

Updated on February 20, 2009

To Be Satisfied

Everyone wants to be satisfied with their lives. While what it means to be satisfied takes different forms, I am partial to this definition of satisfaction: "pleasure or contentment derived from the gratification of a desire, need, or appetite." [1]

What one's desires, need, or appetites are varies greatly between individuals, but I propose that some things are common.

As many, I want to be happy with my life. It came to me recently that, when I live by the two rules I will talk about soon I find myself much more satisfied with who I am and where I am going.  Both are important to practice and do every single day. 

Rule #1: Laugh

Laugh a little each day.

Find humor in life because, as Oscar Wilde once said: "life is too important to be taken seriously."

Numerous studies have shown that laughing makes you happier, healthier, and better equipped to handle life: see here, here, here, and myriad other places.

Evidence from various sources show that, among other beautiful side effects, laughter reduces stress, helps the immune system, and makes you and others around you feel happier.  The best article I've ever seen on enumerating this is found here.

In addition to the scientifically proven positive effects of laughter, there are some amazing things about the process of humor and laughing.

My favorite: it's free!!  You can laugh whenever and wherever you want and while sometimes it's inappropriate, it's always free to do so.  Carnivals can charge you for the number of rides you go on, but the movie theatre isn't going to ask for $1 every time you laugh.

It's also easy.  A hundred-million things at any given time can be hilarious -- just pay attention.  Laugh at yourself in a story from the 5th grade where you went to recess with crayon on your teeth.  Find it humorous that your dog likes to move his head while he watches charaters on tv.  Nearly every experience is rife with opportunities for laughter....even ones that you wouldn't think about.

There is now an entire branch of professional psychology dedicated to happiness, and laughter seems to be a cornerstone.

So, take a moment, right now, and find something to laugh about.  You'll feel better and increase your chance of having a truly happy and satisfying day.

Rule #2: Learn

Learn a little each day.

If we stop learning, we stop growing as individuals and we stagnante.

Human beings are difficult creatures - we thrive on routine and habit, yet, if we live only by routine and habit we become crusty, bitter, and angry as the world around us grows and changes against our wills.

I want to be clear that when I talk about learning, I'm not just referring to facts-and-figures or rote learning, but things like learning about others, learning about onesself, introspection, culling through knowledge already acquired, and things that may have nothing to do with roaming through the library.

When we learn anything, we add to our current bank of knowledge and experience. We match and contrast it with things we already know and we build networks like webs of information and pathways. When this happens, we keep our neurons firing regularly and build the strength and durability of our minds for the future.

Articles and information on the benefits of learning can be found here, here, here (.pdf), and here.

We can take to heart the old adage that you must either "use it or lose it."

Beyond just the mild scare-tactic of "use your brain or it'll rot!" learning every day is important to a satisfied life due to its psychological effects.

When we learn something and integrate it into ourselves, we can feel proud of ourselves -- if nothing else, we have accomplished this piece of learning today, this growth. We can take this information, tie it to what we already know, bring it to conversations, use it to explore more.

The world is going to change, morph, grow, and evolve.

If we chose to do so with it, we can make ourselves a better fit for the world and thus sustain continued life satisfaction.-


So, as you can see, learning and laughing each day - at least a little - are great indicators for life satisfaction.

They lead to improved physiological, social, psychological, and emotional functioning.  They help you make better choices and be happier with who and where you are in life.

Certainly these little rules aren't going to solve all of life's problems...but they can definitely help!

Have a beautiful day!


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      Steve M Nash 8 years ago

      Laugh and learn - thank you, these are great!

      Actually, perhaps you should add one extra item to this list: show gratitude!

      Shame gratitude doesn't begin with the letter L really! ;-)


    • Lgali profile image

      Lgali 8 years ago

      thanks for nice rules i love both