Monday, April 18, 2011
Friday, April 15, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
People who spend time tending their gardens are likely to be more optimistic, physically active and healthy — compared with those who don't garden.
See also: Tips to help your garden grow.
"There's always something to look forward to when you have a garden," says Aime Sommerfeld, of the Department of Horticultural Sciences at Texas A&M University, lead author of a report published in HortTechnology, a journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science. "Our study found that reconnecting with nature, watching things grow, working with soil in your hands have a positive impact on your quality of life."
The study's team of researchers analyzed the responses of 298 men and women over the age of 50 who were asked about their activities and satisfaction with life, and compared the answers of those who gardened with those who didn't. About 84 percent of the gardeners — whether they dabbled with container plants or spent hours nurturing flowers and vegetables — reported that they made plans for the future, compared with 68 percent of the non-gardeners.
Of the gardeners, 96 percent did not find their daily activities boring or monotonous; 71 percent felt energetic; and 74 percent said they'd reached many of their lifetime goals. The non-gardeners were more likely to find life dull and less likely to feel energetic or satisfied with their goals. More than twice as many of the gardeners considered themselves to be very active. What's more, they rated their health as very good or even excellent. The researchers were from Texas State University, San Marcos, as well as Texas A&M.
"These findings are important because they show that people can be happier and healthier simply by planting a pot of pansies or growing some tomato plants in a sunny spot," says J. David Williams, head of the Department of Horticulture at Auburn University. "The older population especially should be encouraged to get out there and become involved with the natural world."
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
What Lucky People Do Differently than Unlucky People
What makes a person lucky? Often it's less about actual luck than it is about a person's general outlook. Here's why.
Entrepreneur Jonathan Fields, in his personal blog, points to a fascinating study by a psychologist Richard Wiseman. Wiseman surveyed a bunch of people to find out who considered themselves lucky or unlucky, then performed a very interesting test:
[Wiseman] gave both the "lucky" and the "unlucky" people a newspaper and asked them to look through it and tell him how many photographs were inside. He found that on average the unlucky people took two minutes to count all the photographs, whereas the lucky ones determined the number in a few seconds.
How could the "lucky" people do this? Because they found a message on the second page that read, "Stop counting. There are 43 photographs in this newspaper." So why didn't the unlucky people see it? Because they were so intent on counting all the photographs that they missed the message.
So what does this mean? From the article:
People who we often consider lucky are more relaxed and open to what's going on around them. They're not focused on a single task, blocking out everything else so much that they miss something important and unexpected. What this experiment demonstrates is that luck may not so much be luck, but whether or not our mindset leaves us open to opportunities we would otherwise miss because we're so absolutely sure of what we want.
"Unlucky people miss chance opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else. They go to parties intent on finding their perfect partner, and so miss opportunities to make good friends. They look through the newspaper determined to find certain job advertisements and, as a result, miss other types of jobs. Lucky people are more relaxed and open, and therefore see what is there, rather than just what they are looking for."