Minimalist Miscellany: Purpose, Self-Compassion, Gratitude and More

Today’s Minimalist Miscellany is about purpose, self-compassion, gratitude, peace, meditation and coloring books.

“Doing good, it seems, is better than feeling good,” says Dhruv Khullar in Finding Purpose for a Good Life. But Also a Healthy One. Studies show that people with a greater sense of purpose are healthier. Researchers differentiate between “eudaimonic well-being,” which focuses on meaning and self-realization and defines well-being in terms of the degree to which a person is fully functioning, and “hedonic well-being,” which focuses on “happiness” and defines well-being in terms of pleasure attainment and pain avoidance.

Some experts believe self-compassion has all the advantages of self-confidence without the drawbacks. In Why Self-Compassion Beats Self-Confidence, Kristin Wong discusses the benefits of self-compassion, including stronger connections to others, resilience, a more objective viewpoint about ourselves, ease in improving ourselves and empathy. To become more self-compassionate, researchers say we should change the way we talk to ourselves, speaking in a more supportive voice.

Do gratitude lists “work”? Has gratitude been “corporatized”? In Does ‘Counting Your Blessings’ Work?, Sonya Huber explores the gratitude trend, concluding, “The gratitude list is not a miracle cure, but a set of training wheels” to help people think about how they need others and how they should help others.

Need help to reduce your stress level? Check out Joy Sussman’s advice in How I Started the New Year (and Every Morning Since) with More Peace.

Dan Harris offers advice on meditating in his new book, Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics. For the short version, listen to (or read the transcript of) Rachel Martin’s interview of Harris on NPR. Harris believes even a minute a day is helpful, noting that what appears to be a failure in meditation is actually “a victory because the primary insight for beginning meditators is that it is a zoo inside of our skulls.”

Have you tried an adult coloring book yet? If not, you might want to consider it after reviewing the results of a recent study. Colouring books for adults benefit mental health says as little as 10 minutes a day can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

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