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Health and Sanity

Rashmi Vasudeva
Features writer on health, lifestyle and the Arts, digital marketing blogger, mother
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piqer: Rashmi Vasudeva
Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Feeding Your 'Happiness Wolf' And Why It Matters

I stumbled upon this podcast in one of my mid-afternoon forays into the internet’s rich world of listening. The title intrigued me and I first thought it was a podcast about nutrition. Turns out the title has been taken from an old Buddhist parable where a grandfather tells his grandchild that there are always two wolves fighting within us; one wolf is all about our greed, guilt, jealousy and prejudices while the other represents love, kindness, happiness and other positive emotions. The child asks its grandfather which one wins and the grandfather replies: “The one you feed.”

The idea behind the podcast is to help you feed your good wolf, as it were. There are quite a few episodes and they have tackled everything that can possibly feed it – managing envy, understanding willpower, handling failures, processing emotions, dealing with procrastination and others. I intend to listen to some of them at least in the future but I did listen to their latest episode on the ‘happiness curve’ and it was worth my while.

In this episode, host Eric Zimmer talks to Jonathan Rauch, author of books on happiness and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute. His latest book is on why life gets better after 50 (heartening to think so, is it not?) and he discusses the points he has tackled in the book about the many ‘trends of happiness’ at different points in our lives.

In a freewheeling chat, he touches upon how connections and emotional peaks matter most to happiness, how our values and expectations go on their own journey so to speak and, in fact, how our brains change over a lifetime. The conversation then moves into more treacherous terrains, from exploring how our criticism of ourselves leads to feelings of guilt and shame in mid-life and glides over the possible benefits of turning our orientation towards others.

Happily so, the episode steers clear of any spiritual overtones and instead focuses on understanding happiness in a practical, doable manner.

Feeding Your 'Happiness Wolf' And Why It Matters
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