Tag Archives | happiness


Why are Australians so scared to smile?

ABOUT two weeks ago, a woman walking towards me gave me a big grin. I felt immediately self-conscious because I didn’t know what was wrong with me. Were my pants on inside out, was my hair standing up in a strange way? I wondered if maybe I knew her.

As I walked closer she nodded. I stopped and asked: ‘‘I’m sorry, do I know you?’’ She shook her head. ‘‘No, I just thought the colour of your hair looked beautiful in this light.’’

I was taken aback by her friendliness and the nice compliment. And it occurred to me afterwards that having a stranger smile at us in this country is so unusual that we feel thrown. Which contrasts profoundly to life in America. Continue Reading →


The Happiness Addiction

In recent times, we’ve seen so many drug and alcohol binges and deaths among the rich and famous, it’s fair to ask what’s going on.

In the wake of the deaths of Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston and billionaire Eva Rausing come the ghostly photos of celebrity Macaulay Culkin — predicted to have only months to live — and photos of the sexy actress Brigitte Nielsen, former wife of Sly Stallone, lying like a bag lady, drunk in a park.

We can comprehend that drug problems plague the Jane and John Does of this world, but when we see people who we’d deem as having magnificent, blessed lives, beyond and above anything we could imagine — amazing bodies, careers, money, going to fabulous resorts and parties and not having to worry about the drudgery of housework and mortgages — it does beg the question about the nature of addiction. Out of the spotlight, rates of addiction are rising, with new temptations every day through the growing digital world: computer games, on-line porn and gambling, social networking. Continue Reading →


Sin foods are good for you

Go figure. Sin foods cheese, red wine and chocky can be very healthy!

IT’S interesting observing the refrigerator at the moment as pressure mounts on both students in the house — my HSC daughter and myself (Masters degree). I start getting cravings around midday and by late afternoon I’m at the kitchen counter, eating slice after slice of cheese or piece after piece of chocolate.

Having studied nutrition, I can attest we are ravenous for a reason. The human body is a clever machine. And the news is, sin food is often good for you.

Cheese and dairy foods contain tryptophan, an essential amino acid that functions as a biochemical precursor for serotonin (a neurotransmitter), which is needed to ward off depression. Continue Reading →


You can’t buy bliss

The Rinehart famly saga proves there’s no automatic bliss for billionaires

IN the wake of the Rinehart family brawl, it’s obvious to onlookers that there’s no correlation between money and happiness. While most of us ponder the thrill that can come from having trough- loads of moolah, and indeed of power, the cost can often be huge.

Australia’s wealthiest person Gina Rinehart’s three eldest children have launched very public, very bitter action against her in court. The family feud is over ownership of the trust set up by their grandfather, Lang Hancock, for his grandchildren.

In the 1980s I wrote a bestseller, The New Boy Network, about the rich and powerful who dominated our business scene. The premise of the book was that the subjects all came from immigrant backgrounds and were self-made millionaires and billionaires. Continue Reading →


Happiness & It’s Causes

2010 Happiness & It's Causes Conference

AN ESTIMATED 3000 PEOPLE will gather at the Entertainment Centre in Brisbane next month, to attend one of the greatest shows on earth, the annual Happiness and its Causes Conference. The brightest minds in philosophy, psychology, science, religion and the arts come together each year for three conferences held in three locations around the world London, San Francisco and an Australian city to explore the age-old question – “How can we lead a happier, more meaningful life?”

With depression now effecting 1 in 10 people in the western world, there is an ever increasing hunger for solutions to our suffering. The star of the show in Brisbane this year will be the happiest man in the world, His Holiness The Dalai Lama, happy not because of his external circumstances but the way he looks at life.

Continue Reading →


System overload

DURING the first few days of the Japanese disaster, I was disturbed at some of my own behaviour.

Like most of us, I watched unfolding events with horror and many tears. But then my focus changed. When it came time to make dinner, the focus of my obsession became the process of cooking. My emotions were frayed – however this time it was because there was no garlic. And I was angry that my daughter didn’t want pasta after I’d put the pasta on. Moments before, I’d been trembling in front of the TV watching apocalyptic scenes of devastation, and the possibility of a nuclear holocaust. Suddenly the only thing consuming me was garlic. Continue Reading →