Some philosophers have argued that the desire to act in a way that is consistent with one's values and sense of self is linked to well-being. But others have argued that learning to express thoughts and feelings that obscure one's true inner state is an important adaptation for successful living. A team of psychological scientists has been working to resolve this issue empirically.
The same way we would 'spring clean' our homes, we should also take some time to spring clean our lives. Our minds can get cluttered with things we don't need, accumulated dust, disorganized dimensions, bad habits, and previously formed ideas and impressions that should be thrown away or at least reconsidered for accuracy and consistency.
Maybe you'll never can bushels of green beans, make your own ketchup, or grind your own hamburger. And that's fine. Cooking in your kitchen doesn't ever need to be an obsessive big deal. All it needs to be is a chance for you to enjoy yourself, learn something new, and feel good about what you've done.
This week we said goodbye to Mario Cuomo. He was an electrifying speaker -- not just because of his style but because of the rich language, the erudition, and especially the soul he brought to his speeches. As he demonstrated in his famous speech at the 1984 Democratic National Convention, shining a light on what we can do better doesn't have to be disheartening, it can also inspire. "There is despair, Mr. President, in the faces that you don't see, in the places that you don't visit in your shining city," he said, addressing Ronald Reagan. "You ought to know that this nation is more a 'Tale of Two Cities' than it is just a 'Shining City on a Hill.'" We also bid farewell to 2014, which I'll remember as the year that awareness of how mindfulness can enhance well-being reached a tipping point. Here's to a New Year in which our inner resilience and wisdom can help us meet the challenges ahead.