Success then happiness, or the other way around?

This TED talk is a humorous and inspiring look at happiness and work, through the lens of Positive Psychology.  In it, Shawn Achor suggests several strategies to re-wire our thinking so that it is less negatively biased.  One exercise that he mentions that I really like is the Gratitude journal, which I have included in my past stress management classes.  This is a 21 day challenge during which you write down 3 things that you are grateful for, each and every day.  Challenging your brain to contemplate gratitude can shift the balance of your thinking so that it is less skewed towards the negative and can thereby improve your sense of life satisfaction. 

http://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work.html?quote=1291

Reference:

Lyubomirsky S, Dickerhoof R, Boehm JK, Sheldon KM. (2011). Becoming happier takes both a will and a proper way: an experimental longitudinal intervention to boost well-being. Emotion. Apr;11(2):391-402.

Living a Less Crowded Life.

This opinion piece <http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/opinion/sunday/living-with-less-a-lot-less.html?src=me&ref=general> is a great reminder of how packing our lives with the latest and greatest does not make us any happier or more satisfied in a lasting way; that this accumulation of goods actually requires a lot of our physical, mental and emotional space.  Of course, this is not a new idea - we all know this to be true at a fairly basic level.  We also know that the glimmers of excitement over getting that new pair of shoes, gadget, or phone are fleeting and don't truly make us happier.  And once that glow wears off, we are poised to look for the next best thing to fill the void. 

While this article talks mainly about materialism, I think the premise of simplifying also applies to other life areas as well, such as evaluating how your time is spent and whether there are any unfulfilling activities to decline.

With awareness comes choice - a choice to carry on or the choice to do things differently.  Many of us, at one point or another in life, long for a simpler life amidst all the extras and complexities.  In what ways, if any, have you simplified your life and shed the non-necessities that were crowding your mental and emotional landscape?