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Barbara "Cutie" Cooper, 94, has written a beautiful book about her 73 year marriage to her late husband Harry.  In her new book, she details steps that made her marriage a success and give advice to others both young and old.  One of her tips - never be too tired or too busy to love your significant other.

Henry and Barbara Cooper - Image Credit: www.chroniclebooks.com/

In addition to the wonderful new book, Barbara hosts a blog (www.the-ogs.com) where individuals can "Ask grandma anything" :)

And that's what's good,
Jon

Published in Lifestyle

The World Did Not End :)

I closed my eyes last night with a smile on my face thinking about the wonderful weekend in front of me.  I woke up on Saturday morning with a smile thinking that the world was just as beautiful in the morning as it was the night before.  It did not end yesterday as a few individuals predicted.

Yes, we all knew that the world would not end yesterday, but it's never too late to appreciate all of the incredible things in our lives.  Sure there are both ups and downs, but there are sooo many beautiful people, places, food, music, cultures, ideas, and feelings that I'm grateful and appreciative for it all. 

Go out and do something new today.  Breathe the air like it's your first time.  Love like you've never loved and do good for yourself, for others, and for the world because it's an amazingly beautiful place!

 

Peace & Love,

Jon

- The Good World News

Published in Environment

When was the last time that you received an actual handwritten letter in the mail?  If you are like most people, then it probably has been a while.  Nowadays it is so easy to get in contact with people by email, telephone, text, twitter, facebook (eek!), that many choose not to spend the time to sit down and hand write a beautiful letter.


Now think back to the last handwritten letter that you received in the mail.  It was a great feeling, right?!  It probably brought an incredible smile to your face as if you were opening a surprise present!

Try sending one person a personal letter this week and brighten their day.  Give them some good news.  Let us know how it goes and bring a smile to our face!

 

Peace and Love,

Jon

Good World News

Published in Lifestyle

As long as you do it for the right reasons and not to impress others

THURSDAY, June 21 (HealthDay News) -- If you buy life experiences such as an exotic vacation or tickets to a major concert in order to impress other people, you won't get much of a happiness boost, a new study finds.

 

However, if you spend money on a trip or an adventure for the right reasons -- that is, because it fits with your interests and values -- you can derive happiness from the experience, said Ryan Howell, an assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State University.

"Why you buy is just as important as what you buy. When people buy life experiences to impress others, it wipes out the well-being they receive from the purchase," he said in a university news release.

For this study, Howell and colleagues surveyed 241 people and found that those who buy life experiences because it meshes with their desires, interests and values reported an increased sense of fulfillment and well-being. These people were more likely to feel less lonely, more competent and self-sufficient.

On the other hand, people who buy life experiences in order to impress others reported feeling less self-sufficient, competent and connected to others.

"The biggest question you have to ask yourself is why you are buying something. Motivation appears to amplify or eliminate the happiness effect of a purchase," Howell said.

The study was published online June 13 in the Journal of Happiness Studies.

 

 

"Travel and Other Adventures Can Boost Happiness". US News. 21 June 2012. Web.  

 

View original good news story at USNEWS.com:

 

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2012/06/21/travel-and-other-adventures-can-boost-happiness

Published in Lifestyle

Enjoying a Staycation

I enjoy relaxing and definitely enjoy my vacations.  On the other hand, life is short so I do tend to pack in as much as possible :)  Usually when I get a vacation I head out as far as I can to explore a distant land or I visit friends and family.  There are so many things to do at home and places to explore, but I do not always have the time...

Recently I planned a vacation abroad for two weeks.  I was very excited, but unfortunately plans fell through and I found myself at home with two weeks vacation.  I was happy two have a vacation, but I suddenly did not have any planned family or friends to see, nor did I have any new lands to discover...or so I thought.  

I decided to do a "staycation" in my home of Raleigh, NC for at least the first week.  So far it has been amazing!  I have discovered wonderful restaurants and bars - great great food!  Let's see, had a breakfast that makes my mouth water just thinking about it at Dame's Chicken and Waffles in Durham, had an incredible dinner at Sitti in Raleigh and the staff there was unmatched, and much more!  Discovered a local wine shop and chocolate factory!  I saw about 4 movies that I've been wanting to see and had a chance to see a couple local museums!

So far my staycation has been a breath of fresh air.  It really has been awesome and I highly recommend it to anyone.    Think about making your next vacation a STAYcation ;)

 

Peace and Love,

Jon

Published in Lifestyle

Maybe Happiness Isn’t So Complicated

 

A few days ago, I had a wonderful conversation with a friend about what it takes to be happy.  The conversation convinced me that we often make it more complicated than it needs to be.  Of course, there are sometimes external situations that make the immediate experience of happiness difficult.  But to the extent that we are masters of our own fate, our happiness is largely in our own hands.

The problem – or one of them – is that we sometimes over-think what makes us happy.  Many of us have deeply rooted emotional issues that prevent us from listening to our intuition.  We want to live up to the expectations of our families, for example.  Or perhaps we are afraid of failure.  Whatever the issues are for each of us, they get in the way of our ability to follow our hearts.  In turn, our analytical brains begin working overtime, trying to rectify what we think we should do with our lives with what we authentically want to do.  Suddenly, it feels challenging – if not impossible – to understand what it is that will bring us happiness and satisfaction in life.

In my case, I experienced a period in my twenties in which I was afraid to pursue a career as a writer.  Being a writer is not as safe and predictable a career as, say, going and becoming a dentist.  There is a lot of uncertainty that goes along with being a writer.  So the part of me that was afraid of failure felt that I should pursue a career that was more predictable and “responsible.”  The result was that I spent years analyzing – in painful detail – every career choice I made, trying to find something that was more fulfilling than many more stable career paths would have been for me, but was also more predictable than writing.  Of course it didn’t work.

Finally, I realized that as long as I am making a significant portion of my income from writing – even if I still have a day job – I will probably be quite happy.  It is as simple as that.  Our hearts intuitively know what makes us happy, and all we have to do is listen to them.  Though of course, that can be easier said than done.

 

 

 

 

Cooke, Sarah. "Maybe Happiness Isn’t So Complicated" Care2. 25 April 2012. Web. 

View original article at care2.com:

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/maybe-happiness-isnt-so-complicated.html

 

Published in Lifestyle

 

Optimism, Happiness Linked to Lower Heart Attack, Stroke Risk
By 
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

 

April 18, 2012 -- Having a "glass half-full" outlook just might help protect people at risk for heart attack and stroke.

 

In a newly published review from the Harvard School of Public Health, characteristics such as optimism and happiness were linked to a lower risk for heart and vascular disease.

Among people who had established risk factors for heart disease, those who were the most optimistic were less likely than their least-optimistic peers to have a heart attack or stroke.

The analysis of more than 200 studies is the largest ever to examine the impact of a positive outlook on heart attack and stroke risk, says Harvard research fellow Julia K. Boehm, PhD.

"Historically, studies have focused on the negative impact of depression andanxiety," Boehm says. "We wanted to look at the flip side to see how psychological well-being -- things like happiness, optimism, and having a sense of purpose -- might impact [heart disease and stroke] risk."

Better Outlook, Better Outcomes

Along with Harvard associate professor Laura D. Kubzansky, PhD, Boehm showed that happiness and optimism tended to predict better heart health.

People who reported having a greater sense of well-being were also more likely to have healthier lifestyles, which could explain their better outcomes, Boehm says.

They generally exercised more, ate better, and got more sleep than people who reported having a more negative view of life, and they were less likely to have risk factors for heart disease and stroke, such as high blood pressurehigh cholesterol, and obesity.

"This suggests that bolstering psychological strengths like happiness and optimism could improve cardiovascular health," Boehm says.

Optimism Can Be Learned

Bryan Bruno, MD, who is acting chairman of the department of psychiatry at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, says the negative impact of depression on heart attack and stroke risk is well established.

"Most cardiologists are aware of the importance of treating depression in patients with heart disease," he tells WebMD. "Study after study has shown that once someone has had a cardiovascular event, their prognosis is a lot worse if they have untreated depression."

He says it makes sense that optimism might have a positive impact on heart attack and stroke risk.

But can people who are not hardwired to be happy change their outlook to improve their health?

Bruno says that while genes certainly play a role in disposition, behavioral therapy and other psychiatric interventions can help people improve their sense of well-being.

"Helping people become more optimistic is often a goal of therapy," he says.

The study was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation though an "Exploring the Concept of Positive Health" grant.

It appears in the April 17 issue of the American Psychological Association journalPsychological Bulletin.

 

 

Boyles, Salynn. "Do Happy People Have Healthier Hearts?" WebMD Health News. 18 April 2012. Web. 

View original article at WebMD.com:

http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20120418/happy-people-healthier-hearts

 

Published in Health

A long, happy haul

Solomons couple wins longest marriage project, looks forward to 74th year

By MEGHAN RUSSELL

Joseph Sheleheda still remembers what his wife, Stella, wore when they first met in 1937.

“She had on a polka dot dress,” he said. A year later, on June 18, 1938, they married.

This week, more than 73 years later, looking at their mantlepiece wedding photo at their Solomons Landing home, he said, “She hasn’t changed.”

Joseph, 96, and Stella, 94, recently won the Worldwide Marriage Encounter’s “Longest Married Couple” project for the state of Maryland. The international, faith-based organization holds weekend programs for couples to work on strengthening their marriages and conducts an annual search to find the longest married couple in the U.S., according to the WWME website.

Dot Stein, who presents the program in the Washington, D.C., area, said the organization advertises the longest marriage project in various ways, and the Shelehedas saw the ad in their church bulletin at Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church. While they may not have won the longest married couple in the U.S. — that title went to a Las Vegas couple whose marriage spans 78 years — the Shelehedas won the top spot in Maryland, and last weekend Stein presented them with the honor at their church.

“They are such a cute couple,” Stein said, adding that they reflect the reason behind the project. “Given today’s culture when people give up too easily on marriages, people need to see marriages really can last a lifetime.”

“They’re looked up to as an example by their kids, and they celebrate their anniversaries as they come, in our church,” said their son, Bill Sheleheda, who lives in Calvert County with his wife, Dot. “It tends to be an event everybody looks forward to,” including bank clerks and store employees who always ask how his parents are doing. “They got to be neighbors with people in this area.”

But the Shelehedas didn’t always live locally. Joseph grew up in Slickville, Pa., and Stella in Cadogan, Pa., both the children of immigrant coal miners from the Ukraine and Poland. They met in their early 20s at St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Ambridge, where they sang together in the choir.

“My mother was after her to ask me to go on a picnic,” Joseph said. “She said yes. From then on, it was steady.”

Joseph proposed to her with a dozen roses on Christmas Eve, “and to this day on Christmas Eve she still gets a dozen roses,” Dot said.

But things weren’t always rosy. Joseph was shot once during a bank robbery, and he “almost lost” Stella after she was in a car wreck in the ‘60s, he said. Then he underwent heart surgery in the ‘70s and she had a triple bypass at the age of 90. But both are still kicking, walking around and holding hands every chance they get.

Joseph said they also experienced money troubles. In the early years, they barely afforded the bills, and he had to borrow money for their $50 wedding, which ended up lasting from 10 in the morning until 10 at night, featuring an orchestra and dancing.

“We had the most beautiful wedding anyone could ask for,” he said.

“And ever since then, we’re together, right?” Stella asked, taking his hand where they sat on their living room couch.

“Right,” he smiled.

On their honeymoon, the Shelehedas rented an out-of-season cabin in Erie, Pa., for $9 a week.

Stella said she still remembers how “spooky” it was.

“It was so windy and creaking, they cuddled together, and there was a light bulb with a string; he tied the string to his toe so he could flick the light on,” Bill laughed.

“But somehow we managed,” Stella said.

Joseph was a store manager, and Stella worked as a private cook and child caretaker. Joseph later left the store to work 38 years as a dye repairman and machinist, before Bill and Dot invited them to live in Calvert, where they threw the couple a surprise 65th anniversary party in which the Shelehedas were surprised by many of the people they grew up with in Pennsylvania and their son, Joseph, who flew in from Las Vegas.

“I was talking to him on the phone, I thought he was in Vegas,” Joseph said, recalling when his son walked in the door.

The Shelehedas said they love each of their children. Along with Bill and Joseph, they have a daughter, Stella Marie, who lives in Chicago; their third son, James, died in 1991. They also have six grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

“I think we were blessed, that’s all,” Joseph said.

He wrote two books of memoirs and recently started a third, and about 40 photo albums span an entire bookcase, and part of another, in their home.

When asked to share their secrets for a long, happy marriage, Joseph said, “If you have an argument, quit it right then and there, give her a kiss and go to sleep. The next day it’s as if nothing happened. We always kiss before we go to sleep.”

“We get along real good,” Stella said. “We haven’t had an argument in ages.”

 

 

Russell, Meghan. "A long, happy haul" Southern Maryland Newspapers Online. 4 April 2012. Web. 

 

View original article at somdnews.com:

http://www.somdnews.com/article/20120404/NEWS/704049746/1075/a-long-happy-haul&template=southernMaryland

Published in Lifestyle

Couple lauded for a lifetime of love

 

True love has kept John and Victoria Frontera's marriage together for more than seven decades, but a drink a day also helps.

The West Seneca couple have been married an astounding 72 years, the equivalent of a lifetime for many people.

So what's their secret to a long, happy marriage?

"Have a glass of wine every day," said 96-year-old John.

The Fronteras were recognized Tuesday as the 2012 New York State winners of the Longest Married Couple Project sponsored by Worldwide Marriage Encounter, a faith-based marriage enrichment program.

The honor was based on nominations from throughout the state, said Mark Kulyk, a leader with the organization. He and his wife, Joyce, represent New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and most of New Jersey in the program.

"The search started four years ago for the longest married couple in the United States," Mark Kulyk said. "Then we realized we had enough [nominations] for every state."

If it seems like 72 years is a long time, it's because the notion of marriage has changed over the decades.

According to a recent New York Times article, 57 percent of people surveyed in 1957 said they believed adults who preferred to be single were "immoral" or "neurotic." And married couples made up 78 percent of U.S. households in 1950.

But today, married couples represent just 48 percent of U.S. households, a record low, according to the Census Bureau.

The Fronteras stand in stark contrast to the statistics.

Both were born in Cortale, Italy. John Frontera came to Buffalo in 1929 with his family; Victoria, 91, followed with hers in 1931.

She was 10 when they met, and what impressed her about him was the fact that he liked school and was easy on the eyes.

"He was handsome," said Victoria.

Years later, John made an even bigger impact on her through a sweet gesture following an accident at her high school.

Victoria was cooking in her home economics class when she got burned in the face. When John found out, he visited her two days later and brought a plant as a get-well gift.

"He proposed right after that," Victoria said. But she didn't accept right away.

"I said, 'Just a minute. I have to think about it,'" she said.

The couple got married Oct. 28, 1939, on a snowy day, Victoria remembered, and then took a train to New York for the World's Fair for a weeklong honeymoon.

John worked at Niagara Mohawk for 46 years, retiring at 73.

They had three daughters -- Paula Kurzawa, Francie Smith and Joanne -- and two sons, Joseph and Thomas.

And John and Victoria put them all through college, except Joanne, who was born with special needs. John and Victoria were her primary caregivers until she died in 2007 at age 41.

Except for Thomas, all of the kids live in the Buffalo area. Today, John and Victoria have 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

"They are happiest when family is together," Thomas said.

The couple still live in the same house they moved into in 1964. John helped build the home. Their daughter Francie lives across the street.

And even though they both are in their 90s, the two keep busy.

John drives them both to 4:30 p.m. Mass every Saturday at Fourteen Holy Helpers Catholic Church, about a block from their house. They have been members there for at least 70 years.

Up until two years ago, John bowled on four teams, and he still plays pinochle at the West Seneca Senior Center and at their church.

He's been making his own wine for years.

And long before organic foods became hip, John was growing all the vegetables his family ate in a garden adjacent to his house and in a small plot in the backyard. He still gardens, Smith said.

Victoria used to make sauce from scratch with the tomatoes from the garden, where John grew about 35 varieties.

Her homemade ravioli was her family's favorite dish.

Primarily a homemaker, Victoria ran a produce stand while raising her children. She also rented out apartments in properties the couple owned. And she found time to volunteer with special-needs kids.

"I wasn't lazy," said Victoria, who has her own advice for a long, happy marriage.

"There's always gonna be some things he doesn't like and something you don't like. There will always be mistakes," she said. "You gotta make a little compromise. Before you know it, it's all gone."



Williams, Deidre. "Couple lauded for a lifetime of love" Buffalo News. 21 Feb. 2012. Web. 

View original article at buffalonews.com:

http://www.buffalonews.com/city/article737496.ece

Published in Lifestyle

He doesn't drink or smoke, and centenarian Manohar Aich credits his longevity to a healthy lifestyle in which he minimizes stress and focuses on happiness.

Aich won the Mr. Universe international bodybuilding championship in 1952. He celebrated his 100th birthday on Sunday surrounded by children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in Kolkata, an eastern city in India.

Standing just 4 feet, 11 inches tall, Aich earned the nickname "Pocket Hercules," the Associated Press said in a report.

AP Photo/Bikas DasHis lifestyle and a simple diet of milk, fruits and vegetables along with rice, lentils and fish have kept him healthy, the bodybuilding trainer told the AP.

Aich turned to bodybuilding while he was imprisoned in the 1940s for opposing Britain's continued colonial rule of India. When he was released, he went on to compete as a bodybuilder, earning success in international competition that culminated with his taking the Mr. Universe title.

While his wife took care of their children, Aich traveled, competed and made a living. On his return to India, he trained future bodybuilding champions.

"I didn't become rich. There is not much money in bodybuilding," he told the Indian Express newspaper. "But there is respect. And for that, I wouldn't mind being a bodybuilder in my next life as well."

He has led a fulfilled life, but Aich regrets never having met his fellow Mr. Universe, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. He's seen many of the Governator's films, though.

"I like the incredible stunts he does in the movies," Aich told the AP.

 

Clarke, Suzan. "Mr. Universe 1952 Turns 100, Credits Healthy Lifestyle, Happiness" ABC News. 19, March 2012. Web.

View original article at ABC News:

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/03/mr-universe-1952-turns-100-credits-healthy-lifestyle-and-happiness/

Published in Lifestyle
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