Happiness Life Strategy: Recognize that most of your problems are first-world problems

This video has done the rounds, but it’s well worth revisiting, even at more than 5 minutes. If you haven’t seen it, please do – your time and attention will be rewarded.

It brilliantly highlights the effect comparison has on how we see our lives. If we compare our bodies with those of supermodels, our bank accounts with those of media moguls, or our track times with those of Olympic athletes, it probably won’t do much to boost our happiness. But if we’re a little wiser, we can choose to see our lives in a more realistic light, and recognize just how much we have to be happy about.

Don't Get Too Comfortable: The Indignities of Coach Class, The Torments of Low Thread Count, The Never- Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World ProblemsThe video is so cool because of its humor.

Humor is also how David Rakoff’s recent essay collection makes his point about our culture of excess. It’s delightfully titled:

Now, Don’t Get Too Comfortable:
The Indignities of Coach Class, the Torments of Low Thread Count, the Never-ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World Problems
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Happiness life strategy

UrbanDictionary.com defines first world problems as:

Problems from living in a wealthy, industrialized nation that third worlders would probably roll their eyes at.

The truth is, most of our problems fit this category. We live in the first world, so it makes sense that social slights, iPods and overweight are the kinds of concerns that occupy us. But the reminder from commentators like World Vision and David Rakoff to run the occasional reality check on our perspective, expectations and points of comparison is worth heeding.

Choosing to see our problems in perspective leaves us with less to worry about and more to appreciate. And that’s a great life strategy for happiness.

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