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The (Kinda Utah) Hills are alive!
ED Note: Update on Tuesday, January 20th: David caused his followers to tweet Sound of Music lyrics and wonder if, like “Raindrops on Roses, Whiskers on Kittens”, these might be a few of his favourite things
And the Sound of Music lyrics were flowing after that. Even Lady V weighed in!
And some perceptive fans realized these lyrics are from the stage production (for example, with Carrie Underwood which aired in NBC in 2013), not the movie production (with Julie Andrews).
Perhaps David took in a live stage performance of SOM. Or, it would be awesome if David is watching the 2013 stage/TV production. Loved it! And so did millions of other viewers!
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Staying True to Yourself
Another article was released from KSL.com Contributor Arianne Brown focused on David Archuleta’s blog from last week. However, the writer also expanded on a few other issues, which got a reaction from fans. READ ON:
SALT LAKE CITY — In a blog post published on Jan. 13, singer/songwriter, David Archuleta wrote a letter to his fans about his need to be true to himself.
Archuleta, who was first introduced to much of America as a 16-year-old on the popular singing competition “American Idol,” was catapulted to stardom after taking second in the competition with over 97 million votes.
His singing career didn’t start there, however. At 10 years old, he won the children’s division of the Utah Talent Competition, and went on to become the Junior Vocal Champion on “Star Search” just two years later.
Even with millions of fans, the spotlight has been something with which this young star has struggled. A self-described introvert, Archuleta told fans in his letter that he doesn’t like being the center of attention.
Archuleta wrote about his struggle to remain true to himself amidst the push to do what others expected him to.
“I was always having to put myself out there because everyone was hounding me to do it,” he wrote. “It was very unnatural for me to do it because I have come to realize that I’m a very introverted person.”
This struggle began early on in his career, and in 2012, the singer took time off from the life of stardom and served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Chile.
“After these two years away and feeling comfortable to be myself, I do not want to be the suck-up type just so I can get more fans, more likes, more attention and fame.” ~ David Archuleta
Archuleta wrote he was grateful for his mission because it helped him to find himself again and to discover new things. He told readers he didn’t want to go back to being someone he wasn’t after having spent two years feeling comfortable being himself.
“After these two years away and feeling comfortable to be myself, I do not want to be the suck-up type just so I can get more fans, more likes, more attention and fame,” he wrote. “That stuff never interested me in the first place … I am David. I love life; I love learning; I love sharing, and music is a way I express my passions and what is important to me.”
In fact, the singer spent time in Spain and France over the holidays where he sang Christmas songs for LDS missionaries serving in the areas.
“It is not easy to be away for the holidays without any family, just as it was for me on my mission for two years,” he wrote. “I loved bringing a piece of home to the missionaries there as it meant a lot to me while I was in Chile to have pieces of home brought to me.”
As someone who finds comfort amid close family and friends, he said this trip was particularly important to him, to bring a sense of family to those serving missions. This trip also gave him time to focus on his needs as well.
Archuleta expressed that he realized some fans may not like what he had to say, but that he needed to be true to himself.
“I have decided to take into consideration how I feel, what I think and what I want because, yes, I do matter,” he wrote. “My own thoughts, opinions, feelings and ideas are good enough because they are my own and are for me.”
KSL.com reached out to Archuleta’s publicist and was told that he was unavailable for an interview. However, according to recent press updates, the singer is working on a new album titled, “For me,” which is said to be about moving forward and making progress.
Archuleta expressed to his fans that in order to understand where his music is coming from, it was important they understand where he is coming from.
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“For Me”. The New CD title? Not so fast …
I somehow don’t think we’d hear of the new title of David’s upcoming CD through the contributor to the article above. And neither did you!
Woohoo! Way to respond Kari. Thanks for the clarification.
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Kari confirms New Music (but we knew that)
… and that convo continued!
I always love these confirmations from Kari. Team Archuleta FTW!
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Are you happy? Scientists tell you how to be!
Today is traditionally known as “Blue Monday”, supposedly the saddest day of the year. Really? Apparently, due to the fact it’s winter (January no less), a Monday, and Christmas bills are still rolling in, this has been coined Blue Monday. Let’s just go with it for this segment …
But whether you believe this or not, I thought I thought I would end with a fun article on happiness. Much of this is not new to each of you, but I added, as I like to do, that ubiquitous David Archuleta connection.
Sorry this is so long, but I found it incredibly interesting!
10 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Incredibly Happy
It’s easy to think of happiness as a result, but happiness is also a driver.
One example: While I’m definitely into finding ways to improve personal productivity (whether a one-day burst, or a lifetime, or things you should not do every day), probably the best way to be more productive is to just be happier. Happy people accomplish more.
Easier said than done though, right?
Actually, many changes are easy.
Here are 10 science-based ways to be happier:
1. Exercise: 7 Minutes Could Be Enough
Think exercise is something you don’t have time for? Think again. Check out the 7 minute workout mentioned in The New York Times. That’s a workout any of us can fit into our schedules.
Exercise has such a profound effect on our happiness and well-being that it is an effective strategy for overcoming depression. In a study cited in Shawn Achor’s book The Happiness Advantage, three groups of patients treated their depression with medication, exercise, or a combination of the two. The results of this study are surprising: Although all three groups experienced similar improvements in their happiness levels early on, the follow-up assessments proved to be radically different:
You don’t have to be depressed to benefit from exercise, though. Exercise can help you relax, increase your brain power, and even improve your body image, even if you don’t lose any weight.
We’ve explored exercise in depth before, and looked at what it does to our brains, such as releasing proteins and endorphins that make us feel happier.
A study in the Journal of Health Psychology found that people who exercised felt better about their bodies even when they saw no physical changes.:Body weight, shape and body image were assessed in 16 males and 18 females before and after both 6 × 40 minutes exercising and 6 × 40 minutes reading. Over both conditions, body weight and shape did not change. Various aspects of body image, however, improved after exercise compared to before.
Yep: Even if your actual appearance doesn’t change, how you feel about your body does change.
2. Sleep More: You’ll Be Less Sensitive to Negative Emotions
In NutureShock, Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman explain how sleep affects positivity:
Negative stimuli get processed by the amygdala; positive or neutral memories gets processed by the hippocampus. Sleep deprivation hits the hippocampus harder than the amygdala. The result is that sleep-deprived people fail to recall pleasant memories yet recall gloomy memories just fine.
In one experiment by Walker, sleep-deprived college students tried to memorize a list of words. They could remember 81% of the words with a negative connotation, like “cancer.” But they could remember only 31% of the words with a positive or neutral connotation, like “sunshine” or “basket.”
The BPS Research Digest explores another study that proves sleep affects our sensitivity to negative emotions. Using a facial recognition task throughout the course of a day, researchers studied how sensitive participants were to positive and negative emotions. Those who worked through the afternoon without taking a nap became more sensitive to negative emotions like fear and anger.
Using a face recognition task, here we demonstrate an amplified reactivity to anger and fear emotions across the day, without sleep. However, an intervening nap blocked and even reversed this negative emotional reactivity to anger and fear while conversely enhancing ratings of positive (happy) expressions.
Of course, how well (and how long) you sleep will probably affect how you feel when you wake up, which can make a difference to your whole day.
Another study tested how employees’ moods when they started work in the morning affected their entire work day.
Researchers found that employees’ moods when they clocked in tended to affect how they felt the rest of the day. Early mood was linked to their perceptions of customers and to how they reacted to customers’ moods.
And most importantly to managers, employee mood had a clear impact on performance, including both how much work employees did and how well they did it.
3. Spend More Time With Friends/Family: Money Can’t Buy You Happiness
Staying in touch with friends and family is one of the top five regrets of the dying.
If you want more evidence that time with friends is beneficial for you, research proves it can make you happier right now, too.
Social time is highly valuable when it comes to improving our happiness, even for introverts. Several studies have found that time spent with friends and family makes a big difference to how happy we feel.
I love the way Harvard happiness expert Daniel Gilbert explains it:
We are happy when we have family, we are happy when we have friends and almost all the other things we think make us happy are actually just ways of getting more family and friends.
In an interview in the March 2008 newsletter to the Grant Study subjects, Vaillant was asked, “What have you learned from the Grant Study men?” Vaillant’s response: “That the only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people.”
He shared insights of the study with Joshua Wolf Shenk at The Atlantic on how men’s social connections made a difference to their overall happiness:
Men’s relationships at age 47, he found, predicted late-life adjustment better than any other variable. Good sibling relationships seem especially powerful: 93 percent of the men who were thriving at age 65 had been close to a brother or sister when younger.
In fact, a study published in the Journal of Socio-Economics states than your relationships are worth more than $100,000:
Using the British Household Panel Survey, I find that an increase in the level of social involvements is worth up to an extra £85,000 a year in terms of life satisfaction. Actual changes in income, on the other hand, buy very little happiness.
I think that last line is especially fascinating: Actual changes in income, on the other hand, buy very little happiness. So we could increase our annual income by hundreds of thousands of dollars and still not be as happy as we would if we increased the strength of our social relationships.
The Terman study, covered in The Longevity Project, found that relationships and how we help others were important factors in living long, happy lives:
We figured that if a Terman participant sincerely felt that he or she had friends and relatives to count on when having a hard time then that person would be healthier. Those who felt very loved and cared for, we predicted, would live the longest.
Surprise: our prediction was wrong… Beyond social network size, the clearest benefit of social relationships came from helping others. Those who helped their friends and neighbors, advising and caring for others, tended to live to old age.
4. Get Outside More: Happiness is Maximized at 57°
In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor recommends spending time in the fresh air to improve your happiness:
Making time to go outside on a nice day also delivers a huge advantage; one study found that spending 20 minutes outside in good weather not only boosted positive mood, but broadened thinking and improved working memory…
This is pretty good news for those of us who are worried about fitting new habits into our already-busy schedules. Twenty minutes is a short enough time to spend outside that you could fit it into your commute or even your lunch break.
Being outdoors, near the sea, on a warm, sunny weekend afternoon is the perfect spot for most. In fact, participants were found to be substantially happier outdoors in all natural environments than they were in urban environments.
The American Meteorological Society published research in 2011 that found current temperature has a bigger effect on our happiness than variables like wind speed and humidity, or even the average temperature over the course of a day. It also found that happiness is maximized at 57 degrees (13.9°C), so keep an eye on the weather forecast before heading outside for your 20 minutes of fresh air.
The connection between productivity and temperature is another topic we’ve talked about more here. It’s fascinating what a small change in temperature can do.
5. Help Others: 100 Hours a Year is the Magic Number
One of the most counterintuitive pieces of advice I found is that to make yourself feel happier, you should help others. In fact, 100 hours per year (or two hours per week) is the optimal time we should dedicate to helping others in order to enrich our lives.
If we go back to Shawn Achor’s book again, he says this about helping others:
…when researchers interviewed more than 150 people about their recent purchases, they found that money spent on activities–such as concerts and group dinners out–brought far more pleasure than material purchases like shoes, televisions, or expensive watches. Spending money on other people, called “prosocial spending,” also boosts happiness.
Participants recalled a previous purchase made for either themselves or someone else and then reported their happiness. Afterward, participants chose whether to spend a monetary windfall on themselves or someone else. Participants assigned to recall a purchase made for someone else reported feeling significantly happier immediately after this recollection; most importantly, the happier participants felt, the more likely they were to choose to spend a windfall on someone else in the near future.
So spending money on other people makes us happier than buying stuff for ourselves. But what about spending our time on other people?
A study of volunteering in Germany explored how volunteers were affected when their opportunities to help others were taken away:
Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall but before the German reunion, the first wave of data of the GSOEP was collected in East Germany. Volunteering was still widespread. Due to the shock of the reunion, a large portion of the infrastructure of volunteering (e.g. sports clubs associated with firms) collapsed and people randomly lost their opportunities for volunteering. Based on a comparison of the change in subjective well-being of these people and of people from the control group who had no change in their volunteer status, the hypothesis is supported that volunteering is rewarding in terms of higher life satisfaction.
In his book Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, University of Pennsylvania professor Martin Seligman explains that helping others can improve our own lives:
…we scientists have found that doing a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise we have tested.
6. Practice Smiling: Reduce Pain, Improve Mood, Think Better
Smiling can make us feel better, but it’s more effective when we back it up with positive thoughts, according to this study:
A new study led by a Michigan State University business scholar suggests customer-service workers who fake smile throughout the day worsen their mood and withdraw from work, affecting productivity. But workers who smile as a result of cultivating positive thoughts–such as a tropical vacation or a child’s recital–improve their mood and withdraw less.
Of course it’s important to practice “real smiles” where you use your eye sockets. (You’ve seen fake smiles that don’t reach the person’s eyes. Try it. Smile with just your mouth. Then smile naturally; your eyes narrow. There’s a huge difference in a fake smile and a genuine smile.)
According to PsyBlog, smiling can improve our attention and help us perform better on cognitive tasks:
Smiling makes us feel good which also increases our attentional flexibility and our ability to think holistically. When this idea was tested by Johnson et al. (2010), the results showed that participants who smiled performed better on attentional tasks which required seeing the whole forest rather than just the trees.
Smiling is one way to reduce the distress caused by an upsetting situation. Psychologists call this the facial feedback hypothesis. Even forcing a smile when we don’t feel like it is enough to lift our mood slightly (this is one example of embodied cognition).
7. Plan a Trip: It Helps Even if You Don’t Actually Take One
As opposed to actually taking a holiday, simply planning a vacation or break from work can improve our happiness. A study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life showed that the highest spike in happiness came during the planning stage of a vacation as people enjoy the sense of anticipation:
In the study, the effect of vacation anticipation boosted happiness for eight weeks. After the vacation, happiness quickly dropped back to baseline levels for most people.
Shawn Achor has some info for us on this point, as well:
One study found that people who just thought about watching their favorite movie actually raised their endorphin levels by 27 percent.
If you can’t take the time for a vacation right now, or even a night out with friends, put something on the calendar–even if it’s a month or a year down the road. Then, whenever you need a boost of happiness, remind yourself about it.
8. Meditate: Rewire Your Brain for Happiness
In one study, a research team from Massachusetts General Hospital looked at the brain scans of 16 people before and after they participated in an eight-week course in mindfulness meditation. The study, published in the January issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, concluded that after completing the course, parts of the participants’ brains associated with compassion and self-awareness grew, and parts associated with stress shrank.
Meditation literally clears your mind and calms you down, it’s been often proven to be the single most effective way to live a happier life. According to Achor, meditation can actually make you happier long-term:
Studies show that in the minutes right after meditating, we experience feelings of calm and contentment, as well as heightened awareness and empathy. And, research even shows that regular meditation can permanently rewire the brain to raise levels of happiness.
The fact that we can actually alter our brain structure through mediation is most surprising to me and somewhat reassuring that however we feel and think today isn’t permanent.
9. Move Closer to Work: A Short Commute is Worth More Than a Big House
Our commute to work can have a surprisingly powerful impact on our happiness. The fact that we tend to commute twice a day at least five days a week makes it unsurprising that the effect would build up over time and make us less and less happy.
According to The Art of Manliness, having a long commute is something we often fail to realize will affect us so dramatically:
… while many voluntary conditions don’t affect our happiness in the long term because we acclimate to them, people never get accustomed to their daily slog to work because sometimes the traffic is awful and sometimes it’s not.
Or as Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert put it, “Driving in traffic is a different kind of hell every day.”
We tend to try to compensate for this by having a bigger house or a better job, but these compensations just don’t work:
Two Swiss economists who studied the effect of commuting on happiness found that such factors could not make up for the misery created by a long commute.
10. Practice Gratitude: Increase Happiness and Satisfaction
This is a seemingly simple strategy but I’ve personally found it to make a huge difference to my outlook. There are lots of ways to practice gratitude, from keeping a journal of things you’re grateful for, sharing three good things that happen each day with a friend or your partner, and going out of your way to show gratitude when others help you.
In an experiment where participants took note of things they were grateful for each day, their moods were improved just from this simple practice:
The gratitude-outlook groups exhibited heightened well-being across several, though not all, of the outcome measures across the three studies, relative to the comparison groups. The effect on positive affect appeared to be the most robust finding. Results suggest that a conscious focus on blessings may have emotional and interpersonal benefits.
Participants included 219 men and women who wrote three letters of gratitude over a 3 week period. Results indicated that writing letters of gratitude increased participants’ happiness and life satisfaction while decreasing depressive symptoms.
Quick Final Fact: Getting Older Will Actually Make You Happier
Researchers, including the authors, have found that older people shown pictures of faces or situations tend to focus on and remember the happier ones more and the negative ones less.
Other studies have discovered that as people age, they seek out situations that will lift their moods–for instance, pruning social circles of friends or acquaintances who might bring them down. Still other work finds that older adults learn to let go of loss and disappointment over unachieved goals, and focus their goals on greater well being.
So if you thought getting old will make you miserable, it’s likely you’ll develop a more positive outlook than you probably have now.
How cool is that?
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Changes a-coming at FOD
No longer do we plan to post every day, unless there is news to warrant it.
We plan to post Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, and then inbetween when warranted. We will also put up a fresh post if comments need to be refreshed.
Why are we doing this, now that David is back from his mission?
We take our clue from David, and if there is no new info, or interviews or special features for you, we have decided to consolidate our energies into fewer posts focused on current activities as well as more opinion pieces. This also helps to keep us mods fresh and rested. We will be on social media like twitter and will tweet out new info, so look for us there. David will continue to post info on Facebook and you can look to him for a great source of info!
Like us here: Fans of David Facebook Page
We’ll try it this way, see how it goes. And of course, as David’s career gears up again, we’ll follow that lead!
It’s all good folks! We are still here #DA2015andbeyond
This. And THIS!
Love it! from Bennie
Happy Martin Luther King Day to all of you. I can’t commemorate this day without adding my favourite quote of his:
See you next time (on Sunday, at the very least!)