What Religion Can Tell Us About a Well-lived Life

Gillian McCann and Gitte Bechsgaard wrote . . . . . . . . .

When determining why religious people tend to be healthier, both mentally and physically, certain connections can be easily understood. The links between the community that is often provided by religious affiliation and better health are more and more well known. The work of psychologists like Susan Pinker has argued for the buffering influence of community and human contact and its connection with longevity. However, other vital contributions that are made to well-being by religion are often less clear.

Religious, spiritual, and philosophical traditions provide overarching world views. These help us to orient in the many situations we may come up against in the course of their lives. These beliefs, which are often developed in childhood, are not necessarily front of mind or even conscious much of the time, but they have important implications for well-being and a well-lived life.

Pleasure versus purpose

Spiritual traditions have a great deal to say about what constitutes the “Good Life.” As we have mentioned before on this blog, spiritual traditions often have a very different approach to happiness than secular ones. Happiness, as with so many words, ends up a challenge to define. This is because ideas of happiness lead directly into a larger conception of our understanding of a well-lived life. This varies a great deal depending on your worldview. Is the Good Life one based on personal pleasure? Or is it a life spent in service to others?

Much of mainstream public discourse on the Good Life has largely been hijacked by commerce and travel companies. It is presented to us as someone lounging on the beach or playing golf. It is depicted as a life that is centered around the individual and their amusement. Essentially this is the hedonist worldview—that freedom from work and entangling relationships constitutes happiness. But does this really lead to the sense of a fulfilled life?

It turns out no, it doesn’t. In her ongoing work on meaning versus happiness, Emily Esfahani Smith argues that pillars of happiness are related to eudaimonia. This is a Greek term that refers to an overall sense of well-being rather than fleeting happiness. This way of approaching life encompasses ideas of meaning and purpose nor simply referring to changing emotional states.

Eudaimonia does not presuppose a life free of struggle and strain. Esfahani Smith makes an important point that while, for instance, having children may lead to stress, it is ultimately one of the key sources of meaning for many people. Standing up and fighting for a cause may be extremely inconvenient and often discouraging but provides for a sense of contributing to society and of meaning overall.

Research indicates what may at first appear to be counterintuitive to many who are constantly bombarded by ads for resort vacations and lotteries. If we look at occupations that show the most satisfaction, they consistently include those who work in “helping” professions, such as teaching and nursing. The feeling of making an important and meaningful contribution trumps salary in terms of career satisfaction.

Sociologist Émile Durkheim made this argument about the importance of meaning over a century ago. Durkheim, who was himself a mostly secular Jew, was concerned with the waning power of religion and its implications for society. He coined the term anomie to describe a person who had lost all sense of meaning and purpose in their life. Detached from religion, from relationships to others, anomic individuals were, he concluded, dangerous both to themselves and to those around them.

One of the key contributions of religious and spiritual traditions is precisely that they offer a sense of meaning and purpose. This outlook fosters resilience and a deeper feeling of satisfaction. It places all the events of human life within a larger pattern and the sense that each individual life is valuable. Religious people often frame experiences as meaningful, even when they are challenging. This other-oriented approach offers a very different interpretation of what we mean when we say “a Good Life.”

Source: Psychology Today

The First Ever REESE’S PUFFS Musical Cereal Box

Reach Guinto wrote . . . . . . . . .

Giving a whole new meaning to “playing” with your food, REESE’S PUFFS is turning its cereal boxes into special edition, first-ever series of music boxes. Dubbed the RP-FX and RP-PRO, these boxes can actually create real music, and REESE’S is encouraging fans to share their beats and creations to an accompanying app.

Here’s the details on each REESE’S PUFFS music box:


  • Comes in three limited-edition boxes: Crunchy Drum Machine, Creamy Lead Synth, and Chocolatey Bass Syth.
  • The music comes to life when fans add the REESE’S PUFFS on the back of the box and use an accompanying app on PuffsFX.com to create their beats.
  • RP-FX boxes use a first-of-its-kind augmented reality technology to detect where the PUFFS have been placed and make unique music tracks based off their placement.
  • Fans can get all three boxes to create different layers to the tracks.
  • RP-FX boxes are available now at grocery stores nationwide.


  • The RP-PRO is an ultra-exclusive synthesizer, designed to look like a box of REESE’S PUFFS cereal but with all the music samples, audio effects, functions and power you’d expect from the most serious piece of music equipment.
  • It features custom REESE’S cup dials, custom-molded REESE’S PUFFS buttons along the bottom, chocolatey drum pads, a built-in sampler and a dome visualizer with menu. Plus a secret inside compartment to fit a small bag of REESE’S PUFFS cereal.
  • REESE’S PUFFS will be sending the RP-PRO to some of the top music artists and hit-makers around the country, as well as giving away a few to a couple lucky fans.

Source: FoodBeast

Chocolate Chip Coffee Gelato


2 tbsp cornstarch
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 tbsp instant coffee granules
1 tbsp vanilla
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, divided


  1. In a small bowl, whisk 1/2 cup milk with cornstarch until smooth. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together remaining milk, sugar and cocoa powder. Bring to a simmer, stirring often. Whisk in coffee granules.
  3. Whisk the cornstarch mixture to recombine. Gradually whisk into sugar mixture. Return to a boil, stirring often. Strain into a clean large bowl. Let cool to room temperature.
  4. Stir in vanilla and half of the chocolate. Cover and refrigerate until completely cold or overnight.

  5. Stir milk mixture. Transfer to an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  6. Add remaining chocolate during last 5 minutes of freezing and let machine stir it in.
  7. Serving suggestion: Sprinkle 2 tsp sliced almonds, chopped hazelnuts or chopped pecans over each serving.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: 125 Best Ice Cream Recipes

Today’s Comic

Study: Eating Meat Raises Risk of Heart Disease

Eating beef, lamb, pork and processed meats spells trouble for your heart, and the more you eat, the worse it gets, new research warns.

The meta-analysis — an overview of data from a large number of studies — included more than 1.4 million people who were followed for 30 years. It found that for each 1.75 ounces of beef, lamb and pork consumed, the risk of heart disease rose 9%, CNN reported.

Processed meats were even worse: For each 1.75 ounces of processed meats such as bacon, ham or sausage consumed, the risk rose 18%, according to the study published in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition.

A recommended serving of meat is about 3 ounces, the size of a bar of soap or deck of cards, according to the American Cancer Society.

“Processed meat appears to be worse for coronary heart disease,” study co-author Anika Knüppel, a nutritional epidemiologist in the department of population health at the University of Oxford, in England, told CNN.

“This is in line with what has been found for bowel [colon] cancer, where processed meat has been shown to be associated with higher increase in risk than red meat,” Knüppel added.

The good news from the study is that poultry — such as chicken and turkey — don’t appear to increase the risk of heart disease, CNN reported. Considered lean meats, most types of poultry do not contain the levels of saturated fat as found in red meat, nor the high levels of sodium that are part of processed meats.

Saturated fat contributes to the development of plaque on your artery walls, which can create dangerous blockages. Meanwhile, sodium raises blood pressure, restricting the flow of blood to the heart.

Source: HealthDay