#thecumulativeeffectHow Do You Deal With Stress?

10 comments | April 4th, 2012


Stress has got to be among the bigger haters on anyone's happy. 

No matter its cause, family, finance, love, work, something good might happen and you're waiting to see if it will, school, health...the list is as long and varied as the lives we lead.  Figuring out how to productively deal with stress can make a big difference in the quality of our lives and how happy we are.

So, how do you deal with it?  What signs does your body/mind send you that stress is running amok inside?  Getting it off our chests seems a fine place to start (get it?).  Stress.  #discuss.

#lifestagesWalking Tall

19 comments | April 3rd, 2012


(story by Mir, from WouldaCouldaShoulda)

It finally happened, and I have to tell you... I'm not usually all that sentimental, but it got to me. Not even when it was happening, but later.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me start over.

Yesterday I took my daughter to Goodwill with me. I've been a dedicated thrifter since high school, which is a fancy way of saying "I'm cheap and I don't mind buying used." It's only recently that my teenage daughter put two and two together and realized that the chances of me saying "yes" to a purchase at a thrift store are astronomically higher than if we're at, say, the mall. (This is a no-brainer to me. A t-shirt for $2? Sure. The same t-shirt for $35? Uh, no.) So nowadays if I say I'm going to the thrift store, she's eager to join me.

As it happens, I was looking for shorts for my son. And as it often happens when it comes to thrifting, the thing I needed that day was in short supply. It seemed silly to leave five minutes after I discovered someone had ...

#lifestages33 Is The Happiest Year of Our Lives

6 comments | April 3rd, 2012


(OOC via Time)

New research finds that the happiest year of our lives is 33.  How's that for specificity?

A British study found 70% of respondents over the age of 40 saying they weren't "truly happy" until they got to the magical double 3s.

“The age of 33 is enough time to have shaken off childhood naiveté and the wild scheming of teenaged years without losing the energy and enthusiasm of youth,” psychologist Donna Dawson said in the survey’s findings. “By this age innocence has been lost, but our sense of reality is mixed with a strong sense of hope, a ‘can do’ spirit, and a healthy belief in our own talents and abilities.”

Interestingly, just 16% of the respondents pined for their grade school years, and only 6% said they were happiest when in college. 

Digging a little deeper, happiness at 33 was a result of a nice mixture of doing well professionally and  having a support system made up of family and friends. "Not surprisingly, 36% said they were happiest when they had children" which suggests to us that 64% didn't say that (we're good at ...

#bodiesWhat Is Prettiness (and Why’s It Matter)?

9 comments | April 2nd, 2012

cloudy talk burst

(story originally submitted as a comment to Distortion, by Mir)

What is it about prettiness that makes us care so much (me included)?

We fight “you’re not pretty” messages with “yes you are, everyone’s pretty!” messages. We don’t feel a need to tell everyone that they’re athletic, or agile, or a story-teller, or musical, or scientific-minded, or a great linguist. We accept that there are degrees of talent or luck and if you’re at the low end of these, that’s fine. Go be great at the things you’re great at.

Kind-of drives home how much prettiness matters, which is just weird.  {end story}  

Why do we care so much about "prettiness"?  Do you care about prettiness?  What do you think pretty is?

#bodiesLiposuction Can Make You Happier?

7 comments | March 30th, 2012

plastic surgery

(OOC via Marketwatch.com)

According to this article, folks who get their lipos-suctioned and their tummy's tucked "report significant improvements in self-esteem and quality of life."  How bout that?!

So a few things.  One, we here @OOC are neither for nor against plastic surgery - we're totally for happiness and against feeling bad about yourself.  Our attitude, do what makes you feel good (and don;t do what makes you feel bad). Two, it kind of makes sense that patients who chose elective surgery would, on balance, feel good about their choice (though we're not sure these same #s hold when it comes to breast augmentation).  Three, this survey was done by a group with an interest in the outcome, which seems worth noting.  All this aside...

Have you ever had elective surgery?  Would you?  If you have, did it make you feel better about you? (We hope so.)  Plastic surgery, let's #discuss.


#bodiesWhere’s the Outrage?

8 comments | March 23rd, 2012

dude, wtf

So Kim Kardashian get hit with a flour-bomb last night at the launch of her new perfume?  Does Katy really have a new guy? 

Doesn't it sometimes seem like popular culture is focusing on things that maybe just don't matter all that much (and, we like gossip as much as anyone) and on those things that affect one or two of us but not that many of us?  Does it ever seem that maybe we should spend more time talking about things like this...


- 50% of children 8-10 years old report being "unhappy" with their bodies?

- More than 81% of 10-year-olds said they are terrified of "getting fat."

- 80% of women feel worse about themselves after seeing a beauty ad?

We could go on - and on.  We won't though.  But we will invite you to keep joining us - and so many others fighting this fight day to day - to try and make a difference.  We'll ask you to use your voice to ask "WTF" is going on and question how we begin to change it ...

#lifestagesTea for You, Tea for Me

31 comments | March 22nd, 2012


(story by Mir, from WouldaCouldaShoulda.com) Both of my kids were big fans of the ubiquitous pretend tea party when they were little. We always had a tot-sized tea set (or two) floating around, and I would obediently fold myself into a child-size chair when directed, so that we could sip our air together. My daughter often donned a special outfit for the occasion---either from the dress-up clothing or her closet---while my son usually opted only for a funny hat. ("This is my tea drinking hat!") She would hold her pinky up and "act fancy;" he would dig through the play food and serve me a banana on a hot dog bun or something similarly weird, and then laugh and laugh at my reaction. I want to tell you that I treasured every moment of those tea parties. I'd love to be able to say that in the moment I knew that it would all be over in just a few short years, and I savored it fully. I could tell you that, but it wouldn't be true. Sometimes I savored ...

Photo Shop Law Passed in Israel

comment | March 21st, 2012



13 comments | March 20th, 2012

rated wtf

(story submitted by Dina Gachman, from Bureaucracy for Breakfast)

My three-year-old niece had to get glasses a few months back. Her specs are flashy and pink and she adores them (she’s a mini fashionista), yet seeing her so proudly push the glasses up her nose for the first time, one of my first thoughts was: “If any kids make fun of her I’ll kill them.” Obviously that’s an exaggeration, but the knee-jerk reaction to her innocent little accessory came from a fact most of us know all too well: Kids can be cruel. Bullying happens, and it’s not pretty.

Last night I got the chance to see the controversial documentary BULLY. If you haven’t heard, the reason it’s controversial isn’t because it’s a heartbreaking, honest, raw look at real kids across the US being physically and verbally pummeled by their classmates while their teachers and administrators shrug it off. It’s not because it frankly looks at what it’s like to be a gay teen in a small Oklahoma town (newsflash – it’s hell), or because it doesn’t sugar-coat the horror of parents dealing with the suicide of ...

#chestismsAmy Sedaris, a Chestism

7 comments | March 14th, 2012


(first submitted by OOC: 12.14.10, then again, today)

Here's Amy Sedaris, in an interview for Psychology Today:

"They assume that I want a boyfriend, and yeah, that I'd probably like to get married and have a baby - but they're wrong."

Why do we love it, you ask?  Because it speaks to the expectations of others, and how Amy acknowledges them and dismisses them - as not what she wants for her.  To us, in a lot of ways, it's the essence of what we're hoping OOC helps you do for you...realize what you want, and what you don't...get closer to understanding the things that hate on your happy (and why they do) and the things that make you happier (and why), so you can spend more time on the happier than the hating.

Soooo...you ever find yourself confronting the expectations others have of what you should want, and thinking nope, they're wrong?  You ever say anything to them?  Tell us about the when, whos and whys.  Yea, expectations can be such a buzzkill.  #Discuss.


It’s Only Hair…Right?

89 comments | March 13th, 2012

chestist soup

(story by Mir, from WouldaShouldaCoulda)

No one is ever going to accuse me of being easy-going; my teenager's favorite thing to say to me, these days, is "Geez, Mom, CHILLAX." (I am, I suspect, the only person with whom she uses that word, and the humor is partially because of that, of course.) I can be a bit persnickety, yes. A little high-strung at times, sure. I have strong opinions on many things. I'm okay with this.

One of the issues on which I cannot be bothered to feel strongly, however, is hair. Hair grows. No hair decision is irreversible; even if you're terribly unhappy with your choice, eventually you can do something else. It's just... not that big of a deal.

To me, this makes sense. To some folks who know me, though, I guess it was a little surprising when I let my young son grow his hair long. Or when I let my daughter dye a streak in hers. But to me, it was a easy way to let the kids have a bit ...

Love & SexWhy Can’t Women Sleep Around?

51 comments | March 13th, 2012

chestist blue

(story submitted by KSE, a Chestist)

This writer's wondering why her BF has a problem with the number of guys she's been with.  Here's her story:

I've been with a lot of guys.  Not hundreds but a lot.  I like sex and I like men and I like having sex with men.  I've been with my boyfriend for 3 years.  He hasn't slept with that many women and I think it freaks him out that I've had so much more sex and so many more partners than he has.  Isn't that so sexist of him?  His being all freaked out about my past make me wonder if we can have a future. If the situations were reversed, and he'd had slept with a lot more people than me, he wouldn't think twice and wouldn't expect me to either.  It's 2012.  Why can't women sleep around and have it be as much of a no-biggie as when guys do? 

We agree @OOC HQ agree...there's still this cultural double standard about women and sex that doesn't exist for men.  You agree or disagree?  Why do you think the double ...

#thecumulativeeffectGiving Away Our Self Esteem

11 comments | March 7th, 2012

Chestist typewriter 2

(story submitted by Sueann, a Chestist)

Do advertising and the images you see in popular culture affect how you feel about how you look?  Sueanne worries you might.  Here's her story:

I just saw a segment on a morning show about the new Levis ad campaign "women come in all shapes and sizes".

I constantly hear psychologists, doctors, sociologists, etc commenting on how the media affects our self esteem and how we start as young girls to look at advertising images as how we should be.  I want to remind EVERYONE that it is an industry that cares about making money NOT shaping your developing mind!!!!  Don't look to the pages of a fashion magazine for role models!  Look instead at the people in your world who love and care about you. 

Look to our teachers, health care providers, social workers, and the all the people in your lives who make a difference.  The change can start right now with each one of us.  Don't comment on someone's acne, weight gain, or wrinkles. Have an open mind and an open heart to the kindness and wisdom that ...

#thecumulativeeffectSmile When Happy

5 comments | March 5th, 2012

chestist swirl2

(story submitted anonymously, by a Chestist)

We pretty much love this, sent in by one of you. Here's what she's thinking about "hi, how are you?"

Sometimes I think politeness has ruined honesty.

It's expected that you ask someone how they're doing whether or not you care and that they say "fine, thanks" whether or not they are. It doesn't mean much when someone says "have a nice day," because in the service world, it's basically a verbal twitch. Also, not to hate on one of my all time favorite things, but smiling (not the real ones) is getting a little out of hand. I think all this fake-happy, fake-fine, fake-consideration is making people feel lonely and get in the practice of lying to people.

I think that if we were all honest and just stopped using ridiculous words like "fine" altogether, smiled when happy, and asked questions when curious, we'd all feel a lot more at home in the world.  

You find yourself hiding yourself behind false platitudes and politeness?  Is it hiding or is it just being part of society?  Do you think we'd (you'd) feel ...

#lifestagesI Don’t Want To Have Babies

17 comments | March 3rd, 2012

chestist enthralled

(submitted by Angela, a Chestist.  Originally posted 5.18.11, and again now)

I'm a 35 year old female, married to a wonderful man, educated, working at a good job, but I have a confession to make.  This confession has taken me several years to actually realize.  Here it is...ready? (You may think you are, but I don't know!)

Okay...I don't really want to have babies!

There, I said it.  Do I still get to keep my Woman Card?  I feel like I’ll be booted out of the club for daring such a thought, the lone woman out in a world obsessed with fertility.

What I do know is that my hubby and I have been trying to get pregnant for about 5 years now - our progress is one ectopic pregnancy and...well, that's it!  He and I both have some fertility issues, meaning our reproductive organs aren't exactly working in rabbit-like fashion.  Okay, so no big deal, right?  Take some fertility drugs, try a couple (or more) of In-Vitro fertilizations, and just pop some out!  Or adopt a bunch, there are kids everywhere who don't have families!  Or get your mom ...