THE NEFF ZONE -- BY JIM NEFF
CADILLAC NEWS -- JANUARY 8, 2022
This is the time of the new year when resolutions are made. Many of those resolutions will be aimed at making our lives better. In short, out with the negative and in with the positive. It turns out there's a term for this goal – flow.
Scientists who have studied the topic suggest this: “As you craft your 2022 resolutions, add one – feel more flow.” Psychologists say this may be the secret to happiness.” Flow is a state of optimal experience that each of us can incorporate into our everyday lives. One characterized by immense joy that makes a life worth living.”
Okay, so what is this flow thing? “When people feel flow, they are in a state of intense concentration. Their thoughts are focused on an experience rather than on themselves. They feel as if there is a merging of their actions and their awareness.
Flow experiences are intrinsically rewarding. Research shows that taking a break to do something fun can help enhance one’s self-control, goal pursuit and well-being.”
Flow is particularly important in these trying times. “Flow helps people stay resilient in the face of adversity. Flow can help refocus thoughts away from something stressful to something enjoyable. Experiencing flow can help guard against depression and burnout.” This “flow focus” can include a wide range of things, from an athletic activity to a video game. “People can find flow in more everyday experiences. So long as that task’s challenge is high, you should be able to achieve flow.”
The reference to “everyday experiences” led me to an article with an intriguing title: “One-hundred ways to slightly improve your life without really trying.” I'm all for simplicity. Some of my favorite items on this list were: “Keep your children’s drawings and paintings and put the best ones in frames. Set aside ten minutes a day to do something you really enjoy. Be polite to rude strangers – it’s oddly thrilling. Ask questions, and listen to the answers. Go for a walk without your phone. Text to say thank you. Buy a newspaper. If in doubt, add cheese.” The whole list is at: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2022/jan/01/marginal-gains-100-ways-to-improve-your-life-without-really-trying.
It seems like all of these are attempts to reduce stress. Another way to accomplish this is to alter our surroundings. Better Homes and Gardens suggests the paint colors in our homes may play a part. “As we put another challenging pandemic year behind us, it seems fitting that restorative and rejuvenating hues are expected to be the most sought-after paint colors for our homes in 2022.”
Probably not too surprising is that “nature-inspired greens, steely blues, cozy earth tones, and warm grays” are high on the list. “Restorative colors, especially diffused shades of green, bring tranquility to our environments and help usher the outdoors inside. Look to shades of greens like olive, moss, and viridian (a dreamy blue-green hue) for a calming connection with nature.”
Being calm and collected is certainly desirable, but there are those among us who still want some high tech improvements added to the “make life easier” mix. Well, scientists are on the case.
In one development, IBM and Samsung have announced their latest advance in semiconductor design. “The new Vertical Transport Field Effect Transistors (VTFET) design is meant to succeed the current FinFET technology that’s used for some of today’s most advanced chips and could allow for chips that are even more densely packed with transistors than today.”
So, what could this mean for those of us without advanced degrees in physics? Well, if this pans out the new technology would give us cell phone batteries that could go over a week without being charged. Not too shabby. (https://www.theverge.com/2021/12/14/22834895/ibm-samsung-vtfet-transistor-technology-advancement-battery-life-smartphone-semiconductor)
Another concept has to do with your television's remote. Don't you hate it when the batteries in your remote die? Did you know that ninety-nine million AAA batteries are discarded every seven years? What to do?
“Samsung is debuting its newest energy innovation at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES)—capturing the energy in radio frequency signals emitted by home Wi-Fi routers to power a TV remote control. The idea is that most every home now has such a router that distributes Wi-Fi access to multiple devices used in the home.” How cool is that? (https://techxplore.com/news/2022-01-samsung-debuts-tv-remote-recharges.html)
Finally, nothing relieves stress more than a good dog story. It seems that Littleton, Colorado was looking for a way to bring attention to historic preservation within the city. The obvious way to do this was to elect a dog as honorary mayor.
“Each dog candidate posed for photos in front of historic sites in Littleton. Voters responded, casting a total of more than six thousand votes. In the end, the winner was Murdoch, a five-year-old basset hound.” (https://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/local-news/mayor-murdoch-the-other-mayor-of-littleton)
Mayor Murdoch has more free time than the town's human mayor, so he is out in the community every day (on his daily walk). “He shakes hands with almost every constituent that stops him.” I'm guessing that cruising around town with his head hanging out the passenger-side window is his way of “getting in the flow.”