Thursday, September 1, 2011

How to be happy

Almost a year ago, thirty-one miners in Chile were trapped inside a coal mine when a cave-in occurred.  Unbelievably the men survived underground for 69 days.  For several days, rescuers were not certain that the men were even alive.  However, after signs of life were detected, rescuers were able to design a delivery system for food, water, and other supplies while a solution to rescue the men was designed and implemented.  Miraculously, all of the men were rescued.

On NPR's Morning Edition this morning, there was an article on how the miners are doing today.  Sadly, all but one have suffered from post traumatic stress disorder.  The men have had a variety of adjustment problems.  Despite hopes of riches from telling their stories, most have turned to other menial jobs and only two have returned to work as miners.

In 2010 the miners inspired people with their ability to work together under pressure. But there was a turning point in their collaboration, which they pin to television. When the miners got a TV and a projector underground, they started getting into fights about what to watch, and people started neglecting chores. Franklin says eventually the miners started sending back food that wasn't warm enough and iPods that didn't have the right music selection.
"So there's this real dichotomy between the union they had when they were completely cut off from the world and they had their own society, and this bickering and conflicts that began once the television and their so-called conveniences were put down to them," he says.
I challenge you to take a break from television (including news) for a period of time.  Start with three days, expand to seven, and see how it goes after that.  Use your newly available time to read a book, spend more time with family, or learn a new skill.  Let me know how it goes.

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