We’re a small team here and you’ll usually catch us in our Happier HQ office, cranking away. But today we took a break for Formal Monday and an awesome team holiday lunch. Here’s Happier Holidays to you from us — and a huge thank you for being part of our lives.
This might sound really strange coming from someone who founded a company to help people make gratitude part of their daily life, but I used to think it was a really cheesy concept. It ended up changing my life in ways I’d never expected and in this season of giving thanks, I shared my story over at Time.com.
If you have a few minutes, I hope you head over and read it. And whether you’re a gratitude skeptic — like I used to be — or someone who is more intentional about it, I hope it inspires you to express it in new ways.
Because the most awesome thing about gratitude is just how contagious it is. Every morning since she started kindergarten I’ve been putting a little note in my daughter’s lunchbox. I decorate it with a sticker and tell her something I am proud of her for or just say thank you for something she has done. The past few weeks I’ve been finding a similar note from her taped to my laptop, like this one this morning. I don’t know what makes me happier — writing her the notes or getting hers — but it’s a great reminder that gratitude is easy to pass on.
This morning I was lucky enough to give a talk as part of Creative Mornings, right here in Boston. Creative Mornings is a lecture series for the creative community and I had a chance to talk to a few hundred of them bright at the coolest venue I’ve ever spoken in — a climbing gym.
One of the things I talked about was this idea that with every chance you take you increase the surface area for luck to hit. I think of luck as timing — timing of meeting the right person, the right trend, the right dynamic, being in the right place, at the right time. The more chances you take the more opportunities you create for luck to intersect with you.
The more people you connect with, the more likely you are to meet someone who can lead you to your next opportunity or help you make another connection that you need. The more new things you try the more likely you are to find something that makes your life more awesome. There are no guarantees but I guarantee that nothing awesome will happen if you don’t take a chance.
So my Friday challenge to you is to take one chance today.
Do something you’ve been putting off. Do something you’re nervous to do. Do something you’ve not done before. It doesn’t have to be huge or epic, but you do have to do it. (I’d love to know what chance you are taking – please share in the comments!)
Oh, and if you need a little something extra, here’s some musical inspiration.
As a mom of a 10 year-old, this is awesome to read. Actually, it’s just awesome:
According to new research, kids and teens experience the same benefits of expressing gratitude as studies have shown in adults.
Kids who feel and act grateful tend to be less materialistic, get better grades, set higher goals, complain of fewer headaches and stomach aches and feel more satisfied with their friends, families and schools than those who don’t.
In one study mentioned in the article, sixth- and seventh-graders were divided into three groups. One group recorded five things each week they appreciated, second group recorded five things that annoyed them, and the third wrote down five events that occurred. Kids in the gratitude group reported higher satisfaction with school and more optimism.
I’ll start with a confession:
When I think about the upcoming holiday season, the first thing I feel is my entire body tightening up and all the stress hormones starting to act up. Traffic! Decisions about where to go and what family to try not to offend! Family reactions to us making the wrong choice! Traffic! Eating too much food and then regretting it! Traffic! Gifts, gifts, must find the right gifts, no time for shopping, this shouldn’t be so important, stuff doesn’t make you happy but still need gifts! Traffic!
You get the point. My bet is that most of us feel some – a lot? – degree of stress about the holidays. There is also this nagging pressure to be REALLY HAPPY ALL THE TIME BECAUSE, HOLIDAYS! And if you don’t, then you feel guilty for not feeling happy, which makes you less happy, and more guilty. Believe me, speaking from serious experience here.
There’s no way to completely eliminate holiday stress but there are things you can do to not let it fully eat you up. To help you, we’ve come up with our Blast Your Holiday Stress With Gratitude Challenge:
For the next 10 days until Thanksgiving, find something to be grateful for every single day. Share your moments of gratitude in the Happier app and add them to our “gratitude challenge” collection. At the end of the challenge we will put them all together and show the world what gratitude looks like. In your words, in your photos, in your small moments of gratitude.
It’s easy to find things to be grateful for when you feel good and everything is going well. It’s a lot harder to do when you’re down or stressed or your life is throwing you for a loop. But that’s also when you need to do it the most because gratitude is incredibly powerful. It doesn’t solve all of your problems and it’s not a miracle cure. But making gratitude a regular part of your life helps you build resilience and you need resilience when times are tough. Evolution has trained our brains to look for the negative to protect ourselves; practicing gratitude helps you train your brain to look for the positive. The more experience and people and moments you appreciate, the more you start to look for things to appreciate — and that’s a pretty awesome virtuous cycle. Always, but particularly during the stressful holiday time.
So are you in? We’d love for you to join us for the Blast Holiday Stress With Gratitude Challenge!
These few weeks are kicking my butt, if you’ll excuse my French. All the shoes seem to be falling at once, it’s raining cats, dogs, and elephants, and I seem to be running marathons to stand in place. I’m tired, cranky a lot, and yes, pretty stressed out. (Yes, if you’re wondering, even as the CEO of a company that helps people celebrate small daily joys I don’t always have the easiest time finding my own.)
So I wanted to share five of my favorite quotes for getting through a rough day. Of course just reading a quote won’t change anything, but I find that if I really let the meaning of the words sink in, I do shift my perspective just a bit — and that’s worthwhile.
This is probably my favorite one and it’s by one of my absolute favorite authors of all time:
Image source: oprah.com
All great changes are preceded by chaos. - Deepak Chopra
It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, what matters is what you choose to do from here. – Anonymous
The best way to cheer yourself up is to cheer somebody else up. – Mark Twain
Accept, then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. – Anonymous
If you have a favorite quote to get through a rough day, please share!
I am completely late with this blog post and I have no excuse, other than to say that this week has been a special flavor of hectic and busy. I spent three days of it in NYC, running around to meetings and then filming our next series of courses with the amazing Deepak Chopra. (Yes, I did just write that and yes, we are so excited to be working on these courses for our community!)
During one of our conversations, Deepak said something that really stayed with me. It’s not that I had never heard it before — I had. It’s not that there aren’t a hundred different studies showing that this works — there are. But the way he said resonated strongly:
“If you want to feel happier, right this very minute, make a friend smile. The best way to do this is to think of something good they’ve done or something great about them, acknowledge it and share it with them. It can be a simple text message, but if you make it authentic, it will make them happier and you will feel amazing.”
This sounds so simple, and yet, when I thought about it, I honestly could not remember the last time I did this. So as soon as we were done, I opened my calendar and added a reminder, twice a week, to text a friend and tell them something I appreciate about them. You’d think the CEO of a company called Happier would not need a reminder to do this, but I do — no excuses, just that life is crazy busy and days can feel like sprints often. (I am sure you can relate.)
In fact, I think we all need more calendar reminders like this, on par with all of our meetings and must-dos. So how about this week following my lead and adding one to your calendar to text a friend and let them know you appreciate something about them. This simple gesture will brighten their day and make you feel happier and more joyful than many other much more complicated things.
Thank you, Deepak, for reminding me; and I hope you’ll all join me in making this a priority!