Happier in the checkout line

We’ve been so hard at work here at Happier, we almost—almost!—missed sharing an inspirational user story this week. This is such a great one, though, that it instantly made us happier… and we think it may do the same for you. Here’s the email that came to Nataly:

I have been so impressed with this app; I downloaded it around New Year’s, for my resolution to be more thankful this year (at least vocally so). Wow, has it done wonders for my attitude! I actually go throughout my day now, looking for excuses to be happy.

An example of this: just the other day, as I was standing in the grocery line, some issue was holding up the person who was checking out ahead of me. The cashier was getting agitated, the customer was more so, and both turned toward me to apologize for holding things up. I just smiled, and said how thankful I was that I had a chance to rest before I had to pack all the groceries that were in my cart into my car! Their looks were priceless, but they both relaxed and we all just chilled for a bit until the issue was taken care of.

Honestly, if I had been in that situation two months before I started using the Happier app, I may have reacted in a negative way—further aggravating the situation and stressing out everyone, including myself!

So, having said all of that, thank YOU!! Thank you for the awesome idea and implementation of creating such a positive app—a great experience that I personally think is FAR better than any social network out there. I could spend so much time on Facebook and get off feeling just crappy about my own life; but with Happier, I spend any length of time on it, and I leave feeling amazingly uplifted and encouraged!! What a difference.

I could obviously go on and on! Suffice it to say, the Happier app has made me Happier. I don’t think that you guys should change a thing.

Blessings,
Christina P.

Thanks so much for writing, Christina. Happiness really is the gift that pays itself forward, even in places as mundane as the grocery store!

(Do you have a story to share about how Happier has affected your life? We want to hear it! Write to us at team@happier.com.)

Mrs. Manzer’s class makes us happier!

We get all kinds of awesome user feedback that makes us happier, but the story we’re sharing today holds a very special place in our hearts—how could we not be thrilled to hear that Happier is making a difference in a classroom? Just try not to smile at this one:

Hello again,

Earlier this week my class watched Nataly’s TED talk and it couldn’t have been more of a success! My students were so engaged during her presentation. Many have never watched TED talks before so they were curious. During the presentation, students had to respond to questions I created to assess their comprehension. After the presentation, I asked students to flip their papers over and write down a happy moment they had today. Then they shared it with each other and some shared with the class.

Happier Goody BagBut, as suspected, some students said they didn’t have any happy moments which posed a great opportunity to give them their surprise bags! I asked them to look inside their desks and instantly the happy faces evolved.

Thanks again for sharing the cards! The students loved them and are keeping them in circulation within our school. My students wanted me to please extend a heartful thank you to Nataly for her courage to share her story and to remind others to embrace those happy moments in life:)

Signed one happy teacher:)
Mrs. K. Manzer

You can read more about Mrs. Manzer’s class—and their work on being happier—on her class blog. We can’t wait to see what her students come up with next!

(Do you have a story to share about how Happier has affected your life? We want to hear it! Write to us at team@happier.com.)

Your Monday antidote: Happier Kool-Aid!

We’ve been so busy here at Happier, we haven’t kept up on sharing user stories the way we’d originally planned. But everyone can use a little bit of extra happiness on a Monday, right? This particular user story seems like just the ticket, and it would be selfish to keep it to ourselves.

I’m spreading the word of Happier at my work. I drank the Happier Kool-Aid and will never stop drinking it. EVER! (This is what I emailed my coworkers about the changes in my life and how I’ve been changed.) You guys are truly amazing and awesome and I really appreciate everything. I am so thankful and grateful that Nataly created this concept and turned it into the amazing life changing app that it is.

I can tell you for a fact it’s been somewhat life changing for me. Any time I’m having a bad day, I open up the app. Just reading others’ happy moments helps me. I always try to find 3 happy things from every day, no matter how big or small, and enter them. I feel better afterwards because that’s what I’m focusing on — happy moments, not the call that upset me, my friend who said something I didn’t like, or if I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, etc. I feel it’s even helped me to look at what I have vs. what I may want (or think I want). I feel I live more in the moment because I’m now consciously looking for those happy moments and not looking for what’s up ahead. I can’t say enough about this company and the positive changes it’s been making in my life and the lives of the people already using it.

I love you guys and I don’t even know you!
Brandy M.

Brandy, I think I speak for the entire Happier team when I say: Wow, this made us happier! Thank you so much for writing, and for being part of the Happier community.

(Do you have a story to share about how Happier has affected your life? We want to hear it! Write to us at team@happier.com.)

Contest! Spiritual Gangster + Meditation Vacation = BFFs

Do you know about Spiritual Gangster? Here at Happier we dig their vibe; what could be cooler than clothing and gear for a new generation of yogis, those who seek balance between the ancient practice of yoga and our modern world? (Hint: Nothing, that’s what. Yoga for real folks + hip duds to match = happier us!)

NK-Spiritual-GangsterCheck out our Chief Happiness Officer Nataly Kogan rocking her new gear! (Did karma really make her do it? She’ll never tell.) Anyway, what a great excuse for us to team up for a contest. We love Meditation Vacation, we love Spiritual Gangster… this is a peanut-butter-cup-union-level happiness moment waiting to happen.

Naturally, we’re taking to Twitter once again, starting tomorrow morning (Wednesday, March 26th, 2014). Tweet and win, people. You’ve got three days to win big. The process couldn’t be simpler:

1. Us: stoked. You: Similarly stoked, over 18 years of age, with a Twitter account.
2. Follow @happier and @sgangster.
3. Every morning at 8am (Eastern time), look for the #SGForMV question of the day.
4. RT the question, along with your answer (and be sure to include #SGForMV).
5. We’ll choose a winner at 5pm (Eastern, again) each day.
6. On the first day, we’ll give away a Meditation Vacation course. On the second day, we’ll give away another Meditation Vacation course. And on the third day, one lucky grand winner will receive a free Meditation Vacation course and a $75 gift certificate to spend at Spiritual Gangster.

The contest kicks off tomorrow morning (March 26th) and will run through Friday (March 28th). Don’t miss it!

All Aboard — Meditation Vacation is now departing!

Did you have a good weekend? It was an exciting one at Happier headquarters — after much anticipation and tons of hard work from our team, our second Happier course launched amidst much fanfare! (And by “much fanfare” we of course mean that we assume the folks who pre-ordered were delighted to begin their week of guided meditation, plus there may have been some celebratory dancing here in the office.)

 Meditation Vacation was developed along with Dave “Yeah Dave” Romanelli, a pioneer in modernizing yoga and mindfulness practices to make them accessible to everyone, no hippy-dippy-ness required (unless that works for you, of course). We knew there was no one better suited to help us develop a Happier mobile course in meditation, and Dave did not disappoint.

Look; when your mission is spreading happiness, you have to accept some hard realities… like that if happiness was easy and obvious, everyone would already be happy all the time and we would need new jobs. We knew from our scientific research that meditation has been proven to make people happier. We even knew that this isn’t exactly news. So we started with the barriers to developing a meditation practice: Time, first of all. Most people say they don’t have time to meditate because they’re too busy. In developing Meditation Vacation with Dave, we were able to keep each daily meditation practice under 10 minutes — enough time to truly connect and relax, but not so much time that you’ll be tempted to skip because you have other “more important” stuff to do.

Next, we moved on to the typical protestations about not being the “meditation type” or feeling weird sitting in the lotus position or whatever. Here’s where Dave’s talents really shine — throughout the week of guided meditations, tips, and stories, Dave does a masterful job of pointing out that the best meditation is the kind that works for you, whatever that may be. You don’t have to sit a certain way (or sit at all!) or do it when someone tells you is the optimal time. Our Meditation Vacation is like any other vacation in that it’s about doing what you want. After all, how could you be expected to make meditation a regular practice if you aren’t given the guidance and space to make it your own?

Because Meditation Vacation is right there on your phone, within the Happier app, it goes where you go and is ready whenever and wherever it best fits into your life. We think that by the end of the week, you’ll be hooked on your new meditation practice. And just as with every Happier course we offer, once you’ve purchased it, the content is yours to go back to again and again, as many times as you like. At just $19.99 for the week and unlimited access to the course content, we think it’s the best vacation bargain around.

Couldn’t you use a vacation…? Join us!

Meditation Vacation Twitter Contest

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We are beyond excited to kick off Meditation Vacation with the amazing Dave Romanelli on March 15th. So, this week we’re celebrating with a Twitter giveaway!

Whether you’ve never tried (or even thought of trying) meditation, or you’re a seasoned pro you are gonna want in on this.

The rules are simple:

  1. Follow @happier
  2. Every morning at 8am (eastern) look for the #MeditationVacation question of the day
  3. RT and answer
  4. We’ll choose a winner at 5pm (eastern)

What will you win? Great question! It’s a two-day contest (one day was just not enough).

Thursday  - complimentary registration for #MeditationVacation
Friday – complimentary registration for #MeditationVacation for you AND a friend

All entrants will receive the eternal gratitude of the entire Happier team for being so freakin’ awesome.

Behind the scenes of Happier Courses (literally!)

There are a lot of times when I wish we could take our entire awesome Happier community and bring all of you into our Happier HQ or behind the scenes of what we’re working on. The day we shot our course videos for Meditation Vacation and Everyday Yoga series was one of those days: I really really really wish you guys could have been there.

Instead, I took a lot of photos and wanted to share just a few impressions from what was, for me, personally, and for Happier, as a company and a team, a really freaking amazing day.

First, our awesome experts: Dave Romanelli and Chrissy Carter. You ever meet someone and feel like you’ve known them for a long time? That’s how I felt hanging out with these inspiring, funny, and fun people. We had a blast shooting our interviews, changing outfits so the cinematographer and director could decide what worked best in the light, and talking about everything from yes, yoga and meditation and what it means to us and how we each discovered it, and our fave NYC spots.

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(Can we also just agree that they look like they are brother and sister?!)

Next, Josh Seftel and his amazing team, whom we’re lucky to have as our production partners for the videos. I knew it took a lot of people to shoot video but whoa, we had one serious crew: camera people, producers, director, sound, lights, and several awesome assistants who were kind enough to sit in for the takes so I and the experts could chill out while the crew set up the set.

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I was asked to bring a “few” outfits for the shoot (I am in two of the videos, doing the interviews with our experts to kick off each course). This, of course, meant that I brought a suitcase of clothes, that I wheeled around rainy, cold NYC, up and down lots of subway stairs. Being told that “I could go up with the best like Barbara Walters” totally made it all worth it. (Well, that, and the fact that Josh, our awesome director, and his cinematographer, both approved my outfit choices and made feel kinda awesome.)

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(To be honest with you, seeing myself close up on camera is completely terrifying.)

The crew worked from 6am until about 10pm, with just a short break for lunch. It is incredibly hard work to shoot just a few short videos and I have a completely new deep sense of admiration for people who create movies and videos we enjoy.

I am so excited about how the courses and the videos are coming together and really grateful to have a chance to work with such talented, inspiring people. One of the things that makes the (yes, really stressful and challenging and roller coaster-like) gig of running Happier completely awesome is a chance to meet great people and have so many new experiences. Our first day of shooting videos for Happier Courses is one I won’t forget.

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Everyday Grateful Course launches in Happier!

EGIt’s a big day here at Happier: We’re really excited to announce that we’ve just launched Everyday Grateful, our very first Happier Course, right in the Happier app!

When spreading happiness is your mission, it feels like there’s always more to be done. We’re really proud of the start we made with the Happier app, and then we moved on to the first Happier course, Everyday Grateful, to offer a guided tour of sorts to those wanting more assistance in cultivating the happiness habit. It’s only been a couple of months, but the feedback on the course has been humbling.

I’m getting so much out of this course, not least because at the moment, I’m going through some hard stuff in my life. Your daily reminders help me stay focused on being as grateful as possible every moment, because bad stuff is transitory but the happy stuff sticks around. This is a big deal for me because it’s changed my entire outlook on everything: I don’t worry as much, I sleep soundly and I’m a much more positive person now.

-Hannah

I could each day’s task really quickly but realized it had a lot of impact. I notice now when I am becoming grumpy and can stop it before it gets worse.

- Tracy

Great feedback is awesome (OK, to be honest, it’s amazing and means so much to us!) but wanted to see if we could make the course even better. And I think we have.

Everyday Grateful is still:

  • A 3-week interactive course designed to cultivate the “attitude of gratitude” which research proves makes you happier and healthier
  • Chock-full of tips and advice (practical and never preachy, pinky swear) to help you focus on the positive

  • Videos, inspiration, and guided activities designed to increase your happiness in just a few minutes a day

  • Supported by a coach you can reach at any time (just shoot me an email!)

In addition, Everyday Grateful is now:

  • Accessible through the Happier app on your iPhone whenever and wherever you like
  • Perpetually available — go back and repeat activities that really spoke to you, do the whole course again as many times as you like (how you use it and pace yourself is up to you)

  • Enhanced with new content (based upon user feedback and the latest research; we take our happiness seriously!)

We’re offering the new and improved Everyday Grateful for just $24.99. Think about it; for the cost a week’s worth of lattes, you could be cultivating a lifetime of increased gratitude (which, in turn, means greater overall happiness). We’re so sure you’ll love it, it comes with a full money-back guarantee, too.

Thank you for being part of our amazing Happier community and I hope you’ll join us for Everyday Grateful!

Happier changes things

We get thousands of emails, letters and messages from you, the Happier community telling us what a difference Happier has made in your life. Reading these is more powerful than any Happier challenge or tip that we could ever write, so we’ll be sharing some of our favorites in our new, “Stories that Inspire” serious. Enjoy! (And happy Friday).

Hi Nataly & the Happier team.,
Just wanna let you know..
I am feeling so much happier since downloading your app and joining the Everyday Grateful course.

I haven’t come across a negative comment yet and love reading everyone’s happy moments. Seeing pics from around the world is really amazing – it’s like living in other people’s worlds as a fly on the wall and sharing their precious moments with them.

This site is much more refreshing to be a part of rather than some other social networking sites that just list negative thoughts, comments, pics etc.

I love logging the happy moments in my life and would love to have a summarised yearly paper book of all my pics & comments that I can look back on for each year! Maybe you could offer this service in the future? Wow what a gift to give a loved one or your children in years to come.
What you guys are doing is really “awesome” not a word us Brits use often but I’m loving getting used to saying it more !

Every user that joins is another drop in the ocean of happiness making our world a better place to be! You can’t buy happiness but you guys are teaching the world how to feel it.

Thanks again,
Jayne

Do you have a story to share? Write to us at team@happier.com.

Meet our new “Stories That Inspire” and, well, be inspired!

We get lots of emails from Happiers telling us about the positive impact our app and community — and now our new course — have had on their lives. We LIVE for these emails. Our entire team reads them, and they are what make the long hours and uphill battles of start-up life worth it. Like, SO worth it.

But we’ve struggled with how to make it clear to people that don’t know Happier just how amazing and life-changing it can be. Turns out that nothing we say can come close to the awesomeness that you guys are able to put into words, so we’re going to kick off a new series that will showcase these moving and uplifting tales of growth and change. “Stories That Inspire” will keep committed to make the daily choice of focusing on the happy moments in your life, instead of on the bad ones, even on days when good moments are far and few between. “Stories That Inspire” will certainly keep us dedicated to doing what we’re doing: trying to make the world a happier place, one moment at a time.

Our first story comes from over-the-top awesome Happier, Pinkie. Pinkie is a long-time member of the Happier community, posts amazing happy moments and is genuinely an awesome human being. Pinkie recently took part in our Everyday Grateful course and had the following email exchange with Nataly, our fearless leader and chief happiness officer.

“I’m taking the Everyday Grateful course and, right in the beginning, you asked us to come up with a daily ritual.

I hate being told what to do, but myself and I agreed that we’d give it a shot. I didn’t want to set the bar too high (bipolar + high personal expectations = pooey days) so I kept it simple: when I traipse down the stairs every morning,  the first thing I’ll do is write a quick happy note and stuff it into my 2014 happy jar.

I cannot in words explain how Herculean this was for me to stick to it, but I did it. For two weeks – only missing a day when I slept in ’til I’m not telling o’clock – I have been consistent. It feels good and I’ll have to find a bigger jar.

I am grateful for Nataly Kogan.
-Pinkie”

“Hi, there,
You have no idea how much this means to me – THANK YOU for taking the time to write, for doing what I asked in the course:), and for making gratitude a part of your life. Send us a photo of your happy jar! We would love to share your story on our blog and it would be so awesome to include a photo.
Thank you for sharing this and making my day!
In gratitude,
Nataly”

“OK. This is nuts. You just took something off my bucket list.
I would love nothing more than to send you a picture for Happier’s blog. I consider it an honour and an opportunity to tell the nation how great life can be hence the bucket list comment.

Here’s the ‘Happy Corner’ I see every morning. In the background is a granite fountain filled with raw amethyst (my birthstone) that was given to me by my oldest son. It makes me happy every time I see it :) So does the orange vase, the antique saucer and the beautiful tablecloth passed down to me from my Oma.

My Happy Jar is a beautiful pink vase I found at the thrift store. I didn’t think I’d fill it up, like, ever, so it seemed like a pretty distraction from how few crumpled up happy notes I actually had.

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Since starting the annoyingly strongly suggested ritual, I have to squish my happies down so they don’t spill over.

What do you think of my new Happy Jar? It’s orange, awesome, cost only $2 AND a cookie jar! It’s meant to be!

Pinkie2

Pinkie, You. Are. Awesome.
Thank you for sharing your story with us, and the world.