What chance will you take today?

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.

IMG_9334The topic of my talk was chance: the chances I’ve taken that got me where I am, the chances I missed, the chances I gave to others as part of my journey.

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.

Happier Challenge: Blast Holiday Stress With Gratitude!

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 thingnatalymoments 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!

 

 

 

Cooked Something, Ever? A Happier Giveaway!

eatInChallenge

This past week we #happierchallenge’d you to cook with your family and not dine out for an entire week. Turns out cooking and eating together is a great way to be more, well, together, and hopefully a bit happier (and healthier!) too.

How did it go? Specifically: we’d love to see some of your favorite recipes, whether you made them this week or not. We’re in the midst of a top secret project and we can’t divulge the details yet, but we assure you it’s awesome.

We want recipes of all sorts. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch, linner (ok that’s not really a thing, but we think it should be). You name it, we want it. Send us a link to your favorite or snap a photo of that recipe card that’s been passed down through generations. Got so many great recipes you can’t choose? That’s fine, too. You can send us as many as you’re willing to share.

Send recipes to kimberly@happier.com or just tweet, pin, Facebook or ‘gram your favorites with #happierrecipe.

If your recipe is chosen we’ll send you something fun and exciting (and, of course, happier)!

In the meantime, I’ll just be waiting by my inbox, salivating.

Fave Family Moments

This week we’re talking a lot about family and how strong familial connections make us, well, happier! If you missed it, definitely check out our family dinner challenge. Tiny little everyday moments with your family can be great ones when you take a moment to pause and notice them.

Here are a just a few of our favorite family moments this week.

Happy moments with family

Where there are moms, can food be far behind? We think not and that’s one of the (many) reasons why we love them! :)

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The best interior design tips come from those that know us best.

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Double duty: family dinner time plus a heart-pumping walk. This has happiness boost written all over it.

IMG_4804Helping others is proven to make us happier, too, and this is just beyond. [Insert tears here.]

Got some family moments to share? Post them in the Happier app! (Did you know we’re on iOS, Android and the web?) That’s right — no excuses, we want to see ‘em.

Here’s to lots of happy family moments ahead!

Happier Spotlight: Better Than Facebook

happier-spotlight-101814Far be it from us to toot our own horn… haha! Just kidding! We love to toot our own horn, especially when our awesome users do most of the work for us. You guys always say it better than we could, anyway.

Meet Maria—she writes a blog called Be Grateful, and recently she posted about how she gave up Facebook and turned to the Happier app. Her whole post made us smile, but here’s the part that really gave us the warm fuzzies:

It’s similar to Facebook in a couple ways; post moments and pictures for others to see and you have a mini profile. The huge difference is Happier is like a family, a support system, a judgment free zone, full of open hearts, love and compassion. I have friends all over the world now and they are some of the most amazing people I have ever met. […] Thank you Nataly and super awesome team for continuously making us a Happier place!

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves, Maria. Thanks so much for sharing your experience! You’re part of what makes Happier so awesome!

Making Happier Even Better: See What’s Coming This Week!

We released a new version of Happier for iOS8 and iPad last week and we’re working hard to make the experience even more awesome every day. Here are some changes you’ll see this week:

  • Take multiple courses in parallel without interrupting progress from another course. We thought this was incredibly important with so many courses at your fingertips (in case you missed it: most of our courses are now free). We know some days you might want to meditate AND do Yoga. Now you can easily do both.
  • Want to binge-learn? Now you can. With our newest release, you can watch as many days of a course as you’d like, whenever you’d like. You no longer have to wait for the calendar day to change to continue your Happier learning journey. (We know you’re busy; being able to take each lesson when it works for you is important. Sometimes this means 3 in a row rather than 3 days in a row).
  • find-courses-easierWe’ve fixed our meditations. We know it was super annoying to have the audio stop if your phone went to sleep. That won’t happen anymore — hooray! — so you’ll be able to enjoy some of our longer meditations without interruption (which is the point).
  • We’ve made our courses easier to find. The tab is called Courses instead of Learn, and we’ve moved it to the far left so you can get to it right away. We’ll still respect your last tap, though, so if you were in Community the last time you left, we’ll send you there when you come back.
  • Track your progress. It’s now super easy to see how much you’ve completed on each course with new progress indicator labels in the courses tab!
  • course-progress-trackingYou know how you kept seeing “Thanks for purchasing!” after choosing our newly-free courses? Well, now that’s gone too. You’ll only see purchase confirmations and information if you’ve actually purchased and paid for a Premium course. This should be less confusing for everyone! (Did we mention we gave you a bunch of free courses?)
  • We’ve got some exciting news for Android users, too! Tony has been working HARD to get our free courses accessible for everyone. And while there’s still some work to do on the overall experience, we’re happy to say out first version WITH FREE COURSES will be available late this week!

We did a couple other small tweaks too — like fixing the stretching of photos when you share them, and making the login screens a little more fun. Please keep the feedback coming! We’re always working to improve the experience for our community but we can’t make it better if you don’t tell us. (Leave a comment here, or email team@happier.com any time.)

Happier Spotlight: Bringing People Together

Every now and then we get some user feedback that not only makes us happier (that part goes without saying), it’s so completely awesome it needs no explanation whatsoever. Check this out:

Thank you so much for creating such a wonderful app! I’ve been changing my life one happier moment at a time for about a month now. For about a year I kept a gratitude journal but having it on my phone makes it so much easier. When I first started using the app I put my settings on private, but then I noticed my brother getting lots of smiles and I was envious and curious about who all these other Happier users were — as they say “A stranger is a friend we haven’t met yet.” I started looking up people in my area and randomly smiling on their updates, and I’ve found myself intertwined with a random group of wonderful strangers who are kindred spirits. Happier is like Facebook for people who focus their attention on gratitude and the part of the glass that is half full. (While Facebook is saturated and littered with the latest celebrity drama, gossip, breaking news story and sob stories and could be considered a sad country song.) I actually find myself checking my Happier account more frequently than my Facebook.

I read a book called Hardwiring Happiness by Rick Hanson, and it stated that it takes 6 positive experiences to make up for 1 negative experience, that our minds are like teflon for positive and velcro for the negative. I’ve been working on turning happy moments into happy experiences, and your Happier app has been the keystone tool for doing just that, so THANK YOU! I am probably your biggest fan and supporter. With that said, I’ll get to the point of my email and apologize for the long introduction.

I think that there should be Happier parties! Facebook has done it, Myspace did it and so have numerous other companies. The fantastic thing is that most of my Happier interactions are with people I wouldn’t normally “socialize” with. And I love it. Happier users may come from different lifestyles, locations and have different interests but we all have one thing in common: we are choosing to focus on the positive things we experience and observe in our lives. If you want things in your life to change you have to change things in your life, including your perspective. Happier events would bring people together and just by the very nature of the event, it would be positive.

With all the sadness and chaos going on in the world today we could use a Happier revolution.

Jane Perkins

First of all, thank you so much, Jane, for being such a fantastic part of the Happier community and such a cheerleader for our vision. You’re the best! You’re the reason we do what we do.

Second, we are intrigued by your idea. So part of the reason we’re sharing your awesome email is to open it up to the community and ask if this is something others would be interested in, as well. What do you think, folks—would some sort of in-person Happier party/event be something you’d want? We make no promises, just yet, but if this is something a lot of you think is a great idea, we need to explore that. So please let us know.