Why you should put sprinkles in your omelet

As a CEO of a start-up my days are like roller-coaster rides. And sometimes when I get home from work I am a total stress mess. My brain is buzzing, I’m in a bad mood, and no amount of self-pep-talking is working. I really hate when I feel this way but it happens.

I also feel guilty when my stress spills over to my 10 year-old daughter — which it invariably does. So a few months ago when I came home at the end of one of these super-stressful days I told her that we’re going to start a new tradition:

When I feel insanely stressed we’re going to go and do something really fun and maybe a little crazy.

At first my daughter looked at me a bit suspiciously but then realized this could actually work in her favor. That night the fun and somewhat crazy thing was to go out to eat on a school night, which we never do. It was the two of us (my husband was working late), we sat at the bar at our local fave, and it felt like being out with a friend. Total success.

The other day it took me over an hour to drive 7 miles home from work, it was pouring rain, I was late, and this all after a pretty rough day at work. By the time kiddo saw my face after I came into the house she knew it was time for our “do something fun and crazy when stressed” tradition.

Since we needed to figure out something for dinner we decided to make crazy omelets. Really really crazy omelets: One side with veggies and cheese and the other side with sprinkles and chocolate chips. Yes, chocolate chips.

omelet

I’m not sure if it was more fun to make this, eat it, or share it on Happier (where some of our users seriously questioned my taste:), but we had a blast. And when I was putting her to bed that night, my daughter paid me one of my favorite compliments:

“You know mama, you’re kind of really cool. Because I don’t think many moms do crazy fun things when they are stressed. So yeah, you’re cool.”

I’ll take that 100 times over, with chocolate sprinkles on top.

(Last week I wrote about some of my favorite ways to deal with a really bad day. Check it out for more inspiration.)

Awesome Humans: Mo’ne Davis of the Taney Dragons

awesome-humans-mone-davisDid you follow the Little League World Series last week? Honestly, baseball isn’t my favorite sport (by a long shot…), so it’s not something I pay a lot of attention to under ordinary circumstances. But then I kept seeing news items about Mo’ne Davis of Pennsylvania’s Taney Dragons all over the place, and then Sports Illustrated put her on the cover of their August 25th issue.

To be fair, not a lot of 13-year-old girls can pitch at 70 miles an hour, and she’s only the 18th girl ever (and only the 4th American one) to play in the Little League World Series.

Here’s why we think she’s awesome, though: It’s not her athletic ability (which is extensive) or even her beyond-her-years poise in a high-pressure situation (also amazing), it’s the fact that—at least by the news accounts and footage available—she knows what she likes, she’s humble about her talent, and aside from being a phenom who’s being stalked by the media, she seems like a happy, regular kid.

Congratulations to Mo’ne and the rest of the Taney Dragons on a great showing in the Series. Mo’ne, you’re awesome! And we can’t wait to see what you do next.

Mindful Break: How To Make The Awesome Choice

worst-enemy-quoteYesterday I received a stinging email.

Hi Dave,

Do you ever find yourself feeling like you are completely full of it? The whole “intelligent universe, people are living out where they are suppose to be” is really crappy for many.

And the whole “we signed up for this life so be happy” bullsh*t… is bullsh*t. There is a large population that can no longer relate to bullsh*t because life is just that real.

I don’t know the person who wrote it, but I must say, he has a good point. THANK YOU.

And trust me, I’m not sitting home sucking on seeds in a loin cloth watching Wayne Dyer PBS re-runs.

I have plenty of personal issues, angry thoughts, and total freakouts.

Life comes down to choices.

–Freak out. Don’t freak out.

–Exercise. Don’t exercise.

–Be positive.  Be negative.

It’s when we stop making conscious choices, that life begins to suck.

The beer starts drinking you.

The envy reaches critical mass.

The anxiety approaches terminal velocity.

At that point, you feel like you are facing a much stronger enemy, who could knock you out any second by a poor month of business, or bad news from your doctor, or some tragic event.

Here’s a thought. Next time you feel like reality sucks, like you are getting hammered by life, like the “enemy” is about to win again…try this:

Rear back, and with all your might…

MAKE AN AWESOME CHOICE

Choose health: The buzz of being super healthy feels way better than the buzz of being super drunk.

Choose love: The depth of a loyal relationship is far more powerful than the thrill of a fleeting affair

Choose now: The allure of tomorrow is nothing compared to what’s happening right this second.

To the critic, the enemy, whoever and whatever you call that person in your life…

…they are always in your head, which can only be solved by your heart.

Happier Challenge: Find Beauty

happier-challenge-beauty-082514Gooooooood Monday morning! The last days of summer are upon us, and it’s a perfect time for this week’s challenge. Ready? Here you go:

Look for something beautiful outside today and pause to appreciate it.

It doesn’t have to be anything super big or significant; in fact, we know that small happy things bring us more lasting joy than the bigger stuff, so go with whatever strikes you. In fact, this is a perfect challenge to try every single day this week. Why not? The world is filled with beauty!

Need some inspiration to help your week along and get you excited for the challenge? Ask (or don’t; I’m psychic!) and ye shall receive:

  • Speaking of seeing beautiful things, did you know there may soon be an app to help you plan your happiest walk vs. the quickest one? Fast is nice, but happy is better!
  • If you love beaches (or, really, even if you don’t), check out these fantastic photos of unusual beaches in nearly every color. Yep, there’s an orange one.
  • This little video may be a plug for Caitlin Freeman’s pastry cookbook, but seeing her modern-art desserts is truly a thing of beauty. Mondrian cake! It’s almost too beautiful to eat, I think.

Get out there and enjoy your week and all of the beautiful things you see around you! And don’t forget to come share about it on Happier, too. We love to hear about what’s making you happier!

Living Happier with Nataly: 5 Ways to Deal with a Really Bad Day

One of the most common questions I get is whether I am always happy. You know, I am the CEO of a company called Happier, with a mission to help people be happier and healthier in their daily lives. I guess the natural conclusion would be that I am generally happy all the time.

Well, that’s not the case. Not at all actually. I get anxious, I get stressed, I get down, I have bad days. I don’t think of happiness as some permanent state; in fact, searching for this nirvana state made me insanely miserable and led me to create Happier, but that’s a whole other story. So I don’t think having bad days makes me happy or unhappy generally — it’s just the reality of life and true for every single person I know.

I do, however, try not to let bad days fully own me. When a day is going off the rails early on or I get up feeling UGH, I try to do a few things to avoid it spiraling into a really bad day. This doesn’t always work and you know what, from time to time I think we are all entitled to have a really no good, very bad day. But here are some of my go-to strategies for turning a bad day slightly happier:

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  • Eat something awesome first thing in the morning. Food is a huge part of who we are and it’s a huge part of how we feel. Research also shows that how we feel in the morning affects our mood throughout the day. When I am having a really rough day I try to eat what I enjoy, but make it something strong and energizing (vs. you know, downing scoops of ice cream, which I enjoy, but which would do little to give me the energy I need.) The other day I was having a rough morning so I took a detour on my work commute to grab my favorite egg sandwich and a strong coffee. It wasn’t a day savior, but my strong and filling breakfast helped me get the morning started.
  • Make a plan to do something you absolutely love. Research shows that having something to look forward to makes you happier. So on a rough day I try to make a plan to do something I like. I can’t always do it the same day, but having it in my calendar gives me something to look forward to: a yoga class, lunch with a friend, anything at all, as long as it’s something I really enjoy doing.
  • Do something to make progress, however small. One of the things I hate about really tough days is they feel REALLY long and I feel like I am stuck in them. But just saying OK, let’s get a lot done today and work through the bad day isn’t enough — at least not for me. So I try to tackle some really small tasks that make me feel like I am making progress: organize my desk, clean up our office fridge (the Happier team I am certain thinks odd things about me when I do this), write an email I’ve been putting off, anything that gets a specific small task completed. Research shows that feeling productive makes us happier and I can vouch for this.
  • Over-share gratitude. I share a few happy moments in Happier every day (well, obviously!) The other day a friend texted me to say: “Whoa, you are having an awesome day — just saw like 7 happy moments from you! Keep smiling.” Here’s the thing: I was actually having a really rough day. But the rule I have for myself is that on those day I look for small happy moments even harder than usual and I try to find them everywhere — at work, in my routine, on my commute, in something I see around me. According to numerous studies, gratitude leads to feeling happier and not the other way around, so this is my most trusted and most helpful “bad day gone happier” strategy.

I’d love to hear what you do when you’re having a bad day!

Awesome Humans: Trisha Prabhu and Rethink

trisha-prabhu-rethink
Can a science fair project change the world? It’s happened before, and with the Google Global Science Fair announcing their finalists for 2014 last week, we’re wondering if a young teen from Illinois may just be on the cusp of something amazing. Trisha Prabhu’s idea was a simple yet brilliant one: Knowing that the prefrontal cortex (the area of the brain responsible for both decision-making and moderating social behavior) isn’t fully formed until age 25 or so, and knowing that online bullying among teenagers is rampant, could a “prompt” of some sort to slow down and consider a potentially hurtful message before posting alter kids’ behavior?

Her study showed an overwhelming result: given the prompt to reconsider, almost all of her subjects opted not to post nasty comments to social media. Prabhu is now looking into how to turn Rethink into an actual product. If nothing else, it sure makes us happier to see confirmation that teens are impulsive a lot more often than they’re just plain mean.

Read more on Business Insider, or review her project for yourself. Keep up the good work, Trisha! We think you’re awesome!

Mindful Break: Happiness Requires THIS

say-it-beforePart of being happy is also being sad. So the following may make you sad, which will only shine a brighter light on what makes you happy.

In 1996, I received my first astrology chart from the great astrologer Joe Polansky.

He said something in that chart that stuck with me…

“Your powers will start to take off when you understand peoples’ emotions.”

I had no clue what that meant.

It took many years to get it.

And then, I woke up in the middle of the night and remembered how a few different people had told me to watch this video about a kid named Zach Sobiech.

Maybe you’ve seen this video already, but if you haven’t, get ready.

He was dying of terminal cancer and this was his way of saying goodbye.

No explanation can do it justice.

All I can say is that I have never, ever, cried like I cried watching this video. I looked up at the clock through my sobbing eyes and saw the time: 3:01 am.

For me, it was an historical moment.

This video has a message about not getting caught in the middle.

People caught in the middle kinda believe but kinda don’t, kinda try but kinda don’t, kinda care but kinda don’t. The hum of mediocrity is deafening to the soul.

But what awakens the soul is EMOTION.

This video, and Zach, makes you feel so deeply and so intensely.

You knew this kid Zach because he made you cry. He bypassed your mind and spoke to a much deeper place inside of you.

That is what my astrologer meant.

Forget trying to explain yourself.

Instead, make people feel you… make them feel your message, your mission, your passion.

Zach passed away last year, but reminds us, today and every day….

When talking to someone, don’t look them in the eyes. Look them in the heart!

P.S.: If by this point you have not been compelled to watch the video about Zach, do yourself a HUGE favor and watch this video. Your heart will explode in a million beautiful pieces.