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.

Here’s what the Happier team did for lunch the other day

I had a really horrible no good very bad morning the other day. You know that kind when everything goes wrong? THAT. By the time I ran into the Happier office I didn’t even remember which day it was.

Which is when I saw this:

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Now, forget about the fact that Vosges is only my favorite chocolate in the world. Or that there was SO much of it. The reason it was there was the reason my bad day was about to turn happier:

We were going to do our yoga and chocolate workshop with the awesome Yeah Dave!

Dave and I met when the wonderful Katie Rosman wrote about us for the Wall Street Journal. (The article involved going to Dave’s yoga class in NYC, while I was really sick, including a fever, and which turned out to be one of the toughest classes I’ve taken. I am very proud of myself for getting through that one:) He started telling me about meditation and I immediately cut him off to say that meditation was something absolutely positively not for me. In a serendipitous way, that conversation gave way to our Meditation Vacation course.

Dave also told me about yoga and chocolate workshops he did, to which my response was “You had me at yoga and then again at chocolate!”. I mean, who wouldn’t love that!

So here we were. At about 12:30 most of the Happier team (a few folks were unluckily out and missing it) changed into our yoga clothes, rolled out our mats, and took our places in the middle of the sunny Happier HQ.

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(I don’t think I’ve ever seen the team this peaceful. Or Colin be this still. And yes, that’s Colin wearing jeans because he can rock yoga in jeans!)

For 45 minute we did an awesome flow, with Dave keeping us smiling, breathing, and laughing with his awesome stories and humor.

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And then came the best part. Now, my favorite part of a yoga class is that amazing nap at the end. But this one was better because after class we got to eat chocolate!

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We tasted different flavor chocolate bars from Vosges, including this really interesting new flavor, Coconut Ash and Banana. Yoga – and any type of mindfulness practice – heightens your senses. And while I’ve eaten a LOT of great chocolate, I have to say it was really amazing to sit there, after a yoga class, and really taste and smell and feel the chocolate. Looking over at the team, I think we found a new activity that makes us happier :)

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Thanks, Dave, for making our day. We floated through the rest of it, making plans for in-office yoga and chocolate tastings.

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!

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

A Gratitude Resolution to kick off 2014 (and introducing Happier Courses!)

I love writing things down – in a notebook, with a pen :) – and I still have the notebook in which I wrote down the first idea of what I wanted Happier to do:

“Help people be happier. Encourage them to do more of what makes them happier. Inspire them to improve different parts of their lives without feeling pressured to make dramatic changes. Make improving your life something that’s fun to do, not a chore.”

I remember how excited I was at the opportunity to build a company that could do this. (Also intimidated at the challenge of doing it — getting people to change behavior is insanely difficult and promising someone that we will make them happier sets a really high bar.) We decided that we would start with a simple, fun, and social mobile application to encourage people to notice, appreciate, and share small everyday moments that made them happier. Thousands of scientific studies have shown that practicing gratitude is one of the most powerful ways to feel more positive, optimistic, and less stressed, and even has important health benefits like improved sleep and reduced anxiety.

We released our iPhone app in February of 2013 and wow, we’ve been blown away by the response from our users. We’ve gotten thousands of emails, cards, and even hand-written letters from people all over the world, telling us how Happier has changed their lives for the better, inspired them to become more grateful, positive, optimistic, and significantly less stressed. There is a lot still to do and every day we are working hard to make the Happier experience more awesome, easier to use, and more engaging, and we are fueled by knowing that we are on our path to building something that can truly positively impact people’s lives.

Almost from the day we launched we started hearing from many of our users that while they enjoy using Happier, they would like more guidance from us to help them develop a more grateful mindset. They told us their lives are busy and they don’t have time to go read some of the books and research that inspired Happier or that while they would love to improve certain areas of their life, they aren’t quite sure about how to do it. We had always envisioned one day extending the Happier platform to offer more guided experience so hearing this feedback encouraged us to think about this even more.

And today I am psyched, thrilled, and excited to announce that we’re launching Happier Courses! Our vision is to create interactive, mobile, 1 to 3 week courses that combine daily activities, inspiring videos and other content to help people learn and practice new ways to become happier and healthier. We will work with leading wellness and lifestyle experts to bring their expertise to our users in a brand-new interactive format. Happier Courses will never be preachy or boring — we want them to be something you want to do instead of something you feel you need to do. And we are designing them to fit into your busy life because we believe that improving your life should be something you do while you’re living it. (We are working on courses in everyday meditation, improving your dating mojo, a personal style makeover, and more that we will be launching in the next few months – so get excited:)

skitch_iphoto.export.skitchOur first course is Everyday Grateful and it’s taught by yours truly. It’s a 21-day interactive course to help you develop a more grateful mindset and start on a path to feeling more positive, less stressed out, and more optimistic. More than 11,000 studies have shown the positive impact of gratitude on your outlook and health and that science is the foundation of the course. It’s been incredibly fun to design and I’ll go as far as to confidently say that I think it’s as fun as it is meaningful. (Oh, and it comes with our limited-edition Make Your Life Happier Kit!)

Everyday Grateful kicks off on January 6th (you’ll be able to sign up at any time after that as well, but January 6th will be the first day) and we timed it this way for a reason. New Year is when many of us make resolutions and we wanted to inspire you to make a Gratitude Resolution: to find something or someone to appreciate and feel grateful for every single day in 2014. I hope you’ll give this a shot and if you do, I can promise you that it will change your life. Becoming more grateful and appreciative of the small things and experiences I encounter every day and expressing thanks to people in my life changed my life a few years ago and inspired me to start Happier. It’s so simple and yet so incredibly powerful.

Happy New Year and here’s to a more awesome — and grateful! – 2014!

Happy New Year from Happier!