Think of one person right now who has done something that you appreciate and thank them.
It doesn’t have to be a big thing or something that happened recently. A colleague bring you a coffee back? A friend text you when you needed a virtual hug? Your kids clean up their dishes without being told ten times? Your spouse or partner make you smile with a little unexpected gift?
Once you have this person in mind find a way to say thank you. If you can do it in person, awesome. But an email or a text or hey, even getting an old-fashioned paper card to send to them is great. If you want to get all fancy you could find a small gift to give to them (a cup of their favorite drink might be as fancy a gift as you need to think about).
There’s a lot of research that shows expressing gratitude helps you feel happier. But try thanking someone today and our bet is that you won’t need to read any of it
Today we chat (via email) with Matthew Stanford, one of our awesome Happier users from Columbus, Ohio. To learn more about Matthew, check out his About.me page.
So, what makes you happier, Matthew?
Beautiful skies, non-fiction literature, children, relaxing music, intellectual discourse, design, bright colors, laughter, my niece and nephew, being outside, seeing my own progress, seeing my family and friends happy and healthy.
Have you realized something about being happier that maybe you didn’t when, well, you were younger?
I certainly have! Just as there is always a reason to complain, there is also always a reason to smile. Happiness relies heavily on how we direct our attention.
Happiness can not depend on other people, possessions or circumstances. Things change; I want happiness to be a constant in my life.
Say you’re having a rough day. What are your go-to ways to feel better?
Some days all it takes is a shower, some meditation, hot tea, and a chat with my grandmother about nothing in particular. Other days it takes a long walk through the park during the daytime until sunset, observing and appreciating nature at its finest.
Favorite happy food of all time?
Northstar (veggie) Burger!
What do you dig about using Happier?
The community! While none of our lives are perfect (nor do any of us try and pretend they are), we make sure to focus on the good aspects and maintain healthy attitudes. Happiness is definitely contagious so I can read a few happy moments and they automatically lift my spirits.
If you’d like to take part in our ‘What makes you happier?” interview series, just shoot an email to email@example.com
A 75-year study that followed 268 male Harvard graduates since 1938 has found a powerful connection between the warmth of your relationships and your happiness as you age.
Warm childhood relations with fathers correlated with lower rates of adult anxiety, greater enjoyment of vacations, and increased “life satisfaction” at age 75.
(The study’s data also showed that men who had warm relationships with their parents early on in their lives made more money and did better at work when they were older than those who had poor relationships.)
The lead researcher of the study is quoted as saying: “The Grant Study points … to a straightforward five-word conclusion: ‘Happiness is love. Full stop.”
So here’s a happier challenge for your Monday: Find a way, however small or big, to tell someone important in your life you love them. Leave a sweet note for your spouse. Send a thank you text or email to your friend. Find a card that will make your mom or dad smile and send it to them without an occasion. Surprise your kids with a Monday night fun activity (that can be as simple as playing a game together or going out for ice cream). What you do doesn’t matter as much as letting the people you love know that in some way.
Someone asked me the other day what I love most about being CEO at Happier. I had to think a while and that is awesome — there were a LOT of choices for an answer. Working on something I am beyond passionate about that can actually improve people’s lives. Creating something I’ve dreamed of for a long time. Working with an absolutely incredible team which feels more like family most days. Yes, that. Our freaking incredible team
So I am psyched to introduce the members of team awesome… I mean, team Happier, to you through a series of interviews I did with each person. Kicking it off with Ian Albert, our lead iOS developer and truly the funniest person I know.
Ian, what do you do at Happier?
I’m the lead iOS developer at Happier. I take the designs Sarah (our UX lead) creates and turn them into bugs. I mean screens. I’m also the unofficial office cartographer and ‘peeler of plastic’ off new gadgets.
Who did you want to be growing up?
I actually grew up expecting to be an artist, because I was always drawing. In my teens I thought I’d be more of an architect. Still drawing, but with the nerdy technical stuff I’d always gravitated towards. Then I discovered computers and fell into mostly user interface development, so that visual arts stuff still enters into my work, despite the more technical nature of my profession.
I juggled a lot in college, because that’s what dorks do in college. I used to juggle swords and torches, and I even managed to juggle 7 balls on a few occasions. I also know way more about writing systems and typography than is healthy or appropriate.
One skill you’d love to have…
I sort of wish I were better at business. I have lots of ideas and work on lots of personal projects that I never do anything with. I wish I had the drive to turn that into huge, profitable business. As is, I content myself to align with others who have that skill.
When not at Happier you’re most likely…
Playing pool, reading way too many Wikipedia articles, drinking Guinness, and (when I have time) working on one nerdy personal programming project or another.
Favorite work perk?
Apart from having a dedicated beer fridge, the best is getting a constant stream of feedback from users about some new feature I wrote and hearing that they love it. Few jobs have that kind of direct positive feedback. I love it.
I enjoy Neal Stephenson, especially Cryptonomicon. My favorite book of all time is Cannery Row by John Steinbeck, which I reread from time to time. Most of the books on my shelf tend to be nerdy reference books though. Yes, that hardcover Unicode specification IS mine, and yes I DID buy it with my own money for personal use.
It’s Sunday afternoon and you’re hungry. You reach for…?
I’m probably the only non-foodie at Happier, so I reach for leftover pizza, PB&J, or a beer from the fridge.
One question I’ve not asked you that you’d like to share:
Q. If an airplane sits on a conveyor belt with the conveyor speed matching the forward speed of the aircraft but in the reverse direction, can the aircraft take off?
A. Yes, because the propulsion works against the air, not the ground. The wheels can spin in any direction at any speed without making a difference to the forward motion of the airplane.
“I would like to reveal the meaning of who we are and what we are as neighbors to each other.”
Artist Bohyun Yoon’s project entitled “Neighbors” started with portraits he took of the members of his community in Philadelphia. Yoon photographed of all the diverse people he saw when moving to this city and transferred the prints in monotone color to glass plates. These glass plates, hung along a metal structure, were projected onto the wall using lamps.
Happier recently launched a new Discover tab. Here you can browse happy moments from the Happier community from “neighbors” near or far. It is through this window that we are able to see the commonality in what makes people happy. Bohyun Yoon said, “I am inspired to make work about multi-race populations demonstrating that even if skin, hair, or eye color are different—people are the same inside.” We all want to get happier and through our “neighbors” we can encourage and inspire each other to do so.