The AWEgust Challenge starts today!

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AWE: “An experience of such perceptual vastness you literally have to reconfigure your mental models of the world to assimilate it.” ~Jason Silva

Consider, when was the last time your were awe-struck? Transcendent moments of AWE change how we experience life and the world. Our‪#‎AWEgustChallenge‬ starts TODAT August 1st, and is meant to do just that! JOIN US for a month long challenge devoted to discovering what makes your heart open in awe through daily awe-ventures :)

You can SIGN UP here to get the daily awe challenge prompts directly in your email or TUNE IN to Project Happiness Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat(project_happy) where the prompts will also be distributed every morning for the entire month!

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HOW IT WORKS:

1. GET INSPIRED: Every day in August, Project Happiness will publish an new awe-inspiring challenge prompt. TUNE IN every morning or SIGN UP here to get the challenge prompts in your inbox, like a daily vit-awe-min!
2. GO AWE-SEEKING DAILY: It’s as simple as taking a picture of something that amazes you that day! Follow the daily prompts or your own creative spark.

3. SHARE: Research shows that even looking at pictures of awe enhances one’s happiness – so spread the joy to others by sharing pictures of your daily awe experience! Post a pic or video of your awe-experience and TAG us for a chance to be a featured awe image on Project Happiness:

#AWEgustChallenge

@projecthappiness_org on Instagram

or  @projecthappy on Twitter

4. REFLECT: The ability to be awed requires changing our mental models to incorporate new perspectives, so it’s important to reflect on your experience. Either copy/paste the day’s prompt or share your own reflections on your awe-venture in your photo caption!

5. REPEAT: Awe happens every day, we simply need to train ourselves to notice it. If you do this challenge every day for the month of August, soon all the world around you will be filled with wonder…

Have an awe-mazing month, folks!

 

 

#MayYouBe CHALLENGE DAY 31

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#MayYouBe Heartful! CHALLENGE DAY 31: “Find the sweetness in your own heart, then you may find the sweetness in every heart. – Rumi

Notice where you dwell most; do you tend to reside more in your HEAD or in your HEART? This #GratiTuesday, do gratitude exercises to get out of your head and into your heart space more. Gratitude is one of the quickest ways to establish a connection to your heart – it reminds us that we can find all the love we are seeking inside ourselves, and the more you do such heart opening practices the more accessible the heart space will become to you. The greater your capacity for sincere appreciation, the deeper the connection to your heart!

 

COMMIT TO ACT: Look around you. How much love can you bring into the situation you’re in? Radiate love for the next 24 hours and feel life loving you back…open your heart and let love rush in from all corners of the universe. Bonus challenge: Adopt “heartfulness” as a way of life. Live a life that is full of the positive and wise qualities of the heart! Research shows that intentionally generated positive emotions can change our inner coding, as well as affect each others’ moods, attitudes and feelings – which in turn carry over into how we act and show up in the world.

 

#MayYouBe CHALLENGE DAY 30

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#MayYouBe Still! CHALLENGE DAY 30:Being still doesn’t not mean don’t move. It means, move in peace.”- E’yen A. Gardner

Stillness is our essential nature, but it is all too often forgotten amidst our constant “doing” these days. It is therefore essential that we consciously re-habituate ourselves to return to our stillness…Carve out time today for being still. Get to know the stillness intimately, so that you trust it is always there within you, below even the most turbulent of surfaces.

COMMIT TO ACT:  Learn the art of stillness! There are no prereqs for experiencing stillness. Nor is finding this kind of inner quiet exclusive to serious meditators or only those who call themselves ‘spiritual.’ Stillness is always available, 100% free of charge, and already wholly inside of you. It is just a matter of opening to it.

 Practice accessing the stillness within you today, so that you can retreat to this sanctuary anytime external conditions become stormy. “Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.” – Hermann Hesse

 

 

 

#MayYouBe CHALLENGE DAY 29

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#MayYouBe Soulful!  CHALLENGE DAY 29: “Souls love. That’s what souls do. Egos don’t, but souls do. Become a soul, look around, and you’ll be amazed – all the beings around you are souls, too.” ~Ram Dass

 

Free yourself from your ego armor. The ego is not bad, it wants to protect us, like armor, but it often manages to do so in a unhealthy, painful or inauthentic way. The ego is your social mask; it is a role you play and it thrives on approval. The ego, however, is not who you really are…YOU ARE A SOUL. Today, allow your true essence to break through the ego armor recognizing the deepest, soulful part of you.

 

COMMIT TO ACT: Make it a great soul day. Trust your soul to direct you today- it is always there and always rooting for you even when your mind may falter. Whatever makes your soul happy, do that!  Hint: “When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”~Rumi

#MayYouBe CHALLENGE DAY 28

FullSizeRender (25)#MayYouBe Wild! CHALLENGE DAY 28: “We’ve become strangers to nature. And the best way to live longer, healthier lives is to RE-WILD ourselves by returning to nature whenever we can.” ~ Daniel Vitalis

The natural world communicates profound messages: things are okay as they are; you are okay just as you are; you are never alone, nature is always holding you; simply relax and be present…We evolved in the wild, and studies show that reconnecting with the wilderness– the beach, the woods, the mountains- is restorative and promotes positive emotions. There is no app that can substitute for the fact that your mind, body and soul on nature, are HAPPIER.

 

COMMIT TO ACT: Re-wild yourself. Follow John Muir’s lead, go outside to find the wild within; “I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”

At the end of today, may your hair be messy, your feet dirty, and your eyes sparkling with the glint of your inner WILD. “Place your hands in the soil to feel grounded. Wade in water to feel emotionally healed. Fill your lungs with fresh air to feel mentally clear. Raise your face to the heat of the sun and connect to that power to feel your own immense power.” ~Victoria Erickson

 

#MayYouBe CHALLENGE DAY 27

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#MayYouBe You! CHALLENGE DAY 27: “Respect your uniqueness, and drop comparison. Relax into your being.” ~Osho

 

No one is you and that is your power.  Never hide your “only-ness.” Simply by being you you are putting something unique in the world that never existed before you, and will never exist after you. So, BE YOU and let the world adjust to meet you where you are. The moment you truly don’t care what anyone thinks of you and start living by what’s in your heart, you will reach a dangerously awesome level of freedom. Being yourself is the best type of FREE.

 

COMMIT TO ACT: Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you SHOULD be?

Let everything that isn’t you fall away today. Let go of all the social masks and limiting ‘stories of self’ you’ve accumulated from the world. Let them fall and as they wash away, feel the freeing of your true self emerge out from beneath the clutter. This is you. You will know it by the way it feels like a homecoming. Realize, deeply, that this you has always been there and always will be. And just like a daily hygiene routine, it’s up to you to shower off everything that isn’t you so your authentic self can shine through, raw and beautiful, everyday.

#MayYouBe CHALLENGE DAY 26

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#MayYouBe Accepting! CHALLENGE DAY 26: Ask yourself,  “What would it be like if I could accept life–accept this moment–exactly as it is?”  This is what author Tara Brach calls ‘radical acceptance,’ or a  willingness to experience ourselves and our lives as it is.

 

A moment of radical acceptance is a moment of genuine happiness. Challenge yourself to see how many moments of radical acceptance you can bring in to your day! Acceptance can be practiced in all areas of your life: toward your experience, other people, your appearance, your thoughts and emotions, others’ beliefs or ideas, your health, your past, etc…Remember, accepting means not asking anyone or situation to be anything other than the way they are right now.

 

COMMIT TO ACT: Radical acceptance is an active process, one that must be practiced consciously. A pivotal part of this practice is compassion to yourself alongside the acceptance. When you create a compassionate space for your entire spectrum of experience, your inner critic quietens. What’s more, self-compassion is the first step to embracing others’ differences in a truly accepting manner. Try this self-compassion meditation today and notice how it correlates with the happiness in your life:

“May I be kind to myself in this moment.

May I accept this moment exactly as it is.

May I accept myself in this moment exactly as I am.

May I give myself the compassion I need to respond to this moment wisely.”

#MayYouBe CHALLENGE DAY 25

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#MayYouBe Growing! CHALLENGE DAY 25: Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you or makes you happy.

Are there areas in your life that feel stagnant or where your energy feels unmoving? Often it is fear that holds us in this stuck place, but what most people don’t realize is that fear is natural. Fear holds a message. It just means you’re growing, and therefore living. The purpose of life is to grow.

Choose life; step forward through the fear and into growth today, and every day after that. May you always always be growing…up…forward…now…

COMMIT TO ACT: Growth is not a light switch. It’s a lifestyle.  It’s a commitment, everyday, to stretch a little farther than you did the day before. To keep stepping from the known to the unknown. Growth lives in the uncertainty, the in-between, the unfinished sentence, the season of becoming. If you’re growing, you’re out of your comfort zone.  Today, STRETCHHH as far as you can…and then just a little be more.

If you waver, remember, “The universe has a way of forcing us to move forward and to constantly keep creating and experiencing life at a higher level.” – Joe Duncan

#MayYouBe CHALLENGE DAY 24

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#MayYouBe Content! CHALLENGE DAY 24: Happiness consists not in having much, but in being content with little – the secret to having it all is knowing you already do!

Note: To be content doesn’t mean you don’t desire more, it means you’re thankful for what you have while having patience for what’s to come…

COMMIT TO ACT:“We are alive most when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” Make a habit of allowing even the smallest of treaters to hold a big place in your heart. Spend some time daily in appreciation of your treasures – soon your heart will brim and you will feel your life afloat.

#MayYouBe CHALLENGE DAY 23

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#MayYouBe Breath! CHALLENGE DAY 23:  Keep coming back to the breath – it is the anchor to life. You ARE breath. Today, whatever you do, keep returning your attention to your inhales and exhales; Breathe in, “I AM,” breathe out, “BREATH.”

“Breathing and thinking are the two most important processes, one for sustaining life and other for giving it a purpose.” -Tasneem Hamee

COMMIT TO ACT :   “Breathe it all in, love it all out.” Try this simple yet counterintuitive Tonglen Meditation practice for challenging times. On your inhale, breathe in with a wish to take away suffering or disharmony in the world, and on your exhale, breathe out with a wish to spread the antidote of happiness, harmony, peace of mind (or whatever might be needed in the specific case). Do this for individual cases or for large areas, breathing in as fully as you can, radiating out as widely as you can. This breath practice works to reverse the flow of ego, which gets caught on details, while the heart sees the depth and the bigger picture. It is intended  to work with habitual patterns of mind and, as Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche explains, “develop the psychological attitude of exchanging oneself for others.”

Try it: Breathe in all the Monday morning stress and breathe out relaxation to all those in your vicinity, focusing on the bigger picture this #MindfulMonday!

#MayYouBe CHALLENGE DAY 22

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#MayYoube Alive! CHALLENGE DAY 22: “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” -Oscar wild

NEW RULE: Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life.  When was the last time you did something for the first time? Children do this every day. Adults tend to conform to routine because trying something new means possibly making mistakes, failing, wasting time…it also means expanding horizons, fulfilling dreams, building confidence, and feeling deliciously ALIVE. Children know what adults have forgotten: “Life is an opportunity given to satisfy the hunger and thirst of the soul.” -Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan

 

COMMIT TO ACTION: Today, explore this question, “From 0 to 10, how alive do I feel?” Zero represents ‘the living dead,’ and 10 represents ‘100 percent alive.’ Notice how alive you feel in your life right now, and identify what would help you to feel even more alive. In particular, name specifically what inspires you and what motivates you to show up in your life each day. To live your purpose, you have to dare to be even more of who you really are…

“Here is a test to find out if your mission on Earth is finished: if you’re alive it isn’t.” -Richard Back

 

#MayYouBe CHALLENGE DAY 21

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#MayYouBe ONE! CHALLENGE DAY 21:  “A person experiences life as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. Our task must be to free ourselves from this self-imposed prison, and through compassion to find the reality of Oneness.”- Albert Einstein

 

You are never alone. At every level there are invisible patterns of unity and oneness interconnecting everything. These have no power structures or hierarchies; They pass freely from heart to heart along the web of oneness that connects us all. We can be present with someone whose language we don’t understand,  who speaks about circumstances we have never experienced, or whose reactions are baffling to us. Oneness is an orientation and intentionality to simply be with another…

 

Feel the fullness of your connection today. If at any moment in your day the illusion of separateness sneaks in, envision a golden thread connecting your heart with that of the first person you see and whisper this mantra to yourself, “I am another you, you are another me.”  Human beings naturally seek connectedness and it is one of the beautiful rewards of life that this connection is already ours, readily available to every individual when we engage with the simplicities of life, right in front of us.

 

COMMIT TO ACTION:  In the next 24 hours, adopt the orientation of oneness with something or someone(s). Hold hands with a loved one and be present to the currents of connectivity between you, share a meal with someone of a completely different background than your own, tune into the buzz of the natural world around you…You’ll soon find that in each of us, there is a little of all of us; one effects the whole! “We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.” ~Herman Melville

#MayYouBe CHALLENGE DAY 20

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#MayYouBe Open! CHALLENGE DAY 20: “Vulnerability is the key to happiness. Vulnerable people are powerful people.” -Amy Poehler 
 
We work tirelessly to perfect our masks of identity so that people will accept us. But the truth is that living OPEN, UNGUARDED, VULNERABLE, RAW is the most attractive trait we find in one another human.
 
Our vulnerabilities are at the core of meaningful human experience. The richness of life includes the whole tapestry: sadness, happiness, all of it. The only way to access this richness is to live vulnerably, letting our ‘cracks’ be a source of connection. As Dr. Brene Brown puts it, “What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful.”

COMMIT TO ACT: For the next 24 hours, be brave and unguarded. Be open to receiving unconditionally. Notice what now has an opportunity to flow in, as a result of this more vulnerable stance to life. OPEN YOUR HEART AND LET HAPPINESS RUSH IN; “You can’t expect to receive all that is beautiful and good in your life with a closed heart.” -Joe Duncan

#MayYouBe CHALLENGE DAY 19

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#MayYouBe Kind! CHALLENGE DAY 19: In a world where you can be anything, be kind.

Too often kindness is written off as ineffectual or even a superficial nicety. But it is neither. Dr. Martin Seligman, the “father of Positive Psychology,” says that in all his research no one single factor has made more difference to increasing well-being than that of kindness. Doing good changes our brains. The “happy” neurochemicals of serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin (to name a few) all increase when we extend kindness to others.

What’s more, kindness is contagious. Like rays of the sun, your kindness radiates farther than you’ll ever be able to see…but it will be felt. May you be kind this #ThougthfulThursday, you will never regret choosing kindness!

 

COMMIT TO ACT:  How many random acts of kindness can you commit today? Start immediately by giving a kind word to a friend you TAG below or offering a kind gesture to the very next person you encounter (i.e., hold the door open or give an unsolicited compliment). The power of any act of kindness is that it effects the way you and/or other’s feel IN THE VERY NEXT MOMENT. Make sure to notice this immediacy as you spread kindness today.

Key reminders about kindness: 1) Be kind to unkind people, they need it the most. 2) Don’t forget to extend kindness to yourself. We’re often less kind to ourselves than we are to others, even strangers! The shocking secret of lasting positive change is to practice unconditional loving-kindness for yourself, as you would a dear friend.

#MayYouBe CHALLENGE DAY 18

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#MayYouBe Bold! CHALLENGE DAY 18: The fullness of life resides on the edge of your comfort zone.

“‘Come to the edge,’ he said.

‘We can’t, we’re afraid!’ they responded.

‘Come to the edge,’ he said.

‘We can’t, we will fall!’ they responded.

‘Come to the edge,’ he said.

And so they came.

And he pushed them.

AND THEY FLEW.”

-Guilaume Apolinair

If you are inside your comfort zone, you may be outside of your enhancement zone. What is keeping you from stepping up to your edge? Move beyond fear today, and take that bold step towards what you want to do. “When we are willing to stay even a moment with uncomfortable energy, we gradually learn not to fear it.” – Pema Chodron

COMMIT TO ACT: May you BE BOLD, and explore your edges today.  We are rarely taught about edges: how magical, how challenging, how necessary they are. They give us vision, motivation, and breath. Take time to appreciate the power and growth that reside in your edges. How might you harness this power for your highest good this #WellnessWednesday?

 

 

#MayYouBe CHALLENGE DAY 17

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#MayYouBe Thankful! CHALLENGE DAY 17:  Start each day simply, in appreciation for the gift of life. Let your first thought upon waking be, “Thank you for this breath, how fortunate I am to be alive.”  When you wake with a thankful heart, that feeling of appreciation cascades into the rest of your day, and life.

 

Anyone who has a regular practice of giving thanks can tell you that it attracts more reasons to be thankful. And, the science supports this magnetic effect: Thankfulness awakens our brain’s pleasure centers, and our bodies produce bio-chemicals that activate a strong and powerful sense of connection and well-being. Giving thanks prompts our bodies to respond with vitality, a stronger immune system, and it often inspires us to contribute to the greater good.

If you train yourself to find the blessing in everything, you’ll end up having more of it. Who could you thank today? What are you grateful for, right now? “What if you gave someone a gift, and they neglected to thank you for it – would you be likely to give them another? Life is the same way. In order to attract more of the blessings that life has to offer, you must truly appreciate what you already have.” – Ralph Marston

 
COMMIT TO ACT: Before bed tonight, reflect on the blessings of your day and then recall this mantra, “Thank you, thank you, thank you, please let this continue.” Let this state of appreciation envelope you like a blanket as you fall asleep, and again, when you first wake tomorrow. Notice how this virtuous cycle of giving thanks feeds itself, and elevates your entire life…how many days in a row can you go?

#MayYouBe CHALLENGE DAY 16

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#MayYouBe Optimistic! CHALLENGE DAY 16: Everyday prepare you mind to receive the best that life has to offer. Morning mindset matters; What you feed your mind determines your appetite.

 

Upon waking each morning, peer into the cupboards of your mind and reach for your best feeling thoughts. What we consume mentally influences how we feel the rest of the day. Just as you choose what food you eat, you get to decide how you nourish your mind…do you want to feel pleasant and happy or roiling with indigestion? Choose an optimistic mindset today with thoughts of the highest “nutritional value.”

COMMIT TO ACT:  Don’t believe everything you think! Today, stop supporting the thoughts and feelings that are not supporting you. Identify your automatic thoughts. Are they positive, negative, fearful – what do you say to yourself when you are not paying attention? PAY ATTENTION to how thoughts make you feel. You alone create your day, thought by thought, choice by choice. Remember, “The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.”

 

 

#MayYouBe CHALLENGE DAY 15

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#MayYouBe Awed! CHALLENGE DAY 15: Can you look at this waterfall picture without feeling the AWE of it in your heart?

Transcendent moments of AWE change how we experience life and the world. “Awe” happens when people encounter a vast and unexpected stimulus, which makes them feel the presence of something greater and forces them to revise their mental models of what’s possible in the world. In fact, awe-inspiring experiences (including those viewed via a photograph) have been scientifically proven to enhance your well-being, and help you discover a sense of purpose in life. 

 

If every day you give yourself at least 5 minutes of contemplation in awe of everything you see around you, soon all the world around you will be filled with wonder.  Awe moments happen all the time, we simply need to train our senses to notice them. This challenge is meant to do just that!

 

COMMIT TO ACT: “A person’s life purpose is nothing more than to rediscover, through the detours of art, or love, or passionate work, those one or two images in the presence of which their heart first opened.” ~Albert Camus  
TAG a friend to go on an “AWEventure” with you today and reflect together on what opens your hearts. This is your roadmap to being awed. Consider, when was the last time you ​experienced the deliciously expansive feeling of your heart opening? Awe can be accessed through any number of creative mediums, such as photography, dance, film, writing, music, yoga, poetry, painting, cooking…do whatever will make your heart soar this #SundaySoul! 

#MayYouBe CHALLENGE DAY 14

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#MayYouBe Untethered! CHALLENGE DAY 14: “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” ~Anne Lamott

 

What if you were to UNTETHER for the next 24 hours? Do you dare to wander offline and discover the possibilities that open up when you disconnect from your devices, and reconnect with yourself in the immediacy of the world around you?

 

COMMIT TO ACT: LIVE THE MOMENT, LEAVE THE PHONE! The hyperconnectivity of our world today is full of distractions that pull us from being present in our lives. Cell phones, a new body appendage for most of us, are one of the biggest thieves of our presence. Our devices are meant to connect us, but the moments we spend checking our phone are precious moments of our life, directly in front of us, that we’ve disconnected from.

 

Today (after you read this), untether from your screens and choose to engage in the moment instead of thinking you should/could be somewhere else; “Happiness is enjoying the moment for what it is, not what it could be or should be.” Your life is in front of you, not in some email, text, or newsfeed.

 

TAG a friend or two to join you in this digital detox day! Perhaps plan an untethered activity together, like hiking, crafts, or cooking…ENJOY!

 

 

#MayYouBe CHALLENGE DAY 13

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#MayYouBe True! CHALLENGE DAY 13:  One of the biggest causes of unhappiness is when we hide parts of our truth. As Oprah explains, “We feel real JOY in direct proportion to how connected we are to living your TRUTH.”

 

Free yourself from truth-aches. Begin each morning by dedicating a few moments to breathe-in who you truly are. Then set an intention to embody your truest self as you walk through your day, letting your in-breaths anchor you to this commitment to truth.

 

There is ridiculous beauty in being who you truly are. When you walk in your truth you withdraw your consent to be at lower energies, AND you give others permission to do the same. Authenticity attracts authenticity- be a magnet for truth today.

COMMIT TO ACTION: What is one slight shift you could make to live closer to your truth today? HINT: Your feelings are your indicator of how close to your truth you are living.  You know your truth by the way it feels; being connected to who-you-truly-are feels emotionally freeing and energizing, while pinching yourself off from who-you-truly-are feels restrictive and draining.  Emotions are about your perception of freedom or your perception of bondage…whichever one you perceive more of is a clue to how authentically you are living. Feel your way to your truth(s) this #FridayFreedom!

#MayYouBe CHALLENGE DAY 12

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#MayYouBe Of Service! CHALLENGE DAY 12: “The best way to find ourselves is to lose ourselves in the service of others.”~Ghandhi 

It’s no accident that the most impactful teachers throughout time, like Ghandi, all spoke of finding life’s meaning and joy through service. Modern research overwhelmingly agrees. A key pillar in the Science of Happiness are the findings that doing good is just as important as feeling good. How we contribute to others and the world plays a huge part in our well-being. In short, we rise by lifting others!

COMMIT TO ACT:  Jane Goodall said , “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
What kind of impact will you make today? Start small (i.e., pick up a piece of trash on the street, let someone go ahead of you in line, tip your cashier). Little by little, a little becomes a lot. The ripple effect of even the simplest act of service is often profound, and always more powerful than you think.  “Do your little bit of good where you are; it is those little bits of good put all together that overwhelm the world.” ~ Desmond Tutu  

 

#MayYouBe CHALLENGE DAY 11

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#MayYouBe Enough! CHALLENGE DAY 11:

Our most daunting challenge is accepting that in this very moment, we are whole and enough.

The world today is full of messages telling us we need to do something or change ourselves in order to be “whole.”  We’ve been conditioned to always be looking for new ways to fix and improve ourselves, driven by a script of “never good enough.” It’s time to flip this script, and replace it with a practice of knowing our inherent wholeness. The next time “never good enough” pops into your inner dialogue, remind yourself being enough isn’t an if/when proposition. Let go of the contingencies of “good enough” you’re practicing in your life (Ex: “I will be good enough when…”) Holding on to these contingencies is like a subtle aggression against who you are, but you don’t need fixing: you are enough. You always were, are, will be.

COMMIT TO ACT: Today, whatever you do, let it be enough. Recruit an accountabillibuddy and commit to regularly reminding each other of your “enoughness” for the rest of this month, and beyond.

 

#MayYouBe CHALLENGE DAY 10

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#MayYouBe CHALLENGE DAY 10: “I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.” ~Hafiz

 

You can’t pull people from the dark – you can only, “Let your light shine so brightly that others can see their way out of the dark.”

 

Be RADIANT today…How? Start with gratitude. It starts from the heart and radiates out. Think of something or someone you’re grateful for. Let the warm feeling of appreciation  expand in your heart, permeating out to through all the cells of your body, and then radiating beyond yourself to all those in your heart field…the more you feel appreciation and love inside of you the more you will want to spread it out. That’s the natural human way. The more you can brew and drink of this yourself, the more this radiance will become a self-renewing endless supply.

 

COMMIT TO ACT: TAG someone(s) who is radiant in your eyes.  It’ll surely light up that person. Notice how it makes you feel,  too.

#MayYouBe CHALLENGE DAY 8

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#MayYouBe CHALLENGE DAY 8:  

Do one thing every day that inspires you.

“That thing that you do, after your day job, in your free time, too early in the morning, too late at night. That thing you read about, write about, think about, in fact fantasize about. That thing you do when you’re all alone and there’s no one to impress, nothing to prove, no money to be made, simply a passion to pursue. That’s it. That’s your thing. That’s your heart, your guide. That’s the thing you must, must do.”

What is your thing? The things that make you happiest are not random. They are your inspired calling…placed inside every human being is a call to joy, and the purpose of your life is to answer that call.

COMMIT TO ACT: Nurture that place where magic grows inside of you today. “Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage. No matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.” – Kurt Vonnegut

Remember, by doing what inspires you, you inspire and awaken the hearts of others to do the same…

 

 

#MayYouBe CHALLENGE DAY 7

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#MayYouBe CHALLENGE DAY 7:

“Love should be like breathing. It should be just a quality in you – wherever you are, with whomsoever you are, or even if you are alone, love goes on overflowing from you. It is not a question of being in love with someone – it is a question of being love.” -Osho

 

You want love? BE LOVE. 

 

Could it be this simple? The word “want” focuses on the absence of something. But what if love is our essence, and therefore present in every moment. What if the wisdom and love beneath the clutter of negativity is, in fact, natural and permanent, and the only thing missing is your attention to it? As Deepak Chopra puts it, “LOVE IS WHO YOU ARE. Your true self is pure love, infinite awareness, and unbounded joy…as you realize this, you will feel a small light in your heart. At first it will be the size of a spark, then a candle flame, then a raging bonfire.” TAG a buddy who you love and reflect together on this idea of ‘being love.’ 

 
COMMIT TO ACT:  Today, practice love until you remember you are love. Feel the warmth of this knowing radiate out from around your heartspace, as you remember more and more. Continue to practice love by repeating this question to yourself as you move through your day, “What would LOVE do here?” May you be love…

 

7 Happiness Habits, Backed-by-Science

Although happiness is a timeless and universal human quest, only in recent years has research turned its focus on how happiness can be sustained and increased. Science has now confirmed that with certain practices, we can change the neural pathways of our brain. Happiness is a set of skills we can learn through practice.

 

pie-chartThe research proves that happiness is possible through intentional habit changes, more than circumstantial changes. In fact, only 10% of our happiness is due to our external circumstances and a full 90% is based on our inner environment, with 50% of our happiness level coming from our genes, and as much as 40% from the choices we make and our intentional daily activities. (Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, et al., 2005)

 

So, what does this all mean? Putting the 7 habits into daily practice really does affect our happiness…science says!

 

 

 

DAILY HABIT # 1: MINDFULNESS, MINDSET, FOCUS

The Science: Mindfulness, the ancient practice of focusing non-judgmental awareness on the present moment, is increasingly recognized in today’s scientific community as an effective way to reduce stress, increase self-awareness, enhance emotional intelligence, and effectively manage painful thoughts and feelings.

 

The mind is highly trainable through various mindfulness practices like meditation, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). Evidence for the efficacy of mindfulness practices in improving psychological well-being continues to grow exponentially. Just a quick scan of the National Institute of Health’s PubMed database reveals over 500 scientific studies on mindfulness/meditation and the brain!

 

Anyone can stand to benefit from cultivating the skills of mindfulness — particularly in our busy modern lifestyles that are often characterized by stress, sleep deprivation, multitasking and digital distractions.

 

The Practice: For the next 24 hours, don’t believe everything you think. Rather, be a selective sifter of your thoughts; it’s possible to observe the fluctuations of the mind without becoming them. Identify your automatic thoughts. Are they positive, negative, fearful – what do you say to yourself when you are not paying attention? PAY ATTENTION to how thoughts make you feel. You alone create your day, thought by thought, choice by choice.

 

DAILY HABIT # 2: GRATITUDE, APPRECIATION, LOVE

The Science: Research has found that gratitude can significantly increase your happiness, and protect you from stress, negativity, anxiety, and depression.

 

Developing a regular gratitude practice is one of the easiest ways to counter the brain’s negativity bias – the tendency to cling to the negative things in our environment. By intentionally focusing on the good parts of our day, the positivity grows. In fact, it only takes 21 days of writing down three things for which you are grateful every day to begin reaping the benefits. Moral of the story? Count your blessings, daily, it has a measurably positive effect on our well-being.

 

The Practice: Gratitude is an orientation that becomes a habit with regular mental rehearsal. Upon waking tomorrow, let your first thought be, “Thank you for this breath.” Notice how saying an “Awakening Appreciation” to yourself, before you even open your eyes, can shift your entire day. For the next week, start each day simply, in appreciation for the gift of life. When you wake with a grateful heart, that feeling of appreciation cascades into the rest of your day, and beyond.

 

DAILY HABIT # 3: BODY WELLNESS, MOTIVATION, SELF-CARE 

The Science:  Happiness is good for your health. And vice versa. A review of hundreds of studies has found compelling evidence that happier people have better overall health and live longer than their less happy peers. Anxiety, depression, pessimism and a lack of enjoyment of daily activities have all been found to be associated with higher rates of disease and shorter lifespans.

 

What’s more, if you have a good sense of well-being, it’s easier to maintain good habits, such as, exercising, eating a balanced diet and getting enough sleep. People who have an optimistic mindset may be more likely to engage in healthy behaviors because they perceive them as helpful in achieving their goals.

 

Taking care of your physical wellness may well be the most effective instant happiness booster of all.

 

The Practice: In a bad mood? Move. Movement is medicine. In fact, did you know that the APA now includes exercise as a proven treatment for depression? “In 2010, the APA finally caught up with Hippocrates, who recommended that all people in a bad mood should go for a walk—and if it did not improve, walk again. Sedentary behavior causes brain impairment, and we know how: by depriving your brain of the flood of neurochemistry that evolution developed in order to grow brains and keep them healthy.”   ~John Ratey

 

In the next 24 hours, get out of your head and into your body more. Think of movement and healthy eating as “happiness triggers” rather than thinking of them as exercise and dieting. What is one “happiness trigger” you will commit to today?

 

DAILY HABIT # 4: COMPASSION, GIVING BACK, ALTRUISM

The Science: Happiness and altruism are intimately linked – doing good is an essential ingredient to being happy, and happiness helps spur kindness and generosity.

 

Research suggests that how we spend our time and resources is as important, if not more important, than the amount of money we make. Giving to others releases endorphins, activating the parts of our brains that are associated with trust, pleasure, and social connection. Being altruistic and spending money on others leads to higher levels of happiness than spending it on oneself. Happiness, in turn, increases the chance that we’ll be altruistic in the future, creating a positive feedback loop of generosity and happiness. As the researchers write, “Policies that promote well-being may help to generate a virtuous circle, whereby increases in well-being promote altruism that, in turn, increases well-being. Such a cycle holds the promise of creating a ‘sustainable happiness’ with broad benefits for altruists, their beneficiaries, and society at large.”

 

The Practice: In the next 24 hours, do something for someone who can never really repay you.  This can be as simple as reminding someone of their strengths and potential. It’ll surely elevate that person. Notice how it makes you feel, too. When we do good, we feel good.

 

DAILY HABIT # 5: AUTHENTICITY, VULNERABILITY, FORGIVENESS, LETTING GO

The Science: When Dr. Brené Brown conducted thousands of interviews to discover what lies at the root of social connection, a thorough analysis of the data revealed what it was: vulnerability. To be clear, vulnerability does not mean being weak or submissive. To the contrary, it implies the courage to be your authentic self. The rewards of vulnerability are immeasurable. When you embrace an authentic and vulnerable stance toward life, people will meet you there in that openness, allowing you to experience true connection.

 

Forgiveness is a byproduct of living authentically and vulnerably. Forgiveness doesn’t mean tolerance of error or malintent, but rather a patient encouragement of growth. Practicing forgiveness doesn’t only benefit the person we forgive; recent research shows that it has tangible benefits for ourselves as well. So the next time you’re holding a grudge, try letting it go for your own happiness!

 

The Practice: You feel real freedom in direct proportion to how connected you are to living your truth. Every morning, before the demands of your day steal you away, dedicate a few moments to breathe-in who you truly are. Then, trust this truth to guide you through your day. The moment you stop caring about what other people think and start living by what’s in your heart, is the moment you will finally feel FREE. Remember, “Be you. The world will adjust.”

 

DAILY HABIT # 6: SOCIAL CONNECTION, NATURE CONNECTION, EMPATHY

 The Science: Our busy lives often leave us stretched for time to connect with others, but science suggests that social connection should be tops on our to-do lists. Dr. Emma Seppala from Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) says that when connection with others is present, it can boost mental and physical health, and even increase immunity and longevity.

 

Relatedly, happiness is collective. Our happiness depends on the happiness of those to whom we are connected. Studies show that through practicing happiness, we make those we come into contact with happier. In other words, happiness is contagious! This extends to the 3rd degree of contact (a friend of a friend of a friend).

 

The Practice: In each of us there is a little of all of us. For the next 24 hours, humanize strangers you encounter on the street. Notice, how does your perception of random people change when you treat each as though you are meeting your long lost friend? ”A person experiences life as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. Our task must be to free ourselves from this self-imposed prison, and through compassion to find the reality of Oneness.” ~ Albert Einstein

 

DAILY HABIT # 7: PURPOSE AND MEANING, STRENGTHS, SOUL

The Science: Many people tell themselves, “If I work hard, I’ll be successful. If I’m successful, I’ll be happy.” But recent discoveries in psychology and neuroscience show that this formula is backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around. In fact, science has shown that, “The brain at positive is 31% more productive than at negative, neutral or stressed.” ~ Shawn Achor

 

What’s more, researchers have found that the type of work you do is key: engaging in meaningful activity is a big indicator of happiness. As Harvard happiness expert Tal Ben Shahar says, “Happiness lies at the intersection of pleasure and meaning.” In addition to seeking work imbued with a sense of purpose, scientists have discovered that people thrive in environments where their strengths are emphasized. If we are actively involved in trying to reach a goal, or an activity that is challenging but well suited to our skills, we experience a joyful state, or what psychologist Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls “flow.” The experience of flow in both professional and leisure activities leads to increased positive effect, performance, and commitment to long-term meaningful goals.

 

The Practice: Place your hand over your heart. Feel that? That’s called purpose. You’re alive for a reason. Find time for the things that make you feel happy to be alive today…what if, “The meaning of life is to give life meaning. “

 

 

The science of happiness speaks for itself. But you don’t need science to prove that happiness is found in simple day-to-day habits practiced intentionally over time. Test it for yourself. Sign up today for Project Happiness’ FREE daily habit tips, bridging the science of happiness into strategies for your everyday life: http://projecthappiness.com/happiness-habits-2/

 

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#WednesdayWellness Circles Challenge

WednesdayWellness

The shocking secret of lasting positive change: being kind to yourself.

You can’t beat yourself into health and happiness. Instead, what if the only new year’s resolution you made was to love yourself more? Set your 2016 wellness goals around loving self-care, such as eating to make your body feel good for as long as possible.

 

REFLECTION:

  • How do you take care of yourself daily? Reflect on your self-care habits.
  • Health is a relationship between you and your body. This will be one of the most important relationships in your life, so you must treat it accordingly. One of the main way’s to do this is to give your mental (mind) and emotional (soul) health the same level of care and attention you do to your physical (body) health. How? Synchronize your mind, body, and soul. When unsynchronized, your body will slump, your mind will wander, and your heart will be unhappy. This is such a simple point that it’s easy to overlook the healing power of mind-body-soul awareness.
  • How aware are you of your mind-body-soul connection? How do you synchronize your mind, body and soul? Enlist a accountability buddy to do a brainstorm on self-care practices that nurture this triumvirate relationship in your everyday life.

 

COMMIT TO ACT:

We talk about feelings “in our guts,” “lumps in our throats,” and being “out of our mind” when upset – our daily language illustrates the mind-body-soul connection, but how often do we ignore the messages being relayed? For the next 24 hours, track the feelings and thoughts related to what your body is experiencing (like neck pain). What could signals be trying to tell you about the alignment of your mind, body, and soul? Let your overarching intention be to “Fall in love with taking care of yourself. Mind, Body, and Soul…”

 

 

 

#GratiTuesday Circles Challenge

GRATITUESDAY

“Gratitude Helps us see WHAT IS THERE, instead of WHAT ISN’T.” 
 
Gratitude is more than just a feeling, it is a perspective that chooses to see life through a lens of abundance rather than scarcity. Practicing gratitude strengthens our ability to focus on the positive by bringing awareness to our gifts in life (and we all have have gifts – the only thing missing is our attention to them!) 
 
REFLECTION
 
What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you were grateful for today?  What would your tomorrow look like? Consider how asking yourself this question regularly might inspire you to live more gratefully.

Gratitude practices such as this give us a  taste of absence- without actually having to lose anything – allowing us to have a deeper appreciation for all that is present in our life.  These exercises, called  “Mental Subtraction of Positive Events,” challenge us to consider all the ways in which events in your life could have never taken place, and then reflect on what your life would be like without them. Mental Subtraction counters our tendency to take positive events for granted; instead, it trains your brain to recognize your fortunes in life. In fact, studies show that completing a 15-minute Mental Subtraction writing exercise leads to increased happiness. 
 
 
COMMIT TO ACT
 
In the next week, commit to doing a Mental Subtraction exercise at least once. Easy exercise instructions can be found from our content partners at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center:
Gratitude is an orientation that becomes a habit with regular mental rehearsal – start rehearsing today!

 

#MindfulMonday Circles Challenge

MindfulMonday“Stress is caused by being HERE but wanting to be THERE.” ~Eckhart Tolle

Too often we find ourselves racing toward an elusive THERE, an end-all-be-all finish line that we feel we must reach in order to be happy…But life is not a linear race to be won. There is always going to be another THERE so why not choose to be HERE, now?

 

If you’re always racing to the next moment what happens to the one you’re in? Instead of letting an elusive THERE drive your day, Dr. Rick Hanson suggests, ‘Remind yourself to return to the reliable rewards of feeling already full – the undoing of the craving, broadly defined, that creates suffering and harm. Try a little practice on first waking or at other times in which you take a few seconds or longer to feel already peaceful, already contented, and already loved. This is the home base of body, brain, and mind.’

 

REFLECTION Q’s:

What happiness contingencies do you have active in your personal narrative? EX: “When I get ______ , then I will be happy.” What would it take for you to let go of these ‘if-then’ beliefs? Agree or Disagree: Keeping these contingencies active in your thoughts is holding you separate from feeling the happiness right here, right NOW.

 

COMMIT TO ACT:

In the next 24 hours take a moment to feel already peaceful, contented, and loved. Let this feeling sink in and wash over you. You are home.

 

 

#SundaySoul Circles Challenge

sundaysoul“If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place.” ~Eckhart Tolle

When was the last time you touched base with your inner world?
Today’s culture is so externally focused, that often we neglect the health and well being of our inner state of being. This inward journey is about finding your own fullness, something that no one else can take away.

 

GROUP REFLECTION Q’s:

A happy healthy outside, starts from the inside. Happiness is, firstly, an inside job. Do you agree? Invite the group to share experiences growing their inner happiness. How might we distinguish between inner vs outer happiness?

 

 

COMMIT TO ACT:

For the next 24 hours, embark on the oldest human adventure and dive deep into your inner world today. Return to center by following your soul’s joy – whatever makes your soul happy, do that. “When you do things from your soul you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”

 

 

#SaturdaySocial Circles Challenge

sat Dare to dwell in these “What ifs”.

When we distill the human traditions, rules, religions, codes of conduct, technologies, etc., we find that at their essence, most were created to try to help us tap into a sense of greater connectedness. Human beings naturally seek connectedness and it is one of the beautiful rewards of life that this connection is already ours, readily available to every individual when we engage with the simplicities of life, right in front of us.

There are 1,000 simple ways to reconnect with your inherent aliveness,

“Place your hands in the soil to feel grounded. Wade in water to feel emotionally healed. Fill your lungs with fresh air to feel mentally clear. Raise your face to the heat of the sun and connect to that power to feel your own immense power.” ~Victoria Erickson

GROUP REFLECTION Q’s:
How do you tap into the feeling of connectedness? What’s keeping you from the rewards of the simple life? What is one thing you could do to make these “What Ifs” a reality, both for you and for your community around you?
COMMIT TO ACT: For the next 24 hours, put at least one of these “What Ifs” into practice in your daily routine. How does living from this place of connectedness affect your happiness?

 

 

 

#FridayFreedom Circles Challenge

friday prompt“There is a big difference between GIVING UP and LETTING GO. ‘Giving Up’ means selling yourself short. It means allowing fear and struggle to limit your opportunities and keep you stuck. ‘Letting Go’ means freeing yourself from something that is no longer serving you. It means removing toxic people and belief systems from your life so that you can make room for relationships and ideas that are conducive to your wellbeing and happiness. Giving up reduces your life. Letting go expands it. Giving up is imprisoning. Letting go is liberation. Giving up is self-defeat. Letting go is self-care. So the next time you make the decision to release something or someone that is stifling your happiness and growth, and a person has the audacity to accuse you of giving up or being weak, remind yourself of the difference. Remind yourself that you don’t need anyone’s permission or approval to live your life in the way that feels right.No one has the authority to tell you who to be or how to live. No one gets to decide what your life should look like or who should be a part of it. No one, but you.” ~ Daniell Koepke

 

REFLECTION Q’s:
Does this distinction between ‘letting go’ and ‘giving up’ make sense to you? What is something (i.e., a belief, relationship, bad habit, etc.) that in ‘letting go’ would feel freeing? What’s holding you back from your freedom?
COMMIT TO ACT: Today, choose one belief which no longer serves you that you are willing to let go of. You are making space to empower yourself. How will that make you feel?

 

 

 

 

#ThoughtfulThursday Circles Challenge

ThoughtfulthursdayHappy people don’t try to save other people or wait for them to change. 
 
Should you help someone who is reaching out and deeply-hurting? Absolutely.  But be ever mindful of the way you try to help. The best way you can be there for someone in need is to give them the purity of your loving attention and focus on, “Letting your own light shine so bright that others can see their way out of the dark.”
 
REFLECTION: 
” Be the lighthouse. In your light, others will become illuminated.”~Gabby Bernstein  
Reflect on this quote. We all have unique ways in which we illuminate the paths of others – what are yours? How do you love purely while managing the instinct to  “save”? Consider this: lighthouses light the way of ships in the night from a long ways off…if you ever find your flame being snuffed by your efforts to light someone else’s way, you are not saving them or yourself. Trust this truth enough to distance yourself from anything that dulls your light. When helping others, always be mindful of your our own energy output.
 
COMMIT TO ACT:  
Aspire to be a giver of love and good vibes today. Imagine your inner spark glowing bright enough to ignite the light within those you pass on the street.  Notice how you feel and how the world responds when you love on it unconditionally.

 

#WednesdayWellness Circles Challenge

In a bad mood? Move!12187698_10153056522646637_4011877477846692197_n

 

Movement is medicine, science says. In fact, did you know that the APA now includes exercise as a proven treatment for depression? “In 2010, the APA finally caught up with Hippocrates, who recommended that all people in a bad mood should go for a walk—and if it did not improve, walk again. Sedentary behavior causes brain impairment, and we know how: by depriving your brain of the flood of neurochemistry that evolution developed in order to grow brains and keep them healthy.”   ~John Ratey

 

Exercise balances the neurochemicals in the brain and keeping your brain in balance is the key to a healthy happy life. 
 
But we don’t need brain science to tell us that is in our true nature to move. It is a felt sense as natural to humans as breathing. The core of movement as medicine is that when we move, we connect with our body’s good feeling truth:  
“After all we are made of movement, 
and anything stagnant, both in the body and in the mind
only keeps us from finding our true self.”
 
REFLECTION QUESTIONS :
  • Reflect on this quote about modernity:In the modern world, when people are feeling down they are often told to ‘take it easy,’ to simply lie in bed and relax. In Vilcabamba (Ecaudor), however, people experiencing ‘the blues’ typically respond by becoming active and involved with others. Rather than withdrawing and becoming sedentary, they will walk great distances for the joy of visiting one another. So great is the recognition of the healing power of walking to visit a friend that there is a saying in Vilcabamba that each of us has two ‘doctors’—the left and the right leg.” – John Robbins
  • Many of today’s ills can be traced to the routine disconnection of our heads from our body (humans were not made to sit and stare at screens all day)! Thus, it should come as no surprise that the antidote to these ills can be found in a practiced reconnection of our mind and body through movement. What movement practices do you have in your daily routine? Imagine if every human on the planet committed to living a more embodied existence…this a vital part of how we heal the world.

COMMIT TO ACT: 
Get out of your head and into my body more. In the next 24 hours, commit to moving your body, and bust through all that blocks you from true health and vitality! Health is your true nature. Today, find it in the sway of your hips, the swing of your arms, or the pounding of your two feet on the earth; through movement we remember our essence is wellbeing. 

 

#GratiTuesday Circles Challenge

6“I am thankful for my struggle because without it, I wouldn’t have stumbled upon my strength.”

 

If you never tasted a bad apple, you would not appreciate a good apple. The happiest people are those who have learned to look back with genuine gratitude for the profound teachings contained within their most challenging times.

 

 
REFLECTION QUESTIONS: 
  • Reflect on this passage: “Things didn’t work out because, well, greater things were in the works…You may not see it today or tomorrow, but you will look back in a few years and be absolutely perplexed and awed by how every little thing added up and brought you somewhere wonderful– or where you always wanted to be. You will be grateful that things didn’t work out the way you once wanted them to.” Do you agree with the presupposition that sometimes you fall down because there is something down there that you are supposed to find?  
  • How might practicing gratitude for EVERYTHING, even difficult experiences, because of their potential to wake you up, enhance your current and future happiness?
COMMIT TO ACT: 
It is said that the “stance of happiness” is a deep appreciation for what is and eager anticipation of what’s next. Give this stance a try today! For the next 24 hours, regularly repeat this motto to yourself: “For all that has been, THANKS. For all that will be, YES.”

 

#MindfulMonday Circles Challenge

mm 1

Today, stop supporting the thoughts and feelings that are not supporting you.

 

Identify your automatic thoughts. Are they positive, negative, fearful – what do you say to yourself when you are not paying attention? PAY ATTENTION to how thoughts make you feel. You alone create your day, thought by thought, choice by choice.


REFLECTION QUESTIONS: 

  • What is the difference between a thought and a belief?
  • How do you define”Belief”? Possible definitions to consider:  1) A thought that you accept as true regardless of evidence. 2) A unconscious contract we make with ourselves. 3) A thought that you keep thinking.
  • Are your beliefs empowering or limiting your life?Think of a trigger situation in your life, one which is emotionally charged and consistently results in suffering. (Note: Sometimes it is difficult to identify the beliefs we hold, but exploring our “triggers” is one of the best ways to start. Triggers are situations that set off a memory charged with emotional intensity, and often there’s an underlying limiting belief is at play.) Once a trigger is identified, we can ask ourselves what belief was connected to this trigger? Identify the beliefs, or inner stories, that you’re telling yourself in these situations. Then ask yourself this series of questions to “flip your script” into an empowering belief:
    1. What does this belief do or get for you? In other words, what are you trying to get for yourself by repeating this thought? Go deeper by repeating this question a few times until you detect the positive intention that the belief is trying to “get” for you (such as protection, safety…).
    2. What do you want instead? In other words, what empowering story do you want to tell yourself instead?
    3. How will you know in your body when you’ve got this new story (i.e., what I will feel, hear, see, taste?) and in what situation (i.e., when, where, with who?) do you want it? Imagining this physical evidence is the beginning of integrating this new belief into your cells.
    4. What is one step you can take to start living this empowering belief today? Example: Today I will take time to notice my successes, even small ones by writing them in my gratitude journal each night.

 

COMMIT TO ACT: 

Upon waking, before you even open your eyes, let your first conscious act be to reach toward your best feeling thought.  A good feeling thought makes us feel expansive, or big, alive, strong, peaceful, etc.  For the next 24 hours, don’t let your mind run away on a train of thought without it being a deliberate choice. Let the good feeling thoughts become a dominant story line in your life! Remember, “The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.”

 

 

#SundaySoul Circles Challenge

SundaySoulTranscendent moments of AWE change how we experience life and the world. “Awe” happens when people encounter a vast and unexpected stimulus, which makes them feel the presence of something greater and forces them to revise their mental models of what’s possible in the world.

 

In fact, awe-inspiring experiences have been scientifically proven to enhance your well-being, and help you discover a sense of purpose in life. UC Berkeley’s Dr. Dacher Keltner, the leading expert on awe, explains, “When we experience an inspiring work of art or a grand vista in nature or learn a new mind-expanding theory, we often feel a sense of vastness that gives us a new perspective on the world and our place in it. These two steps make up the emotion AWE. Awe makes us feel connected to something larger than ourselves—a crucial and necessary aspect of purpose.”

 

Project Happiness is challenging you to harness this power of awe with our launch of the Action For Purpose Challenge: Do What Makes You AWEsome. Awe moments happen every day, we simply need to train ourselves to notice them. This challenge is meant to do just that…

 

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: 

  • So, can youwatch a sunrise or sunset without feeling the awe of it in your heart? Reflect on when you’ve experienced awe in your life? Hint: Awe can be accessed through any number of creative mediums, such as photography, film, writing, dance, music, yoga, poetry, painting, cooking…let your inspiration guide you!
  • “A person’s life purpose is nothing more than to rediscover, through the detours of art, or love, or passionate work, those one or two images in the presence of which their heart first opened.” ~Albert Camus  Reflect on what opens your heart? This is your roadmap to purpose; this is  “what makes you awesome.” When is the last time you ​experienced this deliciously expansive feeling of your heart opening?

COMMIT TO ACT:

Take the challenge today! Sign up here and then go awe-seeking for a dose of #SundaySoul :) This challenge is as simple as taking a picture of something that amazes you. Then, you can share your awe experience (via pix or vid) with other awe-seekers across the globe. All submissions are automatically eligible to become a virally featured post for Project Happiness’ millions of followers on our Facebook and Instagram. Looking forward to seeing your inspired submissions on the Project Happiness 24/7 Tumblr page and/or tag our IG account  @projecthappiness24_7 with the hashtag #dowhatmakesyouAWEsome

awwwe

 

 

Happy Awe-seeking,
Samantha

 

#SaturdaySocial Circles Challenge

SaturdaySocial“Love and intimacy are at the root of what makes us sick and what makes us well. I am not aware of any other factor in medicine – not diet, not smoking, not exercise – that has a greater impact.” ~Dean Ornish

 

Never underestimate the power of touch and intimacy – human beings thrive on contact! The science of touch shows that we’re wired to connect with other people on a basic physical level. Recent studies have documented the benefits that come from everyday forms of touch, suggesting that touch is truly fundamental to human communication, bonding, and health. As Dr. Dacher Keltner from UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center explains,  “Touch is our primary language of compassion, a language that is essential to what it means to be human.”

 

Consider, then, the implications for our touch deprived culture…let’s make touch a positive social value again!

 

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: 

  • The trouble with texting: Startling new research documented in The Upward Spiral shows that the lack of human touch is an enormous factor in depression. When you put people in a stressful situation and then let them visit loved ones or talk to them on the phone, they felt better. But when they just texted? Their bodies responded the same as if they had no support at all; the study revealed that the text-message group had cortisol and oxytocin levels that measured similar to the no-contact group! Reflect on what texting is doing to the overall well-being of our lives, not to mention the future happiness of the next generations who are growing up primarily interacting through screens. How might we take action to counter the trend of touch-deprivation today?
  • Even if you’re not a ‘toucher': The social appropriateness of ‘touching’ as a means of social connection varies widely across cultures. Consider your own personal and social relationship with touch. Even if you’re not a ‘toucher’ think about how you can bring more physical contact into your life, perhaps it means petting a pet or treating yourself to a massage every once in a while… Physical contact is not a luxury, your well-being depends on it! To deny that is to deprive ourselves of some of life’s greatest joys.

 

COMMIT TO ACT: 

The hand contains about 100,000 nerves. That’s 100,000 ways to connect with another person.  In the next 24 hours, when you find yourself going to text someone, replace it with a touch. Give hugs generously today. And do not accept quick hugs. Tell them your neuroscientist recommended lonnnng hugs.

 

 

 

#FridayFreedom Circles Challenge

friday image“You are the sky, everything else – it’s just the weather.”

~Pema Chodron

Imagine that your mind is the sky and the weather is your inner mental activity. Notice the clouds and colors moving across the sky. You don’t have to be caught up in the storm, nor can you ever hold on to a fleeting rainbow. You can just notice what’s happening from the stillness of your broader vantage point. This stillness is awareness itself. To admire without desiring is a freeing state: when you grasp at a passing cloud it dissolves. Instead focus on being the awareness behind the clouds in your sky. Freedom, and therefore your happiness, can be found in embracing this impermanence. 

REFLECTION: 

Take a moment to reflect on the idea of  impermanence as liberating:  “Life is in constant flux. We can never access the moment that just passed, nor can we ever replicate it. When we are feeling especially uncomfortable, the concept of impermanence can be, paradoxically, comforting. In other words: if nothing is permanent, we know our pain will pass. But when we are experiencing joy, the idea of impermanence can be incredibly fear-inducing. If we accept the idea of impermanence at face-value, it can be incredibly liberating!  All we have is the present moment.” 

Most of us have basic awareness that everything in life is impermanent. However, if we pay attention, we often will catch ourselves acting under the assumption that some worldly things are ever-lasting. Are there specific areas of your life you often forget are impermanent? What areas is it easier to admire without desiring? What areas do you cling more readily too? While we may have a perfunctory understanding of life’s impermanence, we all too often base our expectations and reactions as though things, situations, and relationships will last forever.

What is one thing, thought, situation, that you are willing to start actively reminding yourself is impermanent today? Perhaps start with something small, like a blooming flower in your garden. While the idea of impermanence might feel scary at first, it helps us appreciate everything we are experiencing in the present: our relationships, body, minds, mood, health, our favorite shoes, our jobs, our youth. 

COMMIT TO ACT: 

For the next 24 hours,  celebrate the freedom inherent in the constant flux of life. Notice what happens when you let each moment be what it is, without clinging to it to it, knowing it will never be that way again.  Fully embracing impermanence means you will deeply savor the enjoyable moments, and when suffering arises you can find comfort in telling yourself, “This too, will pass.” 

 

 

#ThoughtfulThursday Circles Challenge

september 17 challengeConsider this: “Most people would never talk to others the way they talk to themselves.” 

Practice monitoring your self-talk, replacing your harsh inner-critic with a voice of self-compassion…notice a difference? Consciously shifting your internal dialogue is one of the most immediate ways to put self-compassion into practice. 
 
REFLECTION QUESTIONS
  • What keeps you from extending the compassion you give to others to yourself? 
  • Notice any repetitive or negative inner dialogue you may have with yourself. Take note of the qualities of this voice: is it loud/soft, fast/slow, male/female, high pitched/low pitched? Bringing your awareness to harsh inner voices is the first step to practicing unconditional self-compassion. The second step is flipping the script on those voices by replacing them with compassionate words and tones. What does a compassionate voice sound like to you? Write down some compassionate statements that you might say to your loved ones, making sure to consider the tonal qualities of those statements as well. Now change “you” to “I” and extend those compassionate statements to yourself. 
  • Food for thought: “The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.” With this in mind, notice your own inner voice. Would you want your children to inherit the story you’re telling yourself?
 

 

 

 

#WednesdayWellness Circles Challenge

“Only by contending with challenges that seem to be beyond your strength to handle at the moment you can grow more surely toward the stars.” ~ Brian Tracy                confusion
Times of great confusion are doorways to great growth.  Be grateful for the profound teachings contained within times of difficulty, they stretch us toward our natural strength. 
REFLECTION QUESTIONS: 
  • When you review your life, where have you learned more compassion? Where have you learned more about yourself? Where has your heart grown wiser — in only having good times, or going through difficulties? In some traditions, there is actually a prayer asking, “May I be given the appropriate difficulties so that my heart can truly open with compassion.”
  • Agree or disagree: “Pain doesn’t just show up in our lives for no reason. It’s a sign that something in our lives needs to change.”  We all have pain points in our lives (more than just physical pain). What if you looked at pain as a message to yourself about where your soul is seeking growth? What growth opportunities might be signaled by your pain? This is a simple yet powerful reframe of how to understand strong emotions as they arise. 
COMMIT TO ACT: 
In the next 24 hours, choose one area you want greater clarity in. Create space inside you for a new way of being to emerge and step into it. It takes courage to stay open and fully engaged with that space, but the payoff is a wisdom greater than you will ever know unless you dare to step. Every moment brings a new choice, you can either step forward into growth or back in safety…you decide.

 

 

 

 

 

#GratiTuesday Circles Challenge

The late Dr. Wayne Dyer was a man who will never be accused of wasting his time on this planet. He truly lived his life to the fullest. His trick? “Develop an appreciation for the present moment. Seize every second of your life and savor it. Value your present moments.”
 
Notice what happens when you take time to appreciate the details of your immediate experience– what does it sound like, what does it look like, what does it taste like, what does it feel like? Live fully engaged in your NOW.

 

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: Do you ever feel like you’re moving so fast that you’re missing the life in front of you? Is there any behavior keeping you from being fully engaged in your life, here and now? How would you like to behave instead? Discuss.
Make a list of your current savoring practices (if you have any). How, specifically, do you take time to savor your life? Brainstorm ideas and then work at least one of these practices into your daily schedule. Perhaps enlist an accountability buddy to check in and support each other in creating a regular savoring habit.(Hint: Carving out 5 minutes every morning to appreciate the small things is a great place to start!) 
COMMIT TO ACT: Over the next week, take a 20 minute savoring walk by yourself everyday (leave your phone at home). Ideally take a different route each time, paying close attention to as many positive sights, sounds, smells, or other sensations you can.  It sounds trite, but taking time to “smell the roses” has, in fact, been proven to enhance happiness. In this age of hyperconnectivity, it’s all too common to walk down the street with your eyes glued to your smartphone, unaware of your surroundings. Even without a screen in hand, we’re often distracted or in a rush, and miss opportunities to absorb the everyday things in our environment that make us feel good. Savoring walks train your senses to notice the abundance of beauty present in the mundane…magic is all around patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper!

 

 

 

 

#MindfulMonday Habit Challenge


A bird is“At the center of your being you have the answer; 
you know who you are and you know what you want.” 
~Lao Tzu
 
Every morning, before you do anything, find your center. Stay there as you let all things take their course. If you stray from your center, simply return, again and again. Live from this center, it holds your truth and therefore your power. The wisest guru is your inner you – trust yourself.
REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
What keeps you from trusting your own wings? We are often programmed, from childhood, to seek advice from others before checking in with ourselves, which leads many to live in self-doubt. The good news is, we can re-program this self-doubt to self-trust by making a regular practice of listening to our inner guidance. You have all the answers within you. How do you stay in your own truth, even as you hear feedback and seek guidance from others? Brainstorm with the group. 
 
“If you practice listening to the inner whispers, you won’t have to hear yourself scream.” Discuss this quote. Are you in regular communication with your inner voice? How often do you listen to your truth?  You will find, that when you make decisions with your true inner voice guiding you, this act of stepping into your truth is one of the most empowering choices you could make in your life. 
 
COMMIT TO ACT: For the next 24 hours, practice holding to your own truth. If you take care to always move from this center, the steps make sense and the journey confirms itself. Live in trust. 

 

 

 

#SundaySoul Circles Challenge

trust the timing of your lifeTrust, the universe is always conspiring on your behalf.

“Remember the emphasis on the heart, the mind lives in doubt and the heart lives in trust. When you trust suddenly you become centered.” – Osho
In times of doubt or uncertainty, return to this trust with this simple yet power- ful affirmation, “My heart is at ease knowing that what was meant for me will never miss me, and what misses me was never meant for me.“

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

Pronoia is defined as the opposite state of mind to paranoia, or ‘The suspicion the Universe is a conspiracy on your behalf.’ Do you predominantly practice Paranoia or Pronoia? How might things change if you adopted a Pronoia state of mind more often?

Sometimes, we only recognize the meaning of life events, when looking back at them.Do you trust that everything is working out in your favor? What is keeping you from living in this deep trust?

COMMIT TO ACT: For the next 24 hours, commit to trusting the timing of your life. Live “AS IF” everything is rigged in your favor. The Universe favors a committed heart – in the moment you make a heartfelt decision and focus your intention, the Universe conspires alongside you to make it happen…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#SaturdaySocial Circles Challenge

Your perception“If you want to know me, look inside your heart.”

In each of us there is a little of all of us.

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

Read and discuss this quote by Alber Einstein with the group, “A person experiences life as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. Our task must be to free ourselves from this self-imposed prison, and through compassion to find the reality of Oneness.”

What does the reality of Oneness mean to you? How does oneness change your relationships with other people? Brainstorm everyday circumstances when remembering that we are all mirrors for each other, would prove most beneficial to our well-being? We attract individuals into our lives that mirror who we are – who are you attracting?

COMMIT TO ACT: For the next 24 hours, act as though you are ONE with your
fellow human beings you encounter throughout the day. Act as though you have just met your long lost friend. Notice, how does your perception change?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#FridayFreedom Circles Challenge

not everyone will understandSometimes people around you won’t understand your journey. That’s ok, it’s not for them.

Worry less about what people think. How would you journey if you knew no one was watching? That’s your path. And you will know you are on that path if the steps you take make you feel freer in the taking of them.

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

What keeps you from following your own path? How do you know when you’re on your own path vs someone else’s path (what are your internal and external indica- tors)? Why do we so often need others to understand our path? Brainstorm with the group resourceful ways to respond to those who might challenge your path.

COMMIT TO ACT: For the next 24 hours, free yourself from following other’s path or worrying you are not “on track.” You feel real freedom in direct proportion to how connected you are to living your truth – embrace the beautifully crooked path right beneath your own 2 feet. There is nowhere else you “should” be, step fully into the space you are standing at this moment. It is your own, and where true freedom lies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#ThoughtfulThursday Circles Challenge

be an encouragerDo your harsh judgements make you happy? Judgement often pinches us off from happiness. You can begin to release yourself from the grip of judgement simply by bringing awareness to your inner processes – ask yourself, does this thought feel limiting or expansive? Perhaps it’s time to let go of all that makes your heart feel heavier or smaller…BE AN ENCOURAGER!

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

It is said that how we judge others is how we judge ourselves. Generally, our judgement of others is an extension of self-judgement.

Take some time to reflect on events in your life in which you are particularly judge- mental. What’s going on with your inner dialogue during that time? Chances are, your inner dialogue is just as critical of you as it is of the outside world. Discuss with the group how you might soften the harsh inner dialogue or other techniques to be an encourager!

COMMIT TO ACT: For the next 24 hours, be an encourager, starting with your inner dialogue with yourself. When you notice a judge- ment arising, ask yourself the hard question: Do I myself exhibit this same behavior or attitude that I judge in this person?

 

 

 

 

 

 

#WednesdayWellness Circles Challenge

I love myself“When I loved myself enough, I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy. This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs, and habits – anything that kept me small. My judgement called it disloyal. Now I see it as self-loving.” – Kim McMillen

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

Do you believe self-love is selfish? Read and discuss this passage with the group: There is no such thing as separateness, “My” love and “Your” love are one and the same. If you know that we are all one, then our energy isn’t separate. That’s why, when you take time to love yourself, your energy becomes more loving for others. That’s why we feel positive around positive people. It’s why laughter can be infectious, and why charity spreads.

We can often talk a good game when it comes to self-love. “You need to take care of yourself,” we might tell a friend, or “Your feelings count too.” But it is often so much easier to sing the self-love anthem when you’re delivering it to someone else. Why is it so difficult for us to give love to ourselves and why do we feel guilty about doing it? Discuss with the group.

COMMIT TO ACT: Start a revolution today: Love yourself unconditionally for the next 24 hours, at least. Remember, “Self-care is never a selfish act—it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.” – Parker Palmer

 

 

 

 

 

 

#GratiTuesday Circles Challenge


cartoon“Get out of your head and get into your heart more.”  – Osho

Gratitude is one of the quickest ways to establish a connection to your heart – it reminds us that we can find all the love we are seeking inside ourselves. The greater your capacity for sincere appreciation, the deeper the connection to your heart. Practice living in your heart space more, it will not lead you astray…

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

Where do you dwell? Do you reside more in your head or in your heart? With the group, practice using gratitude exercises as heart openers. The more you do these practices the more easily accessible this heart space will become to you.

Optional activity: Experience this gratitude practice, having one person read this script to the group, “ Remember a time where you felt really grateful for a special moment in your life (it could be with your family, with friends, with a pet, or in nature). Let your heart feel that feeling, like the warmth of the sun shining on it. Feel that warm sun moving from your heart radiating out to all parts of your body, through your arms and your legs, into your fingers and toes. Enjoy this feeling of being surrounded, as though your entire body is being wrapped in a warm cozy blanket. Now imagine extending that warmth of the sun out beyond your body to someone who comes to mind, and love. Continue to breathe in and out gently as you feel grateful, and happy.”

COMMIT TO ACT: Look around you. How much love can you bring into the situation you’re in? Radiate love for the next 24 hours and feel life loving you back.

 

 

 

 

#MindfulMonday Circles Challenge

If you want to be happy, beA happy life is just a string of happy moments. But most people don’t allow the happy moment, because they’re so busy trying to get a happy life.
“We are human beings, not a human doings.” In fact, research shows that the pursuit of happiness is negatively correlated with actually being happy… happiness is a state of being. Your well-being is not outside; it is deep within you, you simply have to be present and notice it…
REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

We take care of the future best by taking care of the present NOW. If you’re always racing to the next moment, what happens to the one you’re in? Discuss with the group how often you live in ‘being mode’ vs ‘doing mode.’ What mindfulness techniques might one use to enhance their awareness of what mode they are in, and to practice simply being?

COMMIT TO ACT: For the next 24 hours, commit to just BEing. If your mind wanders, bring it back with the breath: Breathe in, “Hello moment.” Breathe out, “I am here.”

 

 

 

#SundaySoul Circles Challenge

theres a dance only you know how to do“In many shamanic societies, if you came to a shaman or medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions:

1. When did you stop dancing?
2. When did you stop singing?
3. When did you stop being enchanted by stories?
4. When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?

Where we have stopped dancing, singing, being enchanted by stories, or finding comfort in silence is where we have experienced the loss of soul. Dancing, singing, storytelling, and silence are the four universal healing salves.”

~The Four-Fold Way: Walking the Paths of the Warrior, Healer, Teacher and Visionary

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

Do you know what your soul’s dance is? Brainstorm with the group some ways to (re)discover that dance. Suggest that the group take a moment of quiet reflection to notice if/where they’ve stopped any of the “four universal healing salves.” Then together discuss how you might bring them into your everyday life.

COMMIT TO ACT:

For the next 24 hours, live in a way that causes your soul to dance inside your body. Whatever stirs your soul, do that…

 

 

 

 

 

#SaturdaySocial Circles Challenge

healthy relationship“A healthy relationship keeps the doors and windows wide open. Plenty of air is circulating and no one feels trapped. Relationships thrive in this environment. Keep your doors and windows open. If this person is meant to be in your life, all the open doors and windows in the world will not make them leave. Trust that truth.” We are social creatures. How we relate to others is one of the strongest indicators of wellbeing. The healthy happiest relationship holds equal space for intimacy and independence, at the same time.

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

How do you define a healthy relationship? Brainstorm with the group. Be mindful that, like happiness, there is not a ‘one size fits all’ model for a healthy relationship. Discuss and accept the differences.

Read the passage below, then discuss how the capacity to be alone relates to the capacity to love: “The capacity to be alone is the capacity to love. It maylook paradoxical to you, but it’s not. It is an existential truth: only those peoplewho are capable of being alone are capable of love, of sharing, of coming intothe deepest core of another person – without possessing the other, without becoming dependent on the other, without reducing the other to a thing, without becoming addicted to the other. They allow the other absolute freedom, because they know that if the other leaves, they will be happy as they are now. Their happiness can not be taken by the other, because it is not given by the other.”

COMMIT TO ACT: For the next 24 hours, reflect on your capacity to be alone. How do you remind yourself that you alone hold the key to your own happiness? The best way to be happy with someone is to learn how to be happy alone. That way the company will be a matter of choice and not necessity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#FridayFreedom Circles Challenge

long long ago you were freeIt’s hard to observe a young child without being reminded of freedom. The purity of this limitless joy often seems to radiate from their innocent hearts. As we walk this earth, we accumulate narratives that can separate us from the unconditional freedom of a child. The good news is that this childlike freedom is still yours, always has been. We can re-access this inner freedom by adjusting our dominant narratives to those that feel expansive and without conditions attached. Soon enough, you will feel free, as though your inner-child has come out to play again.

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

Do you agree that freedom is our natural state? Discuss the idea that freedom is a practice of the mind, rather than a conditional existence.
Think of a time when you felt free. What sensory evidence let you know that you were in this state of freedom: What did it look like, what did if feel like, what did it sound like? How accessible is that feeling of freeness to you at any given moment? How might you practice living in that state more?

COMMIT TO ACT: For the next 24 hours, find your freedom and breathe there, drink there, love there, live there. Practice tapping into open/limitless/expansiveness without conditions attached…

 

 

 

 

 

#ThoughtfulThursday Circles Challenge

Make generosity“Imagine how our culture, how our lives, will change when we begin valuing GO- GIVERS as much as we value go-getters.” – Arianna Huffington

Happiness and altruism are intimately linked – doing good is an essential ingredient to being happy, and happiness helps spur kindness and generosity. In her book Thrive, Arianna Huffington asserts that the architecture of how we live our lives is badly in need of renovation and repair. What we really value is out of sync with how how we live our lives. And the need is urgent for some new blueprints to reconcile the two.

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

What do you value more, go-getting or go-giving? Discuss what you think it would take for our society to redefine role models to be those who impact billions of lives rather than those that have billions of dollars? How might you make generosity part of your happiness strategy? Brainstorm as a group practices that could integrate altruism into your core values or into practices that you do with friends.

COMMIT TO ACT: In the next 24 hours, dare to draw some new blue prints for yourself. Take some time to rethink your definition of success and do one small act that embodies the go-giver attitude. Extra Challenge: Embody this go-giver side for the rest of the week.

 

 

 

 

 

#WednesdayWellness Circles Challenge

avacado“Every time you eat is an opportunity to nourish your body.”

The problem is, we are not eating real food any more…we are eating food-like products. How can you expect your body to last for a long and enjoyable lifetime if you don’t put the proper building blocks in there? Those who think they have no time for healthy eating may sooner or later have to find time for illness.

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

Think about your health as a relationship between you and your body. More specifically, what is your relationship with food? Are you happy with your eating habits? Change is seldom a giant step, but rather a series of small things brought together, daily – the secret of healthy habit formation is found in your daily routine. Share ways you can take one step forward in your relationship with food.

Discuss the idea of food as medicine vs food as poison,

“Every time you eat or drink, you are either feeding disease or fighting it.”

COMMIT TO ACT: In the next 24 hours, commit to make one small shift to your eating habits. A few examples: 1) If you keep nutritious food in your fridge, you’ll eat nutritious food. 2) If it came from a plant, EAT IT. If it was made in a plant, DON’T. 3) Drink more water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#GratiTuesday Circles Challenge

abundance loop“When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.”

Tony Robbins

Gratitude shifts our focus from scarcity to abundance. Our fear of not having enough and more importantly, the fear of not BEING enough, holds us in a scarcity loop. Cultivating awareness and gratitude is the key to shifting this internal loop to one of abundance. Gratitude works its magic by serving as an antidote to negative emotions (like fear), letting the abundance flow in unrestricted.

Abundance activity: The next time you pay a bill, write down something positive that the service or product has helped you accomplish by using it. It will teach you to shift your focus from scarcity (money being taken) to abundance (values you are receiving).

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

Do you see your life through a lens of lack or a lens of gratitude? Share a time when you felt like you were in the abundance loop, when everything was flowing to you without restriction. Compare and contrast experiences and challenge everyone to distill the key qualities of feeling abundant

(Hint: the states of gratitude, appreciation, and love were likely involved).

COMMIT TO ACT: For the next 24 hours, practice the lens of gratitude. Don’t be alarmed if all your experience begins to take a richer, rosier glow…what you see in life always depends on what you’re looking for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#MindfulMonday Circles Challenge

dont base a permanent decisionMuch unhappiness stems from when we make permanent decisions for our temporary emotions. When a strong emotion grabs us, our instinct is to react immediately. This is a natural default reaction of the untrained mind. But if we

train our mind to insert a space between the stimulus and response, we find a great power in that pause. Let your decisions be made from that pause…and you’ll soon find that you’re living by your own design, instead of default.

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

What tools do you use to tap into the power of the ‘pause’? Poll the group on which favorite go-to strategies they use to neutralize emotionally charged situations (i.e., deep breathing, disengaging by walking outside, etc.).

Read this quote and visualization exercise to the group:

“You are the sky. Everything else –it’s just the weather.” ~ Pema Chodron

Imagine that your mind is the sky and the weather is your mental activity. Notice the clouds moving across the sky. You don’t have to be caught up in the storm. Storms come and then they go. You can just witness happening from the

stillness of your broader, unattached vantage point.

Let the group reflect on how this witness/observer position (aka 3rd person perspective) feels. Brainstorm situations when practicing this impermanence technique might come in handy.

COMMIT TO ACT:

For the next 24 hours, remember that emotions come and go. There is great freedom found in one’s acceptance that change is the only constant. Be open to everything yet attached to nothing. Realize deeply that whatever you are living right now, is not permanent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#SundaySoul Circles Challenge

create a life that“If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place.” ~Eckhart Tolle

When was the last time you touched base with your inner world?
Today’s culture is so externally focused, that often we neglect the health and well being of our inner state of being. This inward journey is about finding your own fullness, something that no one else can take away.

GROUP REFLECTION Q’s:

A happy healthy outside, starts from the inside. Happiness is, firstly, an inside job. Do you agree? Invite the group to share experiences growing their inner happiness. How might we distinguish between inner vs outer happiness?

COMMIT TO ACT: For the next 24 hours, embark on the oldest human
adventure and dive deep into your inner world today. Return to center by
following your souls joy – whatever makes your soul happy, do that. “When you do things from your soul you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”

 

 

 

 

 

#SaturdaySocial Circles Challenge

what ifDare to dwell in these “What ifs”.

When we distill the human traditions, rules, religions, codes of conduct, technologies, etc., we find that at their essence, most were created to try to help us tap into a sense of greater connectedness. Human beings naturally seek connectedness and it is one of the beautiful rewards of life that this connection is already ours, readily available to every individual when we engage with the simplicities of life, right in front of us.

There are 1,000 simple ways to reconect with your inherent aliveness,

“Place your hands in the soil to feel grounded. Wade in water to feel emotionally healed. Fill your lungs with fresh air to feel mentally clear. Raise your face to the heat of the sun and connect to that power to feel your own immense power.” ~Victoria Erickson

GROUP REFLECTION Q’s:
How do you tap into the feeling of connectedness? What’s keeping you from the rewards of the simple life? What is one thing you could do to make these “What Ifs” a reality, both for you and for your community around you?
COMMIT TO ACT: For the next 24 hours, put at least one of these “What Ifs” into practice in your daily routine. How does living from this place of connectedness affect your happiness?

 

 

 

 

 

 

#FridayFreedom Circles Challenge

pottery“Forget perfection.Everything has cracks, it’s the only way to let the light in.” 

Cracks, or vulnerabilities, are at the core of meaningful human experience. The richness of life includes the whole tapestry: sadness, happiness, all of it. The only way to access this richness is to live vulnerably, letting the brokenness be a source of beauty & color and new reflections and possibilities, just like this pottery. As Dr. Brene Brown puts it,

“What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful.”

GROUP REFLECTION Q’s:
Reflect on the cracks in your life. What light has entered as a result? Investigate
perfectionism together (i.e., How does a facade of “perfect” hold you separate
from the fullness of life?) Engage the group to be vulnerable in their sharing.
Consider adopting this reframe to challenge the facade of “effortless perfection”
prevalent in our image oriented world: “There is no need to be perfect to inspire
others. Let others be inspired with how we deal with our imperfections.”

COMMIT TO ACT: For the next 24 hours, don’t let “perfect” be the enemy of
“good.” Notice what now has an opportunity to flow in, as a result of this more open and vulnerable stance to life…

 

 

 

 

 

#ThoughtfulThursday Circles Challenge

those who bring sun“It is one of the beautiful compensations of life that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping oneself.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

We rise by lifting others. In fact, it is said that compassion and altruism is “brain food” for happiness. Consider for a moment, what causes are you involved in beyond your own? If not much comes up, consider what matters to you in this world and look up how you might support that cause. Studies show that this exercise activates the neural circuits of compassion and altruism, both of which are natural anti-depressants and sources of real happiness…

GROUP REFLECTION Q’s:
When was the last time you acted for the greater good? How did it make you
feel? It is said that happiness is one of the only things that multiplies when you
share it. Can you think of others? Discuss with the group.
COMMIT TO ACT: In the next 24 hours, commit to do a random act of kindness for someone. Notice how it makes you feel too. Bonus: Organize a service day with your Circle! Send us pictures of your experience and we’ll send you a free-award winning film.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#WednesdayWellness Circles Challenge

mind believs“The moment you change your perception, is the moment you rewrite the chemistry in your body.” ~Dr. Bruce Lipton

The body achieves what the mind believes. Your body won’t go where your mind doesn’t push it. Your mind will quit a thousand times before your body will. Let your beliefs expand your boundaries of what’s possible. Train your perception to translate the world through an limitless lens!

GROUP REFLECTION Q’s:

Discuss the power of beliefs as related to your physical health. Invite the group to share experiences when their beliefs were empowering or limiting in the context of health goals? What limiting thought patterns might be stopping you from reaching your greatest potential? How might changing your narratives open up new wellness possibilities in your life?

COMMIT TO ACT: For the next 24 hours, commit to practicing a new empowering
belief that supports your body’s health (i.e., “New energy flows through me”
or “Every cell in my body is happy and healthy”). Hint: Don’t just think about your story, embody it! An empowering belief will feel good in the body – it compels us to take responsibility for the energy we bring to each moment, and to trust that if we move from a place of true mind-body alignment, the story will unfold in the best way possible!

 

 

 

 

 

 

#GratiTuesday Circles Challenge


If you wish to know“Our days are happier when we give people a bit of our heart rather than a piece of our mind.”

Practice heartfulness! Live a life that is full of the positive and wise qualities of the heart. Research shows that intentionally generated positive emotions can change our inner coding, as well as affect each others’ moods, attitudes and feelings – which in turn carry over into how we act and show up in the world.

GROUP REFLECTION Q’s:

Have someone read this brief gratitude visualization to the group:

“Think of someone or something you’re grateful for. Let the warm feeling
of appreciation expand in your heart, permeating out to all the cells of your
body, and beyond, radiating out to all those in your heart field…The more you
feel love and good inside of you, the more you will want to spread it out.”
Discuss how gratitude is one of the quickest ways to establish this connection
to your heart – the greater your capacity for sincere appreciation, the deeper the connection to your heart. How can you practice living in your heart more? Brainstorm with the group.

COMMIT TO ACT: For the next 24 hours, make the whole point of your day to follow your heart more. As Osho put it, “Get out of your head and get into your heart more.”

 

 

 

#MindfulMonday Circles Challenge

stilliness“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.” 

~ Deepak Chopra

Being still doesn’t mean don’t move, it means move in peace. Even in the midst of the natural chaos and movement of life, we have the capacity to stand in the center of our own peace. Everyday brings a choice: let yourself be pulled into life’s storm or pull the life around you into your peace…

Upon waking, let your first thoughts honor the stillness within and choose to move in peace by repeating this simple mantra to yourself: “Let me bring peace into moments of chaos. I am peace.”

GROUP REFLECTION Q’s:

Mindfulness isn’t about seeking zen on mountaintops. It is about everyday life. It is about learning to have more awareness internally, so you will feel more present externally, in any circumstance. Brainstorm mindfulness practices to keep in your tool belt, that you can employ in the midst of everyday stressors. Discuss the importance of practicing peace in times of stress, AND in times of calm as preventative care.

Discuss this Rumi quote with the group: “When I run after what I think I want, my days are a furnace of stress and anxiety; if I sit in my own place of patience, what I need flows to me, and without pain. From this I understand that what I want also wants me, is looking for me and attracting me. There is a great secret here for anyone who can grasp it.” Can you remmember a time that this secret worked for you?

COMMIT TO ACT: Every day you have a choice – to practice stress or to practice peace. For the next 24 hours, practice peace and notice how the world around you responds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#SundaySoul Circles Challenge

dont live the same year‘Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’ -Mary Oliver

When was the last time you did something for the first time? Children do this every day. Adults tend to conform to routine because trying something new means possibly making mistakes, failing, wasting time…it also means expanding horizons, fulfilling dreams, building confidence. Children know what adults have forgotten: “Life is an opportunity given to satisfy the hunger and thirst of the soul.” -Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan

Let your inner child play today – find that place inside of you where nothing is impossible and your criteria for success is the achievement of your soul’s joy!

GROUP REFLECTION Q’s:

It is often said that variety is the spice of life. Do you agree? What might you do to distinguish today from tomorrow? This year from next? What does your inner child or soul crave?

COMMIT TO ACT:

Try an activity that lets your soul play full out (i.e, music, nature, sports, creativity, etc). Schedule it in. How does that add energy to your day?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#SaturdaySocial Circles Challenge

a mirror“Don’t move the way fear makes you move. Move the way love makes you move. Move the way joy makes you move.”   – Osho

Whenever possible, move from a place of love. Try it: Look around. How much love can you bring into the situation you’re in? See through the eyes of love for the next 24 hours and feel life loving you back.“Practice love until you remember that you are love.” -Swami Sai Premananda

 

 

GROUP REFLECTION Q’s:
Compare and contrast how fear makes you move vs how love makes you move.
How often do you move from each? How might you tip the scales more towards love?

COMMIT TO ACT:

In the next 24 hours, identify one challenging part of your day (i.e, morning rush, meetings,etc). Approach it from a place of love vs anxiety. Notice a change?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#FridayFreedom Circles Challenge

letting go“There is a big difference between giving up and letting go. ‘Giving Up’ means selling yourself short. It means allowing fear and struggle to limit your opportunities and keep you stuck. ‘Letting Go’ means freeing yourself from something that is no longer serving you. It means removing toxic people and belief systems from your life so that you can make room for relationships and ideas that are conducive to your wellbeing and happiness. Giving up reduces your life. Letting go expands it. Giving up is imprisoning. Letting go is liberation. Giving up is self-defeat. Letting go is self-care. So the next time you make the decision to release something or someone that is stifling your happiness and growth, and a person has the audacity to accuse you of giving up or being weak, remind yourself of the difference. Remind yourself that you don’t need anyone’s permission or approval to live your life in the way that feels right.No one has the authority to tell you who to be or how to live. No one gets to decide what your life should look like or who should be a part of it. No one, but you.” ~ Daniell Koepke

GROUP REFLECTION Q’s:
Does this distinction between ‘letting go’ and ‘giving up’ make sense to you? What is something (i.e., a belief, relationship, bad habit, etc.) that in ‘letting go’ would feel freeing? What’s holding you back from your freedom?
COMMIT TO ACT: Choose one belief which no longer serves you that you are willing to let go of. You are making space to empower yourself. How will that make you feel?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#ThoughtfulThursday Circles Challenge

the greatest good“I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.”   

– Hafiz
Be a “mirror friend” to someone today, reflect back to them their own light…

GROUP REFLECTION Q’s:
Agree or Disagree: You can’t pull people from the dark – you can only, “Let your light shine so brightly that others can see their way out of the dark.” Are you a mirror friend to anyone? How do you reflect back their light? How does the following quote by Amma relate to Benjamin Disraeli’s quote? “The sun shines down, and it’s image reflects in a thousand pots filled with water. The reflections are many, but they are each reflecting the same sun. Similarly, when we come to know who we truly are, we will see ourselves in all people.” – Amma
COMMIT TO ACT: Choose someone and remind them of their strengths and potential. It’ll surely elevate that person. Notice how it makes you feel too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#WednesdayWellness Circles Challenge

Healthy is a way of lifeHealth is a relationship between you and your body. If you want a healthy relationship, don’t cheat on it…This will be one of the most important relationships in your life, treat it accordingly.

 

Health and happiness naturally beget each other so give your mental health the same level of care and attention you do to your physical health. How? Synchronize your mind and body. When unsynchronized, your body will slump and your mind will wander. This is such a simple point that it’s easy to overlook the healing power of mind-body awareness. We talk about feelings “in our guts” and about a “lump in our throat” when upset. Our daily language illustrates the mind-body connection, but how often do we ignore what our bodies are tellingus? The next time you notice pain patterns in your body, become mindful of what’s going on internally.

GROUP REFLECTION Q’s:

How aware are you of your mind-body connection? How do you synchronize your mind and body? Do a group brainstorm on practices that nurture the happiness -health relationship in everyday life.
COMMIT TO ACT: For the next 24 hours, track the feelings related to what your body is experiencing (like neck pain)? What could your body be trying to tell you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

#GratiTuesday Circles Challenge


If you want to know what it feels like“If you ever find yourself empty from something you cannot know or name, find a stretch of ocean, a field or a mountainside, or even clouds or trees. Because there are 1,000 simple ways to fill your tired soul so you can remember how to be, how to see, and most importantly, how to breathe.” – Victoria Erikson

Start each day simply, in appreciation for the gift of life. Let your first thought upon waking be, ‘Thank you for this breath, how fortunate I am to be alive.’ When you wake with a grateful heart, that feeling of appreciation cascades into the rest of your day, and beyond.

GROUP REFLECTION Q’s:

When was the last time you had an experience that evoked a deep reverence for life? What would it take to practice regular reverence for your breath – daily, without it being prompted by a life crises/ near death experience?

COMMIT TO ACT:
When you wake up tomorrow, be aware that you are breathing and that you have the gift of another day. How does it shift your day?

 

 

 

 

 

 

#MindfulMonday Circles Challenge

Stop waiting“Stress is caused by being HERE but wanting to be THERE.” – Eckhart Tolle

Too often we find ourselves racing toward an elusive THERE, an end-all-be-all finish line that we feel we must reach in order to be happy…But life is not a linear race to be won. There is always going to be another THERE so why not choose to be HERE, now?

If you’re always racing to the next moment what happens to the one you’re in? Instead of letting an elusive THERE drive your day, Dr. Rick Hanson suggests, ‘Remind yourself to return to the reliable rewards of feeling already full – the undoing of the craving, broadly defined, that creates suffering and harm. Try a little practice on first waking or at other times in which you take a few seconds or longer

to feel already peaceful, already contented, and already loved. This is the home base of body, brain, and mind.’

GROUP REFLECTION Q’s:

What happiness contingencies do you have active in your personal narrative? EX: “When I get ______ , then I will be happy.” What would it take for you to let go of these ‘if-then’ beliefs? Agree or Disagree: Keeping these contingencies active in your thoughts is holding you separate from feeling the happiness right here, right NOW.

COMMIT TO ACT: In the next 24 hours take a moment to feel already peaceful, contented, and loved. Let this feeling sink in and wash over you. You are home.

 

 

 

 

 

mindfulmonday,projecthappiness

320640″Time is like a river. You cannot touch the same water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass again. Enjoy every moment in life.” Each moment is a place you’ve never been – explore it fully. #ProjectHappiness #MindfulMonday

Happiness Challenge: Day 21 (The finish line!)

21 Day challenge - Day 21

 “We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.” ~Herman Melville

#ThoughtfulThursday Challenge: Connect to thrive! At every level there are invisible patterns of unity and oneness interconnecting everything. These have no power structures or hierarchies; they are not for sale. They pass freely from heart to heart along the web of oneness that connects us all. We can be present with someone whose language we don’t understand, who speaks about circumstances we have never experienced, or whose reactions are baffling to us. It’s an orientation and intentionality to simply be with another…
In the next 24 hours, adopt the orientation of oneness with something or someone(s). Hold hands with a loved one and be present to the currents of connectivity between you, share a meal with someone of a completely different background than your own, tune into the buzz of the natural world around you…You’ll soon find that in each of us, there is a little of all of us; one effects the whole!
CONGRATS ON FINISHING THE 21 DAY HAPPINESS CHALLENGE! Did you enjoy it?If so, you’re in luck because the fun continues with today’s launch of Circles, a supportive community to help you practice happiness habits like those featured over the past 21 days. Sign up and be one of the first to start a Circle today:

Happiness Challenge: Day 20

21 Day challenge - Day 20

“Your body’s ability to heal is greater than anyone has permitted you to believe.”
Trust your body – it contains all the wisdom you need to care for yourself properly, you just have to take the time to listen.
#WellnessWednesday Challenge: You are a miracle of nature. The human body has such powerful self-healing potential that the main way you can even prevent it from healing is to interfere with it. Do you have maladaptive habits that may be interfering with your body’s innate ability to heal itself? Simple lifestyle corrections and food can do wonders for your health and, therefore, happiness…
For the next 24 hours, think of movement and healthy eating as “happiness triggers” rather than thinking of them as exercise and dieting.  What is one “happiness trigger” you will commit to today?

Happiness Challenge: Day 19

21 Day challenge - Day 19

“Gratitude is the memory of the heart.” ~Jean Baptiste Massieu
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. Who are you grateful for? Tell them. Taking time to remember and then letting them know will fill two hearts- theirs and yours.
#GratiTuesday Challenge: Thank everyone and everything you encounter on your journey today as though you had chosen it…keep coming back to that thankful heart state as often as you can for the next 24 hours. Our days are happiest when we give people a bit of our heart rather than a piece of our mind.  Happy Journeying!

Happiness Challenge: Day 18

21 Day challenge - Day 18

“Our mind is a garden our thoughts are the weeds, you can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.” 

#MindfulMonday Challenge:  Monday is a chance to start anew, begin the week with your mindset primed to receive the best that life has to offer. Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality. For the next 24 hours think of yourself as a “thought farmer,” begin planting empowering thoughts early in the morning and don’t stop working till evening…seeds become the garden you live in, sow wisely.

Perhaps adopt this motto for the day: “I believe in the good things coming.” Focus on these good things as they show up in your day, week, and beyond! Whatever is going on in your mind is what you are attracting into your life…

Happiness Challenge: Day 17

21 Day challenge - Day 17

 “A bad day for your ego is a great day for your soul.” ~Jillian Michaels 

#SoulfulSunday Challenge: Make it a great soul day. Trust your soul to direct you today- it is always there and always rooting for you even when your mind may falter. (Hint: “When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”~Rumi)

For the next 24 hours,  free yourself from your ego armor. The ego is not bad, it wants to protect us, like armor, but it often manages to do so in a unhealthy, often painful and inauthentic way. The ego is your self-image; it is your social mask; it is a role you are playing and it thrives on approval. The ego, however, is not who you really are…You are a soul. Today, allow your true essence to break through the ego armor recognizing the deeper, soulful part of you.

Happiness Challenge: Day 16

21 Day challenge - Day 16

“Love and intimacy are at the root of what makes us sick and what makes us well…I am not aware of any other factor in medicine—not diet, not smoking, not exercise—that has a greater impact.” ~Dean Ornish 

#SocialSaturday Challenge: “Life is about finding people who are your kind of crazy.” One of the clearest research findings is that we are social creatures – how we relate to others is one of the strongest indicators of wellbeing! In fact, studies show that that not having close personal ties poses the same level of health risk as smoking or obesity. We are wired to love, to be loved, and to belong…so, in the next 24 hours, reflect on who are “your kind of crazy” and spend time “traveling with them” today :) Extend this challenge beyond this weekend by gathering your tribe and become a founding member of a Circle of Happiness: http://www.projecthappiness.org/happiness-circles/
“As I get older, I recognize just how important it is to be surrounded by people who deeply believe in our value and goodness even when we lose our footing. It took me years to rid myself of the lite-dimmers and it has been much clearer sailing since. Not that there isn’t value in having difficult people to overcome, but eventually it becomes essential to be surrounded by those who lift and wish us higher. If they don’t see you in your highest light, wish them well and cut the cord.” ~Jeff Brown

 

 

Happiness Challenge: Day 15

21 Day challenge - Day 15

 Can you remember who you were before the wold told you who you should be? 

The “WHAT IFS” and the “SHOULD HAVES” will eat your brain. Let them go, today.
#FridayFreedom Challenge: Much of the pain we are dealing with are really only critical thoughts. The “shoulds” are often positively intended, like messages from your parents about safety or success when we were children. Guess what – you have changed! These thoughts no longer serve you in your adult life. Let go of these outdated thoughts by recognizing they were originally intended to help you, and then gently send them on their way. Tell your “should,” ‘Thank you for wanting the best for me, I am so ready to find another way to be.’
What “shoulds” are getting in the way of your authentic happiness? In the next 24 hours, replace that inner critical voice with thoughts that feel more empowering, and freeing! Letting go is liberation.

Happiness Challenge: Day 14

21 Day challenge - Day 14

“The true measure of an individual is how they treat a person who can do them absolutely no good.” ~Ann Landers

Happiness and altruism are intimately linked in a positive feedback loop – doing good is an essential ingredient to being happy, and happiness spurs kindness and generosity.

#ThoughtfulThursday Challenge: In the next 24 hours, give back to the greater good without any strings attached. Perhaps do something for someone and don’t tell anyone, or, at least for the day, try to let no one come to you without leaving happier. Tip: If you don’t think you have anything to give back, think again…the greatest gift you can give someone is your presence!

Little by little, a little becomes a lot. As Desmond Tutu puts it, “Do your little bit of good where you are, it is those little bits of good put all together that overwhelm the world.”

Happiness Challenge: Day 13

21 Day challenge - Day 13

“I have a choice: Do I want to align with the GREATEST VISION OF MYSELF or Do I want to align with my EXCUSES?”  ~Debbie Ford

#WellnessWednesday Challenge: When you mentally rehearse new healthy habits, you strengthen your ability to create them in your life. Identify images that align with accomplishing your goals and spend time visualizing them daily! Are you living by design or by default? Design the highest grandest vision possible for your life today. For the next 24 hours, live  “AS IF” this grand vision has already come true. Extra Challenge: Practice this “AS IF” mentality for the rest of the week, living “out of your imagination, not your history.” You become what you believe…

Happiness Challenge: Day 12

21 Day challenge - Day 12

“Dear Past, thank you for all the lessons. Dear Future, I am ready.”

If you never tasted a bad apple, you would not appreciate a good apple. You have to experience life to understand life. Be grateful for the profound teachings contained within times of great difficulty. When you review your life, where have you learned more compassion? Where have you learned more about yourself? Where has your heart grown wise–in just having good times, or going through difficulties? In fact, in some buddhist traditions, there is actually a prayer asking, “May I be given the appropriate difficulties so that my heart can truly open with compassion.”
#GratiTuesday Challenge: For the next 24 hours, practice gratitude for EVERYTHING, even difficult emotions, because of their potential to wake you up. When life is sweet today, say THANK YOU and celebrate. When life is bitter today, say THANK YOU and grow…
It is said that the “stance of happiness” is a deep appreciation for what is and eager anticipation of what’s next. Try this stance on today by regularly repeating this mantra: “For all that has been, THANKS. For all that will be, YES.”

 

Happiness Challenge: Day 11

21 Day challenge - Day 113“Your mind is your instrument. Learn to be its master and not its slave.” ~ Remez Sasson

Mindfulness is not meant to remove us from the reality or responsibilities of everyday life, but rather places our feet firmly in the practical ground of experience. When we are under stress, the brain processes information through pathways that lead us to impulsive and reactive behavior. Mindfulness strengthens the brains resourceful pathways; it’s a way of traveling through our lives in peace.

#MindfulMonday Challenge: For the next 24 hours, PRACTICE PEACE. Try this exercise to strengthen your brains ‘peaceful pathways’ — Take a moment to step fully into this lion’s ‘shoes’ and connect with one word that describes your experience being the lion in the picture (i.e., strong, serene, peace, brave, still, etc.). For the rest of the day, if you begin to feel scattered or stressed or disconnected from the present, breathe deeply as you come back to this one empowering word. Let this mindful lion state expand within you, and invite it to grow forward into your week ahead, accompanying you through the inevitable stress that arises.

When you schedule a peace practice into your regular morning routine, the rest of your day’s to-do list (and overall well-being) will benefit as you approach each task mindfully!

Happiness Challenge: Day 10

21 Day challenge - Day 10

“You cannot think your way into your life purpose, it can only be felt with your heart.” 

#SoulfulSunday Challenge: What is one small shift you could make to live closer to your truth today? Set an intention to live closer to your truth for the next 24 hours. (Hint: If you’re not energized or excited by it, it’s not your souls true path)
Little by little one travels far. If you’re true to the small steps you take, your life will be truth ache free. And always remember, your path is beautiful and crooked, and just as it should be…

Happiness Challenge: Day 9

21 Day challenge - Day 9

“The natural world communicates its profound messages: things are okay as they are; you are okay just as you are; simply relax and be present.”

Native Hawaiians have a beautiful concept called “mana,” which means the power of the elemental forces of nature are embodied in each of us. We evolved in nature, and studies show that natural settings – the beach, the wilderness, sitting under a tree- are restorative. In fact, your brain on nature, is happier :)
Day 10 Challenge: For the next 24 hours, adopt the pace of nature. Tune in to the rhythm of the natural world – go outside, look around you and realize the earth is breathing with you – let that life force flow through you. Extra challenge: Just for today, go off the grid. Perhaps even, *gasp*, turn off or leave your phone at home! Our devices are meant to connect us, but the truth is that every moment we spend checking our phone is a moment of our life, right in front of us, that we’ve disconnected from. Today, disconnect from your devices and reconnect with natural world, and yourself! 

Happiness Challenge: Day 8

21 Day challenge - Day 81

“The greatest prison people live in is the fear of what other people think.” ~David Icke


 #FridayFreedom Motto: “What other people think of me is none of my business.”

Often our loudest internal voices have an external origin. Notice where the limiting voices in your head are coming from (i.e., a parent, a friend,a boss)…what might you be capable of if you could let go of the opinions of others?
CHANGE YOUR HABIT OF THOUGHT: Over the next 24 hours, notice any critical inner voices on loop in your mind (hint – often they become loudest in stressful situations). Take note of what they are saying and who is saying it, then change your inner narrative. What could you say to yourself instead that would feel freeing? Write it on a post-it and stick it in your regular line of sight, such as on your mirror, computer screen, dashboard, etc. – practice this new empowering story until it becomes the automatic voice in your head!

 

Happiness Challenge: Day 7

21 Day challenge - Day 7

“Remember the emphasis on the heart. The mind lives in doubt and the heart lives in trust. When you trust, suddenly you become centered.” ~Osho

#ThoughtfulThursday Challenge: For the next 24 hours, practice HEARTFULNESS by dwelling in your heart space as much as possible.
Try this heart opening exercise to fill yourself with love and send it out to the world: “Imagine that there is a light in your upper chest near your heart, growing brighter and brighter, radiating. Breathe slowly and deeply, filling your lungs with air. Now let the light have a nice steady glow, like the glow you see from a candle, only much larger. Let it become more radiant and begin to surround your whole body. That’s it, the sensation you’re getting in your chest is all right, that is your heart opening. Now imagine sending a beam from this glowing area to someone or something you want to share love with. There you go, that’s love.”    

 

Happiness Challenge: Day 6

21 Day challenge - Day 6.2

“When I loved myself enough, I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy.This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs and habits…anything that kept me small.My judgement called it disloyal. Now I see it as self-loving.” ~Kim McMillen
#WellnessWednesday Challenge: Treat your body well, it’s the only place you have to live. In the next 24 hours, write a commitment letter to your body, telling it how you intend to love and accept it unconditionally, and practice self-care habits that support its thriving. Here’s an example-
My Dear Dedicated Body, 
From this moment forward, I vow to feed you with clean food and positive thoughts. I will water you religiously.I’ll seek nourishment for your physical form, but also for the spirit you so tirelessly protect. I will strive to understand you, in all your delicate complexities, so that I may serve you into your old age. 

From this moment on, I will hold in my heart that you are doing your best for me, and I will not expect more. From this moment on, we are a team and I will repay your best with my best: and we will be brave together. 

With Deepest Gratitude, 
Me

 

Happiness Challenge: Day 4

Shine Bright

11077927_10152627711221637_2951052270008979854_n“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Let your soul shine bright, friends! #SoulfulSunday

Happiness Challenge: Day 3

21 Day challenge - Day 3

Place your hand over your heart. Feel that? That’s called purpose. You’re alive for a reason.

#SoulfulSunday: “That thing that you do, after your day job, in your free time, too early in the morning, too late at night. That thing you read about, write about, think about, in fact fantasize about. That thing you do when you’re all alone and there’s no one to impress, nothing to prove, no money to be made, simply a passion to pursue. That’s it. That’s your thing. That’s your heart, your guide. Thats the thing you must, must do.” What is your thing? The things that make you happiest are not random. They are your calling…placed inside every human being is a call to joy, and the purpose of your life is to answer that call.

CALL TO ACTION: In the next 24 hours, book a meeting with yourself and explore this question, “From 0 to 10, how alive do I feel?” Zero represents “the living dead,” and 10 represents “100 percent alive.” Notice how alive you feel in your life right now, and identify what would help you to feel even more alive. In particular, name specifically what inspires you and what motivates you to show up in your life each day. To live your purpose, you have to dare to be even more of who you really are.

Happiness Challenge: Day 2

21 Day challenge - Day 2

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” ~Jim Rohn

 

#SocialSaturday: Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one. But not just any one. Energies are contagious so surround yourself with people that reflect who you want to be and how you want to feel. By choosing who you spend time with, you are literally shaping your own future. Who is in your core circle? Examine the people you spend the most time around. Consider if these people are enabling you toward your ideal self (Do they match who you want to become in the future?). If they are not, identify people who do embody qualities you desire and increase contact with them…soon your “friend average” will be a source of strength and positive vibes.

 

Call to Action: For the next 24 hours, choose to surround yourself with people who uplift you. Set an intention for how you want to feel at the end of your social interactions and notice who meets you in that elevated space. Hint: Those are your people!

Everyone Smiles in the Same Language

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Smiling is a universal language!

Celebrate International Day of Happiness by starting a smile contagion today – the smile of a stranger can change someone’s whole day :) #HappinessIsContagious

Happiness Challenge: Day 1

21 Day challenge - Day 1

Life isn’t happening to you; life is responding to you.” ~Rhonda Byrne

The first day of our challenge starts with #FridayFreedom, because happiness is directly proportional to your belief in how much freedom of choice you have. The research proves that happiness is possible through intentional habit changes, more than circumstantial changes. In fact, only 10% of our happiness is due to our external circumstances and a full 90% is based on our inner environment, with as much as 40% of that being accounted for by our intentional daily activities and the CHOICES we make. So, here’s an invitation – let International Day of Happiness be your personal liberation day!

Call to action: For the next 24 hours, make a commitment to yourself to choose happiness. Consciously track these happiness choice points throughout the day and at each juncture, consider if your choice will make your future self experience more or less freedom. “When you make a choice you change the future. ” ~Deepak Chopra

Create a life you don’t want to escape from

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“When you personalize your life, when you make your life a place where you can be yourself, when you do things the way you want to do them, your life feels like your home. And that is a tremendous source of emotional energy.” ~ Mira Kirshenbaum

#MondayMotivation: Create a life in which “escapism” need not exist. Reject the myth that you must step out of your daily life in order to step into feeling fully alive. What small steps might you take today to invigorate your everyday life with emotional wellness practices?

The real test of friendship is silence.

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“The real test of friendship is: Can you literally do nothing with the other person? Can you enjoy those moments of life that are utterly simple?” ~Eugene Kennedy

True friendship is sitting together in silence and feeling like it was the best conversation. Who are your true friends? #SaturdaySocial

Live in the moment. Leave the phone.

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“Happiness is enjoying the moment for what it is, not what it could be or should be.” ~Unknown

The world today is full of distractions, pulling us from the moment in front of us. Cell phones are one of the biggest thieves of our presence. Today, put down your phone and choose to engage in the moment instead of thinking you should/could be somewhere else. Your life is in front of you, not in some email or Facebook newsfeed. Live it NOW. #SaturdaySoul

Let us illuminate one another!

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#ThoughtfulThursday: Just as gravity pulls the moon to the earth, so is our great pull to connect as beings. Why not become the one who lives with a full moon in each eye, that is always saying what every other eye in this world is dying to hear? Illuminate one another…