“You can’t expect to receive all that is beautiful and good in life with a closed heart.” ~Joe Duncan Be brave with your heart. Keep it open. This is the only life you get to use it in.

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“You can’t expect to receive all that is beautiful and good in life with a closed heart.” ~Joe Duncan

Be brave with your heart. Keep it open. This is the only life
you get to use it in. #ThoughtfulThursday

What matters most is the spirit of the work. How are you spending your time? Is the way you’re living your days in line with what’s most important to you in your life? “Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.” ~Minor Myer


#ThoughtfulThursday: What matters most is the spirit of the work. How are you spending your time? Is the way you’re living your days in line with what’s most important to you in your life? “Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.” ~Minor Myer

Challenge: Look around you. How much love can you bring into the situation you’re in? Live from your heart for the next 24 hours and feel life loving you back; when you adopt “heartfulness” as a daily practice, you’re life becomes the abundant with the positive and wise qualities of the heart, such as love, appreciation, compassion, and connection. A heartful life is, truly, a happy life…#MayYouBe Heartful!


#GratiTuesday Challenge: Look around you. How much love can you bring into the situation you’re in? Live from your heart for the next 24 hours and feel life loving you back; when you adopt “heartfulness” as a daily practice, you’re life becomes the abundant with the positive and wise qualities of the heart, such as love, appreciation, compassion, and connection. A heartful life is, truly, a happy life…#MayYouBe Heartful!

“Find the sweetness in your own heart, then you may find the sweetness in every heart.”-Rumi Challenge: Look around you. How much love can you bring into the situation you’re in? Live from your heart for the next 24 hours and feel life loving you back; when you adopt “heartfulness” as a daily practice, you’re life becomes the abundant with the positive and wise qualities of the heart, such as love, appreciation, compassion, and connection. A heartful life is, truly, a happy life. #MayYouBe Heartful!


“Find the sweetness in your own heart, then you may find the sweetness in every heart.”-Rumi

#GratiTuesday Challenge: Look around you. How much love can you bring into the situation you’re in? Live from your heart for the next 24 hours and feel life loving you back; when you adopt “heartfulness” as a daily practice, you’re life becomes the abundant with the positive and wise qualities of the heart, such as love, appreciation, compassion, and connection. A heartful life is, truly, a happy life. #MayYouBe Heartful!

#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 try 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? Be heartful 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 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, try 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? Be heartful 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.

Begin practicing the intention to be authentic and peaceful with everyone. When you do so, you connect with peace itself and withdraw your consent to live at the lower energies (of doubt, anxiety, and fear)… Pull people into your peace this


Begin practicing the intention to be authentic and peaceful with everyone. When you do so, you connect with peace itself and withdraw your consent to live at the lower energies (of doubt, anxiety, and fear)… Pull people into your peace this #MindfulMonday!

Follow your heart. It knows the way…


Follow your heart. It knows the way… #SundaySoul

The fullness of life resides on the edge of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to give yourself everything you’ve ever wanted- let the thumping of your heart guide you this weekend!


The fullness of life resides on the edge of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to give yourself everything you’ve ever wanted- let the thumping of your heart guide you this weekend! #FridayFreedom

Challenge: Radical acceptance is an active process, one that must be practiced consciously and regularly to quiet your inner critic. Try repeating this self-compassion meditation throughout your day and notice how it correlates with the happiness in your life…


#ThoughtfulThursday Challenge: Radical acceptance is an active process, one that must be practiced consciously and regularly to quiet your inner critic. Try repeating this self-compassion meditation throughout your day and notice how it correlates with the happiness in your life…

“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.” ~Leo Buscaglia Worry is using your imagination to create something you don’t want. Choose peace over worry today. As the Dalai Lama puts it, “If it can be solved, there’s no need to worry, and if it can’t be solved, worry is of no use.”

“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.” ~Leo Buscaglia#MindfulMonday: Worry is using your imagination to create something you don’t want. Choose peace over worry today. As the Dalai Lama puts it, “If it can be solved, there’s no need to worry, and if it can’t be solved, worry is of no use.”

#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


#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!

Have FAITH; Wear your dancing shoes everyday. Life happens to those already on the dance floor?? “The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.” -Emily Dickinson ________________________________ ?Click the link in our bio for #ProjectHappiness FREE daily tips sent directly to your inbox ?? @projecthappiness24_7

#SundaySoul: Have FAITH; Wear your dancing shoes everyday. Life happens to those already on the dance floor?? “The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.” -Emily Dickinson________________________________
?Click the link in our bio for #ProjectHappiness FREE daily tips sent directly to your inbox ?? @projecthappiness24_7

What tone are you setting?

What tone are you setting? #SaturdaySocial

✨WATCH CAREFULLY✨ . May your weekends be filled with magic! . ?? @atticuspoetry _________________________________ ?Click the link in our bio for #ProjectHappiness FREE daily tips sent directly to your inbox ?? @projecthappiness24_7


✨WATCH CAREFULLY✨ .
May your weekends be filled with magic! #FridayFreedom .
?? @atticuspoetry

_________________________________
?Click the link in our bio for #ProjectHappiness FREE daily tips sent directly to your inbox ?? @projecthappiness24_7

Self-care is not selfish. We cannot nurture others from a dry well or “empty cup.” If we practice preventative wellness and replenish our physical and emotional reserves BEFORE they hit the empty line, then we can give even more to others from our surplus, from our natural state of strength and abundance. What is one thing you can do to take care of yourself today?

Self-care is not selfish. We cannot nurture others from a dry well or “empty cup.” If we practice preventative wellness and replenish our physical and emotional reserves BEFORE they hit the empty line, then we can give even more to others from our surplus, from our natural state of strength and abundance.
What is one thing you can do to take care of yourself today? #WednesdayWellness

The Spice That Makes You Happier

Warm-Turmeric-MilkThese days there seems to always be a new vegetable or supplement I “should” be consuming, and frankly, it’s hard to keep up and even harder to figure out practical ways to bring them into my diet.

You might feel this way about turmeric, the spice that is having a big moment right now. Numerous peer-reviewed studies and research on the long-beloved spice are piling up every day, and its list of health and emotional benefits just keeps growing. Eastern medicine has been using it for millennia, and western medicine has been testing its healing effects on inflammation, cancer, and depression, to exciting results. But how to easily eat some turmeric every day might be giving you pause.

Last year, my boyfriend and I were introduced to the Indian home remedy “golden milk” (haldi ka doodh or turmeric milk) by an herbologist friend and I fell in love at first taste. I knew turmeric was an anti-inflammatory powerhouse, but had a limited knowledge of how to use it in cooking. Golden milk cleared the fog instantly. After about a week of drinking it every day, I felt much more stable in mood, more energized throughout my 6am-6pm day, less inflammation in my joints, and my sleep quality was noticeably better. We’re such converts we decided to come up with a powdered version.

If you’re like the majority of adult humans on this planet, drinking a warm caffeinated beverage is part of your morning routine. You likely grew up watching your parents perform this ritual, so you adopted it without too much thought. For me, the best part of discovering golden milk has been simply taking an existing habit I have and tweaking it to reap insane health benefits. Here’s my favorite, dairy-free, from-scratch recipe:

Turmeric Tea/Golden Milk

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey or maple syrup or to taste
  • Pinch of black pepper (increases absorption)
  • ¼ tsp ginger powder
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat almond milk into a small sauce pan for 3–5 minutes over medium heat until hot but not boiling.
  2. Add all other ingredients, stir well.
  3. Drink immediately.

13244813_1769760643242478_8654040652348466862_nTurmeric delivers energy, mood support, stress-resilience, anti-inflammatory power, and is a sleep aid to boot. Whether you make it from scratch or buy a convenient powdered version like Golden Chai, turmeric in your morning beverage is the easiest way to work the superfood herb into your diet.

Who did you think of when you read this post? Tell them, right now! Challenge: When you appreciate something about someone, SPEAK IT. Don’t ever miss an opportunity to acknowledge the beauty of someone’s presence in your life (and mind)!

Who did you think of when you read this post? Tell them, right now!
#GratiTuesday Challenge: When you appreciate something about someone, SPEAK IT. Don’t ever miss an opportunity to acknowledge the beauty of someone’s presence in your life (and mind)!

Motto: “Hold the vision, trust the process.” Practice patience today. Breathe and TRUST that everything is coming together in it’s perfect time…you might not understand it now, but one day you will look back and know why it all unfolded as it did…

#MindfulMonday Motto: “Hold the vision, trust the process.” Practice patience today. Breathe and TRUST that everything is coming together in it’s perfect time…you might not understand it now, but one day you will look back and know why it all unfolded as it did…

Motto: “My heart is at ease knowing what was meant for me will never miss me, and what misses me was never meant for me.” ✨How would you live the next 24 hours if you permitted yourself to trust, FULLY, that the universe is conspiring on your behalf? _________________________________ ?Click the link in our bio for #ProjectHappiness FREE daily tips sent directly to your inbox ?? @projecthappiness24_7

#SundaySoul Motto: “My heart is at ease knowing what was meant for me will never miss me, and what misses me was never meant for me.” ✨How would you live the next 24 hours if you permitted yourself to trust, FULLY, that the universe is conspiring on your behalf?_________________________________
?Click the link in our bio for #ProjectHappiness FREE daily tips sent directly to your inbox ?? @projecthappiness24_7

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 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


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 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!

Who’s in your tribe?

Who’s in your tribe? #SaturdaySocial

“Forgiveness is a direct path to freeing our hearts and finding inner peace. However, it’s not about approving of the pain that has been caused or letting the person “off the hook”, it’s about choosing not to stay stuck and allowing ourselves to move forward. “~@happihabits Choose to forgive and move forward today. Your future self will thank you…

#FridayFreedom: “Forgiveness is a direct path to freeing our hearts and finding inner peace. However, it’s not about approving of the pain that has been caused or letting the person “off the hook”, it’s about choosing not to stay stuck and allowing ourselves to move forward. “~@happihabits
Choose to forgive and move forward today. Your future self will thank you…

#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 ACT: 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


#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 ACT: 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!

?? This is certainly our idea of a happy Anything you would add to make it even happier? ? via @mindbodygreen!

?? This is certainly our idea of a happy #ThoughtfulThursday! Anything you would add to make it even happier? ? via @mindbodygreen!

Listen to your body when it whispers so you don’t have to hear it scream…

Listen to your body when it whispers so you don’t have to hear it scream…#WednesdayWellness

“It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.” To grow your joy, plant seeds of gratitude. Daily. Anything you nourish with repetition will flourish.

“It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.” To grow your joy, plant seeds of gratitude. Daily. Anything you nourish with repetition will flourish. #GratiTuesday

“The real meditation is how you live your life.” Jon Kabat-Zinn 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.

“The real meditation is how you live your life.” Jon Kabat-Zinn#MindfulMonday: 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.

A good thought for a Sunday evening…pre-pave the week ahead with purpose!

A good thought for a Sunday evening…pre-pave the week ahead with purpose!
#SundaySoul

A healthy relationship keeps the doors and windows wide open. (And if it doesn’t open, it’s not your door…)

A healthy relationship keeps the doors and windows wide open. (And if it doesn’t open, it’s not your door…) #SaturdaySocial

5 Reasons Why Hiking Can Truly Make You Happy

Half Moon BayJohn Muir put it perfectly when he said that “in every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” I haven’t always been a hiker and it’s only recently that I’ve discovered how relaxing and rejuvenating a walk in the wilderness can be.

You might wonder how puffing your way up a mountain, braving the elements, putting up with bugs and getting blisters could make for a happy day, but ask any hiker and they’ll rave about how amazing hiking is for the mind, body and soul. Here are 5 ways that hiking can make you truly happy. 

 

  1. Hiking Reduces Stress

It’s a well-known fact that exercise reduces stress, but in my experience nothing soothes the mind and soul more than simply being outdoors. When you’re a tiny dot standing in the middle of a meadow or are experiencing the vastness of the Grand Canyon, nature helps to put life’s problems into perspective.

 

Scientists have even suggested that we’re evolved to become more relaxed in nature. They’ve found that just looking at video of a natural setting has a significant impact on reducing stress levels.

 

A recent study compared walking for 20 minutes in an urban environment to walking for the same amount of time through a park, and discovered that stepping into a more natural landscape for even a short amount of time can decrease stress and anxiety.

 

  1. Nature Inspires

There’s nothing like being in the woods, discovering a remote beach or scaling a mountain to inspire your creativity! In fact, researchers have shown that switching off technology and immersing yourself in nature can increase your creativity and problem solving skills by as much as 50%. Being outdoors helps create more novel thoughts and walking encourages these thoughts to flow more freely. Next time you’re stuck for ideas, head outside and let nature inspire you.

 

  1. Hiking Keeps Your Body Healthy

Hiking is a great low-intensity exercise that doesn’t put too much pressure on your joints, making it ideal for almost anyone! Long-distance hiking can burn serious calories for weight loss but it’s also great for building leg and core strength, boosting your immune system, lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis. Having good health is a key factor in living a happy life so get out there and take in all that fresh air!

 

  1. Hiking Can Fight Depression

I’m sure every hiker has experienced the mood boost that being surrounded by nature’s beauty gives you, and scientists have gone so far to suggest that hiking is a great way to prevent and even supplement the treatment of depression. It’s not just about the exercise; being surrounded by nature is key and increasing urbanization has even been considered as a possible cause for the rising incidence of mental illness. So it’s true, hiking really does make life brighter.

 

  1. It’s Fun!

My favorite thing about hiking is that every morning when you head out, you never know what you’re going to find! Hidden waterfalls, incredible views, up-close encounters with wildlife, new canyons to explore… every walk has its own unexpected joys and I’ve created incredible memories with the people I’ve shared them with. The beauty of nature is pretty hard to ignore and best of all, it’s free! So what’s stopping you? Plan a hike for this weekend and enjoy your happiness!

 

While you’re out there enjoying nature, help to keep it green for others to enjoy by taking your waste with you, not feeding wildlife, using eco-friendly equipment and leaving the landscape as you found it.

The freedom to be yourself is a gift only you can give yourself. And once you do, no one can take it away.

The freedom to be yourself is a gift only you can give yourself. And once you do, no one can take it away. #FridayFreedom

If you look for the light in another, you are guaranteed to find it.

If you look for the light in another, you are guaranteed to find it. #ThoughtfulThursday

#MayYouBe CHALLENGE DAY 5: “Imagine how our world could change if we begin valuing GO-GIVERS as much as we value go-getters.” ~ @ariannahuff Make generosity part of your happiness strategy today. We make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give. Generosity is the habit of giving freely without expecting anything in return. But it is one of the beautiful paradoxes of life that “the heart that gives, gathers.” 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 in need of major renovation – the need is urgent for some new blueprints that emphasize valuing “go-givers” and a general generosity of spirit. TAG a thought-partner and 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 growth strategy today? Brainstorm as a group practices that could integrate altruism into your core values or into practices that you do with friends. (Note: You do not have to be rich to be generous. It can be as simple as giving a smile to a stranger or a compliment to a friend). COMMIT TO ACT: This dare to draw some new blueprints for yourself. Take some time to rethink your definition of success and do one small act that generates the go-giver attitude. Extra Challenge: Embrace this go-giver side for the rest of the week. __________________________________ IT’S NOT TO LATE TO JOIN THE CHALLENGE! #ProjectHappiness daily challenge prompts will be posted on our Instagram and Facebook page every day in May. But to assure you don’t miss a day, click the link in our profile to sign up for FREE to get them sent directly to your inbox??@projecthappiness24_7


#MayYouBe CHALLENGE DAY 5: “Imagine how our world could change if we begin valuing GO-GIVERS as much as we value go-getters.” ~ @ariannahuff
Make generosity part of your happiness strategy today. We make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give.

Generosity is the habit of giving freely without expecting anything in return. But it is one of the beautiful paradoxes of life that “the heart that gives, gathers.” 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 in need of major renovation – the need is urgent for some new blueprints that emphasize valuing “go-givers” and a general generosity of spirit.

TAG a thought-partner and 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 growth strategy today? Brainstorm as a group practices that could integrate altruism into your core values or into practices that you do with friends. (Note: You do not have to be rich to be generous. It can be as simple as giving a smile to a stranger or a compliment to a friend). COMMIT TO ACT: This #ThoughtfulThursday, dare to draw some new blueprints for yourself. Take some time to rethink your definition of success and do one small act that generates the go-giver attitude. Extra Challenge: Embrace this go-giver side for the rest of the week.

__________________________________
IT’S NOT TO LATE TO JOIN THE CHALLENGE! #ProjectHappiness daily challenge prompts will be posted on our Instagram and Facebook page every day in May. But to assure you don’t miss a day, click the link in our profile to sign up for FREE to get them sent directly to your inbox??@projecthappiness24_7

No One Need Wait a Single Moment to Improve the World

“How wonderful that no one need wait a single moment to improve the world.” – Anne Frank

I once heard Dieter F. Uchtdorf speak about a group of men in Germany who wanted to move a full concert-sized grand piano from a chapel into an adjacent concert hall. There were many willing and able men, but with everyone trying to direct the piano in different ways, it kept going off balance and they were unable to lift it. Finally, one of the men said, “. . .Stand closer together, and lift where you stand.”

 

What a simple idea! How can we apply this to our lives? How can we all, as humanity, or even as small as our nuclear families or co-workers come closer together and lift where we stand?

 

Ideas of generosity and altruism have gained more and more momentum recently. From celebrities finding causes to support (Leonardo DiCaprio), movies like Pay It Forward becoming part of daily speech (“Oh, don’t say thanks, just pay it forward”), humanitarian missions for gap years, and things like random acts of kindness taking off, it’s no wonder people are looking for more and more ways to participate in something greater. Many people have contributed to what each of us is today and we all have a way to help others!

 

As if you needed any more convincing that giving back is good for your soul, there are countless studies touting the benefits of altruism and giving back. Studies are showing evidence of your increased happiness (and the more you give back, the happier you get!), benefits to the greater good of humanity, reduced stress in your life, feeling of social connection to combat loneliness, stronger family ties, feeling connected to the greater humanity, etc. Read more here and here.

 

But with so many different ideas pulling you in so many different ways, what is something YOU could actually DO today? How can you lift where you stand? Here are 8 ways you can give back, TODAY!

 

1. Donate a special event in your own life toward a cause. Your birthday, wedding, anniversary, etc.

“Giving is the highest expression of potency. In the very act of giving, I experience my strength, my wealth, my power. This experience of heightened vitality and potency fills me with joy. I experience myself as overflowing, spending, alive, hence as joyous. Giving is more joyous than receiving, not because it is a deprivation, but because in the act of giving lies the expression of my aliveness.” – Erich Fromm

 

The first time I had heard of this, was through a wedding invitation I received in college. I was at the ripe age of 18, and as I was looking through their announcement; I realized they didn’t have the long list of registries. Instead, they asked their guests to send money to a specific charity, in their name. I was overwhelmed at such a selfless act, and felt inspired to do the same.

 

Since then, I have been on the look out for a good cause to donate my birthday to nearly every year! It has brought me surprise friendships and acquaintances, made me feel supported and loved, even though strangers and anonymous donors, allowed me to be connected to the world, and has brought me more joy than I could ever begin to describe.

 

IMG_8880This year, for my 30th birthday, I decided to be ambitious and raise $15,000 to buy shoes for children in Guyana. One pair of shoes is only $15 and last the children 5 years because they grow 5 sizes! I was fortunate to find this particular cause through my work at Project Happiness when we met with teachers and social workers from across the country back in March.  

 

Read more here, and donate if you can: http://tinyurl.com/BrookTurns30.

 

 2. Spend your money on someone other than yourself.

The highest use of capital is not to make more money but to make money to do more for the betterment of life.” – Henry Ford

 

There are countless causes asking for money, and if you ask around, you will surely find something you can stand behind to support. Be it Project Happiness, your mom who desperately needs a massage, or the person behind you in the drive-through, I promise you will feel happier if you spend your money on others.

 

 

3. Find a cause that you stand behind, and contribute your time or talents (or blood).

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” – Muhammad Ali

 

Find a local organization that works on something you support. There are MeetUps in every city revolving around philanthropy if you don’t know where to start. Do a search of a cause—interested in children, helping victims of domestic violence, want to be more involved in refugees? Reach out, and get involved!

 

Maybe you have a special skill that you can donate? Are you an exceptional photographer, or can you make a five year old child laugh until they cry? Maybe you can’t think of anything in particular? That’s okay, I guarantee you non profit organizations have a long list of things they can’t get to that they would LOVE help with!

 

 

4. Do something nice for someone who can never truly repay you.

“A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit” – D. Elton Trueblood

 

As Anne Frank said, you don’t even need to wait a single moment to improve your world around you! How much better would it be if it were someone who could never truly repay you?

 

 

IMG_45055. Smile to someone on the street.

“No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop

 

Simple, right? Pay attention to how many people actually smile back!

 

 

6. See someone lost? Give directions to a stranger.

“If you wait until you can do everything for everybody, instead of something for somebody, you’ll end up not doing nothing for nobody.” – Malcom Bane

 

Or pick up a little more trash than you created (think: Boyscout’s motto of “Leave No Trace). Or help someone with his or her groceries. Or give someone a ride. Or pay for the food of the person behind you in a drive-through. Want more ideas? Check out this Buzzfeed article.

 

 

7. Pay a sincere compliment today.

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” – Lao Tzu

 

How many times a day do you think of a nice thing to say to someone, but it leaves your mind as quickly as it came? Can you think of a time someone paid you a sincere and unexpected compliment? How did it make you feel? Maybe you don’t express your admiration to your partner enough, or maybe it’s a stranger on the elevator with the perfect outfit?

 

 

8. Sign up to volunteer abroad–by yourself, with your family, or your friends.

“Young people often ask us how they can help address issues… like international poverty. Our first recommendation to them is to get out and see the world…you need to see it first hand, even live in its midst…They have paid their own way to volunteer in poor countries – and once they see the poverty close, they want to do more… it would offer young Americans a potentially life-changing encounter with the developing world.” – Half the Sky

 

FullSizeRender 6

Looking for a longer-term commitment? Want to give back in another part of the world? Here are three of my favorite organizations:

 

  • HELP International: Geared around college-aged students, focused on public health, infrastructure development, education empowerment, and business entrepreneurship.
  • Eagle Condor: 1-2 week expeditions throughout the year that bigger groups, families, or individuals can go on! They even have some during the holidays and deliver Christmas presents in an orphanage in Peru.
  • Revive Service Tours: Service cruises, and shorter-term volunteering for people who are busy and looking for a vacation!

 

My hope is that you feel more inspired to be generous, and maybe in new ways today. If you know of wonderful ways to give back, please leave a note in the comments–we welcome all ideas.

 

Let’s all remember to lift where we stand. Together, we can achieve great things in the world. Individually, all we need is a single moment to improve the life of one other person.

 

 

“Our bodies are our allies, and they are always influenced and shaped by our thoughts and beliefs.” -Dr. Christiane Northrup Happiness begins at a cellular level– The cells in your body react to everything that your mind says. Negativity brings down your immune system. The good news is your body’s ability to heal is greater than anyone has permitted you to believe. Your cells contain all the wisdom you need to care for yourself properly, you just have to take the space/time to listen and nourish them. Deliberately focusing on good feeling thoughts allows your body’s cells to dance to their natural rhythm of wellbeing. Try it today and notice how you feel…

“Our bodies are our allies, and they are always influenced and shaped by our thoughts and beliefs.” -Dr. Christiane Northrup#WednesdayWellness: Happiness begins at a cellular level– The cells in your body react to everything that your mind says. Negativity brings down your immune system. The good news is your body’s ability to heal is greater than anyone has permitted you to believe. Your cells contain all the wisdom you need to care for yourself properly, you just have to take the space/time to listen and nourish them. Deliberately focusing on good feeling thoughts allows your body’s cells to dance to their natural rhythm of wellbeing. Try it today and notice how you feel…

What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you were grateful for today? _______________________________________________ ? Click the link in our bio for #ProjectHappiness FREE daily habit tips sent directly to your inbox ?? @projecthappiness24_7


What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you were grateful for today? #GratiTuesday

_______________________________________________
? Click the link in our bio for #ProjectHappiness FREE daily habit tips sent directly to your inbox ?? @projecthappiness24_7

#MayYouBe CHALLENGE DAY 3: “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. Gratitude is more than just a feeling, it is a perspective that chooses to see life through a lens of abundance rather than lack. It helps us see WHAT IS THERE, instead of WHAT ISN’T. Practicing gratitude strengthens our ability to focus on the good by bringing awareness to our gifts in life, serving as an antidote to negative emotions (like fear), and to seeing that “adver-tunitiy” (opportunity within adversity) abounds. For today’s challenge, discuss this idea of “adver-tunity” with a buddy: Do you agree that sometimes things don’t work out because greater things are in the works? Can you think of a time when you looked back in gratitude that things didn’t work out the way you once wanted them to? 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 for by recalling this mantra throughout the day: “For all that has been, THANKS. For all that will be, YES.” __________________________________ IT’S NOT TO LATE TO JOIN THE CHALLENGE! #ProjectHappiness daily challenge prompts will be posted on our Instagram and Facebook page every day in May. But to assure you don’t miss a day, click the link in our profile to sign up for FREE to get them sent directly to your inbox??@projecthappiness24_7


#MayYouBe CHALLENGE DAY 3: “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.

Gratitude is more than just a feeling, it is a perspective that chooses to see life through a lens of abundance rather than lack. It helps us see WHAT IS THERE, instead of WHAT ISN’T. Practicing gratitude strengthens our ability to focus on the good by bringing awareness to our gifts in life, serving as an antidote to negative emotions (like fear), and to seeing that “adver-tunitiy” (opportunity within adversity) abounds.

For today’s challenge, discuss this idea of “adver-tunity” with a buddy: Do you agree that sometimes things don’t work out because greater things are in the works? Can you think of a time when you looked back in gratitude that things didn’t work out the way you once wanted them to?

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 for #Gratituesday by recalling this mantra throughout the day: “For all that has been, THANKS. For all that will be, YES.” __________________________________
IT’S NOT TO LATE TO JOIN THE CHALLENGE! #ProjectHappiness daily challenge prompts will be posted on our Instagram and Facebook page every day in May. But to assure you don’t miss a day, click the link in our profile to sign up for FREE to get them sent directly to your inbox??@projecthappiness24_7

Motto: “Dear past, thanks for the lessons. Dear present, I am ready.” The past is where you learn the lesson, the present is where you apply it. It’s never too late to start over. If you weren’t happy with yesterday, try something different today. Don’t stay stuck dwelling on the past, instead focus on applying the lessons today and dwell in the possibility of the future.


#MindfulMonday Motto: “Dear past, thanks for the lessons. Dear present, I am ready.” The past is where you learn the lesson, the present is where you apply it. It’s never too late to start over. If you weren’t happy with yesterday, try something different today. Don’t stay stuck dwelling on the past, instead focus on applying the lessons today and dwell in the possibility of the future.

“Holding on to anything blocks wisdom.” ~Pema Chodron The Heart Sutra is a teaching on fearlessness that says, to the extent we stop struggling against uncertainty and ambiguity, to that extent we dissolve our fear. The only way to fully understand this teaching of the Buddha is to abide in unconditional openness, in the fearless state…


“Holding on to anything blocks wisdom.” ~Pema Chodron

#SundaySoul: The Heart Sutra is a teaching on fearlessness that says, to the extent we stop struggling against uncertainty and ambiguity, to that extent we dissolve our fear. The only way to fully understand this teaching of the Buddha is to abide in unconditional openness, in the fearless state…

Motto: “Today is my day to release the things that what no longer serve me.” When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge. Make space for the new today… _______________________________________________ ? Click the link in our bio for #ProjectHappiness FREE daily habit tips sent directly to your inbox ?? @projecthappiness24_7


#FridayFreedom Motto: “Today is my day to release the things that what no longer serve me.” When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge. Make space for the new today… _______________________________________________
? Click the link in our bio for #ProjectHappiness FREE daily habit tips sent directly to your inbox ?? @projecthappiness24_7

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” – Rabindranath Tagore It is said that the greatest joy comes from giving and serving. Focus on supporting others in your life without expecting anything in return, you’ll think less about what you want and find joy in the act of giving and serving. This giving, loving, serving person is the real you.


“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” – Rabindranath Tagore

#ThoughtfulThursday: It is said that the greatest joy comes from giving and serving. Focus on supporting others in your life without expecting anything in return, you’ll think less about what you want and find joy in the act of giving and serving. This giving, loving, serving person is the real you.

“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” ~Jack Kormfield Many of us would never be as critical of others as we are of ourselves. Bring the kindness you afford to others to your inner gaze today…


“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” ~Jack Kormfield

#ThoughtfulThursday: Many of us would never be as critical of others as we are of ourselves. Bring the kindness you afford to others to your inner gaze today…

How often do you catch yourself saying, “I’ll be happy when I accomplish….”? Don’t postpone your joy any longer. Happiness can be found in all steps, big or small. And often, the smallest steps in the right direction end up being to biggest steps of your life. So be proud of the small steps you take today…


How often do you catch yourself saying, “I’ll be happy when I accomplish….”? #WednesdayWellness: Don’t postpone your joy any longer. Happiness can be found in all steps, big or small. And often, the smallest steps in the right direction end up being to biggest steps of your life. So be proud of the small steps you take today…

What The Moon Can Teach Us About Appreciation

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re currently on a planet floating in space. Yes, this beautiful brilliant home we call Earth, and Friday (Earth Day) was the one day a year we rededicate ourselves to taking care of her. Earth Day is the day we plant all the trees, turn off our lights, conserve our water a little more carefully, and decide we will take care of our home with more diligence. After all, our planet takes such good care of us.

 

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to see Hubble 3D. It was a gorgeous film exploring all the things we’ve gleaned from this wonderful telescope. The galaxies we’ve discovered, nebulas and formation of new stars, the new perspectives, and the things we’ve learned about other planets in our solar system.

 

Tra moonAt the very end of the movie, Leonardo DiCaprio, who narrates the film, says,

“It has been said that in discovering the moon, we discovered our earth.”

He went on to talk about how we’re always searching for other bigger and better things as humans. We have the desire to study things we have not yet explored, discover something that we’ve never seen before. Yet, after all of this searching, discovering, and knowledge that we’ve gained through the Hubble, we have yet to discover a place that loves us and protects us as perfectly as our beautiful Earth does. The beautiful balance of the ozone layer, the elements, the way our climate finds balance despite the things we do to destroy it.

 

This lead me to think about my own life. I have the tendency to be lured in by wanderlust, exploring, adventuring, and finding the best Pho restaurant in California, among other things. Maybe I’m on the constant search for something unexplored–a better job, better house, better relationships, even a better climate to live in. But maybe in reality, it’s all right under my nose?

 

Maybe I just need to appreciate the things I have in the moment that I have them. Maybe I need to learn to savor the moment, trust the wait, and enjoy the beauty of becoming. I need to recognize my perfect path and perfect circumstances that have all collided into creating who I am becoming. As beautiful and enticing as adventuring and exploring is, sometimes I forget where I am right now is the best place for me. I have to recognize that I am enough in this present moment.

 

Maybe, much like our beautiful planet, there are things in motion that I often am unaware of–cyclical patterns of weather, the beautiful plants creating oxygen–that are working on creating of the beautiful life I live.

 

Yes, it is important to take the time to rededicate ourselves to becoming a little more aware of the beautiful things we’ve been given. And maybe we can say in discovering the earth, we’ve discovered ourselves.

Most of the shadows in our life are caused by standing in our own sunshine…look at the bright side this keep your face turned toward the sun!


Most of the shadows in our life are caused by standing in our own sunshine…look at the bright side this #GratiTuesday, keep your face turned toward the sun!

“Watch the waves in the ocean. The higher the wave goes, the deeper is the wake that follows it. One moment you are the wave, another moment you are the hollow wake that follows. Enjoy both–dont get addicted to one. Dont say: I would always like to be on the peak. It is not possible. Simply see the fact: it is not possible. It has never happened and it will never happen. It is simply impossible–not in the nature of things. Then what to do? Enjoy the peak while it lasts and then enjoy the valley when it comes. What is wrong with the valley? What is wrong with being low? It is a relaxation. A peak is an excitement, and nobody can exist continuously in an excitement.” ~Osho


“Watch the waves in the ocean. The higher the wave goes, the deeper is the wake that follows it. One moment you are the wave, another moment you are the hollow wake that follows. Enjoy both–dont get addicted to one. Dont say: I would always like to be on the peak. It is not possible. Simply see the fact: it is not possible. It has never happened and it will never happen. It is simply impossible–not in the nature of things. Then what to do? Enjoy the peak while it lasts and then enjoy the valley when it comes. What is wrong with the valley? What is wrong with being low? It is a relaxation. A peak is an excitement, and nobody can exist continuously in an excitement.” ~Osho

#MindfulMonday

Tag your person!


Tag your person!
#SaturdaySocial

The person you will be in 5 years is decided by the people you spend time with and the books you read today. Surround yourself with people and things who grow you.


The person you will be in 5 years is decided by the people you spend time with and the books you read today. Surround yourself with people and things who grow you. #SaturdaySocial

“In true love, you attain freedom.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh “Immature people falling in love destroy each other’s freedom, create a bondage, make a prison. Mature persons in love help each other to be free; they help each other to destroy all sorts of bondages. And when love flows with freedom there is beauty…A mature person does not fall in love, he or she rises in love…Two mature persons in love help each other to become more free. There is no politics involved, no diplomacy, no effort to dominate. Only freedom and love.” ~Osho



“In true love, you attain freedom.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

#FridayFreedom: “Immature people falling in love destroy each other’s freedom, create a bondage, make a prison. Mature persons in love help each other to be free; they help each other to destroy all sorts of bondages. And when love flows with freedom there is beauty…A mature person does not fall in love, he or she rises in love…Two mature persons in love help each other to become more free. There is no politics involved, no diplomacy, no effort to dominate. Only freedom and love.” ~Osho

Outdoor Mindfulness Exercises for Earth Day

meditate6 - Version 2

All of us are reliant upon the sun for energy, the earth for food, trees for air, and water for drinking. But when we go about our busy lives, it is easy to take the water, air and plants around us for granted. The practice of mindfulness takes us off autopilot, allows us to pause, experience the present moment and give gratitude for all the elements of the natural world that support our daily lives.

 

Stepping out of our classrooms or houses to practice mindfulness allows us to connect, appreciate and develop a relationship with the natural world. My students tell me that after practicing mindfulness outside, they frequently have “mindful moments” where they simply notice and appreciate what is around them. To do this with your students in celebration of Earth Day, here are some exercises that my students have found beneficial.

 

Engaging the 5 Senses

First, take your students outside and ask them to sit down on the ground, on a bench, or whatever works for the space you are in. Invite them to spread out in order to feel like they have their own space, but keep them within earshot.

Part 1

Start by asking your students to close their eyes and take a few deep breaths. Then ask them to put their attention on the sounds around them — seeing if they can focus on the calls and movements of birds or any other natural sounds within earshot. Their attention will naturally dip back into their thoughts — gently remind them to bring their focus back to the sounds every minute or two. When the timing feels right, move on to the next part.

Part 2

Next, ask your students to feel the sun on their skin — their faces, hands, arms or any place exposed to the sun. Ask them to keep their attention on all the parts of their body where they can feel the sun, reminding them that all the life and energy on earth comes from the power of the sun.

Part 3

Ask them to feel the air moving across their skin. After doing this for a minute or two, ask your students to concentrate on a specific part of their body where they can feel the wind — it could be the tip of their nose, their hands or the back of their neck. Ask them to keep their attention in this specific place until you feel ready to move on to the next part.

Part 4

Instruct your students to feel their bodies sitting on the earth. See if they can keep their attention focused on any part of the body that is touching the earth — it could be their feet or the whole lower half of their body (if they are sitting on the ground). Ask the students to really connect with the earth and feel the earth supporting them.

Part 5

Next, ask your students to connect with their breath. See if they can focus on their breath for 1-2 minutes, paying close attention to each inhalation and exhalation. Ask them to keep their focus on each breath while thinking of how the air passing in and out of their lungs comes from the trees.

Part 6

End with a gratitude practice. Ask students to envision their favorite place or thing from the natural world. It could be a park, an animal or a tree — whatever comes to their mind. Once they have something in mind (it will take a moment or two), ask them to send thoughts of gratitude to this place or element of the natural world. Encourage them to fully appreciate this place or creature. Remind them how special it is to have this creature or part of the natural world in their life.

 

After you have done these exercises, ask your students to end by gently opening their eyes. Then have a discussion about what they just experienced together. Discussion topics might include:

  • Which one of the elements did the students connect with the best?
  • What did this feel like?
  • Does anyone feel more like part of the Earth?

Tips for Teaching this Exercise

  1. Use your intuition to figure out how long to spend on each part. The whole exercise can last between 10 and 25 minutes depending on your students. You can also break up the exercise and have a discussion in between the different parts.
  2. You want your tone to be gentle and inviting.
  3. Before teaching this, it is good if you have a time before the school day or before teaching this lesson to go outside and practice the exercise yourself.

Make this mindfulness exercise a special Earth Day treat. And if you have experiences with or ideas about celebrating Earth Day in similar ways, please share them in the comments section below.

 

 

Compassion is a verb… RIP Prince.

Compassion is a verb… RIP Prince.#ThoughtfulThursday

Try a little kindness today -don’t forget to extend it to yourself as well as to others!

Try a little kindness today -don’t forget to extend it to yourself as well as to others! #ThoughtfulThursday

To eat is a necessity but to eat well is one of the highest forms of self-respect that you can do as soon as your next meal! Challenge: Every time you eat is an opportunity to nourish yourself. Respect yourself enough to fill your body with the proper building blocks for a long and enjoyable lifetime. What is one small shift you can make to your nutritional habits that today? Eat your way toward a thriving life one bite at a time…. Recall this mantra for added motivation: “The food I eat nourishes my body and life. I deserve the self-loving act of caring for my health.”

To eat is a necessity, but to eat well is one of the highest forms of self-respect that you can do as soon as your next meal!
#WednesdayWellness Challenge: Every time you eat is an opportunity to nourish yourself. Respect yourself enough to fill your body with the proper building blocks for a long and enjoyable lifetime. What is one small shift you can make to your nutritional habits that today? Eat your way toward a thriving life one bite at a time…. Recall this mantra for added motivation: “The food I eat nourishes my body and life. I deserve the self-loving act of caring for my health.”

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 didnt work out the way you once wanted them to. ____________________________________________ Photo by @hannaster ! _______________________________________________ Click the link in our bio for #ProjectHappiness FREE daily habit tips sent directly to your inbox @projecthappiness24_7


#GratiTuesday: 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.

____________________________________________
✨Photo by @hannaster !
_______________________________________________
? Click the link in our bio for #ProjectHappiness FREE daily habit tips sent directly to your inbox ?? @projecthappiness24_7

” If you wish to know the mind of a person listen to their words. If you want to know their heart watch thier actions.” -Lisa Pyron Practice heartfulness! Live a life that is full of the positive and wise qualities of the heart. Research out of the The Institute of HeartMath shows that the the heart radiates an electromagnetic field that is transmitted throughout and outside of the body. These findings suggest that intentionally generated positive emotions such as gratitude and appreciation can change our inner information and coding as well as affect each others’ moods attitudes and feelings – whether we are conscious of it or not…love is the strongest medicine.


” If you wish to know the mind of a person listen to their words. If you want to know their heart, watch thier actions.” -Lisa Pyron
#GratiTuesday: Practice heartfulness! Live a life that is full of the positive and wise qualities of the heart. Research out of the The Institute of HeartMath shows that the the heart radiates an electromagnetic field that is transmitted throughout and outside of the body. These findings suggest that intentionally generated positive emotions, such as gratitude and appreciation, can change our inner information and coding, as well as affect each others’ moods, attitudes and feelings – whether we are conscious of it or not…love is the strongest medicine.

Balance is created and restored within. Challenge: Recognizing when we are unbalanced moves us toward balance. Today, become mindful of where balance may be absent in your experience. Honest awareness of what makes us imbalanced helps us to learn how to find balance. Find your own center of gravity and experience the happiness of moving through your week in a balanced stance, as if you are a master yogi doing a handstand…


Balance is created and restored within.

#MindfulMonday Challenge: Recognizing when we are unbalanced moves us
toward balance. Today, become mindful of where balance may be absent
in your experience. Honest awareness of what makes us imbalanced helps us to learn how to find balance. Find your own center of gravity and experience the happiness of moving through your week in a balanced stance, as if you are a master yogi doing a handstand…

Feel the original YES that your soul said to being here. Follow that feeling today…


Feel the original YES that your soul said to being here. Follow that feeling today… #SundaySoul

“Why do you look for it over there?” The voice said. “It’s all inside you. Look within. Embrace what you see. And dance with all that is you.” Challenge: Find some quietude today to hear your own voice. What is it saying? In silence your wisdom comes to the surface…


“Why do you look for it over there?” The voice said. “It’s all inside you. Look within. Embrace what you see. And dance with all that is you.” #SundaySoul Challenge: Find some quietude today to hear your own voice. What is it saying? In silence your wisdom comes to the surface…

“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 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…We evolved in nature, and studies show that reconnecting with natural settings – the beach, the woods, sitting under a waterfall- are restorative and promotes positive emotions. There is no app that can substitute for the fact that your brain on nature, is happier.


“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

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…We evolved in nature, and studies show that reconnecting with natural settings – the beach, the woods, sitting under a waterfall- are restorative and promotes positive emotions. There is no app that can substitute for the fact that your brain on nature, is happier. #SaturdaySocial

Being happy doesn’t mean everything is perfect. It means you’ve chosen to look past the imperfections. Have a perfectly imperfect weekend!


Being happy doesn’t mean everything is perfect. It means you’ve chosen to look past the imperfections. Have a perfectly imperfect weekend! #FridayFreedom

Go places that make you realize how tiny you and your problems are. Challenge: Go AWEventuring this weekend ? Awe prompts people to redirect concern away from the self and toward everything else. And about three-quarters of the time, it’s elicited by nature. Research shows that when people encounter a vast and unexpected stimulus, it makes them feel small and forces them to revise their mental models of what’s possible in the world. In the wake of an awe experience people: 1) Act more generously and ethically, 2) Think more critically when encountering persuasive stimuli, like arguments or advertisements, and 3) Often feel a deeper connection to others and the world in general. (Read more on the science of awe: http://ift.tt/11tDqVy)


Go places that make you realize how tiny you and your problems are.

#FridayFreedom Challenge:
Go AWEventuring this weekend ? Awe prompts people to redirect concern away from the self and toward everything else. And about three-quarters of the time, it’s elicited by nature. Research shows that when people encounter a vast and unexpected stimulus, it makes them feel small and forces them to revise their mental models of what’s possible in the world. In the wake of an awe experience people: 1) Act more generously and ethically, 2) Think more critically when encountering persuasive stimuli, like arguments or advertisements, and 3) Often feel a deeper connection to others and the world in general. (Read more on the science of awe: http://ift.tt/11tDqVy)

True kindness is…


True kindness is… #ThoughtfulThursday

“Of ONE essence is the human race.” All the violence and conflict in the world seed from an emphasis on secondary level differences, such as “my nation” and “their nation”, “my religion” and “their religion,” creating a strong concept of “we” and “they”…but these secondary differences neglect the basic oneness of humanity. Imagine if education focused on teaching children that, at our core, we all want the same things, such as to be loved, to belong, to feel peace, to be happy…


“Of ONE essence is the human race.” #ThoughtfulThursday: All the violence and conflict in the world seed from an emphasis on secondary level differences, such as “my nation” and “their nation”, “my religion” and “their religion,” creating a strong concept of “we” and “they”…but these secondary differences neglect the basic oneness of humanity. Imagine if education focused on teaching children that, at our core, we all want the same things, such as to be loved, to belong, to feel peace, to be happy…

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” -Rabindranath Tagore It is said that the greatest joy comes from giving and serving. Focus on supporting others in your life without expecting anything in return, you’ll think less about what you want and find joy in the act of giving and serving. This giving, loving, serving person is the real you.


“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” -Rabindranath Tagore

#ThoughtfulThursday: It is said that the greatest joy comes from giving and serving. Focus on supporting others in your life without expecting anything in return, you’ll think less about what you want and find joy in the act of giving and serving. This giving, loving, serving person is the real you.

Is your common sense your common practice?


Is your common sense your common practice?

#WednesdayWellness

The tallest tree in the forest was once just a little nut that held it’s ground. Motivation: Maybe the redwoods here to teach us to dream big. Today, “Be like a tree in pursuit of your cause: Stand firm, grip hard, thrust upward, bend to the winds of heaven, and learn tranquility.” ~Richard St. Barbe Baker


The tallest tree in the forest was once just a little nut that held it’s ground.

#WednesdayWellness Motivation: Maybe the redwoods here to teach us to dream big. Today, “Be like a tree in pursuit of your cause: Stand firm, grip hard, thrust upward, bend to the winds of heaven, and learn tranquility.” ~Richard St. Barbe Baker

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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Blessed are those who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing. Practice tuning your attention to appreciate the magic in the mundane. There is always a feast of beautiful things to behold right in front of us- we simply have to hone our senses to notice them. Look with new eyes today….



Blessed are those who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing. Practice tuning your attention to appreciate the magic in the mundane. There is always a feast of beautiful things to behold right in front of us- we simply have to hone our senses to notice them. Look with new eyes today…. #GratiTuesday

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“Don’t let a mad world tell you that success is anything other than a successful present moment.” ~ Ekhart Tolle Minimize activities that dull your awareness of the peace in each moment. Have a by asking yourself, what am I doing that tempts my mind to run away from the present? What are you sacrificing your peace for– is it worth it?


“Don’t let a mad world tell you that success is anything other than a successful present moment.” ~ Ekhart Tolle

Minimize activities that dull your awareness of the peace in each moment. Have a #MindfulMonday by asking yourself, what am I doing that tempts my mind to run away from the present? What are you sacrificing your peace for– is it worth it?

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…And even if you’re not here to stay, I’m happy the universe allowed your soul to stop by.

…And even if you’re not here to stay, I’m happy the universe allowed your soul to stop by. #SundaySoul
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“Some cultures that do intimacy better than others. There are places where people are more innately able to be close to each other. This is not because they are more wired for connection than we are, it is because they were raised knowing how to connect.” ~Sarah Norrad Challenge: 1.What inspired you today? 2.What challenged you today? 3. What touched or moved you today? 4. What surprised you today? This set of questions are called “The Four Rivers.” They were developed from idea that every day we all swim in four different rivers of experience and can be infused as a daily practice of connecting with yourself and your relationships. Today, take turns asking a partner each of the questions. Perhaps, Try it for a week and notice how it deepens your intimacy. (Source http://ift.tt/1MmW1ch)


“Some cultures that do intimacy better than others. There are places where people are more innately able to be close to each other. This is not because they are more wired for connection than we are, it is because they were raised knowing how to connect.” ~Sarah Norrad

#SaturdaySocial Challenge:
1.What inspired you today?
2.What challenged you today?
3. What touched or moved you today?
4. What surprised you today?

This set of questions are called “The Four Rivers.” They were developed from idea that every day we all swim in four different rivers of experience and can be infused as a daily practice of connecting with yourself and your relationships. Today, take turns asking a partner each of the questions. Perhaps, Try it for a week and notice how it deepens your intimacy. (Source http://ift.tt/1MmW1ch)

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Your energy is contagious, make sure that’s a good thing. Today, be the energy you wish to attract; set an example of the standard you expect in others. Be bold enough to raise that standard. Those who want to live on that same level will meet you there.Trust, deeply, that the people who belong in your life will come find you, and stay. Your vibe attracts your tribe…


Your energy is contagious, make sure that’s a good thing. Today, be the energy you wish to attract; set an example of the standard you expect in others. Be bold enough to raise that standard. Those who want to live on that same level will meet you there.Trust, deeply, that the people who belong in your life will come find you, and stay. Your vibe attracts your tribe…#SaturdaySocial
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Thought for the weekend: Be open to whatever comes next… Breathe, trust, and hold the space open for the U N I M A G I N A B L E to flow into your experience. Stop trying to plan your life and let life live through you.


Thought for the weekend: Be open to whatever comes next…
Breathe, trust, and hold the space open for the
U N I M A G I N A B L E to flow into your experience. Stop trying to plan your life and let life live through you. #FridayFreedom
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New Rule: I will not “should” on myself today. Challenge: “Shoulds” are products of our conditioned mind that often operate on a unconscious or semi-conscious level. When the collective “shoulds,” “musts,” and “gottas” become internal governing rules, they control you. Imagine what it would feel like to drop your “shoulds” in an upsetting situation or relationship…freeing, right? Follow that feeling as you ban “shoulds” from your inner dialogue, and therefore outer experience, today.


New Rule: I will not “should” on myself today.
#FridayFreedom Challenge: “Shoulds” are products of our conditioned mind that often operate on a unconscious or semi-conscious level. When the collective “shoulds,” “musts,” and “gottas” become internal governing rules, they control you. Imagine what it would feel like to drop your “shoulds” in an upsetting situation or relationship…freeing, right? Follow that feeling as you ban “shoulds” from your inner dialogue, and therefore outer experience, today.
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…Let your light shine so bright that others may see their way out of the dark.


…Let your light shine so bright that others may see their way out of the dark. #ThoughtfulThursday
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Food for thought this .. Do you agree?


Food for thought this #ThoughtfulThursday… Do you agree?
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Motivation: Honor the space between no longer and not yet… “The useless days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks. The hours reading poetry and story collections and novels and dead people’s diaries and wondering about sex and God and whether you should shave under your arms or not. THESE THINGS ARE YOUR BECOMING.” ~Cheryl Strayed


#WednesdayWellness Motivation: Honor the space between no longer and not yet… “The useless days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks. The hours reading poetry and story collections and novels and dead people’s diaries and wondering about sex and God and whether you should shave under your arms or not. THESE THINGS ARE YOUR BECOMING.” ~Cheryl Strayed
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5 Simple Lessons About Happiness I Learned From My Children

Children are wiser than most of us acknowledge and have a great deal to teach us. They interact with the world in an unassuming way, not yet programmed by the routine thinking of the adult world.

 

My training as a psychologist taught me to observe and look for trends in human behavior. I’m a mother of two boisterous boys and when I stepped back recently to observe their behavior I noticed some powerful yet simple patterns.

 

We all have the ability to learn from children and those around us. Here are 5 of the lessons my children have taught me about how to be happier: 

 

1. A lack of sleep makes us grumpy

We are quick to put a child’s whiny mood down to being tired, yet as adults we frequently underestimate how important adequate sleep is. As we grow-up we get better at hiding the pure frustration and moodiness that comes with being exhausted. Tragically, many of us begin to think it’s normal to feel this way and constantly live in a state of sleep deprivation. But just as it is for children, adults tend to get grumpy when they’re tired. Being grouchy impacts on the quality of our interactions with the world around us, and ultimately undermines our happiness. Sleep is an essential prerequisite for a positive mood for both children and adults.

 

2. You can run-out excess mental energy

Just like the kid’s song states, watching my children has taught me that we really can “shake our sillies out”. When my boys are getting titchy, there is nothing like some physical outside playtime to turn their moods around. It’s appears to feed their brains fresh air and push out all the mental cobwebs. An excess of mental energy in adults often feels liked a stressed, anxious or overactive mind and my boys have taught me that exercise can act as a physical release for that mental tension.

 

3. Joy is found in the moment

Our lives are happening in the now, right in front of us. Children naturally commit themselves fully to what they are doing and immerse themselves in the present moment. When they are actively involved with a task they are not lost in their heads contemplating tomorrow, but focus intensely on the activity at hand. Adults too often run through life completing tasks on auto-pilot while absorbed in their minds or while on their phones. Children know that true joy is found in interacting fully with the present moment.

 

4. Remember the good things and don’t dwell on the bad

My children naturally have a willingness to let go of the drama and concentrate on the happy times in life. Each night when I lay down to tuck my 4 year old into bed, even if parts of the day have been tough, he always remembers the positive moments. As adults we too can encourage positive feelings by making a conscious decision to concentrate and recall the good-stuff that is happening in our lives.

 

5. Friendships are essential for our well-being

My boys are never happier than when they are playing with their friends. We are naturally social beings. Even if some of us have a lower need for contact with others, we all still need genuine human connection. As we move further into adulthood, finding time to spend with our friends and maintaining our friendships can feel like a luxury that time doesn’t afford. Yet it shouldn’t. My children have taught me that friendships are an essential key to our lasting happiness. We were born to crave connection and if happiness is important to us then our friendships deserve to be at the top of our to-do lists.

 

 

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A year from now you’ll be so happy you started today. Challenge: What is one small thing you can start today that your future self will thank you for? As Dr. Renee Stephens puts it, “There is momentum from small steps that makes the next ones that much easier.” Go for it today…


A year from now you’ll be so happy you started today.
#WednesdayWellness Challenge: What is one small thing you can start today that your future self will thank you for? As Dr. Renee Stephens puts it, “There is momentum from small steps that makes the next ones that much easier.” Go for it today…
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Anyone who has a regular gratitude will tell you that giving thanks attracts more reasons to be thankful. And, the science agrees: Thankfulness awakens our brain’s pleasure centers, and our bodies produce bio-chemicals that activate a strong and powerful sense of our potential, well-being and connection. Our bodies respond with vitality and a stronger immune system. We may be inspired to serve others, to contribute to the greater good. So, why not give thanks this


Anyone who has a regular gratitude will tell you that giving thanks attracts more reasons to be thankful. And, the science agrees: Thankfulness awakens our brain’s pleasure centers, and our bodies produce bio-chemicals that activate a strong and powerful sense of our potential, well-being and connection. Our bodies respond with vitality and a stronger immune system. We may be inspired to serve others, to contribute to the greater good.
So, why not give thanks this #GratiTuesday?
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Make time for the “I love yous” and the “I appreciate yous” today and tomorrow, and everyday after that.


Make time for the “I love yous” and the “I appreciate yous” today and tomorrow, and everyday after that. #GratiTuesday
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Challenge: Notice where you are dwelling. Are you standing fully upright in your present moment, falling back to the past or leaning forward to the future? As Lao Tzu put it, “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”


#MindfulMonday Challenge: Notice where you are dwelling. Are you standing fully upright in your present moment, falling back to the past or leaning forward to the future? As Lao Tzu put it, “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”

in #MindfulMonday / #ProjectHappiness  by 04 Apr 2016

Juggling a dozen priorities at any moment, attention skittering, body revved up, feeling stretched thin…KNOW THE FEELING? Chances are a myth of BUSYNESS is at play: “If you’re not busy, you must not be important. If you don’t have a lot on your mind, you must be under-performing. If your kids aren’t busy with homework and after school activities, they won’t get ahead. If you don’t look busy, someone will ask you to work harder.” Challenge: Instead of letting a myth of busyness drive your day, Dr.Rick Hanson suggests to collect and concentrate your mind and energy. “While staying engaged with life, 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.”



Juggling a dozen priorities at any moment, attention skittering, body revved up, feeling stretched thin…KNOW THE FEELING? Chances are a myth of BUSYNESS is at play: “If you’re not busy, you must not be important. If you don’t have a lot on your mind, you must be under-performing. If your kids aren’t busy with homework and after school activities, they won’t get ahead. If you don’t look busy, someone will ask you to work harder.” #MindfulMonday Challenge: Instead of letting a myth of busyness drive your day, Dr.Rick Hanson suggests to collect and concentrate your mind and energy. “While staying engaged with life, 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.”

in #MindfulMonday / #ProjectHappiness  by 04 Apr 2016

“What you seek is seeking you.” ~Rumi Where attention goes energy flows. What is your soul seeking today? Let your focus will make it so…

“What you seek is seeking you.” ~Rumi
Where attention goes energy flows. What is your soul seeking today? Let your focus will make it so… #SundaySoul
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“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” ~Henry David Today’s investment strategy: Start with love. Where we invest our heart we invest our life…

“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” ~Henry DavidToday’s investment strategy: Start with love. Where we invest our heart we invest our life… #SundaySoul
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“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” -Leonard Cohen Challenge: Many of us live hardened in order to protect a breakable heart. But what many don’t realize is that a break is where life flows in. This weekend, connect more vulnerably, opening yourself to the fullness of life. Permit yourself to be breakable; our cracks connect us, acting as life lines to each other and to our aliveness. Always try again, love again, live again. Don’t let a hard lesson harden your heart.

“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” -Leonard Cohen
#SaturdaySocial Challenge: Many of us live hardened in order to protect a breakable heart. But what many don’t realize is that a break is where life flows in. This weekend, connect more vulnerably, opening yourself to the fullness of life. Permit yourself to be breakable; our cracks connect us, acting as life lines to each other and to our aliveness. Always try again, love again, live again. Don’t let a hard lesson harden your heart.
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Do you feel your circle?

Do you feel your circle?
#SaturdaySocial
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Free yourself from following other people’s prescribed 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 two fee. There is no where else you “Should” be, step fully into that space you are standing at this moment. It is your own, and where true freedom lies.

Free yourself from following other people’s prescribed 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 two fee. There is no where else you “Should” be, step fully into that space you are standing at this moment. It is your own, and where true freedom lies. #FridayFreedom
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Challenge: “Go and love someone exactly as they are. And then watch how quickly they transform into the greatest, truest version of themselves. When one feels seen and appreciated in their own essence, one is instantly empowered.” -Wes Angelozzi ______________________________________________ ? by @facebrook _______________________________________________ ? Click the link in our bio for #ProjectHappiness FREE daily habit tips sent directly to your inbox ?? @projecthappiness24_7


#ThoughtfulThursday Challenge: “Go and love someone exactly as they are. And then watch how quickly they transform into the greatest, truest version of themselves. When one feels seen and appreciated in their own essence, one is instantly empowered.” -Wes Angelozzi

______________________________________________
? by @facebrook
_______________________________________________
? Click the link in our bio for #ProjectHappiness FREE daily habit tips sent directly to your inbox ?? @projecthappiness24_7

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Happiness held is a seed. Happiness shared is a flower…

Happiness held is a seed. Happiness shared is a flower… #ThoughtfulThursday
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Challenge: Thoughts become things. The thoughts we nourish with repetition become the furnishings on our path.Today, bring intention to your thoughts; make sure you are prepaving a healthy path and not just following a well trodden rut. Remember: Failure is success if we learn from it. Use your mistakes like stepping stones!

#WednesdayWellness Challenge: Thoughts become things. The thoughts we nourish with repetition become the furnishings on our path.Today, bring intention to your thoughts; make sure you are prepaving a healthy path and not just following a well trodden rut.

Remember: Failure is success if we learn from it. Use your mistakes like stepping stones!

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“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” ~W.B. Yeats Tune your attention to notice the magic in the mundane today. One day you will look back and realize the small things were the big things.

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” ~W.B. Yeats

Tune your attention to notice the magic in the mundane today. One day you will look back and realize the small things were the big things. #GratiTuesday

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The act of resisting something is the act of granting it life. Challenge: If you are irritated by something today, “agree to the feeling.” The moment we disagree, resistance is created. And with resistance comes the experience of suffering. Instead, be with the emotion, trusting that it is there to “polish you” for your greater good.


The act of resisting something is the act of granting it life.

#MindfulMonday Challenge: If you are irritated by something today, “agree to the feeling.” The moment we disagree, resistance is created. And with resistance comes the experience of suffering. Instead, be with the emotion, trusting that it is there to “polish you” for your greater good.

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“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. When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? 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 Visionar

#SundaySoul: “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.When did you stop dancing?When did you stop singing?

When did you stop being enchanted by stories?

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 Visionar

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There are 1,000 simple ways to fill your tired soul. Do at least one of them today…

There are 1,000 simple ways to fill your tired soul. Do at least one of them today… #SundaySoul
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LIVE THE MOMENT, LEAVE THE PHONE! Make some memories today that only you and other’s who were present know about. Challenge: 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. 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, put down 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.

LIVE THE MOMENT, LEAVE THE PHONE! Make some memories today that only you and other’s who were present know about.#SaturdaySocial Challenge: 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. 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, put down 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.
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Sometimes people around you won’t understand your journey. That’s ok it’s not for them. Challenge: 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.

Sometimes people around you won’t understand your journey. That’s ok it’s not for them.
#FridayFreedom Challenge: 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.
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Life is a balance between knowing when to hold on and when to let go. When you know it’s time to let go, honor that person or thing with an internal affirmation, such as, “Thank you for your part in my journey.” A nod of acknowledgment allows you to graciously release any lingering hold the relationship has on your heart, making space for whatever comes next.

Life is a balance between knowing when to hold on and when to let go. When you know it’s time to let go, honor that person or thing with an internal affirmation, such as, “Thank you for your part in my journey.” A nod of acknowledgment allows you to graciously release any lingering hold the relationship has on your heart, making space for whatever comes next. #FridayFreedom
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Shine bright and remember: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Shine bright and remember: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt#ThoughtfulThursday
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“We can let the circumstances of our lives harden us so that we become increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us, and make us kinder. You always have the choice.” -Dalai Lama Have a choose kindness today.

“We can let the circumstances of our lives harden us so that we become increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us, and make us kinder. You always have the choice.” -Dalai LamaHave a #ThoughtfulThursday, choose kindness today.
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Dear Body… (Complete this letter with affirmations of loving-kindness for your body, it’s the first step to mind-body healing!) Love, Your Friend

Dear Body… (Complete this letter with affirmations of loving-kindness for your body, it’s the first step to mind-body healing!) Love,
Your Friend#WednesdayWellness
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How to Expand Your International Day of Happiness All Year Long

IMG_0518 (2)This year, you have a choice. Though International Day of Happiness is a great excuse to celebrate happiness one day a year, why not use the day to kick-start your happiest year ever?

Sounds good so far, but the question is how? Well, the truth is that happiness looks different for everyone, both locally and globally. The Project Happiness team was recently invited by ReThink, Trinidad, to visit Guyana to hold a training on happiness and emotional resiliency. With Her Excellence, Sandra Grainger (the first lady of Guyana)’s support and attendance, the training was held in the Ministry of Education with 70+ teachers, public health personnel, social workers, and national administration. Having recently been identified as the country with the highest suicide rate per capita in the world, the Guyanese we met welcomed tools to create a positive impact and seed hope in their community. At the end of our time together, the participants reported feeling uplifted, energized and excited to implement what they had discovered.

Here are some inspirations from that trip to help you get your happiness in gear:

1. Start with Respect:

Emotions are like a boomerang; what you send out comes back to you. If you treat others with respect, chances are they will respond in kind. When we first got to the country, it was unclear if we were going to be regarded as just another organization trying to impose our “solutions.” When they understood that we were there to share ideas and actually learn from one another, it changed the tone to one of sincere communication. Self-respect was another aspect. In these all-too-busy times, we shared that it’s important to respect yourself too! This includes your time, your energy, and even your inner voice. It all matters.

2. Walk in Someone Else’s Shoes:

In order to have a real conversation with anyone, it helps to know what they are dealing with now and what challenges they have faced. In Georgetown, Guyana’s capital, there had just been a riot in the local prison, and it was burnt to the ground. Many people were enraged. Yet, the First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Grainger, who attended part of the training, spoke of empathy. “These men were someone’s son, or brother or friend. You never know what had happened to put them in that place, or what hardships they had to deal with.” Everyone was touched. The takeaway: even though we may come from different experiences, it is important to consider what lies beneath the surface. Empathy can go a long way.

3. Adults Like to Play Too:

Who said fun was limited to children? Research has shown that play is one of the best ways to recharge, restore and jumpstart creativity. Especially when times are tough, find ways to lift one another up and laugh. Music and dance are universal elixirs. When we asked the group to get up and break out into a happy dance, the enthusiasm was palpable. One of the fastest ways to shift out of a bad mood is to shake it! Music crosses all boundaries – let it be your fuel.

4. The Power of a Circle:

A highly effective strategy to bounce back from stress is to show and receive gratitude or appreciation. In Guyana, we had participants form appreciation circles of about 10 people each. They had to tell the person on their right, one thing that they appreciated about them: something that involved their character rather than their clothes. It was one of the most popular activities, so much so that we did another one at the end. People were laughing, crying, hugging… and opening up to their strengths. If you are interested in knowing more about the power of circles or starting one yourself, learn more here.

5. To Feel Good, Do Good:

There have been many studies that show that people who give to others end up being happier. Not only do we feel a greater sense of meaning, but this actually promotes long term happiness. Connecting to others is also something we are wired to do – we all seek to be part of something greater. When we offered the participants the chance to become a Happiness Ambassador, to help bridge the latest in the science of happiness for people in all walks of life, you could have heard a pin drop. The idea of working with them, to tailor our programs to be sensitive to the specific needs within the community, was much appreciated – it’s back to that respect thing… If this strikes an “AHA” chord in you, you can also learn more about bringing this movement for global well-being to your corner of the globe.

At the end of the day, well-being is not rocket science. It’s the simple day-to-day habits that we intentionally do that shape our brains to receive greater happiness. International Day of Happiness is just a reminder of all the resources you already have inside of you. Choose to use them, and better yet, share your gifts with others all year round.

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Motto: “As I love, I attract.” Gratitude is a energetic magnet for abundance. A grateful heart attracts more of what you focus your energy on. Who could you thank today? What are you grateful for, right now?

#GratiTuesday Motto: “As I love, I attract.” Gratitude is a energetic magnet for abundance. A grateful heart attracts more of what you focus your energy on. Who could you thank today? What are you grateful for, right now?
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“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.”

“Dear Past, thank you for all the lessons. Dear Future, I am ready.” #GratiTuesday: 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.”
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Happiness is directly proportional…

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.
#MindfulMonday: Make a commitment to yourself to choose happy, empowering thoughts today. Consciously track these happiness choice points throughout the day. At each thought juncture remember, “When you make a choice you change the future. ” ~Deepak Chopra
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Your mind is your instrument.


“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.

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Happy #InternationalDayOfHappiness! Whatever makes your soul happy, do that today.

Happy #InternationalDayOfHappiness! Whatever makes your soul happy, do that today.
#SundaySoul
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Be a selective sifter of who you share your life with. Energies are contagious so surround yourself with people that reflect who you want to be and how you want to feel. Challenge: Today, 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.

Be a selective sifter of who you share your life with. Energies are contagious so surround yourself with people that reflect who you want to be and how you want to feel.
#SaturdaySocial Challenge: Today, 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.
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New Rule: Stop looking for someone to complete you. The purpose of a relationship is not to have another who might complete you; but to have another with whom you might share your completeness. Two halves do not make a whole when it comes to a healthy relationship: it takes two wholes, moving forward side-by-side.

New Rule: Stop looking for someone to complete you. The purpose of a relationship is not to have another who might complete you; but to have another with whom you might share your completeness. Two halves do not make a whole when it comes to a healthy relationship: it takes two wholes, moving forward side-by-side. #SaturdaySocial
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Don’t ever stray away from yourself to get closer to someone else. Authenticity is magnetic- be yourself and you’ll naturally pull your type of people to you. Remember, “Your vibe attracts your tribe.”

Don’t ever stray away from yourself to get closer to someone else. Authenticity is magnetic- be yourself and you’ll naturally pull your type of people to you. Remember, “Your vibe attracts your tribe.” #FridayFreedom
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5 Reasons Why it’s Important to Commemorate Special Occasions

 

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“Twinkle lights are the perfect metaphor for joy. Joy is not a constant. It comes to us in moments – often ordinary moments. I believe a joyful life is made up of joyful moments gracefully strung together by trust, gratitude, inspiration, and faith.” – Brene Brown

Since the dawn of civilization, man has given high priority towards the commemoration of special occasions. We can see this in the pagan rituals conducted by our tribal ancestors during initiations, the ancient Egyptians’ celebrations during the annual harvests, the elaborate coronation ceremonies during the Middle Ages, and the gruesome acts of human sacrificial offerings that were made by the Mayans.

 

The list of the number of rites, rituals and celebrations that the people on our planet partake in is almost endless and incredibly diverse. Commemoration rituals can be as simple as treating ourselves to a spa day after accomplishing something challenging at work to a full blown 3 day wedding extravaganza to share the happiness of our blessed union with our loved ones.

 

All around the world, special events and celebrations like weddings are even led up to with great gusto. The market for invitations, save the dates, and other types of celebration reminders are prolific and extremely popular. In fact there is a ubiquitous industry for the celebration of practically all mainstream holidays such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day and New Years Eve.

 

Every culture, nation and tradition has developed its own unique ways of honoring special occasions. Their customs and traditions are a direct product of their cultural background, history, religious beliefs and even the geography of the region they live in. We see this in religious and cultural festivals around the world like the Carnival in Brazil, Chinese New Year, Oktoberfest in Germany and Diwali in India.

 

As eclectic as these practices are, if we take a closer look, we’ll see that there is a common thread of themes that connects each and every one of them. We will see that all of these occasions center on universal human experiences such as love, sadness, joy, reverence, success and sacrifice.

 

No matter which country you visit, you will notice that we all rejoice in the same things, such as a happy relationships, the birth of a child, professional or personal victories and other milestones. Similarly, we all mourn the same things, such as losing a loved one or facing a major setback or disaster.

 

It seems that as a species we are instinctually driven to honour the significant moments in our lives. There are deep underlying needs that drive us to engage in celebrations. As a result, we have found so many wonderful ways to meet these needs and create more meaning in our lives.

 

There are, however, skeptics out there who perceive these celebrations as being fluffy, ostentatious and prodigal. These practical traditionalists view these occasions with an eye of cynicism, preferring to maintain a stance of reticence and living their life in a moderate and simplistic manner.

 

Of course everyone is free to live their life in a manner of their choosing, but they would be missing out on a lot of life’s “goodies” by excluding themselves from participating in gatherings that pay homage to the important milestones in life. Here are some significant benefits that they would miss out on:

 

  1. Cultivating a sense of community:

    One of the most opportune times to bond with our families and friends is during special occasions. Whether we come together to celebrate happy occasions such as a bridal shower or a more sombre occasions such as a funeral, we get a chance to connect with those we love and care about on a deeper and more profound level.

  2. Instilling a sense of meaning and significance to our lives:

    The unique rituals and practices that highlight important milestones such as weddings, graduations or birthdays all serve an important purpose. Participating in the customary rites (cutting cakes and drinking champagne) connects us to the significance of the role that an occasion plays within the grand scheme of our lives. It instills a sense of reverence and appreciation for the gift of life and connects us to a more omnipotent force.

  3. We will create lasting fond memories:

    The human mind tends to recall memories that carry a high emotional charge to them. When we commemorate a special occasion, we are essentially placing a mental bookmark on an experience, thereby making it easier to remember it in the future. The photos, videos and other forms of memorabilia from those occasions serve as triggers that we can use to re-live those pleasant experiences in the future.

  4. It adds fun and excitement to our lives:

    Celebrations can be incredibly fun and provides us with the perfect opportunity to engage in the joys of life such dance, song, food, play and laughter. Who doesn’t look forward to the fun-filled occasions where we can let our hair down and take a break from our mundane existence? The little kid within us still relishes in the excitement of an upcoming celebration and this is an emotion that we deserve to indulge in as adults as well.

  5. We take our place in the circle of life:

    When we commemorate special occasions, we are essentially connecting with our humanity and the commonality that we share with all those who have been long gone before us. We tap into the timelessness of the human spirit when we take the time to pay respect to the important rites of passages that were celebrated by our ancestors in the yesteryears.

 

 

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Motto: Let go or be dragged! Life is a balance of holding on and letting go. You’ll know what to do by the way it feels- does holding on feel expansive, enlivening, uplifting? If not, let it go. Feel your way toward freedom today…

#FridayFreedom Motto: Let go or be dragged!
Life is a balance of holding on and letting go. You’ll know what to do by the way it feels- does holding on feel expansive, enlivening, uplifting? If not, let it go. Feel your way toward freedom today…
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Who deserves this place in your heart?

Who deserves this place in your heart?#ThoughtfulThursday
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The heart that gives, gathers… Thanks for this inspiration @happihabits!

The heart that gives, gathers… Thanks for this #ThoughtfulThursday inspiration @happihabits!
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“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 motto: “I love myself” …these are three of the most simple, yet powerful words. Do you dare practice radical self love today?

“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#WednesdayWellness motto: “I love myself” …these are three of the most simple, yet powerful words. Do you dare practice radical self love today?
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Mantra: Thank you, thank you, thank you, please, let this continue. Gratitude attracts more reasons to be grateful…

#GratiTuesday Mantra:
Thank you,
thank you,
thank you,
please,
let this continue.
Gratitude attracts more reasons to be grateful…

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Gratitude is the quickest way to connect with your heart space. Begin each day with a grateful heart, let it all start there…


Gratitude is the quickest way to connect with your heart space. Begin each day with a grateful heart, let it all start there… #GratiTuesday
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Motto: “Nothing can make me feel bad without my consent.” We are the doorkeeper of our minds. Negative thoughts, beliefs and energies will muddy our homes. Practice being a selective sifter of your thoughts today, allowing only the best feeling thoughts to enter the door. Hint: It is possible to acknowledge negative thoughts as a distanced observer without inviting them through the doorway. As Aristotle put it, “It’s the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

#MindfulMonday Motto: “Nothing can make me feel bad without my consent.” We are the doorkeeper of our minds. Negative thoughts, beliefs and energies will muddy our homes. Practice being a selective sifter of your thoughts today, allowing only the best feeling thoughts to enter the door. Hint: It is possible to acknowledge negative thoughts as a distanced observer without inviting them through the doorway. As Aristotle put it, “It’s the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
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“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…

“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.” #SundaySoul: 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…
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“Smile, breathe and go slowly.”~Thich Nhat Hanh Challenge: In today’s world, we’re good at going fast and need to practice going slow. This is why soulful practices, like yoga, mindfulness, and meditation feel so good (when we actually make time for them) – they help us practice “slow” and connect us to our soul path. Practice going slowly today. For the next 24 hours, resist the urge to jam as much as you possibly can into your day. Instead give yourself permission to go slow and let your soul catch up with your body…

“Smile, breathe and go slowly.”~Thich Nhat Hanh
#SundaySoul Challenge: In today’s world, we’re good at going fast and need to practice going slow. This is why soulful practices, like yoga, mindfulness, and meditation feel so good (when we actually make time for them) – they help us practice “slow” and connect us to our soul path. Practice going slowly today. For the next 24 hours, resist the urge to jam as much as you possibly can into your day. Instead give yourself permission to go slow and let your soul catch up with your body…
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The power of the elemental forces of nature flow through each of us. Feel the power that creates worlds flowing through you today- flow as life flows, trusting it to carry you home, just as the river flows to the sea.

The power of the elemental forces of nature flow through each of us. Feel the power that creates worlds flowing through you today- flow as life flows, trusting it to carry you home, just as the river flows to the sea. #SaturdaySocial
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Let it fall. Let all the social masks and limiting ‘ stories of self’ you’ve accumulated fall away. And as they wash away, feel the freeing of your true self emerge from beneath it all…this is you. You know you by way the way it feels like a homecoming. Realize deeply that this you has always been there and always will be. And, like a daily hygiene routine, it’s up to you to shower off everything that isn’t you, to let your authentic self shine through, raw and beautifully you. Everyday.

Let it fall. Let all the social masks and limiting ‘ stories of self’ you’ve accumulated fall away. And as they wash away, feel the freeing of your true self emerge from beneath it all…this is you. You know you by way the way it feels like a homecoming. Realize deeply that this you has always been there and always will be. And, like a daily hygiene routine, it’s up to you to shower off everything that isn’t you, to let your authentic self shine through, raw and beautifully you. Everyday. #FridayFreedom
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10 Things I Wish Someone Told Me as a Teenage Boy

One punch came at me, I ducked. Another punch came at me, I could not quite duck. The punch landed square on the side of my helmet. I turned starry eyed and fell back into the lockers. My teammates were standing around, cheering loudly — pushing me back into a boxing match with my senior teammate. The punches kept pummeling me. I tried as best I could to hit him, but I was a scrappy 140-pound freshman. There was nothing I could do but endure the punishment from my senior teammate — he was a good 8 inches taller and 60 pounds heavier then me.

 

I suffered through it, and then waited for the next week when I would be forced to box another one of the seniors on the team. This was how you “manned up” — all the freshman on Varsity lacrosse had to box all of the seniors on the team. It was our right of passage. It was brutal, scary, and certainly did not make me a better lacrosse player. In fact, it just made me scared shitless on my walk back from field to the locker room — “Would I have to box Josh or Andre today” — I never knew until we came back in the locker room and the seniors announced it was “boxing time.”

 

Is this Normal?

As a young man, I thought this was normal: men were just brutal to each other and going through punishing physical rites of passage was the way to man up and prove oneself. Many young men at my school created their own rites of passage — from racing cars to violent physical battles. I was lucky to make it through my adolescence without a serious injury but others as my school were not so lucky. Some died in gang violence; others died drunk driving.

 

Across our country, young men from all backgrounds are initiating themselves and the results are terrifying: There are over 1,000,000 adolescents in gangs around the country; over 90 percent of them are young men. Numerous young men  at fraternity hazing over the years. What young men need is for older men to put them through a curated, trying, but ultimately caring and safe rites of passage. They need older male mentors who have “been through the fire” to help guide them on their journey to manhood and teach them that being tough and loving are not mutually exclusive as our dominant cultural message of masculinity suggests.

 

To help young men on their journey through adolescence, I now work as a mentor, educator, and wilderness + mindfulness trip leader. Years of observing and engaging with adolescent men in their schools, their communities, and the backcountry have allowed me to see what was missing for me at that age. These accrued observations guide my work to ensure young men are equipped with the tools they need to step into manhood with compassion, self-awareness, and true power.

 

Below are ten things I wish one of the seniors on my team had told me when I was a freshman. They are lessons I now pass along to the young men I mentor and lead on wilderness trips:

 

1: How My Brain Worked

For young men in particular, it is important to teach them about hyperrationality — the balancing in your brain between perceived risk and consequences. According to neuroscientists, the adolescent male brain is the most susceptible to dangerous risk-taking. I used to take physical risks frequently — jumping off bridges, driving cars too fast, diving off moving boats. It wasn’t that I was unaware of the consequences (like crashing the car, hitting the river bottom, or getting in a boating accident), I just didn’t think any of it would happen to me. But bad outcomes do happen, especially to young men: They represent nearly 4 out of 6 teenagers that die every day in car crashes in this country. Because most young men are never taught how their brain development affects decision-making, they are more likely to make rash decisions. I teach my young men how their brains work. That way they can make smart, informed decisions — especially when those decisions could yield irreversible consequences.

 

2: Be Myself, Don’t Perform Myself

Young men want to be liked, accepted, and seen. To have all three, they feel they have to perform the person they think others want them to be. Young men are terrified they’ll be rejected if they reveal their authentic selves. I performed a lot in high school, but deep down, I yearned to be able to express myself fully — my love for dance and appreciation of the natural world. But I didn’t. I too was scared I would be judged as “uncool,” or not exciting enough to hang out with. Many of the young guys I work with feel the need to perform as well: they have to pretend to not care at school (even though they do) or disregard their emotional worlds (even though they yearn to express themselves). Interestingly, most of these young men have an awareness of the difference between performing versus being themselves, but they don’t stop performing for fear of losing friendship or face. I tell my young guys that if someone only likes them when they’re performing, that person isn’t a true friend. Your true friends are the ones you can be real with. And you won’t find out who that is until you stop performing.

 

3: How to Manage My Anger

As a young man, I often burst into violent fits of anger. Sports provided me with a culturally appropriate outlet for my anger: playing defense in a game of lacrosse allowed me to whack my opponents with a 6-foot titanium stick, for example. This is one of the most common things I find working with young guys: They have a lot of anger and don’t know how to deal with it. Young men express anger in different ways, but few young men have healthy ways of confronting this anger, which can lead to violence, even death. In 2013, males ages 15 to 19 were three times more likely to die by suicide, 7 times more likely to be victims of homicide, and 8 times more likely to be involved in a firearm-related death than were females of the same age.

 

But once I quit sports I had no outlet. The big shift came when I was 19; I learned to meditate. During my first ten-day meditation sit, I truly faced my anger for the first time. Introducing young men to mindfulness practices is a powerful and effective tool I use to help them address their anger in a healthy, direct way — not to squelch their anger, but to acknowledge it, sit with it, and most importantly make sure that you do not react from a place of anger to make a stupid decision that will harm yourself or someone else.

 

4: Accept My Range of Emotions

1When I was a young man, I tried to suppress everything. In the midst of playing sports and training my feelings into submission, I remember telling myself, you don’t have emotions. I thought that having emotions would get in the way of succeeding in sports, academics, and later, in my professional life. The older men around me didn’t seem to express emotions other than my anger or boredom, and it was rare that I allowed myself to fully experience emotions other than those I saw modeled. If I did, I would judge myself for it. I wish someone had taught me, just as I do to my young men, that it’s natural and beautiful to feel the full range of emotions; this what it means to be fully human. And there’s nothing “unmasculine” about it. In fact, the opposite is true. Really knowing what’s going on internally enables you to be a more powerful, self-aware man.

 

5: Stay Present

With all the pressure that I felt to go to a good college, I agonized all the time over the future. When I wasn’t living in the future, I would ruminate on the things that I had done wrong in the past. The dumb thing I’d said to a girl, the pass I dropped, or the easy test question I’d missed. I remember staying up late one night in my bed concluding that life was about collecting experiences, like trophies, rather than enjoying what is. The notion of living in the present wasn’t even a remote possibility because I was scared of what would bubble up from my interior. I have seen over and over in mindfulness retreats that young men are scared to sit still because they do not have the tools to deal with the feelings that naturally arise. They would rather play with their phones, move around, or do almost anything other than sit with uncomfortable inner states. In an extreme example, a recent study showed that men choose to give themselves electrical shocks rather than sit with their thoughts and emotions . Luckily, mindfulness meditation again offered help; the practice allowed me to understand dwelling in the present moment as a real possibility. This is why I incorporate mindfulness into the work I do with young men in the classroom, mentoring, and in the backcountry.

 

6: Live in Gratitude

There were so many things in life that I took for granted as a young man. My family did their best — we would take a minute of silence before dinners. But I did not have a relationship with the feeling of gratitude. Because I was so focused on getting somewhere or thinking of what I didn’t yet have, I never fully appreciated what I did have. As a young man, I was never taught how to practice gratitude — meaning how to actively develop and grow a sense of gratitude. Research shows gratitude is a practice that you can actually grow and cultivate. When one of my mentees came back from being in the wilderness for a long time he felt a sense of gratitude that he never had before. He appreciated his home, the clean water, his parents, and the food at the table. When he got home, we established a practice for him to access gratitude to ensure he didn’t slip back into taking all of the things in his life for granted, as it is so easy to do. One of the main reasons I take young men into the woods is to develop and cultivate a deep sense of gratitude for the natural world — and for everything in their lives back home.

 

7: Develop Real Relationships With Women

At my high school, it was all about the hook up. For me and my friends, the measures of success were how many girls you could hook up with and how “hot” they were. (It was not even a possibility for an athletic guy to come out as gay at my school — he would be hazed and isolated.) This hook up culture prevented me from having emotionally intimate relationships with young women. Without men who modeled this kind of emotional intimacy, it took me years before I learned how on my own. I talk a lot with my young guys who are exploring sexually with woman about noticing what different interactions with women feel like. Does it feel good to have an emotion-less hook up? What about emotional intimacy feels intimidating? What does a healthy relationship with a woman look like? By developing this awareness, they can start to learn how to develop healthy, loving relationships.

 

8: Build Intimate Emotional Relationships with Men

I had a lot of good buddies in high school, but it was not until late college that I started to develop truly intimate emotional relationships with men. This was in large part because of the stigma against emotionally intimate male relationships. Express vulnerability to another guy and you’re “gay” — meaning weak — the cardinal sin of masculinity in our culture. In a radical perversion of our culture, being emotionally open and real has been attached to gender identity. There is so much fear amongst young men of being called gay that they protect themselves by never showing vulnerability around other men. The result is young men who keep their inner lives hidden from one another. The consequences are deep and long lasting: Many young American men leave high school without knowing how to develop authentic male relationships and go through their lives never experiencing deep male friendship. I teach my young men that being open and real with their male friends is the best way to develop an understanding, compassion, and true brotherhood with one another.

 

9: Prepare for Life After Sports

Sports were my singular passion growing up. I played football, track, basketball, soccer, baseball, tennis, and excelled in lacrosse. I swam every summer, and starting at age 12, I was determined to play Division 1 sports. I achieved my goal when I was recruited to play lacrosse at Brown University. But when I got there I realized my dream wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. I thought that somehow if I played a Division 1 sport, I would’ve made it; I’d be happy. During my freshman year, I started hanging out with men outside of sports who valued sweetness, intellectual curiosity, and a deep focus on social justice. I realized that I no longer loved lacrosse and wanted to move on. During this transition, I had little guidance from coaches, friends, or family about how difficult this transition would be. It proved to be brutal: I derived my sense of self-worth entirely from being a good athlete. In the absence of mentorship, I went on a soul searching solo trip around the world. I now work with many young men now aspiring to play Division 1 sports. I remind them that there is much more to life to being an athlete; in the long run being a thoughtful, compassionate, intelligent man will be more important than anything they accomplish on the field.

 

10: Decide What’s Important to Me

I felt enormous pressure to go to a “good” college. But my parents and teachers didn’t put this pressure on me; I put this on myself. As a result, I did the things high schoolers are told to do to gain acceptance to elite institutions. I got good grades, became a member of National Honor Society, and took a ton of AP classes. I did do some things that I naturally cared about. I did actually love sports, some of my history classes, and spending time out in the mountains of Colorado and the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. But since I was so “on track” I didn’t have time to really step back to ask myself what was truly meaningful to me. What did I really care about? Many students who are on “track” and go to good schools (and others who do not) bump up against these questions of purpose as they navigate life post-high school. I wish mentors had been asking me questions about what was important to me. Why was it that I went through high school without ever having to confront the most important questions in life: What kind of human did I want to be and want did I want to give to the world?

 

At the end of the day, how are you going to start crafting your own life after adolescence if you can’t answer the big questions about purpose and values for yourself? I tell the young men I work with that, ultimately, they’re going to have to decide what is meaningful to them — not their parents, not “society,” or what is expected of men in our culture. They must follow what makes them come alive, what’s good for the world, and what their heart truly cares for. If young men were taught to follow their hearts more, we would live in a very different world. Instead, most young male hearts are wounded and armored. Laying down the armor and opening up the heart is the first step to experiencing the true fullness of a deeply meaningful human life. True, it can be scary and ambiguous, but it is what I needed to hear most from an older guy on my journey though adolescence.

 

 

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“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” -Victor Frankl Challenge: Today, anytime you are tempted to react in the same old way, PAUSE in that space between stimulus and response, and remember that the way you respond to a situation has the power to change the situation. Then choose the response that feels most empowering…Therein lies your freedom!

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” -Victor Frankl#FridayFreedom Challenge: Today, anytime you are tempted to react in the same old way, PAUSE in that space between stimulus and response, and remember that the way you respond to a situation has the power to change the situation. Then choose the response that feels most empowering…Therein lies your freedom!
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“The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own.” ~Benjamin Disraeli


“The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own.” ~Benjamin Disraeli
#ThoughtfulThursday
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“If you want to change the world, you have to change the metaphor.” ~Joseph Campbell What would your metaphor be for a happy, healthier world? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

“If you want to change the world, you have to change the metaphor.” ~Joseph Campbell
What would your metaphor be for a happy, healthier world? We’d love to hear your thoughts!#ThoughtfulThursday
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The best feeling in the world is realizing that you’re perfectly happy where you are, without the thing you thought you needed to be happy. Today, pause your pursuit of happiness and appreciate where you are…do not postpone for another season, give yourself permission to be happy, right NOW. Tip: Did you know the act of pursuing happiness is, in fact, correlated with unhappiness? Read on to learn how searching for happiness can lead to misery: http://ift.tt/1Xb1IdI

The best feeling in the world is realizing that you’re perfectly happy where you are, without the thing you thought you needed to be happy. Today, pause your pursuit of happiness and appreciate where you are…do not postpone for another season, give yourself permission to be happy, right NOW.#GratiTuesday Tip: Did you know the act of pursuing happiness is, in fact, correlated with unhappiness? Read on to learn how searching for happiness can lead to misery: http://ift.tt/1Xb1IdI
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There is always time for a moment of gratitude…

There is always time for a moment of gratitude… #GratiTuesday
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“A person’s whole life is a succession of moment after moment. If one fully understands the present moment, there will be nothing else to do, and nothing else to pursue. “~Yamamoto Tsunetomo Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make NOW the primary focus of your day, month, year…life.

“A person’s whole life is a succession of moment after moment. If one fully understands the present moment, there will be nothing else to do, and nothing else to pursue. “~Yamamoto Tsunetomo#MindfulMonday: Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make NOW the primary focus of your day, month, year…life.
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Today, wherever you stand, be the soul of that place…. What does this mean? Start from your heart and radiate out.

Today, wherever you stand, be the soul of that place….
What does this mean? Start from your heart and radiate out.
#SundaySoul
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Enjoy the small moments with people who matter to you today, because one day you will look back and realize they were the big moments.

Enjoy the small moments with people who matter to you today, because one day you will look back and realize they were the big moments. #SaturdaySocial
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“The one and only true freedom we all possess is what we think.” ~Bryant McGill Your peace is more important than driving yourself crazy trying to understand why something happened the way it did. LET IT GO…

“The one and only true freedom we all possess is what we think.” ~Bryant McGill#FridayFreedom: Your peace is more important than driving yourself crazy trying to understand why something happened the way it did. LET IT GO…
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“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” ~Dr. Seuss There is ridiculous beauty and power in being who you truly are. Begin each day practicing the intention to be at peace with your authentic self – by showing up authentically you withdraw your consent to be in the lower energies, and you free others around you to do the same.

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” ~Dr. Seuss
There is ridiculous beauty and power in being who you truly are. Begin each day practicing the intention to be at peace with your authentic self – by showing up authentically you withdraw your consent to be in the lower energies, and you free others around you to do the same. #FridayFreedom
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Be the reason someone laughs today. Your shared laughs, your encouraging words, your willingness to just be “present” with another, has touched people in more ways than you may ever realize. Remember this as you move through your day interacting with others, strangers and friends alike. Your simple presence has more impact than you know…

Be the reason someone laughs today. Your shared laughs, your encouraging words, your willingness to just be “present” with another, has touched people in more ways than you may ever realize. Remember this as you move through your day interacting with others, strangers and friends alike. Your simple presence has more impact than you know… #ThoughtfulThursday
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Be radiant like the sun, it does not discriminate on it’s recipients… Be receptive like the earth, open your heart and let light rush in. Try this heart opening exercise to fill yourself with light 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, like the sun. 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 light with. Imagine them being blanketed by this warmth, sparking their own light within.”


Be radiant like the sun, it does not discriminate on it’s recipients…
Be receptive like the earth, open your heart and let light rush in.
#ThoughtfulThursday: Try this heart opening exercise to fill yourself with light 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, like the sun. 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 light with. Imagine them being blanketed by this warmth, sparking their own light within.”
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…Emphasis on *Be Kind* Are you up for this Challenge?


…Emphasis on *Be Kind*

Are you up for this #ThoughtfulThursday Challenge?

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“What others are doing around you seems very important when you have not found your own steadiness. You want to say to them, “Don’t rock my boat! If you rock my boat, I can’t be steady.” But the truth of it is, you’re the only boat-rocker in your world. Only you can rock your boat.” ~Abraham-Hicks How do you steady your own boat?

“What others are doing around you seems very important when you have not found your own steadiness. You want to say to them, “Don’t rock my boat! If you rock my boat, I can’t be steady.” But the truth of it is, you’re the only boat-rocker in your world. Only you can rock your boat.” ~Abraham-Hicks

How do you steady your own boat? #WednesdayWellness

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PAUSE whatever you’re doing right now for breath break.(You always have time to breathe). Take one slow long deep INHALE….and one slow long deep EXHALE…Breathing space into all the tight corners of your body…. Tip: We all breathe an average 20,000 times a day – but are we doing it consciously? Conscious breathing heightens your present awareness, deepens relaxation, and connects you with your body and your authenticity. While most of us never give breathing a second thought, the way you draw breath can affect your physical and mental wellbeing. Breathing exercises reduce stress, improve mood, and help you feel energized. And they can be done easily anytime, anywhere! “When you deepen your breath, you deepen into you. It’s that simple. It’s that important. So just breathe. Keep breathing. Let it be the anchor in everything you do…”

PAUSE whatever you’re doing right now for breath break.(You always have time to breathe). Take one slow long deep INHALE….and one slow long deep EXHALE…Breathing space into all the tight corners of your body…. #WednesdayWellness Tip: We all breathe an average 20,000 times a day – but are we doing it consciously? Conscious breathing heightens your present awareness, deepens relaxation, and connects you with your body and your authenticity. While most of us never give breathing a second thought, the way you draw breath can affect your physical and mental wellbeing. Breathing exercises reduce stress, improve mood, and help you feel energized. And they can be done easily anytime, anywhere! “When you deepen your breath, you deepen into you. It’s that simple. It’s that important. So just breathe. Keep breathing. Let it be the anchor in everything you do…”
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mantra: “I am choosing to be happy because it’s good for my health.”


#WednesdayWellness mantra: “I am choosing to be happy because it’s good for my health.”
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How to have a good day: keep your gratitude higher than your expectations.

How to have a good day: keep your gratitude higher than your expectations. #GratiTuesday
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“A thought is harmless unless we believe it. It’s not our thoughts, but our attachment to our thoughts, that causes suffering. Attaching to a thought means believing that it’s true, without inquiring. A belief is a thought that we’ve been attaching to, often for years.” ~Byron Katie Be a selective sifter of your thoughts this Remember, you don’t have to believe everything you think…

“A thought is harmless unless we believe it. It’s not our thoughts, but our attachment to our thoughts, that causes suffering. Attaching to a thought means believing that it’s true, without inquiring. A belief is a thought that we’ve been attaching to, often for years.” ~Byron KatieBe a selective sifter of your thoughts this #MindfulMonday! Remember, you don’t have to believe everything you think…
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“How you start your day is how you live your day. How you live your day is how you live your life.” ~Louise Hay Morning mindset matters. What type of day are you preparing for yourself? Start on a positive thought and feel the momentum of that thought crescendo over the next 24hours…!

“How you start your day is how you live your day. How you live your day is how you live your life.” ~Louise Hay
#MindfulMonday: Morning mindset matters. What type of day are you preparing for yourself? Start on a positive thought and feel the momentum of that thought crescendo over the next 24hours…!
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“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” ~Marianne Williamson Dare to follow your souls calling…your courage will awaken the hearts of others.

“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” ~Marianne WilliamsonDare to follow your souls calling…your courage will awaken the hearts of others. #SundaySoul
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“Wisdom is a living pool of energy available to all who would learn how to swim in it.” Questions come from noise. Answers come from silence. Find some quietude this Sunday to be silent, inquire within, and clear a space for wisdom to flow to the surface…You have the answers. You simply have to get quiet enough to hear them.

“Wisdom is a living pool of energy available to all who would learn how to swim in it.” Questions come from noise. Answers come from silence. Find some quietude this Sunday to be silent, inquire within, and clear a space for wisdom to flow to the surface…You have the answers. You simply have to get quiet enough to hear them. #SundaySoul
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“I AM” are two of the most powerful words, for what you put after them shapes your reality. Challenge: What limiting “I am” statements might you be practicing into reality? Today, flip the script and turnaround those statements into what you want want to be instead. “I AM…(fill in the blank with an empowering story for your life)…”

“I AM” are two of the most powerful words, for what you put after them shapes your reality.
#SundaySoul Challenge: What limiting “I am” statements might you be practicing into reality? Today, flip the script and turnaround those statements into what you want want to be instead. “I AM…(fill in the blank with an empowering story for your life)…”
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“Your heart and my heart are very old friends.”~Hafiz You know those people whom you’ve just met and yet feel an instant and deep connection to? These unions with our “soul family” make everything seem magical…Invite them in!

“Your heart and my heart are very old friends.”~Hafiz
#SaturdaySocial: You know those people whom you’ve just met and yet feel an instant and deep connection to? These unions with our “soul family” make everything seem magical…Invite them in!
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Make connecting with your heart the whole point today…

Make connecting with your heart the whole point today… #SaturdaySocial
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Happy Ask yourself, “How intensely do I want to exist?” Then dive deeply and fully into your weekend…

Happy #FridayFreedom!
Ask yourself, “How intensely do I want to exist?” Then dive deeply and fully into your weekend…
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Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace. Be selective in your battles today; sometimes peace is better than being right…

Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace. Be selective in your battles today; sometimes peace is better than being right… #FridayFreedom
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Motto: “When in doubt, walk it out.” Did you know you can walk off a bad mood? Studies show that even a 10 minute walk immediately boosts brain chemistry to increases happiness. Walking too often gets bashed as an excuse for exercise (maybe because it’s free!), but it actually is one of the most “nutritious” movement patterns out there — especially if done out in nature on an un-groomed surface.

#WednesdayWellness Motto: “When in doubt, walk it out.” Did you know you can walk off a bad mood? Studies show that even a 10 minute walk immediately boosts brain chemistry to increases happiness. Walking too often gets bashed as an excuse for exercise (maybe because it’s free!), but it actually is one of the most “nutritious” movement patterns out there — especially if done out in nature on an un-groomed surface.
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Happiness is daily practice! Project Happiness bridges the science of happiness into strategies for everyday life with 7 daily themed habits: #MindfulMonday #GratiTuesday #WednesdayWellness #FridayFreedom #SaturdaySocial #SundaySoul ________________________________ ?Click the link in our bio to receive #ProjectHappiness habit tips directly to your inbox ??@projecthappiness24_7


Happiness is daily practice! Project Happiness bridges the science of happiness into strategies for everyday life with 7 daily themed habits: #MindfulMonday #GratiTuesday #WednesdayWellness #ThoughtfulThursday #FridayFreedom #SaturdaySocial #SundaySoul
________________________________
?Click the link in our bio to receive #ProjectHappiness habit tips directly to your inbox ??@projecthappiness24_7
in #ProjectHappiness / #ThoughtfulThursday  by

Happiness is daily practice! Project Happiness bridges the science of happiness into strategies for everyday life with 7 daily themed habits: #GratiTuesday #WednesdayWellness #ThoughtfulThursday #FridayFreedom #SaturdaySocial #SundaySoul ________________________________ ?Click the link in our bio to receive #ProjectHappiness habit tips directly to your inbox ??@projecthappiness24_7


Happiness is daily practice! Project Happiness bridges the science of happiness into strategies for everyday life with 7 daily themed habits: #MindfulMonday #GratiTuesday #WednesdayWellness #ThoughtfulThursday #FridayFreedom #SaturdaySocial #SundaySoul
________________________________
?Click the link in our bio to receive #ProjectHappiness habit tips directly to your inbox ??@projecthappiness24_7
in #MindfulMonday / #ProjectHappiness  by

Happiness is daily practice! Project Happiness bridges the science of happiness into strategies for everyday life with 7 daily themed habits: #MindfulMonday #GratiTuesday #WednesdayWellness #ThoughtfulThursday #FridayFreedom #SaturdaySocial ________________________________ ?Click the link in our bio to receive #ProjectHappiness habit tips directly to your inbox ??@projecthappiness24_7


Happiness is daily practice! Project Happiness bridges the science of happiness into strategies for everyday life with 7 daily themed habits: #MindfulMonday #GratiTuesday #WednesdayWellness #ThoughtfulThursday #FridayFreedom #SaturdaySocial #SundaySoul
________________________________
?Click the link in our bio to receive #ProjectHappiness habit tips directly to your inbox ??@projecthappiness24_7
in #ProjectHappiness / #SundaySoul  by

Happiness is daily practice! Project Happiness bridges the science of happiness into strategies for everyday life with 7 daily themed habits: #MindfulMonday #GratiTuesday #WednesdayWellness #ThoughtfulThursday #SaturdaySocial #SundaySoul ________________________________ ?Click the link in our bio to receive our habit tips directly to your inbox ??@projecthappiness24_7


Happiness is daily practice! Project Happiness bridges the science of happiness into strategies for everyday life with 7 daily themed habits: #MindfulMonday #GratiTuesday #WednesdayWellness #ThoughtfulThursday #FridayFreedom #SaturdaySocial #SundaySoul
________________________________
?Click the link in our bio to receive our habit tips directly to your inbox ??@projecthappiness24_7
in #FridayFreedom / #ProjectHappiness  by

Happiness is daily practice! Project Happiness bridges the science of happiness into strategies for everyday life with 7 daily themed habits: #MindfulMonday #GratiTuesday #ThoughtfulThursday #FridayFreedom #SaturdaySocial #SundaySoul ________________________________ ?Click the link in our bio to receive our habit tips directly to your inbox ??@projecthappiness24_7


Happiness is daily practice! Project Happiness bridges the science of happiness into strategies for everyday life with 7 daily themed habits: #MindfulMonday #GratiTuesday #WednesdayWellness #ThoughtfulThursday #FridayFreedom #SaturdaySocial #SundaySoul
________________________________
?Click the link in our bio to receive our habit tips directly to your inbox ??@projecthappiness24_7
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5 Lessons Teenage Boys Learn from the Natural World

 

One mile in either direction, the river explodes with speed and force, waterfalls crash in a soul-stirring chorus. Between the falls, however, the water fans into a forested floodplain, carving a gentle bowl in the canyon floor and depositing a white sand beach beside a deep swimming hole, stands of old growth cedar, surrounded on all sides by three thousand foot cliffs. For three days, our tribe of twelve — we call ourselves  W.I.L.D. guys — have called this place home. Now, returned from their 24 hour solos, the young men are gathered at the fire to share their stories, and recall for themselves and each other what they’ve learned in the span of one brief (and very long) day.

 

IMG_0640.JPGThis is my favorite part of our wilderness journeys. We talk a lot about mindfulness and gratitude on trail. But it turns out that what makes it all stick, what allows young men to integrate these things into their lives, is the direct encounter with their internal world that happens from sitting in the woods by themselves. Below are some of the most common themes that emerge in these gatherings around the fire. Taken as a whole, they offer a compelling story for why wilderness immersions and solo ceremonies are important elements of young men’s journeys into adulthood.

1. Gratitude, especially for parents.

There’s something perfectly natural about the distance that teenagers throw up between themselves and their parents. They’re becoming their own people, and they need to prove to themselves and everyone else that they have independent existences, outside of their family units. What’s crucial is that they also recognize that their lives are possible because of the innumerable ways they are held, loved, supported, and cared for by their parents. We hear boys come back all the time from their solos and say, “Wow, I never realized how much my parents do for me.” One boy who had been fighting with his parents about a proposed move to a new city came back and said, “My dad has done so much for me my entire life and this is his dream job. The least I could do is move with him and be a good sport.”

2. Self Love.

Buried a millimeter beneath the surface of most teenage boys’ bravado is a deep fear about whether they are doing a good job with their lives, and whether they are lovable. A lot of boys shield themselves from this fear by either displaying a lot of pride and vanity, or being self-deprecating. The wilderness teaches that neither of these strategies are necessary, because they are, in fact, doing a great job with their lives, and are completely lovable. It’s really common for guys to come back to the fire and report, in clear and humble ways, that they feel really good about their true selves, and that they’re excited to do better. We think that’s exactly the sweet spot from which to launch into adulthood.

3.  Staying Present.

24 hours can be a long time if you’re waiting for it to be over. What’s amazing is that most guys experience boredom at the beginning of their solos, but almost nobody experiences it by the end. Sure, they have to run head first into the wall of wanting it to be over for a while, but on the other side of that is a relaxation into the present moment that most young guys have never experienced before. One young man told us that his solo felt like a time warp. The first half was interminable. He thought about getting up and leaving. He felt angry that we hadn’t gotten him yet. He worried that we’d forgotten he was out there. And then something clicked. He made peace. “They’ll get here when they get here,” he said to himself. And all of a sudden hours felt like minutes and we were there to bring him in. Overjoyed, he couldn’t believe it was already over.

4.  Non-Aggression.

A lot of boys come of age thinking that anger is the only permissible emotion and aggression the only way to feel powerful. You can’t talk them out of this. The messages supporting this story are too strong – it has to come from direct experience. We had one young man who explained to us on the first day of our trip that he fought other boys because that was the only way to earn respect. “Win or lose, once you fight a guy, at least you can respect each other.” We felt sad to hear him express this, but knew better than to argue with his experience. His identity was too strongly connected to being the kind of guy who’s willing to fight. We listened with compassion, but without telling him that he was wrong. Our strategy is to let the wilderness teach in its own mysterious way. Around the fire that night he shared the dream he’d had on solo. All of the animals in the forest had come to him, one by one. “I don’t remember what it sounded like,” he said, “but they each taught me in their own language the way of non-aggression.” You might not be able to believe your parents that fighting isn’t the way to be powerful, but when a bear tells you in its own language, well, that’s another story.

5. Wonder and Delight.

Nothing teaches us about the power of our own brains like sitting somewhere by ourselves for 24 hours. We start to realize that the external world does not dictate our experience — we do! Do things not go our way sometimes? Sure. Would we like them to be different? Of course. But must this cause us to feel annoyed or unhappy? No way! Our human consciousness is incredibly powerful, and we have a lot of choice about how to experience external conditions. One young man told us that he spent the first hours of his solo feeling super annoyed at the swarm of gnats buzzing in his circle — until he realized he could shift his perspective. He recounted how all of a sudden it was as if the gnats were dancing for him, not his antagonists but his companions. The change filled him with delight. Another young man told us how at first the scale of his surroundings — the monumental cliffs, the vast sky above — made him feel lonely and small. And then he realized that he had always been this small at the scale of the cosmos, and that it was in fact a great relief to know how much larger the universe was than him. And in the moment of that recognition came a personal connection to existence on a grand scale, and a feeling of joy that he’d never known.

These are just a few of the common threads that we hear around our campfires. Each young man’s story is unique, just like each young man’s journey to adulthood. What unites us as human beings, however, is our innate capacity to experience gratitude and interconnection, if only we have the tools and practices to get us there. Wilderness immersion and ceremony are powerful ways to introduce young men to these vital sources of well being. There are reasons why these sorts of ceremonies have been used in countless traditional cultures: there’s nothing like some good old fashioned growing up medicine to support healthy, happy, purpose-filled lives.

in .GratiTuesday / #Happiness / #ProjectHappiness / Guest Blogger  by

“Hello, sun in my face. Hello, you who make the morning and spread it over the fields.” -Mary Oliver Challenge: Can you think of a time when a seemingly ordinary, even mundane, event took on greater significance because you were fully present to it? Did it spark spontaneous gratitude within? The ONE THING we need to live in gratitude is our ability to allow the present moment to unfold just as it is. When this awareness opens up in us, we cannot help but give thanks. The minute we look around us with natural curiosity, the moment we attune ourselves to appreciate what’s immediately in front of us, we open up to spacious new vistas.

“Hello, sun in my face. Hello, you who make the morning and spread it over the fields.” -Mary Oliver

#GratiTuesday Challenge: Can you think of a time when a seemingly ordinary, even mundane, event took on greater significance because you were fully present to it? Did it spark spontaneous gratitude within? The ONE THING we need to live in gratitude is our ability to allow the present moment to unfold just as it is. When this awareness opens up in us, we cannot help but give thanks.

The minute we look around us with natural curiosity, the moment we attune ourselves to appreciate what’s immediately in front of us, we open up to spacious new vistas.

in #GratiTuesday / #ProjectHappiness  by

Before your To-do list steals you away, take a mindful moment today to center yourself on what’s really important. It will be the most important thing you do all day…

Before your To-do list steals you away, take a mindful moment today to center yourself on what’s really important. It will be the most important thing you do all day… #MindfulMonday
in #MindfulMonday / #ProjectHappiness  by

Put “something of yourself” into whatever you do today. #meraki

Put “something of yourself” into whatever you do today.
#SundaySoul #meraki
in #ProjectHappiness / #SundaySoul  by

Trust the timing of your life. Challenge: Try this radical trust today- As the events of your day unfold, honor each with the acknowledgement, “Right on time.” This dissolves resistance to what-is, and if you practice it enough, don’t be surprised if someday soon you look around and notice the events of your life lining up in your favor…right on time.

Trust the timing of your life.#SundaySoul Challenge: Try this radical trust today- As the events of your day unfold, honor each with the acknowledgement, “Right on time.” This dissolves resistance to what-is, and if you practice it enough, don’t be surprised if someday soon you look around and notice the events of your life lining up in your favor…right on time.
in #ProjectHappiness / #SundaySoul  by

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…

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…#SaturdaySocial
in #ProjectHappiness / #SaturdaySocial  by

“But i’ll tell you what hermits realize. If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet, you’ll come to understand that you’re connected with everything.” – Alan Watts 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. Untether yourself from your screens today and reconnect with natural world, and yourself. 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 simply have to be present enough to tune in to this innate connection within us.

“But i’ll tell you what hermits realize. If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet, you’ll come to understand that you’re connected with everything.” – Alan Watts
#SaturdaySocial: 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. Untether yourself from your screens today and reconnect with natural world, and yourself. 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 simply have to be present enough to tune in to this innate connection within us.
in #ProjectHappiness / #SaturdaySocial  by

Your only-ness is your super power. Don’t hide it. Simply by being you you are putting something unique in the world that never existed before you, and will never exist after you. Be you to the full this weekend.

Your only-ness is your super power. Don’t hide it. Simply by being you you are putting something unique in the world that never existed before you, and will never exist after you. Be you to the full this weekend. #FridayFreedom
in #FridayFreedom / #ProjectHappiness  by

Challenge: Practice radical self-acceptance of what is, and excited anticipation for what’s coming. In doing so you release yourself from trap of “never good enough,” which at its root, is about earning your own love and acceptance. Because the truth is there is nothing to earn. You are enough. Not because of what you did, or said, or looked like, or felt, but because you always were. Owning our story of “now” and accepting that at this moment we are whole and enough is the bravest thing we can do, and the most freeing. As Carl Rogers said, “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change. “

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