Monday, November 23, 2015

Reinvented Resolution: How to Bring Real Change in the New Year

Thanksgiving, even Halloween, marks the start of the holiday marathon. Each mile along the way, we attend holiday parties, indulge in sweet treats, devour delicious foods and sip on tasty drinks. With each indulgence through the Christmas season, a promise is made to jumpstart the new year with a New Year's Resolution to eat less, eat healthily and most of all, get in shape. By Jan. 1, we cross the finish line, ready to kick this resolution into high

And that's great! It's fun to make a New Year's resolution and there's no better time than at the start of the year to make a healthy change. Yet, resolutions have a reputation for dissipating — only to disappear and re-emerge in 10 months. Sound familiar? If you want to begin a fitness renovation, here are tips to help ensure its permanence.

The Gym Isn't Your Resolution One Day at a Time

Empower your resolution by resolving to practice commitment and accountability, rather than "going to the gym six days a week." Your goal is to stay committed to an idea and hold yourself accountable. It's easy to excuse yourself from your gym responsibilities because of work stress, family obligations or lack of time. But can you accept that you dropped the ball on personal commitment and accountability? These are your New Year's resolutions — to live with commitment and hold yourself responsible. Embrace and follow through with these positive qualities. Your health and fitness will only improve as a side effect.

Track your feelings

Change is a struggle. It's natural to default to old habits, feel uncomfortable and want to give up. Don't expect a change to be fluid progress. There will be moments of defeat and feelings of discouragement that could lead you to want to abandon it all. Take it one day at a time. You may actually have to "start over" every single day. You may have a good week and then a bad two weeks. Your third week is a fresh start to begin again. The goal is the journey itself because living a healthy and active lifestyle is supposed to be never-ending.
Many experts recommend keeping a food journal as a way to track what and how much you're eating. Rather than using guilt and shame as a way to eat better, keep track about how eating better or working out makes you feel. You can do this with a journal, by noting a thumbs up or smiley face (or frown...) on your calendar, posting on facebook, or even by giving yourself a gold star for each time you do something for your health that leaves you feeling good. Find a way to keep track that fits with your personality. 

Exercise and increasing your heart rate releases endorphins that in the long run, after you get used to your routine, leaves you feeling good. Regularly working out also boosts serotonin levels, which can energize and create clearer thinking. Although you may feel great after a workout on day, you may forget about that high during work the next day when you're tired and feeling stressed.  By keeping track, you can remind yourself of the positive end result. Why wouldn't you want to feel that way again? The sweat and burn of an intense cycle class in the morning begins the day with an endorphin high. Completing a three-mile run after work leaves you proud with accomplishment. Keep track of your feelings after you exercise and use your data on you as inspiration for doing it again.
Fitness doesn't have to be an arduous, lonely task that's just part of your daily grind.  One of the most beneficial ways to work out is to take a 20 - 40 minute walk every day. Walking is something you can do at most any age.

Social Exercise

Another way to enhance your exercise routine by turning it into an event to experience
with your family or friends. For example, the idea of running 13.1 miles may not sound like a vacation. But what if you signed up to complete a half marathon in a beach town or city you've always wanted to visit? The challenge becomes more fun and something to look forward to. Invite your friends and family to be a part of your exercise, or they can support you along the way and join you at the finish line to celebrate.
-- Guest post by Social Monsters

Sunday, October 25, 2015

At the OECD world forum - post two

Reposted from Linked In
By Laura Musikanski

Last week was a whirlwind. I spent the first part of the week in Guadalajara, Mexico at the invitation of the OECD (organization for economic cooperation and development) to their 5th world forum on statistics, knowledge and policy: transforming policy changing lives. The second half of the week was spent in Phoenix, Arizona at the International Society for Quality of Life Studies (ISQOLS) at the invitation of the president of that society - more on that in another post. 
I want to tell you about the OECD meeting. There were over 1,200 people there. Most of them were high level policy makers, with a few academics sprinkled in. Pretty much all of them in suits.  I brought a colleague with me who is using the Gross National Happiness Index in her small community.   I think we were the only grassroots activists.  I'm not quite sure why they invited me...nevertheless, they did.

There were three talks I really wanted to attend featuring John Helliwell, Richard Layard, Gus O'Donnell and Jeffrey Sachs.  Helliwell and Layard spoke on happiness and sustainability.  I met Helliwell in 2012 at the UN high level meeting and have had several conversations with him since then. He is a great guy.  I really wanted to hear what he and Layard had to say, but the gods were against me. The meeting had been moved and while there was an abundance of beautiful tall women all dressed in black to tell one where to go, none of them could tell one the correct place to go. After checking the two plenary rooms, room one, two and three, I found the meeting in room four. Helliwell and Layard did re-cap their talk in the Q&A session: happiness and sustainability are inextricably linked  and the SDGs (meaning the United Nation's sustainable DevelopmentGoals) should be include happiness metrics.  Well, the World Happiness Report reflects this. I wished I could have heard the whole discussion (and maybe they will post the recording), but I did get to have a cocktail and snacks with Helliwell that night before we were treated to a spectacular show that night. 
Gus O'Donnell spoke on one of those panel so full it boggles the mind. If you have not read his work Wellbeing and Policy, you are in for a treat.  I loved what he said. He asked policy makers to ask "What are we doing wrong? What are we not measuring that we should? Where are we failing?"   I wish he had been given the entire time to go into why it is so important to look at our failings, explore our challenges in a real way, and be transparent about our mistakes.  I suspect most of those listening were not invigorated the way I was. I suspect that for most policy makers, the idea of publicly exploring, much less admitting, mistakes is anathema. But I liked what he said.

Jeffrey Sachs gave a keynote that sounded more like a lecture to students.  He started by telling us that he tells all his students: that most important decision they can make is who their parents are. I considered his words in the midst of the audience, and figured most of them had probably made a wise decision if the measure to determine whether it was a good choice is wealth and privilege. It was kind of a hard pill to swallow, since most of the other talks had been by the same policy makers who were in the audience and they had spent their time talking in platitudes about the importance of eradicating poverty. Just a few miles away from the conference center, there were children selling goods on the street.  I got a bit agitated and asked few questions at the end, which he did not really answer.

I left Guadalajara feeling a bit sad about the state of high level policy in the happiness movement. I've been working with lots of grassroots activists doing the work in their community that they are talking about. Helliwell did state the importance of bottom up (grassroots) efforts in conjunction with top-down and academic efforts (told you he is a great guy).  I wish there were a way to pool grassroots activists and high level policy makers and earnestly explore why this work is not reaching these high level policy makers  - one of the failure Gus O'Donnell spoke of.   

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

At the OECD fifth world forum - post one

OECD post one by Laura Musikanski

The music is grand, pounding thunder and hope. Last night They Were setting up the sound system as Kai, Laura Hannant and I put up posters and brochures for the Happiness arranged Booth at the OECD 5 th World Forum.

The announcer is introducing the President of the OECD, Governor of Jalisco State and other Officials With the intonations of a wrestling world championship event. The room holds over 1,000 people, mostly men in gray or blue well-fitting suits. Cameras on long reaching booms loom above us. The speeches are televised on three huge screens above each speaker, giving us a demonstration of what might be a very large bug's view. I have no idea what they are saying because they are speaking in Spanish.      

It's okay. I'm excited. Our happiness booth is one of 34 and definitely different. While we were
putting the finishing touches on it This Morning, Already People were milling about.    Laura H and I will be speaking at a session tomorrow spotlight about the gross national happiness index and the work Creston & District has done to measure wellbeing using the gross national happiness index.   I'm very interested to see how our interactions go at our booth today and tomorrow!  

Monday, September 28, 2015

Skip the Impulse Purchases for Lasting Happiness

Skip the Impulse Purchases for Lasting Happiness

Buying stuff can leave us feeling high. In fact, 75 percent of
 surveyed admitted to making impulse purchases
according to research by However, stuff alone cannot account for unadulterated happiness. Sure, getting that new French press, pair of heels or tie can be exhilarating in the moment, but impulse purchases rarely leave us with a sustainable feeling of well-being. Typically, whatever we purchased ends up collecting dust in a closet or cupboard somewhere, leaving us with only the memory of how it felt to find the deal. That being said, we can find ways to sustain our happiness that are not centered around things, but experiences.
Stuff in and of itself is not the enemy. It is when we fixate on things instead of the experiences we might be able to have with our things that leads to unsustainable forms of happiness. Science proves again and again that it is our connectivity to other human beings, and the environment in which we live that can have a larger impact than the material wealth we may have. According to the World Happiness report, the common threads around what makes people happiest are social and center around our experiences. So how can we generate these experiences?

Take a Vacation Already

As the Atlantic reports, Americans on average accrue 18 vacation days per year and only use 16, whereas our French counterparts use up to twice as much. Based on these statistics,Europeans seem to understand the value of taking a break and how productive it can be more than Americans. So, instead of sitting on a mountain of vacation time, use it. Take a trip somewhere you've always wanted to visit and enjoy the experience of disconnecting from the hustle and bustle of your daily life. Enough cannot be said about how effective a break can be in helping you reconnect with your family and loved ones and come back to work refreshed and rejuvenated.

Share Yourself

While stuff is not the answer to happiness, some stuff can help you better connect to the community around you. For example, your iPhone lets you connect to social media apps like Facebook,Twitter and Instagram to share your life with your friends and family. By sharing the things that matter to you and allowing others to experience them with you, you are able to enjoy things you might miss if you were depending on physically being present. Remember, technology can be a friend by helping you be a part of the lives of those you love who are far away or even close. 

Follow Your Passion

Have you always been interested in something but think you will do it when you have more time? Now is that time. When you make a purchase, spend for something you are passionate about helps you create lasting happiness. When we value genuine wealth, like that of engaging in the things we love, we create an environment for lasting happiness. Try charting what gives you a natural high, so you become more aware of the wealth you already possess and can make it happen more often. By allowing yourself the freedom and space to spend in the areas that matter most to you, you can generate the experiences that make you happiest.
Choose wisely where you spend your money and you are sure to see many returns.
Guest post. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Service and HAPPINESS

Service; participate actively to generate circles of HAPPINESS
A Totally Genuine Lovely creation
Post by  Alejandra Torpey is a professional in the learning and development industry, committed to serve for the integral development of people to empower them to perform at their best.

What is service? In a short and simple manner to explain it; is a wonderful thing, is something you do because you want to satisfy the needs of another being. I believe that you can serve to a dog when you feed him, you can serve a plant when you water it, but of course when you serve a person the feeling is amazing. By fulfilling the needs of a person, that person feels happy, and seeing and feeling such happiness that you gave them, makes you happy too. Is a two way road; a very gratifying road, I would say. Then, a circle of HAPPINESS is created.

In the past, the word “service” was underestimated and maybe even considered to be a meaningless activity. Nowadays, things have changed; a good service is what everybody wants everywhere they go then, you are a part of that too; don’t forget to provide a good service to those around you every time you can.

The power, nobility, honesty and meaning of service is very much valued and appreciated; as a  person. I haven’t seen a HAPPY person who is not willing to serve others and who can reserve for their own their good emotions and vibes instead of spreading them all over and radiating positivity.   

consequence, the person who provides the service is also appreciate it and valued. Then, it is in order to say that a person who is attentive and helpful to sever others, is a HAPPY

Imagine a Chef; they love cooking, is their passion! They feel HAPPY satisfying the taste of people  feeling, which is going to give their families satisfaction and joy to know their loved ones are doing awesome! Once more, a happy circle is being created based on the service.
with their creations; is more than filling empty stomachs, is providing a whole experience by means of what they do. When they receive the compliments of the guests, is a boost of energy to the Chef, a very rewarding emotion and a good Chef will share such compliments with everybody in the team because everyone in that kitchen (of course the waiters and waitresses too) served the guests; they made the guests HAPPY and that brought happiness and satisfaction to the working team who even if it was a crazy, rushing, long and tiring day, they are going to get home and share with their families: “today we were congratulated for our meals, or our service, or… whatever”. They are sharing a HAPPY
There are many types of services like: doing a favour to someone, is a service, and sometimes even if we not precisely told: “can you do me a favour”; when things are done, you know you contributed to something, someone and for a bigger benefit and purpose.

How many times at work we are told: “can you help me find this file, please”, “can you please remind me about this matter”… and the chain of service starts, because what you know or have, or do, is going to serve for something else and for somebody else. That’s what happens inside organizations, it doesn’t have to be an external person to call him/her a client; everybody around you is your client, because at any given moment you are going to need something from them and they are going to need something from you too.

Service is honest, service does not know envy or rivalry, it flows freely and does not feel like an obligation, things are being done on purpose for a purpose. When things are not done like this, harmony is broken.

In an organization every person is a member of the same team. If you serve your team members, you serve to yourself too and in the bigger picture you serve to the organization you represent by means of what you do and how you behave; and organizations serve the society. Again is a service cycle.

When people feel good at work, they are happy and a happy person is going to have a good attitude toward work, toward challenges, toward being asked to do something extra and very likely, will be willing to give that extra without even being asked for it. A happy person without doubt will add up to generate a good organizational climate and will be open to serve others.

Something to consider and to reflect about, what kind of people do
you want to have in your team? HAPPY people are more productive people. How can you contribute to serve HAPPILY to those around you? By putting a reliable smile on your face you already contribute a lot, and even help yourself too! Are you aware if the people in your team are HAPPY and honestly attentive and helpful in an honestly manner? Take the chance and the time to ask around; informal talks can serve better than strict organizational climate questionnaires. Use that information as a base to take action and to HAPPILY serve your people, serve your team; participate actively to generate circles of HAPPINESS!  

Monday, September 7, 2015

Please, make sure you are happy!

Please, make sure you are happy!
From A Totally Genuine Lovely creation  <3

Happiness… the single word feels amazing when you say it because of what it means, like if instantly it brings to your mind and spirit the idea of hope, peace, that everything is achievable, that everything is ok and is going to be ok… perhaps, the simple word can even make you smile.

Simple word, yes, happiness as it is a simple word, it is also simple to be, to feel, to breath, to live, to achieve!

What is happiness? I think there are different ways to define HAPPINESS some of them even scientifically speaking but is like when you are looking for any definition and you only get words that sound pretty interesting but do not give any practicality and, what is the point in knowing something that cannot be applicable! 

Happiness is a topic that although it has been gaining a lot of terrain lately in the personal as well as in the organizational level, it has always been present through history and is present in your life and in everyone’s life, is just something that we do not stop to think about. Like if the word and state of being of HAPPINESS is forbidden, but it is a right and a wonderful and necessary state of being! Is not a taboo to say the word HAPPINESS nonetheless, how many times do you listen to this word coming out from people’s mouths? That should be an interesting measure to do worldwide. Think about how many times have you said the word HAPPINESS, how many times have you experienced it? 

Maybe you haven’t been aware of it because we tend to misunderstand HAPPINESS with an extra amount of joy or even euphoria but like I said before, is much simpler than that. 
Happiness can come from a lot of sources and can have a lot of meanings, and the
important thing is always YOU. What brings YOU HAPPINESS? You do not need to compare to others, in fact is something the worlds needs to stop doing, comparing to others because that does not make any sense nor it helps because every creature is unique and therefore different and that essence is to be honored, you have to honor it by respecting it and respecting YOU.

Think about a time when you feel very well, perhaps because you found the book you have always to read, maybe because you received a message or a phone call from someone special to you; how did you feel? You felt HAPPY so this is what I mean when I say HAPPINESS comes from a lot of sources and has a lot of meanings. Those things that happened that made YOU feel HAPPY meant something for YOU, not for the person next to you or anybody else; maybe a friend of yours or your mom shared such HAPPINESS with you, but that is just a lovely complement of HAPPINESS to be able to share it, to spread it and be contagious about it with the people who surround you and the world!

But those were just moments of HAPPINESS then what to do to make it stay? Again is simple. Do you remember when you helped the neighbor because the bags of trash broke and everything spread all over the street? Or when you saw an elder person get on the bus and you offer your seat? That felt good right? And you did it because YOU felt it, nobody told you to do it, and you did it knowing that a “Thank You” might be all that you could get in return. But no, the reward is bigger than a “Thank You”, is like a touch to the soul and spirit knowing that you did something good for others that needed it. That is HAPPINESS, and although it seems that YOU are no longer the center of attention because you are giving to others, the reward functions in both ways. And then again, YOU did it, because YOU felt it, and YOU are rewarded so as the person that you just helped.

So you see, YOU are the most important piece for your HAPPINESS and HAPPINESS is a simple thing to feel, breath and live!

And don’t forget to Please, Make Sure YOU are HAPPY

Author  Alejandra Torpey is a professional in the learning and development industry, committed to serve for the integral development of people to empower them to perform at their best.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Seeking Happiness Blogger

Be the Happiness Blogger for this site.  
The Happiness Alliance is a deeply grassroots organization that is having large scale impact on the happiness movement. We are looking for someone with strong research capacity who loves to write and connect via social media and wants to contribute to the happiness movement. This is a great opportunity to build your reputation is a growing movement, spread knowledge and help make the world a better place for all.

What we are looking for:

  • Posts on the topics of positive psychology and the happiness movement. 
  • Issues ranging from social change, grassroots activism, community, the environment, government, policies and programs that contribute to the well-being of all people and the planet as well as tips and findings from researchers in the positive psychology movement.
  • Someone who is knowledgeable about the happiness movement, beyond GPD issues and positive psychology or who is eager to learn about the field. 
  • Someone who has a big-picture view who can also see and explain how the details fit or do not fit into the big-picture.
  • Three to four posts a month at the minimum.
  • Posts about 100-500 word.
  • Build traffic through use of social media.
What we offer:
  • Management of the Happiness Alliance blog.
  • Access to our social media sites, including a 8K on twitter feeds, 1K on facebook, storfiy and other s.m. 
  • Exposure to in our newsletter of over 7K.
  • Membership in our team.
  • Access to data, information and networking opportunities. 

This is a volunteer position. Email and send a sample of your writing.