The key to happiness

Harvard psychologist Shawn Achor unveils the key to being and staying happy, we can re-programme our brains, trust him he’s a psychologist!

I know the third and fifth are pretty crucial for my happiness and I’d like to work on practising gratitude and meditation. Which have helped you?

1. 3 gratitudes
2. Journaling
3. Exercise
4. Meditation
5. Random acts of kindness

Robin Williams – Mork’s lesson

Mork And Mindy
“Mork & Mindy: In Mork We Trust (#1.21)” (1979)

Orson: The report, Mork.

Mork: This week I discovered a terrible disease called loneliness.

Orson: Do many people on Earth suffer from this disease?

Mork: Oh yes sir, and how they suffer. One man I know suffers so much he has to take a medication called bourbon, even that doesn’t help very much because then he can hear paint dry.

Orson: Does bed rest help?

Mork: No because I’ve heard that sleeping alone is part of the problem. You see, Orson, loneliness is a disease of the spirit. People who have it think that no one cares about them.

Orson: Do you have any idea why?

Mork: Yes sir you can count on me. You see, when children are young, they’re told not to talk to strangers. When they go to school, they’re told not to talk to the person next to them. Finally when they’re very old, they’re told not to talk to themselves, who’s left?

Orson: Are you saying Earthlings make each other lonely?

Mork: No sir I’m saying just the opposite. They make themeslves lonely, they’re so busy looking out for number one that there’s not enough room for two.

Orson: It’s too bad everybody down there can’t get together and find a cure.

Mork: Here’s the paradox sir because if they did get together, they wouldn’t need one.

Community of 20,000 celebrating kindness & wisdom

Wake Up projectMy gorgeous friend Leanne kindly sent me this community, knowing how much I’d love love love it!

They’re a ‘community of 20,000+ people celebrating kindness & wisdom in modern life.’ They explore a variety of ideas from compassion to creativity, mindfulness to business and the arts. Mouth of word has spread through their free kindness cards. Their founder Jono did his first kindness event in 2009 as a test to see if anyone would come. He was expecting a few but 400 turned up! They now put on workshops, special evenings, films and have a flagship business conference hoping to inspire kind and wise living.
What a bloody good idea, shame they’re based in Australia.

Why Kindness & Wisdom?

As Jono their founder would say the Dalai Lama gave us a hint when he said, “kindness is my religion”. Science and wisdom traditions point to mindfulness and kindness as key qualities for living with purpose, meaning & fulfilment – oh yes.

What events in the UK do you go to?

Meet Naoko Takano a happiness engineer

Happiness A few months ago I decided to move my blog over to self hosting. Easy peasy I thought but it was a bit of a pain and my blog was ‘down’ for a while.

Since starting my blog I’ve discovered and met some amazing people. I suddenly felt pretty stressed this ‘portal’ wasn’t there and I didn’t know how to fix it.

I somehow stumbled across the amazing Naoko Takano through her blog. It stated she was a happiness engineer for WordPress so I sent a cry for help!

With her help and Alon from Go Daddy (who kindly called me from the US to chat through stuff) I got it all sorted. Both went out of their way and it felt above and beyond their jobs.

I asked Naoko a few questions about her role with the nice name and here’s what she had to say:

You’re a Happiness Engineer, what does your role entail?
Happiness Engineer’s goal is to make users happy and we do whatever it takes. Support, documentation, testing are the main things but sometimes it goes beyond any defined tasks.
I am currently focusing on translation (coordinating with volunteer & professional translators). I also speak at WordPress events in Japan from time to time.
If you are curious about the details, check out this link. I love the fact one of requirement is “patience and grace”

Who came up with the name ‘Happiness Engineer’?
Matt Mullenweg (the founder of WordPress and Automattic).

What inspires you or is the key to life?
The fact that anything is possible if I spend time and work hard.

What’s the kindest thing you’ve done for someone? Or someone has done for you?
The kindest thing I have done probably is patiently listening to a friend who was going through a very hard time.
The host family who let me live with them during my 2 year in high school in the U.S. were the kindest people I’ve met in my life and they certainly changed my life.

Thanks Naoko. I guess the host family left a lasting impression and your job title suits you.

The truck that’s spreading happiness

Whether you like Coca-Cola or not, I’m sure most people will like this.
They’ve created a ‘happiness machine on wheels’ which can surely only be a good thing?
I like the way the machine is now portable so you don’t know where it will strike next (the happiness drink vending machine from last year racked up nearly 5million views).
Roll on random acts of kindness!

Sunday Sermon Challenge: #Treasure Chest

Life can sometimes be shitty. Yesterday I woke up wondering if the last few weeks had been a dream, I hoped they had. I’ve had the saddest news of my life but also the best, all within the space of a week.

I’ve been trying to be positive about the sad news but am just not even close yet. Everyone else seems to be doing ok, so why aren’t I? Does this make me selfish?

Rich Sullivan kindly sent me the below. He teases me about my blog so I’ll get him back by mentioning him! I’m not religious and although my blog title has religious connotations, it’s the sentiment that’s important.

The School of Life do a Sunday Sermon and if anyone has been, they’re pretty inspirational. So today’s post is a little Sunday Sermon, a challenge in fact, after watching Anthony Robbins in the below. It’s not for everyone but do stick with it until the end, it’s 30 minutes. The Foundation he set up and background on him is here – the stats and accolades are very impressive and can’t be dismissed.

What the hell is a Treasure Chest?

We all may have times when we overreact, when things have layered up and up, so it can create an overwhelming reaction that seems disproportionate. Anthony refers to this as emotional flooding. The remedy? Build a treasure chest of your happiest memories, so you’re flooding your nervous system with positive emotions.

When I got the awful news 2 weeks ago, I went home to see my dad (my mum was over in the US sorting a few things out). Seeing my dad and brother, sitting in the garden, looking through family photo albums, helped fill my treasure chest.

We can all create a positive impact for others and getting out of our ‘self’ is something we can all train at. What’s in your treasure chest?


A Happiness based economy – a new economic model?

For a while now I’ve been interested (and frustrated) by the positive impact that brands could, or should have in our daily lives. Rather than just selling us things we don’t want or need, do many brands have a positive impact for communities? How could brands be measured to force this shift – does a meaningful brand index actually help? I went to a Good for Nothing meet up the other week and there was debate about this as I asked the question near the end  – surely it would help shift the balance to intrinsic good, rather than extrinsic and striving for materialistic things?

Positive News have written about a recent UN event in April this year, which marks a significant step towards governments placing wellbeing at the heart of economic progress. I can barely contain myself reading it but will we ever live in this Utopia? The world is struggling with financial chaos and it has probably crossed most people’s minds that perhaps we should be leading our lives in a very different way.

This UN event has happened after a ‘happiness resolution’ in July 2011, which stated that gross domestic product (GDP) alone is not an adequate measure of human prosperity. A ‘more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach is needed to promote sustainability, eradicate poverty, and enhance wellbeing.’

Positive news also detailed that the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan actually introduced the concept of gross national happiness (GNH) back in the 1970s. GNH has been measured from 2008 ‘looking at factors such as living standards, health, education, culture, good governance, and psychological wellbeing.’

A report commissioned for this UN conference shows how a new ‘science of happiness’ is able to measure people’s wellbeing. According to the first ever World Happiness Report which you can read here, the happiest countries are all Northern European countries: Denmark, Norway, Finland and the Netherlands – they scored an average of 7.6 / 10 for life satisfaction. The UK was placed 18th behind the US and Ireland and the biggest single factor affecting happiness in any country is mental health. You can see the top 20 here.

Will a happiness based economy ever become the new economic model, I hope so.