Seems like the happy factor is touching many sectors in our society. The popular catchy little tune Happy as sung by Pharrell Williams made an appearance at the Oscars earlier this year and has hit #1 on the charts in 24 countries. Indeed happiness has struck a chord with the world. Outside magazine recently offered a cover article on What Makes us Happy. I wanted to share some of the things that Outside Magazine says makes us happy with these simple habits that can change our lives.
Here is more scientifically proven methods for living more happy….if you need even more proof than I’ve supplied thus far:
- Wake up with the sun to get your dose of vitamin D and also ensure you get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night. We need this amount of sleep for our bodies to do their thing and regenerate. Less than that and we are less sharp, heavier, cranky and perform less. Being awake with the sun and getting more daylight, according to Boston University medical researches boosts genes that play a role in resisting cancer, infections and auto-immune diseases.
- Enjoying freedom of choice – being more in control of our time and our life improves our happiness according to a 2010 University of Rochester study. Free time is important to our well-being and if we spend it with people we enjoy, we get a double dose of the good stuff that happiness brings.
- Play your favorite songs – crank up the tunes. Neuroscientists at McGill University in Canada cited in 2011 that brains create dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure, when listening to favorite songs. They scanned music listeners’ brains while they played different types of music and the dopamine surge was greatest just before and during a favorite part of a song.
- The 2011 National Geographic True Happiness survey suggested that the happiest people were those who watched less than 1 hour of TV per day.
- The Boston Consulting Group working with a Harvard professor in 2009 who wrote the book Sleeping with Your Smartphone; agreed to unplug one night per week. No email, no texting or clients calls and no TV. After 5 weeks, the consultants were functioning better as a team, did more work in less time and now they have embraced the weekly disconnect as company policy.
I’ve noticed that leaders and particularly strong, independent female leaders have a hard time asking for help and then accepting help, accepting gifts or even compliments. After spending over 3 decades witnessing and consulting with leaders; it seems that asking for help is considered a sign of weakness and many just gut it out and figure it out themselves or go without and struggle to get through it or to the other side of it. Whatever IT is.
I’m here to tell you that asking for help is surely not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength that you know your limits and what is out of reach. It is also a sign of gracious giving to allow others the joy of offering their expertize, their help, their perspective and their compliments. You are GIVING others a change to feel good about themselves and their abilities when you ask them for their help. You are GIVING them an opportunity to be of service. And doesn’t it feel good to be of service to somebody? In what book is giving a weakness? Giving comes from strength and abundance -we have what we need and have the ability to give more. When we give opportunities for others to share their services, we expand positive energy all around.
And then there’s gracious acceptance on the other end of generous giving. So many people, mainly women, brush off complements, well-wishes and gifts or they act embarrassed to be the recipient. Learning the art of gracious acceptance, allows others to experience the joy if giving. Particularly in this time of year where there is lots of gifting and giving; practice the art of gracious acceptance to expand the good feelings all around. You deserve it and even if you think you don’t, somebody thinks you do. Accept help with the holiday party plans, accept help with dinner, accept the fact that you really don’t want to cook or clean this holiday season and hire it out, or do something that doesn’t infringe on your time and space.
Now is a great time to practice the art of generous giving and gracious acceptance and allowing others to give freely. Give the gift of grace and gratitude this holiday season and see what changes appear before you.
It seems we’re being pulled in many directions by our personal and professional responsibilities. Leaders at work are answering to the front office and to their teams. Leaders at home are answering to friends, kids, spouses, faith, school, volunteer and sports groups. It’s a difficult challenge to honor free time spontaneously any more, so need to schedule some time for re-assessing our choices, reaffirming our paths, reconnecting with others who are like-minded, or not who have your best interest at heart.
I suggest planning a weekend getaway, or Energy Escape, to connect with close confidantes for brainstorming, master-minding and recharging your batteries. We tend to be in high gear producing and implementing and reacting to life at work and at home. Leaders sometimes have nobody to turn to at work to bounce ideas off of and discuss vulerabilities, possibilities and question their choices. Creating time and creating space with supportive friends and colleagues can help catapult you in the right direction and affirm what you are thinking is your direction, or help guide you down another path.
These gatherings can be weekly Success Teams or Mastermind Circles or quarterly gatherings or even larger annual affairs in person with emails and calls in between the weekend soiree. Hiring a coach to bounce things off of is another option. I find my clients and myself included tend to talk our way through situations better than if we just think it through in our heads on our own. The synergy of the group and the energy it brings to the issue results in a much better and clearer outcome. We tend to question ourselves and when we have the confirmation of a group of knowledgeable and respected professionals and friends; we get it faster and it sticks. There’s something about accountability and knowing others are believing in you and counting on you to do what you say that helps propel us forward in the right direction.
I’ve experienced a few of those weekend gatherings recently which I call Energy Escapes, and have another planned in the near future. They are uplifting, energizing, refreshing and rejuvenating. There’s something about being together in a different setting without distractions to sit and be and talk and set imaginations free for coming up with solutions to professional and personal issues. A nice number is 5-7 attendees coming together with their ideas for others and asking for what support and resources from the group they want as well. Being focused on each person at a time and coming together to pool resources generates incredible outcomes in these synergy sessions. It also helps each participant live and lead more Hartfully, staying closer to their truth, their heart, their centered way of moving through the world. It keeps us focused on the right path and gives us the courage to choose that path.
Why not plan for a solo getaway to get refocused on your personal goals and then plan several more with your pals to help each other achieve their goals as well. I generally use the holidays and the new year change-over to reassess what I’ve accomplished the past year and what lies ahead – calling it my year in review and year in preview. See earlier blog posts about that and the Hot 100 List. I see these gatherings as my 10,000 mile check-up and continual tune-ups for a life well lived in a very Hartful way. Try it yourself and see how much further along the right path you go with the help of others (pals, coaches, colleagues, other professionals) who are conspiring in your favor vs. doing it on your own. I bet you’ll see a vast difference. Facilitating Energy Escapes is something you do for yourself so you can do more for others. It’s a way of giving back to the world your best self with your highest goals in mind.
I’ve been a student of the art of living simply and beautifully for a couple decades now. Ever since finding Alexandra Stoddard’s first books on the subject of leading a beautiful life and incorporating it into every single delicious aspect of my life. Why not surround yourself with beautiful things that have meaning and bring your joy? Why not surround yourself with beautiful thoughts, intentions, music, art, love, abundance and design? The philosophy oozes its way into they types of soap, lotions, potions and vessels that find their way into your home, the clothes that find their way into your closet, the work that finds its way into your life, and the friends that find their way into your heart.
I’ve been ruminating about the transition of of message that the world needs to hear and transitioning my work to mesh with what I’ve learned over the years, who I”ve becoming and am still becoming and what entrepeneurs and employers need to know as well as those that are in charge of their lives if not an entire company. The transition has moved from changing my own personal name with much thought and consideration of a grand representation of my life’s purpose but to my company name and what it/I stand for. Afterall, they are one in the same. My work is the outward expression of my essense and purpose: to be a successful artist and messenger in the community spotlight. So bringing the message of living and leading Hartfully has been years in the making.
Recently I hosted a “Gaia’s Girls Weekend” which truly expressed the art of living and leading Hartfully. Gathering some of my favorite women on Earth from “the Southern Contingent”; we enjoyed food, frolic, frivolity, friendship and a stretch limousine to take us to a grand estate for a peek into the truly elengant ways of Living Artfully. Indeed, our lives are works of art that we paint with every choice we make. This particular weekend was delightfully rendered with little scheduling to allow the energy to flow and to just BE with each other and connect peppered with some highlights of living lusciously and treating outselves beautifully. Why not treat ourselves to luxe indulgences to feel special now and again or at least more often than we have in the past. Why not experience the feelings of lushness and grace. What is holding you back from getting a limo now and again to whisk you and your friends off to an amazing day or evening celebration and joy? It doesn’t need to be for anything in particular. Give the gift of a great experience and see how it makes everybody feel…pretty darn good.
What a treat and a blessing to be able to bring my gal pals together and practive the Art of Living and Leading Hartfully. If we can’t live Hartfully, how are we expected to lead Hartfully? If we are not in touch with our purpose and message and the big why’s of ourselves and our hearts; how can we expect to show up and lead in any decent way? I’ve consulted with many leaders who have not found that balance of leading and living fully in their hearts and it’s not a pretty sight. What can you do for yourself to living and lead more Hartfully? More fully in your heart?
What small changes can you make to your home and office to be living more beautifully in what fully represents you? Might I suggest clearing out anything that doesn’t make sense any more. This could be items, thoughts, people, busy work, tasks, clothing, shoes, knick knacks and habits. What can you infuse into your life to help you live more Hartfully? What new habits, new friends, new work projects, new things in your surroundings could help you live more beautifully?
What can you do in the service of others to help you live more Hartfully? What can you do in the service of yourself to express your life more Hartfully? What can you do to bring in more beauty? It was such a treat to treat my freinds to a glorious day of living Hartfully – a cherished memory for all of us. Looking forward to practicing more Hartful habits.
I’m a card-carrying member of the “non-commercialized holiday traditions” club. For most of my adult years I’ve not been a believer in the usual nostalgic American tradition of shop ’till you drop, unfettered consumerism type of holiday madness. I call it practicing safe stress over the holidays and quite frankly, every day. That’s why I loved living in Europe for 10 years with all those wonderful outdoor markets and much less commercialism at that time. Of course as a kid, I reveled in my parent’s consumerism as I opened present after present for Christmas. As the wise poet, Maya Angelou says, “When we know better, we do better”. Now it’s just embarassing to imagine how much value I put on that stuff as a kid. Ah yes, adulthood does have its advantages.
If you’re a fan of Oprah, you may have seen the following info in her magazine and if you didn’t catch it; I’m bringing it to you right here. Yes, I’m copying the info from her magazine word for word on page190 written by Lauren Murrow and Rachel Mount. I commend them on their research into what a few bills can do in somebody’s life. So, in honor of all Americans who may not have as much to give this season as well as those of you, like me, who take a vow to avoid all malls and shopping venues from mid-November until mid-January; I give you 17 ways under $20 to give this ThanksGIVING, your particular holiday or any day you feel like it. Starting at a buck, you can make a contribution to make changes in the world without adding to the pile of stuff for somebody.
- $1 for 2 books shipped to a classroom in Africa. In many African school rooms, 20 students share 1 textbook: www.booksforafrica.org
- $2 for a set of drumsticks for a low-income public school student learning to play the drums: www.littlekidsrock.org
- $3 for a field trip to a museum, concert or theatre production for a high-risk youth: www.createnow.org
- $4 for 2 hours of prepaid phone time for a soldier stationed overseas – calling cards for our troops: www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com
- $5 for a one-burner kerosene stove for a family that would typically rely on an open fire: www.foodforthepoor.org
- $6 for measles vaccinations for 15 children in a developing country: www.doctorswithoutborders.org
- $7 for a week’s worth of food for an abandoned dog or cat at a shelter run by the American Soiciety for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: www.aspca.org
- $8 for a medical teaching doll to be used in educating a child about his or her cancer treatment: www.stjude.org
- $10 for a box of nails uded to adapt a disabled veteran’s house from Homes for Our Troops: www.homesforourtroops.org
- $10 for a day’s worth of fresh fruites and veggies for feed 2 chimps, most of which have been orphaned by poachers at the Jane Goodall Institute’s Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehab Center in the Republic of Congo: www.janegoodall.org/oprah
- $10 for 2 specialized bottles for babies born with a cleft palate, who otherwise might suffer from malnutrition before receiving corrective surgery: www.operationsmile.org
- $10 for cloth and tools so an Afghan woman can become self-sufficient by taking a 6-month tailoring course through Creating Hope International and the Afghan institute for Learning: www.globalgiving.org
- $11 for 11 trees to be planted in Alabama communities devastated by the April tornadoes: www.arborday.org
- $12 for 20 pounds of multipurpose soap to help keep families germ-free around the world through Oxfam: www.oxfamamericaunwrapped.com
- $14 for 2 nutitious meals delivered by volunteers from Meals on Wheels to a housebound senior citizen: www.mowaa.org
- $15 for a backpack and school supplies for one homeless or low-income urban child: www.cradlestocrayons.org
- This item was not in the Oprah mag, but I wanted to offer it to you and your friends as a way to connect with loved ones over the holidays and every day. For $9.80 you can send 10 custom greeting cards or postcards to anywhere in the world with your own photos and personal message at www.BizBuilderCards.com and select the Pay-as-You-Go option to send some cards. You can send a couple more on me – my treat as an added bonus. The video will walk you through sending a card and the company prints it, stuffs the envelope, stamps it and mails it for you. If you have questions – send me an email Gail@GailHahn.com.
On a final note – for a little more money, you can donate to your local food bank or give some small business owners some work by giving the gift of their services to loved ones such as: house cleaning services, yard services, home improvement services, a massage, a mani/pedi or spa treatments, a home chef, or any number of personal services that include experiences rather than stuff to help support the small business community.
I hope this list is helpful. Big thanks once again to Oprah and her team for brining us enlightened ideas. (BTW – have you seen her Life Class show – awesome!) If you have more ideas of making a BIG impact on a small budget, let me know and I’ll share ideas. Cheers!
There’s a lot of talk these days about happiness. Are you happy, are your kids or partner happy? Do you work in a happy environment, even the folks who are employed at the happiest place on Earth are not immune to the question of “Am I happy here?” And “here” can mean here in your life, here in your job, here in your business, here in your marriage, here in a geographic location or here in any specific situation.
Lots and lots of studies, books and blogs about happiness have cropped up over the years. It’s a sign that we’ve moved up the food chain on Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. Once a need is met, it’s no longer a need and we go out seeking something else. Our motivations come from needs, so once a need is met, we no longer have tha motivation. So I’m guessing that most of us have our food, clothing and shelter taken care of and now we’re in search of the self actualization and happiness penthouse level.
One of the aspects of happiness is to find something you love to do, make it your life’s work and focus your energy and attention towards it. It gives you meaning, gives you joy and gives you something you do well to serve the world and create a better place. Having that type of purposeful project fans the flames of your inner potential. When our work is a natural express of who we are and what we do well, that intersection of our talents and the world’s needs is ripe for success. Ultimately, our work on Earth is to shine our light joyfully and give our greatest strengths to the world and if we combine that with our vocation, it’s brilliantly blissful. Need help figuring out your gifts, talents and purpose? We can point you in the right direction at YourRealPurpose.com.
Happiness is a decision of the mind. Deciding you are going to take action to make changes towards what makes you happy is the first step. Of course EVERYTHING starts with the mindset, deciding, then doing. Our thoughts, ideas and desires are what drives us forward and helps our soul to evolve and happiness is a pleasant side affect. So many of us seem to be in the busy-ness of being too busy to do X, Y or Z. I’d say being too busy to slow down and figure out what makes you happy is like being too busy driving to stap for gas. Slowing down to figure out what feeds your soul in how your serve and how you move through the world is refilling your tank. Once you know what feeds you, then you can put it on your t0-do list and fit it into your busy schedule.
Research shows that life’s most gratifying experiences and happy moments come from really living and being present at what you’re doing, who you’re being and where you are and NOT in all the trappings of the usual suspects of success. Studies show that the little things add up to a happier life such as walking to the store from home instead of driving, great neighbors, friendship, sharing conversation, socializing, notice daily joys, music, smells, dogs/cats, tending your garden, fresh flowers, home-baked treats, spending time with family disconnected from technology.
So many of us are experiencing a life deficit disorder in our rush to the bus/metro/carpool, the rush through lunch, the rush home and rushing to get everything done. Your challenge this week is to slow down, make time to make your list of your happiness factors that affect you personally. What’s on your list? Once you make your happiness factor list, do a gap analysis to discover where you can close the gaps and just how far out of whack you may be, or celebrate how on track you are and rejoice in your alignment with life/work/happiness. Make it a priority to create happiness at home, in your workplace, in your life. Once you have your list, challenge yourself to put more of those things from your list into your daily life and into the workplace.
Here are some ideas to get you started for a happy workplace:
- SAS corporation supplies M&M’s and coffee in the break areas, they have on-site childcare so employees can visit their kids at lunch, dry cleaner drop-off service, on-site doctors, lovely landscaped grounds.
- Northwestern Mutual offers boxed dinners from the cafeteria so dinner is easy to fix after a long day, music groups/bands so employees can enjoy their hobby with others and give concerts to colleagues.
- Car detailing or seated massages while at work, bosses serve breakfast to workers, Office Olympics or friendly competition – chili cookoff or bake-off.
- Colors affect our mood – paint the walls what makes you happy, fresh flowers, music, flextime, ability to express how you work through your work, listening, respect, caring for others.
- Disney entertains you while you wait in looooong lines, Vail and Copper Mountain ski resorts through out candy to skiers in lift lines and ask trivia questions to make the time in lines go faster.
- My dentist recently replaced their waiting room furnishings with very comfy, luxurious yet whimsical furnishings, a new plasma TV, fireplace and fountain and a fresh supply of current magazines.
What is your workplace doing or what can you contribute to your business/workplace to up the ante for happiness for yourself, your colleagues and your customers? It will go a long way in improving the happiness factor in your life since you spend about a third of your life at work.
I’m taking a new look at my workplace and living space these days. I’m moving my business and my life to a different place. I’ve noticed how I want to lighten my load, throw off the dead weight, innovate ways to do more with less.
I’ve gone through this drill with each move and notice that I’m drilling down more and more to ge to the heart of what works for me in my business and my home life. Taking a fresh perspective on the things that you have usually done or used to serve you helps bring out new innovative ways to doing things and using things. I though I’d been ruthless the last few moves with removing items that no longer served me or the business well. I find it needs to be done in layers.
What if you did the same to your organization and pretended you were moving offices, moving to a different level of service, moving closer to your customer’s needs. What would you jettison? What would you keep? Who would stay or go? What do you really need in your office or what is serving it’s purpose, but not very well?
Have you looked at your processes with a keen eye, or from the eyes of your customers or your colleagues to see where you can streamline? Take a cue from Domino’s Pizza and their new menu items. They have a survey printed on the box asking how you like it. Have you interviewed your clients to ask “how we doin’?” Have you interviewed your team members to ask the same when you’re in a performance review session.
How about a brainstorming session with other departments to ask where the bottlenecks are and how to creatively improve them? It starts with letting go of your old perspective on how things should be done or how they should look or be. Be open about the outcomes, re-purpose some things or ways of thinking. Embrace some changes or create some yourself to shake things up. It could start with cleaning out the junk drawer or just looking at what’s working or not working so well and being open to propose a better plan.
Sometimes you have to introduce the innovation or the change in increments and layers. If we’re forced to change too much in too short of time, we experience future shock and we dig in our heals. Making incremental changes and letting it settle in, then tweaking some more, ditching a little here and tossing a little there doesn’t meet with so much resistance. Ask around and see what your team can tweak or hold a contest to see who can come up with the most innovative solution to a recent challenge.
Some find it hard to accept new ways of working because they may think they’ve failed in some way. Being open to innovation means not holding on so tight to what you thought was the best way of doing things yesterday. Things change, you did the best you could with what you knew and what you had at that point in time. Let go of some old ways and things to make room for new ways and things. An open mind is a good mind. Create space for new things to come in.
Now excuse me while I clear away the old printer to make room for the new, innovative wireless one (double the output, double-sided printing, eprinting and half the cost of ink)…
Networking with business owners and professionals over the past couple months raised some questions about who is working in their right livlihood and who is not. Being a customer in any retail establishment or restaurant,you can almost sense who is in alignment with their right livlihood as sales people or servers. You know how they greet you and their demeanor if they like being there or if they’re just passing the time until they can clock out.
Think of Susan Boyle, the singer who was afraid to show her talent and kept her light hidden until she had the courage to sing in a competition and is now one of the top sellign artists of all time and performing for royalty. Who wudda thunk? What if she never had the courage to listen to her heart? What about you? Do you have the courage to find out your true path? Learn more on a personal consult with me and my business partner or ask for a recording of our telecourse Cracking the Code to Your Calling.
There are so many workers out there who are just passing the time, letting their lives pass by without investigating what it is they really want to do. Or what their soul purpose is in this lifetime. It’s a very easy thing to decode once you know the formula for unscrambling the GPS you hold in your own hands. Your personal GPS, your Greater Purpose System is encoded into your fingerprints before you were born. There is a scientific method of decoding your prints, which are unique to you, and figure out your life purpose, your life lesson and what ‘school’ you’re in for this lifetime. You’re given everything you need to know for following your right path and living your right livlihood. You just need to decode the message. Listen to a free 30-minute teleclass on the 4 different schools of life purpose by sending an email to Gaia@GaiaHart.com and ask for the link.
If you’ve been floundering, wandering about, not knowing if you have a purpose, feeling dull, without passion or fulfillment in your work; then we need to connect. My team and I will be your guides to crack the code to your life purpose, the life lesson that keeps holding you back and showing up and the life school whose curriculum you’re here to learn. Once you know your school, your lesson and your purpose, the rest is easy to figure out. All kinds of variations in your school and purpose can be explored. You’re given the right path to your right livlihood and the experts to help you figure out how you want to travel on your path.
After a 45-minute life purpose analysis of your fingerprints, you’re given your life school, life purpose and life lesson. Afterwhich you’re given a decoder document explaining it all. Then you get another 45-minute session with a personal life purpose coach to help you strategize implementation. All this for under $300 as our gift to you with a savings of $200 off the usual investment.
What is knowing your life purpose worth to you? How much of your life are you willing to spend out of connection with your divine purpose? How many unfulfilled days are you willing to give to somebody else in exchange for a paycheck? If you’re fed up and not going to take it any more, or if you’re just curious if you’re already on the right track to the right livlihood, then send me and email at Gaia@GaiaHart.com to set up a free pre-coaching call to see if it’s the right fit for you. What have you got to lose, but your the rest of your life?
Looking forward to hearing from you and helping you find your light and your right livlihood to enrich the world and yourself.