Asking for what we need may seem on the surface like an easy thing to do but many of us struggle to be honest about what we really need. Brene Brownauthor of the wonderful book The Gifts of Imperfection, has written about how asking for help can make us feel scared and vulnerable as the person we are asking may say no or may judge us for asking. This moving TED talk by Amanda Palmer about the art of asking shows us that asking for what we need is an skill we can practice. The more we ask for help the easier it becomes, the less vulnerable we feel and the easier it is to make connections. This is why Happiness Experiment no 38 is to ask for what you need. Give it a try and see what happens.
I am continuing with my month of courage which is part part of a project I am working on for my Masters in Applied Positive Psychology. Courage is one of the positive psychology interventions (PPIs) I am experimenting with to see how applying this strength can boost my wellbeing.
In researching courage I have learned a great deal from the book by Robert Biswas-Diener called The Courage Quotient. Robert Biswas-Diener know as the “Indiana Jones of positive psychology” has travelled far and wide to countries such as Greenland, India, Kenya and Israel to investigate whether courage is a trait we are born with or a skill which can be learned. He discovered that courage is a culturally desirable trait which can be both measured and learned. In cultures in which a premium is placed on bravery, it is more likely that parents will focus on teaching their children how to be courageous. In comparison to parenting styles in other … Read the rest...
Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending my second Sunday Sermon with the School of Life at Conway Hall. I had attended my first Sunday Sermon last year with the wonderful Brené Brown who set the bar very high when she spoke about courage and vulnerability to an enraptured audience. (You can read about me previous Sunday Sermon experience here.) It was, therefore, with high expectations that I came to hear Roman Krznaric speak about the topic of empathy – a subject which he has researched for the past 10 years and which is the topic of his latest book of the same name.
As someone who eschewed formal religion when I stopped attending Sunday School as a child, the Sunday Sermons run by the School of Life are an interesting break with traditional Sunday fare. The sermons offer the same opportunity to reflect on a important topic, to exercise the lungs by having a sing song and they also offer the possibility of connection… Read the rest...
This is a collection of some of the talks and videos which inspired me in 2013. There are many more which I could add to this list. Did you attend any talks or watch any You Tube videos which inspired you last year?
1. Tim’s Place Albuquerque: Service With A Smile
Tim is the embodiment of happiness at work and serves every customer with a smile and a free hug. He has a lot to teach us.
2. Want to know the secret of happiness?
A newspaper seller in Central Station, New York makes himself happy by making others happy.
3. 105 Year Old Lady Shares The Secret To Happiness
Peace is happiness according to this 105 year old. Don’t hold a grudge against anyone.
4. Dr. Brené Brown on Faking It, Perfectionism and Living Wholeheartedly – Super Soul Sunday – OWN
Brené Brown’sTEDx talk went viral and was watched by millions. In this short video she talks about the importance of living authentically.
Like many people I have spent today taking down the Christmas tree, tidying the house, completing my tax return and generally trying to prepare myself psychologically for a New Year back at work and continuing with my MAPP studies at UEL. I am really looking forward to 2014 but usually start the year with a host of New Year resolutions under my belt. My busy year and the hectic Christmas period have left me with little time for reflection on what my resolutions for this year should be. I thought it was worthwhile pondering the question of whether New Year resolutions actually matter. Janus, the Roman God of beginnings and transitions after whom the month of January (Ianuarius) was named, seems like a good starting point. Janus is usually depicted as having two faces, as he looks to the future and to the past. Reflecting on what has gone well in 2013 and celebrating personal successes… Read the rest...
Fear has a large shadow, but he himself is quite small. He has a vivid imagination. He composes horror music in the middle of the night. He is not very social and he keeps himself to himself at political meetings. His past is a mystery. He warned us not to talk about him, adding there is nowhere any of us could go where he wouldn’t hear us. We were quiet. When we began to talk to each other he changed. His manners started to seem pompous and his snarling voice sounded rehearsed.
Two dragons guard Fear’s mansion. One is ceramic and Chinese. The other is real. If you make it past the dragons and speak to him close up, it is amazing how fragile he is. He will try to tell you stories. Be aware. He is a master of disguises and illusions. Fear almost convinced me that he was a puppet maker and I was a marionette.
Speak out boldly. Look him in the eye. Startle him. Don’t give up. Win his respect and he will never bother you with small matters.… Read the rest...
“It’s not the critic who counts. It’s not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled. Credit belongs to the man who really was in the arena, his face marred by dust, sweat, and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs to come short and short again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming. It is the man who actually strives to do the deeds, who knows the great enthusiasm and knows the great devotion, who spends himself on a worthy cause, who at best, knows in the end the triumph of great achievement. And, who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and cruel souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt
This famous quote by Theodore Roosevelt was the inspiration behind the title of author and researcher Dr Brené Brown’s latest book Daring Greatly. Daring Greatly encourages us to show up, to let ourselves be seen, to try even… Read the rest...
Pleasure is wild and sweet. She likes purple flowers. She loves the sun and the wind and the night sky. She carries a silver bowl full of liquid moonlight. She has a cat named Midnight with stars on his paws.
Many people mistrust Pleasure and even more misunderstand her. For a long time I could hardly stand to be in the same room with her. I went to sleep early to avoid her. I thought she was a gossip and a flirt and she drank too much. In school we learned that she was dangerous and I was sure that she would distract me from my work. I didn’t realise she could nurture me.
As I have changed, Pleasure has changed. I have learned to value her friendship.
This delightful description comes from a gem of a book, called The Book of Qualities by J. Ruth Gendler, which I recently discovered thanks to a recommendation by Brené Brown. We often deny ourselves the small simple pleasures in life which could give us a quick happiness boost if we gave… Read the rest...
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. “
Excerpt from the speech “Citizenship In A Republic” by Theodore Roosevelt delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910