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.
Saying thank you is such as simple thing to do but how often do we just take people for granted and forget to acknowledge all the little things that others do for us that make our lives better. We may often feel grateful to others but we can easily forget to express our gratitude, leaving others feeling under appreciated. Watch this short TED talk and be inspired to say thank you to someone – it will make a huge difference to their day and will probably make a big difference to your day too. Happiness Experiment no 34 is really simple but really powerful – just remember to say thank you.
TED Talk by Laura Trice: The power of saying thank you
I recently watched an interview with Amy Purdy on Oprah Winfrey’s show SuperSoulSunday and immediately purchased her new biography On My Own Two Feet. Amy Purdy’s story of how she fought her way back to happiness after contracting meningitis at 19 is really remarkable. Amy fought for her life in hospital for several months and lost both legs below the knee as a result of the illness, her ruptured spleen was removed and her father eventually gave her a kidney for her 21st birthday to replace her damaged kidney. Amy chose to embrace what is possible despite many months in hospital and aimed to be back on the slopes to practice her beloved sport of snowboarding within months of her illness.
Susan Cain’s fascinating book Quiet looks at the power of the introvert. Do you know where you are on the introvert/extrovert spectrum? Maybe you are an ambivert? Happiness Experiment no 19 asks you to take Susan Cain’s fun Quiet Quiz. There are no right or wrong answers and both personality types are equally positive but have different strengths. By recognising our personality type we are better able to live a life that is aligned with our true strengths. You can learn more about Susan Cain in her TED talk. Watch this brief animated video for a brief explanation of the differences between introverts and extroverts:
This is a two part blog post focusing on 2 different methods of discovering your strengths. Today’s blog post focuses on the VIA approach and a future post will focus on the Gallup Strengthfinder method. (There are other surveys which I have not tried yet such as Realise2 which are also worth looking at.)
Before I blind you with science it’s important to look at why we should focus on discovering our strengths at all. Like many people I have always assumed that I needed to work on my weaknesses rather than focus on my strengths believing that it was my weaknesses which held me back. I always assumed that things which came naturally to me were easy and therefore could not be considered as strengths. The more I learn about positive psychology, the more I realise how wrong these assumptions were. Of course we all have weaknesses and I am certainly not advocating that we should either ignore… Read the rest...
At the end of 2013 I will compile a list of my Top 20 favourite books this year. Here’s a link to the books which made it on to my 2012 bookshelf. There are already some strong contenders for the 2013 Top 20 so I know it will be a difficult choice. In this two-part blog post I am taking a look at the books I have enjoyed so far this year. Some of the books are newly published, some are just new to me. Please let me know if you would recommend any other books for this list.
The Book of Qualities by J.Ruth Gendler was published in 1988 but I only discovered it this year. It contains beautiful descriptions of human qualities and has lovely illustrations. Possibly my favourite book of the year so far.
This is a ground breaking book by a Dr Lissa Rankin who is trying to turn the healthcare system on its head. Dr Rankin’s book encourages doctors to really listen and spend time with their patients… Read the rest...
Happiness Experiment No 1: Smile more teaches you that smiling more leads to more happiness rather than happiness leading to more smiling. This fascinating article by Leo Widrich looks at how important body language is in general when it comes to altering your mood. He mentions the great TED talk by Amy Cuddy on body language which is also one of my favourites. Enjoy Amy Cuddy’s TED talk and Leo Widrich’s article and get ready to start the day in a power pose! You know you want to.
Isn’t it funny how you can go through life blissfully unaware of certain places until suddenly a name keeps popping up again and again and you move from a state of complete oblivion to gradual awareness of that place’s charms and then to a sudden overwhelming compulsion to visit that particular destination as soon as you can? Just six months ago Todmorden would not have been on my list of 1000 places to see before you die, not that I’m planning to die any time soon. Todmorden is not exactly up there with the Grand Canyon, the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China or other places which are considered by many to be one of the 7 Wonders of the World. So what has fuelled my sudden desire to visit Todmorden?
Todmorden – a Yorkshire Town
The first reason is a personal one – it’s in Yorkshire and my husband who is from Yorkshire tells me Yorkshire’s hard to beat. The other two reasons stem… Read the rest...
Brené Brown talking about her new book Daring Greatly.
“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.” US President Teddy Roosevelt
This quote, taken from a speech by US President Teddy Roosevelt, is the inspiration behind the title of Brené Brown’s new book Daring Greatly. I was fortunate to be at the UK launch of her latest book on Monday night… Read the rest...
This TED talk by Candy Chang is a great lesson in how to live life to the full. In response to her grief at the death of a friend, and after reflecting on death and how to come to terms with her loss Candy decided to set up a large blackboard wall in her New Orleans neighbourhood with the sentence: Before I die I want to………………
The response to her wall was phenomenal and other cities followed suit. You can see how Candy’s important message has spread by checking out her website Before I Die.
Take a few minutes to watch her video and I hope you will feel inspired to think about all the things you want to do before you die. You may even feel inspired to set up your own Before I Die wall in your community here are some resources to get you started or it may just cause you to reflect on what really matters to you. Happiness experiment no 10 is therefore to make a list of all the things you want to do before you die … Read the rest...