This issue is officially dedicated to Happiness. Why? Because it's important and timely. When parents in the US are asked, "What is the one thing you want MOST for your children?" the #1 answer, at approximately 72%, is that they would be happy. You can see how parents in other countries feel in this article. Isn't that what we all want? So, why is it so elusive? We'll dig in to that in this issue. 
International Happiness Day is Coming

Now the cat's out of the bag as to what spurred me to think of happiness as the theme for this issue. Yes, International Happiness Day is coming on March 20th, and you can join the movement to create a HAPPIER LIFE, and therefore, a HAPPIER PLANET. 

Go to the website and download the 10-step guide to a happiness that's built around the acronym GREAT DREAM: 

T=Trying Out

There you can take the Action for Happiness pledge, "I will try to create more happiness in the world around me." I plan to encourage each member of my family to focus on what makes them happy and do at least one thing on the 20th
Don't Worry, Be Happy

Of course you remember this chart-topping song that came out in 1988. It was inspired by a saying from Meher Baba, an Indian mystic and sage. Do you recall that Robin Williams was in the video? Watch it and be reminded what a riot he was. I believe a key reason this song became so popular was because of the wonderfully simple sentiment within it. And, the truism that worry and happiness are at odds with each other. 

The less you entertain worry in your life, the more happiness can enter in.
The Science of Happiness

Sure, we should worry less, but what are other SECRETS to happiness? Eric Barker writes the blog, Barking Up The Wrong Tree, and comes up with lots of great posts on how to be this and that backed up by sound principles. Eric says there are 5 things you can do to be happier, almost guaranteed.

1. Be grateful. Gratitude is an essential key to happiness. I've heard this countless times from many very successful people that the attitude of gratitude helps them to be happy and remain grounded. One way I keep myself feeling grateful is by writing down things I'm grateful for in the 5-minute Journal. You can find many on Amazon if you'd like to give it a try.

2. Do what you are good at as often as you can. This is one of the areas of focus within my strategic mindset workshops designed to guide business owners to greater success, and happiness will be a natural byproduct in the process.

3. Spend as much time as possible with people you like. What a terrific idea. How could this not make you happy?

4. Money isn't the key to happiness after a certain point. Interestingly the happiest of all income groups is making between 50-75k a year. Hmm, I wonder if these people are living outside of the Bay Area? So, the number may be a little higher here, but the idea remains the same.

5. Be optimistic. This is definitely one of my favorite ways to be happy.

6. Savor. Think about great memories and be present in the moment. 

7. Give. That says it all.

Eric has a few more ways to be happy. You can read the whole post here
Track Your Happiness

Wouldn't it be neat if in this modern age there was an app that would help you to be happier? Well, of course you're not surprised to hear that there is. Unfortunately it's only available for the iPhone, which means I'm not a user and can't tell you how it works. Supposedly it will track what makes you happy in order to help you be happier and also to consolidate data on what makes people happy in general. It's a big study and you can be a part of it. Learn more about it on their website.
Book Recommendation: The Happiness Track by Emma Seppala

If you read the last issue you might recall this book was on a list of Best Business Books of 2016. Well, I've started listening to it and I'm definitely learning more about the science behind happiness. Emma points out some interesting things about what makes happiness elusive that I'd like to share.

One is that we are on an achievement treadmill going from one thing to another. How can we be happy if we remain in a state of overdrive? We can't.

Going back to #6 on Eric's list above, we need to be present in the moment. We cannot be happy if we're always thinking about past mistakes and regrets or living in the future and missing out on the present. Now is all we have. When we truly start to be here now, we can unlock happiness in ordinary moments. For example, don't read or watch TV and eat. Just eat and enjoy each bite of your meal. Really taste the food and appreciate the nourishing process underway. 

Lastly, breathing is the only autonomic process we can actually control. We can adjust our breathing to change our state from nervous or agitated to calm, which can lead to happiness. Emma describes several breathing exercises in the book such as alternating inhalation and exhalation from your left nostril to your right for 5 minutes. Closing my eyes and doing this for just a few minutes starts to mellow me out. Try it!

Emma is on to something with this book and I recommend it to you. You can learn more about the book on her website
Want to Get Happier?

Now that you're happy, you just might want to get happier. 

If that's the case, then check out Gretchen Rubin's podcast on that topic. 

This Story Made Me Warm and Happy

Our last item for this issue came to me from one of my clients. It's a heartwarming story of a man who rescued a dog and in turn was rescued by that dog. This highlights the importance of "Giving" as one of the ways we can be happier in our lives. Read about Eric and watch the embedded video on SF GateGet your tissue ready.
That's a Wrap!
All right, that does it for this issue. I'm happier for having put it together. Please make 2 people happy by sharing it with someone (them and me). Or hit Reply and let me know I've made you happy with this theme. I'd love to hear from you! I'll be back on March 24th with another issue.

Michael Neuendorff | The Growth Coach | 650.373.2022