May 2015
       Vol 8, Issue 5      
Creative Coaching Group
 the Creative Coaching Group newsletter


It was the nite the STATS Canada report came out brandishing Vancouver as Canada's least happy city, that I ventured out to the opening of THE HAPPY SHOW at the MOV (Museum of Vancouver). Sunshine yellow walls and 26,000 yellow gumballs drew me through a bright, unique, interactive experiential look at what happiness means. Playful, and colourful - I was instantly in a 'happy' place. Artist Stefan Sagmeister asserts that happiness can be learned - and uses selective quotes by prominent positive psychologists to support his view.


If happiness is a choice, then why are so many of us choosing something different?

Read my feature article below to see how easy it is to "Get Happy"!




  Jan Carley BA, CEC, PCC  

  Professional Certified Executive Coach     

  Creative Coaching Group  

PS/ Don't despair Vancouverites...although Vancouver may be the least happy Canadian city, Canada is still the 5th happiest country in the world!
Feature Article: Happiness is an Inside Job 

If happiness is a choice, why aren't we all choosing it?  How do we get so consumed by negative thoughts and images perpetuated by the media and our society? We now know there is a scientific reason  - that negative energy is more powerful than positive.  Research shows that we need a ratio of 2.9 positive comments, experiences or thoughts to fend off the effects of one negative. So does that mean it is a done deal? Are we destined to be negative or can we overcome the negative and learn to cultivate happiness in our lives?  


The good news is that experts say YES - our brains can be rewired.  Many of us have long held the belief that 'success will bring happiness'. In fact, our brains work in the opposite order - if you raise your happiness level in the moment, your brain will perform significantly better than when negative, stressed or even neutral. When positive, dopamine floods into our system and that makes us happier and turns on the learning centres in our brain allowing us to adapt to the world in different ways. Harvard psychologist Shawn Achor calls this the Happiness Advantage. If you become positive in the present, your brain works better and intelligence, creativity and energy levels increase. So happiness can bring greater success.   


If it were easy to be happy, wouldn't we be happy consistently?  There are other contributory factors says noted psychologist and author, Dr. Martin Seligman in his book "AUTHENTIC HAPPINESS".  He describes his Happiness Formula  H = S + C + V that asserts that our H (Enduring level of Happiness) is equal to our S (Set factors -  genetic disposition) plus our C  (Circumstances) PLUS  our V (the factors under our voluntary control.)  (Check out Seligman's work for a full description of his formula for enduring happiness).  Let's put our focus on ways to increase the V - the things we can voluntarily control -  to easily create more happiness in our lives.





Happiness is deeply personal and begins inside with intention.  Make a choice to notice and seek on purpose those things that make you happy. I was surprised at how easy this step was as I walked around my neighbourhood to intentionally notice the things that made me happy. In less than 30 minutes,  I had smiled at the Jelly Bean Public art in the park, delighted at the plants growing in the Community garden, read a  plaque on a commemorative bench someone had donated in memory of a loved one and felt happy that the person was loved, threw a ball for a rambunctious Jack Russell Terrier running round the dog park and  and noticed with new eyes the beauty of the water and mountains surrounding me.  


Action: What makes you happy? Experiment intentionally with  'noticing'  and journaling every day at least 1 positive experience. Writing down your 'happy things' will relive them for you and imbed those happy feelings.



Research says if you have one happy friend your overall happiness improves by 15% . Make a choice to deepen your connections to friends, family,neighbours, community. Reach out and connect with a positive person. Join a group or community that fills your heart with joy. Happy and successful people build a social support network filled with positive people who believe in their potential.


Action: Think about who could you connect with today. Is there a phone call you could make to your old high school buddy that lives in another city? Is there a conversation you could have with your partner or family member or neighbour?



Get active in spreading joy to others.  The act of performing conscious acts of kindness to others is addictive. It makes us feel good to make others feel good.  A short text message, an email, a smile to someone on the street is often all it takes to shift someones mood.    

Action: Get intentional about making someone else feel good every day.  



Start noticing the things (small or big) you are thankful for. A practice of gratitude changes your neural pathways establishing a neural groove that will make you feel better. Gratitude expands your capacity for happiness.  

Action: Do a nightly gratitude sign off. Spend a few minutes before you turn out the lights to write down at least 3 things that happened that day or that you noticed for which you are grateful. Go to sleep with those positive thoughts. Your gratitude energy will expand overnight as you sleep.



We know the benefits of keeping active from a physical perspective and now the mental benefits of moving our bodies are undisputed. Cardio activity releases the feel-good brain chemicals that have been shown to be extremely effective in creating a positive mental state.

Action:  Get up, get outside and move every day.  Can't manage a full-on exercise program?  No worries! You will get the mental benefits by simply getting outside and walking for 15 minutes each day. Notice the things that make you happy in your 'hood.  



Cultivating a practice of mindfulness can have huge mental health benefits. Slow down your racing, thinking mind by centering your body, and focusing on your breathing.   

Action:  If meditation scares you, think of this as simply spending 5 minutes to think about nothing while you breathe deeply.  Even a short, mindful 'time out' will quieten your racing mind and calm your soul.   


Happiness really is an inside job. And the choice is ours.   Want to get happy now? Turn up the speakers, and click here to clap along with Pharrell Williams.   



Authentic Happiness  by Martin Seligman

The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

Event: The Happy show by Stefan Sagmeister,

running at the MOV (Museum of Vancouver) until Sept 7   

Lightbulb of the Month


"Happiness is a choice not a pursuit"  

-Shawn Achor, psychologist and author
GET HAPPY with  Jan - Individual Coaching Spots Now Available

Jan Carley square Did you start 2015 with zeal but now, at the midway point, are losing steam? Are you overwhelmed or have been hit by one too many challenges? Temporarily off track and needing some support to rediscover your Mojo?  Feel like it's really time to "Get Happy"? 


If so, I encourage you to experience the transformational process of one-on-one coaching. I have a few slots available this spring and summer for individuals wanting to make a change in their lives.  


Contact me for a Free 30 minute coaching consultation to see if coaching is a fit for you right now.   email:   

About Jan Carley  

Jan Carley is a Professional Certified Executive Coach credentialed with the International Coach Federation. Known as a high-performance catalyst, Jan specializes in coaching individuals and teams to focus and clarify their vision and leverage their signature strengths to open possibilities and maximize their performance potential. 3rd edition of Jan's book Jan's book, Harmony from the Inside Out, has been acclaimed worldwide and is now in its 3rd printing. Jan is Associate Faculty of the renowned Royal Roads University Executive Coaching Program, a Professional Mentor coach and a certified facilitator of the Strength Deployment Inventory .  
Jan lives in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and is available for individual & team coaching, workshops and speaking engagements worldwide. PCC logo

Contact Jan at 604 873-1763    email:    

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