The Happiness Advantage

Let’s slow it down, shall we?

I have a desire to get more intellectual, so that means you’re going to be taken on the ride with me whether you’d like to or not. Lately I’ve only been feeding my brain with business details, spreadsheets and the occasional leisure-read of my favorite blogs – but there’s a need for new thoughts to expand my brain and get my creative centers firing.

Today I’m sharing a TED Talk (love ’em) that was published 15 months ago but was recently brought to my attention. Shawn Achor, researcher and teacher of positive psychology, walks us through the first time positive psychology crept into his youthful mind and in the twelve minutes of footage had me convinced that my brain is capable of showing me any world I want to see.

In his humorous presentation, he inspires me to challenge myself to reverse the formula I’ve always used for happiness and success.

For many of us, our picture of success is measured as the following:

If you work harder, you’ll be more successful | If you’re more successful, you’ll be happy

I don’t know if it’s the same for you, but when I work harder and am successful – I just keep placing the bar higher and higher. While I may experience short-term elation and pride, I’m never fully being satisfied with my accomplishments nor experiencing the “happiness” I’d expected in all the hard work placed into my goals.

Shawn challenges us to re-write the formula for ourselves by training our brain (as we train our bodies) to seek out the happiness and optimism in the world. He cites that your external world does not predict your happiness – but rather the way your brain processes the world around you can create happiness and boost productivity, creativity, understanding, clarity and attitude.

Afterall, perception is reality.

If you do anything today, please click ‘play’ below and engage in an inspirational conversation with your subconscious:

The Happiness Advantage is also a book you can find on Amazon – I’ll be downloading it for my Kindle on iPad soon!

heart JE

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Unwind

Thanks for not throwing things at me on Friday for lamely re-directing you to another post that explained how I was feeling – a quality post just wasn’t going to happen.

Some things that did happen on Friday:

  • Scrambled and flustered practice-round presentation
  • A slap in my own face for revealing how scrambled I felt to my team and manager
  • Twenty minutes to myself to get game-time ready
  • A solid, composed and confident presentation when it counted.
  • A celebration patio beer with the team Except they got lunch too
  • A surprise work-birthday party… followed by not much other work.
  • Supergoose IPA in the sun while waiting for Dan to meet me at the theater
  • Iron Man 3 (great flick!)
  • Crashed hard when we got home at 10pm

Saturday morning Dan and I woke up early and refreshed. We quickly packed a bag (that held mostly our electronic devices) and hit the open road to meet up with my parents and little sisters at the coast.

The sun roof open and our sunglasses on the entire trip made us feel like it was mid-July. While the temperatures crept into the high 70’s and the rays of the sun soaked into our skin we felt nothing but joy, relief and a youthful nostalgia of summer break. We talked more in that two hour car ride than we’ve talked in the last few months, and even though a good majority of it was about work – it felt great to listen to his voice, talk about ways we can help each other and get inside of each other’s heads more than the usual “what do you want for dinner, how was your day, did you feed Tiger” conversations.

Unwinding for the weekend was the best thing we could have done for ourselves and definitely helped me with my ‘be spontaneous’ goal. As you can imagine, no additional work for the week was done for this blog, no work was done, no food prep was accomplished and we’ll have to save our Costco trip for another day.

And I’m fine with that, because nothing can beat a sunset like this one.

heart JE

April Summary

Whoa – reality check, it’s still technically April? I think we’ve got some confusion around here, the weather has been gorgeous in Portland and that’s not normally until June July if we’re lucky.

Really though, with the change of seasons, my work focus being on the month of May and all that has gone on in my world it’s difficult to face that tomorrow is the 1st of May. No complaints, just level setting with my mind because so much has happened this month.

April to me meant change, maturity and responsibility at work. It brought overwhelming success and pride that I’ll never forget. It propelled me into overshooting my running goal of 100 miles by 16 miles – which is unheard of during such a busy month. 

I’m looking back to my April’s Eight Great Goals and I seriously missed the mark on 6 of 8. I didn’t think reasonably what craziness the month would bring and sadly there were a few things that were out of my control and even out of my scope of importance. Where we did have amazing success was with limiting latte intake – I am looking forward to keeping that in mind in the months that follow.

Even though I’m managing through falling under the line, we still had a great month and plenty of wonderful memories to show for it!

Yummy Eats

So much amazing food was enjoyed this month from date nights to weekend food prep:

Torta-Landia

Sweet Potato + Quinoa Stir Fry

Saburo’s

Work Related

I realize that I talked a lot about work this month, and really because I spend most of my day living and breathing my work with so many positive things to show for it.

I’ve promised Dan and everyone in my life that the craziness will be over starting once the fourth quarter is over – which means another month!

Still there were some good posts that came out of the craziness and want a collection of them here:

Under the Bridge

How High?

Desk Love

Keep Running

Running Love

I got after so many miles this month and it really impacted my happiness.

I knew that running was more than just about meeting my goal when I was lacing up after 8pm at night, or logging ten milers even after hitting my goal. The weather has been so warm I’ve even been breaking a sweat early on in the run, and there’s no better feeling.

Running for Days

30 Mile Weekend

Countdown: Tough Mudder

My Handsome Daniel

The one person who got the least of me this month was my wonderful boyfriend. We stopped carpooling due to my schedule, we only went on two runs together, he had a golf tournament that I didn’t make it to and he did nothing but try to fix the world and make things easier on my life. He’s my everything and I’m so thankful he’s in love with me.

Week 14 Cohabitation

Week 15 Cohabitation

heart JE

Keep Running

Finally – Happy Friday!

Wednesday night I only had 4 hours of broken sleep and then last night my car battery died … or it’s an issue with my alternator. We aren’t quite sure yet but I’m thankful for Daniel for always looking out for me, taking care of me, and even jump starting my car and following me in early this morning to make sure that all was okay. All was not okay and my car is parked just a few blocks from my house, but that’s something we can figure out this weekend – nothing to stress about today.

This week my mantra unlike my car’s was ‘Keep Running’.

“Keep Running” to me means many things – 

  • Keep a positive attitude through whatever comes your way
  • Shovel manure and come out smelling like a rose
  • Challenge yourself with physical and metaphorical hills
  • Turn an obstacle or barrier into an opportunity to overcome
  • Pour your heart into your work and don’t look back
  • Take time where time is due – with my Daniel, with my running, with my wildest dreams

When momentum is rolling, let it roll.

Don’t force it but don’t halt your energy and the energy of those around you.

Appreciate the world around you and influence the world within you.

Most importantly my friends – remember to Rise & Grind.

heart JE

Today in History – 4.24.2000

Hello everyone!

There’s so many things we could chat about, like the weather, the new clothes I’ve bought lately {on sale!}, my job, what motivates me, my man, etc.

It almost crept past me but something reminded me of a decision I made 13 years ago that has significantly improved my life and my health.

Today, April 24th, marks 13 years since I’ve drank soda.

I could harp and harp on why soda is bad for you, here and here for example – but instead I’ll talk about what pushed me to the decision and the many reasons I’ve stuck to it over the past 13 years.

I was in Seventh grade, 12 years old and incredibly focused on softball and the things that I could do to improve my game. As a team, we were working on the ‘mental game’ to strengthen our minds and work out our discipline, so we were encouraged to choose something to give up for a week. Instantly I knew what I wanted to give up, but would have to enlist some help from teammates and my very own family.

See, my brother had given up soda a year prior and had always boasted about it – and being the competitive little sister I decided to lead follow my own path. I also was not such a light consumer of the sugary beverage. We would go to fast food restaurants for convenience after practices + games and I would consistently order the biggest Dr. Pepper or Root Beer I could get my hands on. No fault of anyone’s, just the health concerns of high soda consumption weren’t public knowledge as they are today – so it was more about the bubbly bite I’d experience from an ice cold soda rather than the taste of it.

I recall the ‘last supper’ like it was yesterday. My dad and I left the practice in Beaverton and headed to the East side, but not before a pit stop at McDonald’s to order a #2 (Two cheeseburgers) No Cheese, Ketchup Only with a Dr. Pepper to drink. I remember slowly sipping out of the straw, calculating what I was putting into my body and ultimately feeling sick as a result. The cup sat overnight on my nightstand, half full and eventually poured down the kitchen sink.

Realizing that I didn’t want to finish my last one, I knew I had an easy road ahead to look forward to both with this commitment and many others that followed.

Weeks passed, months passed. I noticed myself feeling better, my teenage pores were clearing up kind of and I was full of healthy hydration {water} like I’d never been before. Soon it was six months later and there was no way I was going back – I’d come too far to ever put a drop to my lips again.

Since giving up soda I have:

  • Saved a lot of $$
  • Avoided a lot of extra and worthless calories
  • Encouraged others to quit/limit their bad habits
  • Found the will to give up French Fries (going on 12 years)
  • Nodded my head to every health conscious reason to give up soda
  • Much less fast food dining
  • …Saved a lot of $$

I don’t nag or judge those who drink soda now, but I sure am happy that I don’t crave the stuff.

I know that I’m a happier person because of this commitment and the endless personal strength I gained in experiencing success will serve me well for a lifetime.

Like I said, happy:

Just try it for a week, see how much better you feel!

heart JE

Throwback Thursday: Desk Love

Happy Thursday! We’re one day closer to the weekend, the sun is rising early and yesterday was the start of sunsets occurring 8pm and later. #happygirl

I’ve been fielding the same few questions lately at work and feel that they are worth sharing in this space since you’re probably wondering the same things:

  • “What time did you get here?”
  • “What time are you leaving today?”
  • “Have you stepped outside yet?”
  • “Do you stay the night here?”
  • “Do you have outfits / shower products at the gym for when you’re here early/late?”
  • “You were here before me and you’re staying after me – are you okay?”
  • “How do you fit everything in?”
  • “Why do you think about work things outside of work?”

I think you can get the point. I’m at my desk ALL day long, headphones on, smile on my face. When I’m not standing at my desk (cheers for a high desk!) you can find me strutting to the printer, sharing, collaborating, microwaving my lunch, refilling my water and doing everything I can to make an impact on the world that I live in.

Of course I’d love to be running around to meetings, working out at lunchtime and catching up with old friends over long lunches – but not now. The more work I’m getting involved in, the more I’m learning, the more people are noticing the work being done by my team and the more my ego gets a nudge from the positive feedback coming my way.

Like I said last week, it’s like a runner’s high.

Today’s Throwback Thursday is brought to you by a young lady who experienced love at first sight with this very thoughtful Christmas gift:

heart JE

Countdown: Tough Mudder

Today marks 2 months to the day until we embark on another Tough Mudder adventure.

Tough Mudder events are 10-12 mile obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces that test your strength and stamina while forcing you to work together as a team and to finish strong, despite electric shock, freezing cold water and plenty of mud to go around.

Last year Brooke, Brad and I headed up to the Whistler Olympic Park in June to experience our first event and somehow we felt foolish enough to sign up and pay again to participate in a venue closer to home – Fossil, OR. This time around we were able to sucker Dan and a few other poor souls into facing the certain blood, sweat and tears waiting for us in Fossil this summer.

To give you a taste of what we’re up against, watch the latest hype video shared on Tough Mudder’s Facebook Page.

Quoting the site, we are supposed to “expect a hefty dose of mud, ice, fire, and electric shocks to test whether or not we’re tough enough to earn the coveted orange headband and an ice cold Dos Equis at the finish line.”

So far we’ve been doing the usual training, including long runs, body weight workouts and a #dirtyhairdontcare attitude, but this training schedule will ramp up significantly to prep for the next 60 days.

I guess first we need to find a hotel, don’t we?

If you want to check out my take-aways from last year, visit one of the very first posts ever written on this site.

Wish us luck with the rest of training!

heart JE