Tag Archives: Happiness

LOVE

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My first thought was to title this post “A Happy Surprise”, but after thinking about how to write about this happy surprise, I felt the word “Love” was a better fit. If you are new to “My Happy”, welcome! “My Happy” began as a simple scrapbook, in a sense, of the things in my life that add to, strengthen, or create my happiness. It is a way for me to focus on the positives giving me strength, clarity, and appreciation for every day experiences. As I began this journey, I was testing out the positive psychology practices that I had learned.  In doing so,  I wrote “That Makes Me Happy!” a children’s story.

“That Makes Me Happy!” was written and illustrated with love, for my children, and for children everywhere. A passion emerged from my life experiences to show children that we (adults) value happiness and that we love them, whether they are our own child, our neighbor, our friend’s children, our relative, our student, we care about them and want them to feel loved and happy.  

This blog also gave me a doorway to the world. I could connect with people all over the world. I took a chance and reached out to Madame Corinne, a teacher in France.  There was no one to tell me it was right or my story was going to be well received. I only knew in my heart that this story could bring smiles and love. I trusted myself and knew that sharing “That Makes Me Happy!” is sharing my love, and my love is the best thing I can share, right?

Madame Corrine an open-minded, kind, wise teacher accepted my story and used it as a part of her happiness project she had planned for her elementary students. Madame Corinne shares my belief of the importance of teaching children about their ability to create their happiness. Please read about her happiness project here Madame Corinne’s Happiness Project.  Madame Corinne and I have continued to e-mail and share our life experiences and I look forward to learning more from our friendship.

The experience of sharing the story and knowing it was included in a happiness project has been such a gift to me and my family. Love certainly comes back to you and this experience truly came back to me through an amazing surprise from a special teacher and class! Madame Corinne’s class collected their beautiful drawings of happy thoughts they devoted time to during the school year. They created a book “101 Things That Make Us Happy” and sent it to me! I cannot describe in words the happiness I felt when I received the book in the mail. I was close to tears when I realized the children had sent me their original drawings and I saw their happy, loving words.

 

Madame Corinne and her class also felt happy to give such a treasure to me. I would say we all shared much happiness and love. The students made a difference sharing their own happy thoughts. What an amazing lesson for the students to learn.

Thank you, Madame Corinne and all the children for the most precious happiness book ever! I look forward to sharing it. You have all inspired me to keep sharing “That Makes Me Happy!” and creating my happiness because we all deserve to be happy and loved.

“My Happy” readers, I hope this story inspires you to create your happiness and look for opportunities to share your love. I would be happy to hear and share your stories, too. You may comment below or you can e-mail me at thatmakesmehappy@yahoo.com 

 

Websites to be inspired by:

http://www.actionforhappiness.org/

http://www.lifevestinside.com/

 

 

Happy International Day of Happiness!

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Happy International Day of Happiness!

International Day of Happiness

Monday March 20, 2017

This year I am bringing you a video which explains the International Day of Happiness. Happiness is for each of us. Let’s take even the smallest action today, like a blog post, time for fun, extra hugs, or any act of kindness to encourage everyone with ways to be happy and positive. Being negative or neutral doesn’t take much effort, unfortunately. Being positive and happy takes effort and time. Remember to take time for yourself to focus on the things that help you to be happy, you deserve it!

Please take a minute to watch this video to be inspired by people around our beautiful world.

Take the pledge: I will think happy thoughts and I will do what I can do to make the world a happier place. 🙂

You can also visit http://www.dayofhappiness.net to learn more about 10 Keys to Happier Living

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The United Nations, UNICEF and The Smurfs have teamed up to teach that even the smallest smurf can make a difference! You can watch this video to learn more…

Visit http://www.globalgoals.org/worldslargestlesson To join UNICEF and Team Smurfs to make the world a happier place visit http://www.SmallSmurfsBigGoals.com and celebrate World Happiness Day with the United Nations and Team Smurfs on March 20th.

I hope this made your day happier! Thank you for reading “My Happy”!

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What’s In Your Cornucopia?

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Thank you for reading My Happy! Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

Here is the pdf to print and color your own. 🙂  scan_20161122-3 Send it to thatmakesmehappy@yahoo.com and I will share it on “My Happy”.

Madame Corinne’s Happiness Project

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Madame Corinne’s Happiness Project

A Happiness Project taught in a classroom in France brings happiness to a classroom in Spain and to me! Two students taking “The Science of Happiness” course given by the University of California Berkeley were unaware that their paths would happily cross and be mutually beneficial.

My new friend, Madame Corinne, a caring teacher in France to six and seven year old creative students and I connected when Madame Corinne did a Google search and found “My Happy”.  Madame Corinne was kind enough to leave a comment sharing that she was a teacher in France. After reading her comment I was eager to ask Madame Corinne if she would like a copy of That Makes Me Happy! I noticed that her e-mail address came up with her comment on the “My Happy” comment page. I thought about sending her an e-mail, then decided not to. Yes, self-doubt held me back. In the past I would have simply given in to my self-doubt. Instead, I reminded myself how far I had come since my first blog post. I felt good about the writing, the volunteering,  and the learning. One question I now ask myself when I am presented with an opportunity is: “Why not?” I again found myself looking at Madame Corinne’s e-mail address. This time I e-mailed her. I asked if she would like a copy of my story to read to her class. Madame Corinne was so kind to say yes! She was already planning a wonderful Happiness Project for her new class and the story fit right in.

Madame Corinne began her new school year by focusing her students on happiness. I was very honored that she read “That Makes Me Happy” and had her students make Happy Rings as part of her project. Madame Corinne asked her students to think of “3 small happinesses” each morning. Students created pictures and  posted their drawings to a bulletin board.  Below are the pictures Madame Corinne shared with me. Her students were very creative with the Happy Rings. I especially liked how they personalized them, even the smiley faces! Happy Ring total has now reached 127! I also enjoyed looking at all the pictures on the bulletin board.

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Madame Corinne shared her project with a teacher in Spain. Senorita Berta will be teaching her students this happiness project and all the students from each classroom will share their ideas this year! How wonderful!

I was excited I had written that e-mail and in a small way I was apart of these terrific projects. I am still amazed at how simply reaching out has connected me to fellow happiness creators so far from my home. Creating happiness is making a difference to Madame Corinne, Senorita Berta, and their students this year. Madame Corinne’s Happiness Project not only teaches students they can create their happiness, it also teaches students even though we may be living in different countries, we CAN connect, and we CAN make a  POSITIVE difference. Everyone’s ideas are important and we can be happier by sharing them!

Thank you Madame Corinne and Senorita Berta for teaching your students about creating happiness! Thank you for sharing my story. Please thank your students for making Happy Rings!

That Makes Me Happy!

More Pictures 12/5/16

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Summer Reading

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Summer Reading

Happy News

This summer dive into these good reads! While reading a Happy blog (ha ha… yes, many others are sharing their happy stories), I learned about this great newspaper:  “The Happy News”.   A newspaper to celebrate all that’s good in the world…The Happy Newspaper is a platform to share positive news and wonderful people. The line up in this issue was: General News Stories, Everyday Heroes, Celebs/Showbiz, Poems, Lifestyle, Food, Travel, Your Year, New Year Tips, Meet the Writers, From me to You. All written from a positive perspective.

One of my favorite sections included positive news about celebrities. It was great hearing about good news like Pharrell Williams turns ‘Happy’ into a children’s book. Malala Yousafzai, youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize celebrates her 18th birthday by opening an all girls school for Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Prince Harry and Prince William join BBC home improvement program ‘DIY SOS’ in renovating an abandoned street in Manchester into 26 homes for homeless war veterans. Another section I enjoyed reading was Everyday Heroes. There you can find people and organizations trying to make the world a happier place.  One organization, Free Cakes for Kids UK network is a community organization of volunteer bakers who provide birthday cakes to families who are struggling and find it difficult to provide a cake to their child.   www.freecakesforkids.org/uk  The paper includes many websites and other resources to lift you up.

Emily Coxhead  had the idea to begin a newspaper that “added sunshine to a person’s day”. She and other volunteers collaborated on this fun and enlightening newspaper. To learn more about it or order the next issue go to:  http://www.thehappynewspaper.com

9781611800586_p0_v3_s192x300[1]Sitting Still Like a Frog” Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and Their Parents) by Eline Snel is a fun way to encourage children (and their parents) to meditate. Eline Snel is a therapist who has been working with Mindfulness for 20 years, developing training programs. She is the founder of the Academy for Mindful Teaching in Leusden, Netherlands.

Bedtime “shenanigans” led me to try meditation with my children. Does anyone still use that word? I think it is a nice way to explain the silliness that occurs at my children’s bedtime. Sometimes..er..okay a lot lately my little ones have difficulty settling in. Even after their bath and stories, they are still playful. I find having them lay down in their beds and talking them through a relaxation meditation can be very helpful.  “Sitting Still Like a Frog” helps parents and teachers use meditation at various times during the day and it also includes a meditation for bedtime, “Sleep Tight”.

Eline Snel uses the description of a frog to develop an understanding of the importance of stillness.  My children found it interesting and fun.  There are positive reviews from teachers who have used it in their classrooms. You will find an Introduction to Mindfulness, Parenting with Mindfulness, Weathering the Storm Inside, Handling Difficult Feelings, It is Good to Be Kind, to name a few. The book includes a CD of 11 mindfulness practices you can do with your child. Our children LOVE to spend time with us. Sometimes simply role modeling  gets children interested enough to try a new thing. I realized, though my children preferred  my voice over listening to the CD at bedtime. My friend, Kathleen noticed that with her daughter. Familiar voices are the best, of course. Your children may prefer you to do the narrative for the bedtime meditation.

Let me know what YOU think! You can share what you like about the “The Happy Newspaper” or how your children respond to “Sitting Still Like a Frog” by commenting on this post. I would be very interested in your feedback!

Happy Reading!

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“That Makes Me Happy!” News

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“That Makes Me Happy!” has really done just that. It has made me happy.  Many of you have been asking how things are going with my children’s book. After the book launch, opportunities for volunteering to share my book and teach the lesson it holds fell into place. Volunteering and focusing on my family filled my time and this blog took a back seat.  Now it is time to catch up.

My enthusiasm for the science of happiness resulted in writing “That Makes Me Happy!” a story that teaches children they can cultivate their own happiness. At the end of the story children can make a “Happy Ring” to practice the strategies which are deep breaths, smiling, and thinking a happy thought.  By reading the story to children, adults can show children we value well-being as much as academics and achievements.

This past school year I volunteered to teach the lesson from my story at my oldest son’s school. As I had read the story in my youngest children’s class the previous school year.  His school had a set time every week to bring health and wellness education to their students. Awesome, right?  The science behind happiness lesson fit right in.  Not ever having taught more than a classroom size of 31 students it was a new experience for me. I was asked to teach the lesson to each grade. There were 100 students in each grade.  Keeping a group that size engaged and interested definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone. I wished that I could simply read my story and make “Happy Rings” but that wouldn’t fly with these older students (4th, 5th, and 6th graders).  20160802_122551

 

While creating the lesson, I thought back to what really amazed me in the research.  Richard Davidson’s research with His Holiness, the Dalai Lama was top on the list. thRichard Davidson’s research focuses on the brain-emotion connection. When the Dalai Lama heard of his research he urged Richard Davidson to study kindness and compassion. “He said: ‘You’ve been using the tools of modern neuroscience to study depression, and anxiety, and fear.  Why can’t you use those same tools to study kindness and compassion?’  Data from brain scans of Tibetan monks were studied. The monks observed had a regime of meditating 8 hours a day, some had done so for 20 years.  The findings led to the understanding that meditative practices and practicing kindness and compassion result in a brain that is more capable of change, in theory becoming more resilient.

“Rather than think of the brain as a static organ, or one that just degenerates with age, it’s better understood as an organ that is constantly reshaping itself, is being continuously influenced, wittingly or not, by the forces around us.”  Richard Davidson 

Brain plasticity, mirror neurons, and calming jars…oh my!   I brought the lesson to life by using student volunteers.  Teaching a group of 100 students was a challenge for me. Did I already say that? Teaching your own class is much different from teaching a large group of students you do not know. Using strategies like positive self-talk, visualizing the lesson going well, deep breaths, and having a growth mindset kept me on track.  I also had support from a few teachers with each grade.  Once I had taught the first group of 100 students, I felt proud of myself and realized it helped me to grow. It felt like such an accomplishment to have taught this lesson to my son and his peers.  Thank you to the staff and students of Proctor Elementary School.

My cousin, Helen, a third-grade teacher was very excited about my story. I offered to read it to her class. In April Saint Joseph’s school welcomed me to share my story with 4 classes, kindergarten, first, second, and third grade! Reading my story, sharing author secrets, and creating “Happy Rings” together created my happy! Seeing the smiles, the interest, receiving inquisitive questions, the excitement about using “Happy Rings” is truly priceless! Thank you to Mrs. Fitzgerald, all the staff and children at Saint Joseph’s school.

My more recent news for “That Makes Me Happy!” is it has traveled overseas! “That Makes Me Happy!” will be read in classrooms in France, India, and possibly Germany!20160802_131341 (1)

 

 

 

“That Makes Me Happy!” is doing just that, making me happy. I hope it is making many people happy. In fact if you have read the story and made “Happy Rings” please e-mail me how many children made the “Happy Rings” at: thatmakesmehappy@yahoo.com.  I will be keeping track of how many are made. So far, there have been a little over 100 Happy Rings made. I look forward to seeing that number grow. I am also happy to have taught over 400 children that they can cultivate their own happiness and a few strategies to begin with: deep breaths, smiling often, and thinking happy thoughts.

Did I imagine all this when I took my first “baby step” which was starting this blog? No, I did not. I knew I wanted to share this wonderful information with friends, family, and especially children. I am glad I found a way using many of the strategies I have been writing about!

Thank you all for reading My Happy, you are a big part of this!

A Bird’s Eye View

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A Bird’s Eye View

A unique opportunity presented itself to our family this past June.  Having a lovely Forsythia Wreath on our front door was not only appealing to our visitors, but to two very intelligent nest builders. My family discovered a bird’s nest carefully crafted on the wreath laying against our front glass storm door giving us a bird’s eye view of 4 baby birds! It was a perfect spot for the family of birds as it provided much shelter. The birds inspired learning, a song, kindness, and amazement.  My family and I learned baby birds grow and leave the nest within a matter of weeks. My daughter was inspired to sing an original song to the baby birds, our kind construction crew worked around the birds until they flew away, and lastly it was truly amazing to watch the baby birds’ journey from newborn without feathers to feathered fliers.  This was definitely an experience that created much happiness!

Watch their transformation paired with an original song by Juliet.

 

20160610_145257We discovered the new baby birds.

20160610_152751Our cats were also very interested.20160616_162123 20160620_113538 Each bird’s beautiful feathers came in.

20160621_134538 This was the last bird to leave the nest. 🙂

Please feel free to share your happy experiences, I would love to hear about them!

 

Happy International Day of Happiness!

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Happy International Day of Happiness!

 

Enjoy your day with people who make you smile and laugh. My family is lucky to be spending a fun day celebrating a special friend’s 5th birthday!

 

I am sharing the following from Action for Happiness which is a movement for positive social change.

“We want a society that prioritises the things that really matter. Join us and help spread happiness – at home, at work or in your community.”

Source: Let’s put the things that matter first

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Have a great day! 🙂

Happy Book Launch

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Ringing the singing bowl to focus our hearing

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patiently waiting

 

my favorite part, reading the story and seeing smiles

my favorite part, reading the story and seeing smiles

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My friend, Margit has supported every step of my happiness journey and made these cookies for the book launch. She hand did each face!

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I think these cookies stole the show! 😉

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Happy drawings!!!

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Getting to write special messages was so fun!

 

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Margit’s cookies made everyone smile

untitledThis photo was taken at the next reading I did for story time at our library during vacation week. We used masks to act out the story. So cute!

 

 

We had a very happy book launch at my town’s library, thank you to all the librarians and a special thank you to Lindsey and Becky! Celebrating with my family and friends always makes me happy.  I always know I can depend on them to be as happy as I am to come together and celebrate, especially for something they know means so much to me.  A number one priority to creating your happiness is to strengthen your social connections. I hope they know how much I appreciate their support, especially at my happy book launch. Sharing “That Makes Me Happy!” and making Happy Rings with my family and friends was truly one of the happiest days I have ever had.

Twenty-five families attended and listened to the reading of “That Makes Me Happy!”.  All the children were terrific listeners and participants. The event was also attended by  Alison, a reporter from our local newspaper.  I look forward to reading the article and seeing the pictures. There was so much going on and I wished I could have chatted more and been able to talk to each child about their drawings. During the book launch children made their happy thought circles and then added it to a Happy Ring to take home. My friend Kim shared with me that her son’s happy thought was me! I was very surprised and almost cried! How sweet was that!James and Tiffany

It was also very heartwarming when one friend shared her enthusiasm for the “Happy Rings” and how her sons have been able to have fun using them for calming strategies. She was very kind to post this comment on “My Happy”:

“That Makes Me Happy! was read in my son’s preschool class and he loved it! He was excited to share with the family the Happy Ring he had created. To this day, I use the techniques described in the book and the Happy Ring as calming strategies for both of my boys. They always end up smiling and laughing with each other. Tiffany, I am so happy to share in your special day tomorrow as you launch the book. Congratulations on your amazing accomplishment!” Amy

It was also important to me to explain some of the great research that led to my motivation to write “That Makes Me Happy!”. First, I explained the work of Richard Davidson. Richard Davidson is a neuroscientist and emotional specialist. At a recent conference hosted by The Mind and Life Institute, Davidson talked about his center’s work in the field of contemplative neuroscience.  He says one of the most important insights this work is leading us to is: we can train for well-being. “It is the neuroscientific evidence particularly which shows us that the circuits in the brain that are important to underlying well-being exhibit plasticity–it changes as a consequence of experience and as a consequence of training.  We know that the brain is constantly being changed, wittingly or unwittingly.”  “We can all take responsibility for our own brains and we can shape our own brains in ways that are more positive and can lead to the cultivation of well-being.”

Read more about Richard Davidson’s work at: http://www.centerhealthyminds.org

Next, I shared the information about the course given by UC Berkeley, “The Science of Happiness”. Not only does this course cover all the latest research in positive psychology, it also teaches students happiness practices to cultivate well-being.  Although it is a 10 week course, if you are not taking it to earn credit, you have the materials for six months and may take it at your own pace.  Between the discussion groups and Facebook page there is opportunity to connect with people from all over the world. Simply hearing the stories of others looking to learn more about positive well-being is very uplifting.

Read more at http://www.greatergoodsciencecenter.org

Local organizations that support SEL in other ways are

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http://www.friendshipconnectiononline.com/

http://www.artfullifecenter.org/

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Lastly, I organized a “Happiness Bundle” for my town library. I have pictured the books I included below. I tried to think of everyone, whether you are an avid reader, a magazine flipper, a movie watcher or a parent looking for children’s books about happiness. I feel like this is the best grouping of books that I have read in the sea of new happiness books. If you live in my area, I hope you get  chance to borrow some of these finds. 🙂 If you are not, your own library may have some of these titles. If not, you can ask them if they could get them in.

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As you can see I have a lot to share! The title “That Makes Me Happy!” truly describes what all this is about, Creating My Happy! I hope that it also Creates YOUR Happy!

Thank you to everyone who helped make this day so HAPPY! 🙂 A special thank you to Olivia for taking pictures at the book launch and Lois for taking pictures at the story time. Thank you to Margit for the delicious custom cookies and to Alex, my excellent assistant at the launch.

 

That Makes Me Happy!

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As soon as I began learning about the latest research in positive psychology, I wanted to share that knowledge with children. “That Makes Me Happy!” is aimed to reach 4 to 9 year olds with a story of animal characters and an ending with a “Happy Ring”. I wanted to give children an easy, fun way to practice being more positive! Just like learning any new skill, we can practice to be a more positive person. I have recorded a video to explain my thinking behind this story. “That Makes Me Happy!” is available at http://www.amazon.com

Please share your experiences if you purchase the book and read it with your children or students. I would greatly appreciate feedback!

You can e-mail me at thatmakesmehappy@yahoo.com