Q&A with Dr. Happy

Today I am thrilled to welcome Dr. Timothy Sharp, better known as Dr. Happy!

Q&A with Dr. Happy

I was fortunate enough to be able to interview him on his thoughts regarding happiness and positive psychology. Below are his answers. Enjoy!

First of all, can you tell us a little bit about your background?

My background is in clinical psychology and specifically, in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. I completed an undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree with Honours in Psychology, then a Clinical Masters Degree and then finally, a PhD. So I started off specialising in stress, depression and misery before I’d even heard about happiness!

I worked in and thoroughly enjoyed my career as a therapist for many years but then when I discovered positive psychology (some time around 1999 or 2000), it was like a life changing epiphany; it was literally as though a light went on and I had to follow the light!

So for the last 15 years I’ve dedicated my life and my work to promoting the principles of positive psychology.

Can you describe positive psychology in a nutshell?

The simple answer is that Positive Psychology is “the science of happiness”. But more accurately, it’s the science of thriving and flourishing because living our best lives involves more than just experiencing positive emotions such as happiness. Positive emotions are very important and valuable but to thrive and flourish, to be our very best, the positive psychology research also points to the importance of engaging fully with our strengths and with the world, building and fostering positive relationships, creating meaning and purpose in all we do, and setting and working towards meaningful goals for us and those around us. In addition, it’s important to take care of our physical health by eating well, exercising and ensuring adequate sleep and rest.

What originally got you interested in happiness as a subject?

Like most people it was always something I was interested in but as a clinical psychologist it just wasn’t, unfortunately, something we focused much on. Thankfully, positive psychology came along and set out to redress the imbalance. In some ways what Positive Psychology was saying is that for too long we’ve focused on what’s wrong with people and with life but what if we were to focus on what’s right? Accordingly, I began to focus much more on strengths and successes and happiness and gratitude rather than just faults and weaknesses and distress and problems.

Are there certain habits that you think are essential for maintaining happiness?

For sure. At The Happiness Institute we advocate that happiness is something you choose; check out our core model here.

Consistent with this there’s much research to support the following happiness boosting behaviours. You can find those here.

Can you tell us about The Happiness Institute that you founded and what goes on there?

The Happiness Institute is a positive psychology practice; that is, we deliver a range of services and produce a range of products all designed to enhance happiness and wellbeing in individuals, couples, families, organisations/businesses/teams and even schools. We do this via, for example, coaching, small group programs, workshops and seminars (as well as by giving away and selling self-help products based on empirically proven methods).

If you had to give one piece of advice for living a happy life, what would it be?

 I’m always reluctant to say that there’s “one” answer; because there’s not. And even if there were one answer for me it would be different for you and every other person out there. Instead, I recommend people CHOOSE to be happy and then develop their own unique “recipe” that works for them. That being said, I very much encourage people to remember that happiness isn’t just feeling good, it’s also doing good so don’t ever forget that other people matter!

Be the reason someone smiles today

What is your favorite quote about happiness?

 Achieving happiness requires nothing more than practising a few simple disciplines each and every day.

Happy Quote

A huge thank you to Dr. Happy for the interview! You can find out more on Dr. Happy here and learn more about the Happiness Institute here.

Question of the day: Have you ever heard of positive psychology? What do you think about it?

5 of the Sweetest Mom Quotes in Honor of Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms – You rock! And a very special Happy Mother’s Day shout out to my mom (I know you’re reading this)!

Here are a few other my favorite quotes about moms in honor of Mother’s Day:

#1: “Most mothers are instinctive philosophers.” – Harriet Beecher Stowe

Most Mother's are Instinctive Philosophers - Mother's Day Quotes

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Happy Weekend Pics

Hope you had a beautiful weekend! Here are a few snapshots from mine.

SurfingEnough work. Time to play.


Succulent Pallet GardenPallet succulent garden we made from an old pallet.


Beach TimeBeach fun.


Beach LifeBilly checking the waves – “Look at those lefts!”


San Diego The beach down the street from us.


Street FairHuge pieces of art at the Little Italy Art Fair.


Home Sweet HomeBought a cute “home sweet home” sign with a heart over San Diego. Now I just need to decide where to hang it!


Living WallCouldn’t pass up the living wall photo op.

What did you do this weekend? Did you have time to hang out with friends and family?

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Tips for a Great Morning, Every Morning

What are some of the first things you do each morning when you wake up? Recently, I’ve been really conscious of what I choose to do when I open my eyes in the morning.

I go through phases of reaching for my phone on my bedside table to see the time and then getting sucked into reading work email and checking social media while still in bed. Since I’m a social media manager, I look at the Twitter and Facebook accounts that I manage at work and then check my own personal ones. Sometimes I would center myself with some morning mantras or meditate, but it wasn’t a daily routine.

Three weeks ago I made a rule for myself that I would leave my phone in the other room and commit to some new morning rituals. Note: I am a fairly early-riser so I have about an hour of extra time before I need to get ready for work in the morning.

Tips for a great morning, every morning

Here are the rituals I try to do each morning. I get to about 5 of the 6 each day.

1. Think of 3 things I’m grateful for.

2. Meditate

3. Read a few pages of a book. Right now I’m reading The Power of Self-Healing by Dr. Fabrizio Mancini.

Morning Rituals

4. Do some stretching exercises/yoga.

Morning RitualPhoto of me and Billy at the Wanderlust Festival

5. Go for a morning walk around my neighborhood (and sometimes down to the beach!).

Morning Rituals

 6. Eat breakfast

Morning Rituals

What does your morning routine consist of? Let me know in the comments!

Your Happiness News for the Week

Happy Saturday, friends! I thought it would be fun to do a round-up of all the best articles about happiness that were published in the last week. Enjoy!

1) 12 Ways To Be Happier At Work In Less Than 10 Minutes

In this article, Sharon Salzberg breaks down the key to workplace happiness. One of my favorite suggestions is to find ways to “break down the momentum” of the day. Read more here.

2) 43 Of The Happiest Little Kids In The Whole Wide World

The cutest and happiest kids you’ll ever see. You are guaranteed to smile while browsing through these photos. See them here.

3) 9 Ridiculously Simple Ways To Feel Happier Today

9 Simple Ways to Feel Happier Today

Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of California Riverside, suggests simple things to do to increase your happiness. A few recommendations including smiling, expressing gratitude, and walking outside. Read more here.

4) Spend Your Money on THIS to Be Happier

A new study found that while Americans tend to believe that material goods provide better value, buying “life experiences” actually makes Americans happier than buying material possessions. Read more here.

5) Discover a kingdom where happiness rules

A look inside Bhutan, where “Gross National Happiness is more important than “Gross National Product”. I especially enjoyed this excerpt from the article: “The concept is evident in the day-to-day life of the people, from the regular meditation and reflective gardening that’s built into the school curriculum, to the charming road signs that line the main roads. These run the gamut from encouraging (“Life is a journey! Complete it!”) to paternal (“This is a highway, not a runway!”). Even the graffiti is upbeat: In Thimpu, I read a white scrawl that read, ‘Life is not a race.'” Read more here.

Have some happy news to share? Leave a comment below!

P.S. Get daily inspiration at http://www.instagram.com/happsters.

15 Random Acts of Kindness That Take Less Than 5 Minutes

I hope everyone is having a wonderful 2014 so far! I wanted to share with you some simple random acts of kindness that everyone has time for. All of the suggestions below take less than 5 minutes! I hope to knock these all out in less than a week. Are you with me?

15 Random acts of kindness

Are you going to do any of these random acts of kindness? Do you have another random act of kindness that isn’t on the list? Let me know in the comments!

P.S. Receive an email each Friday featuring something to make you smile as you go into the weekend here: http://tinyurl.com/heyheyfriday

Happy Quotes to Live by in 2014

Are you making any New Year’s Resolutions this year? One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to live in the moment and just be happy. If your goals are similar to mine, I think you’ll relate to these 10 happy quotes. They keep me motivated and make me stop and think about what’s really important in life. I hope you like them too!

Happy Quote #1: If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking.

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