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?

Awesome Things Thursday

Hi Happsters! How’s your week going? It has been crazy hot here with 8 fires breaking out in San Diego yesterday. I’m hoping things will improve soon! On a brighter note…Here are some things I’m finding awesome this week.

1. 7 Ways to be Good to Yourself Even When You’re Stressed & Overworked

2. Smoothies for these hot days we’re having in San Diego.

Smoothies on hot days

3. Lifehack’s 16 Inspirational Instagram Accounts You Should Start Following Now (So cool to be included!) I found @junantoherdiawan in the list and love his photos. His photographs are of people levitating!

@junantoherdiawan - Photographs of people levitating Continue reading

5 (More) Happiness Movements You Need to Know About

Last year I posted about a few Happiness Movements I was loving at the time, so I thought it would be fun to make an updated list because there are so many amazing ones out there! Here we go:

1) The Chalk Project

5 Happiness Movements You Should Know about - Chalk ProjectSource


I stumbled upon Chalk Project on Instagram and have been a fan ever since. Their purpose is to spread messages of kindness and inspiration. They “create uplifting messages with chalk on neighborhood sidewalks, with hopes that this anonymous message will collide with the person that needs it most.”

Learn more about Chalk Project here: http://www.chalkproject.com/ Continue reading

Paying it Forward at the Coffee Shop – Happy Explosion

Pay it Forward Movement- Happy ExplosionWeek 1 of the Happy Explosion has come to a close and I had such a great time paying it forward at the coffee shop. Here are the details:

Time: 8:00am on Tuesday

Location: Zumbar Coffee

Experience: I was strangely nervous walking into my small local coffee shop, Zumbar, but also excited to see how everything would unfold. Once the girls in front of me got their coffee, it was time for the main event. I ordered one coffee for Billy who was with me and once the lady gave me my change, I gave her back a $10 bill.

She was confused at first when I told her I’d like to use it to pay for the people behind me. After she gave me a funny look, I clarified that anyone who came in behind me should get free coffee until the $10 ran out. She smiled and said along the lines of “ok, great!”. I walked to the side to wait for Billy to put sugar in his coffee…

Coffee Shop - Paying it forward

and soon heard the barista ask the other employee if I just “did a pay it forward”. The other lady said yes and before I knew it THEY were giving ME a few vouchers for free cups of coffee!

Buying Someone Coffee- Pay it Forward #happyexplosion

I was shocked and so thankful. Talk about paying it forward! I never expected them to reciprocate, but I guess kindness is contageous right? I ended up giving one of the vouchers to a co-worker who loves Zumbar coffee (along with a happy note of course) to continue to pay it forward!

Paying for someone's coffee- Pay it forward - Happy Explosion

 So as you can see, paying it forward for the first week of the Happy Explosion went great. What do you think we should do next week?

Should we:

A) Send a note to a friend with a gift just to say hello

B) Bake cookies to share 

C) Grab the carts from the parking lot and take them back to the store

Let me know in the comments and I’ll do the one that’s most popular!

Did you pay it forward this week for the Happy Explosion? Did you buy someone’s coffee or do something else? If you posted about a way that you spread happiness this week, click on the link below and add in your blog post so that we can all read it! You can also let me know in the comments!

If you didn’t join in the fun this week, it’s not too late to do it next week! I’ll be posting a link up next week as well. You can grab the badge below if you want to add that to your post too.

Pay it Forward Movement- Happy Explosion

Just copy/paste the code below to add it to your blog:

<a href="http://wp.me/p37fK9-E6">

<img class="aligncenter wp-image-2465"

src="http://happsters.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/he.jpg?w=300"

alt="happyexplosion" width="400" height="254" /></a>

P.S. If you need a last minute Mother’s Day Present, check out this post: 6 Thoughtful Mother’s Day Gifts

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Happy Notes

10 Quotes That Will Help You Stop Worrying

Worrying. We all do it to some extent. While I think some of us are wired to worry more than others, all of us need a reminder every now and then to stop our monkey mind and not be so concerned about a potential outcome.

Worrying actually has negative physical effects on the body. If we excessively worry, our bodies release stress hormones which can cause us to have headaches, muscle tension, shortness of breath, and nausea. (source) Those reactions are definitely not helping us solve our problems!

Here are 10 quotes that will help you stop worrying:

1. Think Less. Live More.

Think Less. Live More.

Worry Quote #1: Think Less. Live More.

 

2. Things have a way of working out.

Things have a way of working out

Worry Quote #2: Things have a way of working out

 

3. Don’t fill your head with worries. There won’t be any room for anything else!

Don't fill your head with worries

Worry Quote #3: Don’t fill your head with worries. There won’t be any room for anything else!

 

4. It’s gonna be OK.

It's gonna be OK.

Worry Quote #4: It’s gonna be OK.

 

5. Worrying is stupid. It’s like walking around with an umbrella waiting for it to rain.

Worrying is stupid.

Worry Quote #5: Worrying is stupid. It’s like walking around with an umbrella waiting for it to rain.

 

6.  The biggest mistake you could ever make is being too afraid to make one.

The biggest mistake you could ever make is being too afraid to make one

Worry Quote #6: The biggest mistake you could ever make is being too afraid to make one

 

7. Worrying won’t stop the bad stuff from happening. It just stops you from enjoying the good.

Worrying won't stop the bad stuff from happening. It just stops you from enjoying the good

Worry Quote #7: Worrying won’t stop the bad stuff from happening. It just stops you from enjoying the good.

 

8. Worry is a misuse of your imagination.

Worry is a misuse of your imagination

Worry Quote #8: Worry is a misuse of your imagination

 

9.  Stop being afraid of what could do wrong and think of what could go right.

Stop being afraid of what could do wrong and think of what could go right.

Worry Quote #9: Stop being afraid of what could do wrong and think of what could go right.

 

10. Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles. It empties today of its strength.

Worry Quote #10: Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles. It empties today of its strength

Worry Quote #10: Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles. It empties today of its strength

 

What do you catch yourself worrying about? Which quote do you relate to the most? What do you do to calm your mind? Let me know in the comments!

 

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Not an official Happster yet? Become one and get free happy notes mailed to you here.

Happy Notes

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Happy Explosion

The Ultimate Random Acts of Kindness Movement - Happy Explosion

As you may know, I created this blog in an effort to spread as much happiness as possible. The world needs more happy people!

I had this new idea while falling asleep the other night (when some of my best ideas come to me) and I got so excited that I could barely fall asleep. I’ve decided to create something called the “Happy Explosion”. Here’s how it will work:

1) Every week I’m going to spread happiness in a different way and leave it up to YOU to tell me how.

2) I’ll give you some options (you can come up with your own if you want!) and I’ll take the most popular happy act from the comments to do.

3) I’ll announce what happy act I’m going to do on Monday and then post about the experience on the next Saturday.

4) If you have a blog, I’d love for you to post your random act of happiness there.  I’ll post a link up on Saturday’s post so we can all see each other’s Happy Explosions of the week!

How does that sound? Ready for the first week?

Happy Explosion: Week 1

Should we:

A) Buy the person’s coffee behind us

B) Leave a note of gratitude for our mailman

C) Leave a sweet treat on a co-workers desk

D) You choose

You can use the button below on your blog if you want to participate in the Happy Explosion!
The Ultimate Random Acts of Kindness Movement - Happy Explosion
Just copy/paste the code below to add it to your blog:

<a href="http://wp.me/p37fK9-E6">

<img class="aligncenter wp-image-2465"

src="http://happsters.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/he.jpg?w=300"

alt="happyexplosion" width="400" height="254" /></a>

Let me know in the comments what you think we should do for the first week of “Happy Explosion”! I’ll have a post up on Monday with the winner so we can all get to spreading happiness ASAP!

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Not an official Happster yet? Become one and get free happy notes mailed to you here.

Happy Notes

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

Happiest KidsSource

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

Spend money on THIS to be HappierSource

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

Bhutan- Happiest Place on EarthSource

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.

#MyHappyBoard Project

My Happy Board Project

Ever since I was little, I’ve loved making inspiration boards. With the rise of Pinterest, I have been on creative overload with so much virtual inspiration that I don’t know what to do with it all. Unfortunately, I find that I rarely go back to the boards I’ve created even though I spend hours trying to find the perfect images to pin. So, I’ve decided to go back to the old-fashioned real-life inspiration boards of my youth and I want you to join me!

What do you think about making an inspiration board based around our favorite topic? Happiness! I’m going to make a different Happy Board every month, starting with February.  Continue reading

Announcement: Hey Hey It’s Friday!

Hey Hey It's Friday!

I thought it would be fun to start out 2014 with a new project called “Hey Hey It’s Friday“. Each Friday, I’ll email you with something to celebrate the day.

It could be a funny picture, a happy phrase, or a fun idea. Each week will be a new email featuring something to make you smile as you go into the weekend. Sign up here. 

Here’s are a few examples of what could be included in a Hey Hey It’s Friday email:

Five Simple Rules for Happiness

Five Simple Rules for Happiness

Continue reading

Let’s Not Try to Figure Out Everything at Once

Lately I feel like I’ve been rushing from one thing to the next. I have a tendency to try to multi-task and get everything done as fast as I can. That’s why I love this quote:

Let's not try to figure out everything at once Let’s not try to figure out everything at once. (Source)

Here’s my mantra for today. Hopefully it will remind you to be more present as well.

Today I will:

Go with the flow
Breathe deeply
Live in the moment
Focus on the task at hand
Take my time
Notice the little things
Accept what is
Relax♥

Do you multi-task a lot or are you good at focusing on one thing at a time? Let me know in the comments!