Tuesday, November 13, 2012

November 13, World Kindness Day

The date decreed for World Kindness Day is 13th November. This was the opening day of the first World Kindness Movement® conference held at Tokyo in 1998, and the 35th anniversary of the Small Kindness Movement of Japan, which brought the signatories of the ‘declaration of kindness’ of the World Kindness Movement together in 1997.

The purpose of World Kindness Day is to look beyond ourselves, beyond the boundaries of our country, beyond our culture, our race, our religion; and realise we are citizens of the world. As world citizens we have a commonality, and must realise that if progress is to be made in human relations and endeavours, if we are to achieve the goal of peaceful coexistence, we must focus on what we have in common. When we find likenesses we begin to experience empathy, and in such a state we can fully relate to that person or those people. While we may think of people from other cultures as being ‘different’ when we compare them with our own customs and beliefs, it doesn’t mean that we are any better than they are. When we become friends with someone from a different culture we discover that despite some obvious differences, there are many similarities.

Sometimes knowledge is passed on to us about different races, different cultures, that has become distorted, and we build up a false, negative impression of these people. It is only when we get to know such people that we realise it is a lie.

Source: http://kindness.com.au/world-kindness-day.html

Monday, October 22, 2012

First workshop October 20, 2012: the world around us

Adults, teenagers and children were present for the first workshop. Hands-on activities were conducted.

Participants chose the word HAPPY or HAPPINESS and found a word for each letter of the word

Then, while listening to soft music they drew what happiness meant for them.
Some drew
Some just used words

Using blocks children and adults built an ideal world together.

Final figure, family built
Group effort to build a common world

The world around me

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Exercise makes you happy

Here are seven ways you can increase your sense of happiness through exercise:

1. Exercise will bring you into a totally new world and can forever positively transform your life.

2. Exercise will tone your body. Therefore you will begin to feel better about the way you look.

3. The brain chemistry changes while you are working out; leading to feeling calm.

4. You will feel a sense of accomplishment after each time you exercise leading to improved self-esteem.

5. Exercise can be a healthy means of distracting yourself from your emotional pain. Exercise can also be a means to face your emotional pain because the increased confidence will allow you to deal with internal traumas in a bold, self-assured manner.

6. Exercise by itself is known to improve depression and anxiety.

7. Exercise has been proven to make you smarter. Therefore you will develop the skills you need to let go of your emotional pain and discover genuine happiness.

Psychotherapist Bob Livingstone has helped millions heal their emotional pain during the past twenty years. He has been instrumental in assisting victims of emotional and/or physical violence recover from trauma and no longer be victims. He is a featured contributor to DrLaura.com, Beliefnet.com, eDiets.com, Selfgrowth.com and SheKnows.com. He is the author of the critically acclaimed book The Body-Mind-Soul Solution: Healing Emotional Pain through Exercise (Pegasus Books, Second Printing 2008). For more emotional healing visit www.boblivingstone.com.

Yoga Journal - Yoga Well-Being - Yogis Score High on Happiness

Scientific studies reveal yoga may be the key to bliss.
By Angela Pirisi

No matter how much we lust after worldly objects and material pleasures, in the end, we all just want to be happy. But despite our efforts, happiness often eludes us. Now the ranks of science have stepped in to help unravel the secrets of this precious state of being. And they're discovering what yogis have known all along.
Happiness, it seems, has a biological component. Groundbreaking studies conducted by University of Wisconsin psychologist Richard Davidson over the past decade have shown that people who report high rates of happy feelings have a larger and more active left prefrontal cortex than their depressed counterparts. Other studies have concluded that happiness may be a matter of genetics. A 1996 study of 1,500 pairs of twins at the University of Minnesota found that, on a self-report happiness scale, adult twins were highly matched in their scores despite variations in income, marital status, and education.
Happiness also seems to lie outside the limits of material wealth and life events. Winning the lottery may tip the emotional scales at first, but most people return to a certain grade of happiness within three months. This is nothing new to the practitioners of yoga. As Dr. R.M. Matthijs Cornelissen of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, India, explains, "In the Vedic tradition, ananda, or delight, is seen as being present in the essence of everything that exists. Happiness is thus not something that depends on what you have, but what you are."
In fact, many studies suggest that yoga can effect positive states of mind, despite life's highs and lows. In 1993, a British team measured the effects of three relaxation techniqueschair sitting, visualization, and yogaand found that yoga resulted in the greatest increase in alertness, mental and physical energy, and lust for life. Likewise, a 1994 German study, which compared a group of women practicing hatha yoga to a second group that did not, found that the yoginis showed markedly higher scores in life satisfaction, and lower scores in aggressiveness, emotionality, and sleep problems.
"Yoga primarily changes your consciousness, which includes your way of looking at things," says Cornelissen. "In the process, many aspects of your physical functioning also change, including your brain chemistry."
Whether we use yoga or some other self-affirming behavior, it's clear that even born-to-be-negative types can choose to cultivate happiness. Just as a bad mood can become a bad habit that perpetuates unhappiness, so can nurturing positive feelings lead to a more permanent positive state of mind.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Our 24 strengths

Personal Strengths of Wisdom and Knowledge

1. Creativity

Do people come to you for novel solutions to tricky problems? Do you enjoy seeking alternative ways of doing things? Is your mind constantly challenging the status quo and looking for a better way?

2. Curiosity

Do you ask lots of questions and stop only when the other person is obviously tired of answering? Have you had your fair share of accidents and injuries because you just had to try something out?

3. Open-Mindedness

Are you able to hold two contradictory thoughts at the same time while others are taking sides? When presented with a radical idea, do you consider it a possibility instead of judging it right away?

4. Love of Learning

Is there always a book in your bag so you can pull it out to read when you have a few spare minutes? Do you get an adrenaline rush from learning new skills or attending classes or seminars?

5. Perspective

Can you see things from different points of view without making a conscious effort to? Do people tend to respond to your thoughtful comments with “I never saw things that way…”?

Personal Strengths of Courage

6. Bravery

Do you readily go where angels fear to tread? When everyone is holding back, are you the one who stands up to volunteer with words like “what the heck” or “you never know until you try”?

7. Persistence

When others are ready to quit, are you the one who encourages them to try just one more time? Have you doggedly worked at a problem until you find the solution instead of giving up or passing the problem on to someone else?

8. Integrity

Have you ever told the truth knowing that it would cost you money, friends, and perhaps your reputation? Do you do the ‘right’ thing all the time, even when no one is watching?

9. Vitality

Do you inject energy into the projects you’re involved in? Do things seem to somehow pick up speed when you around? Do people give more of themselves when you are working alongside them?

Personal Strengths of Humanity

10. Love

When you look at people, do you see what they look like or do you see who they really are? Do you feel a deep appreciation for everyone you meet because each is unique and special?

11. Kindness

Are in incapable of walking past a street busker without dropping a few notes or coins into his box? Have you done good deeds for strangers on a regular basis because you saw the difficult situations they were in?

12. Social intelligence

Can you sense the mood of people in the room the moment you walk into it? Are you able to tell who gets along and who does not after a quick observation? Do people readily ‘click’ with you even when they don’t get along with each other?

Personal Strengths of Justice

13. Citizenship

Are you proud to be a member of an organisation or nation?Are you an ambassador for your company or country? is loyalty to this group very important to you?

14. Fairness

Were you the child who kept saying “that’s not fair”? Have you given up your share of something because you felt it was not right that other people didn’t have the same privilege? Do you see everyone as having equal rights?

15. Leadership

Do people look to you for guidance in chaos or in general? Does a group seem to ‘gel’ only when you’re there to hold it together? Do those in your group excel under your tutelage when they weren’t making it elsewhere?

Personal Strengths of Temperance

16. Forgiveness

Are you able to let go when people have repeatedly hurt you? Do you understand that harbouring a grudge hurts you more than it hurts them? Do you accept the frailty of human nature and allow people space to make mistakes?

17. Humility

Do you constantly learn from other people, even those who are younger or less educated or experienced than you? Can you accept praise graciously while not taking personal credit and walking on air immediately after?

18. Prudence

When given two options, do you usually choose the less risky, less expensive, less high-profile one? Do you tend to view others’ excesses as flamboyant or extravagant, and often advise people to ‘tone down’?

19. Self-Control

Are you able to deny yourself what you want because of a higher purpose or objective? When tempted to spend or eat beyond your plan, can you smile and say no most of the time without feeling deprived?

Personal Strengths of Transcendance

20. Appreciation of Beauty

Do you pause often to take in a view, gaze skywards, or observe animals in motion? Does a sense of awe sweep over you often when you contemplate the vastness of nature and the intimate details of life?

21. Gratitude

Are the words “thank you” on your lips and in your heart practically everyday? Is your reaction to people, events and things one of appreciation and gladness that this wonderful thing came your way?

22. Hope

Can you always see the silver lining when others see only a dark cloud? Is your mantra ‘tomorrow will be better than today’ or ‘don’t worry, everything will be ok’ or ‘things will work out, you’ll see’?

23. Humour

Can you see the lighter side of almost every situation? Do you see the folly of human self-importance? Do people relax around you because you help them to take themselves and life less seriously?

24. Spirituality

Do you feel connected to a source that is higher and deeper than yourself? Are you detached from things of this world? Do you feel that the ‘real’ world is inside you rather than outside?

Shortlist Your Personal Strengths

If you’re like me and feel that many of the 24 strengths apply to you, then you can cross out ‘Humility’ right away. That leaves only 23! ;) Then keep on eliminating those that you think are probable, until you’re left with those you absolutely cannot cross out because they are YOU.
Ideally you should have a list of about 3 to 5 personal strengths to be able to meaningfully work with these. A ‘shortlist’ should, after all, be short!

Innate vs Acquired Personal Strengths

There may be some ‘strengths’ that you’ve worked hard to acquire. Those are probably skills you have learnt, rather than personal strengths per se.
For example, I had to learn to be grateful. It took practice and became natural only after months of keeping a gratitude journal. However, I never had to learn how to be curious. All my life I’ve wanted to understand, to know how things work, to find the truths of life.

Play to Your Personal Strengths

‘Playing to your strengths’ has a literal as well as a figurative meaning. You’ll know something is a strength when it’s play to you, when you’re enjoying the process, when you would pay to engage in the process.
The figurative meaning is, of course, finding work and pastimes that build on your personal strengths. Patching up your weaknesses may help you level up; playing to your strengths can help you shoot for the stars.

Get your free character strengths profile!

Click on the above picture to get your free character strengths profile!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Readings on Positive Psychology

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment
Positive Psychology: The Scientific and Practical Explorations of Human Strengths

Pursuing Human Strengths: A Positive Psychology Guide

Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life
Product Details

First Happiness Workshop in Delaware

Please join us in Wilmington, DE

Saturday, October 20th from 10 to 12

Space is limited to 8
Fee of $20

To sign-up, please contact us at:

or go to our Facebook page

What are the Happiness Workshops all about?

What are the Happiness Workshops all about?

We are pleased to introduce to you our new monthly Happiness Workshops

Happiness Workshops are designed to help you connect to positive things in your life and therefore promote more happiness.

During our 2 hour Happiness Workshop we will be engaging in simple and fun positive psychology exercises.  You will learn or revisit optimism and come to the realization of how little things in life can make a huge difference and increase that feel good spirit we all possess inside.

Ask yourself this question:

On a scale of 1-10 how happy am I? Could this workshop help me in social settings like work and family …the answer is YES!  Happiness is contagious and people love to be around those who are confident with their happiness and who fully embrace joy…..let's travel this journey and have FUN!!!

 We believe that everyone will leave the workshop happier and ready to experience joy in  new ways which will lead to a higher level of confidence.

A whole network of Happiness Workshops was created over the summer in France (réseau des ateliers du Bonheur) and all “Happiness Ambassadors” were trained by Cécile Neuville (psychologist) and Anelor Dabo (life coach) out of Montpellier, France.

Positive Psychology is a REAL science and was implemented and studied by several well known persons. Martin Seligman (Professor at the University of Pennsylvania) is very active in developing Positive Psychology and classes which are taught in over 100 colleges throughout the US.

Please joins us and together, let’s make our world a little better! One smile at a time!
We look forward to helping you on your journey to happiness.

Additional Information:

·         This workshop is designed for everyone
·         Workshops are 2 hours long and cost $20.
·         For more information, please visit our Facebook page: Happy Workshops 101

Isabelle Harpey – Certified Positive Psychology Coach
Caroline Coulet – Certified Coach and Life Strategist