A Happy You is A Happy Life

The importance of empathy

How stress affects your brain

5 Steps to Happiness

You Are Unstoppable

I wanted to share this with you because the speeches in it got me thinking for the better. It was exactly what I was needing. This goes so much deeper than equestrianism. Even if you're not into horses, just listen.. & Yes, I made this video, but I do not own the clips or audio.

Posted by Kaitlyn Brooke on Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A Very Happy Brain

Live Interview

IQ vs. EQ with Daniel Goleman

The Happy Secret to Better Work

Posts in category Happiness by Choice©

How to Avoid Holiday Meltdowns

This article really speaks to my heart.  Too many of us get all stressed out this time of year and often lose sight of the true meaning of the season.

Kathryn Drury Wagner

This season, avoid the usual meltdowns and instead forge meaningful connections.

Kelly Vickers had his hands full helping one Albuquerque family survive the happiest time of the year.

The family “had been devoutly Christian, but after the couple divorced, the father became an atheist,” he recalls. When it was the dad’s time with the children, he would spend it actively dismantling the moral values the mother was trying to install. It took all his skills as a professional mediator for Vickers to guide them “to a place of mutual respect and past the hard line of the beliefs.”

Vickers deals with family conflicts for a living, but for the rest of us, finding that place of mutual respect with our kin might be easier said than done.

“I see a lot of anxiety in clients during the holidays,” says Cara Barker, a Jungian analyst and author based in Bellevue, Washington. “The family is coming into town . . . They are bracing themselves: ‘Please, God, let me get through this with minimal damage.’”

What is it about the holidays that brings out the worst in families?

Let’s start with the obvious: We’re all in one room.

American culture is based on a nuclear, not an extended, family, explains Lina Kaplan, a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles. “People live farther from their families. They have less opportunity to interact; they are disconnected. If people do not have ongoing relationships, sharing the good moments and the bad, there’s an estrangement.” It’s hard to bridge that kind of gap during one dinner or weekend visit.

Kaplan says that people also expect others to magically change during the holidays. “It doesn’t work like that, and when it doesn’t, the disappoint can be more intense. It’s a breeding ground for resentment, hurt feelings, and vulnerability.”

Honolulu-based clinical psychologist Craig Robinson takes a slightly different view.

“There’s nothing about the holidays that is inherently conflict rife,” he says. Instead, the holidays exacerbate underlying problems, such as dramatically different perceptions of the world, opposing beliefs about child rearing, or conflicts over money.

So can a family come together at the holiday table, both literally and metaphorically, without stabbing anyone with a fork? Yes, and here’s how.

“Lower the bar,” says Barker. Let go of perfectionism. “One year I was running around, getting my mother’s dishes out, ironing the tablecloth. I felt so martyred.” She stopped, deciding to have a simple picnic instead. “Who says that just because we’ve always used the cranberry glasses we have to use them again?”

When planning your Christmas Eve or Hanukkah, she suggests, “Look at your intention. How do you want to feel? What would facilitate having that experience this year—not forever, just this year?”

People tend to overload themselves, agrees Dan Baker, a psychologist and the author of What Happy People Know. “Too many activities, too much food, too much drink, too many expectations. People become agitated, aggravated, and depressed.”

He suggests having a “yes/no” ratio for your commitments. You might, for example, decline every third invitation. If you’ve already said yes to cousin Claire’s cookie swap and Uncle Benny’s New Year’s brunch, beg off from the neighborhood caroling. Otherwise, Baker says, you miss the essence and spirituality of the holidays. Focus on basic family get-togethers, he counsels, rather than “I have to get this $350 video game for the kids.”

If there’s a relative you dread seeing, do some emotional reconnaissance. Pick up the phone the week before and chat with them, suggests Rabbi Shosh Dworsky, the associate chaplain for Jewish and Interfaith Life at Carleton College and a professional mediator at Dworsky Mediation in St. Paul, Minnesota. “Before you get thrown into a scene with 25 people in the room, connect in a less intense way.”

You can also plan a strategic support session. “I have a friend I always get together with on the 26th of December, and we debrief the whole season,” says Barker. “There’s such a letdown after the holidays, particularly for women.”

Many families have a character who seems oblivious to, or revels in, the provocative—a chauvinist uncle who baits your feminist wife, or a cousin who cracks homophobic jokes. How do you deal with these awkward encounters? Vickers suggests tabling the issue. “Say, ‘Hey, that’s something we need to discuss in January.’ You are telling them they’ve been heard, but you’re not allowing them to pull you away from the joy of the holiday season.”

Among rabbis, Dworsky says, “We have the expression ‘the nonanxious presence.’

If you’re very worked up, thinking you need a special session with your therapist before a holiday, you could decide, ‘This year, I’m going to be the nonanxious presence,’ and just observe and listen, instead of trying to put someone in his place.”

She also suggests taking mental notes, such as, Oh, I noticed that when my mother asked me about my weight, my blood pressure went up. You’re not judging the experience, just noting it.

Steer clear of two classic land mines: religion and politics. Even if you no longer share in your family’s belief systems, you need to respect them, says Baker. “If I’m going home and I have been raised in an Orthodox or fundamentalist home, I am going to honor that. It’s their territory. You’re an adult. Read their scriptures or say their prayers. Simply because I have changed my point of view doesn’t mean their point of view is now wrong. That’s part of giving during the holidays. Politics, too, it’s a very emotional topic. Unless you have the communication skills to manage that properly, and most people don’t, don’t go there.”

If all else fails, take a break. “You can say, ‘This conversation doesn’t feel comfortable to me. I’ll be back in a few minutes.’ That’s so much better than ‘I can’t stand the way you talk to me’ and storming off,” says Robinson.

Maybe it’s just not a great time to have a meaningful connection, adds Dworsky. “Go to the kitchen and calm down.”

Another surprising cause of conflict: grief.

“More often than not, there’s some family history, something difficult that has occurred, like a loss,” says Vickers. “I have counseled a lot of people who lost loved ones during the holidays, and it can be such a reminder.”

Families tend to do a little dance, says Barker: “Do we talk about it? Do we not talk about it? Should we just talk about the Bowl Game?” Barker suggests having a table of remembrance with a photo and a candle. You’re acknowledging the person with a physical space, but also marking “that life can move forward if we let it.”

Divorce can cause similar bereavement. “Does Daddy take Christmas Eve and Mom take Christmas?” asks Vickers. “There are years you won’t be with your child on Christmas. That’s devastating.”

Rather than trying to replicate the past, work to forge new memories. Maybe this is the year to go to a new city and have an adventure away. Or maybe you’ll spend time with a “chosen family” of close friends. “Family can be up to you to expand or contract. If you want a bigger experience, you expand your definitions,” says Barker.

Good news: Even you can survive the holidays. “People have an extraordinary ability to put on the mask that is necessary to get through with a façade of peace,” says Vickers.

But if you want to really fix the problem, the deeper work takes longer to resolve.  Barker compares it to eating a 2,000-pound turkey.

“You certainly couldn’t eat it at one sitting, but gradually you could. Conflict resolution means taking one bite at a time.” S&H

– See more at: http://spiritualityhealth.com/articles/how-avoid-holiday-meltdowns/page/0/1#sthash.F07zleH2.dpuf

– See more at: http://spiritualityhealth.com/articles/how-avoid-holiday-meltdowns#sthash.42D9ctBi.dpuf



22 Things Happy People Do Differently


Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. – Dalai Lama

There are two types of people in the world: those who choose to be happy, and those who choose to be unhappy. Contrary to popular belief, happiness doesn’t come from fame, fortune, other people, or material possessions. Rather, it comes from within. The richest person in the world could be miserable while a homeless person could be right outside, walking around with a spring in every step. Happy people are happy because they make themselves happy. They maintain a positive outlook on life and remain at peace with themselves.

The question is: how do they do that?

It’s quite simple. Happy people have good habits that enhance their lives. They do things differently. Ask any happy person, and they will tell you that they …

1. Don’t hold grudges.

Happy people understand that it’s better to forgive and forget than to let their negative feelings crowd out their positive feelings. Holding a grudge has a lot of detrimental effects on your wellbeing, including increased depression, anxiety, and stress. Why let anyone who has wronged you have power over you? If you let go of all your grudges, you’ll gain a clear conscience and enough energy to enjoy the good things in life.

2. Treat everyone with kindness.

Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that being kind makes you happier? Every time you perform a selfless act, your brain produces serotonin, a hormone that eases tension and lifts your spirits. Not only that, but treating people with love, dignity, and respect also allows you to build stronger relationships.

3. See problems as challenges.

The word “problem” is never part of a happy person’s vocabulary. A problem is viewed as a drawback, a struggle, or an unstable situation while a challenge is viewed as something positive like an opportunity, a task, or a dare. Whenever you face an obstacle, try looking at it as a challenge.

4. Express gratitude for what they already have.

There’s a popular saying that goes something like this: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.” You will have a deeper sense of contentment if you count your blessings instead of yearning for what you don’t have.

5. Dream big.

People who get into the habit of dreaming big are more likely to accomplish their goals than those who don’t. If you dare to dream big, your mind will put itself in a focused and positive state.

6. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Happy people ask themselves, “Will this problem matter a year from now?” They understand that life’s too short to get worked up over trivial situations. Letting things roll off your back will definitely put you at ease to enjoy the more important things in life.

7. Speak well of others.

Being nice feels better than being mean. As fun as gossiping is, it usually leaves you feeling guilty and resentful. Saying nice things about other people encourages you to think positive, non-judgmental thoughts.

8. Never make excuses.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Happy people don’t make excuses or blame others for their own failures in life. Instead, they own up to their mistakes and, by doing so, they proactively try to change for the better.

9. Get absorbed into the present.

Happy people don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future. They savor the present. They let themselves get immersed in whatever they’re doing at the moment. Stop and smell the roses.

10. Wake up at the same time every morning.

Have you noticed that a lot of successful people tend to be early risers? Waking up at the same time every morning stabilizes your circadian rhythm, increases productivity, and puts you in a calm and centered state.

11. Avoid social comparison.

Everyone works at his own pace, so why compare yourself to others? If you think you’re better than someone else, you gain an unhealthy sense of superiority. If you think someone else is better than you, you end up feeling bad about yourself. You’ll be happier if you focus on your own progress and praise others on theirs.

12. Choose friends wisely.

Misery loves company. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with optimistic people who will encourage you to achieve your goals. The more positive energy you have around you, the better you will feel about yourself.

13. Never seek approval from others.

Happy people don’t care what others think of them. They follow their own hearts without letting naysayers discourage them. They understand that it’s impossible to please everyone. Listen to what people have to say, but never seek anyone’s approval but your own.

14. Take the time to listen.

Talk less; listen more. Listening keeps your mind open to others’ wisdoms and outlooks on the world. The more intensely you listen, the quieter your mind gets, and the more content you feel.

15. Nurture social relationships.

A lonely person is a miserable person. Happy people understand how important it is to have strong, healthy relationships. Always take the time to see and talk to your family, friends, or significant other.

16. Meditate.

Meditating silences your mind and helps you find inner peace. You don’t have to be a zen master to pull it off. Happy people know how to silence their minds anywhere and anytime they need to calm their nerves.

17. Eat well.

Junk food makes you sluggish, and it’s difficult to be happy when you’re in that kind of state. Everything you eat directly affects your body’s ability to produce hormones, which will dictate your moods, energy, and mental focus. Be sure to eat foods that will keep your mind and body in good shape.

18. Exercise.

Studies have shown that exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft does. Exercising also boosts your self-esteem and gives you a higher sense of self-accomplishment.

19. Live minimally.

Happy people rarely keep clutter around the house because they know that extra belongings weigh them down and make them feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Some studies have concluded that Europeans are a lot happier than Americans are, which is interesting because they live in smaller homes, drive simpler cars, and own fewer items.

20. Tell the truth.

Lying stresses you out, corrodes your self-esteem, and makes you unlikeable. The truth will set you free. Being honest improves your mental health and builds others’ trust in you. Always be truthful, and never apologize for it.

21. Establish personal control.

Happy people have the ability to choose their own destinies. They don’t let others tell them how they should live their lives. Being in complete control of one’s own life brings positive feelings and a great sense of self-worth.

22. Accept what cannot be changed.

Once you accept the fact that life is not fair, you’ll be more at peace with yourself. Instead of obsessing over how unfair life is, just focus on what you can control and change it for the better.

Full rights to this article: http://www.oomphify.com/22-things-happy-people-do-differently/

How Emotionally Intelligence People Handle Toxic People


“Toxic people defy logic. Some are blissfully unaware of the negative impact that they have on those around them, and others seem to derive satisfaction from creating chaos and pushing other people’s buttons. Either way, they create unnecessary complexity, strife, and worst of all stress.”  By Dr. Travis Bradberry

Read more . . .

A Happy You is A Happy Life – November Newsletter


Open Me – Read Me – Happiness is Here

Read Full Newsletter

A Happy You A Happy Life – October Newsletter


Open Me – Happiness is Here!

Read Full Newsletter

Breakfast with Bacon

christine baconRecently I had the honor and privilege to be a guest on the radio show Breakfast with Bacon, hosted by Dr. Christine Bacon.  What a wonderful experience.  I highly recommend for all of you to tune into her weekly show on Fridays at 11am on WKQA radio AM1110. http://www.wkqaradio.com/

Christine and I chatted about JOY Restoration Coaching, Emotion Strategies, Positive Psychology and Emotional Intelligence and how HAPPINESS is the precursor to success, NOT the other way around.  I had a great time with Christine and look forward to being on her show in the future.  Check her out, she is fabulous with so much to offer.

Dr. Christine Bacon tackles the most sensitive topics with humor and energy, while never minimizing their seriousness. Get your coffee, iced tea  latte or whatever and sit back and enjoy our conversation below.



Christine M. Bacon, Ph.D. brings over a decade of experience as a trainer and facilitator with the U.S. Navy’s Fleet and Family Support Center. She has delivered over 1,000 seminars to civilians, military personnel and families on topics such as healthy relationships, corporate leadership and respect in the workplace. Dr. Bacon has developed motivational programs for Catholic Charities, government entities and private-sector businesses. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Interpersonal Communication from Regent University and B.A. in Communication from Old Dominion University. She and her husband Dan reside in Virginia and enjoy time with their daughters and three perfect grandchildren.

Communication expert Dr. Christine Bacon, owner and president of CMB Communication, Inc., is an author, speaker, trainer and the radio talk show host of Breakfast with Bacon: The Relationship Doctor. Whether on the platform, in a book or riding the airwaves, Dr. Bacon’s expertise is in teaching others the skills necessary to navigate all relationships—desired and difficult. Whether it be with a colleague, boss, spouse or the grocery store cashier, Dr. Bacon teaches how relationships, connectivity and trust are crucial in all aspects of life and business and does so directly, yet humorously by speaking the truth in love.  You can learn more about and contact Dr. Bacon through her website at www.CMBCommunication.com and you can also listen live to her radio show at 11:00AM EST on www.wyrmradio.com by clicking on the ‘Listen Live Now’ link.

The Still Hope Foundation Christine M. Bacon is on the Board of Directors and was the Chairperson of the 2011 Celebrity Gala and Golf Classic Weekend (and will be the chairperson of the 2012 gala weekend as well).

Five Simple Choices A Happy Person Makes to Live JOYfully!


1)    Lighten Up – Carrying burdens such as guilt, judgement, anger, grief, resentment, jealously and more are all so heavy to your mind, body and soul.  Lighten Up by letting go of that unnecessary weight.  Free yourself of the responsibility and give up the ownership of what you cannot control.

 2)  Get a Grip – Hold on baby, it’s going to be a killer ride.  Develop a strong foundation to handle the storms of life.  Work on your foundation more and what sits on top less.  Be less the roller-coaster and more the track.  Choose what anchors you and develop your foundation. 

 3)  Wipe The Slate Clean – No matter who or what has hurt or disappointed you start every morning start with a clean slate.  A fresh new beginning, another chance, a do-over.  For yourself.  For your loved ones.  What happened yesterday is not nearly as important as what happens right now.  LOVE today.

 4) Make Time for Solitude – When all is quiet, calm and suspended is when the listening begins.  When the listening begins is when clarity and creativity flows. 

 5)    Live with PAP© – Patience, Acceptance, Perspective – all three together help with the first four choices. 

JOY Restoration Coaching – 7-Step Happiness by Choice© Program – Call Today 757-635-5379


Introduction to 7-Step Happiness by Choice©

Happiness starts from within.

But HOW do you find that happiness that has been buried so deep into your soul and covered up by layers of hurt, pain, betrayal, anger, bitterness, resentment, discouragement, and grief?

Look at it this way…. Those layers of yucky feeling didn’t appear all at once or overnight.  Those layers have been slapped on you over time and for some from a very early age.  Your coping skills, comfort zones, and PAP© haven’t been tapped into to the fullest.  It’s not your fault. Believe in the philosophy that you were created and born equipped with EVERYTHING you would need for all of your life; you just needed to be taught how to tap into it, nurture it and grow with it.

Many of us have been taught differently and consequently pulled away from our inner self.  Unhealthy habits and coping were taught.  Emotions from fear instead of love were taught.  From the time we were little our role models were most likely our parents and grandparents.  If our role models were not taught this belief and philosophy and resiliency how could they possibly teach you?  Habits, patterns, and behaviors that make up the dynamics of the family are passed down from generation to generation.

NOW, you have the opportunity to be taught!  Give yourself permission to learn.  Acquire more tools for your toolbox like resilience, patience, acceptance, forgiveness, perspective to help you not only cope better with LIFE, but live a life filled with JOY.

How you got to today is not nearly as important as who you want to be and where you want to go.  Tap into your inner self – discover the happiness within you. 

YOU have the ability to take action of your very own resilience.

YOU have the ability to take action of your very own growth.

Isn’t that incredible?

If HOW you have been living to date is not bringing you ultimate JOY and happiness…

YOU CAN MAKE CHOICES to create a life of JOY and happiness.

JOIN me and others at my next Introduction to 7-Step Happiness by Choice workshop.

Imagine waking each day to joy and . . .

·         Not feeling the heaviness of a heart filled with pain.

·         Knowing you have within your reach, the ability to relieve anxious and fearful thoughts.

·         Embracing the satisfaction in knowing you have begun to create a new life that is focused on important goals and objectives.

·         Feeling empowered to live a healthy lifestyle.

·         Looking forward to making choices that lead to peace and passionate fulfillment of your life’s purpose.

It’s time for me to give back and share the proven techniques and alternative methods I have learned, practice and teach myself and others every day.  Feel free to bring a friend or family member who may be in a dark place right now.  Walk with them in their journey and help lead them to the light. I’ll do the rest. <3

register now

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Great Books

"The Gift of Change - Spirtual Guidance for a Radically New Life"
by Marianne Williamson

"The Best Year Of Your Life - dream it.plan it.live it"
by Debbie Ford

"The Aladdin Factor"
by: Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen

"What is Your WHAT?"
by: Steve Olsher

"The Slight Edge"
by: Jeff Olson

"Wherever You Go There You Are"
by: Jon Kabat-Zinn

"Play - How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul"
by: Stuart Brown, MD with Christopher Vaughan

"The Tools - Transform Your Problems Into Courage, Confidence, and Creativity"
by: Phil Stutz and Barry Michels

"Unglued - Making Wise Choices In The Midst Of Raw Emotions"
by: Lysa Terkeurst

"Excuses Begone! - How to Change Lifelong, Self-Defeating Thinking Habits"
by: Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

"Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway"
by: Susan Jeffers, Ph.D

"MAKE MONEY Not Excuses - Wake Up, Take Charge, and Overcome Your Financial Fears Forever"
by: Jean Chatzky

"Who Moved My Cheese?"
by: Spencer Johnson, M.D.

"What's Worth Knowing"
by: Wendy Lustbader