The Happiness Toolkit

A friend recently introduced me to a magazine called Live Happy. According to their website, "Live Happy is leading the global movement to make the world a happier place. We are dedicated to promoting and sharing authentic happiness, inspiring people to live purpose-filled, healthy, meaningful lives." I love the mission, but I have to admit my reaction to the magazine itself was not so nice. Because honestly, it looked like pretty much every other magazine I've ever seen, filled with unrealistically beautiful smiling people, products advertised to help make you happier, and tons of quick tips for how live a happier life. Implication: Your life isn't good enough the way it is, but if you just [fill in the blank], it could be.
Blech, I thought. Isn't that ever-striving mindset what makes us so unhappy in the first place? I took home a copy of the magazine, intending to use it as blog fodder. Maybe I would write about how counter-productive it is for a magazine purporting to teach about happiness to not talk about any of the other emotions. Or how the actual practice of happiness can be a lot messier than those simple top 10 lists let on. But instead I stuck the magazine at the bottom of a pile, and mostly avoided it.
Fast-forward to a few weeks ago, when my mother told me about the Happiness workshop she attended at a Creative Problem Solving Conference. It was impressive to both of us because instead of just teaching about happiness, the facilitator had designed activities for people to actually experience happiness in the moment. Not only did the participants end the hour feeling happier than they began, but they had practiced simple techniques that they could return to again and again. Wow! I thought. Maybe I could do a workshop like that....
So this coming weekend, I will be visiting my parents in upstate New York and offering my own version of that workshop called The Happiness Toolkit. I'm excited about it because, in addition to happiness habits you might find in Live Happy magazine, I've also included some of the techniques I use when I am feeling decidedly UNhappy, and frankly not interested in smiling at people or listing out a bunch of things I'm grateful for. It's all simple stuff that will be fun to practice together. If you know anyone in the Rochester area, please send them my way!