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Joy / Happiness

Below are the articles in the Joy / Happiness category. Each article title is followed by a brief summary introduction to the content. Click "Read Excerpt" for a more comprehensive review. Click "Add to Package" to buy or redeem the article.

Joy / Happiness

Bring Humor to Work (It’s Good for You & Good for Business!)

Humor has numerous benefits in the workplace, creating happier workers and increased productivity.

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The physical benefits of laughter are well documented. Laughter decreases stress hormones, boosts the immune system and raises the heart rate, bringing more blood and oxygen to the brain. It also increases the level of alertness and memory as well as the ability to learn and create.

Benefits for the Office

It makes sense that all that extra brain power and relaxation would lead to enhanced performance at work. But laughter has other benefits around the office, which include:

Stronger Teams. Laughter breaks down barriers, builds relationships and allows for better communication among coworkers. People with a sense of humor often have the ability to deal effectively with people and work issues, and they keep the severity of problems in perspective.

Coping with Loneliness

Loneliness vs. solitude: what's the difference and how loneliness can serve as a call to action.

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“Loneliness,” writes Abigail Van Buren, “is the ultimate poverty.”

As humans we are social beings, but sometimes we lose touch with that social part of ourselves—or we don’t have enough chances to exercise it. When this happens, we may feel lonely and isolated.

What Loneliness Is—and Isn’t

Loneliness is the feeling that we would like more connection, community and companionship than we think we have.

The curious thing about feeling lonely is that it has roots in a measurement. When we feel lonely, we are measuring the amount of social interaction we have against our ideal or our desire for how much we would like to have. That “ideal” differs with each individual and can change over time.

From Hopelessness to Happiness—a Learnable Life Skill

Some people are optimists and others are pessimists. However, optimism isn’t an accident—it’s a skill that can be learned, one that can help us feel better, resist depression and greatly improve our lives.

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Psychologist, clinical researcher and bestselling author Martin Seligman has spent 25 years studying optimism and pessimism. In his book, Learned Optimism, he states that pessimistic thinking can undermine not just our behavior but our success in all areas of our lives.

“Pessimism is escapable,” he writes. “Pessimists can learn to be optimists.”

By altering our view of our lives, we can actually alter our lives, he says. First, he says we must recognize our “explanatory style,” which is what we say to ourselves when we experience a setback. By breaking the “I give up” pattern of thinking and changing our interior negative dialogue, we can encourage what he calls “flexible optimism.” He believes that focusing on our innate character strengths (wisdom, courage, compassion), rather than our perceived failures boosts not just our moods, but our immune system. Research has shown that optimistic people tend to be healthier and experience more success in life; therefore, he encourages parents to develop the patterns of optimism in their children.

Hoping is Not a Hopeless Endeavor

Discover the benefits of being hopeful for your health and wellness.

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Having a healthy dose of hope can be motivating and inspiring. It keeps people focused on what's ahead instead of what's in the past. It can also help keep the focus on possibilities, and reframe obstacles as opportunities.

For some, however, being hopeful goes hand-in-hand with feeling naïve or foolish when things don't work out as planned. They would rather not have hope at all if it means later disappointment.

But for others, having hope doesn't mean living in denial of life's difficulties; it simply reminds them there are better times ahead.

The Benefits of Hope

Research indicates that it's more beneficial to have hope than not. Hopeful people tend to show more resilience when faced with difficulties. They have healthier lifestyle habits and, on the whole, are more successful, personally and professionally.

How Much Joy Can You Stand?

Everyone has a dream. It may whisper to us in a still, small voice or it may have the volume and intensity of Martin Luthur King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. This quiz will help determine if a person is living his or her dream—and how to begin.

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As Suzanne Falter-Barns says in her book, How Much Joy Can You Stand?, if we begin to nurture and pursue our dream, if we can manage to leap off the cliff and trust ourselves to fly, we will experience a fine, effortless joy like nothing else. “It may take a while to wade through all your resistance, fears, misperceptions and basic disbelief in yourself,” she says. “It may take far longer than you think it should. But if you can just keep going through the process, and trust yourself in a basic way not attempted before, the joy will be yours.” Test your joy quotient with this quiz.


1. Creativity doesn’t just belong to artistic types living in loft studios. It belongs to me and to every human. I AM creative!

2. I think of myself as someone who doesn’t just want what I want, but as someone who is going to get it.

3. I keep blank notebooks in several places for jotting down my ideas and inspirations, and a tape recorder for recording observations.

4. It isn’t up to me what the world thinks of me. My job is to work on my dream and send it out there.

How’s Your Joy Level at Work?

Do people have to do work that they love in order to feel joy? Not necessarily. Here’s how to bring joy to anything.

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Many of us see joy as the delightful result of being able to do work that we love. And this is certainly a great producer of joy on the job. The real trick, however, is how to bring joy to anything you do. Doing so can transform the mundane into the enjoyable and let loose incredible energy for all you put your attention to. The secret: creativity. Feeling creative and playful helps us bust through resistance, fear, boredom and disbelief on our way to an engaged satisfaction. Test your joy quotient with this Self-Quiz.


1. Creativity doesn’t just belong to artistic types living in loft studios. Work is a place I frequently exercise my creativity.

2. I think of myself as someone who doesn’t just want what I want, but as someone who is going to get it. It’s just a matter of figuring out how.

3. I keep blank notebooks in several places for jotting down my ideas and inspirations, and a tape recorder for recording observations.

4. No matter how “uncreative,” sensible, logical and otherwise unimpulsive I might consider myself, if I have a pressing idea—a core desire—I’m going to express it.

How to Support Your Own Happiness

Our brains can be trained to cultivate happiness; some training tips.

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When you were little and the teacher asked what you wanted to be when you grew up, you surely didn't answer "miserable!"

At every stage in life, unhappiness is not a state to which we aspire. But with the economy rolling downhill, the vision of our own prosperity can seem like a tiny, inflatable raft in an ocean of fear. In such unstable times, the pursuit of happiness can feel like a taunt rather than an inalienable right.

Still, it's worth the effort. Emerging research shows that while trauma has a profound impact on the brain, the brain is not as hard-wired as previously thought. We can learn to be happier. In fact, the most popular class at Harvard University is one in which students learn to train their brains to cultivate what instructor Tal Ben-Shahar calls the ultimate currency: happiness.

Life Goes Better With Friends

Everyone knows that friends make life better, but a growing body of evidence shows that people who have good friendships and strong social circles live longer—as well as happier—lives.

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In study after study, researchers have found that those who have friends are less likely to become disabled and more likely to recover if they do suffer a period of disability. Further, people with fewer friendships are more likely to have a heart attack and to die afterward while people with more social contacts are less likely to suffer cognitive decline.

The message from all this research: If friends are gifts we give ourselves, it’s good to be generous.

Why are friends so good for us? Health-wise, friends encourage us to do what’s good for us: eat better, drink less, exercise and seek medical care when we need it; friends listen to us when we need to let off steam and cheer us up when we’re down. We stress less when we have friends who support us and help us along the way.

Successfully Single: How to Thrive on Your Own

Over the course of their lives, many people will spend a significant amount of time being single, whether by choice or not. This article has tips on how to thrive as a single person, tips whose positive effect can carry over to times you're no longer single.

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In 1950, only 22 percent of American adults were single. Today, more than 50 percent are single—a massive demographic change.

What that means is that over the course of their lives, many people will spend a significant amount of time being single—by choice, by divorce, by death, or just in between relationships.

Interestingly, being married or coupled still tends to garner more status. But single people everywhere lead rich and fulfilling lives. And while the word single suggests "being alone," many single people have vast networks of friends and family and are not alone or lonely in the least.

If you find yourself single, temporarily or for the foreseeable future, here are some tips to help you be successfully single and thrive. (And really, these are useful tips even if you are partnered!)

The Health of the Human Spirit

Individuals as well as health practitioners are beginning to acknowledge that to be healthy one must nurture the human spirit.

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Our lives are inspired by people who have endured catastrophic life experiences and emerged the victor, rather than the victim. Helen Keller, Mahatma Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, and Elie Weisel are some of the more familiar names, but many of us have personally known individuals who have come through the other side of a wrenching experience with grace and humility.

If we could ask each one—the famous and the familiar—“What got you through your crisis?” in all likelihood the responses would be similar. One by one, they would describe inner resources that enabled them to survive. Brian Luke Seaward, author of Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, calls those qualities “the muscles of the soul.” Courage, faith, humor, patience, compassion, imagination, humbleness, forgiveness, intuition, creativity, optimism, honesty, and love.

It is in exercising those muscles that the health of the human spirit is maintained. And the fitness of the spirit is vital to our total well-being.

The Wisdom of Winnie-the-Pooh

A treasury of simple and charming wisdom, as reflected by Winnie the Pooh, for guidelines to living.

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Wisdom comes to us from many sources—sometimes from the mouths of babes, at other times from the teachings of ancient philosophers. A treasury of simple but wise sayings that suggest guidelines for living were given to the world by A. A. Milne, the London playwright who wrote the charming tale of Winnie-the-Pooh in 1926, and several more books on "Pooh Bear" to follow.

Although originally written as stories to read to his young son, Christopher Robin, Milne's series on Winnie and his friends who lived in the forest offer enlightenment for adults—especially in this hectic, modern world in which we live.

Each character's personality reflects for the reader a unique view of the world: Owl through his quest for knowledge. Eyeore as an unrelenting pessimist. We learn about bravery from Piglet and the need to believe in ourselves from Tigger. Winnie the Pooh, as described by Milne, might be a bear with "very little brain" but he has an abundance of wisdom and spouts insightful truths. Here are some:

On believing in yourself:

"Promise me you'll always remember: You're BRAVER than you believe; And STRONGER than you seem; And SMARTER than you think."

Top 10 Behaviors that Block Happiness

A list of 10 of the top behaviors preventing happiness. Awareness is the first step to stopping these behaviors.

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We all seek that elusive quality of "happiness." Here are some things you can place your awareness on and STOP so you can be happier.

1. Impressing. What you have—your possessions, your accomplishments—don't result in real relationship or lasting happiness.

2. Blaming. Your response to any situation is your choice. Try making it a learning opportunity—taking responsibility is empowering.

3. Controlling. It doesn't help you feel good about yourself. Honor your boundaries, but make space for others' needs and choices, too.

Top 10 Self-Help Mobile Apps

The top 10 self-help apps to download on your smart phone to track happiness, gratitude, sleep patterns, habits and more.

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Use of technology to enhance well-being is on the upswing. These new apps can be helpful, but please see a therapist for serious emotional / mental health issues. (Search the name on your app finder to get it for yourself.)

1. Gratitude JournalForgetting gratitude? This app offers daily reminders and iCloud syncing. Add photos, share what you're grateful for.

2. The Habit FactorYes, an app for breaking annoying habits. Set goals, create new positive behaviors, track your success.

3. iZen Garden 2A virtual zen garden in your palm—the tranquility that comes from being in a real one, without the messy sand!

Top 10 Ways to Have a Great Day

Along about the advent of the happy face, people started saying to one another, “Have a nice day.” And nice is, well, nice. But what about having a Great Day?

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A Great Day is one of those days where things go so right, when we accomplish something that makes us feel really good about ourselves, and we connect with people in meaningful ways. A day we experience joy.

Of course, not every day can be a great day, but the following 10 tips can transform what might be an ordinary day into something that verges on great.

1. Start off with a plan. Ask yourself what one thing you can do that will build toward creating a great day.

2. Be mindful. Throughout the day be present in all that you do.

3. Spend time with those you love. If you can’t be together in person, call or write a letter or email. Connect.

Top 10 Ways to Stay with Today

Ten ways to maintain presence in one’s life.

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“Most of the time, we are lost in the past or carried away by the future,” says Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk and poet. Staying in today will bring a more peaceful, joy-filled life. Try these ten ways.

1. Be present in the present. Pay attention to the details: Notice the food you eat, the sun on your back, the quality of the light, literally stop to smell the roses.

2. Make a list of what you want to accomplish today. List only the portion of a major project that can be completed today. Include pleasures as well as tasks.

3. Concentrate on the task at hand, not the outcome. Give it your best, knowing there is no perfect.

Why Happiness Matters at Work

Happier people make better team players and more effective leaders, but unhappy people are not doomed. Article offers ways to cultivate happiness at work.

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When you were little and the teacher asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, bet you didn’t answer “miserable!”

At every stage in life, unhappiness is not a state to which we aspire. But with the economy rolling downhill, our jobs and businesses can seem like tiny inflatable rafts in a big scary ocean of fear. So, we hold on. But what if we have a boss who’s overly demanding and doesn’t appreciate us? Or what if our worries about sustaining business are exhausting us to the point of burnout? Or what if we just feel gloomy and don’t know why? In unstable times, it’s especially hard to know what to do when we’re unhappy in our jobs and businesses.

Happiness Matters

We all have a natural capacity to derive pleasure and satisfaction from hard work. But reports from The Conference Board conclude that many of us are not happy at work. Medical evidence suggests being unhappy at work affects our memory and our capacity to learn, while increasing the risk of illness.

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