The Power of Happiness

Lesson 7 of 14

Capitalize on Positive Experiences


The Power of Happiness

Lesson 7 of 14

Capitalize on Positive Experiences


Lesson Info

Capitalize on Positive Experiences

(upbeat music) Alright, take a seat, shake it out. So today we are on day number five. This is the wow day, wow. Now when you were a little kid, it felt like everything was wow and that's what we're gonna be talking about today. Finding that wonder and awe and amazement in the little things so we started this course with really big ideas, our skills, our chart of happiness, how we're spending our time and the middle part of the course, I'm talking about some of the little things that bring us the most happiness so this is a little things day which I kind of life so just to review, we did our chart of happiness on day one, our mastery skill temperature on day two, play storming on day three. Yesterday you filled out your minimizer charts and we are column number five today. This is about a new look at optimism. So we hear about be more optimistic. Look at life as the glass half full. What does that actually mean, this is my take on optimism, how we do that from a day to day moment. I'...

m also gonna be teaching you something called the five stages of wow and I think this is a really fun way to capitalize on our small moments of enjoyment. Lastly, this is about moment to moment joy, that really short term beautiful happiness. Warm up, so our warm up today we're gonna play an imagination game, ready and at home, I want you to play along too, this is for you. So first I want you to put down your pen and close your eyes, at home, you better be closing your eyes. Don't be looking at me, perfect, everyone's eyes are closed. I want you to imagine that you're in a hotel room. Picture yourself in a really sumptuous hotel room. You sit on the bed, you turn on the TV and you start flipping through the channels, you're flipping through the hotel channels and all of a sudden, you find your favorite, your favorite movie is about to start. And you sit down, you can watch the whole movie for free. Your favorite movie starts, imagine those first few scenes in your favorite movie, those favorite moments. You spend a whole evening enjoying this. Imagine the characters, your favorite scene, all the different actors that played in that movie, imagine the songs on the soundtrack, savor that for just a moment, now open your eyes so this little exercise. What was your favorite movie, just curious, what were you envisioning, yeah. Back To The Future Two. Two, Back To The Future Two, okay, I like it. What else was a favorite movie, what were you imagining, yeah, alright, You've Got Mail, oh yeah, classic, yeah. The Big Lebowski so here's the science of the power of excitement, just thinking about watching your favorite movie increases your endorphins by 27%. That's a crazy finding right, just sitting there not even watching your favorite movie, just imagining it increases your endorphins, this shows us the power of our memories, that power of something that had made us have pleasure at one point can continue to give us pleasure even after it's done. Endorphins are these wonderful chemicals that make us feel happy and excited and hopeful. We know that hope is incredibly important for happiness and optimism, bottom line here is you don't have to actually take a vacation or be on a vacation to enjoy a vacation. Just anticipating the vacation is coming and savoring and reminiscing about the vacation in the past is enough to have you re enjoy that vacation. That's actually very beneficial for us. It means this, even if you take one vacation a year, it can give you pleasure all year long. So happiness is mostly the anticipation of events and the memory of it, this is another myth about happiness that I wanna bust. We typically think about happiness as in the moment. But actually happiness is a before and after activity just as much as it is that individual activity while we're doing it, we don't think about it that way. Your inner kid, so I was babysitting my niece and when I was taking her out to get ice cream, I thought she was most excited for the ice cream, right. The whole point of the journey was the ice cream trip. There was so much joy to be had that had nothing to do with the ice cream, my power windows, the air in her face, the dog that we drove by, the pretty plastic flowers, all these things were giving her joy. The ice cream was great but there was so many other moments of wow, when you're with a kid, they're constantly asking questions and they're like wow with the world, I wanna bring some of that wow back to us. Here's the problem is we are not very wow oriented. We are typically oriented toward achievement, getting things done, finishing accomplishments, eating the ice cream, we're not as oriented towards the feeling, for example, I was watching a ted talk and this is one of those ted talks was great. It was 18 minutes long, was about a really powerful topic, speaker was hitting his points and he was building this crescendo, it was awesome and at one point he makes his point and the audience begins to erupt in like a spontaneous standing ovation and he missed it. The audience was swept up by his speech but because he was on point to finish his talk and he didn't want or expect a standing ovation till the end of his talk, he kept talking and there was this moment and they show the audience where everyone's like wow, oh he's still talking, everyone sit back down, sit back down. And he missed this moment where he could've had his peak right in the middle where maybe he wasn't expecting it but people were swept up in that awe that he delivered, he was waiting for the end, right? So I don't want us to miss those high moments. The other way that we miss some of our moments of wow is we don't like to celebrate, right? How many times have you heard someone say I hate when someone gives me compliments. When someone compliments me it makes me so uncomfortable or I don't know how to celebrate. You have a big win at work, you achieve something big and you say what are you gonna do to celebrate? Keep working, maybe I'll go out to dinner. We are very bad at celebrating our successes. So sometimes we either have moments of awe, compliments, successes, we have these moments of relaxation time where we just busy ourselves and ignore the moment completely and we miss these great moments of wow for ourselves, anyone relate to this? We're gonna pull out the red and green card. We're gonna use 'em again today, okay so everyone except one which I'm so glad that you can enjoy those moments. We're gonna learn from you in a second because this is something that was a real big problem for me where I would try to achieve all these things. I would ignore all these feelings and it was on to the next thing and never stop to enjoy that moment. I think this falls into two different approaches. And this is one thing we learn from the happiest people in our study, is the happiest people in our study, they typically had the play approach. So here are the two different approaches. The unhappiest people when you talk to them about different parts of their life, they typically always had a wrong or a right, there was very little gray area either something was good in their life or was bad in their life, something went wrong or something went right, they typically thought much more carefully about their choices. They didn't want to get a wrong choice. And they were much more should driven so I would ask them questions like why did you decide to make that decision, why did you choose that career, why'd you choose to live there and a lot of it had to deal with should as opposed to want or desire. And also there was a lot of shame around wrong decisions. That shame was constantly pulling on the current happiness as if to say you can't enjoy the current moment. You have too much shame about this. You should be worrying about the past. Now the play approach, when we talk to the happiest people, they use different kinds of words when they were describing things, we found they had a much more experimental approach, this is how I came up with the idea with happiness experiment, they would say things like well I tried it and it was okay. When I, they didn't usually say experiment but I tried it or I dabbled in it or I played with the idea or I was trying something for a while and then it didn't end up working and there was no judgment on that working or not working. They tend to be much more curious or excited about more things so I asked them about things they enjoyed and they would physically show me excitement. Oh, I love my ceramics class, my teacher is so funny. I made all these and they would explain it to me with excitement, the unhappiest people, when I asked them what's the most enjoyable part of your life, they would tell me without any excitement and I actually think this is because as adults, we've been taught you should be nice and even keel. Don't get over excited, right, you'd have parents who would tell you don't get over excited. Don't get overly dramatic, they would say oh, I really enjoy going to brunch with friends, really enjoy reading the newspaper, occasionally I go on vacation with my husband. I'm like are you reading me a tax list? Where is the excitement here and they would always laugh when I told them that because they didn't even realize they were actually taking away that excitement. They didn't let themselves go there and so they were much more excitement and judgment free if things did or didn't work, so what I wanna do is I want to go through a couple red and green cards so I want you to get your red and green cards ready and at home, I want you to Tweet or write down your answers to these because I'm gonna go through a couple of them. So if I were to say you have to sing Karaoke in front of 200 strangers, totally mixed, red and green, red and green. We got a total mix, we can rephrase this so for those of you who raised red, I was also a raised red when I thought about singing Karaoke, I read this study and it completely changed my idea about excitement. So this is a study and what they did was they asked students to sing the song "Don't Stop Believing" and they had a software rate their Karaoke for accuracy, how many high notes did they hit, did they get the lyrics right, did they hit the words correctly. They had one group right before they started singing say I'm nervous and they had the other group whether they were nervous or excited say I'm excited, okay. The results were the nervous group got about 53% accuracy singing, the neutral group that said nothing had about 69% accuracy, the I'm excited group had 80% accuracy, now I find this so surprising because it didn't matter what they actually felt. They were just told to reframe that anxious feeling in their stomach as excitement, taking nervous butterflies and turning them into excited butterflies. Harnessing excitement, I think, is the simplest, most powerful lever we have. That was one of the biggest differences I found between the happiest people and unhappiest people. The happiest people let excitement into their life. They let it come into their life and they actually exacerbated it, they stirred up their own excitement. They would start talking and they would get more excited as they were talking, as if they were riling themselves up, you ever seen like little boys together? You have one little boy and he's pretty excited. If you bring another little boy in and they start to like really rile each other up, I want us to do that for ourselves, where we rile our own excitement. The other experiment so this "Don't Stop Believing" experiment was pretty good but they also wanted to know could this work in a more professional setting, not just Karaoke so very very similar set up. Students were asked to deliver a speech with only two minutes to prepare, a panel of evaluators rated them on persuasiveness and confidence. Now imagine this for a second, you're asked to give a speech on a random topic for two minutes and you know you're gonna be judged on it. This is pretty nerve wracking experience. Of course, they had one group say I'm excited, one group say they were nervous and here's what happened. And by the way the panelists did not know what was happening behind the stage, the group that said I'm excited were rated 17% more persuasive than the I'm nervous group and the control group. 15% more confident and they spent 29% more time on stage. That means that reframing your nerves as excitement gives you 37 seconds of more courage, right? And again, this isn't, they didn't do anything internal. We didn't give them a dose of dopamine. They didn't tell them to do a power pose or breathing. All they said was just repeat after me. Say I'm excited, that was it, so let's try this. I wanna get your green cards ready. I wanna see some excitement. So when I think about my future, I'm excited, that's right. When I think about my goals, I'm excited. When I think about a challenge I'm facing, I'm excited. When I have to sing Karaoke in front of 200 strangers, I'm excited, yes, so here's what I wanna do. The song "Don't Stop Believing" is a great song to Karaoke to is so what I wanna do is at home, if you're Creative Live, we don't own the copyright to that song so in you 21 day challenge, I sent you a link to the video Don't Stop Believing. I want you to pull your computer, either click on the link or type in Don't Stop Believing into YouTube. You're gonna stand up here in the Creative Live studio. We're gonna do some karaoke, yes we are. So for you at home it's going to be silent but for us here we're going to be singing. So ready, you're gonna watch silent. When I say go, we are gonna start at the same time. So I want you to get your video ready at home, Don't Stop Believing and when I say go you're gonna hit the play button and you're gonna sing along at home with us too, okay, are you ready, get your video ready. We're gonna press play right now. I'm out of breath, I don't know about you at home. I hope you're out of breath, you're singing and dancing as we were, I'm sure watching us on silent trying to sing that, watching it silent might've been better because I was on a mic so so sorry people in the booth, oh John, I'm sorry, I think you were probably listening to that really closely, okay. So Science says, we know this, singing makes us happy. I already made the thing Row Row Row Your Boat. It releases endorphin, it improves our mood. And people who sing together, share together. So now let's talk about the five stages of wow. So I think this is about capitalizing on the positive experiences that we already have. These are those moments, those mini celebrations that we go, yeah, I'm excited about that but I'm not gonna get myself all worked up, I want us to get ourselves worked up about it, right? I want us to have those five stages of wow. Now most people know the five stages of grief. And I think that we talk a lot about in society about processing our negative emotions and that is incredibly important. But I don't think we talk enough about processing our positive emotions, if we're focusing on grief, we should also focus on celebration. We should also process pride and make it last as long as possible 'cause if we focus on the positive emotion, it helps build us up for those times we might have negative emotions. The very first stage is anticipate so before any positive thing ever happens, you can actually enjoy it just by anticipating it so for a moment, think about if you knew that you were about to get chocolate, right, if I were to say to you I'm about to give you the best creamiest chocolate, your mouth starts to get excited about it, right, it starts to water, you think about the smell of that chocolate, the creaminess of that chocolate and you are beginning to produce endorphins. And the best thing is that you can anticipate something and actually get it, we actually do have chocolate for you guys here in the studio, my favorite chocolate, See's Candy, Kate's gonna help me pass it out. You can pass it on down, anticipate and you shall receive here at Creative Live, I'm like Oprah, chocolate for you, chocolate for you, chocolate for you. (laughing) Go at home, go get yourself some chocolate. Go in your fridge, scrunch up some chocolate because you deserve it after that anticipate, anticipatory experience so here's the science of anticipation, okay, when we think of activities or even future plans, it doesn't even have to be a said activity, just thinking about doing something. That increases dopamine in the brain. So dopamine is the pleasure chemical. It actually is what we get when we get a gift or are eating that chocolate and just thinking about it helps release that dopamine so just thinking about eating chocolate or watching our favorite movie or taking a vacation makes us happy. Bottom line, we don't actually have to be eating cake to enjoy eating cake, by the way, anticipating eating chocolate or cake is calorie free, that's the nice part. If you know that you're gonna treat yourself to something, don't not think about it, the best thing you can do. If you're on a diet or you're watching something and you're like you know what, I'm gonna have birthday cake tomorrow night, the best thing you can do is be like I get birthday cake tomorrow night. That means you get to enjoy it for days leading up to it and then afterwards savoring it. Oh, wasn't that cake so good, right? I want us to get in the habit of thinking about it. A lot of the time adults, they say oh I'm excited about that cake but I don't wanna think about it yet. I can't get myself too excited about it. Actually that's the best part. There are so many things in life that I think can give us anticipation that we miss. Yes of course, vacation is a celebration. As I mentioned, food, your favorite meal that's coming up. I anticipate every holiday, it doesn't even matter if I celebrate, I find holidays great moments of wow. So thinking about all your favorite things that are coming up, I love giving gifts much more than receiving gifts. When I give gifts, I make sure that I'm just as excited for them to open that gift so I enjoy the shopping of it, the wrapping of it, the waiting for them. When my husband, when I get him a gift for his birthday, it was just his birthday, I line them all up. I put them on Instagram, I made people guess what I was getting him based on the shape and size of the box. So I enjoyed his gifts far more before he ended open up. It ended up, by the way, I gave him an anti Monopoly game and Timber socks, oh and bacon toothpaste. It tastes like bacon actually really. So I enjoyed that before he even opened anything. Of course amazing books, if you're reading an amazing book, you don't just get enjoyment out of reading it, you get enjoyment before you even open it. Oh I get an hour after work to read a chapter of my book, right, taking those moments to enjoy them. Also receiving gifts, I have this gift over here. Has anyone noticed this gift, so this gift is really actually has a really good thing in it. And I'm not gonna tell you what it is 'cause I realize that if I kept it on stage the entire time every time you looked at it, you got dopamine. So this gift, the gift of this gift, we'll open it but not today, we will open it on day 10. Every time you look at it you get dopamine. So if you want a little moment of pleasure, just look over there at that gift and it'll give you a little bit of dopamine. So I wanna hear really quickly what are you looking forward to, in your workbook I have a little space for this on day five, what are you most excited about? What's coming up in your life and let's not do a happiness experiment with that, what's just coming up in your life that you're looking forward to, I'd like to hear a couple of things. An expo conference. Yeah. So it's like Comic Con so I'm gonna be dressing up. What are you gonna wear? Something steampunk which is like Victorian era people thought the future was gonna be like. Oh gosh, you know what, so that's a great example of there is actually so many little moments of celebration before you even get there, thinking about your costume, shopping for your costume, thinking about your make up for the day, planning where you're going to eat during the conference, those are all little celebrations of pleasure, I love it, I wanna see your steampunk outfit when you get it today, alright, yes. I'm going to a conference in London. And I realized when you were going to through that, I have been completely mired in the task, getting ready, getting everything done before I have to go and I've had little pockets of excitement. But nothing near the where I should, well, or I can. So yeah, I'm excited about that. So that's a great point, especially these big logistical things like vacations, we're thinking about getting the tickets, packing the bag, purchasing the gift, wrapping the gift, all these things, when actually we miss out and like we're going to freakin' London. So I think we actually and this sounds crazy. I think we have to schedule that in a little bit. Even on your to do list as you get ready for your trip, I want you to put in freak out about seeing Big Ben. Look at pictures of London on Instagram and get really excited, email friends for London restaurants. Ask 'em their favorite thing they ordered. Put that in there, build that in there because it does tend to go by the wayside. We tend to bog down in the minutiae. So I want you to think about one to three things you're looking forward to, I love the big ones like trips. I want one small one, small one, a little baby one, yeah. I have a friend driving up from Parkland tonight that I get to meet up with and have dinner. I love it, dinner with friends, even smaller, really really small one, we can have these moments of celebration on a daily basis, they're really small, yes. It's gonna be warm tomorrow. Okay, the weather, I let the weather be a huge source of excitement for me, the weather is going to be warm hopefully all weekend here in San Francisco. As small as I just bought myself some new gum and I'm really excited to try it. (laughing) Is this a thing, gum, right? So even those little moments. I don't want us to only think, I also want us to think small, they're very very cheap in that way. They're easy to get, my present, as we talked about, every time you think about a present, it usually triggers dopamine, of course our happy calendar. This is built for you to start thinking about events, to anticipate them, right, get excited about them. Want a quick boost, I had to include this study. Even just planning a vacation, even planning a vacation that you can't afford yet actually triggers dopamine. So in this study, sorry for all the tech, the highest spike in happiness happens during the planning stage, this is crazy, right, we get more dopamine planning a vacation than actually being on a vacation. The effect of vacation anticipation boosted happiness for eight weeks just planning it. After the vacation, happiness quickly dropped back to baseline levels, so what I want us to think about here is when you have vacation time, don't actually wait until the last minute to plan it, even just doing internet research, looking at pictures online, sending emails to friends, asking have you ever been here, all that planning, even if you're sending out one email every few days is actually the most inefficient way but happy making way to plan a vacation. 'Cause you're able to pull out the dopamine every time you start planning it. Caution, I have a cautionary note here. One thing I don't want you to do is anticipate for too long and what I mean by this is when I was little, I really really wanted a pair of roller skates. They were adorable, they were white with pink wheels and they had pink glitter shoe laces so I asked for them for my birthday, I got them for my birthday. And they were like perfectly white. Oh my god, I can't go out in the streets until I'm really good at roller skating 'cause I don't wanna scuff them up so I'd wear them around my room. And I would shuffle in them 'cause I had carpet and I did this for a few months and then I grew out of them. And I couldn't ever wear them, the saddest story. Because I anticipated for too long. I was waiting for the perfect day, the perfect moment when I was a perfect roller skater and in my imagination I was gonna saunter out of my house and roller skate down the street and I'd be like hello, look at my new skates but I waited for that perfect moment for too long. So anticipation's not about over planning the perfect thing. It's abut trying to enjoy every moment and then taking it whether it's perfect or not. Number two, savoring, so when you're actually in the moment, how can you savor more and savoring is when you have that moment and it's a body moment, less mental and more body, when you're like ah, or mmm or whoa. Those are those moments in your body. We typically skip right over those especially me. I am not feeling oriented so I am usually about oh this is great whereas I don't take that moment to be like ah, this is amazing, I very rarely take those moments. And there's a difference between this is great and this is amazing in your body. So go with me on this for a second. This is actually called the undoing effect, that feeling in your body of almost unraveling or reveling in the excitement is something they call the undoing effect. So in this study participants were asked to give a difficult speech to a panel, a very typical thing by the way in a lot of studies and their blood pressure and heart rate were measured before, during and after this experiment. They were show videos with different emotional responses. So one group was shown a neutral video of like a commercial for laundry detergent, one group was shown an angry video of a rally, one group was shown a video of a person dancing through the field of these beautiful views. What they found was positive emotion videos helped lower blood pressure and heart rate. They made participants feel more relaxed. Now this obvious, okay yeah, good videos cause you to feel calmer but it's also not obvious because we don't often think of those small moments of joy as physiologically changing the feeling in our body. And so next time you have those small moments of little pleasure, they were just looking at videos of sunsets. It wasn't like they were in a sunset. They were just looking at a video of a sunset. Even just that lowered their heart rate and lowered their blood pressure so next time you have a little moment, you put a great stick of gum in your mouth, you see a pretty set of flowers, I want you to think about how can I savor this moment just a second longer. I call it adding five seconds. So the right feeling can also help us be more effective. So not only did they feel more relaxed when they went out to the panel of judges, they also performed better. This is not just about the pleasure it gives us. Its also about right before we go into the next task, doing the task better, if you have a lower heart rate, you're gonna be much more relaxed, be able to focus on the task at hand so I've decided to add in rituals to my life and I wanna encourage you to add these wow rituals into your life. So for example, I used to go in every morning to my kitchen, I started every morning with a big glass of tea. I would like shuffle into my kitchen and I would grab my glass, my mug, whatever was in there, open up my tea bag, put it in there, steep it, walk upstairs, I did this every day. And I realized that there was a possible moment of mmm here so instead I decided to get really cool gravity mugs. I got one of those beautiful steepers. I decided to grow mint in my garden. This was a happiness experiment and every morning I'd go outside, I'd pick a few fresh leaves of mint. It's gorgeous, fresh mint, there's nothing better. I take it in my kitchen, I have this little grinder, this really pretty grinder that I bought to sit on my counter and I grind my mint and it smells amazing and I boil myself fresh mint tea. I look forward to that so much when I get up in the morning and by the way, if I ever don't have time, I can grab myself a bag, that's always there. I would say I do this four times a week and it's this moment that I savor, I look forward to it, I'm in the moment and it helps me enjoy the smell of the tea, the taste of the tea so much better. This is a really small thing that I want you to start thinking about how you can build rituals. Other thing I noticed that I did was I typically ate and worked so lunch, I would typically take my lunch up to my desk, work at my desk and I realized that that was actually a lost moment, I would often have really yummy lunches so I realized that instead of working through lunch, I would take my lunch and I got to pick one ted talk so every lunch I watch an 18 minute ted talk and I don't do any work during that time. It helps me enjoy my food and I get to watch a ted talk whether it's funny or serious. I want you to also savor this journey so we're here in this room, we're talking about happiness. We're doing the most important work that we can do which is actually looking at our life and saying how can I maximize the good in my life. At home you're taking a little bit of time every day to watch these videos, savor them. When you laugh during a video, pause it, take some notes, pause it, do your exercise in the workbook, savor every activity 'cause these are the activities that we don't often get to do, we don't get to think about these questions a lot. Other savor worthy activities, lots of ideas and I have tons of ideas for you in here. So getting a joke of the day email, taking afternoon tea, doing walking meditations, watching random movies, making playlists, there are so many different ways you can start thinking about adding these really small rituals to our life and of course, think about the means, not the end. Instead of finishing things like growing a mint plant and being like oh my mint plant's now done. I enjoy that every day, there's no finish to that project. I also want you to think about, yes, I want you to get to the end of the course of course. But I also think the enjoyment is doing the course every day so what could use an extra five seconds. In the audience, I want you to just think about this. At home I want you to fill out at least three rituals that you could do, I'm gonna ask you in the audience, what could use an extra five seconds? We're gonna build an extra mmm, ah and wow second, where would you add it and while you guys are thinking about that, I wanna play a really quick video. This is actually a video of me in my garden making my tea. Creative Live came to my house and took a video of me doing it so you can see what it's like in person. There's my little mint, I call it my herb castle. It looks like a little castle of herbs, pick my mint every morning, take it inside, there it is. Put it in my little mortar, I love that little thing, that marble bowl, I got it on Amazon, grind it all up. I was able to feed, actually not feed, give steeping hot tea that was so hot you could barely drink it, I grind it up, that's when I do gratitude exercises is actually when I'm grinding, those mint leaves smell amazing. Grinding it up, pour it in, it steeps like this amazing neon green color and it's like the greatest thing you ever tasted, I bought these really cool spoons. Yeah, the spoon right and that spoon gives me so much joy, that little spoon so I'm also a sucker for fresh flowers. Those are a little savor moment for me. So that's one of my rituals, I'm big into hiking. I live right on a forest so I always do walking meditation, I like forest bathing. These are ways that I add five seconds to my day. I also like doing meditations in the forest and I have a bunch of apps in our virtual tool box if you want to do that as well so a bunch of other activities for you. So what are yours, I've shown you mine, oh yeah, I love watering my garden, so what are yours, right? What are some things that you could add five seconds to here in the audience? I started journaling for five seconds, that's a five second rule and pick out the best moment of the day and I savor those moments in five seconds. I love that and in five seconds, what is that, maybe like one sentence, little bullets, that's just enough, that is just enough and you get dopamine just thinking about those five seconds. Knowing when you have something fun happen during the day, you know that you can add it to the bullet in your journal. It actually even extends that to longer seconds, love that. I plant roses in my garden and last week I woke up and I could see the roses just blooming and it made me so happy. Yes. That Ellen Langer study that we talked about about taking care of a plant, so having, planting it with your own hands, watching it grow, seeing it grow and then enjoying it in your home or enjoying 'em on the bush, I love it, how about some other small ones, yeah. I go on an ocean hike each day. There are a couple of things I'm thinking, one, I've actually started listening to music that I like but I think I need to have some time where I'm not listening to anything and just in the nature, in the ocean area and then two, I find that if I see something beautiful I take a picture and then I won't savor and wow in the actual experience. Last night I was watching the sunset as I was taking pictures and I took my phone down and I was like this is way prettier than the picture I'm taking. Let's just watch the big sun go down without taking pictures. So actually taking pictures is an interesting one. 'Cause I wrestle with this myself. If you're taking pictures in the moment, are you actually enjoying the moment? I think the jury's out, it's actually a very personal decision, I have a couple of ideas on step four of how you can take pictures and actually have that be capitalization experience but I agree with you in those moments, how about a small one, any ideas, yeah. I recently started adding Himalayan pink sea salt to my watermelon slices, it's amazing. Everybody needs to try this and watermelon was already one of my favorite fruits so I was just taking it to the next level for me. Oh man, that is so good and also Himalayan pink sea salt. Like mmm. I got it as a gift from my sister from one of our favorite markets in Vancouver so as soon as she got me that, it's my little ritual to add that and when we have guests come over, if I have watermelon they're definitely getting that. Oh I gotta come over and have some watermelon with Himalayan sea salt and even just like knowing that was a gift that was given to you, right, that in itself is a beautiful experience, that's a really good little one. It's like intense pleasure so I want you to think about how you can add these little rituals into your life. The third step on the stages of wow is to clarify. So what I mean by this and this is actually coming from my dad, he would always say things end but memories last forever, I think that sometimes, especially as adults, we have these great experiences big or small and we don't categorize them as a memory if that makes sense like when you're little, you have all these big moments, the moment you walked, the moment you took your first drink of water, the moment you tried this for the first time, the moment you went to your first party, the moment you went to your first dance, all these firsts and then when you hit about 20, the firsts, there's no more firsts left, that's why I like bucket lists so much, to trying things new. So you go weeks, months, years without really having a first or a big moment, I want to start turning our moments into memories, even that flip of this is happening to me and I'm taking a mental snap shot of this can help you add that extra five seconds. So I think that clarifying, oh yeah, I have some science for you here, it's about sharing things in different modes. So there's this concept called multimodality. And what this says is that experiencing something in as many modes as possible from seeing it to hearing it to touching it to smelling it actually makes that memory last longer so I want us to think about with your experiences, how can you add modality? How can you savor the smell or take a picture or share it with someone, how can you add that layer because that expands the positive little nugget becoming longer and stronger. So one way that I do this, if this works for you is I typically when I'm enjoying something, it could be a small thing I'm eating or when I'm at a place, I just to think of one word that defines the experiences. I find that if I add the one word it adds modality to it, sort of an explanation and it turns that experience into a memory, very similar to adding five seconds to the end of the day, here putting something into bullets or writing. I will do this all the time so when I'm thinking about a vacation or a day or an experience, be like oh, this was so adventurous or this is so challenging and I'll think about that word and it helps me turn it into something that stays permanently with me. By the way, hashtag, oddly enough are actually a great way to do it, you ever been about to post something on Instagram and Twitter and you're like oh, what should the hashtag be, what's the perfect phrase for this, that actually, that moment is a great moment for multimodality because what you're doing is you're taking a picture or a feeling or an experience and you're trying to translate it to people who aren't there, even that process is a wonderful way to extend it out. So don't hate that process, love that process. How can I put this image or this feeling into a word or to a phrase or to a hashtag to help people get it. So I have a ton of fun words in your notebook and multimodality section and what I would like you to do and you don't have to do this right now but afterwards for your homework is I want you to go down this list and I want you think of as many experiences as possible to define each word so if I say the word inspired, what instantly, what memory pops into your head for inspired so I want you to go through this list and here's the trick, you cannot repeat. No repeating, that means digging really deep into the memory well, there's at least 30, 30, 40 words here right. So I want you to find a different one for each one which means you might have to shuffle around a little bit. That's gonna, we're gonna play some Tetris, like making Tetris, searching for those memories. I think that in present day this means taking mental snapshots, I actually think this is one of the positive parts of social media so I get down on social media a couple times in this course. This is one of the times where I'm actually gonna say it's a good thing because when you're having a moment, you're eating an amazing meal, these days people are like how could I make this an awesome Instagram shot? Now it's good and bad, almost take you away from the memory but it's also a way to say what is the perfect framing to capture the hashtag of fun or sunny. So I want you to think about, even if you're not posting on social media, how would you frame this in a mental snapshot in your head, the best advice I got actually before my wedding day, someone said to me, your wedding day is gonna go so fast. Just like when adults would say your childhood is gonna go fast, everything goes so fast. She said to me try to take mental snapshots at least once and hour and every time you move locations like when you're getting ready with your bridesmaids, take a mental snapshot that will define that moment. When you're walking down the aisle, take a mental snapshot. Then you have these amazing memories in your head that will only be added to a picture and that was the best piece of advice I got. I carry that with me now, when I'm having a moment, like even this, I have mental snapshot of you guys like right now, that's a mental snap shot that only I can keep in my head, I want you to think about how you can trigger, add those away instead of letting those moments pass us by quickly. So what's your one word for this course? In the audience, if you had to pick one word for this course so far, what word would you pick, yeah. Powerful. Powerful. I like it, I think it is empowering, thank you, yeah. Awakening. Awakening, yeah, those aha moments, yeah. The word that came to mind was cheeks because I'm smiling so much that I'm very aware of my cheeks. And my cheeks usually hurt by the end of the day. I don't know about you guys but they get so, 'cause then you laugh so high, any other words for the course? Hopeful. Hopeful, yes. A lot of hope, there is so much good coming. So what's your one word for this course? How about for today, when you got up this morning, I want you to envision what it was like getting up for the day, what was the one word you thought for today and at home I want you to think about what was your one word for the day today when you got up. One word for today when you got up this morning, yeah. Excited. Excited, really, any other ones, okay good, I will stick with excited so this is a game I play with myself. Typically if I'm sitting and waiting for something and I'm trying to think of something, I'll be like what's the word for this, what's my hashtag? Tip number four is capitalize, so capitalizing is actually a term that helps us make our happiness exponential. Capitalization is when you share good news with someone and your happiness multiplies the positive benefits of the experience and also strengthens the bond between the people involved so capitalization is a term that we use in many many different areas of psychology. But I actually like the idea of capitalization for happiness, the moment you share what makes you happy, it actually increases the happiness for you and it infects the happiness for other people as well. So how do you capitalize and Christopher McCandless lists happiness as only real when shared. After his long journey he realized, wrote in his notebook that happiness is only real when its shared with other people and this is getting us ready for day seven. Share your happy, I think that there are three different ways, main ways to share your happy and I want you to pick the one that feels most comfortable for you. First communal, this is the broadcast effect. We're set up for this, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest. You're taking your happy and you're broadcasting it out to a group of people who follow you or support you. Second way, one to one so this is knowing you're gonna have a good experience and you're gonna share it by texting it, emailing, calling, you're gonna actually take this experience and you're gonna give it to one other person, you're gonna explain to that one other person what you're experiencing. Last one, archive so archiving is an interesting way of sharing because you're actually thinking about how you're gonna share this with either your future self when you go back and look at pictures or your kids, your grandkids, your spouse, that's a different kind of happiness that I think still counts in that capitalization. So for me, I'm a big big Instagram fan. I love sharing things on Instagram. I post all kinds of crazy things on Instagram. The other thing that I try to do is I'm always looking for little moments so yes there are big moments on Instagram sure, but also I was sitting in this living room and this person brought this cute little dog and he was in this little sliver of sun, a whole room was shady. He was in this little sliver and I was like that's a happy moment, he is so happy right there in this little sliver of sun with that little teddy bear. So I think that for me, I use social media to try to capitalize and that helps me turn that experience into a positive thing as opposed to a negative thing. Actually I'm so proud of my Instagram that one of my friends for my birthday turned my Instagram into marshmallows so these are all marshmallows. She took all of my Instagram pictures and she actually turned them into marshmallows. I had to eat my friends, ya know. It was the greatest gift because my friends know that's a happy making place for me. It's how I try to share so they know that this is really important to me, the other way that I try to do it is texting so I'm not, I don't love my phone very much. I typically am like no one call me but I do really like happy texts, I found that's a way that can help me brighten my day and I also get really happy texts back so my closest friend will send me all kinds of things, for example, Maggie and Lacey they were in my last Master People Skills course, she saw this light fixture that looked like v's and she sent me the picture, oh this light fixture reminds me of you. So I have relationships set up with people in my life where I want them to send me little moments of happiness. They send me funny videos, send me funny gifts. My husband sends me pictures almost every morning. Puppy and kitten pictures so that is my way of capitalizing. The last way, sorry, I was gonna ask you to pick. I'd love to know what is yours? It can be either one of these now or one you think you're gonna use, any ideas about which is your favorite one? I've been actually doing this thing for a while where I was taking photos of food and then doodling a face on it and then I would share it on Instagram and it made me really happy. But I actually stopped for like a week or something 'cause I got busy or whatever and this has actually inspired me to oh, I should get back on that, just a short, simple thing to do and easy to be. Even you just saying that made me laugh. The idea of drawing faces on food is amazing, perfect. That is a perfect example but everyone who sees it, loves it, it's also an interesting take on a typical food picture, it's like your own customization of it. I like it, other ones, yeah. Our family uses texting, we have a family text, my husband, my two daughters and we're spread out a bit. We have one in college and one traveling here and there. So our texts are often pictures of things that we know someone else will love so it consists of a lot of trains because my husband loves trains. Anytime we see a train anywhere, we group text that or just food or anything in between that we know someone else in our family would really appreciate. Yeah so that is a way that you are gifting happiness. Trains might not be your amazing thing. The moment you see it, you know it will make him happy and that is the most beautiful way to literally exponential happiness so I want you to be a little bit more purposeful with these things, either setting up a group text that you think people will enjoy, even a little group text together and be like guys, this is our happiness forum, three things make you happy or whatever that is for you, maybe it's keepsaking. Maybe it's journaling, that's okay too. But I want you to think about how you can share it. The last thing I wanna bring up here is awe. So awe is a very specific happy making emotion. It's a little bit different than joy or excitement. And from a scientific perspective, awe is one of the most powerful levers that we have. So awe inspiring experiences are so many benefits. They boost our immune system, they have an anti inflammatory effect, they help with depression and heart disease, that moment of like wow, you see a really great view and you're like awe, in awe, that is incredibly powerful in the body. So I want you to think about how you can build more awe even into your daily life, those little moments of like wow, this flower is so beautiful. I planted this with my hand and it's so beautiful. I also want you to think about little routines. What's on your desk, what's on your bedside table, is that happy making, is that joy producing, what's on your dashboard, your desktop or your dashboard on your computer, what's on your bathroom mirror. Post-Its or quotes or pictures, what's on your kitchen table, what's on your home screen, look at the things that you look at every day and don't look at them the same way. What are things you can do or put on those surfaces to add just a little tiny triggers of awe or happiness and by the way, I rotate these, we often will have the same things on our desk or our bedside table, every few months I will typically go I need some new quotes on my bathroom mirror or I'm changing up my desktop picture so setting that into your happiness routine of changing these things. Building awe moments in your life so what are some, any ideas of areas of your life like physical areas, bedside table, desk, home screen, yeah. I really wanna plan a trip to Iceland so my Apple TV screensaver is just photos on Flickr of Iceland so they always update all the time, glaciers and just beautiful scenery, it's nice because it's like having a rotating beautiful photograph in my living room and it makes me think about the trip that I wanna take. So that is actually double whammy, anticipation for Iceland, it helps you plan the trip, I have to go to that place, I'm gonna go to that place and it reminds it of you ever time you turn on the TV, I love that. Apple TV background, that's such a good one. I should add that on there, other ideas, yes. I have a little Lego of Star Wars that my five year old son gave me so I put it on my desk so it reminds me awe, let's play. And you should have, so you should also have him make new things for you, you should keep swapping 'em out, have him change things, be like I have a special place on my desk for your creations so can you make me, this is your spot on my desk and that way he can make things for that specific spot on your desk, yeah. My garage is full of utility type things and so I think that I'm like, it's a dual garage so I'm always looking at stuff so I think there's something I could do around there that would bring some awe. Painting project, poster project, I would like post it on your Facebook and be like any ideas for this space, right, I like that, that's the place you look at all the time, okay, I love it, here are a couple of mine. I didn't know if you wanted any ideas so these are actually, we made coasters on Etsy of all the places my husband and I have traveled together. She etched them into the Etsy coasters. 'Cause you look at your coasters all the time. We have coasters of all the places we've been. My sister makes candles, she makes Harry Potter candles. I love Harry Potter and she assigned me to Slytherin. She's so kind, she's like I'm Gryffindor and you're Slytherin, I'm like thanks. (laughing) So I burned my Slytherin candles and I think of her. I'm a big fan of fresh flowers so I have them almost everything, my husband and I sign up for really weird events that are happiness experiments, like the National Corgi Walk, it's held in Portland every August. It's thousands of Corgis descend upon Portland. They come in from all over the country. We go to the National Corgi Walk every year. I love myself some gum so I buy really weird gum. I know that sounds crazy but it actually gets me excited and when I have it in my purse, they're really small little things that I do to try build these rituals into my life, I have more ideas on our favorite Instagram. I also think that in your Instagram feed or in your Facebook feed, you can follow friends but like follow National Geographic, follow amazing photographers, follow people who are there posting pictures and they're inspiring pictures so I have some of my favorite Instagram on our virtual box page. And those are all included for you so you can follow a bunch of my favorites. The last one, so once your moment of happy is over, how do you keep getting joy out of it? How do you reminisce for it? The science of reminiscing so reminiscing gives us a new perspective or self insight towards current problems. It tends to put us in a better mood so it's actually an upwards spiral and it helps us more enjoy the present happening even if it doesn't have anything to do with what we're doing right now, reminiscing about good experiences helps bring you more into the current aspect state, I think the best way to reminisce and I'm thinking about how you make reminiscing an action step. We all know, yeah, sure that's great. How do I turn this into an action step, black and white? I was thinking that we should do something called mental time traveling so mental time traveling is when you utilize moments of either worrying, when you're thinking about your to do list or moments where you're totally blank like you're totally like too tired. You actually use those moments to reminisce on good memories. So I want you to think about just for a second, let's think about what we wanna reminisce about. What memory or period in your life gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling, I want you to write down things that come up for you at home in your workbook. What are your happiest memories, right and that's why I had you do this list, multimodality list. That was actually my trick to get you ready for this one. I want you to go through that list and all the memories that you wrote down for those positive words, that's where I want you to mentally time travel. That's where I want you to go when you're mentally time traveling and then of course what's the one word for that memory, hopefully you've already done that and you can start thinking about other happy memories you would like to time travel too. That's the what, but the when. So if you had to pick one time in your life to mentally time travel, that's your mental time travel time, when would you do it, here are a couple suggestions, waiting in line, waiting at a red light, there's specifically long red light, waiting to board a plane, before sleep so mine is this one. Waiting to board a plane so I travel a lot. The most anxiety provoking experience of traveling for me is when the cattle call and everyone's like is it my row yet, it is my time yet, that for me is like, it's so stressful so I've decided that's one of my pebbles. I cannot change having to do it, I can't change that. But I can use that as mental time travel time. So typically when I'm standing there waiting my turn, that is when I go through past trips, I go through what went well, I have my own mental time travel things I go through, so any ideas about where you might assign mental travel here in the audience or at home. Any ideas? I do. Well I've been writing a lot and I'll write in the evening and well that brings me to another thing, the pen. Actually this is a ritual so I asked Jennifer. Jennifer showed me all of her Gelly pens. I don't know if you can see that on camera. So you brought out these Gelly pens and this is happy making right, like all these amazing Gelly pens. Every time you open that you're like yes. I have all these rituals, this is a perfect kind of small ritual, you've turned writing into something fun, I love it, mental time travel, yes. For me, I hate driving, when I'm driving, I try to think that something that I like. Yeah so even like traffic you can specifically be like when I hit stop and go traffic, it's mental time traveling time, yeah. I do that on the chair lift on the mountains. Oh yes, that's a really good one. You have the best background scenery to do it. Yeah, I like it, yeah. I hate to get my blood taken. So would that be good beforehand? Yeah. Okay. That's a really good one. Actually that will give you the undoing effect. So especially awe producing effects, remember we talked about the undoing effect lowers your blood pressure, lowers your heart rate so if you know that you're going into a time that's not only stressful but actually like makes you feel really anxious, that is one of the best things you could do to keep yourself calm so you can get to the blood. I have to be in one of those chairs. I have to lay down. Lay down, yeah. I'm one of those people too, we really need to undoing effect before we do that. I'm totally with you so just to review, all of these things can happen in the moment. So you're like oh my gosh, I'm about to get salad bar for lunch, we have salad bar for lunch today, yay, I'm so excited, right, oh gosh the salad bar is so good. I love all these vegetables, this is like crisp. The word for this is crisp or fresh, this is a fresh salad bar, I gotta take a picture of this for Instagram, they're gonna love it. I'm gonna put it on my Instagram, they're gonna love this huge salad bar and then we get into here and we're like wasn't that so good, right? That is the process, very very quickly of what that is. That can happen in the moment, that can also happen while you're waiting or daydreaming, mental time travel can also happen with this, what can I anticipate today? What can I reminisce about, you can activate this from the back or from the front depending on where you are. A very serious example for us would be Olive Garden bread sticks so I love Olive Garden bread sticks. So an example of how this works is I would anticipate, savor, clarify, capitalize, reminisce, I would be like oh my gosh, guys, it smells so good in here. The smell of those breadsticks so amazing. Don't even talk to me right now, these break sticks are so good, I just wanna enjoy them fully. They're orgasmic, I gotta picture it. That's my one word for them, four, Instagram has to see these, I'm taking a picture and hashtagging it orgasmic. Maybe I'll draw a face on them, right? And lastly, guys, do you remember those bread sticks, right so that is how that works and that riles ourselves up. Five stages of wow, I'm like introducing that excitement back in so I can actually enjoy those moments even more. Tomorrow we are doing day number six, our happiness g spot. I have not told you what our happiness g spots are yet but I promise you will like them. Challenge, pick your capitalizing channel so of that list I gave, what's, is it texting one to one, is it keepsaking, is it Instagram, what is that one to one, that channel that you wanna do, where do you wanna mentally time travel, what part of your life do you think needs a little bit of that awe, that reminiscing, undoing effect, three, I want you to incorporate more awe into your life, it's so good for us, so good for our immune system but I wanna think about how can we do it. Is it describing to awe worthy videos on YouTube. Is that reading magazines of awe, is that following people who inspire you on a daily basis. Are they pictures of their business, their posts, people can post beautiful quotes that you like. It is time for the most important thing that we learned today, remember there is always extra credit prompts for you in your workbook that I don't cover live so I want you to make sure that you go through those. And I would love to hear what your happy ahas were so at home please Tweet me your happy ahas and the audience, tell me what was an aha or something clicked for you today for our salad bar, yes. The idea of the undoing effect is really interesting. Because for example when we did the excited nervous karaoke thing, my brain is like I'm really excited about this but the physiological response is like there's all this adrenaline, is that good, is that bad, I don't know and so sometimes I get really on the fence about whether to go into an experience like a consequence mindset or like a scared mindset so any of those hacks are really helpful. And that excitement is going to turn that anxiety into something that works for you that's what we want, yeah. So for me, previously when I was looking at my Instagram I more enjoy to look at my posts and then I don't like looking at the whole experience to see what others is so previously I was thinking that's a little weird to do that but now that's why, because I like those. You're reminiscing so this is actually a really good point so actually studies have found that you are happier and more self confident looking at your own pictures. So looking at your own previous pictures, it was attributed to narcissism and the study had this hint of narcissism but I actually think that it was a happy reminiscing, that's what was happening. You're looking at your past pictures, you're like wow, that was great, that was really awesome. I'm so glad I did that, I also wanna do a little push here which is clean up your feed so my bonus challenge for you is go on any feed that read, whatever social media that is and make sure that every person you're following, you're genuinely happy for and every person you're following makes you feel good, if there's any kind of jealousy or feelings of left out, I would actually say hide them, unfollow and hide them because that's actually those little moments can take away from the undoing effect that you want, you raised your hand. It's similar with the excitement and nervousness. That's gonna really change everything for me. Because I dive into, I go into a downward spiral of the nervousness and then just shifting and looking that as the excitement, even the karaoke, everything is gonna make me so much more open and me, yeah. It's a word, right, even just saying I'm excited in your head can help and then actually going, I am excited about this, I think it's one of the simplest levers that we have and I use it all the time. My beta students are always Tweeting me that they're excited about something and I'm like yes, do it. That was my aha moment, just the saying of the word. Those participants were still nervous. They didn't just suddenly become excited because they said it because actually saying it could totally shift your experience and the results. I also think that what's important about that is I don't like it when people say just don't be nervous. I don't think shutting off feelings works. It know that it feels nice to be like oh yeah, I'm just gonna shut off my nervousness, it doesn't work. But we can rephrase so saying I'm gonna feel nervous, that's okay but actually I'm gonna turn it into excitement is a nice way of not shutting down emotions and turning it into something that works for you. One more hand, yeah. So a message for me was to really enjoy the moment. My son, Oliver, five years old, he puts together Lego figure and he goes mommy, I made it and I go good, good, okay and then I move on but I really wanna slow down and go wow, that was awesome. How did you make it? How'd you get the idea for it? Where do you want me to put it, let's find the perfect spot for it, let's name it, all those things. That is gonna not only give him exponential happiness but you too, oh yeah, I love it. So at home I wanna hear your happy aha moments. Remember I'm going to give away my book Captivate to people who Tweet all of the 10 days the best Tweets and I will see you all tomorrow. Should we stand up and do a little dancing outro? You can imagine Don't Stop Believing, I wish we could play it. They're give us the rap music. They like that we're hard core. (upbeat music)

Class Description

“Vanessa is the BEST!  She changed my life and I'm convinced if everyone did this course, the world would be a better place in which to live.” -Angela, CreativeLive Student
The search for happiness is your key to greater success. Do you know what makes you happy and how to get more of it? Most of us have no idea what drives our internal joy triggers. In this course you will learn that happiness is concrete and achievable. More importantly, happiness has tremendous benefits for every area of our life.

Vanessa Van Edwards has cracked the code on happiness. She runs the Science of People, a human behavior research lab. After studying the underlying patterns that drive our behavior for 4 years, Vanessa has come up with a framework for happiness - and a system for applying the latest scientifically backed happiness principles to your own life.

This class is designed to be watched over time. Just one lesson a day will keep you on track. Or feel free to binge watch all the lessons in one day! Rewatch the lessons whenever you need a refresher.

Vanessa’s methods are based on exhaustive research and solid science. This course is based on a literature review of 246 happiness studies, an audit of happiness data from over 12,000 people, and 4 years of research. The metrics that justify her research are just as compelling. Research has found that 50% of our happiness is genetic and 10% is the result of our environment. That means 40% of our happiness is influenced by behavior and mindset. Vanessa will focus on the 40% that you can address, so you can get back on track with your life and your goals.

Don’t be a passive learner! Students who purchase the class will also receive Vanessa’s comprehensive workbook with over 90 pages of exercises, charts, graphs and challenges to keep you on track to becoming a happier person.

Need an extra boost of positive motivation? Join The Power of Happiness Facebook Group to stay connected to people like you, who are retraining their brains and learning the true power of happiness.


Naomi Leila

I am so grateful for this course and for Vanessa. I took this course a few weeks ago and my happiness audit was at 100 neither happy nor unhappy. Now i feel so much happier and everything in my life has improved as a ripple effect and i am 134 on the happiness audit. This course really pays off if you put the work in and follow Vanessa's amazing guidance. It is such a fun, uplifting and brilliant course, i highly recommend it to everyone.

Jennifer Lee

Do you want to find happiness? And take control of your life, and ignite happiness in others? Are you looking to boost your self confidence or looking for ways to make your world a better place? If you said YES to these questions and are curious about the power of happiness, please check out The Power Of Happiness course with Vanessa Van Edwards! This course will awaken you and empower you with practical steps. Check it out. I guarantee you will be glad that you made the investment! Jennifer Lee A student of The Power Of Happiness

Andrea Magee

This course gave me actionable ways to think about my mindset and take some manageable steps toward improving my happiness. My cheeks were really feeling how much smiling and laughter (as well as dancing!) is included in each of the 10 days. Accepting that my own happiness is an ongoing skill to be exercised, as well as one that can encourage contagious happiness for my friends and family too.