As Mother’s Day comes around again, I am struck with what has changed for my mother from this year to last. Last year, my father was still alive, albeit struggling with escalating health issues. It got to the point that my mom, in her caregiver role, was rushing him to the hospital every two weeks. Being a caregiver is not easy: She slept with one eye open, listening for any changes in the sound of my dad’s breathing, trying to get him to eat when he no longer had the will, and being the face of calm when his body was no longer his own. Tough stuff. Watching a loved one suffer isRead More›
“If you’re not stressed, you’re not working hard enough.” More and more this mantra seems to be woven into our cultural dialogue. Stress may be considered the new “normal,” but it doesn’t have to be that way. Simple shifts in attitude and practices can yield big benefits. April is National Stress Awareness Month, which gives us the opportunity to look at both negative trends and some signs of hope. Here’s the bad news, the good news and howRead More›
Happiness comes in many forms. The more we reflect on happiness, the more we will notice it in day-to-day life. The more focusing on happiness becomes a daily habit, the faster we train our neural pathways to make happiness our default setting. Sound good? Here are three ways to increase your happiness now, all starting with the letter D.
Dedicate yourself to the good you deserve and desire for yourself. Give yourself peace of mind. You deserve to be happy. You deserve delight. — Hannan Arendt
The potential for delight is everywhere. Just as a beautiful landscape delights the eye, and songs universally delight the ear, you are wired to beRead More›
Encouraging young people at high-risk of criminal offending and delinquency to see happiness rather than anger in facial expressions results in a decrease in their levels of anger and aggression, according to new research from the University of Bristol.
The study, led by Professor Marcus Munafò and Professor Ian Penton-Voak, explored the relationship betweenRead More›
The Alphabet of Happiness is a reminder of the many ways to access happiness in your life now. Though at times it may appear to be elusive, happiness is all around you — especially if you know where to look! The good news is that the more you focus on happiness, the faster you can activate the neural pathways that bring you more. Here are three ways to explore your own happiness that start with the letter “C.”
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” — Victor Frankel
While we cannot choose the challenges that life presents, we can chooseRead More›
As Thanksgiving rolls around, it always puts me in a reset mode — time to remember what I’m grateful for. Usually, it’s the good stuff: moments of joy, new adventures, fun-filled moments. This year, however, is different: My father just passed away, my dog may have to be put to sleep any day and my dear friend who is a LOT younger finds herself in the last stages of cancer… and I generally write about happiness.
There is a shroud of disbelief and grief around me, but I know that there’s something powerfully transformative in this space. Rather than destroying my gratitude, this period is rekindling it in an even deeper way.
Some people are born optimists. My father was one. Up until the week before he passed, he believed he would live to 100. Denial kept my dad going for years. When the nurses came around, he would always say, “I’m GREAT!” which made everyone chuckle. Was this some kind of brilliant strategy? For some people, their will to live can and does produce the miracle. The biochemistry of hope can be powerful.
Yet when all those cycles have passed, when destiny catches up with desire (like being back in the hospital every two weeks), rather than dance with denial, I prefer to knowRead More›
Richard Gere is known as much for his award-winning work as an actor as well has his global impact as a humanitarian. He is a founding member of “Tibet House,” a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of Tibetan culture and has been an active supporter of “Survival International”,a worldwide organization supporting tribal peoples, affirming their right to decide their own future and helping them protect their lives, lands and human rights. Richard Gere stars in the recently released thriller, Arbitrage with Susan Sarandon.
Richard Gere sat down with students participating in Project Happiness for the award-winning documentary, Project Happiness. The following is the full interview containing his thoughts on lasting happiness and making contributions to the world. This interview has been been edited for space and flow.RICHARD GERE: You know, there was this thing that I had thought about doing at the Millennium which was connect the wisdom cultures of the world, most of which we know because they’re part of who we are. Buddhism is known now a lot more. But there are wisdom cultures that are deep in Africa, deep in the Andes of South America, and elsewhere that we don’t know about that are ancient and powerful and have their own idea of what a successful human being is, what a successful culture is, what a successful society is. These are all relevant. We all learn from each other.
All of our ideas about happiness, we all have very, very subjective ideas about what these things are. So I suppose you’re probably trying to find some common denominators every place you go. What have you found so far?
PROJECT HAPPINESS: Well we’ve been e-mailing back and forth with the kids in Nigeria and in the Tibetan Children’s Village in India. We’ve been asking each other questions. What has interested me the most is the cultural difference and what we find to be meaningful in our views of happiness and what makes us happy. And just how diverse all of our views are. It’s just really powerful toRead More›
Halloween is coming. It’s a time for costumes, masks and trying out new personas. Here’s a challenge. In our everyday lives, we all wear masks to some extent or another — we all play some type of role to ease the way. What if you considered taking off the mask, and having the courage to live as your authentic self?
Sometimes, it’s hard to even keep track of the masks we wear — they can be expressed in so many waysRead More›
Earlier this year, I learned that my grandmother had been keeping a family secret. Her mother, my great-grandmother, was full Cherokee but she and my great-grandfather had hidden this fact to better fit into the world that they lived in at the time. This information fascinated me, not so much because I felt a burning connection to the Cherokee Nation, but because I was curious how being identified as non-white could have such a stigma attached to it.
I have spent the last few months looking more into the modern history of Native Americans and specifically, the situations that are facing the tribes today. On a daily basis I review statistics on depression and suicide in the U.S. and abroad and they are, in a word, heartbreaking. This is why I almost couldn’t believe it when I saw these stats as they apply to Native youth are exponentially worse. Native American and Alaska Native commit suicide at a higher rate than any other ethnic group in the United States. The suicide rate for Native youth aged 15-24 is 3.3 times higher than the national average and young people make up 40% of all suicides on tribal lands.
After giving it some thought, I realized that because of Project HappinessRead More›
Last week, in Aurora, Colorado, we witnessed one of the largest tragedies of its kind in U.S. History. 12 people died and 57 were injured, and it leaves us wondering, WHY? What propels an individual to be so tortured to resort to mass murder of innocent people in a public place? And how do we cope with the aftermath – the sorrow, the trauma and the sense that you never know…
In an odd replay of fiction come to life, so many of the characters in the Batman movie are flat out insane – disconnected from their community, their own inner compass and their very hearts. It’s one thing to watch that on the screen and another to see it acted out in real life with real life consequences. But where do we draw the line?
There is no denying that we are all influenced by the people and the emotional atmosphere we are surrounded with, whether positive and uplifting or harmful and toxic. In Aurora, 70 people have suffered because one person was at the point of no return. Let’s be clear that there is NO excuse for harming anyone. The challenge is what can we do as individuals and communities to try to plant new seeds so this tragedy has less of a chance of erupting again. We can point fingers to one young man who was so sick that he became a mass murderer. But that will not solve the core of the problem. The call to action is for each of us to look at our own lives, attitudes, choices and actions. The question is: can we make any internal changes that can help, both for us and the next generation? From this tragedy of lost lives, hopes and dreams, here are 5 ideas worth considering:Read More›
From the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/randy-taran/teen-suicide_b_1381062.html
I visit a lot of schools and communities with a documentary I produced called Project Happiness. The idea is to remind people of the happiness that we were born with and how to re-access it, no matter what the external circumstances. I am grateful for the profound appreciation coming from audiences; yet the reason troubles me to the core. Why in so many cities, across the country, am I hearing again and again of kids taking their lives?
What is the feeling of utter hopelessness and isolation that prompts such an action? If you would ask most parents across the globe what they want most for their children, it is to be happy. And most people want to live a meaningful life. How did we get from there to here?
The statistics are down right shocking.Read More›
I have spent a ton of time lately thinking about how to find happiness in times like these.
I think about all the different situations that surround so many people in my life. So how can you find happiness when: you’ve lost your job, you’ve lost your house, your child is dying, your child has an incurable condition, you have cancer, your parent just died of cancer, or you are getting divorced? Those are just some examples.
How can you be happy amidst all the insanity that envelopes your life when you are dealing with just one of those things, let alone multiple things?Read More›
While flipping through “Ode” magazine last night (a magazine on positive change- http://www.odemagazine.com/), a title of an article caught my eye, “Never let a crisis go to waste.”
I didn’t even read the article. The title alone had a strong impact on me. Seeing those words, “Never let a crisis go to waste,” reminded me of something I truly believe, which is: opportunity comes in the face of crisis.
What opportunity can a crisis bring you? Opportunities to change, to learn, and to grow. Challenges and crises present the opportunity to search for new answers for ourselves, to take a step back, and to do some self-reflection. But this isn’t always easy. The only way I’ve ever experienced opportunity in the face of crisis is if I am looking for it, if I am open to see the good that can come out of the bad. This awareness of and openness to the opportunities that crises and challenges present is a practice- a practice anyone can choose to start right now!
There are two quotes that help my own practice, both from Jack Kornfield’s book, The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace:
“Our problems become the very place to discover wisdom and love.”
“One mistake after another is really one opportunity after another.”
So look for the good, even in the bad, and look for opportunity, even in the face of challenge… this way you will “never let a crisis go to waste.”