The 4 things you can start doing TODAY on your journey to happiness.


Drs. Hilary Stokes and Kimberly Ward spreading the happiness at the "Happy Map" presentation. 
Thank you for sharing YOUR happiness! 
"They were wonderful, so knowledgeable and delivered the important message in a fun way!" 

For those who got there in a bad mood, authors Ward and Stokes certainly managed to put them in a happy place!  Surrounded by great company and wonderful food, this instalment of the Howell’s Evening series did not disappoint.

Fact is research shows happy people are more creative, and therefore, more focused and more productive.  The more productive, the more fulfilled and the more motivated.  The more motivated the happier they are.   And so the cycle continues.  The challenge is how to get to THAT specific point.   

It’s about creating the habit of happiness.  According to Hillary and Kim, it starts with re-wiring your brain by understanding the role emotions play in our well being and how they affect our neural pathways.   Since the emotional part of the brain reacts faster than the thinking part of the brain, identifying and understanding negative emotions --like stress-- will help us turn a stressful thought into a positive one.  It eventually creates a habit; and hence the 'habit' of being happy.

The Happy map vs. the Unhappy one.


Considering that out of 60,000 thoughts per day, 87% are negative thoughts, this year’s Health and Happiness Evening series presented us with a clear and concise, take-away method to achieve our happiness through practical and easy-to-achieve exercises:     

1. Deep breathing vs. shallow breathing: Research shows that breathing that allows our abdomen to rise --vs. breathing that inflates our lungs/chest-- delivers more oxygen to our body, specifically to our brain. 
Focus on your breathing and allow your abdomen to rise. 

2. Moving your 'e-motions' vs. suppressing them: Our emotions are meant to be moved, not suppressed. Move negative emotions to avoid feeling stagnant, depressed. Focus on you. Bring to mind that issue you brought to mind. Focus on the emotion you are feeling, breathe and release that emotion as you exhale. With practice, you will be available to achieve that body-mind connection.

3. Choosing a positive vs. a negative mindset:  Most people focus on what they DO NOT WANT, instead of WHAT THEY WANT, creating additional stress.   Take a moment and get clarity on what you want.  People focus more on what they can not control. What can you control based on want? Are you appreciative? What can you be appreciative about that pulls you away from a negative thoughts?  

4. Focusing on our strengths vs. our weaknesses:  Strengths are 'positives'.  Discover, assess and evaluate them.  Apply them to your life: how are you using your strengths?  Research has shown that being conscious about your strengths has reduced depression.  


Hilary and Kim briefly touched on the subject of positive psychology, a practice that has been fully researched and accepted in Europe and middle-eastern countries, but has had some resistance being accepted here in the US.  But, like they say, 'proof  is in the pudding'.  Kim and Hilary have been teaching people how to be happy for the past 20 years.

It is not the first time the Howell Foundation addresses the Happiness issue.  Back in 2012, the Evening Series kickoff presentation covered the responsibility we carry in our own happiness, how to achieve it and make sure our family benefits from our happiness as well.  Factors like stress and mindfulness are also considered “happiness” factors. The relationship between western and oriental points of view presented in the Howell Health and Happiness series can be found here. 

Kim and Hilary reminded us again about the relevance of a holistic, research-based approach to our well being and the path we need to take on our happiness journey.  For more information on the science behind our happiness, make sure you get a copy of The Happy Map at www.authenticityassociates.com.

Thank you for sharing our happiness!  

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About the Doris A. Howell Foundation:

The Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women’s Health Research is committed to keeping the women we love healthy, advancing women’s health through research and educating women to be catalysts for improving family health in the community.

The organization does so by funding scholarships to scientists researching issues affecting women’s health; providing a forum for medical experts, scientists, doctors, researchers, and authors to convey the timely information on topics relevant to women’s health and the health of their families through its Lecture and Evening Series, and by funding research initiatives that will create women’s health awareness and advocacy in the community.

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