Nothing says “buzz-kill” like “30-day juice cleanse”

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Nothing says “buzz-kill” like “30-day juice cleanse.” But feeling all jazzed about getting started on a long-overdue health-kick doesn’t have to be an exercise in deprivation — or futility. Instead of detoxing for a month (or a day) (or an hour) with some kind of crazy juice-tea-broth regimen, cleanse your brain of unrealistic impossible health goals that have failure written all over them and replace them with these three painless ways to detox.

Oh, Kale Yeah!

Not to get all judgy, but if all you can say about kale is “It’s bitter,” then you’re doing it wrong. Everyone knows that kale has incredible nutritional value, but what’s remained a mystery is how to make it taste good enough to eat more than once a year. A little known fact is that kale actually tastes better the longer it sits tossed in dressing because the acid in the dressing neutralizes the bitterness of the kale. So make a giant kale salad, but leave it in the fridge for 24 hours before you eat it. Your delayed-kale-gratification will be worth it because once it’s had time to think about what it’s done wrong, it’ll taste like a whole new vegetable. Serve it as a side with your dinner for as many days as it lasts. Bring it for lunch (and impress your co-workers). Add it to ice cream and spoon it onto two cookies for a healthy “ice-cream kale-wich.” (Just kidding on that last one!)

Oh, Kale Yeah! Salad:

  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1½ tbsp dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • lots of kale (stems removed)

Mix up the dressing in a blender, pour it over your kale, then wait a day! After 24 hours, add your favorite toppings for additional awesomeness. Some favorites? Dried cherries, Granny Smith apples, and a touch of blue cheese. It fancies up your kale and seriously pumps up the deliciousness factor.

Breathe in, Breath out

You’re already doing this, we know. But are you really breathing? Like, the kind of breathing that fills every cubic centimeter of your being? Taking a few super-deep cleansing breaths throughout your day is like taking a mini-vacation and recharging your molecular makeup. Picture your breath filling you up from your toes to your head; then slowly exhale and let it all go. Do this on your commute, at your desk, while you’re running errands. Your oxygen-starved cells will thank you by helping you feel more energized, refreshed, and ready for that to-do list that never gets any shorter.

The little things

A beautiful, organized home is nice, but who has time for perfection? Instead, fixing a few small things (they can be really, really small) to make your home feel less “ugh” and more “ahh” can make all the difference. Vow to fill a bud vase with one fresh flower every week. Swap a new photo in your favorite picture frame every month. Clean out that kitchen junk drawer already. Having just one element in every room that fills you with calm and happiness, even for a second, will make your house less zoo, more zen.

Happier Challenge: Blast Holiday Stress With Gratitude!

I’ll start with a confession:

When I think about the upcoming holiday season, the first thing I feel is my entire body tightening up and all the stress hormones starting to act up. Traffic! Decisions about where to go and what family to try not to offend! Family reactions to us making the wrong choice! Traffic! Eating too much food and then regretting it! Traffic! Gifts, gifts, must find the right gifts, no time for shopping, this shouldn’t be so important, stuff doesn’t make you happy but still need gifts! Traffic!

You get the point. My bet is that most of us feel some – a lot? – degree of stress about the holidays. There is also this nagging pressure to be REALLY HAPPY ALL THE TIME BECAUSE, HOLIDAYS! And if you don’t, then you feel guilty for not feeling happy, which makes you less happy, and more guilty. Believe me, speaking from serious experience here.

There’s no way to completely eliminate holiday stress but there are things you can do to not let it fully eat you up. To help you, we’ve come up with our Blast Your Holiday Stress With Gratitude Challenge:

For the next 10 days until Thanksgiving, find something to be grateful for every single day. Share your moments of gratitude in the Happier app and add them to our “gratitude challenge” collection. At the end of the challenge we will put them all together and show the world what gratitude looks like. In your words, in your photos, in your small moments of gratitude.

It’s easy to find thingnatalymoments to be grateful for when you feel good and everything is going well. It’s a lot harder to do when you’re down or stressed or your life is throwing you for a loop. But that’s also when you need to do it the most because gratitude is incredibly powerful. It doesn’t solve all of your problems and it’s not a miracle cure. But making gratitude a regular part of your life helps you build resilience and you need resilience when times are tough. Evolution has trained our brains to look for the negative to protect ourselves; practicing gratitude helps you train your brain to look for the positive. The more experience and people and moments you appreciate, the more you start to look for things to appreciate — and that’s a pretty awesome virtuous cycle. Always, but particularly during the stressful holiday time.

So are you in? We’d love for you to join us for the Blast Holiday Stress With Gratitude Challenge!

 

 

 

Happier Challenge: Little Daily Gratitudes

happier-challenge-keep-calm-110314Good morning! There’s no denying it, the way you might’ve over the weekend; it’s officially November. Here in the United States, that means we’re leading up to Thanksgiving, and also that various gratitude challenges are flying fast and furious on social media this month. Of course, we believe in year-round gratitude, because it’ll make you happier no matter what the calendar says, but November seems like a particularly good time to get your gratitude on if you need some help. We’ll start slow, I promise. Ready for this week’s challenge? It’s easy. Here you go:

This week, start every day with a quick acknowledgement of something you experience every single day that you’re grateful to have in your life.

(Note: That means you’ll be thinking of ordinary, unremarkable things, most likely… and that’s the point. I started this morning grateful for the cold, wet nose that appears at my bedside every morning, even though it demands that I get out of my warm bed, and once the kibble appears I’m forgotten. That’s okay.)

Need some more to get you going? I’ve got you covered:

  • Robert Emmons is the world’s leading gratitude researcher, and his piece on why gratitude is good for us is the perfect summary.
  • If you only have 10 seconds and need a video about gratitude that will make you laugh, go ahead and watch this professional squirrel translator. Really.
  • If you have more time—say, 7 minutes or so—watch this Experiment in Gratitude by SoulPancake. (Make sure you have enough time to fix your makeup after, though, because it might make you a little teary.)

Ready to gear up for a more grateful month (and life)? We can’t wait to hear how this goes for you… be sure to come report back here or in the Happier community!

Happier Challenge: Be Contagious

happier-challenge-friends-oct14Good Monday morning! Are you ready for another fabulous themed week here at Happier? Last week we challenged you to focus on your family, and this week we’ll shift focus just a little bit. Did you know that happiness has been proven contagious through social networks? It’s true! Check this out:

[R]esearchers found that when an individual becomes happy, a friend living within a mile experiences a 25 percent increased chance of becoming happy. A co-resident spouse experiences an 8 percent increased chance, siblings living within one mile have a 14 percent increased chance, and for next door neighbors, 34 percent.

And that brings us to this week’s theme—connecting with friends—starting with our challenge:

Reach out to at least one friend every day this week, and share some small happiness with them.

Be creative—make plans to get together (that’d be enough to make me happy), or share a small piece of good news, or just text ’em to say you’re happy they’re in your life. Experiment! You’ll never regret reaching out to a buddy.

Need some more inspiration to get you going? Here you go:

  • Need a little bit of bolstering to start reaching out? Check out Lifeboat, “a movement of people rediscovering deep friendships.” They make us happier.
  • Far be it from me to miss an opportunity to insert a video of kids and puppies. Sometimes our best friends have paws!
  • Need a shortcut to reaching out, and also appreciate some cutting humor? There’s a Someecards for that.

Go forth and pass your happiness around to the folks you appreciate this week—you’ll all be happier!

Cooked Something, Ever? A Happier Giveaway!

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This past week we #happierchallenge’d you to cook with your family and not dine out for an entire week. Turns out cooking and eating together is a great way to be more, well, together, and hopefully a bit happier (and healthier!) too.

How did it go? Specifically: we’d love to see some of your favorite recipes, whether you made them this week or not. We’re in the midst of a top secret project and we can’t divulge the details yet, but we assure you it’s awesome.

We want recipes of all sorts. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch, linner (ok that’s not really a thing, but we think it should be). You name it, we want it. Send us a link to your favorite or snap a photo of that recipe card that’s been passed down through generations. Got so many great recipes you can’t choose? That’s fine, too. You can send us as many as you’re willing to share.

Send recipes to kimberly@happier.com or just tweet, pin, Facebook or ‘gram your favorites with #happierrecipe.

If your recipe is chosen we’ll send you something fun and exciting (and, of course, happier)!

In the meantime, I’ll just be waiting by my inbox, salivating.

Happier Challenge: Break Bread Together

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGoooood Monday morning! We’re kicking off our first-ever theme week here at Happier, and we’re starting with a focus on family connection.

It’s no secret that the history of human beings is full of rituals around food. “Breaking bread together” is considered a sacred activity in nearly every religion, and eating together is a universal symbol of connection. Is this some sort of mysticism at work? Nope—science repeatedly shows that family dinners strengthen relationships, make kids more resilient, and are generally one of the easiest ways to lower teens’ risk of everything from eating disorders to substance abuse. Even if you don’t have kids and are a full-grown adult, eating with people you love confers plenty of benefits, from increased emotional well-being to actually increasing your odds of eating more nutritious foods. So that brings us to this week’s challenge, all about your family and food:

If you don’t normally have a sit-down, home-cooked family meal, have at least one, this week. If this is already part of your routine, invite a guest to join you!

Here’s some inspiration to get you jazzed to embrace family meals:

Will you take our challenge and share a moment about it in the Happier community? It would make us happier!

Happier Challenge: Move To Find Your Groove

happier-challenge-101314Goooood morning! Maybe you’ve got the day off (happy Columbus Day!) or maybe you don’t, but either way, Monday means the start of a new week and a new chance to be healthier and happier. I did a ton of walking this weekend—the weather was perfect, and a week of too much time at my desk left me craving some fresh air—and even though I know how good it is for me, I’m always amazed at how much better I feel, afterward. It was so awesome, I hope you’ll experience something similar for this week’s challenge. Ready?

Get your heart pumping for 20 minutes.

(I guess you could just do that once, this week, but consider yourself challenged to do it every day this week. Odds are excellent that it will make you happier!)

Need some inspiration to get you going? I’m on it!

Have a fabulous, heart-pumping week! And don’t forget to come share about it in the Happier community!