“826 Napkins Will Never Be Enough”

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…wrote Garth Callaghan to his daughter, Emma. Callaghan has cancer (again) and is racing to write enough napkin notes — over 800 — to put into her lunches until she graduates from high school (which will likely be after he’s gone). Napkin Notes: Make Lunch Meaningful, Life Will Follow is the book, and soon there will even be a movie to inspire us to make the most out of every single precious day we have.

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Watch this and maybe you’ll be moved to write a napkin note to someone you love.

Mindful Break: Meet My Son (15 days old)

21ff76a3-6a13-4709-8450-9697c271c34bOn November 23 at 1:47am, my son Remo Romanelli was born.

As many of you have witnessed before, to see that little human being suddenly appear in the delivery room, all I could think was:

“I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!”

Over the past 12 days, I have spent hours staring at his little toes and fingers and ears and lips that formed on their own in the womb and I thought,

“I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!”

Last night, he lay on my lap and we watched SportCenter together and he lifted his tiny head to stare at me, I thought,

“I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!”

And then, after the 12th consecutive sleepless night, as my wife and I lay awake shaking our heads at the ungodly hour of 3am, I thought to myself,

“I CAN BELIEVE IT!”

After doing my best to be supportive of my wife’s 24 hours of labor, I took a taxi home at 5am Sunday morning. It was both the most exhilarated and exhausted I’d ever been… all at once!

I told the taxi driver all about the night and how proud I was of my 6 lb 12 oz bundle of love… AND my wife for laboring for 24 hours!

And the taxi driver, parent of 3, said, “Get ready to be exhausted. You are not going to have anytime to yourself. Kids get sick. They are going to whine. They are going to take everything you have and ask for more.”

And I was thinking to myself, “Geeeez, I’m riding home with the Grinch.”

But then, the taxi driver said, “But you are going to have so much love in your life and it’s all worth it!”

Whether or not you have kids, you know that life is most raw, most awesome, and most wonderful when you are teetering at the edge of ENERGY AND EXHAUSTION, SUCCESS AND FAILURE, HOPE AND DESPAIR.

But you can’t stop digging in and stirring. Because as the taxi driver said, love is what comes from all those emotions.

You need every single one of your losses and failures, wins and triumphs, bad days and bad moods, great days and great moods… to create the alchemy of love.

Everyday Grateful Course launches in Happier!

EGIt’s a big day here at Happier: We’re really excited to announce that we’ve just launched Everyday Grateful, our very first Happier Course, right in the Happier app!

When spreading happiness is your mission, it feels like there’s always more to be done. We’re really proud of the start we made with the Happier app, and then we moved on to the first Happier course, Everyday Grateful, to offer a guided tour of sorts to those wanting more assistance in cultivating the happiness habit. It’s only been a couple of months, but the feedback on the course has been humbling.

I’m getting so much out of this course, not least because at the moment, I’m going through some hard stuff in my life. Your daily reminders help me stay focused on being as grateful as possible every moment, because bad stuff is transitory but the happy stuff sticks around. This is a big deal for me because it’s changed my entire outlook on everything: I don’t worry as much, I sleep soundly and I’m a much more positive person now.

-Hannah

I could each day’s task really quickly but realized it had a lot of impact. I notice now when I am becoming grumpy and can stop it before it gets worse.

– Tracy

Great feedback is awesome (OK, to be honest, it’s amazing and means so much to us!) but wanted to see if we could make the course even better. And I think we have.

Everyday Grateful is still:

  • A 3-week interactive course designed to cultivate the “attitude of gratitude” which research proves makes you happier and healthier
  • Chock-full of tips and advice (practical and never preachy, pinky swear) to help you focus on the positive

  • Videos, inspiration, and guided activities designed to increase your happiness in just a few minutes a day

  • Supported by a coach you can reach at any time (just shoot me an email!)

In addition, Everyday Grateful is now:

  • Accessible through the Happier app on your iPhone whenever and wherever you like
  • Perpetually available — go back and repeat activities that really spoke to you, do the whole course again as many times as you like (how you use it and pace yourself is up to you)

  • Enhanced with new content (based upon user feedback and the latest research; we take our happiness seriously!)

We’re offering the new and improved Everyday Grateful for just $24.99. Think about it; for the cost a week’s worth of lattes, you could be cultivating a lifetime of increased gratitude (which, in turn, means greater overall happiness). We’re so sure you’ll love it, it comes with a full money-back guarantee, too.

Thank you for being part of our amazing Happier community and I hope you’ll join us for Everyday Grateful!

A Gratitude Resolution to kick off 2014 (and introducing Happier Courses!)

I love writing things down – in a notebook, with a pen 🙂 – and I still have the notebook in which I wrote down the first idea of what I wanted Happier to do:

“Help people be happier. Encourage them to do more of what makes them happier. Inspire them to improve different parts of their lives without feeling pressured to make dramatic changes. Make improving your life something that’s fun to do, not a chore.”

I remember how excited I was at the opportunity to build a company that could do this. (Also intimidated at the challenge of doing it — getting people to change behavior is insanely difficult and promising someone that we will make them happier sets a really high bar.) We decided that we would start with a simple, fun, and social mobile application to encourage people to notice, appreciate, and share small everyday moments that made them happier. Thousands of scientific studies have shown that practicing gratitude is one of the most powerful ways to feel more positive, optimistic, and less stressed, and even has important health benefits like improved sleep and reduced anxiety.

We released our iPhone app in February of 2013 and wow, we’ve been blown away by the response from our users. We’ve gotten thousands of emails, cards, and even hand-written letters from people all over the world, telling us how Happier has changed their lives for the better, inspired them to become more grateful, positive, optimistic, and significantly less stressed. There is a lot still to do and every day we are working hard to make the Happier experience more awesome, easier to use, and more engaging, and we are fueled by knowing that we are on our path to building something that can truly positively impact people’s lives.

Almost from the day we launched we started hearing from many of our users that while they enjoy using Happier, they would like more guidance from us to help them develop a more grateful mindset. They told us their lives are busy and they don’t have time to go read some of the books and research that inspired Happier or that while they would love to improve certain areas of their life, they aren’t quite sure about how to do it. We had always envisioned one day extending the Happier platform to offer more guided experience so hearing this feedback encouraged us to think about this even more.

And today I am psyched, thrilled, and excited to announce that we’re launching Happier Courses! Our vision is to create interactive, mobile, 1 to 3 week courses that combine daily activities, inspiring videos and other content to help people learn and practice new ways to become happier and healthier. We will work with leading wellness and lifestyle experts to bring their expertise to our users in a brand-new interactive format. Happier Courses will never be preachy or boring — we want them to be something you want to do instead of something you feel you need to do. And we are designing them to fit into your busy life because we believe that improving your life should be something you do while you’re living it. (We are working on courses in everyday meditation, improving your dating mojo, a personal style makeover, and more that we will be launching in the next few months – so get excited:)

skitch_iphoto.export.skitchOur first course is Everyday Grateful and it’s taught by yours truly. It’s a 21-day interactive course to help you develop a more grateful mindset and start on a path to feeling more positive, less stressed out, and more optimistic. More than 11,000 studies have shown the positive impact of gratitude on your outlook and health and that science is the foundation of the course. It’s been incredibly fun to design and I’ll go as far as to confidently say that I think it’s as fun as it is meaningful. (Oh, and it comes with our limited-edition Make Your Life Happier Kit!)

Everyday Grateful kicks off on January 6th (you’ll be able to sign up at any time after that as well, but January 6th will be the first day) and we timed it this way for a reason. New Year is when many of us make resolutions and we wanted to inspire you to make a Gratitude Resolution: to find something or someone to appreciate and feel grateful for every single day in 2014. I hope you’ll give this a shot and if you do, I can promise you that it will change your life. Becoming more grateful and appreciative of the small things and experiences I encounter every day and expressing thanks to people in my life changed my life a few years ago and inspired me to start Happier. It’s so simple and yet so incredibly powerful.

Happy New Year and here’s to a more awesome — and grateful! – 2014!

Happy New Year from Happier!

 

 

 

How our Happier community turned me from feeling bitter to feeling insanely lucky

It’s 4pm on Friday after Thanksgiving. Having spent Thanksgiving with my husband’s family, we came to stay with our dear friends for a few days.

As I write this, the kids are playing upstairs and the adults are drinking wine and eating snacks in their awesomely relaxing living room. I am in the kitchen, where I found a plug close to the counter, and I am working. I have been working for the last 3 hours without taking a break and before then, I was working — on my phone or laptop, whichever I could get to easiest — from the car on our drive down to Thanksgiving, at night after everyone went to bed after the big turkey dinner, and early in the morning before everyone got up.

As an entrepreneur I work all the time but during this holiday weekend I was starting to feel really sorry for myself. I wanted a break. I wanted to not worry about anything for a few days. I wanted to turn off my work email and not check it. I wanted to not think about raising money or scaling user growth or prioritizing features or any of the other 100 topics that race through my brain at any given minute. I wanted to eat too much, drink too much, hang out with family and friends, watch stupid TV, and not worry about anything. And I caught myself feeling pretty bitter about not being able to do this. (I read this blog post by Michael Carney about why holidays for entrepreneurs can be anything by happy and my neck hurt from emphatic nodding.)

While feeling bitter and sorry for myself, I clicked over to Twitter and saw this tweet, from one of our awesome Happier users:

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I am not sure there are actual words I can find to describe how it feels to be able to create something that can impact people’s lives in a positive way. My fellow entrepreneurs will know exactly what I mean — it’s a magical feeling.

After thanking Neil I went back to cranking through my emails, where I found an email from another user, sharing with me how Happier has helped her gain a much more positive perspective on life after she went through a difficult few years. A few emails down was an email from one of our users who just signed up for our brand new gratitude course and was so excited to take it she wanted to make sure we got her email correctly.

And this is when I realized that instead of feeling sorry for myself I should be feeling really freaking lucky.

Yes, being an early-stage entrepreneur is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done — and this includes immigrating to the US and becoming a mom, both of which have challenged me in so many ways I am not sure I get it all yet. It is an endless emotional roller coaster, an endurance run that tests you in every way you can imagine and more, and it’s also just pure hard endless work. It’s exhausting and there are no breaks.

But to have a chance to create something, from scratch, that actually can impact someone’s life in a positive way, that can help people be more optimistic and with that optimistic mindset do more in their lives that makes them feel awesome is incredible. And I get to do it for a living. I am the lucky one. Tired, in need of way more sleep, but really damn lucky.

So on this post-Thanksgiving day, this is my thank you to my team, investors, advisors, friends, family, and most of all, the amazing Happier community, for being part of my feeling this lucky. And if you’re a fellow tired entrepreneur wishing you could have a little less crazy or stress or work in your life — which we all do, if we’re honest about it — ask yourself in what ways you’re lucky to be doing what you are. My bet is that your answer will make you happier 🙂

Family is Awesome

Has anyone ever told you that you’re awesome? If so, chances are it felt pretty amazing. And maybe it inspired you to tell someone else that they are awesome. And that’s exactly what the #MonthOfAwesome is all about.

And what’s more awesome than family? They’re the ones who are contractually obligated (ok, not really) to be there for us no matter what. To love us unconditionally, not only in spite of, but because of, our flaws. If that isn’t awesome, I don’t know what is.  Here are a few of our favorite family moments from this epic #MonthOfAwesome experiment:
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There’s still plenty of time to tell the people who mean the most to you and give you unconditional love and support just how awesome they are. Not sure how? Here are 31 ways to do just that. Now that’s A LOT of awesome.

The Daily Orange: Happy Monday

Let’s face it. Mondays probably do not rank as the happiest day of the week. So all the more reason to do something awesome for yourself! Sofi knows what we’re talking about and just seeing her happy moment this morning made this Monday a happier one.

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What are you doing to make Monday better for yourself or someone else? Are you doing something orange? Share it in our daily orange collection and your happy moment may make a guest appearance on our blog 🙂