5 Ways to Happily Celebrate the Holidays in a Socially Distanced Season With the challenges and losses we’ve faced this year, gearing up for happy holidays may feel more overwhelming than usual. Some of our traditions may be altered or impossible this year. It’s easy to get focused on the things that are missing, to notice the empty spots on the calendar where a holiday party might once have been. It’s okay to grieve for those things. What we don’t want to do, though, is let the losses swallow up our attention and steal the possibilities of other happy holiday celebrations. Instead, take some time to reimagine your holidays. Are there things you can update or reinvent that allow you to celebrate in a socially distanced way? Here are 5 ideas to jumpstart your imagination and help you reframe your traditions and help you keep the happy in your holidays. 1. Send Videos to Friends and Family Use an app like Marco Polo or another app that lets you record a video message and send it to a loved one. Then record yourself or your family. Make it as serious or as funny as you want. A quick Internet search will give you lots more ideas. 2. Have a Holiday Movie Marathon Fix your favorite snacks and warm drinks and curl up on the couch with your household to watch holiday movies together. My favorites are Elf and Love Actually. What are yours? Some movie apps have a feature where you can set up a “watch party” and invite other households, so you can watch the movie together, even if you’re not in front of the same TV. 3. Make or Send a Gift Basket or Stocking Many families will choose to forego or postpone an in-person gift exchange this year, but you can still send something special to the ones you love. Personalizing the gifts with notes on why you chose each item or what made you think of the receiver will help bring you closer together. 4. Choose a Special Holiday Dish to Prepare Lots of holiday traditions center around food and sharing big meals together. It may be impossible to recreate those on your own, but choose one dish—maybe a favorite dessert or treat or Aunt Lucy’s famous sweet potatoes, whatever makes the holiday special to you—and ask your family member for the recipe for that dish. Serve it with whatever you want, even order the rest of the meal prepared if you prefer. Share some pictures of your baking experience with your loved ones. 5. Volunteer and make someone else happy In my book, I mention that one of the most effective way to increase our happiness is through acts of kindness. There are so many ways you and your family can pay it forward. Some people may be alone this year, why not make cards or cookies to let them know that they are special? Make These Holiday Happiness Boosters Your Own Try the ideas [...]
Benefits of Employee Appreciation We all crave appreciation, even when we already know we’ve done a job well. When is the last time a coworker or boss showed appreciation for what you do? Do you remember how it made you feel? In the 1940s, Lawrence Lindahl conducted a study on employee motivation. The results may surprise you. During the study, supervisors and their employees were asked, “What motivates an employee?” The number one answer was “appreciation for a job well done.” This is pretty amazing for a number of reasons. One is that appreciation is free! Motivating an employee doesn’t always need to come from bonuses or pay increases. Simply noticing a good job and offering praise can be a huge motivator. You might be thinking that our culture and workplace culture may have changed since the 1940s. It was a long time ago, that’s true. But these study results have been replicated in multiple studies since then. Time and time again, employees have made it clear that hearing a leader show appreciation makes a huge difference in morale and happiness at work. Here are the 5 Ideas to Create an Atmosphere of Employee Appreciation Be an Appreciation Role Model. Compliment a team member in front of others. This both boosts the morale of the employee you’re complimenting and communicates to others that showing appreciation is something they can do, too. Give Regular Coaching Feedback. Be a coach and let people know that you want to help them perform and succeed. Try making suggestions, instead of criticizing. We all prefer recommendations instead of people told what we should and shouldn’t do! Give Immediate Praise on a Job Well Done. The closer the reward happens to the behavior that triggered it, the more powerful the association between the good behavior and the reward will be. Make sure to show appreciation as soon as possible so that an employee connects those positive feelings with the job they did well. This will increase their motivation even more. On the spot positive feedback is the trend now! Forget about waiting for annual review. Remember to “catch them doing something right” as recommended in the classic must read: The One Minute Manager. Send a Thank You Message When You Notice Someone Doing a Good Job. Having an encouraging message, note or email gives your team member a tangible reminder of your appreciation they can revisit again later. Make appreciation part of your daily routine. Set aside a few minutes each day show appreciation…whether it’s to jot a quick note or to simply connect with an employee or team member who’s doing a great job. Appreciation Doesn’t Need Bells and Whistles The most effective kind of appreciation is sincere and unstructured. Resist the temptation to create some sort of complicated employee appreciation program or tie words of appreciation with other incentives, like bonus programs. Those other ways of saying thank you are great for other purposes, but if you want your employees to receive the best [...]
If you're a creative person, a pack rat, a shopper or a collector, minimalist living and the idea that fewer things equals greater happiness may feel impossible to you. It doesn't have to be! And you don't have to be a true minimalist in order to decrease the amount of possessions you own and increase your happiness. Who’s in Charge Here? If you’ve seen the movie Fight Club, you may remember the scene in which Tyler Durden talks about the paradox of owning things. “The things you own,” he says, “end up owning you.” It’s especially easy to feel this in our lives when things aren’t going well. For example, when something breaks can mean having to take time to find someone to fix it and then squeeze extra funds from our budget to cover the costs of repairs. Even maintaining and cleaning out stuff can end up making us feel like a slave to our things because we of the time it takes to care for them. Do you have things that sit gathering dust, or memberships that are going unused? Are you working extra hours or skipping other activities because your budget is tied to paying for things you’re not even using? Evaluate Your Needs and Hobbies Take a moment and try to look at your home the way an outsider would see it. Think like a minimalist as you walk room to room. What items do you rarely or never use? What things do you never have time to clean, take care of, or enjoy? Think of Marie Kondo as you walk through your home and look at what you have. Do these things bring you joy? Or have they become a burden in some way? Sometimes things represent a guilt burden as well as a financial one. If you feel a twinge in your chest every time you walk past the treadmill you’re not using, it’s probably time to come up with a different approach to your fitness. Guilt isn’t an effective exercise! Get rid of the treadmill and find a fitness opportunity that energizes or excites you instead. Take Time to Divest Yourself of Unused Things Take ownership of your things and decide what you really need. What’s taking up too much space? What’s eating up your budget that you simply don’t need or use anymore? Evaluate options besides ownership. If you love to go out on a jet ski but only find time for it a few days of the year, it may be more cost effective for you to rent one for those days when you go out on the water. That way the burden of caring for, maintaining, insuring, and storing the jet ski doesn’t fall on you, and you can be sure you’re only spending money on a jet ski when you’re actually using one! Create a place for items you’re ready to donate, like a box in your garage. Get into the habit of actually giving away items. It may [...]
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence.” – Albert Einstein Think about children for a minute. They’re naturally curious, imaginative, and always learning, always looking for new experiences and information. They know what they want, and they chase after it wholeheartedly. Does you hear your childhood self in this description at all? There are a lot of good things about “being an adult: the knowledge and experience we gained, knowing what we want and don’t want, the discipline to stick through a task even when we don’t feel like finishing it. Those are things kids aren’t so good at doing. But what about the benefits we’ve lost? Where did that natural curiosity and that vivid eagerness go? Many motivational experts like to say that leaders are made, not born. I believe we are all natural born leaders, but some of us have been deprogrammed along the way. As children, we were natural leaders - curious and humble, always hungry and thirsty for knowledge, with an incredibly vivid imagination; and we often had the ability to motivate, inspire, and influence everyone around us to help us in accomplishing our mission. So why is this so difficult to do as adults? What happened? No, Don’t, Can’t As children, we heard the words, no, don’t, and can’t over and over again. We had to sit silently in classes at school, listening while a teacher lectured on math, history, and grammar. Boundaries are a great thing for kids, and education is important. But they don’t foster curiosity or inspire us to ask hard questions or to seek information beyond what we’re given, and those things are an essential part of a great leader. Recapture Childhood Curiosity To be a great leader, one of the things we need to do is unharness that curiosity we had as a kid. We need to give ourselves permission to ask questions, to not only think outside the box, but also to ask questions without easy answers. Give yourself permission to not know the answers. Ask for help. Consult the experts. Educate yourself. Seek new knowledge and information and give your team permission to do the same. Your openness and willingness to be wrong or to learn new things will give them confidence and inspire them to do the same. No one likes working for someone who thinks they know everything and are right all the time. So unleash your inner child. Tune out your fears and tune into your curiosity. Embrace the journey toward greater knowledge. Let it transform your leadership capabilities. Tools for Success If you’re interested in learning more about how to maximize your leadership impact, you need to try our leadership assessment and development tool, the DISC (What’s Your Color?) Leadership Assessment. Take the test today and get your personalized report detailing your leadership strengths and weaknesses as well as exercises and development plans to help you gain the greatest increase in leadership performance. Ingrid Kelada [...]
Creativity or Problem-solving One of the amazing things about humans is our constant endeavor to create or improve things. When we are inspired to create something, we demonstrate our passions or talents. When we run into a problem, we want to fix it and come up with a solution. These days it’s not unusual to complain about something and hear someone say in response, “There’s an app for that!”. Whether we are trying to express our creativity or simply improve our lives, coming up with something new seems to make us happy! Inventions are all around us. From books and music to sports and games to comfort items to technological gadgets aimed at making life simpler. Someone created every one of them! Any form of creativity is enough to fill us with happiness. Think of the joy that comes from cooking a special meal, decorating your office, coming up with a tool for your job or playing a song. The creator enjoys this happiness that comes from the pride of putting in the effort and seeing the final result. Creating is great, sharing is better But the joy goes far beyond the creator. We feel happiness and wonder when we see an amazing photograph or a winning touchdown. Creating something is an incredible way to share joy with the people around you and to fill your own life with happiness, too. Each day, develop the habit of noticing created things, from complex tools like the internet to the simple necessities so easily taken for granted, like a doorknob. Celebrate the examples of artwork or inventions you pass in your day to day life. Maybe you spot a magazine on the table with a great cover, hear a great song at the coffee shop or a colleague just shared something to improve things at work. What Can You Create? We live in an amazing world, and when we remember that, it helps boost our happiness and sense of wonder. And as part of the human race, that ability to create resides in all of us. What sorts of things are you good at creating? Maybe you’re good at cooking or organizing. Perhaps you’re a great fisherman, handy with your hands or gifted at spontaneous one-line jokes. Celebrate your talents and share them with others around you. Here’s one final thought to leave you with: “The secret of happiness is this: let your interest be as wide as possible, and let your reactions to the things and persons that interest you be as far as possible friendly rather than hostile”—Bertrand Russell. BE HAPPY! Looking for more happiness tips? Check out chapter 20 in my book, 21 Days to Happiness, in which I share how to use your talents at work to boost your happiness. You can also find out more on the power of creativity in chapter 2 which teaches how music affects our happiness. Ingrid Kelada Business Psychologist/Happiness Expert KCC Inc.
This is the perfect time of year to boost your happiness by going outside every day. What's amazing is you don't have to spend hours outdoors in order to receive the happiness benefits. Just a few minutes each day is usually enough to make a big difference in our levels of happiness and energy. Going outside is free. It's easy. And it offers some pretty significant benefits to our health. Here are just 3 of the reasons to put going outside on your daily calendar starting this week. 1-You Need Sunlight to Make Vitamin D Your body makes vitamin D while you're out in the sun. Researchers believe at least 1 billion people suffer from vitamin D deficiency. When we don't get enough vitamin D, we can begin to experience symptoms of a vitamin deficiency, such as fatigue, increased vulnerability to illness, back pain, and even depression. OMG! All those things would make it difficult for anyone to experience happiness. The great news is that all you have to do to "right the ship" so to speak is to start spending time outside. Try to spend at least 15 minutes outdoors at a time of day when the sun is high in the sky. At least 15 minutes on a daily basis is enough for many people to maintain a healthy level of vitamin D. The darker your skin is, the longer you need to be in the sun to create vitamin D. 2-Nature Brings Us Peace The sound of the wind in the trees or waves gently lapping the shore can ease tension in our bodies and help us relax and forget about daily worries. Watching living creatures like birds, butterflies, and even fish can lower our stress levels and help us remember how big and beautiful our world is. Going outside also allows us to mentally clock out and get away from our computer screens. Staring at something only a few inches from our faces for long periods of time can stress our eyes. Taking a walk outside allows our eyes to focus on objects far away and lets those muscles we use on the computer have a rest. 3-Nature Allows Us Opportunities to Connect Another benefit to spending time in nature is it allows us opportunities to authentically connect with others. Take a friend or loved one on a picnic and notice the difference in the way you connect while you're out and away from distractions like your computer and TV. Try leaving your phone in the car or in a bag where you won't be tempted to keep checking it. Be present in nature, in the moment shared with your friend or loved one. Those authentic connections also allow us opportunities to relax and ease stresses we may be feeling. They also allow us to create new memories with people we care about, which gives our happiness another boost every time we think back on those great experiences. Try This Look at your calendar for this week and [...]
We have so much to be grateful for. It's that time of year...the holidays, the parties, the excitement! You probably have a lot to be grateful for and may take some things for granted. You don't need much in order to be happy. Many people without a lot still find real happiness in their daily lives. Have an Attitude of Gratitude What you do need in order to be happy is to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Take a moment to reflect on the past year and make a list of 10 things you have to be grateful for. Note the things you tend to overlook. Think of what you do have instead of what you don't: health, family, work, home, friends... Focusing on these blessings will foster an attitude of gratitude in your life. And that attitude is like fertile soil where happiness will grow and flourish. Develop a habit of noticing good things and expressing your gratitude for them. Try it for 21 days. You will see a difference in your overall happiness and contentment. Ready to start your happiness journey? "Day one" of my book, 21 Days to Happiness focuses on gratitude, and offers additional tips and strategies for greater happiness through gratitude. Each day of the 21 day journey takes you through another area of life where you can make simple, practical changes for greater happiness. I'd love to see you start your journey today! Ingrid Kelada Business Psychologist/Happiness Expert KCC Inc.
It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year - to Work on Your Happiness! This is the best time of the year to work on your happiness. It's almost Thanksgiving in the United States and just a few short weeks until Christmas. Taking a few minutes now to center yourself and focus on your happiness can help you have the best holiday season. Very soon I'll be launching my new 21 Days to Happiness E-Learning. I'm so excited to share it with you! The e-learning will share all the practical, effective happiness habits and resources I've put in my book, but in a fresh, interactive format. You're going to love it! To help start our holidays off right, I'm offering a three-day Happiness Challenge. Each day, I'll ask you to do one task that's guaranteed to help boost your happiness. And, if you participate along with me, you can enter for a chance to win 3 modules from my new 21 Days to Happiness E-Learning. So let's do it! Follow the tour and earn entries for a chance to win 3 modules of the brand new 21 Days to Happiness interactive e-learning. Here's how: Follow the Challenge 11/19 - Happiness Challenge Day 1: Smiling with A Mama's Corner of the World 11/20 - Happiness Challenge Day 2: Go Outside with Everyday Gyaan 11/21 - Happiness Challenge Day 3: Gratitude - The Story Sanctuary Spread the happiness and challenge your friends to participate with you! Notice a boost in your happiness? Great! You can learn more about habits for greater happiness, energy and productivity in my book, 21 Days to Happiness, which is now available in four formats - e-book, paperback, audiobook, and e-learning. Ingrid Kelada Business Psychologist/Happiness Expert KCC Inc.
Spread Happiness with a Smile Do you want to put a smile on someone's face today? Maybe make their day a little better? It won't cost a single penny or much time to do just that. And because smiling is contagious, you'll find that making one person smile causes happiness to spread like a sweet smell on a warm breeze. 20 Ways to Make Someone Smile Challenge yourself. See how many of these smile-spreading techniques you can complete this week! 1. Smile at someone. 2. Compliment a friend or work colleague. 3. Donate something to charity. 4. Take a friend out to lunch. 5. Let someone know you miss them. 6. Make a surprise call to your partner or a friend at work, just to say hi. 7. Hold a door open for someone walking behind you. 8. Hug your partner for no reason. 9. Share a joke with someone. 10. Send a card or note to a friend or coworker letting them know you appreciate something they've done. 11. Give up your seat on the train or bus to someone. 12. Share your umbrella on a rainy day. 13. Ask a friend if they need anything while you're out shopping. 14. Plan a picnic! Raining outside? How about an indoor picnic! 15. Leave a love letter somewhere where your partner will find it. 16. Send someone an unexpected gift like a tasty snack or a book they'll enjoy. 17. Tell your child you're proud of them or tell a coworker they're doing a great job. 18. Tell someone you thought about them. 19. Cook a surprise meal for your partner or friends one night, especially if they normally do the cooking. 20. Send some flowers to your partner or a friend at work. Did you know it takes only 17 muscles to smile, but 43 to frown. Why waste all that energy frowning when you could just smile. 5 more facts about smiling 1. Women smile more than men. 2. Smiling releases endorphins that make us feel better. 3. We are all born with the ability to smile, it's not something we learn from others. 4. A smile is a universal expression of happiness. 5. A smiling person is thought to be a more pleasant, attractive, sociable, sincere and competent than a non-smiling person. Just remember, smiling is the easiest and cheapest way of improving your looks. For more tips and ideas on spreading happiness through acts of kindness, check out Day 9 Kindness: Pay It Forward in my book, 21 Days to Happiness. Ingrid Kelada Business Psychologist/Happiness Expert KCC Inc.
The Cost of Time Spent in Nature Going outside is free! Nature is there for everybody to stand and stare and take happiness and comfort from. The trees do not distinguish between rich and poor, strong and weak, man and woman. Warm sunshine is free; the glow of the moon is free. You don't have to pay for the cool breeze, warm seashore, towering mountains, smooth flowing rivers, or the dark and inviting forests. You can enjoy them all for free. Take Time to Enjoy Nature Around You Instead of sitting during a break, try taking a short, brisk walk outside. Take your lunch to a park or outdoor area and enjoy a picnic. This weekend, invite a friend to hike a nearby trail with you, or take a day trip to a park or forest. Explore someplace new! While you spend time outside, breathe deeply. Look at the sky. Notice how big the world is, how limitless the sky feels. Listen to the sounds of nature around you, and let them recharge you. The sky, the sun, the ocean, rain and sunshine, all are there for us to possess fully. You can stare at the sky at any time and claim all of it for your happiness. For that moment, it is all yours. Let your time in nature alter your perspective on your problems. The universe, the earth even, is far bigger than our worries. Time away from our usual routines also gives us a break and lets our minds rest instead of running on the hamster wheel, rehashing a worrisome situation over and over. The Bank Account of Nature Just like the bank account where you keep your financial resources, nature is like a happiness bank account. When you need to spend money, you make a draw from your bank account. In the same way, when you need a happiness boost, make a withdrawal of time spent in nature. You'll feel the difference after spending even just a few minutes. For more practical ways to boost your happiness and more on the ways spending time in nature improves happiness, pick up a copy of my book, 21 Days to Happiness and see Day 6 on Nature: Step Outside for Happiness. Ingrid Kelada Business Psychologist/Happiness Expert KCC Inc.