This giveaway is now closed. Thank you to everyone who participated!
We have all had moments in our lives where we wished we could just be happy. (Perhaps you’re feeling this way right now and just aren’t sure how to make yourself feel better.) I know that I have often wondered how to create lasting happiness in my own life. If you are also wondering this, help is on the way!
I am excited to introduce you to a friend of mine, Joe Wilner, who writes the blog, Shake Off the Grind. I had the chance go through Joe’s new Trigger Positive Program, and I learned several techniques to consciously choose to be happier. Because essentially, that’s what each of us can do. We can make a decision to be happy and then take action steps toward that goal. In his program, Joe offers exercises and meditations to help you do exactly that. There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling the entire range of emotions – we aren’t meant to be happy all of the time. It’s okay to feel sad and angry and every other emotion. However, sometimes we get stuck in the low moments and want to pull ourselves up but could use a rope. If you’re feeling this way, I’m hoping that Joe’s program will be that rope for you.
The Trigger Positive program gives you a clear process with worksheets, activities, and guided practices to apply in your life, relationships, work, and community.
This program includes:
- 145 page PDF workbook containing 16 separate exercises.
- 16 Proven strategies to enhance your happiness.
- 5 Guided meditations to facilitate greater emotional well-being.
- A 3 hour 30 minute audio program walking you through exercises and meditations.
+ 4 great bonus products from top bloggers:
- Mindfulness Living by Paige Burkes
- How to Love Consciously by Alex Blackwell
- Journaling from the Soul by Jodi Chapman (that’s me!)
- A Practical Guide to Bliss by Andrea DeBell
Please read the interview below to learn more about Joe and this great program. Then scroll to the bottom to enter to win the entire program + the bonuses and start learning how to bring more happiness into your own life!
I just recently learned about the Happiness Formula from Marci Shimoff, which you also talk about in your workbook. I find it fascinating that it’s been proven biologically that we can choose to be happy. Could you tell us a bit more about this formula and what it means for anyone who is struggling to find happiness in their own life?
There are three variables that come together to influence our happiness. The formula can be put together as: H = S + C + V
The level of happiness that you experience (H) is determined by your biological set point (S) plus the conditions of your life (C) plus the voluntary activities (V) that you do.
Biological set point makes up about 50% of our happiness. This is the genetic traits and tendencies we inherited from our parents. For instance, our genetic predispositions to experience mental illness or some of our personality traits and attributes are based on our genetic code when we were born into the world with. Some people are more naturally happy than others.
Life conditions only make up about 10% of our happiness and are facts about life such as race, sex, age, disability, as well as things that we can change such as wealth, marital status, and where we live. These are constant over time, or at least during a certain period of your life though they don’t have as enduring of an impact on happiness as many people think. Over time we adapt to our life conditions.
Voluntary activities, on the other hand, are things that you choose to do, like meditation, exercise, learning a new skill or taking a vacation. These are the primary focus of Trigger Positive and are responsible for about 40% of our happiness. Because such activities can be chosen, and because most of them take effort and attention, they can’t just disappear from your awareness the way that conditions can. These activities, then, offer much greater promise for increasing happiness while avoiding adaptation effects.
There is a lot we can do in these external areas that can bring us to the top of our “happiness range.”
Your story is a real inspiration and a true testament to how powerful each of us really is. You mentioned that you weren’t happy – in fact, you were pretty miserable – just a few years ago. And you consciously set out to create a life that you loved, that you would be proud to live, and that would make you happy. Could you share more about your journey and what steps you took to get from there to now?
I think the best way to describe how I was living is that I was simply going through the motions without much purpose or joy. By this I mean I didn’t feel a sense of enthusiasm or excitement on a daily basis. I was doing what I had to do to survive and reacting to what life presented me. From this stance I was living as a victim of life’s circumstances as opposed to establishing a lifestyle that could help me flourish. Much of my transformation came from beginning to rigorously study personal development, go through life coaching and other workshops, and intentionally alter the way I lived and interacted with others. It was very empowering to gain this awareness and recognize the tendencies in my emotions and behavior. Once this clicked it just took effort and willingness to do the self-work.
I appreciate your honesty throughout the workbook about how your journey toward finding happiness has been a process not a destination. It’s a habit and a conscious choice – rather than something we decide one day and bam – we’re happy forever! What advice could you offer to someone who wants to be happy right now but doesn’t feel motivated to create habits and change their life to make it happen?
This may not be the answer you’re hoping for, but it is essential that we deal with our negativity first before trying to increases our positivity. I briefly mention in the book that there is a negativity bias. This theory contends that negative emotions have a longer shelf life and hold a more enduring impact on mood than do positive emotions.
Simply put, bad is stronger than good when it comes to emotions. This makes sense as negative emotions such as fear, anxiety, and anger have been important and adaptive to aid in our survival. However, for many people anger and anxiety become debilitating as opposed to adaptive in today’s society. So, first deal with your negative mood and try to neutralize negative emotions and these happiness interventions will follow much more naturally.
I love the title of your course: Trigger Positive. You came up with it when you realized that there are triggers for positive emotions – things we can do to increase our own happiness. Can you tell us what are your favorite activities to trigger positive emotions?
For me the activities and strategies that have had the biggest impact are using my character strengths, cultivating optimism, spending time with family, and engaging in interests and passions. The specific activities that help me enhance well-being are writing and reading. I love researching and writing, as love of learning and curiosity are top character strengths of mine. I also find happiness from playing the drums and going to see live music.
Accomplishing goals and pushing beyond my comfort zone is a major part of maintaining a positive outlook for me. I am very goal oriented and having meaningful goals to strive for is an important piece of staying inspired. I also really focus on my close relationships as a means to enhance well-being and I love spending time with family. I always leave feeling refreshed and uplifted.
In my own life, I have found that being grateful is an instant happiness booster. No matter how low I’m feeling, when I take a few moments and focus on all that I am grateful for, I immediately feel better. What would you say is your instant happiness booster?
I will certainly agree that gratitude can have an immediate impact on the way we perceive our life and the gifts we possess. I would recommend that everyone utilize the technique of keeping a gratitude list. I would also say that mindfulness can have a powerful impact on well-being. For me this serves as a means to manage my stress and other negative states of mind, and also allows me to focus on being more positive. Mindfulness is a practice that can be developed by formal meditation but is also very applicable in day to day life. I do this by just focusing on my breathing and then recentering my focus on something uplifting, motivating, and meaningful.
You talk a lot about using meditation as a way to find inner happiness and peace. When you first began to meditate, did you feel the positive effects immediately? Why is quieting our minds essential for lasting happiness? For anyone who is new at meditating, how would you recommend they get started?
Frankly, when I first started meditating I could barely keep seated for a few minutes at a time. I have been meditating for about seven years now and it has become a clear method for improving my mood and managing my emotions. It helps me find tranquility and peace of mind when things aren’t going well and it helps me focus on the states of mind that can boost my positivity. I meditate by focusing my attention on the feeling tone of love, peace, gratitude, and compassion. I also use meditation to visualize my ideal future self and enhance my sense of optimism and hope for the future. I would recommend that people find a positive affirmation, prayer, or encouraging statement, and practice keeping your focus on this thought and the feelings that are connected to it.
I love that you talk about the importance of playing with the relation to feeling happy! I tend to be on the serious side and playing hasn’t always come naturally to me. But I always feel so much better when I goof off and let loose. What’s your favorite way to be silly?
Jodi, I also struggle with this and am more naturally serious and reserved. That’s why it is one of the aspects I included in the program. By being more intentional about playing and having fun I have changed my perspective and attitude in a lot of situations. I have learned to laugh more often and approach new situations with the open mind in search of humor and amusement. It took time to joke around with others and not take myself so serious, but it has made an immediate impact on how I connect with others.
I love that you ask each of us to write down the legacy that we would like to leave. Could you share yours here?
Having a sense of meaning is what makes life worth living and is why having an inspiring vision for what we what to accomplish with our life is so valuable. I have really connected with the desire to leave a legacy of someone who is loving, kind, and caring. I hope to be remembered as a person who noticed the best in others and helped them uncover this potential. Most importantly I hope to live life in a way that inspires others to do more and reach for higher aspirations. I am working toward this every day and am nowhere near my potential, but I assume I have a little time left to cultivate this capacity.
What are 5 things about yourself that make you happy? What are 5 things about your friends, family, and community that make you happy? What are 5 things about the world that make you happy?
Five things about me:
- My curiosity and interest in others and the world around me.
- A naturally caring heart and desire for others to be happy.
- Being in a position to inspire others to do more and be more.
- My ability to play drums and love of music.
- That I am a diligent, driven, and persistent person.
Five things about friends, family, and community:
- My girlfriend’s natural tendency for compassion and caring.
- The joy and amazement that comes from having a 2 month old nephew.
- Having so many people I know I could turn to for support and help. This is something I am immensely grateful for.
- Having unconditionally loving parents.
- Being around friends and family who model generosity, faith, and kindness.
Five things about the world:
- That technology offers everyone a chance to develop a lifestyle they desire.
- The amazing blog communities on the internet that readily share inspiration and help people reach for personal growth.
- The excitement and anticipation of how society with shift in the next 5-10 years.
- The increasing diversity and interesting people I encounter.
- The growing knowledge and discoveries from Neuroscience.
What do you hope that someone will take away after completing this program?
I hope that people realize they have a choice right now to start being more joyful, more loving, and more compassionate, and by doing this are able to recognize how they can positively influence others and contribute to their community. I would love for people to starting making a transformation in their own life and that this would start a ripple effect of positivity with the people they surround themselves with.
Is there anything else that you would like to share?
To summarize, much of our happiness comes from incorporating activities and experiences into our life that gives us a positive boost. Developing self-awareness and becoming attuned to what brings us happiness is a major key to trigger positivity. Uncover your strengths, determine what gives you meaning, and begin to express greater compassion and love for others.
Lastly, I would just like to say thank you to everyone who contributed to the program, has been a part of supporting it, and to anyone who has already been able to put it to use.
One lucky winner will receive one Trigger Positive Program!
Entering is super easy!
- Follow Shake Off the Grind and Soul Speak on Facebook.
- Leave a comment below sharing one thing you can do today to bring more positivity into your life. (Here are some ideas to get you started: smiling more, writing in a gratitude journal, complimenting others, or doing something silly.)
One lucky winner will be chosen randomly on 7/15.
Joe Wilner is a life coach, speaker, and writer who is dedicated to helping people live a full, meaningful, and thriving life. His blog, Shake off the Grind is dedicated to empowering and motivating people to take leaps of faith and develop confidence to reach their potential.The mission of the blog is to help people develop greater well-being, live with purpose and meaning, and overcome self-imposed limitations to begin living the life they truly desire.