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Attitude & Gratitude Experiment #2: Trigger Happy

Hello! I am grateful for you.

I am grateful that you are here, reading my blog. Is that weird? Maybe. I am grateful for this moment and I’m not even a part of it. YOU are the one reading this. I don’t know when you’re reading it, or where, and it’s possible I don’t even know YOU. Nevertheless, I am grateful that it’s happyning. (← See what I did there?😉)

I am grateful every time I sit down at my laptop to write. Not because I am Gandhi or anything, living in a constant state of gratitude… although that would be lovely. No. It’s because I set up “sitting down to write” as a trigger for (more…)

Overcoming “Happstacles” (Happiness Obstacles)

emotionalrollercoasterSince starting my journey with Happiness Experiments, I have been on an emotional rollercoaster. Sometimes I want to high five myself. Sometimes I want to scream at myself. Sometimes I pat myself on the back. And frequently I ask, in my best Carrie from Homeland ugly cry…

I’m supposed to be the happiness scientist here, right? Doesn’t that mean I should pretty much have sunshine shooting out of my ass at all times? Well, no. And as it turns out, it’s not because I’m a failure! Hooray! In fact, I’m going to share with you why looking at my negative emotions has helped me make my GREATEST HAPPINESS DISCOVERY YET.

And here it is: We struggle to feel and maintain deep happiness because we fear or focus on the hurdles we must conquer first.

There is no elevator to happiness. For that kind of meaning, ya gotta take the stairs.

For every desire I have, there are “happstacles” (happiness obstacles) that we must first overcome. I hope that by identifying some of the most common happstacles, I can help you appreciate the journey even when it feels more agonizing than fun.

I wanted to explain it further, so I thought I’d bring you into my living room and let you listen while following along with the Desire/Happstacle Chart below!




Deep happiness often lies on the other side of your happstacles. So instead of feeling daunted in the face of discomfort, EMBRACE IT. Change your mindset. The happstacle you’ve happened upon is not a roadblock, it’s your yellow brick road. Follow it!

Attitude & Gratitude Experiment #1: The Bright Side Filter

at·ti·tude (noun)

one’s position in relation to an issue, object or circumstance.

Your attitude is a matter of perspective. My question at the beginning of this month was this: If I could train myself to consistently position myself on the brighter side of every situation, would I want to? And if I did, would I be ignoring potentially serious problems?

I want to be absolutely positive that I can be absolutely positive, without losing perspective.

positivepsychologyI was raised to be acutely aware of (more…)

Family & Friends Experiment #4: Send Birthday Cards, Not Texts

Between “The Power of Love Notes” and my admiration of Happiness Guru Kelli Davis’s project, Happster Mail… I think I’ve made it clear I’m a sucker for old-school communication. I’m a romantic, so sue me! (Oh yeah, and I’m bringing back “So sue me.”)

Today’s experiment was invented at the crossroads of two major events in my life: my wedding & the passing of my great grandfather, BTO. Do allow me to explain…

Somewhere in the midst of my Pinterest-wedding-planning-blackhole, I discovered the brilliant idea to replace a standard “guest book” with a personalized calendar. Each guest signed their name on their birthday, so at the end, I had a calendar full of my loved ones’ birthdates! Brilliant. Right?

DSC_2020Admittedly, when we got home from our honeymoon, I hung it up and aside from giving my friends and family a birthday phone call, didn’t do much with it. UNTIL, my great grandfather passed away.

This legendary man, aptly nicknamed BTO (Big Time Operator), was an anomaly in his non-digital age. He kept record of EVERYTHING. He was a father to 7 children, who yielded 21 grandkids, who gave him 35 great grandkids (including me), and finally 16 great great grandkids. And that’s not even the impressive part. He managed to hand-write cards to each of us on our birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Valentines Day, I’m pretty sure one year I even got a card on Groundhogs Day.


The man, the myth, the legend card writer on his 100th birthday party with a gallon of tequila in a rifle bottle.

In each card, was a crisp dollar bill, for big birthdays, a fiver. My cousins and I would joke,

“If I had a dollar bill for every time BTO sent me a card… oh wait..”

When he passed away we were all grief stricken. I felt suffocated by the idea that his traditions would die with him. We all had our favorite memories with him, some of hunting, some of strawberry picking, but mine was DEFINITELY the letter writing. He also did this weird thing. He would include 3-5 printed pictures he had recently snapped of friends on his disposable camera. Half the time I had no idea who was even in the photo! But one thing was clear, he cared about me and he cared about them. He was so DAMN proud of his family and friends and wanted everyone to know how much he loved them, even if all he had to gift was one dollar and a few polaroids.

This year, I started this experiment and would be moved BEYOND THE STARS, if you would help me carry on the tradition of love and giving, in honor of my BTO.

Here’s what you do:

1. Get a calendar and fill it in with the birth dates of your friends and family.

2. Send a CARD or LETTER (NOT a text or fb post) wishing your loved ones a happy birthday/happy holiday!

3. Include a single dollar bill and write “BTO” on it.


May you and your loved ones get as much joy and happiness from this small gesture as I did from my sweet and thoughtful BTO.