How the “Science of Happiness” (Free Online Course) Can Help You Connect with Others

By Kira M. Newman | Greater Good Magazine

Judy is a breast cancer survivor. When she found out that a woman in her yoga class was undergoing chemotherapy, she reached out to introduce herself.

Her timing couldn’t have been better: The woman was scheduled for a mastectomy two days later. “I told her I would be available to her any time day or night,” said Judy, who has been texting with the woman ever since. “I feel I’ve been able to provide a shoulder for her. She’s no longer a stranger.”

We know Judy’s story because she is a student in our Science of Happiness course, a free, eight-week online course that explores the roots of a happy, meaningful life. When we asked recent students how the course had impacted them, they shared everything from little habit changes to big life transitions, like quitting smoking or finding a new job. But one of the themes that kept coming up was how the course—which emphasizes how important relationships are for happiness—enhanced their sense of connection to others.

“I’ve started making a conscious effort to connect with people daily—even if it is just smiling and saying hello to a stranger in a grocery store (which can be a stretch for an introvert like me!),” said another student named Kathryn. Driving home one day, she stopped to offer a ride to a woman who seemed to be in pain as she walked slowly down the street. It turned out the woman was disabled and on her way to the grocery store, so Kathryn drove her there and back.

“We had a wonderful talk and she was so grateful. That made ME feel wonderful as well,” Kathryn recalled.

Amy, a student who started volunteering as a “listener” for the free counseling service 7 Cups, also felt that practicing kindness toward others enhanced her own life. “It seems the more I put out (talking to strangers, complimenting, smiling, etc.), the more I get back in life,” she said.

For difficult interactions, Bruna found that meditating and writing down her negative feelings helped change her attitude. “I think people do the best that they can with what they got, so I don’t blame others anymore,” she said.

Students also talked about strengthening their current relationships with friends, family, and romantic partners. Suzette, for example, was inspired by the course to do something new or visit a new place every month—and to invite casual acquaintances to join her, building their friendship.

Katie started doing the Three Good Things practice, where you note positive things that happened during the day as a way to enhance gratitude and bring attention to the blessings in life. Her partner joined in for this pre-bedtime ritual.

“I’ve noticed feeling more rested when we do this,” she said. “We laugh more before we sleep and are spending less time looking at screens.”

Do you want to deepen your social connections and explore the roots of your own happiness? On September 5, we will launch the seventh installment of The Science of Happiness. Sign up for the course and join our community of like-minded students hoping to live happier and more connected lives.

About the Author
{author}Kira M. Newman is an editor and web producer at the Greater Good Science Center. She is also the creator of The Year of Happy, a year-long course in the science of happiness, and CaféHappy, a Toronto-based meetup. Follow her on Twitter!

Read more great articles at Great Good Magazine.

Are You a Slave to Social Networking?

Let’s Get Real

I’m certainly not going to bash social networking or shout from the rooftops that it’s from the devil — hell no, I find it an extremely helpful modern-day tool.  I utilize it socially — to stay in touch with friends and family — and I use it for my business. Although the novelty is wearing off for me now as I use it less and less, I still see the value of having it at our fingertips.

Social networking is great for spreading information and touching base.  However, it can also be a huge thorn in our sides.

All too often I see people with their noses stuck to their iPods, even when they are publicly with someone else.  Does anyone else find this extremely rude?

What is it that keeps the populace stuck to other people’s dramas or, in some case, tedious actions (thanks for sharing your breakfast pictures with us, I couldn’t have started my day without knowing how many miles you ran this morning, wow — your child lost another tooth?)?

Eish, ek se! (a Xhosa/Afrikaans combo translation expressing horror/disbelief followed by ‘I say’).

Enough Already!

I think we will all have different reasons for using social networking but if you are finding it hard to keep those nimble thumbs off your key-pad, then let’s dive into a bit of introspection — answer these questions honestly:

  • Control – do you have command over how much time you spend on social networks such as facebook or twitter, or does it have an irrepressible hold on you?
  • Breaks — can you go without it for a long period of time and not be bothered?  Have you ever tested yourself on this?
  • Loss — do you feel disconnected if you don’t ‘plug in’?  Are you just itching to be updated again?  Are you feeling like you are missing out on something?
  • Time – how many moments do you waste scouring news feeds only to find that 2 hours have passed and you have not really found anything of true value?
  • Question — how are you using it?  Is it benefitting you in some way?  Or is it serving as a distraction?  Or both?
  • Limits — can you set yourself boundaries and time limits?
  • Trimming — Hone down who and what you give your energy to.  Are you wasting a lot of time on engaging in a drama that really doesn’t involve you?  Are you helping or fueling the situation? Or are you just filling empty space? Try to recognise the ego in yourself.
  • Clarity — are you using facebook for friends and people you actually know — or do you befriend any Tom, Dick and Harijiwan that requests your precious time?  Get clear about which social networks are for what.  In other words, use facebook or twitter to stay in touch with interesting people, friends and family and sites like LinkedIn and facebook business pages for your associates, promotions and dealings.  Be clear about the reason you are using these sites and don’t just give your time away willy-nilly.
  • Allocations — assign specific times to go on for personal and business use and be liable for those periods — keep to that schedule!

Rudeness Concealed as ‘The Norm’

At all costs avoid whipping out your iPad in real conversation with bona fide friends and colleagues – nobody appreciates this and you may end up losing a tangible friend or business deal for one moment of digital gratification.

The friends who are willing to meet up with you in the flesh are the ones that will be there for you when you need them.  Give them your undivided attention and respect.

If someone has taken time out to be with you, they should take precedence over any electronic device that is beeping for your attention — learn to turn it off if it’s a distraction.

Take the Test

If you find that social networking is controlling you and you can’t let go, try this out:

  • Alert your connections that you will be taking one weeks (or however long you feel you need) ‘vacation’ from the net.
  • Hold yourself accountable for it, no matter what juicy adventures you want to share – be present with that urge to purge and be at peace with telling no-one.
  • Observe how remaining silent makes you feel — do you feel a certain tranquility or are you chomping at the bit?  Really question yourself — do you truly need to share that photo of your dinner last night?  Do your friends need to know you are having a tiff with your BFF?  Possibly not. Read related article: Ask Yourself These Empowering Questions During Tough Times (Rev. Michael Beckwith Video)
  • If you are experiencing more calm and ease without social networking, then this exercise has worked.  You will be more aware of how to limit your time dedicated to it in the future.  Work out a viable timetable and stick to it.
  • If you are edgy and feel anxious, then this exercise has also worked and you need to go into why you are feeling this way.  Social networking has a hold over you and there is something there that needs addressing.  Dig deep and follow the thread of answers to this question:  Why do I feel the need to be distracted?  You will be taken to the core of your inability to ‘let go’ of being in the loop about every little detail, or keeping people in the know about your every endeavor.

You Are the Center of Your Own World

When you take a break from your social networking sites, I can bet that you most likely will not be missed — however, this will not be from the lack of love your friends and associates have for you.

The reason is, in all actuality, you are not going to be the center of their worlds and they will most likely have many other diversions to keep them busy.  Don’t take offense at this — it is helpfully indicative that everyone has a ‘life’.  You are at the center of your revolving world and they are conducting their version of reality too — learn to honor this and be grateful when your worlds collide for the greater good. Read related article: The Ultimate Life Hack for Understanding People – How to Use Mirroring (Teal Swann Video)

This can give you a clearer perspective of how you identify what is important and hone down what you feel you need to distribute that will benefit others.  It will aid you to ascertain what needs to be shared and what can remain private.

Call to Action

I want you to work out approximately how much time a week you spend on social networking and then compare it to your new timetable.  Let us know how much time you have saved!

Use social networking responsibly and you will have the best of both worlds.

CRDCherie Roe Dirksen is a self-empowerment author/columnist, multi-media artist andmusician from South Africa.

To date, she has published 3 self-help and motivational books and brings out weekly inspirational blogs at her site www.cherieroedirksen.com. Get stuck into finding your passion, purpose and joy by downloading some of those books gratis when you click HERE.

Her ambition is to help you to connect with your innate gift of creativity and living the life you came here to experience by taking responsibility for your thoughts, actions and becoming the co-creator of your reality. You can follow Cherie on Facebook (The Art of Empowerment — for article updates). She also has an official art Facebook page (Cherie Roe Dirksen – for new art updates) and her band’s Facebook page is Templeton Universe.

This article (Are You a Slave to Social Networking?was originally written for and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author Cherie Roe Dirksen and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons

How to “Unwrite” Your Family’s Unhealthy Belief Patterns and Create a More Joyful Life

family picture

By Jim Tolles | Spiritual Awakening Process

At some point, you have to reckon with your behavioral patterns and beliefs from childhood. For most people, that means dealing with their family issues.

In many respects, people are dealing with family issues from day one of their spiritual journeys. That is because if you were raised in a family situation, then you created a whole lot of invisible and unconscious beliefs by following what your family was doing. If you didn’t have a family growing up, you still absorbed a lot of ideas and copied a lot of patterns from the people around you at the time. Any way you look at it, you’re going to end up doing a lot of spiritual work on the stuff that happened and got learned when you were young because all of that forms your mental and emotional foundation. That foundation dictated to you most of what you thought was possible to do or be, and the levels of your life all got built off it. Now, it’s time to take down the “family house.”

The History of Family

While I haven’t done much research on the history of families, a couple of things do seem to be fairly evident. One of which is that family was central to survival. This is especially true when we’re less than 5 years old and can’t do anything for us. It’s extremely likely that we would die if we did not rely on our families to feed us, protect us, clean us up, and so much more. This is a fundamental human truth.

However, in centuries past where there weren’t social safety nets–and for many societies in modern-day as well– the family was the social safety net. There was no unemployment, food stamps, welfare, or anything else to help out. Trying to survive on one’s own in many civilizations and climates was extremely difficult. Having more people around to gather resources, protect you from warring factions, care for you if you got sick, and other additional tasks were extremely important supports to your survival. Being that our survival is one of the driving forces inside of us, relying on family became an unsaid and deeply accepted belief for most people around the world.

Once again, I haven’t researched this, but I encourage you to do so if you need to check into it. As I often say, I don’t have your truth for you, and it is important to be engaged with your growth process. However, I think that what I am saying makes a lot of sense. To get started inquiring about family, I encourage you to ask yourself, “Why do you need family?” See where your inquiry takes you.

Your Family History Unveiled

There’s a lot that goes on in early childhood, and a lot of it isn’t mentally remembered by most people. However, it is emotionally remembered, physically remembered, and energetically remembered. That’s why for many of you going deep into old pain and issues, you may not really have any memories to go on. You’re just working with the upset of your baby self when you weren’t taken care of for a half-hour on the day, or if you endured long periods of neglect, then there may be a great deal of pain and discomfort arising with no general thoughts. In this way, your healing work addresses things you don’t remember and helps you resolve old pains that have probably influenced you in more ways than you can imagine.

For some of you, I may be getting ahead of this work. The first step is a willingness to unmask the family karma inside yourself. Doing so will invariably challenge a lot of your beliefs about your family members. It is very natural to accept the stories that our parents tell us about ourselves, themselves, and the world. While the teenage years and early twenties bring about an individuation process, there are limits to that process. A lot of the deeper core beliefs stay intact. A son may affiliate with the Republican party in the U.S. while his father is affiliated with the Democrats, but they both may still cling to a core belief system around right-and-wrong. Thus, that foundation dictates how the son can believe. A lot of the possibilities for understanding life are eliminated by that underlying belief system and unveiling that is part of a critical process of moving towards greater freedom.

That’s just one small item in a huge list of family behaviors and beliefs to unveil if you want to truly be free and to know yourself.

Opening the Pandora’s Box of Family Issues

Once you start opening the box of family issues, it’s very difficult to close it again. I am sure that some do, but the freer you become, the more you look inside that box. You typically find that you don’t want anything inhibiting your freedom. So you look again and again, and you will very likely find more and more ugliness.

While things like abuse, alcohol addiction, and more are often discovered in the box of family issues, many of the things like the right-and-wrong belief system are much more insidious than they seem at first glance. A lot of that has to do with social norms. In a society that likes to believe in life in very black-and-white terms, a right-and-wrong belief system seems like common sense. It is, however, only one way to view the world, and such a belief system tends to be extremely limited because so much of what happens in life does not really correspond to such a simplistic viewpoint. Is a tsunami that kills lots of people wrong? Not really. It’s a painful event for all those affected”, but it isn’t being done maliciously by the Earth. Is helping someone take out their garbage right? I suppose it is a helpful thing, but sometimes, people also need to do things on their own. Helping can sometimes inhibit someone’s growth. The complexity of human life makes belief systems like that inherited from the family extremely problematic.

And the number of family beliefs and issues goes very beyond that example. There are beliefs about how to interact and what is okay to say and not okay to say. There are beliefs about how to eat. So many people don’t know how to take care of their bodies because they inherit such poor beliefs and patterns about eating. There are family patterns and beliefs around exercise, jobs, dating, marriage, children, using utensils, choosing clothing, voting, travel, driving, fighting, entertainment, and everything else you can think of. This is a really big box, and as you go, you may be amazed at how little you’ve consciously chosen your life. You basically have been just doing what you’ve been told to do from the time you were very little right into adulthood.

Unwriting the Family Code

I am using the term unwriting here because creating new beliefs and patterns tends to happen in response to the old ones. For instance, if your family is very negative, there is a tendency to write a new pattern that says you’ll always be positive. Now you have two sides in your head–one ego self says something critical, and another ego-self now says you should be positive inside. This inner war can become truly exhausting.

Thus, we learn to turn towards the family beliefs inside us to break them apart first. We learn to listen to them and look at them without reacting. Non-reaction is one of the most critical aspects of unwriting. There can be such a strong reaction to do what the belief says we should do or to do something opposing it, and that energy keeps the belief intact. If you do the opposite of the belief, you’ve already validated and energized the belief’s very existence. Because your action is a reaction, your choices and viewpoint on life are inherently limited.

For example, you love working with your hands, but your family only values being astrophysicists. You become more and more reactive to doing anything mental, not just astrophysics related. So you reject college and other schoolwork. However, that reaction limits your ability to develop your mind. So you don’t go to college because you want to work on cars, and perhaps you may enjoy running an auto body company. But going to college to get a business degree might actually assist you in what you love. Do you see how a reaction can ultimately stymie our growth or create new problems?

Thus, this individual needs to go within to find peace with this issue of mental understanding. The more s/he becomes at peace with that part of her/him, then s/he can make a conscious choice of what is needed to further her/his passion.

Family Friction as You Grow

It is a rare family that truly appreciates self-development and change. Most families really seem to be predicated on doing what is familiar because–as I’ve mentioned many times on this blog before–what is familiar is considered to be safe. Anything new can be considered a threat. And that sense of threat is deeply intertwined with the need for survival from centuries of social conditioning. Thus, your changes may receive quite a bit of resistance.

Thus, while some of you may have moments of your family appreciating healthy changes that you make, once your inner work takes you beyond what they can understand, you are likely to receive varying levels of resistance. The truly open-hearted family is one that can grow with you, and they can learn from your triumphs. However, most of the rest will not follow you or create their own beliefs based on what they were taught to believe. If they see your change as a direct threat to them, then they are more likely to plan an intervention and try to get you to see a psychologist. If they see your change as unsettling but not immediately threatening, they may leave you alone while still hoping that you’ll go back to the old family behavior patterns and your old role–whatever that was. If they see it as helpful in some way, you may get some encouragement, but as I said, this typically only happens if they can understand something within the framework of their belief system.

Many of you who awaken often spend a lot of time on your own to figure out your issues. It is really helpful to go into issues on one’s own without other people rocking the boat. But that’s not always possible. Sometimes, people awaken and have their families taking care of them. This leads to a lot of family friction at times, but that can also lead to deeper break-thru. Because you are at the epicenter of where a lot of things went wrong, you can find those tensions and issues inside you extremely quickly. In this way, the family is one of the gold mines of the spiritual path. However, this is likely to be extremely uncomfortable for all parties, and if you have an abusive family, I highly recommend finding a new living situation. Enduring emotional or physical abuse is not helpful in healing, and it can cause more new trauma.


In the Midst of Life’s Noise, Listen to the Song of Your Soul

Image result for soul songMany of us from time to time have tasted defeat and wondered what are we doing wrong or what can we be doing “better”? But after a while, you get to a point where you realize that what you have believed you were fighting for, you’ve actually been fighting against. And this isn’t to say that any choices we’ve made prior were good or bad ones, just that over time we eventually land where we are meant to be; no matter how many choices we make that inevitably delay it.

I know first hand that the mind and heart do not always play nice and that sometimes you need to quiet them both and go deep into your soul to find the answers best for you. Often it’s only when we quiet the mind and release the heart do we afford ourselves the opportunity to connect with our own inner guidance; the one that is objective and has no agenda.

We can trust this voice because unlike the mind it’s not “thinking” logically as to what might make the most sense, or take into account what others might think, etc. And unlike the heart, it’s not tied up in the emotion that often clouds us from accurately seeing things that are potentially dangerous to our overall well-being.

When we listen to what I love to call the “song of our soul”, we are hearing the equivalent of our inner child reading from the book of our personal purpose. And that inner child of ours is bursting with authentic joy in remembrance of who we really are and why we were put here, to begin with. Not to get distracted in everyday life, nor lost in it to overlook what some might consider being trivial.

“The song of your soul is longing to be sung. Let your own essence express itself freely.”

-Brandon Bays

This voice reminds us of who we really are. Of who we were before the world told us we must be in order to fit in and be accepted into society. And under all of those labels and expectations are layers of dreams and ideas forgotten that merely need to be wiped clean again. Kind of like restoring that classic car you’ve had parked for over a decade that you finally pull out of the garage with pride; shiny and new and representative of the fun and freedom, yet hard work you’ve put into designing your life up until now.

And let this also be a reminder that there is a big difference between letting go and giving up. We may feel like a failure if we leave that dead-end job we’ve been in for 15 years only because the manager keeps promising that killer raise and promotion, but if we never leave, the new opportunity that could afford us the title, the pay rate and the lifestyle we desire can never reach us. And obtaining those things, if part of our particular dream, would make us feel like we achieved a lot, no?

This is surely not to say that accomplishments are based on just what you do for a living, nor is it to say that money is a true measure of success, but for so many of us we fear to let what we want to happen actually happen, because what’s happening now is less scary than what we make up in our heads of what COULD happen, right???

Enough of that nonsense! It’s time we make a switch…from living in fear to living FEARLESS! All it takes is a bit of trust in oneself, a dash of guts to take a risk or two, a hint of confidence, a splash of imagination and inspiration and as much joy and celebration as you want for dessert!

We attract what we think, right? I think that it’s safe to say none of us here are strangers to manifesting or how it works, so always remember that. And remember as well that what we resist persists, so by default of how society would like us to be, we are always manifesting…low energy things, often things we do not want and we may not even be aware of it. So take back your power, and get back into the flow of fulfillment. Image result for soul song

Some people will come into our lives for a day, a year, or a lifetime and they are also reminders of the energy we put out. So be mindful of areas in your relationships that feel forced as it may be time to take a look at things you may be holding too tightly to and that some release could allow some resolutions to breathe themselves into your situation.

When we remain mindful, but let things happen as they will we accept a communion with nature that will respect you back and allow you to happen to things just as much. And what I mean by that is the more we take the time to acknowledge, appreciate and allow what comes, the more what comes will be exactly what we wanted to come.


Tamara Rant is a Co-Editor/Writer for CLN as well as a Licensed Reiki Master, heart-centered Graphic Designer and a progressive voice in social media activism & awareness. She is an avid lover of all things Quantum Physics and Spirituality. Connect with Tamara by visiting Prana Paws/Healing Hearts Reiki or go to RantDesignMedia.com

Tamara posts new original articles to CLN every Saturday.

Follow Tamara on FacebookTwitter and Google+

This article was originally created and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Tamara Rant and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.

17 Tips for Creating a More Erotic Bedroom For a Hotter, More Fulfilling Love Life

bedroom red

We all know how important environment is to romance and passion. When we want to create a sensual mood, we go out to a fancy restaurant with subdued lighting and suggestive art. Then we go home to… well, a less enticing ambiance in our own bedroom.

I’m here to say that the passion does NOT have to die in any long term relationship, and one way to keep it fresh is to give your love life a beautiful, inviting, passion-inducing place to unfold. Whatever time you spend on making your boudoir more erotic will more than pay for itself in so many ways.

A better love life has tons of health advantages and it keeps things fresh and real between you and your partner.

So, here are some feng shui suggestions on how to make your bedroom more sexually inviting:

1. Incorporate elements of fire — the primal force of passion — with candles and oil lamps.

2. Use reds and oranges, the color of the primal masculine and feminine. Likewise, avoid the coolest colors like grey, blacks and blues. Remember, though, that you still need to sleep in this room, so using a slightly cooler tones like burgundy and rust may be preferable.

3. Put all family photos in another room. Staring at your parents, aunt Bessie, or your own kids, is NOT erotic.

4. Hang some thematic, erotic art that you choose together together. Discuss what you both like and want and find a few pieces you both love. Don’t be surprised if the choosing process leads to a zesty love-making session.

bagua5. Use matching pairs of things, and avoid having any lonely or singular looking objects. When you have two matching sconces, two fountains, two pillows, two same style lamps, you subliminally create an atmosphere of coupling. This is especially important in the “relationship corner” of your room (far right corner of entrance — see bagua map — right).

6. Place a red object on the female nightstand. In feng shui, this is said to heighten the woman’s libido.

7. Put something copper (even if just a bowl of pennies) on the man’s nightstand. Copper is said to represent the male essence and boosts his “maleness.”

8. Avoid too much linearity in the room. Modern rooms sometimes have too any straight lines. Make sure to add rounds and curves. The masculine is linear and the feminine is curvy. Try to have both, but err more toward the feminine as women are more aware of and affected by their surroundings.

9. Get rid of clutter, papers, mundane objects. Create a habit of keeping your bedroom space clear of day-to-day stuff. Choose a different place to put all of that. When you come to your boudoir, you should feel like you can breathe, focus on each other, and leave the rest of the world outside.

10. Incorporate aromas you both like with incense or scented candles. Our sense of smell is very primal and sensual. Cleopatra was known to have used a special blend of rose, cardamom, and cinnamon to seduce Marc Anthony.

11. Have a shelf of tantric books and erotic literature that inspire and energize your room. If you need a kick-start to your love making (after a long day at work), grab a book and get inspired. It’s best to place these in the wisdom an learning corner of your room.

12. Get rid of electronics. Not only are they usually distracting and ugly (and could get turned on in place of you getting turned on), they are not good for your health or your sleep. Put them in the office or family room.

13. Electronic exception: invest in a good, but low profile, sound system for music that is sensual and inviting. Discuss what you and your partner like and find some overlap. Create a personal “sexy time” playlist on your iPod or other player. For spiritually sensual music, try the rumi-inspired music, A Gift of Love.

14. Place a ruby or garnet on or hanging over the night stand. They are very energizing, sensual stones.

15. Add a canopy or bed net. If you want to spend more time making love, then make your bed the focal point of the room by covering it with a canopy or some sort of fabric netting. There’s something so sensual about flowing, gossamer fabrics and when you cordon off the bed, it makes your world smaller and increases the intimacy between you and your partner.

16. Add live plants — especially flowering or sensual ones (orchids). They add ambiance and chi.

love altar17. Create a love-and-sex altar for your room. This solidifies your intention to make love-making a priority and can be very inspiring. Ours is in the relationship corner of our room and it includes a running fountain that adds both chi and ambient sound as well as candles for more fiery passion (water+fire=steam). Ours also includes a lot of polarity — with objects emphasizing masculine and feminine energy.

18. Listen to erotic audiobooks
You can also listen to erotic audiobooks to make your bedroom more erotic. Whether it’s an innocent story of first love, a wonderfully torturous slow burn, or a whirlwind, passionate affair. Listening to narrators at the top of their game carefully unspool the threads of a love story is our favorite way to consume enchanting romantic sagas. Find 10audioz’s best audiobook recommendation list to turn on the sex game in the bedroom.

Enjoy the process of turning your bedroom into a romantic, erotic space, and realize it is an ongoing project that is never finished. Just like your relationship, your surroundings should be continually shifting in small ways to keep it things fresh and real. Also, don’t forget to invest in a best mattress for sex to increase the quality of your sex life.

Another great way to add vavoom in the bedroom is to boost the masculine and feminine polarity between you and your partner (that is often neutralized in our modern culture) with my Chakra Boosters Healing Tattoos™.

Try this winning combo: the man wears the fiery, solar plexus tattoos for more grounded and directed energy, and the woman wears the receptive, sacral tattoo for more delicious, goddess energy.

Find out how men and women can better complement each other’s energy in the bed. And if you’ve fallen into an almost sexless relationship, read this article: 10 Ways to Heal a Sexless Marriage. Or if you need to do feng shui on your entire home, read this article: Feng-Shui Methods to Clear Negative Energy in the Home

Do you have an erotic bedroom idea that isn’t listed here? Or have one of these ideas added some juice to your love life? Please share in the comment section below.

Love and blessings,


vicki howie

Vicki Howie is an Empath, Life Coach, and Creator of Chakra Boosters Healing Tattoos™. She’s a Certified Master Hypnotherapist, NLP Practitioner, and Registered Yoga Teacher too. Vicki can help you tap into your personal roadmap for success – the chakras that resides within you. Grab your FREE copy of her Chakra Empowerment Course or a FREE copy of her Heart Chakra Healing Song. You can find out about Vicki’s exclusive Chakra Boosters Healing Tattoos™ here. Love and blessings.

Three Emerging Insights About Happiness

By Kira M. Newman | Greater Good Magazine

Last month, researchers from over 60 countries gathered at the International Positive Psychology Association’s 6th World Congress in Melbourne, Australia, to share cutting-edge insights on the science of well-being.

Their findings added depth and complexity to our understanding of the major keys to a flourishing life. In Melbourne, we heard about when kindness makes us happier—but also when it doesn’t. We learned how the elderly can be meaningfully engaged in helping others. We discovered many concrete ways to boost our sense of meaning in life, and how cultural differences influence the pursuit of happiness. Researchers also addressed modern obstacles to happiness—from the way we’re hooked on technology to a widespread sense of disconnection and loneliness.

However, there were several insights presented at the World Congress that stood out to me as new or surprising. Here are some of the emerging pathways to well-being that positive psychology is just beginning to explore, and the exciting potential they might hold.

1. Positive solitude

Researchers have repeatedly found that social connection is one of the keys to happiness. And for many of us, feeling separated from other people translates into a sense of loneliness and disconnection. But does solitude have to be a negative experience? Can time alone feed our well-being?

Researchers Martin Lynch, Sergey Ishanov, and Dmitry Leontiev at Russia’s National Research University Higher School of Economics have investigated the phenomenon of positive or “productive solitude,” in contrast with the more unpleasant experience of being alone. Productive solitude doesn’t occur because we feel disconnected from others; it’s something that we deliberately seek out. Rather than being lonely or ruminating on negative experiences, we use the solitary time for contemplation, reflection, or creativity.

People who experience positive solitude tend to feel more positive emotions—in particular, the low-energy ones like relaxation and calm. According to research by Leontiev, when these people do find themselves alone, they have a greater sense of pleasure and meaning—and less of a sense of void.

What kind of people enjoys their alone time? Positive solitude seems to come more naturally to those who are more introverted or higher in emotional and psychological maturity.

What if you don’t have those traits? We might see more benefit in solitude if we deliberately schedule alone time for doing something we enjoy, for example, or spend our solitary time in the peaceful and welcoming setting of nature. Future research may uncover other ways for all of us to cultivate new attitudes toward solitude so we can appreciate it more—and be happier for it.

2. Feeling active

One of the traditional surveys that researchers use to measure positive emotions includes a peculiar statement: “I feel active.” For researcher Sarah Pressman, that didn’t quite seem like a positive emotion—not the way other feelings like “grateful” or “happy” are—so she decided to investigate it further.

Past research would suggest that people who experience more positive emotions are healthier in various ways—for example, they have stronger immune systems, exercise more, have a lower risk of heart disease, and even live longer. But what role does feel “active” play in our health and well-being?

A significant one, it turns out. According to analyses by Pressman and her colleagues, feeling active accounted for a sizable portion of the link between positive emotions and different measures of health. (For men, feeling active was a positive emotion that predicted how long they would live.) But feeling active didn’t exactly correspond to how much physical activity people engaged in.

In other words, it doesn’t just matter how physically active we are, but how active—how energetic, vigorous, and vital—we feel. That’s a psychological state that researchers should pay more attention to, Pressman believes. The little we know comes from the workplace, where studies have described the phenomenon of “relational energy”: how some people excite and energize us while others leave us drained and exhausted.

But what makes us feel active and how else is that beneficial? It remains to be determined who these energetic people are and whether we can all get happier by boosting the pep in our step.

3. Future-mindedness

As we pursue happiness, we often ponder the future—and the kinds of things that will make us feel good tomorrow or next year. Even though our predictions aren’t always accurate, the simple act of contemplating the future might be a key to well-being.

According to social psychologist Roy Baumeister, happy and optimistic people tend to think about the future more often than their less-upbeat counterparts. Thinking about the future seems to come in two flavors: First, we dream big and imagine fantasy outcomes; then, we “get real” and come up with pragmatic plans.

Thinking about the future is useful personally and in our relationships. For example, research suggests that people whose minds tend to wander toward the future develop more concrete goals. And if you’re having a conflict with a romantic partner, looking at it from a future perspective—imagining how you would think about it one year from now—could lead to less blame, more forgiveness, and greater well-being in your relationship.

When the process of imagining positive futures (and how to bring them about) goes awry, we may be at risk of mental health issues. Researchers have suggested that faulty future-mindedness—envisioning a darker future for yourself—contributes to depression, anxiety, and other disorders.

For this reason, perhaps, many popular therapies—such as future-oriented therapy, hope therapy, solution-focused therapy, and cognitive-behavioral therapy—help clients improve the way they think about the future. If you want to improve your future-mindedness without therapy, another option is to journal about new doors that have opened or might open in your life.

According to Martin Seligman, a pioneer of the field of positive psychology, people and societies themselves may be becoming more future-minded today. We are thinking not just about what we can achieve in the future ourselves, but what we can all achieve together. For the attendees of the World Congress, at least, that means spreading the knowledge and practice of well-being to more and more people, in the hopes of creating a better world for everyone.

The Greater Good Science Center partnered with the International Positive Psychology Association to produce videos at the 6th World Congress on Positive Psychology, and Greater Good staff led a workshop there.

About the Author

Kira M. Newman

Kira M. Newman is the managing editor of Greater GoodFollow her on Twitter!

Read more great articles at Greater Good Magazine.

10 Ways to Embrace Your Goddess Self (Even if You Hate the Word Goddess)


I remember how much I used to hate the word “goddess.” It seemed so pretentious and over-the-top – and anachronistic. How could I be a goddess? I wasn’t a deity, but just a plain, old modern-day gal.

I can’t even pin point when the shift happened, but I do know one day I just felt okay with the term. In fact, I really liked it. It suddenly felt true on some deep internal level. Maybe my shift was the result of a lot of inner work, or just a by-product of aging and accepting my true feminine essence. Or maybe it was due to something else altogether that I can’t even identify. I’m not sure.

But the truth is, we are living in an age where we are realizing that we are all made of energy and consciousness; that we are all God. And the female deity is the goddess. So it makes sense that more woman are now using the word goddess and identifying with that part of themselves.

If you don’t like it, it may just be a linguistic thing. Check out my suggestions below. If you like them, you are undoubtedly a goddess. Still, feel free to use a different term. Part of being a goddess is knowing you have the right to call yourself whatever you like.

Here Are 10 Ways to Embrace Your Goddess Self

1) Love Yourself

In this day and age it has become totally cliché to say “love yourself,” and there’s a reason, because it really is the starting point for everything. A real goddess fully and unconditionally loves herself as she is. It’s easy to love yourself on the “good” days, but can you support and value yourself on the tough ones?

One really sweet way to create a more loving relationship with yourself is to make up a loving nickname for yourself and use it regularly. It will make your self talk more affectionate.

Related Article: 4 Sure-Fire Ways to Love Yourself More So You’ll Have More Love to Give (Video)

2) Embrace Your Sensuality (& Be Embodied)

All goddesses understand that the body is meant to be loved and enjoyed. Love your body and all of its curves. Love your feet for taking you places, love your hips for allowing you to dance and give birth, love your eyes for all they can see and perceive. Love your body and live in it fully.

The word “sensuality” is so often misunderstood as only relating to sex. Actually, sensuality means living in all of your senses – smell, taste, see, feel and hear. A goddess loves her physical existence. When she eats a peach, she smells its sweet aroma, feels it soft, fuzzy skin, sees its yellow-pink hues, hears the sound of its juice gently sloshing, and of course, tastes its succulent flavor.

The next time you eat something delicious, open all of your senses and really take the whole experience in.

3) Honor Your Cycles
A goddess works with her cycles, rather than trying to suppress them. Our masculine culture often asks us to put our emotions aside when things need to get done, or to blast through our menstrual days as if we’re training for the Olympics.

A goddess understands that life moves in cycles and she works within them. Honor your feminine cycles, honor the moon cycles (which often flow with your feminine cycles), work with the seasons, and even pay attention to the inhale-exhale of your breath.

Linearity is masculine, whereas circularity is feminine. A goddess knows that everything moves in cycles and eventually comes full circle. Life may, at times, appears linear, but it’s really always moving in cycles – like the seasons repeating over and over as the earth continually moves around the sun.

If you want to get in better touch with the cycles that guide your life. Follow the moon cycles and have a little ritual (perhaps just light a candle) on each new and full moon.

4) Love Your Shadow & Embrace All of Yourself

Hathor Egyptian GoddessA goddess realizes that she is a microcosm of the macrocosm. Everything that exists outside of her, exists within her. This means there is nothing she is not. And she doesn’t waste time trying not to be this quality or that quality. Perhaps that is why there are all sorts of different goddesses in mythology — including really tough, bad-ass gals like Diana the Hunter and Kali the Destroyer. There is a time for every quality, right? The “bitch” can make sure the job gets down and the “weak” gal has a way of making others around her feel stronger. Every single trait serves a purpose and has its moment.

One easy way to embracing your shadow is to think of someone you don’t like and pick the quality about them you dislike the most and ask yourself: when have I ever demonstrated that quality? Or, under what circumstances might I demonstrate that quality?

5) Understand the Power You Have Over Men (& Wield It Well)

A goddess understands that her embodiment of loving, sensual energy can light a man up. She can change his day, week or life. She knows the power she yields and uses it in a positive way. As a goddess, praise the men around you and allow them to serve you in the ways they desire. It will make them stand taller, and feel happier.

6) Know Your Strengths & Flaunt Them

Just as every goddesses knows she is a macrocosm of the Universe, she also knows she has specific strengths she is here to share, so she doesn’t actively have to try to BE everything. This is well demonstrated by the mythological goddesses, since each one of them is known for a particular trait or area of life. For instance, you have Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, Athena, the Goddess of War and Hera, and Artemis, the Goddess of Wilderness. What kind of goddess are you?

Related Article: How to Identify and Play to Your Strengths

7) Move Your Hips

The hips are the home of your sacral chakra which is related to goddess energy. Moving your hips is a great way to tap into our goddess self. Consider taking a class that gets your hips going like salsa dancing, belly dancing, pole dancing or hula hoop.

8) Know What Turns You On & Do That

A goddess leads a pleasurable and purposeful life. This means she follows her true desires. Whether it means you do the work you love or you buy that silk dress that makes you feel good, you live your life from your true desires.

You’re not afraid to work hard, but you always make that work pleasurable too.

If you’ve spent most of your life doing what you think others want you to do, figuring out your true desires may take time. Be tenacious and patient, and start by looking at what makes you genuinely (not superficially) happy.

9) Take Care of Yourself & Look Your Best

More for herself than for anyone else, a goddess always looks her best. She doesn’t get caught up in what others think she should look like – how she much she should weigh, what color her hair should be or what she should wear – but she DOES always make sure she’s taking care of herself and looking the way she wants to look.

A goddess doesn’t baulk at spending money on herself. She gladly gifts herself a manicure, a facial, a new outfit, or fitness class.  She knows she’s worth it. Honor yourself with this kind of attention to self.

10) Be the Love You Want to See in the World

There is a new paradigm building and it is based on the feminine. The internet is a beautiful real-life metaphor for the connection that is happening all over the globe as we literally become one planet. Our boundaries are blurring and our hearts are opening, and women are leading this new way of being. The Dalai Lama said that the western woman would save the world, and he tends to be right. Statistics now show more women than men opening new small businesses. We are c0-creating a new planetary consciousness and way of operating.

As a goddess, you’re being called to step into whatever role you’re here to play that will help spread this new kind of feminine power across the planet.


Vicki Howie is the Creator of Chakra Boosters Healing Tattoos™ (find out what inspired her to create them here). Check out her new book “The Key to Your Chakras” here on amazon.com. Vicki is also the Creator of Chakra Love and the Chakra Life Cycle System®, as well as the Co-Editor of Conscious Life News. You can visit her website chakraboosters.comfacebook page and youtube channel for lots of free chakra info and gifts. Vicki’s biggest joy is to help you unleash your full chakra power and step into your highest potential.

Do You Feel Worthless? 2 Reasons Why You Need to Love YOU

Self Love Mirror Image

What’s the Deal with Self Love?

Self-love is the source of all our other loves.” — Pierre Corneille

Healthy self love is not narcissistic or egotistical — let’s just get that out the way first off.  Some people immediately associate self love with selfishness or egotism — it is neither.

To love yourself is as important as breathing — without it your cup is empty and you can’t truly love or give of yourself if you’re an empty vessel, now can you?

Related Article: What You Need to Throw Out When You Decide to Choose Fulfillment

Meet Jane…

Jane is a vibrant and gifted woman. Jane is also a people pleaser. She spent over 10  years in a dead end relationship with John because she didn’t want to leave him.


She didn’t want to hurt his feelings.


When I questioned Jane about why she hadn’t thought of her own happiness in this equation, she said that she ‘didn’t matter’. She went on to say that she has tried to placate all the people in her life because she wants to ‘keep the peace’ and not ‘rock the boat’.

Jane also divulged that when she was younger she was taught to be selfless and giving and that if she didn’t adhere to these principles she wouldn’t go to heaven.

I think the most important thing in life is self-love, because if you don’t have self-love, and respect for everything about your own body, your own soul, your own capsule, then how can you have an authentic relationship with anyone else?” — Shailene Woodley

So as we started unraveling the complicated tapestry of Jane’s self worth and self love issues, we started getting towards the crux: Jane believed that God wanted her to be self-sacrificing otherwise she wasn’t worthy of His/Her love.

What complete and utter balderdash!

Thing is, a lot of people still believe this to be true and I think it’s the complete opposite. You are a worthy and lovable creation of the creator and deserve as much love and respect as every other beautiful being.

You’ve got to get with the divine program and start turning that love dial to full tilt on the inside!

Related Article: Self Love: The Importance of Consciously Valuing You

Unscrambling the Concept of Self-Sacrifice

Here’s why I don’t think it’s healthy to be self-sacrificing:

  • When you have regard for other peoples feelings that is great — it’s called empathy/compassion/tact/kindness — nothing wrong with those traits. But when you do this with no regard for yourself you are, in fact, going against your own principles. Why? Because you are a person too…duh! Did you ever stop to think that you — a shard of the divine in carnation — are doing an injustice to a human being (your very own self!)?
  • When you decide to be in ‘service to others’ instead of ‘service to self’ (this is where egotism and narcissism reign supreme) it is a most noble and amazing thing but you need to be included in that service. It is completely contradictory to abuse your own rights and feelings in order to help others. In fact, you cannot truly give of yourself if you have no self love or sense of self worth.

If you need a bit of help with getting over societal conditioning and not giving a damn about what other people think of you so you can clear a path to self love, give this article a once over: 8 Tips on How to Stop Caring What Other People Think of You

Conclusion: if we all learned to love ourselves more we’d have world peace. Give it a shot.

You can now hear Cherie Roe Dirksen on Big Indie Giant radio as she reads out select articles on air.

She also gives weekly news headline updates taken directly from the Conscious Life News site, so be sure to tune in.


Cherie Roe Dirksen is a self-empowerment author/columnist/radio presenter, multi-media artist and musician from South Africa.

To date, she has published 3 self-help and motivational books and brings out weekly inspirational blogs at her site www.cherieroedirksen.com. Get stuck into finding your passion, purpose and joy by downloading some of those books gratis when you click HERE.

Her ambition is to help you to connect with your innate gift of creativity and living the life you came here to experience by taking responsibility for your actions and becoming the co-creator of your reality. You can follow Cherie on Facebook(The Art of Empowerment — for article updates). She has an official art Facebook page (Cherie Roe Dirksen – for new art updates). You can also check out her Facebook band page at Templeton Universe.

Cherie posts a new article on CLN every Thursday. To view her articles, click HERE.

This article was originally written for and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author Cherie Roe Dirksen and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons.

How to Manage a Major Metamorphosis

We tend to find it easier to smile when things seem to be “going right” in our lives. We may have found the perfect mate, landed our dream job, have a supportive and loving family, and find that overall things are pretty smooth sailing. But what about when that perfect mate cheats? Or we get fired? Or that loving family rejects something about you dear to your heart? What does that do to us on a soul level and why is our reaction to it vital in the level of growth we take from it?

Believe it or not, we are not mere victims of circumstance. Yes, environmental factors play a huge role in our overall development, and how we are treated and what we are taught about ourselves and the world around us as children is pretty much what we take into adulthood. However, it doesn’t have to stay that way. We are always free to choose our next step, our next reaction, and our next goal.

So, how do we react when life gives us a swift kick where the sun doesn’t shine? Do we get pissed off and curse the Universe or God? Do we take it out on those around us whose lives still seem to be going pretty well? Do we go into hermit mode and recluse ourselves into a month-long pity party? Or do we step back and try to see if there’s anything to learn from the situation…anything good that could come of it…any reason the Universe may have “made it all go to shit” perhaps to make way for something even BETTER!?

“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you; they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.” – Bernice Johnson Reagon

I’ve come to learn that life really is a matter of personal perspective. You can live 90 years with each day incredible and purpose-driven; full of creative ambition. Or you can live the same day over and over for 90 years. It’s really up to you, no matter where you come from, who your parents were, what gender or race you are, or nationality you are born under. Yes, these factors have their own undeniable struggles, but those too are calling to be looked at in an entirely new way. When one sees “short-comings” not as obstacles, but as catalysts for motivation, the world opens up with new possibilities.

If the greatest leaders, peace-makers, speakers, loving-hearts of our time had let themselves be mere victims of circumstance, imagine how the world might feel a little less full without their voices ever being heard; without their presence being known to the world; without the differences they made, ever being made at all. My point is we ALL have that ability within us, to do such incredibly wonderful, great things. The only difference between “us” and “them” is how we choose to see ourselves against the rest of the world.

And with great vision, often comes great growth which can bring one to endure great pain. Why so? Well, consider the caterpillar’s journey through metamorphosis. If its vision only stretched as far as becoming the best caterpillar it could be, it would be denying itself of its true purpose, which is to become the spectacular butterfly. The caterpillar must be open to the belief that he is so much more than what he can physically see now and that in time he will naturally grow into his magnificence. He doesn’t need to plan for it, or hope for it, or wish it. But he will go through the complete and utter destruction of his current self and what he knows himself to be in this moment as a caterpillar. And that can be terrifying and is guaranteed to be quite painful.

“How does one become a butterfly? They have to want to learn to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.” – Trina Paulus

And as humans grow, whether intellectually, mentally, spiritually or all of the above, we are not that different from the caterpillar. We often get torn apart, hearts melted, broken and beaten down into an unrecognizable pulp, but in the end, we endure as a stronger, wiser version of our former selves. We have become the proverbial butterfly. Only as humans, we get to do this continually throughout our lives as we go through our life lessons and experience what we would perceive as those “painful” times in our lives. Those times that we look back on and whose memory can still make us cry, bring forth anger or sadness, or even guilt and regret.

These experiences stretch us and can hurt in terrible ways, but if we look at the pain as a measure of strength, we often realize that we are so much more capable of handling life’s trials than we ever imagined. And with this comes unexpected respect for the pain as you begin to realize that without it, you would not be the person you are today, for it is the pain that pushed you to face your greatness and to pursue your perpetual purpose. It is in the pain that we find appreciation for the little things we take for granted every day. And we are gifted with the knowledge that without a bit of struggle, we’d never learn how to fully break free of the self-defeating limitations placed upon us by society. Pain challenges us, and it can be our greatest motivator for change; a catalyst for new beginnings and for me personally, perhaps the greatest mentor I’ve ever had.


Tamara Rant is a Co-Editor/Writer for CLN as well as a Licensed Reiki Master, heart-centered Graphic Designer and a progressive voice in social media activism & awareness. She is an avid lover of all things Quantum Physics and Spirituality. Connect with Tamara by visiting Prana Paws/Healing Hearts Reiki or go to RantDesignMedia.com

Tamara posts new original articles to CLN every Saturday.

Follow Tamara on FacebookTwitter and Google+

This article was originally created and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Tamara Rant and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.

What We Can Learn About Happiness from Iceland

By Jill Suttie | Greater Good Magazine

The World Happiness Report comes out every year, providing some data about how well-being varies from country to country and how it shifts within a country from one year to the next. But what makes some countries happier than others?

Dóra Guðmundsdóttir is one of many researchers around the world studying happiness and well-being at the population level. By analyzing large data sets, she has helped to uncover the “epidemiology of well-being”—how different groups within a country are faring in response to changing social and economic forces, such as inequality, recessions, and education policies.

By understanding these effects, she helps a country’s politicians and policymakers make better decisions to support the well-being of their citizens. To date, she has worked with the government in her home country of Iceland, where she is the director of determinants of health and wellbeing at the Directorate of Health.

I recently interviewed Guðmundsdóttir about her research and what we can do to build more flourishing societies.

Jill Suttie: What made you interested in studying social or environmental factors influencing happiness?

Dóra Guðmundsdóttir

Dóra Guðmundsdóttir

Dóra Guðmundsdóttir: When I started studying the causes of happiness, I became very interested in the “causes of the causes” of happiness—meaning, the environmental factors that keep people from feeling connected, safe, and autonomous, all of which contribute to happiness. Even though many individual choices affect happiness, how easy or difficult it is to make those choices often depend on social or environmental factors, like government welfare programs or gender equality, for example.

JS: According to the World Happiness Report, happiness has been decreasing around the world (as a whole) and there is more “happiness inequality” within countries. Why do you think that’s the case?

DG: There might be many reasons for a decline in happiness. One of them might be higher expectations. In many countries, people are faring better each year—living longer, healthier lives. So, maybe people have a stronger sense that they have the right to feel good.

It may also be that many people are more open about their mental health—so, they are more willing to say when they are unhappy. Or it might be that younger generations have less tolerance for adversity and pain (both physical and mental) than previous generations.

In terms of inequality, there has always been more happiness inequality within countries than between countries. We also see that there is more happiness inequality within municipalities than between municipalities in the same country. It would be helpful to look at those who score high in happiness and those who score low, and then monitor changes in both, to see how policies impact these groups differently. But our current measure of happiness gives us only a very limited view of the situation. We need broader measures of mental well-being to better understand differences.

JS: This year, Iceland was ranked as the fourth-happiest country in the world. What is it about Iceland that makes the people there so happy?

DG: According to studies around the world, it seems that the most important contributor to happiness is one’s social relationships. In a small country like Iceland, it is quite easy to be in good contact with your family and friends. The majority of the population lives within an hour’s drive from the Reykjavik capital area.

Another important factor related to happiness is health, and the health status in Iceland is quite good compared to other countries. We have the lowest infant mortality rate in the world and one of the highest life expectancies; the majority of citizens have access to good-quality health care.

Iceland is also a very peaceful nation—for example, we have never had an army. There is a high level of trust in society, too. Children can go places freely and play outside without supervision. Icelanders also have quite a bit of control over their lives. They have access to quality education, whatever the educational background of their parents. And Iceland is the country with the narrowest gender gap in the world, where it is now illegal to pay women less than men for the same job.

All of this makes it easy and acceptable to try out different things, so people do not feel that they are stuck in a particular path they have not chosen. Their level of safety and autonomy probably has a big impact on their happiness.

JS: How much—and in what ways—is happiness affected by economic forces, according to your research?

DG: Income only predicts 1 percent of the happiness in Iceland when other factors are taken into account. That means making a higher income is not going to lead to more happiness, necessarily—it’s a fairly low predictor [of happiness] compared to social relations.

At the same time, the biggest predictor for unhappiness is having financial difficulty. Those who find it difficult to make ends meet have the lowest happiness score of all groups, lower than those without a job and those with the lowest income. This means that those with the lowest income are not necessarily the same group as those with financial difficulties. There are people with high incomes who have financial difficulties, and that is worse for your happiness than having a lower income with no financial difficulties.

JS: You’ve been looking at research around how economic disasters affect well-being in a country. What are your most surprising findings?

DG: When we studied the effects of the banking system collapse in Iceland, we found that happiness among adolescents went up after the collapse, even though the happiness levels of adults went down. That’s because, after the collapse, adults were working fewer hours, which meant parents had more time to spend with their adolescents. As it became easier for adolescents to get emotional support from their parents, their happiness increased, even though working less may have resulted in a lower GDP [Gross Domestic Product] for the country.

JS: Do you think that having greater levels of happiness in the population acts as a kind of buffer against strong economic downturns?

DG: Yes. When a person faces a challenge, it is likely that the level of well-being before the challenge would play a role in the impact of the challenge. A person who has low well-being and has few resources to handle adversity might be more vulnerable than a person high in well-being with more resources.

In our study, we saw that adolescents who had strong relationships with their parents were not harmed by the economic crisis, while those who had weak relations with their parents had a decrease in their happiness. So, good relations with parents are not only good for your happiness but can also act as a buffer (protecting factor) for your well-being in times of crisis.

JS: How have governments responded to your research and used it to create policy?

DG: In 2007, public health authorities in Iceland decided to include public mental well-being measures in a national survey on Health and Wellbeing. That decision had an impact on both health policies and policies for the whole society. Well-being measures were then used as an indicator in the development of the Health 2020 policy for Iceland, as well as in the broader governmental policy for the economy and community, named Iceland 2020 and led by the prime minister.

Public health indicators, including indicators of happiness and well-being, are published every year for seven health districts, providing profiles for each district. These profiles reflect the strengths and challenges in each district, which enables health authorities, municipalities, and other stakeholders to prioritize, plan, act, and evaluate according to the best available knowledge. For example, this information has been used to distribute financial resources for mental health services around the country. Additionally, municipalities (who score below the country average in happiness) have used the results to develop an action plan to increase happiness among their citizens.

JS: What still needs to be done to increase resilience in your country, in your opinion?

DG: In order to increase resilience, it is important to teach skills in schools—like, coping, self-efficacy, social and emotional learning, and mindfulness. Fortunately, we got funding from EU Horizon 2020 for developing a training program on mental resilience in schools in five European regions.

The project is called UPRIGHT, and its general objective is to promote mental well-being and prevent mental disorders by enhancing resilience capacities in youths. It was designed by psychologists, pedagogists, methodologists, and technology experts from around Europe, and will focus on increasing resilience in adolescents (12-14 years of age), their families, and schools; validating the effectiveness of the program; and providing scientific evidence on specific resilience factors that contribute to promote positive mental well-being.

JS: What do you think other countries can learn from your research?

DG: Countries need measures beyond GDP to help them with policy planning. It’s very important to measure happiness and well-being on a national and local level and offer the results to the public because what you measure gets attention! When you present well-being results to the public, it opens people’s eyes about differences in well-being and creates a desire to understand why the situation is like this and what can be done to improve it. It’s only when citizens ask for a change that politicians listen and act.

About the Author

Jill Suttie

Jill Suttie, Psy.D., is Greater Good’s book review editor and a frequent contributor to the magazine.

Read more great articles at Greater Good Magazine.

Start A New Life By Following These Easy 10 Steps To Stay Happy Forever!

Every one of us gets frustrated, or we feel awful in thousands of moments of our lives. What do we do at that time? Go with friends to a party or go to the beachside? But have we ever thought why these depressing moments come in our ways? It’s always because we let ourselves down, and afterward, we find various solutions to make ourselves happy. So here are 10 most easy tips that will help you to stay happy forever:

1) Give Yourself Permission

Give yourself permission to be happy, to be sad, to cry, to laugh and to help others selflessly. Give yourself permission to fall-apart or to break-out into pieces, but after that joining those pieces together too. We have to give our own self permission to choose the options in our life and don’t let others rule our life, this tip should always be our first priority.

2) Never Take Yourself Too Seriously

It is a happy people’s code that they always act as they don’t care what has happened, and at the same moment, we are exasperated by some problems in our lives. We should never take ourselves very seriously, in fact, every one of us should live our life tension-free. When countering a problem, never express it on your face, because then people will see us as we are helpless, and that we are not.

3) Self-Ruminating Is Useless

When we start thinking too much of ourselves, or others, like have I get so much tanned or has she gained weight or a phrase similar to that, we reach nowhere. When we get to face a problem, then the best thing to avoid it is by diverting your attention to something else. It always helps and even prevents us from the gossips around, and we also can concentrate on our task more easily.

4) Comparison Leads You Nowhere

A comparison with our friends or colleagues leads us nowhere except failure. We should keep that in mind that everyone in this world is unique and different, every one of us has their own ups and downs, some might be better than us whereas some might not. We don’t need to evolve ourselves to compete with some other person, but we need to explore our qualities and fears and show the world we really are.

5) Make A Few Adjustments

When we start feeling down-cast and we know what can resolve it, then just do that thing. When we start feeling down-cast and we know that how can we resolve it, then just do that thing. If you want to relax from the daily hustle and bustle of life, then just go to a park and relax. If you are tired of looking at those geeky walls of your house, then just go out and look for one, there are thousands of homes for sale in Boise or your own hometown. Try to keep yourself refreshed, because if you will stay relaxed, you will stay happy too.

6) Be Of Service But Take Care Of Yourself Too

When people are happy they share their things with others or often help them. So try to connect with friends and colleagues and share your problem or give an opinion if someone is going through a hard time. Help selflessly, and I assure you all that will make every one of us happy. When helping others, remember to get refreshed and never get too tired so that you cannot help yourself even.

7) Uplifting Friends With Wise Thoughts

Some people will think that this tip is pointless because there is no connection between staying happy and having friends. However, friendship is the most crucial thing to stay happy. If we are too much depressed or are going through a series of hard times, sometimes before discussing with our own family, we discuss with our friends, because we feel that we have a special bond with them. If friends are not helpful or loving, then a person would have no one to share their feelings with, and no one to cheer them up.

8) Peace Of Mind Is More Important Than Being Happy

Staying calm is the key to happiness. Sometimes we feel that when we reach our goal we are at the highest point we wanted to achieve, and we are extremely happy about it but everything has its highs and lows, so don’t be happy at the height because there are many reasons which can push us, just try to keep calm and always have a smile on your face, and you’ll gain everything.

9) The Sensations

How does it feel when touching the hot cup of cocoa on a chilly winter day or inhaling the aroma of those beautiful little clustered flowers in your lawn? Does it feel extravagant or not? When you start noticing the beauty of each and everything and think about it all day, we start feeling happy and start feeling alive. Noticing the detail is though very difficult but exploring the beauty is never difficult.

10) A Partner Is Never The One To Fill The Space

If we ever rely on our partners to fill the gap of unhappiness in our lives, then the relationship has to go nowhere. Some people live their entire lives relying upon that their life partner would make them happy at the end of the day, they will help us, but one needs to fill that gap on their own, as it’s their life. A life partner will always be with us when healing our mood, or when we need love, but the state of getting happy is totally the job of one person, and that is you.

These steps not only tells us how to stay happy but also how to opt for the decisions we make. Sometimes the decisions we make are completely useless, and our entire life we let that mistake haunt us, and because of that fear, we never stand up and correct that mistake. Make bold decisions, and let’s start a new life by following these steps.

15 Simple Ways to Spread Kindness in Your World Starting Today


By Henrik Edberg | Positivity Blog

“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes the ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.”
Albert Schweitzer

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind, and the third is to be kind.”
Henry James

Kindness is often a pretty simple thing to spread in the world.

But we sometimes forget about it. Or don’t remember how it can help us all.

Three things that I like to keep in mind and that help me to try to be a kinder person are these:

  • I get what I give. Yep, some people will be ungrateful, miserable and not reciprocating no matter what you may do. But most people will over time treat you as you treat them.
  • By being kinder to others I am more likely to be kinder to myself. It may sound a bit odd but my experience is that when I am kinder towards others then my self-esteem goes up and I think more highly about myself.
  • It creates a happier place to live in. Being kinder simply makes my own little world a nicer and happier place to live in.

So how can you start spreading kindness in your daily life?

Here are 15 simple ways to do it.

Pick one of them that resonates with you and start spreading the kindness today.

1. Express your gratitude. 

Think about what you can be grateful for about someone in your life. Maybe that he is a good listener, that he often is quick to help out or that he always adds great songs to a Spotify playlist. Or simply that he held up the door for you.

Then express that gratitude in a simple “thank you!” or in a sincere sentence or two.

2. Replace the judgments. 

No one likes to be judged. And the more you judge other people the more you tend to judge yourself. So despite the temporary benefit of deriving pleasure from the judgments, it is not a good or smart long-term habit.

When do you feel the urge to judge ask yourself: what is one kind thing I can think or do in this situation instead?

3. Replace the unconstructive criticism. 

Try encouragement instead of excessive criticism. It helps people to both raise their self-esteem and to do a better job.

And it will make things more fun and more light-hearted in the long run.

4. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. 

It is quite easy to resort to unkindness when you see things just from your perspective. Two questions that help me to see and to better understand other viewpoints are:

  • How would I think and feel it if I were in his or her shoes?
  • What parts of this person can I see in myself?

5. Recall how people’s kindness made you feel.

Just sit down for a few minutes and try to recall one time or a few times when other people’s kindness really touched you and helped you out.

Then think about how you can do those very same things for someone in your life.

6. Express kindness for something you may often take for granted.

It is easy to remember and to feel motivated to express kindness when someone is having a rough time or have just finished an important project.

But also remember to express kindness for how someone continues to put so much love into the dinners you eat. Or for being on time every day and doing their job well and keeping deadlines.

7. Hide a surprising and kind note.

Leave a small note with a loving or encouraging sentence in your partner’s or child’s lunchbox, hat, tea-container or book that he or she is reading right now.

That minute of your time will put a smile on her face and joy and motivation in her heart.


“F*ck That” Is The Hilarious Guided Meditation Realists Everywhere Need

By Amanda Froelich | True Activist

Did you know? There are numerous benefits to meditating. In fact, True Activist compiled a list of 76 benefits of meditating a while back. Some positive effects that result from taking the time to quiet the mind, as well as allowing the stresses and frustrations of daily life to fade away, include:

  • A decrease in depression
  • Improved feelings of self-confidence
  • Regulation of mood and anxiety disorders
  • A reduction in stress
  • An increase of grey matter in the brain
  • Improvement in processing and decision-making
  • An improvement of one’s pain tolerance
  • A pain reduction that works better than morphine
  • Improvement of learning and self-awareness

… and much, much more!

However, sometimes sitting for 10-15 minutes and “quieting one’s mind” is easier said than done. In this case, the guided meditation below might be the perfect go-to for those who are tired of conjuring false platitudes about the world.

Warning: If you are easily offended by strong language, this may not be the meditation for you…

What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this article!

This article (“F*ck That” Is The Hilarious Guided Meditation Realists Everywhere Need) is a free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TrueActivist.com

Read more great articles at True Activist.

5 Amazing Super Powers You’ll Develop When You Get Creative

Metamorphic Dilatation by Cherie Roe DirksenWhy We Need Creativity

Not only do you as an individual benefit from lateral and imaginative thinking and then manifesting creation through your skill or expertise, but society benefits too.

Can you imagine the world without art, music, literature, hout-cuisine, architecture, landscaping and a host of other delectable contributions that others have provided since time immemorial?

We use art as forms of escape, relaxation, pensivity, contemplation, expansion, bliss and elation.  Who are we, as human beings, without our love of art and creative expansion?

Why You Are An Artist

It’s true — creativity comes in many shapes and forms.

The definition of an artist should really be one who brings color (be it physical or metaphorical), vitality, alternative thinking, joy and life to any endeavor.  And seeing we are all co-creators of this reality, we all have the potential to be creative too.

You are unique and have something to offer the world at large — you just may not have tapped into it yet.

Why You Need To Exercise Your Super Creative Powers Today

Here are some reasons why you should start using creative flare in your life right now:

  • Super Power No. 1 is PURPOSE — when you’re in your ‘zone’ you feel a greater sense of purpose, especially if what you are doing is not only uplifting yourself but others too.  When you take pleasure in what you do, you are contributing your valuable, unique skill to the world.
  • Super Power No. 2 is PEACE — when you are fulfilling your life with projects of beautification — no matter if it’s weeding the garden, writing a symphony, cleaning the house or painting the latest Vermeer — you normally employ a meditative state that centers your being in supreme focus and flow of universal energy.  That’s why it feels so good to get creative.  Sometimes we get to enter a state of no thought too which has amazing benefits for our mind, body, soul connection which brings me to…
  • Super Power No. 3 is RELAXAVOUSISM — yup, a completely made up word demonstrating the super power to enter a state of complete relaxation through positive distraction (aka creativity).  This cracking ability enables us to de-stress our weary little bodies and minds — indeed a super power in today’s world of chaos and mayhem, wouldn’t you say?
  • Super Power No. 4 is BALANCED BRAIN PROWESS — when we engage in creativity we usually give the left hemisphere of our brains a break and stimulate the right hemisphere for a change.  We need balance in all aspects of life and using the right and left hemisphere of the brain is no different. We are usually very much engaged in our left brain — the practical and linear way of thinking — so it is very important to take a vacation to the other side and stretch your legs with imagination, beauty and expressiveness. You will find that when you do this you have a better balance in your everyday life and are less likely to burn-out or have a breakdown.
  • Super Power No. 5 is SMUG SATISFACTION — Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi said that our intrinsic motivation is whatever produces flow which ultimately becomes its own reward. When you are in this flow of creative expression, you will feel the ultimate satisfaction and elation. Pursuing your creative flame ensures that you will tickle the inner child that bursts to express exuberance and ingenuity. When you do this, you will find that the tasks you do that invoke such inventiveness also bring that evasive feeling that is pure delight.  Connecting with your creativity will connect you with that innate sense of joy and you will be one satisfied super hero!

So, dust off your cape, don those underpants on the outside of your tights and get ready to fly off into the great wide world of creative expression, expansion and elation!

Cherie Roe Dirksen

Cherie-Roe-Dirksen_172x200Cherie is a self-empowerment author and multi-media artist from South Africa. To date, she has published 3 self-help and motivational books and brings out weekly inspirational blogs at her site www.cherieroedirksen.com.  Get stuck into finding your passion, purpose and joy by downloading some of those books gratis when you click HERE.

Her ambition is to help you to connect with your innate gift of creativity and living the life you came here to experience by taking responsibility for your actions and becoming the co-creator of your reality.

You can also follow Cherie on Facebook (The Art of Empowerment).

Cherie posts a new article on CLN every Thursday.  To view her articles, click HERE.








Learning and Laughing With My Inner Child

Source: Uplift Connect

Children Are Our Teachers

Watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you, because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it. — Roald Dahl

There is a photograph in my parents’ house of me and my brother as young children jumping on the bed, heads proudly embellished with underwear, faces beaming with pride and untamed joy.

While it is an amusing photo to look back on, to giggle at in embarrassment, it represents so much more than a mere memory. The photo captured a pure moment of play, a moment when we had no worries in the world; a moment when we adorned ourselves in the most precious of jewels when we were king and queen of the highest kingdom. In this photograph, all that mattered was the fun we were having at that moment, right then and there. We were living in the magical and timeless NOW.

Like the fading colors in the photograph, so too have the moments of wild laughter dimmed in our lives. The acts of silliness have slid slowly behind the paperwork. Studying, work, bills, mortgages–these are now what consumes our time. We no longer imagine ourselves as kings and queens of grand and carefree kingdoms, no longer feeling safe to be wild and silly and clearly outrageous.

Most of us don’t think much about this change in our lives. It’s just the natural cycle; the era for play is over, now is the time for responsibility and making the right choices in life. But is it?

As adults, we often see ourselves as teachers of the younger generation, but could we have it the wrong way around? What if the most important lessons in life come from the youngest among us? Those not yet laden with the worries of the world, who are still unmarked from the conditioning we all slowly but surely embrace as we grow up. Those who live life from their true essence, from the pure innocence of being.


The era for play is never over.

Thinking back to my childhood, I realized somewhere in the depths of my memory bank, stored away in some forgotten compartment, there are many little insights. Valuable tidbits I held as a child, back before the adult brain kicked in and the overthinking that accompanied it.

The Innate Mindfulness and Resilience of a Child

Upon reflecting more deeply about the day that photo was taken, I realize that prior to the laughter, I had been nervous about my first day of school, angry my dad made me eat peas and upset Barbie was missing a shoe. As a child, I could release these concerns (no matter how minor they may seem now, they were real at the time) and just live in the moment.

This type of mindfulness is innate in children, an appreciation for the little adventures we forget to savor in our busy adult lives. We get so caught up in problems, we don’t see the wonders that surround us–even if they are only in our imagination; or maybe especially if they are in our imagination!

When I’m feeling frustrated with ‘adult life,’ I now take a moment to value something beautiful or special. I am often surprised by what I notice!

Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet? – L.M. Montgomery.

“Will You Be My Friend?”

These words slipped almost thoughtlessly from a girl beside me, as she swung from one monkey bar to another. And so, as easily as that, at the tender age of six, a beautiful friendship blossomed. A bond that would last many years, despite the fact we came from very different backgrounds.

Will you be my friend?

“Will you be my friend?”

As children, our friendship was natural and effortless. As easy as tumbling out of bed to meet a new exciting day. Yet, if we had met each other as adults, it is a sad truth that we probably wouldn’t dare to connect.

The possibilities for love, intimacy, and friendship are endless if we forget about the factors that divide us; where we grew up, what job we have, or the personal choices we make in our lives; and simply see each other as another soul who is likely longing for similar things, namely to be seen and loved and know that we matter.

The next time you are waiting for a train or your morning coffee or checking out at the grocery store, consider offering a genuine smile or even striking up a conversation with someone near you. It might reach right to their heart and lighten their day. It might just be the act of kindness and recognition that gives someone the little hope they need for humanity, and it might make you feel brighter too. Even though I am inherently shy and an introvert, when I do this, it’s always a beautiful exchange. Love and happiness are not diminished when shared with another, rather they grow and blossom in both the giver and the receiver.

In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed. – Khalil Gibran

“But why?

It’s the question that drives every parent insane, but behind the annoyance of the constant bombardment of ‘why?’, lies an insatiable curiosity for the world. Why have we stopped asking ‘why?’? Let’s keep asking questions, let’s ignite our wild curiosity to know ourselves, to know others and to know this world. There is so much we don’t know! And even more that we don’t know we don’t know! We might discover great treasures and great adventures, and beautiful and simple alternatives to situations we initially thought were set in stone.

Being a Little (Or a Lot) Wild

Sometimes when I am home alone, I will shut the curtains and blinds, put on some wild, fun 80s and 90s pop music and jump around, dancing like a nutcase. I also laugh at my own jokes. But only when I’m quite certain nobody else is watching!

Children, on the other hand, have no inhibitions when it comes to being silly and laughing out loud. As we grow up, we all learn to be serious, responsible and dutiful. But too much seriousness can be detrimental to our health, spoil our fun, and derail our freedom of Being.

Wild and silly!

Be wild, be silly!

“Laughter releases endorphins that improve mood and decrease levels of the stress-causing hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Laughing tricks your nervous system into making you happy,” says Dr. Timothy Legg from Healthline.

I have a friend who, when stressed, fakes a big smile and a belly laugh. She swears it helps her let go of what is troubling her momentarily. She believes that laughter therapy and releasing her whacky side can shift her mindset and silence her monkey-mind.