The Happiness Advantage

Rose-Coloured Glasses For A Grey Spring Day

The Happiness Advantage

I've been so busy this month, that I've hardly had time to put on my rose-coloured glasses. Sure, the burst of amazing summer-like weather made me feel really happy for a few days, but as soon as the sun went away and the temperatures dropped, I was feeling stressed and agitated again. Today, I went in search of something to shift that. I needed a boost. I came across this incredible TED Talk, by renowned psychologist Shawn Achor (founder of GoodThinkInc.). He argues that happiness inspires productivity. So, being happy leads to a more successful and productive work life. Sounds good to me! He says, "What we’re finding is it’s not necessarily the reality that shapes us, but rather the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality.” Rose-coloured glasses all the way! He suggests that training your brain to become more positive is the key to success. But how do you do this?

Here are a few of his suggestions: 

1. Write down three new things you’re grateful for every day for 21 days. This will rewire your brain to scan the world for the positive, before looking at the negative. 

2. Journal about one positive experience you've had every day. Spend time reliving those happy, positive feelings. 

3. Exercise regularly to teach your brain that your behaviour matters.

4. Meditate to help your brain get over the cultural ADHD it has been conditioned to, and help it focus on the task at hand.

5. Do one random or conscious act of kindness every day. 

Need a boost? Ready to spend more of your life in happiness? Then I recommend watching this video immediately.



The Meaning of Home

Buy this book and help make “Home” a reality for more Canadian families

The Meaning of Home

Have you ever sat down to think about what 'home' really means to you? Is it a quiet place you go to recoup after an insane day at the office? Or is it the chaotic place you love to hate and wish was cleaner most of the time? Well, for the past five years, Genworth Canada and Habitat for Humanity Canada have been challenging kids across the country to share their 'meaning of home' for a chance to win some great prizes including a Habitat for Humanity home built for a family in need in the neighbourhood of the winner's choice.

You’ll likely remember this past fall, YMC helped promote The Meaning of Home contest and many of you probably pushed your Grade 4, 5, and 6 students to participate.

Now that the 2011 contest is complete and the winners have been selected and honoured, Genworth and Habitat for Humanity are celebrating the contest’s five-year anniversary by publishing an awesome book! The Meaning of Home Commemorative Book ($9.99) is filled with beautifully told stories, essays, and poems from the contest’s winners and runners-up, plus stories written by Canadian television stars and athletes. It's super-inspiring and heart-warming. A must read!

Plus, when you buy a copy of this book (available here) you’ll be directly supporting Habitat for Humanity’s invaluable work. That's happiness at its finest!

So, read this book with your kids before bed, give it as a housewarming/hostess gift, or keep it on your coffee table to share with company--that's what Anita DiPaolo Booth recommends. She's the creative force behind the book and the contest, and a Strategic Marketing Leader with Genworth. When we spoke on the phone last month her passion was palpable.

"Think of this book as Chicken Soup for the Soul," she told me. "The stories are meaningful and make you think about what you have. They help put things into perspective."

She explained that the book idea spawned from their desire to celebrate the success of the contest and share these powerful stories across a wider audience. Up until now, 10,000 Canadian kids have submitted stories to the contest, and in doing so, they’ve helped raise $450,000 in grants for 30+ Habitat affiliates across the country. Pretty impressive huh?! Especially considering that 1.3 million Canadian families are in need of safe, decent, and affordable shelter, right now. This is a real issue that needs our attention.

Plus, what's so great about the contest is that it not only gets kids writing (promoting literacy!) but it also provides teachers with an opportunity to talk about homelessness in the classroom. And, it gives kids a chance to make a difference in their communities.

All this to say, once you've bought the book, if you're a parent of a Grade 4, 5, or 6er, be sure to watch for the 2012 contest which will run again this fall.

Here's an excerpt from the Meaning of Home Commemorative Book written by the 2011 winning entrant:

“At the end of the day I would use the [river] water to make dinner. My Birth Mom told me she was sending me to a place where they would take better care of me…Now water comes from a tap and I know it is clean…home is different to me than to a lot of other kids…Sometimes things in life can be hard but having a good home can make a difference.”
— Edie, Grade 4 Calgary, AB

To order your copy of “The Meaning of Home” and support this fantastic cause, visit