Happiness Tips

With a new school year just around the corner, it’s time for our annual “Back-to-School Dinners” where we plan an evening out with each kid to get him locked and loaded for the upcoming school year. It’s like the coach having a one-on-one (or in our case, a two-on-one) with each player before the start of the season.

Our guys always look forward to their back-to-school dinners. They love the opportunity to hang out with us alone and have our undivided attention, and we really enjoy hearing what each one has to say. They’re always at their most mature and interesting when they’re by themselves, and one of my favorite things is taking the time to appreciate each kid for his own…

Happy New Year! I hope the holidays were fulfilling, whether restful, energizing or contemplative.

The older I’ve gotten, the more committed I’ve become to living my truth. As life circumstances have changed, it has become easier to be the “me” I want to be, rather than someone who internalizes the expectations and cathartic aspirations of others. Spreading my wings has been scary at times, for sure, but it has also led me on an incredibly rewarding journey of learning and growth.

So how can you move toward living your truth? It takes some work—and what better time to start the process than with the freshness of a new year.

Be open to your truth. Interestingly, over the past few days I have stumbled on several articles…

While ringing in 2015 will be heralded as a large-scale international celebration as well in smaller, more intimate ways, there are plenty of other big and small occasions you can celebrate throughout the year — aside from the obvious stuff like birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, major milestones and events like graduations, engagements and retirements. Many are one-time occasions or “firsts,” while others are recurring and can become family traditions to commemorate. (My sweet Grandpa used to cut greeting cards in half and mail them to my siblings and me on our half birthdays! I still think of him every November 15th.)

Of course, a celebration doesn’t need to involve something extravagant like a party or an elaborate dinner or a fancy bottle of…

15 Ways to Do Things With Love

The topic this week is love. My first thought was, “Everyone knows how to do things with love.” But I realized that may not necessarily be the case. So I’ve come up with 15 ideas for how to spend this week (and beyond!) doing things with love.

1. Begin and end each day with love in your heart. Wake up each morning and go to sleep each night thinking loving thoughts about your life, yourself, your family, friends, pet. Be grateful for those who give you love.

2. Do things that make your heart smile. Sing, dance, run, paint — whatever makes you happy.

3. Do something thoughtful or special for someone you love. Bake cookies for your kids when they get home from…

Let’s talk about healing this week. Our intrinsic human vulnerability repeatedly puts us in situations from which we need to heal: sometimes it’s physical illness or injury, sometimes it’s emotional trauma, sometimes it’s social anguish, sometimes it’s financial collapse. The landscape of our life journey includes prickly thorns like loss, hurt, struggle, tragedy, failure, violation, despair and disappointment. Often, it’s  not about getting over something, it’s about getting past it — gathering the strength and composure to move forward and doing your best to feel as whole as possible again. This is what healing is about, and it takes time, patience and self-love.

There is no magic formula for healing. It’s an individual path that each of us has to find. But there are some strategies and ideas…

This week’s Angel Word—our guiding inspiration for the week ahead—is communication.

In thinking about this word, I’ve realized there are so many different ways I can go in giving useful tips and advice in this area. Just to begin with, there are so many forms of communication. In college, I studied mass communication, which looks at spreading information through media to large segments of the population at the same time. There’s one-on-one communication. Non-verbal communication. Written communication. Visual communication.

What I decided to do is to share a bit of insight into my own interpersonal communication practices. This mostly includes emails, texts, handwritten notes, phone calls and in-person visits with family, friends and colleagues. They’re not hard-and-fast rules of communication, it’s just…

11 Tips for Raising Grateful Kids

Teaching our kids to say “thank you” is important, but truly instilling a sense of gratitude in them is another matter entirely. Gratitude goes beyond good manners — it’s a mindset and a lifestyle.

A recent Wall Street Journal article about raising kids with gratitude acknowledged a growing interest in the area of gratitude in the younger generation. The piece cited studies showing that kids who count their blessings reap concrete benefits, including greater life satisfaction and a better attitude about school. Sounds good, right?

But before we get to the how, let’s explore the why. What’s the big deal about having an attitude of gratitude anyway?

First of all, gratitude is healthy for us. Believe it or not,…

I’ll bet you can you guess what our Angel Word is this week. In honor of Thanksgiving, our guiding inspiration is, of course,  gratitude.

In the spirit of the holiday, why not reach out to someone who’s done something nice for you this year and let them know how much it meant to you. Take a couple of minutes this week to send a handwritten note or an email or a text or even call and tell them they’ve made a difference in your life. Remember what Thanksgiving is all about.

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How to Be More Compassionate

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

~ Dalai Lama

This week’s Angel Word is compassion. First, let’s boil down compassion to its essence:

Compassion is the feeling that arises when you witness another person’s suffering and want to help relieve that suffering. It’s a genuine concern about someone’s welfare.

It’s different from empathy. To feel empathic is to sense or understand someone’s emotions, but not necessarily feel moved to help them. And it also differs from pity, which is feeling sorry for someone you deem inferior to yourself in some regard. Compassion connects, whereas pity creates distance.

So what can you do to live in a compassionate manner?

1. Express gratitude for…

This week’s theme is play.

How to define play? Basically, it’s a voluntary experience that’s not task oriented, feels fun, doesn’t have time constraints and makes you less aware of yourself and more absorbed in something you enjoy doing.

Play is an important pathway to happiness and well-being. It stimulates creativity and connections with others. It enhances learning and can help work out problems with adversaries. And of course it reduces stress levels and increases joy, which results in greater happiness and fewer physical ailments.

Here are a few ways you can bring play time into your life:

1. Turn off your tech! Put that phone down for a few hours. Get away from your laptop. Take control of your time and don’t allow others to interrupt or distract…