I’ve been listening to a lot of French music lately (hence the title) which got me thinking a lot about language and the evolution of meaning. Not to get too abstract, but I’ve come to the conclusion that cultivating joie de vivre (the joyous life) requires that you master its structure. The sentence “ashley name my is” doesn’t make sense, but luckily it has all of the parts to make it correct. Similarly, you have all of the parts to cultivate the good life, you just have to learn how to construct the right sentence.
Step One: Know Who You Are
Yes, I know, so broad, very cliché, and where the hell do you begin? With a battery of personality tests of course. Similar to the way you approach your career, approach self-understanding like a career assessment. Truly understanding yourself and your motivations is pretty much a career in and of itself. No test can truly measure your personality, but personality tests can help you assess your values, communication style, interactions with others, and your way of interpreting the world. I’m a big fan of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and StrengthsFinder because they really hone in on the positive aspects of your personality and character while still highlighting areas of growth. There are tons of tests out there, but it’s what you do with the results that matter. Just like a career, once you’ve found areas of interest, research, analyze, and reevaluate. It might feel uncomfortable, but in the end when you truly know yourself, you’ll be in tune with the world around you and be able to put steps in place to achieve your goals, live passionately, and be open to others.
A few days ago I was in a bit of a funk. I started the new year with a lot of goals, but found myself lacking enthusiasm and feeling rather blah about my progress. One negative thought led to another negative thought until I was in a certifiably bad mood. Fed up with being fed up, I treated my happiness like an underdog in basketball; I applied the full-court press. Instead of focusing on trying to be happy, I grilled my unhappiness. Here’s how.
To many social scientists and politicians, we live in a culture of loneliness and detachment. Technology has made us slaves to our devices and we no longer know how to relate to one another. While there are definitely merits and research to back these claims, it seems to me that we’re looking at it the wrong way. Let’s stand on our heads for second. Perspective change! Perhaps the real question we should be asking ourselves is, am I living my best life? Social dynamics have always and will always shift, morph, and change, but you have the power to live your best life. Since social technology is here for the foreseeable future, why not use it to live well? Here are 5 great (free) apps to power your happy lifestyle.
Yep, the picture pretty much explains the app. Smiling App is a really cool app. Aside from having the most adorable logo ever it’s also a super easy way to learn how to meditate. Smiling Mind is an Australian app and therefore the app instructor has an awesome Australian accent, which makes it more fun. You can track your progress, mood, and there is this funny zen music that makes you feel pretty awesome. I tried this on the metro and actually felt more calm during my commute. Unleash your inner zen with this adorable app.
Downloads: App Store | Google Play
Your new year’s resolutions should feel like music thumping, streamer flowing, horn sounding New Year’s Eve parties, not the hangover the next day. Here are some ways to make your resolutions fun for the rest of the year.
Keep Saying “Yes and”
There is a rule in improv and comedy in general that you always take a “yes and” approach to a scene. Continue reading
So a lot of people ask me how I stay optimistic and positive and I always wish I had some awesome proverbial response. Most of the time my answer is that I just try really, really hard. Maintaining a positive attitude is essentially like learning a new language. It’s really hard to become fluent in a difficult, constantly evolving language overnight, but you find yourself getting better at it every day. The best thing about learning how to speak happiness, is that the more you practice, the better you feel. I certainly can’t say that about any other language I’ve tried to learn. Here are some things that have helped me beat the blues and build my optimistic fluency.
Approach Your Happiness Like a Basketball Game
I watched the documentary Inocente this weekend and was inspired by her resilience, spirit, and the positive impact A Reason to Survive (A.R.T.S) had on her life.
Here is the Trailer:
It made me reflect on how much I have to be thankful for this holiday season and led me to brainstorm creative ways that I could give back. There are a ton of great organizations and opportunities to volunteer in DC. Feel free to comment and share your own.
1) You Can Change Your Life For the Better
2) There Are Great People In The World