Tag Archives: happiness

Why You Should Move To A New City At Least Once In Your Life

 

 

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This post has literally been cooking in my head for weeks and I’m thrilled to finally post it here for all of you to see! On any given day, I find myself sharing New York City’s streets and trains with thousands of people where I make observations that constantly inspire me. I thought of this post when I was commuting to work.

“There is truth in the principle that novelty and challenge bring happiness.”

I first read this in Gretchen Rubin’s Bestseller “The Happiness Project” and I now realize how utterly true it’s been so far..although the novelty of my move is not over yet.

The cause behind this boost in happiness comes from the huge boost in self-esteem and accomplishment that comes from pushing through and conquering this feat that is totally new.

Of course people avoid novelty and challenge because it often means delayed happiness.

“You have to pass that stressful period of feeling stupid, vulnerable, frustrated, confused, insecure (which I felt A LOT of while adjusting to NYC)…and then you conquer the challenge. That’s what makes coming out on top after the struggle so much sweeter. The victory is delicious…even the signs of victory are delicious.”


This can apply to starting a blog with no tech experience, learning a new language OR moving to a brand new city without having done so in the past.

I get asked on a daily basis why I moved from California to New York City. I still struggle to answer WHY I moved here but I can tell you what Living in New York City has taught me:

  • to be more fearless
  • to be more comfortable in my skin
  • to give less f@*ks!
  • to give more f#%ks…about what really matters
  • to laugh more (because I give less f@ks)
  • to be more confident in myself (because god knows I wasn’t going to come out unchanged)
  • to embrace my femininity
  • to get out of my shell and have a diverse group of friends
  • to be smarter and quick on my feet
  • to be tenacious
  • to go for it
  • to experience and appreciate the seasons (This inspired one of my best art pieces!)
  • to appreciate the little bit of sunlight offered by New York’s mean winter
  • to jump for joy at the tiniest sign of Spring approaching
  • to be in the moment and appreciate a random show in the station, the train or the street
  • to pick up strange hobbies (like boot camp fitness)
  • to be extremely resourceful (I have to be!)
  • more tech savvy (I use apps that I didn’t know of before I moved here to make life easier and even find freelance work using Fiverr and Taskrabbit.
  • to be more efficient with my time and priorities
  • to be ambitious and say YES to opportunity (Thanks to the inspiring people I have around me like Jinna Yang, Priscilla Rodgers and the online communities I follow)
  • to value my smartphone like it’s my lifeblood (because I couldn’t navigate the city without it if my life depended on it)
  • to read more books (thanks subway)
  • to BREATHE

I guess it’s ironic that the fast paced ferocity of New York City has taught me to BREATHE and more effectively manage my stress levels. It really is out of necessity because I would’ve had a heart attack a long time ago if I didn’t.

This move has redefined my impossible and has made me rediscover my belief in myself. I was half the woman I am Today before I left the safety of my comfort zone in California.

So that’s why I make the case for giving a new city a try if you haven’t before. It will redefine your impossible, redefine your idea of yourself and expand your mind.

Get out there!

-Nicole

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Establishing Habits That Contribute To Your Happiness

My funny attempt at meditation in Texas

My funny attempt at meditation in Texas

Goodness gracious I tried two new things last week that made a hugely positive impact in my mood! I attended a public speaking meetup and tried meditation.

Last Sunday I finally took the initiative and went to the “Public Speaking Bootcamp” meetup group that I’ve been meaning to go to for months. There was a group of 8 friendly and successful people who were there for the same reasons as I: to feel more comfortable in the spotlight and to effectively address an audience.

Each person took turns telling a story or answering a question and would then await praise and constructive criticism from the rest of us.

This group is different from the well-known Toastmasters meetup group. Toastmasters has many more members and is focused on prepared speeches while this group was more about “getting up there and talking to the audience while thinking quick on your feet.”

This improvisational approach is an effective way to get the speakers more comfortable with themselves and to build their self-confidence.

I was absolutely thrilled with my performance all three rounds. I didn’t expect myself to be as smooth, fluid and articulate as I was. I normally see myself as a nervous speaker. I think I did well because I chose topics that I was knowledgeable about and spoke from the heart.

This was so good for my self-confidence that I felt slightly addicted and wanted to practice everyday after that!

Another thing I tried was a 2-minute breathing meditation that I’ve been putting off forever. I knew I needed to try this because I have a lot of tension and tend to be a worry-wart. So I dropped everything and gave it a go.

I tuned off the music on my computer and resolved to focus on deep belly breaths without timing myself. I started to feel the calming effects immediately. When I decided to stop I realized I had meditated for FOUR WHOLE MINUTES!

I, the hyperactive worry-wart was able to focus on nothing but breathing for 4 minutes! This is a huge accomplishment for me. The deep breathing had such an intoxicating effect on me that I resolved to do it everyday. I did it again yesterday before work.

Please try it!

I got this idea from Jeff Olson’s Slight Edge where he suggests readers to do these “Happy Habits” everyday for 3 weeks:

  1. Each morning write 3 new things you’re grateful for.
  2. Journal for 2 minutes a day about a positive experience you had within the last 24 hours. Describe with every detail to re-experience positive emotions.
  3. Meditate daily watching your breath go in and out for 2 minutes. This trains your brain to focus.
  4. Do a random act of kindness over the course of each day. This can be writing an email thanking someone for something they’ve done or helping a stranger carry their luggage up the subway stairs (always happening in NYC).
  5. Exercise for 15 minutes a day. Simple cardio has a powerful anti-depressant effect.

Jeff suggests trying one at a time and then slowly adding in the others to your daily routine. Starting small is effective in that it doesn’t overwhelm you. Steady changes are more effective than big diets and/or 30-day hardcore lifestyle changes (like bootcamp fitness) because they are so doable and easy-to-do.

You might not even notice the steadily increasing effort or results but they WILL come and people WILL notice. It’s as easy as walking 10 minutes a day and slowly working up to a 10-minute run and then add another minute everyday until it becomes 30 minutes a day!

That way you won’t injure yourself either. Remember the story of the tortoise and the hair:

“Slow and steady wins the race. Fast and furious burns out or gets too cocky and slacks off.” Slow isn’t important, STEADY is the key. If you stay consistent with your positive actions you’re heading up on the success curve.

It all starts with the first step. Take one, then another, and another. People procrastinate and avoid trying new habits that can improve their lives because sub-consciously they are afraid and resist change.

I don’t try these new things because I have to, it’s also fun to improve! Improving and getting good at something new is really FUN!

It is so empowering to learn to meditate when you never thought you could, or to nail that speech when you used to shake at the thought. I’m certain that I and anyone who uses the Slight Edge philosophy in their everyday lives  will reach unimaginable heights and live long, happy lives.

What do you think now? Do you want to get off your ass and make your life happier and better? I know I have and will keep doing so.

What happy habit will you take on for the next 3 weeks?

Stay tuned..

-Nicole