≡ Menu



Includes eBook, eZine, and mp3 or CD! (See below for more info.)

The proven way to feel happy when things are bad

Stacey and PaulaThe photo to the right shows me with one of my Visionary clients, Paula. She came all the way from Albuquerque, NM, to have her VIP Day with me in Asheville!

By the end of the day, we had gotten MAJOR traction on the things that were most important to her—a crystal clear vision of her TWO different ideal client profiles PLUS TWO different Signature Systems, Programs and Pricing—all in ONE DAY!

It was the perfect culmination of a few very FULL weeks before I take almost a week off from my business to unplug and connect with family, eat some of my favorite food, and recharge for the weeks ahead.

Yes, in the United States, we’re in the thick of the BIG holidays—the ones that we look forward to all year and have us alternating between feeling exhilarated and exhausted.

I would love for YOU to have truly happy and peaceful holidays this year and to that end I have two things in mind.

The first is a FREE copy of The (Truly!) Happy Holidays Planner, my special planner that I want to offer as a token of my appreciation for YOU. Just click here and you’ll receive it as an immediate download.

The second is my life-changing (wait till you read the testimonials!) program 30 Days to Inner Peace. Starting now and going through November 30th, I’ll be offering it with a fantastic “Positive Focus” bonus.

I know both will help you have a stress-free holiday season filled with meaning, connection, fun … and appreciation. Did you know appreciation is MATHEMATICALLY PROVEN to help you be happy in any circumstance—especially during the holidays?

Barbara Fredrickson is a psychologist who works at UNC-Chapel Hill and studies my favorite field of academic research, positive psychology.

Her book Positivity lays out the research she’s conducted that shows that there is a mathematical formula by which success (in terms of production in a business sense, or feeling happy in a more personal sense) can be predicted by the ratio of positive events to negative ones.

She has discovered that the “tipping point” where good things start to happen occurs at a ratio of three to one. That is, three positive events for every single negative event.

I think this finding can tell us a lot about life—how to perceive it and how to live it with great satisfaction. As Frederickson puts it, “If we’re aware of the tipping point ratio, (that) could make a big difference in how we choose to live our lives.”

As I would put it, making a conscious choice to appreciate three things every time you’re aware of a bad thing happening is the way to feel happy even when bad things are happening.

There are always going to be negative events in our lives, and we may not be able to do anything about them. But we always have the ability to increase the power of the positive events in our lives—and even multiply them—by focusing our attention on what makes us feel good.

Pema Chodron, in When Things Fall Apart, describes how our daily lives can feel like a confused, busy street; the traffic is going fast in all directions and we can’t find a way to cross. It’s overwhelming and frightening.

We’re so busy jumping out of the way of the speeding cars that we can’t understand what’s going on, or how we contributed to the confusion.

plenty of timeBut if we watch the activity for a while, we begin to see that there are openings in the traffic. We can step up on the sidewalk and take a more objective look. And no matter how busy the traffic, we can understand that there’s a flow.

If we could look at it from the top of a building, we’d see that it really doesn’t have anything to do with us; it’s just a flow of energy. We begin to see the challenges as part of the deal, not necessarily good or bad, just part of life.

Now the circumstances in our lives can seem like that traffic. And we often believe that our love relationships should be a refuge from that traffic—the one place that should give us peace. But our relationships with those closest to us are really the most traffic-filled and the best place to practice looking for flow.

Aside from meditation, being in relationships is the best practice to help us see where we’re stuck and what isn’t working in our lives. As Joko Beck, an American Buddhist nun, writes in Everyday Zen:

So a relationship is a great gift, not because it makes us happy—it often doesn’t—but because any intimate relationship, if we view it as practice, is the clearest mirror we can find.

So what then? Should we simply look at our relationships as a practice—something that helps us grow stronger when we’re out in public (provided it doesn’t kill us first)? Not at all. Because the practice I’m suggesting that you introduce into your relationships is the practice of looking for the positive things that will put you into that 3-to-1 ratio.

Today, practice accentuating the positive by noticing your surroundings and asking, “What feels good about my current situation? What makes me feel lucky to be here?” Mentally registering the benefits of any given circumstance will remind you that you have the power to influence your reaction when things become challenging.

Find something to appreciate in three people today and share your appreciation with them. Bonus points if you can manage to direct a sincere compliment to someone who has really pushed your buttons quite recently. (You should be provided with at least one opportunity to do this during the holidays, don’t you think?)

Then, once you’ve got a handle on it, use this practice on your intimate relationships. Your spouse, your parents, your siblings—and work to beef up the ratio of good things and good events versus the negative things that you notice about them.

It’s not going to be as hard as you might think. After all, these are people who have stuck with you, maintained relationships with you, for years. It’s going to take an extraordinary person to have never exhibited any positive characteristics, or done any good deeds, over all that time.

And the thing is, once you’ve put yourself into the proper balance in your private life, you will find the strength to look for the positive—to find the flow—in other aspects of your life. So start at home, and start during the holidays. If you do, I think you’ll find the new year full of a promise you never expected.

If you’d like even more practices to help you feel peaceful and grounded this holiday season, click here: 30 Days to Inner Peace Program.

If you liked this post, I think you’ll enjoy the free weekly Special Delivery eZine. Just sign up here and it will be delivered to your inbox every Tuesday!

How to Stop Being So Busy

Stacey with Katie and DawnThe photo to the right is me with my dear friends Katie and Dawn and I was SO thrilled to spend some time with them last weekend.

We had our family’s 12th Annual “Friendsgiving”—it’s a way we choose to celebrate the holidays with our “non-belly-button family” and it was delightful as always.

As we head into the holidays, let’s make sure we focus on what’s really important—our connections with the people we love—including ourselves!

To receive all the bounty the holidays have to give, it’s important to be conscientious about making time for the most important person in your life—you!—and that starts with a powerful mindset shift.

One of my favorite affirmations is “I have plenty of time.”

Why? Because I strive not to be “busy.” I am usually very good at keeping my time focused on doing the things that are most important to me, the things that will give me the greatest feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day.

Rushing around to finish a mile-long to-do list can undermine my happiness as much as not getting anything accomplished at all. And when I find myself going in a million different directions, I try to remind myself: “I have plenty of time.”

It allows me to slow down (if only in my head), which, of course makes everything flow much more easily. It helps me appreciate that I am exactly where I need to be in every moment. It helps me remember that I always have a choice when looking at any situation.

I find that I am most likely to feel stressed when I’m doing stuff that doesn’t seem “important”—you know, the mundane things like running errands and housekeeping.

And that fits with something else I’ve learned, because what I’ve realized most in my studies of happiness—and in my own life—is that a happy life is made up of happy moments. And that doesn’t mean those rare, big-ticket happy moments, like getting the publishing contract or the new car.

plenty of timeHappy lives are made up of the quotidian variety of happy moments, taking a walk outside while the fall leaves whirl around you, or petting your cat in that special spot that makes her purr.

It’s always important that we place a priority on spending time to “refill our well”—but it’s especially important during the holidays.

Understanding this leads to an even more important understanding: the power to choose our thoughts gives us the power to choose joy in any situation.

So if you find yourself trying to rush through any of your daily activities, wishing you could just be done with them already, your assignment for today is this simple meditation, devised by Thich Nhat Hahn:

Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment,
I know this is a wonderful moment.

Thich Nhat Hahn goes on to tell us that mindfulness can be practiced while eating lunch, walking, and washing the dishes. “If you take time to enjoy dishwashing, then dishwashing can become meditation. If you think of the time of washing as the time that you lose… then you lose yourself. It means you continue to lose your life.”

Think of something in your day that you typically dread or rush through. Today, change your thoughts about that one activity.

If it’s the dishes, notice the light playing off the bubbles, feel the warm water, find a place of gratitude for that moment, breathe.

If it’s the drive to work, remain present, keep breathing, and don’t think ahead to what your day holds but notice the beauty in the things around you.

Thich Nhat Hahn suggests using red lights not as a source of irritation but as a reminder bell to return to the present moment and take a deep breath. Just think how peaceful and grounded you’ll feel if you make this a habit throughout the day.

If you’d like even more practices to help you feel peaceful and grounded this holiday season, click here: 30 Days to Inner Peace Program.

If you liked this post, I think you’ll enjoy the free weekly Special Delivery eZine. Just sign up here and it will be delivered to your inbox every Tuesday!

Discover what’s holding you back from your greatest success

November 10, 2015

That’s a photo with me and one of my beautiful Visionary friends, Lisa Marie Rosati. I wrote last week about how I spent the previous week at my business training, and she was one of the people with whom I masterminded (and enjoyed cocktails!). Last week, too, I shared one of the biggest gifts I

Read the full article →

Stuck in a Soul-Sucking Job? (+ my video love letter)

November 3, 2015

That’s a photo of me with my dear friend and publisher, Linda Joy. She surprised me last week when she drove over 2 hours to see me while I was at my business training in Connecticut. Connecting with her was one of many VERY special experiences I had at the training. Going forward, the thing

Read the full article →

How to Stop Beating Yourself Up and Make Yourself Ripe for Miracles (+ new short video on my fave power tool!)

October 27, 2015

That’s a photo of me with my Visionary client, Felicia Baucom, after her full VIP Day with me here in Asheville. Before her VIP Day, Felicia told me that she wanted help to see the difference between signs that something is not right for her and signs that something is, even when there are setbacks.

Read the full article →

How to Get Your Positive Focus Back (new video!)

October 20, 2015

That’s a photo of me with my mom and dad last week. We went to see the film The Martian. I was excited to see it because I loved reading the book, but I loved the story behind the book even more: The author, Andy Weir, was a computer programmer who loved science fiction and

Read the full article →

How to Work with Your Natural Wiring to Get What You Want

October 13, 2015

That’s a photo of me with the new book I co-authored that released today, Inspiration for a Woman’s Soul: Cultivating Joy!! You can order it by clicking here – I truly hope it will help you develop a “no-excuses” approach to cultivating joy and creating a life you absolutely love. Two weeks ago I shared

Read the full article →

What to do with an overflow of sorrow (+ my birthday gift to you!)

October 6, 2015

The photo to the right is me with my dear friend Mary Cade and her beautiful daughter, Eliza. You'll find out more about them below, but first a little background for readers that are new to the Midwife for Your Life community. For many years I've asked family, friends, and dear readers to give to

Read the full article →

How to Literally Take Your Happiness into Your Own Hands (+ MY NEW BOOK!)

September 29, 2015

These are two of my favorite photos from Doug’s Big Book Launch Event at Malaprop’s Bookstore on Saturday. (We offered a drawing for Tales of a Fifth Grade Knight “Swag” and these two girls were among the prize recipients.) I’m so happy to share that Tales of a Fifth Grade Knight is bringing joy to

Read the full article →

How to Activate Your Greatest Superpower

September 22, 2015

Last week I hosted not one but TWO private VIP Days. One of these lovely Visionary clients came all the way from Canada and the other from upstate NY! While they were here, we dug deep into their unique gifts, and we laid out a clear path for them to get their "genius work" out

Read the full article →