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Happiness
Ideas to help think happy thoughts

12/11/14
By Allie Ginwala aginwala@hippopress.com



 Help your loved ones stay holly and jolly, merry and bright, this season and all year round. Because let’s be honest, who couldn’t use a little more happiness in their life?

 
Coaching: It’s not just for athletes
The word “coach” often brings to mind baseball leagues and football games, but coaching can be used in more areas than sports. It can benefit anyone who wants to take a step back and evaluate their life. A session with a life coach is a great opportunity to set new goals and find your happiest self.
Master certified life coach Diane MacKinnon, MD, works with people in all stages of life. Some wish to take their lives in a new direction and others want to make a change but don’t know where to start. 
“Sometimes people come with very specific goals and sometimes people come who are very stuck and don't know how to get unstuck,” MacKinnon said. 
The objective opinion and fresh perspective paired with professional resources, tips and tools, can help them figure out what the next move should be.
“There is always a part of you that knows [what makes you happy], but it is buried under social expectations,” she said. “It takes some work to scrape away what others want and find out what it is that you want.”
MacKinnon describes life coaching as a tool to help find out what works to make an individual happy. “Happiness is more than just an emotion,” she said. “If you feel like you have some say, some autonomy in what's going on in your life, that creates a sense of happiness.”
Most life coaches offer an initial consultation with the follow-up option for more sessions. MacKinnon has coaching packages that start after a free introductory session. The best recipients for a gift session with a life coach are those who want to find their next level of happiness, because coaching all comes down to the individual. 
“I think that anyone can benefit from having someone to talk to … who has the skills to help them clarify,” she said. “In our heads we go around and around, but talking to someone else can give you a different perspective.” 
MacKinnon compares life coaching to sports coaching; at some point you’ve done all you can yourself and could use a little help. 
“When you get to a certain level it seems reasonable to hire a coach to get to another level,”  she said.
 
Make it a movie night
If laughter is the best medicine, give your best pal a healthy dose of friendship and fun with the ultimate at-home comedy night package with personalized items that are sure to keep the giggles going. Start the package off with the essential item: the comedy. Depending on what your gift recipient likes the most, assemble a collection of DVDs to screen on comedy night. Feature films from decades past with Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Caddyshack and The Blues Brothers, or opt for something newer like a girls-night-in theme with Bridesmaids, Pitch Perfect and Mean Girls. For the TV lovers, log in to your Netflix or Hulu account and have a marathon of the best episodes of Modern Family, The Office or Arrested Development.
Once you have the cinema magic, add items that will bring a comfy atmosphere for optimal movie watching like a plush blanket or a pair of fuzzy socks. And of course, the night wouldn’t be complete without piles of junk food. Get a box of popcorn and reusable plastic popcorn buckets or a theater-style popcorn bucket you can make in the microwave. Pick up movie theater favorites like Twizzlers, Mike & Ike, Milk Duds and Reese’s Pieces. Add a couple bottles of soda and your ultimate at-home comedy night package is ready to go. For an extra touch, print out “movie tickets” to use as a card for the gift.
 
Happiness is a good book away
Give the bookworm in your life something to curl up with on a cold, wintery afternoon. Pick something light-hearted, adventurous or uplifting — any kind of book your recipient enjoys should make him happy, really. If you’re stuck, consider The Art of Happiness (Riverhead, 1998) by H.H. the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler. It’s a guide to achieving happiness written with a contemporary, western audience in mind. One of the world’s most noted spiritual leaders, the Dalai Lama gives insight to help create lasting happiness and move beyond the small, daily complications. This book would make a great gift for someone interested in learning more about Tibetan Buddhism and its principles for finding a balanced, simple and happy life. 
 
As seen in the December 11, 2014 issue of the Hippo.





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