It turns out that happier workplaces are 12 percent more productive. So not only do people feel better about their work and where they work, they also work better.

It also turns out that just like we have a weight set point, we have a happiness set point. Our brains are designed to help us survive. As a result, on their own, they are Velcro for danger and bad things and Teflon for positive and good things. After all, good stuff doesn’t kill us. But we can change the balance and help positive experiences stick. And when positive things stick, we increase our natural state of happiness.

This does not require moving to Nepal and meditating all day. It does not require becoming an ultra-runner living off the endorphin rush. All it takes is consistent, small (5-10 minutes a day) action.  Here are five, 5-minute practices (25 minutes a day if you do all of them) to help you raise your happiness set point:

1) Gratitude

Our brains don’t always record the positive, but we can train them to.  Each day, take a minute to note three things for which you are grateful By recording and noting the things you are grateful, dare I say happy about, you balance the bad stuff. And on a really bad day, running water, living until midnight, or chocolate have made my list. I wrote about this in more detail back in November.

2) Journaling

No you don’t need to write the great American novel. Just a few sentences about what went right today. In five minutes or less. This doesn’t need to be in a beautiful book in perfect handwriting. I keep mine in a spreadsheet with my gratitude notes.

3) Exercise

No need to be an ultra runner, just get up and move every hour.

4) Meditation and Breathing 

No need to move to Nepal and sit for hours a day. How about 5 minutes of attention to your breath? It helps to get out of our heads. So first put your shoulders down and take a deep breath deep into your abdomen. Now hold it for a count of 4. Let it out for a count of 4. Breathe in for a count of 4. Hold for a count of 4. Repeat at least 5 times.  The act of counting and focusing on your breath helps you get out of your head.

5) Acts of Kindness

This is for you, but you get to share. Take 5 minutes to write a three sentence thank you note (email is fine) to someone in your life at work or at home. You get to recognize their contribution (another thing that is going well) and help them do it, too.

How to Get More Support

Some of this is easy to implement. For some, you may need some support. So we have three exciting ways to help you.






Attend a Retreat: 

Are you a woman who lives on the west coast and are not drawn to DC in the winter but want to participate in a Don’t Await It, Create® It based event? Julie is partnering with her friend and colleague Tarnie Fulloon to host Activate Your Inner Leader, March 18-20th, 2016 in Altadena, California. for more information.

Have more impact and enjoy your leadership life:

The Accelerate six month program is for leaders who are feeling overwhelmed, undervalued and disconnected. This program will help you:

  • Get from Dream to Done
  • Move from Uncertainty to Decisive Action
  • Lead with Grace and Ease

Accelerate combines individual coaching support and small group training to strengthen your leadership capacity. We have just 5 spots left and would love to talk to you if you are looking to:

  • Create a “mission-driven” professional & personal life
  • Step into a bigger role at work or in your community
  • Build your capacity to lead boldly and have a life you love

Just send us an email to to get more information.


Get Admin, Marketing and Social Media support:

If you are a one-person show or leading a small team, you want to focus on the work of your mission, but then there’s all the other stuff – social media, marketing, copy editing, tracking clients and vendors and so on and so on. iLead Support can help. iLead Support provides virtual (or if in the DC area, not so virtual) assistance to small organizations so that the leaders can focus on marketing and delivering their unique brilliance and still get all the other stuff done.  Want to learn more? Email Shannon for more information.