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Happiness Power!


Is your goal to have a little success each day?

Can probably guess you said "yes"!

In one of my favorite Ted Talks, Shawn Achor says every time we experience some success we move the goalpost for what it means to us. AND...if our overall happiness is connected with that success, it's likely we never get there. What? We're undermining our own happiness?

In his happiness research, he's discovered our brains work in the opposite way. A "happiness advantage" can occur when we raise our level of positivity to the present moment. This results in our brain performing 31% more productively as compared to negative, neutral, or stressed. He also found that intelligence, creativity, and energy increase.

Happiness IS NOT on the opposite side of success!

Happiness Habits

Get in the moment with "box" breathing. Also called 4 x 4 breathing, this technique is used by the military and pilots to increase focus.

Close your eyes. Picture a square. Envision starting at the bottom left of the square. Breathe in for 4 counts as you move up the line. Hold for 4 counts as you move across the top of the square to the right. Exhale for 4 counts as you move down the square to the bottom right. Hold for 4 counts as you move across the bottom of the square. Repeat up to 8 times.

As you hold your breath or are waiting to take another you'll only be focused on your next breath or exhale. Past and future thoughts fade putting your focus on the present.


Start a gratitude journal. Write down three things (at least) you really appreciate about your life. Keep it regular by adding things daily or weekly.

If you don't enjoy writing, try Gretchin Rubin's "One sentence journal" OR get her "Happier App".


It's not about zoning out, it's about tuning in. Check out the "Insight Timer" to have a guided session you design.

Random Acts of Kindness

One of my favorites is to pay for the person behind you in line at the drive-through. So you don't break the bank, start with the coffee shop. The person will be surprised and you'll both leave with a happiness boost.

Another good one is to buy a little something for the check-out person at the grocery store. Last time, they mentioned liking a certain candy bar to the person in front of me so I bought one for them.

Find Your Positivity Ratio

Dr. Barbara Fredrickson has a free positivity test here.

Working these little things into our daily lives helps in so many ways. Find the ones that align with the person you want to be and they'll become habits. As your happiness grows so will your leadership influence!

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The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Ag Extension (funding opportunity no. USDA-NIFA-OP-010186), grant no. 2023-41595-41325 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Extension Foundation. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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