FREE bookplates & gift cards!

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How to give The Sweet Spot as a gift:

(1) Pre-order the book.

(2) Fill out the form below to get a gift card and/or a signed bookplate (we’ll mail them to you).

You’re done! 

Thank you SO MUCH for your enthusiasm and support. Pre-orders are VERY MEANINGFUL for authors, and I am very grateful for yours!

Warmest regards,

Christine_signature





3 More Ways to Make Your Holidays Happier — Even if You are Super Busy

The holidays can be a mixed-bag for some people when it comes to happiness. Many of us tend to look forward to this time of year, but can often feel overwhelmed when it comes. Here are three quick (and science-based!) ways to make the holiday season happier–and less overwhelming–this year.

#1: Create a giving trifecta.

A mountain of research shows that giving to others — particularly those in need — makes us happier, so I’m always looking for ways to buy my holiday gifts from retailers that donate money to causes I believe in. For example, this year I’m going to purchase gifts through the AmazonSmile program using my Chase Freedom card. This creates a giving trifecta: First, I get a gift for someone on my Christmas list; second, AmazonSmile donates a percentage of my purchase to a charity I love (the Tipping Point Community, a local non-profit that fights poverty); and third, I’ll donate the 5% cash back I earn when using my Chase Freedom card to Tipping Point.

#2: Let the little things go.

This is a busy time of year, and something’s got to give. Let it be the little things. Even though I prefer homemade meals, I become very dependent on inexpensive prepared foods from Trader Joe’s at this time of year. And I’ve stopped being such a perfectionist when it comes to gift giving; although I’d prefer to exquisitely wrap each gift in handmade paper, I get hives just thinking about having to wait in line at the post office to mail those gifts. This year I’m letting Amazon.com do my shipping and wrapping (see tip #1)!

#3: Put your to-do list on your calendar.

One of the things that can detract from our happiness is our extra-long long task-list. Researchers used to think that worry about unfinished tasks was our unconscious mind trying to help us get things done by reminding us of what we still needed to do.

But now research shows that simply making a plan for when we will do a task turns off all those unconscious reminders (aka, worry). Turns out that our unconscious isn’t nagging us to do the task at hand, but rather to make a plan to get it done. (More about my plan for the holidays here.)

Want more holiday happiness tips? Join us Tuesday at 5:00pm Pacific Time for a fun little twitter chat sponsored by BlogHer and Chase Freedom — Follow along with #HolidayHappinessBH.





Thursday Thought

“We are continually faced by great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluable problems.” –Lee Iacocca





NEW Free Online Class!


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Cracking the Habit Code:

21 Days to Keeping Your Resolutions!

Want to make REAL change? Do you make the same resolutions year in and year out — but they never seem to stick?

This is a completely revised version of my most popular online class — NOW FREE when you pre-order my new book.

Register Now

  • Move an activity from your “REALLY should be doing” list to a behavior you do so automatically you don’t even have to think about it!
  • Learn how to avoid common booby-traps hardwired into the human brain that make it difficult to keep resolutions. (You’ll have a lot of self-compassion for all the years you were less successful than you’d hoped!)
  • This is a 21-day online course. It’s practical, do-able, and science-based.

What to expect:

  • Every day you’ll receive an email and worksheet filled with science-based tips for making — and keeping — your resolutions.
  • You’ll be guided through establishing and keeping a new habit with downloadable PDF worksheets.
  • Your access to the classroom and materials does not expire.
  • Online community – You’ll be a part of a 24/7 community of like-minded participants.
  • Coaching and support from Dr. Christine Carter. Post a question online in the classroom — Dr. Carter typically responds within 48 hours.

In three weeks, you can learn a life skill that you’ll use over and over again: the ability to create and sustain a new habit.

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How to Register for Cracking the Habit Code:

(1) Pre-order The Sweet Spot: How to find Your Groove at Home and Work from your favorite retailer.

(2) Email a copy of your receipt to thesweetspot@christinecarter.com and we’ll enroll you within 24 hours–or let us know when you’d like your class emails to start coming and we’ll make a note of it.

This class is Dr. Carter’s gift to you for purchasing The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work.  If you enjoy the class and would like to gather support along your journey, please consider sharing your experience with a friend.

If you have any questions regarding this program, email questions@christinecarter.com.

 
 

 

Class Testimonials

“Nothing is more important than fitting healthy habits into our busy schedules. Often, our life depends on it! We know the reasons why we should exercise — or meditate, or eat more veggies, or get more sleep, or quit smoking, or reduce our debt — but most people really don’t know HOW to do those things. Dr. Christine Carter has devised an ingenious plan to help us keep our resolutions. I recommend it to all my clients — it really does work!”  –Aaron Holby, Coach, Personal Trainer & Founder, Aaron Holby Health & Wellness.

“What a fantastic class this is! WOW! I am finding this class SO helpful. I knew that some things worked better than other things…I just didn’t have all this neuroscience to explain it.”  – Lani Gerity, blogger and artist, Nova Scotia

“Thank you for the gracious gift of your time, enormous effort, background research, social commitment and caring. Everything about the course – the format, organization, references, personal touches, discussions and feedback worked for me and I am grateful.”– Viji, R&D Scientist and Engineer, wife and mother of one, Texas

“You have helped me teach my family the importance of a routine through tiny steps and one thing at a time. In December, I had designated chores that I knew would be challenging and possibly stressful to us. When I began this class, I lessened the chores and asked us all to focus on one specific thing. My specific thing is calm. With this focus, it has made our lives healthier and loving.

Thank you for all you do. I am grateful for you, Christine. You ROCK!” - Madia, mother of two, California

“Thank you for the course Christine. I love your enthusiasm, your belief in your ‘students’ and your compassion. I love the blend of science and life experience. I love the references to other books etc. I have ordered some. I loved reading the comments and contributions from the community of participants, the honesty and insightfulness.” - Eithne, mother of one, Ireland

“Thank you Christine! I truly enjoyed this class and it really helped me. I have struggled with my desired resolution for a very long time. Thanks to your breaking things down into tiny habits, I was able to achieve my goal within the 21 days. I was able to wrap my mind around the concepts you provided easily and it helped to change my habitual patterns a tiny step at a time.” - Mary, married for over 30 years, California

More Testimonials

 





Graphic: Make Your Holidays Happier

(even if you are super busy).

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Chase created this little graphic based on some of my holiday happiness tips…





Stress Reduction Teleseries — Download Now!

It’s not too late to listen in!

   reneeptrudeau   2aaa16c   katrinaalcorn

I so enjoyed my recent teleseries designed to teach simple but critical skills for reducing the stress in our busy lives. We talked about how to be productive, well-rested, and happy — even during the busy holiday season. If you missed the calls, it’s not too late to register to download the conversations and listen anytime you’d like.

These calls all took place in November, but the recordings are available now:

HOW TO ACHIEVE MORE BY DOING LESS.

Renee Peterson Trudeau, life balance coach and author of The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life and I share the surprising secret to our high productivity.

HOW TO FIND STILLNESS IN A STORM.

James Baraz, author of Awakening Joy, and I talk about how to find calm in a world where busy-ness is a marker of importance, and overwhelm is the rule of the day.

How Not to Have a Breakdown.

Katrina Alcorn, author of Maxed Out: American Moms on the Brink, and I share our personal low-points balancing our demanding careers and our families. This is a rich discussion about the tension between the societal forces that make work-life balance hard, and the practical things that we can do as individuals to find ease and joy.

 Access to this Teleseries is Simple

This teleseries is a preview of my new book, THE SWEET SPOT: How to Find Your Groove at Home and WorkI’m excited to start sharing this book with you now – even though it won’t be in stores until January. To access the teleseries,  pre-order The Sweet Spot and send a copy of your receipt to thesweetspot@christinecarter.com. We’ll give you immediate access!

I hope you’ll join us on these exciting calls!

Christine_signature

 





Look Up

All this technology we have, it’s just an illusion,
of community, companionship, a sense of inclusion
yet when you step away from this device of delusion,
you awaken to see, a world of confusion.





Thursday Thought

Maslow

 

“This is the gift: to have a wonderful capacity to appreciate again and again, freshly and naively, the basic goods of life, with awe, pleasure, wonder, and even ecstasy.”

– Abraham Maslow





How to Practice Extreme Gratitude

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Ahh, Thanksgiving. For many of us regular gratitude-practicers, this extra grateful time of year can seem like a bit like more of the same…Sometimes our gratitude practices can become a bit routine, not quite as juicy as it was when we first started. And research suggests that when a practice starts to become too rote, its benefits start to wear off.

If you need a gratitude challenge this holiday season, here are three ways to take your appreciation to a totally new level.

1. Contemplate your own death. There’s nothing like facing death to make us appreciate our lives–and sure enough, research finds that when people visualize their own death in detail, their gratitude increases.You can follow the instructions for this Tibetan death meditation, or simply set aside some time to really reflect on the following questions (which come from Enric Sala via Greg McKeown’s blog). Take each question one at a time, and try journaling an answer to each question before moving on to the next one.

What would I do if I only had a week left to live?

What would I do if I only had a month left to live?

What would I do if I only had a year left to live?

What would I do if I only had five years left to live?

What would I do if I only had a life left to live?

2. Throw a gratitude party. One day, in the midst of planning her own 25th birthday, my good friends’ daughter Kate realized that her birthday party might not live up to her expectations. She wanted her party to be special, and she wanted to feel celebrated. She wanted the right people to come to the party, and the right food to be served. She wanted good music, and dancing, and for her friends to spontaneously make heartfelt toasts … to her, about her. And then it hit her: If she kept thinking about herself so darn much, she was bound to feel disappointed. (She might even cry at her own party, as the cliched song goes.) So she radically changed course. Here is the gist of the email I got from her:

Hello my parents’ dearest friends! First of all, THANK YOU for befriending my parents! You have given them love, acceptance, and friendship. You’ve inspired them to grow, and shared your beautiful light with them in a way that has changed their lives (and thus, mine) for the better. Thank you for that, from the very center of my heart.  

I’m writing you because I’m on a mission! As you probably don’t know, my 25th birthday is coming up, and rather than going the traditional route and having a blowout party for myself, I’m going to throw a SURPRISE party for my parents.  It’ll be a kind of “Thank You for My Birth(day)” party. I cannot wait!

My vision is to surround them with gratitude and love. I’m grateful to them for putting up with me for a quarter century, and so I want to show them in a dramatic way. What does that look like?  

Here’s what I imagine: their favorite people showing up with huge smiles. Dancing. Laughter. Sharing of stories. Drinking. Some food (but I’m on a tight budget, so I may have to get creative here). A video of those who couldn’t make it. I’m open to your suggestions!

The party was better than anyone ever dreamed–for Kate and her parents, but also for all the guests. Kate gave us all the incredibly powerful gift of extreme gratitude.

3. Don’t just think about what you are grateful for, really feel it.  Another extreme form of gratitude is neuropsychologist Rick Hanson’s “taking in the good” practice. Here’s how to do it:

First, actively think of a positive experience for which you feel grateful. For example, the leaves in my neighborhood look so pretty at this time of year, and I’m grateful to have enjoyed a hike this afternoon among all the fall color.

Next, draw out—really savor—that positive experiences. According to Rick, the key is not just to hold something positive in our awareness for as long as possible, but also to remember the positive emotions that go along with it. The idea, he says, is to “turn positive facts into positive experiences.” For example, instead of just thinking “I’m grateful for the fall color,” I also reflected on how blissful I felt while outside walking. Thinking like this evokes what was rewarding about a positive event and helps use our brain chemistry to strengthen connections associated with the memory.

Finally, let it all sink in. Take this image—“sinking in”—as if it were literal. Rick invites us to later recall the positive experience–for me, the hike and seeing all the fall color–and feel that experience “entering deeply into your mind and body, like the sun’s warmth into a T-shirt, water into a sponge, or a jewel placed in a treasure chest in your heart.”

Will you help me brainstorm other ways to practice extreme gratitude during this holiday season? Please take a moment to post your idea in the comments below. This is fun: I’ll send you a thank you gift! If you leave your email address in the comments, I’ll email you a new beautifully designed poster of my happiness manifesto that you can download and print.

 

IF THIS POST RESONATES WITH YOU, I BET YOU’LL LOVE MY NEW STRESS REDUCTION TELE-SEMINAR!

Please join me for three fun conversations designed to teach simple but critical skills for reducing the stress in our busy lives. I talk with three experts about how to be productive, well-rested, and happy — even during the busy holiday season. Listen to the classes now!

References:

Frias, Araceli, Philip C. Watkins, Amy C. Webber, and Jeffrey J. Froh. 2011. “Death and Gratitude: Death Reflection Enhances Gratitude.” The Journal of Positive Psychology 6 (2) (March): 154–162.

Hanson, Rick. 2009. Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom. New Harbinger Publications.





Happiness Tip: Make a Holiday Game Plan

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Photo by Bruce Turner

So that I can actually enjoy the holidays, I’ve had to devise a three-part plan for tackling all that needs to be done at this time of year. The foundation of this plan is scheduling, however dull that might sound.

First, I make a simple list of all the things I need and want to do in the next six weeks. Second, I block off time on our family calendar to actually do those things–including the not-so-obvious things, like time to update my address book so that our holiday cards make it to where they’re supposed to. (Research suggests that telling your brain when you will do something reduces stress.) Third, I actually schedule downtime on my calendar, like weekend mornings when we commit to not going anywhere or doing anything.

Once I do my scheduling, it becomes obvious that I’m not going to have enough time to do everything on my list. But I can’t skip my downtime, or I won’t actually enjoy the holidays.

It is never easy to stick to the plan. Inevitably, someone will call to see if we can go ice skating on a weekend morning when we’ve scheduled downtime, and we’ll all want to go. But if we can’t easily reschedule the downtime for the next day, we’ll say no.

I’ll get a lot of pushback on this decision from my family, but I’ll remind them that more is not necessarily better, and that I’m actually not that fun to be around when I’m exhausted.

Take Action: Make your holiday game plan now — and don’t forget to schedule some downtime!

Join the Discussion: What is your favorite holiday event?