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Finding How to Be Happy for No Reason

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Summary
  • What it means to be happy for no reason
  • The common myths that block or sabotage our happiness
  • How to raise your current happiness level (your happiness set-point)
  • Three essential happiness habits to live a life of freedom, joy and ease
Transcript
Tom McCarthy

My next guest is a legend. She is a multi New York Times bestselling author. As a matter of fact, when I was looking at the numbers, it just like blew my mind. So she has sold over 16 million copies in 33 languages of her book, her name is Marci Shimoff. She’s one of the leading authorities on happiness, which I’m really excited to delve into in just a minute, Marci. And she, one of her books is called, or one of her big books was called Happy for No Reason. And then she’s had other books too, she’s been part of the Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul series, I guess you’ve had six of those come out, which is incredible. In addition to Happy for No Reason, it’s also Love for No Reason. I like the no reason part, we’re gonna get into that, like yeah. Like a lot of people say, when everything’s right, then I can be loving, or when everything’s right, I can be happy, but you have a little different take on it. So she has inspired millions and her work is across 72 countries with a worldwide program she leads right now called Your Year of Miracles. Marci, welcome to our summit, it is just a pleasure and a joy to have you be involved with us.

 

Marci Shimoff

It’s so great to be with you, Tom. I love this summit and I love everything that you do, so it’s a joy to get to be part of this.

 

Tom McCarthy

Yeah. So I said we’d go into the no reason part. Like a lot of people are happy sometimes when everything’s right on the outside and people are treating them nicely. So talk to us about what it means to be happy for no reason.

 

Marci Shimoff

Yeah. So most people spend most of their life trying to make all the reasons in their life right so that they can be happy. I call it the I’ll be happier when syndrome. You know, I’ll be happier when I have a better job or when I have more money or when I have, you know, when I get married or when I get divorced. Or the ever popular I’ll be happier when I lose 20 pounds. And the reality is there’s nothing wrong with having wonderful things in your life, wonderful circumstances, except that it won’t bring you lasting happiness. And the research shows that. So what I mean by happy for no reason is an inner state of peace and wellbeing that doesn’t depend on your circumstances. So, you know, life happens, things happen, pandemic happens. And you’re gonna have situations where you feel upset or angry, somebody dies, you’re gonna feel grief. But when you’re happy for no reason, you have an inner backdrop of this peace and wellbeing that you carry with you so you’re more resilient to be able to come back in times of challenges, and that’s the real, I think that is the ultimate happiness that we are all looking for.

 

Tom McCarthy

Yeah. When somebody is counting on their achievements or the outer world to give them happiness, even when they achieve this thing that they’re looking to bring happiness for the rest of their life, how long does it typically last?

 

Marci Shimoff

Yeah, it generally lasts, your reasons for being happy will make you happier from anywhere from, you know, a short time, a week, two weeks, a month, up to a year. It does not have lasting happiness and there’s research behind that. And, you know, Tom, can I just take a moment and share my own story? Because-

 

Tom McCarthy

Please, yeah.

 

Marci Shimoff

You know, people always think, well, Marci, you were always happy, right? And my answer is absolutely not. I was born depressed. I came out of the womb with existential angst. And I had no reason for being unhappy. I had a great family, I had, everything was great. But I just had this dark cloud around me all my childhood. And when I was getting to be a teenager, my solution for my unhappiness was something called sugar. I became a sugar addict ’cause it gave me that temporary high. And by the time I was in high school, I was 35 pounds heavier than I am now. And-

 

Tom McCarthy

I can’t imagine that, you’re such a petite-

 

Marci Shimoff

Well, I was not in high school, and of course, that didn’t add to my happiness. So Tom, I did what most people did, when I was in my 20s, I set goals for myself. And I thought, once I reach those goals, that’s it, I’ll be happy, and I had five goals and I’ll share them with you and with everybody ’cause I think people can relate. I wanted a successful career helping people. I wanted a wonderful husband or life partner. I wanted a comfortable home. I wanted fabulous friends. And I wanted the equivalent of Halle Berry’s body. Now, I don’t have Halle Berry’s body, I got four out of the five, I don’t have Halle Berry’s body, but I have a healthy body for which I’m very grateful. And I worked really, really hard to get all my ducks in a row so that all that would work. 

And I had a turning point moment, it was in 1998, I had three books in the top five on the New York Times bestseller list at the same time. I had all those other things working for me and I had just finished giving a talk to 8,000 people. And I had autographed 5,432 books. My client had a massage therapist there to massage my hand so I would keep on signing. And after autographing that last book, on one hand, I felt like kind of an author rockstar. But I remember going up to my hotel room and walking over, it was in Chicago, I walked over to these huge windows looking out at Lake Michigan, on top of the world. I took in a deep breath, looked at Lake Michigan and I turned around and I collapsed onto my bed and burst into tears because I realized this was the end of the line. 

I could no longer fool myself into thinking that just the next thing was gonna make me happy, I still felt that same emptiness and pain in my heart that I had felt throughout my life. And so I decided at that moment, this is it. I’m gonna find out what will make me happy. And I went out and interviewed all the happiness researchers. I interviewed 100 unconditionally happy people and I started doing what they were doing. And it worked. I would say I went from a D+ in happiness to an A, and I’m still a work in progress. But it’s solid there, and I’ve since, you know, taught hundreds of thousands of people, and what I’ve found is that it doesn’t matter where you are on the happiness continuum. You could be really unhappy, you could already be happy. No matter where you are, you can raise your happiness level.

 

Tom McCarthy

Yeah. And we talked about, or we will talk about, we talked about prior to how, you know, this is the Global Energy Healing Summit, how happiness is a healing emotion. It’s obviously healing mentally for any type of mental challenges that people have, but also physical too. So I wanna get into that in a little bit, but when you said you went out and you interviewed people that were unconditionally happy, what did you find in those interviews? What types of things were showing up? What was the evidence there?

 

Marci Shimoff

So here’s what I found. I found that the only difference between happy people and the rest of us was that they had different habits. They had different habits. And let me tell you just a little bit about the research behind this because I think this is really interesting for people and not, we’re gonna get into some practical things, so for those of you who like practical, we’re here for you. But here’s the research. There’s lots of it, but my most important piece of research that I’ve learned that explained everything to me is that we all have what’s called a happiness set point.

 

Tom McCarthy

Yes.

 

Marci Shimoff

And it’s like a thermostat setting. And no matter what happens to us, whether it’s good or bad, we will tend to return to our thermostat setting, our set point is the key to everything. This explains why people who win the lottery and, you know, a lot of people think all I’d have to do is win the lottery and I’d be happier. Well, that’s true for a few months. But within a year, you will return to your original happiness set point. So the set point is the key to it all. And here’s how the set point is determined. It’s 50% genetic, you’re born with it. I was not born with the happiness genes. It’s 10% your circumstances. Now, notice, that’s only 10%. This is what the world is so busy trying to run after to make better to be happier, but it only accounts for 10% of it. The other 40% is your habits of thoughts and behavior. And that’s where we can really make the greatest change, and I’m gonna take this a step further and say that there are scientists in the field of epigenetics, studying our genes, that will tell us, like Dr. Bruce Lipton, who wrote The Biology of Belief. And they say that that 50% that’s genetic of our happiness set point, that can be influenced or changed by changing our habits, which means that 90% of our happiness set point can be changed by changing our habits. That, to me, should be headline news.

 

Tom McCarthy

Yes.

 

Marci Shimoff

We’ve cracked the happiness code, this should be taught in all the schools. The reason anybody wants anything is that they think it’s gonna make them happier. Let’s go directly to the happiness, shortcut it, and go right to the happiness set point.

 

Tom McCarthy

I love that, 90% within our control. That’s awesome. That’s awesome. And even when that 10% is not performing up to our expectations, we still get to control how we feel. You know, this past year, year and a half, it’s been a challenging year for people. And yet there’s people that are coming through it with increased happiness, right? I mean, they’ve really learned how to not by the old ways of living, but by adopting just this internal power that they have, you’ve seen that, I’m sure, all over with your research.

 

Marci Shimoff

Absolutely, and it’s been shown that actually, people who are happier are more resilient, they’re more creative in their solution and problem solving, they have better relationships. But also, because I know this is a summit on health, your happiness has a dramatic impact on your health and, meaning your actual physical health. And I’ll give you a few statistics about that. The research shows that on average, happier people live nine years longer.

 

Tom McCarthy

That’s pretty, and they’re happier for those nine years-

 

Marci Shimoff

That’s exactly right, yeah, exactly.

 

Tom McCarthy

Yeah, that’s cool.

 

Marci Shimoff

And on average, they are one third less likely to get sick.

 

Tom McCarthy

Yeah.

 

Marci Shimoff

Stronger immune systems.

 

Tom McCarthy

Yes.

 

Marci Shimoff

Just, and it’s actually even been, there’s been evidence done around COVID. And happier people having stronger immunity against COVID. So there’s so many great fringe benefits of being happier. It’s also been shown that happier people make more money. You know, they have-

 

Tom McCarthy

Their relationships, I mean, it probably goes on and on and on-

 

Marci Shimoff

It does, there’s not any area that isn’t affected by raising our happiness set point.

 

Tom McCarthy

Yeah. And you still have people there hearing this and they go, yeah, yeah, yeah, the other people, I see how they can do it, but you don’t understand my life, Marci, you don’t understand what I’ve gone through. You don’t understand my childhood, you don’t understand what I’m facing right now. What do you say to those people?

 

Marci Shimoff

I so understand that sense, that feeling of it’s not possible, I can’t be happier because look at all that’s happened to me. But I will tell you, out of the now thousands of people that I’ve interviewed about happiness, they are from all kinds of backgrounds, including many who’ve had traumas, you know, very great challenges. And, you know, we see this in so many ways, we see people who grew up with horrible circumstances and look what they, look how they’re living. So it does not matter where you’ve come from. Everybody can raise their happiness set point. And it’s not as hard as people think. It really isn’t, and I’m gonna get really practical on you guys today, so we’re gonna, I’m gonna show you some steps that you can do right away to start raising your happiness set point.

 

Tom McCarthy

I love that, we’ll do that in just a minute, I wanna ask you another question. So when something like COVID happens and people have lots of empathy, they see other people struggling or suffering and they go, how can I be happy when, you know, this is the way it is? Maybe it’s not even impacting them, but they just see it if they watch the news or they read an article. Is being happy in a situation like that selfish or is that okay to be happy? Not about that happening to another human being, but is it still okay to go through your life, your experience with a lightness, still take that in, feel for them. What do you think?

 

Marci Shimoff

Such a great question. I actually think it’s the least selfish thing in the world to be happy. And the reason for that is when you’re happier, the science shows that you’re impacting, well, we’re all impacting the people around us all day long. But what’s been found is that when you’re happier, it affects five people out. Meaning you, your happiness affects your neighbor’s cousin’s daughter’s school teacher. It just, we really have an impact on the field, you know, our mutual good friend, Lynne McTaggart, wrote a book on the field and the effects that we have on each other. So while it’s important that we have empathy for sure for each other, it’s also important to not get dragged down into, you can have empathy and you can still know that you raising your own happiness set point is actually helping the people around you.

 

Tom McCarthy

Yeah, what a great way of thinking about it. So I’m not just being, I’m not just creating happiness for myself, but for the impact it has on other human beings, which will influence their mental health or physical health, just their enjoyment of life. You know, earlier today, I was talking, I mentioned that we had Donna Eden and David Feinstein on and there was a mix-up, they hadn’t received the invitation, the Zoom invitation to get on. And so I was on, you know, I didn’t know what had happened, and then the person that runs their business, really wonderful guy, I was communicating with him, I guess he had called me but I turned my phone off. And it was like 10 minutes after and I’m thinking, oh gosh, you know, I hope, you know, they’re gonna be okay. And they came on and they were just so happy. Just like, they just had such great energy, it was like, and we laughed and we just had a great time. And that was a situation that wasn’t ideal for them, but they just came into it with this beautiful energy and they did impact me, right, it was so cool.

 

Marci Shimoff

And, you know, I love them and they are so wonderful, amazing souls. And it’s, happiness is contagious. We catch the emotions of the people around us just like we catch their colds. And, you know, it’s, so you want to be around people who are emanating that kind of an energy because they actually will lift you up. I remember one time I was in a meeting with his holiness, the Dalai Lama, we were with a small group of people. And I thought there was a negative guy there, maybe 30 people, and there was this guy in the room and he was really negative, and I thought, oh God, how is that gonna play out, you know? And the Dalai Lama walked in the room and his being is just so steeped in happiness, you know, he was one of the people that did a lot of the research on happiness and funded, not funded, but you know, collaborated with people in the research on happiness. And his energy so beamed that within just a couple minutes, this negative guy just couldn’t help but catch it. So, you know, you, we wanna be, we all know the experience of getting in the room with somebody who’s just a total bummer to be around. And right now, everybody’s got a picture in their mind of who I’m talking about, you know, that, it’s that uncle of yours or whoever it is. And you know what a drag it is. Likewise, when you’re around people who have that just inherent energy of joy, of happiness. It’s, you wanna be around it. So this is why happier people are more successful, people wanna be around them. If you have a choice of going to two dry cleaners, they’re right next door to each other, they’re the same price, but one has someone who’s just really a joy to be around and the other one has somebody who’s just totally grumpy, which one are you gonna go to?

 

Tom McCarthy

Yeah, yeah.

 

Marci Shimoff

We just gravitate towards the innately happy.

 

Tom McCarthy

No, that’s true, and in business, you know, I like to think that, you know, in certain areas, I’m a thought leader. But I never, I’ve learned never to try and go into any situation and try to be the smartest person in the room or the coolest person in the room, you know, try and compete on that level. I go in and I just try and be the most positive, like the happiest person. And it’s so interesting, like some of my clients, and these are people that, you know, are running, you know, $50 billion companies. They just, what they say is you just make me feel better. 

And so I don’t even know if it’s like this advice that I’m giving them that they’re, you know, paying me lots of money for, or if it’s that feeling, but at the end of the day, we’re feeling human beings. And when you’re around somebody, like we’re so worried about this coronavirus, the coronavirus, hey, get more worried about the happiness virus, like, you know, start spreading that because it is a virus that, as you said, we can catch it. You can be the person that starts spreading it today. One of the things that I like to do, and I’m not religious on this, I wish I were, but is start the day by just three things, three people that I either text something to just to make them feel good and, or, you know, quick call or an email, but three times in the morning. And by doing that, I feel better too about me, it just makes things, you know, so much better. So I love your analogy that you can catch it, let’s all start spreading the happiness virus. But it does start with us, so what are some things we can do to generate this emotion of happiness, no matter what’s going on around us?

 

Marci Shimoff

Good, so gonna to give you what I’ve found to be the most important things, but before I do, I just wanna comment on what you said. I don’t remember the exact quote, but Maya Angelou had a quote that was something like, people won’t remember what you said, they are gonna remember how you made them feel.

 

Tom McCarthy

Yeah.

 

Marci Shimoff

And Tom, I can say, having spent time around you, you know, we’re both in the Transformational Leadership Council, I always go away feeling uplifted in your presence. So I can, I really, I appreciate that perspective that you had, that when you go into these meetings with people, your role isn’t to be the smartest person, but to be the person that people walk away feeling uplifted and inspired.

 

Tom McCarthy

Yeah, you know, thank you, appreciate that. You know, I feel the same way when you’re around too.

 

Marci Shimoff

Oh, thank you.

 

Tom McCarthy

Yeah. So what can we do? ‘Cause I think like you, I don’t think I was born that way. I had challenges early on, my father passed away when I was three, I can remember being like a really serious kid, you know, very inner focused. You know, I think I was I guess kind of positive, but I was always, I had a lot of fear, anxieties. So for me, it is something that I’ve had to learn, like you said, you know, and, but now I think, you know, going back, thinking about what you said, I think I probably have changed some of even my genetics over time. How do people do that? I don’t know how I did it, I think it was luck and being around people like you that I could just feel infused by, but how can people do that?

 

Marci Shimoff

So Tom, what I know that you did is that you practiced some of these happiness habits but you didn’t know it. So you just unconsciously were doing some of these things, so what I found is that there are 21 main happiness habits and that they fall into seven main categories. So I’m gonna share with everybody, with you, the seven main categories. And what I want everybody to do is to pick out which one of those areas are you the weakest in. Because wherever you’re the weakest in, it’s your Achilles’ heel, that’s where I want you to focus. So Tom, you’re gonna be my Guinea pig.

 

Tom McCarthy

Yeah, and I like that strategy too, by the way. So you’re gonna give us seven, but everybody, pick one. Don’t worry about all seven, pick one that you can work on, and Marci’s gonna help us through. I’m the Guinea pig, I guess-

 

Marci Shimoff

Yes, you are. So it’s hard for people to remember seven of anything, so I created a metaphor to more easily remember it, I call it building your inner home for happiness.

 

Tom McCarthy

Okay.

 

Marci Shimoff

And a home has seven main components, it’s got a foundation, it’s got four corner pillars. It’s got a roof and it’s got a garden. And here’s how this relates to building your inner home for happiness. The foundation is taking responsibility for your life.

 

Tom McCarthy

Okay.

 

Marci Shimoff

It means you don’t show up in life as a victim. And the way you know you’re a victim, there are three victim behaviors. Blaming, shaming, and complaining. Blaming, blaming your life, blaming your circumstances. I can’t be happy because I had a terrible childhood. I can’t be happy because look who I’m married too. You know, blaming anything outside.

 

Tom McCarthy

Yeah.

 

Marci Shimoff

Shaming. Shaming yourself, that self-blame. You know, I can’t be happy because I’m just, don’t have it in me, I’m too stupid or I’m too this or I’m too that. And complaining, just complaining about everything in life. All of those will keep you stuck in victim behavior that, you can’t even get started on raising your happiness set point if you got that. So notice that as the foundation. Then there’s the four corner pillars of your home for happiness, and it’s the pillar of the mind, the heart, the body, and the soul. The mind is our thoughts. Do your thoughts support your happiness or rob you of happiness? The heart. 

Do you live with an open heart? I have never met a truly happy person who had a closed heart. So being openhearted means, do you have gratitude, love, kindness, generosity, forgiveness. Those are all signs of an open heart. Then there’s the pillar of the body, that has to do with your biochemistry. Do you have the biochemistry of happiness? Do you have enough serotonin, oxytocin, endorphins, dopamine? This, by the way, was where I was the weakest. And this is where I needed to need to continue to spend my greatest energy, is on that one. Then there’s the pillar of the soul. And then has to do with your spiritual connection in life. 

And I don’t care whether you call it God, the divine, nature, creative intelligence, doesn’t matter. Do you feel connected to a bigger energy in life? Then there’s the roof of your inner home for happiness, which is your purpose in life. Are you living a purpose filled life? Are you living inspired, do you wake up in the morning inspired knowing that you are doing what you’re here on this planet to be doing? And then finally, there’s the garden. And the garden is who you surround yourself with, and we talked about this already some, do you have a lot of toxic, negative people? I call them the weeds of the garden. Or do you have a lot of roses and gardenias, the people that uplift you and inspire and support you? So looking at those seven areas, Tom, you volunteered to be the Guinea pig, so tell me, where do you-

 

Tom McCarthy

I didn’t volunteer, you just told me I was but-

 

Marci Shimoff

Oh, that’s right.

 

Tom McCarthy

I’m happy to do it.

 

Marci Shimoff

You’re right.

 

Tom McCarthy

You volunteered me.

 

Marci Shimoff

I volunteered you.

 

Tom McCarthy

Yeah, yeah. No, that’s good, good. So you know, it’s interesting, as you went through those, as I look at my life, I think I could see several of them were at one point, it might’ve been the Achilles heel and now, and I’ve overcome, like for instance, early in my career, like my first job out of college, I was with a Wall Street firm. And I thought it was gonna be my career and I was gonna be so successful and happy and make a ton of money. And I wasn’t, I didn’t feel like I was living my purpose, right? And so then I moved out here to help run Tony Robbins’ company, and I got into, whoa, you can really feel, I felt fulfilled by really seeing people make these breakthroughs that were, transformed their lives. 

So that used to probably be one until I figured that out, that was in my 20s. Surround myself with people, I’ve always had really cool, great people around me, so that’s probably pretty good. Responsibility for life, I did feel like a victim when I was younger, like, you know, when I was five years old, six years old, didn’t have a dad. I think probably in my 20s, I kind of, or maybe in my teens, I shifted that one, but that used to be one. My thoughts. That’s one I work really hard on. My heart, I’m much more open now than I used to be. So I’m seeing these shifts. I would say probably body is still the one that I probably need to work on a little bit because I tended to have been a more serious person and introspective, and so maybe body, I don’t know.

 

Marci Shimoff

Yeah. I mean, body is an important one, we tend to be, in our society, we tend to be kind of, you know, walking heads and not connected. Real happiness means happiness in the cells of the body, head to toe kind of happiness. And there are some specific things that people can do to create more of the neurochemistry of happiness. And I’m sure actually the processes that I’m sure that Donna and David did with you, those are good for grounding happiness in the body. Excellent things. So I wanna give you, I wanna focus in, if we can, on a couple of these and give you some practices to do, is that okay?

 

Tom McCarthy

Yeah, that’d be great.

 

Marci Shimoff

So what I find people struggle with the most is the mind, is their thoughts, the average person has 60,000 thoughts a day, and for the average person, 80% of those are negative. You know, the scientists call it the negativity bias.

 

Tom McCarthy

And 90% plus are the same ones they thought yesterday, right?

 

Marci Shimoff

Exactly.

 

Tom McCarthy

Continue, yeah.

 

Marci Shimoff

Exactly and, you know, we inherited this negativity bias from our caveman ancestors who had to remember the negatives in order to survive, but we no longer need it. But we haven’t consciously changed those pathways, some people have, and Tom, you have. But most people, they Velcro, my friend Rick Hanson calls it Velcroing the negatives and Tefloning the positives, the Velcros stick, the positives slide off. Happy people have reversed that tendency. Let me give you an example. If you get 10 compliments in a day and one criticism, what do you remember at the end of the day?

 

Tom McCarthy

Yeah, no, exactly, you being a speaker, I’m a speaker, like you get the reviews and they’re, you know, glowing. And then you get that one person goes, well, but they didn’t do this, you’re like, what are you, what do you remember?

 

Marci Shimoff

That’s right, that’s where you focus. And what we need to do is reverse that so that we tend to Velcro the positives. So I’m gonna give you three things that you can do to, that scientifically proven to change the neural pathways in the brain, and they’re quite simple. The first thing is be on the lookout for the good.

 

Tom McCarthy

Yeah.

 

Marci Shimoff

Be on the lookout, pretend, one of the women I interviewed for Happy for No Reason says she pretends that she’s the Academy Awards committee. And her job every day is to give out five Academy Awards.

 

Tom McCarthy

Nice.

 

Marci Shimoff

So she just will be walking along the street, she’ll see a cute fluffy white dog, she’ll go, oh, that dog gets the cutest dog of the day award. Or she’ll see somebody doing an act of kindness for somebody else and she’ll say, that gets the kindest act of the day award. If you’ve got kids, do this with your kids, it’s a great game, being on the lookout for the good. The second step is you’ve got to savor it for at least 20 seconds.

 

Tom McCarthy

20 seconds.

 

Marci Shimoff

It’s been shown that it takes at least 20 seconds for the good to settle in enough to start to create a new neural pathway in the brain.

 

Tom McCarthy

Okay.

 

Marci Shimoff

So it doesn’t take anywhere near as long for the negatives to reinforce the old pathways. But for the positives to create new grooves in the brain, 20 seconds. So when you see that cute little fluffy dog, you go over to the owner and you say, you know, I give out Academy Awards every day and your dog gets the cutest dog of the day award. And you spend time actually ingesting that, digesting that, letting it in as though you’re having this delicious piece of chocolate pie and you’re taking it in, savoring it. If you see a sunset, you don’t just go, that’s a pretty sunset, but you savor it, literally set your clock or your watch for 20 seconds and savor it for that period of time. And then the third step is that you go for a three to one ratio. Three positives to every one negative. And the negatives happen automatically. They’re old brain patterns. So you don’t get down on yourself for having them happen. But you immediately replace it with three positives. And so those three simple steps together can help create new neural pathways in the brain, look for the good, savor it, and go for three to one ratio.

 

Tom McCarthy

Yeah, and that three to one ratio, there’s actually been research because we use this in business too, where if you fall below that, you degrade relationships you have with people, whether they be personal relationships or business relationships. And so that’s something that we even teach in business that, you know, you should be putting it out, we say four to one, but four positives for every constructive, it doesn’t even have to be a negative but, and the way you communicate, you start to, you know, over-rotate. And when you look at, like, you remember, you know Les Brown, Les Brown had a radio show or a TV show years ago, he was a friend of mine. And it was, you know, all on positivity and it got canceled. And then Tony Robbins, my friend Tony Robbins had a TV show that came out about people making breakthroughs and it, after like three or four episodes, it was canceled.

 

Marci Shimoff

Which I was really bummed by, I thought it was good, I liked it.

 

Tom McCarthy

Yeah, no, exactly, but what are people addicted to? And they’re addicted to the housewives of blah, blah, blah that argue the whole show and put each other down. And that show show’s been on for I don’t know how many years, this is probably never gonna get canceled. So we do have the odds stacked against us a little bit. Tony used to talk about, even in the dictionary, the percentage of words with negative connotations to positive connotations, it’s way over-balanced, I can’t remember if it’s five to one or something like that. 

 

So these habits, when people start to implement them, they might feel a little challenging because their brain might have, you know, be stuck in that old way of thinking. But I guarantee you, if you follow what Marci’s talking to you about, you make it a ritual, like she said, you’re gonna change your brain, your brain will automatically now notice things that are positive and happy and uplifting. And then it’s not like you’re having to work your tail off to create happiness, it’s gonna happen much easier for them, right, Marci?

 

Marci Shimoff

Absolutely, it really, and what I often find people say to me is this is so simple, I can’t work, I know that. Yeah, great, you know it, are you doing it? And it is that simple, what matters more is consistency. Baby steps and consistency, I’m gonna give you one or two other tips, and what I’m gonna suggest that you do is you pick the one thing that I said that resonated with you the most and you just try it out for a week or two and see what happens in your life.

 

Tom McCarthy

Yeah, I’m gonna ask all of you to do that too. So don’t try and do everything Marci’s asking, but pick one thing, at the end of this interview, pick one thing and put it into action for how long, what are you saying, just a-

 

Marci Shimoff

A couple weeks.

 

Tom McCarthy

Couple weeks to start, make that commitment. You’re gonna be happier. What else do you have for us, Marci?

 

Marci Shimoff

All right, let’s talk about the heart.

 

Tom McCarthy

Okay.

 

Marci Shimoff

And opening up the heart or living with a more open heart. We are stressed out as a society and stress puts us into a whole physiological state, it, we have different brain chemistry, brain rhythms from stress, heart rhythms from stress, and biochemistry. But we also can go into a state that science calls the love response. It’s got its own brain activity, heart rhythms, and biochemistry. And I wanna just give you an experience of going into the love response for just a moment. I learned this, this actually came from some colleagues of ours, Tom, the people at the Institute of HeartMath, at HeartMath, they’re the world’s leading researchers in the heart and happiness. And they’ve found that when you’re angry or frustrated for five minutes, it can suppress your immune system for up to six hours. But when you’re-

 

Tom McCarthy

Think about that, everybody that’s coming on to learn how to heal, listen to what Marci just said.

 

Marci Shimoff

Five minutes of anger or frustration can suppress your immune system for up to six hours, but five minutes of love and gratitude can strengthen your immune system for up to six hours.

 

Tom McCarthy

Nice.

 

Marci Shimoff

So what I wanna do is show you a process that I learned from them called the inner ease technique. It doesn’t even take five minutes, it’s gonna take us two minutes. And I want everybody to do it and then I want you to notice how you feel different after this two minute exercise. And once again, Tom, I’m gonna volunteer you to be my Guinea pig. How’s that?

 

Tom McCarthy

All right.

 

Marci Shimoff

You were so good the first time. All right, so this is a simple process, it’s gonna, as I said, take us two minutes, you can do it with your eyes open or closed. I think it goes a little deeper when you do it with your eyes closed, so I’m gonna ask everybody to close their eyes as I am doing as well. The first step is simply place the palm of your hand over your heart. Now, this simple act of putting your hand on your heart starts the flow of a chemical called oxytocin, which is known as the love hormone, it’s what we have when we feel bonded or connected with each other, but just putting your own hand on your own heart like this is starting more of the flow of oxytocin in your body. Now, the second step is to imagine that you’re breathing in and out through the center of your heart. It’s called heart-focused breathing. 

So you wanna breathe in through your heart and breathe out through your heart, now, you can allow your breath to go very deep into the belly, so it can be belly breathing. But it comes in through the heart on the inhale and out through the heart on the exhale. So you do that at your own pace. And you may start to already notice that you’re feeling a shift. But now here’s where the real juice comes in. Third step. On each in breath, I want you to imagine that you’re breathing in love, ease, and compassion. The exhales, you just exhale normally through the heart. But every inhale, breathe in through your heart as though you’re taking in love, ease, and compassion. Now, some people have an easier time remembering a time when they felt love, ease, or compassion, so you’re bringing into your heart that feeling from the past. Some people just like to think about somebody or even a beloved four-legged that instills that feeling in them, that works. And for some people, it’s just silently saying the words love, ease, and compassion to yourself. That will have the same effect. So a couple more deep breaths breathing into your heart, love, ease, and compassion. Breathing out of your hearts. One last time, breathing into your heart, love, ease, and compassion. And on your exhale, you can slowly take your hand away and when you’re ready, you can slowly open your eyes. And as you’re opening your eyes and coming back into the room, I want you to just, I want everybody to just notice. Do you feel any different than you felt two minutes ago, either emotionally or physically, in what way did you feel the shifts? So Tom, tell me.

 

Tom McCarthy

Yeah, well, this is one of my favorite exercises. So I do this every morning when I wake up and I do it in the evening, but yeah, it just, I feel so calm and just open and the room even seems a little brighter. It’s really wonderful every time I do this and, you know, sometimes I’ll wake up and I’ll think of, I’ll start immediately thinking about, oh my God, like, I’ve got all this stuff I gotta do today. And I just go, hold on, come right here. And so what Marci had us all do is one of my absolute favorites, thank you for sharing that with all of us, Marci, that was-

 

Marci Shimoff

Well, you know what I love about this is that you can do it, I do it when I’m standing in line at the grocery store, you can do it anywhere. And what I say is don’t take our word for it. Use your own life as an experiment. Try it a couple times a day for the next week or two and notice if you feel a difference in your life.

 

Tom McCarthy

Yeah. And if we were hooked up to machines that could measure, you know, what’s going on, there’d be some pretty cool things happening, right, Marci?

 

Marci Shimoff

Absolutely, you would be going into what’s called heart rhythm coherence, where your heart rhythms will go in a very coherent pattern versus most of the time, they’re moving in a pretty incoherent pattern. So it’s very cool to be able to actually see what’s happening when doing a process like that.

 

Tom McCarthy

Yeah. So maybe one more thing, and then I wanna make sure we let people know how to find you.

 

Marci Shimoff

Okay. Well, Tom, I’m gonna give you one that you might not have ever heard of before.

 

Tom McCarthy

Okay.

 

Marci Shimoff

It’s called a, and it’s for the body, it’s for helping create more serotonin, serotonin is one of the key happiness hormones. When you have more serotonin, you sleep better. Serotonin produces melatonin. Melatonin allows you to sleep better. When you sleep better, more melatonin, it ends up producing more serotonin, you’re happier the next day, the research shows that the quality of sleep that you got last night has a greater bearing on your happiness than, today than your marital status or your income level.

 

Tom McCarthy

I think everybody can identify with that ’cause you know what it feels like not to have not gotten good sleep.

 

Marci Shimoff

Right.

 

Tom McCarthy

How much more difficult it is to feel happy, yeah, when you-

 

Marci Shimoff

So this sunning meditation will help you not only feel happier, but will also help you sleep better. And I learned it from a qigong master named Gilles Marin, who, fabulous, fabulous guy. And all you do is you go outside ideally, and I’ll tell you how to do it if you can’t go outside, but if you can go outside, you go outside and you face the sun with your eyes closed. And I’m gonna repeat that again, with your eyes closed. Make sure you close your eyes-

 

Tom McCarthy

As kids, you know, our moms told us, don’t look at the sun.

 

Marci Shimoff

Right. So you’re not looking at the sun. You’re looking, you’re facing the sun with closed eyelids. And you’re imagining the sun’s beams coming in through your closed eyelids and hitting your pineal gland, which is in the center of the head, and warming up, lighting up the pineal gland. And then you’re allowing that sun to come in and light up. You can go down, let, have it light up your thyroid, your thymus gland, your adrenal glands. You just let it light up your whole system. You do it for about two minutes. And if you don’t even wanna bother with all that, you just have it light up your pineal gland for two minutes. And then you look down and open up your eyes and you’ll feel like you’re looking through polarized glasses. It just looks very different. And that really stimulates that serotonin. So if somebody comes to me and they’re depressed, unhappy, that’s the first process I’ll have them do. Do it twice a day for the next couple weeks. See what happens.

 

Tom McCarthy

Beautiful, now, you said if they can’t get outside or there’s not sun, what do they do?

 

Marci Shimoff

Good, good. If there’s some clouds, it’s okay, the sun is still coming through the top. But if there’s no sun, it’s raining or you can’t go outside, look at something beautiful in nature. It could be flowers, I could look at, these are flowers from my garden. It could be flowers or a plant. Looking at nature will also help create more serotonin.

 

Tom McCarthy

Wow. Well, you’ve given us lots of great things we can do, Marci. Happiness is so important and powerful in healing and in staying healthy, stimulating the immune system, and also just, you know, getting through life in a way where you’re joyful and really loving the experience. I think part of the reason, you know, people wanna live longer is because they want to be happier longer, but a lot of people give up on life ’cause they just, they’re not getting that juice, that happiness from it. So this is really, really great stuff. How do people find you, Marci? Where can they get more from you?

 

Marci Shimoff

So it’s very simple, you can go to happyfornoreason.com, and that’s happyfor, F-O-R, noreason.com. And I have a free gift for everybody on there. And that is a 21 page workbook that has every one of these happiness habits, the 21 happiness habits, and a practice that you can do with it. And I also have a happiness self-assessment so you can see where you are on the happiness continuum with that, so that’s it, happyfornoreason.com.

 

Tom McCarthy

That’s beautiful. And I would say that pretty much everybody on the planet can benefit from your work, Marci, even people who are happy, there’s always that next level or, as you said, there’s seven different areas that are influencing happiness and probably not very many people have all seven in order. So I love the way you’ve laid that out and allowed us to identify where that chink in the armor is and then giving us tools to be able to strengthen that.

 

Marci Shimoff

Well, Tom, the reason that I am, thank you for that, the reason I’m so passionate about this is that I truly believe people are saying, what can I do to help the world? Well, there’s a lot that we can do to help the world, I think, but I think one of the most important things is we can raise our own happiness set point. Because as I said earlier, when we raise our own happiness set point, we affect all the people around us. And there’s a beautiful Chinese proverb that I always love to share, I know we’re about to close, but I love to share this. 

 

And it goes, and it’s really why I do what I’m doing. It says when there is light in the soul, there will be beauty in the person. When there is beauty in the person, there will be harmony in the house. When there is harmony in the house, there will be order in the nation. And when there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world. And my prayer and my wish for every single one of us is that we know that light in our souls and through that, we live healthier bodies, healthier lives, and we create more peace here on this planet.

 

Tom McCarthy

And we don’t wanna fight with people or create war, it’s just such a beautiful way of living your life. Well, part of your gift was that you were born, as you said, maybe not the happiest person, because I think it would be hard for you to teach happiness if you didn’t know the other end of the spectrum. And your journey, taking yourself from where you started to where you are now has benefited so many human beings and I know it’s gonna benefit lot more before your time is done, so you got a lot of work left to do.

 

Marci Shimoff

Okay.

 

Tom McCarthy

Even though you’ve reached 16 million, I can’t remember, how many was it, 16 million, yeah, come on now. There’s a lot more people out there, Marci, and hopefully, all of you watching this will continue to follow Marci, check out her work, take advantage of what she has to offer. You’re a beautiful soul, Marci, really, really an honor and a pleasure to have you with us today.

 

Marci Shimoff

Oh, Tom, thank you so much. It was great, great, to get to be with you, as it always is.

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