Ep. 20: Happy
ON THIS EPISODE:
Today we’re talking about happiness and how we can get more of it! We’ll also talk about G.I. Joe, Crafting competitions, home renovations, unicorn mail, and we’ll explore the heated arena of pillow talk - asking the question, how many pillows are too many for a bed?
Free Character Test: https://www.viacharacter.org/
10 Week Happiness Course: https://www.coursera.org/learn/the-science-of-well-being
Happiness Article: http://www.oprah.com/gethappy
Timeline: 31 minutes total
I’m Morgan Hansow and this is my husband, Dave - we’ve spent the last 20 years on a wild adventure that’s taken us to Africa, the Oprah show, and Hollywood.
Welcome to Chasing Unicorns… a podcast about giving ourselves permission to chase our dreams, explore our faith, and figure out who we are, all while trying to keep our crap together!
As Creatives, Humanitarians, and Parents, we’re learning (sometimes the hard way) that the hustle and pursuit of the elusive unicorn will never satisfy.
Each week we explore what it looks like to live authentic, passionate, and connected lives while being a part of a movement that’s trying to transform the world through story + grace.
Overview of today’s show -
Welcome to Chasing Unicorns! Today we’re talking about happiness and how we can get more of it! We’ll also talk about G.I. Joe, Crafting competitions, home renovations, unicorn mail, and we’ll explore the heated arena of pillow talk - asking the question, how many pillows are too many for a bed?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6Sxv-sUYtM - Cue the Happy song - can we get that to play for a little sound-bite? This is celebratory… Today is our 20th episode!!! 20 episodes in and we’re loving this...it’s so fun dreaming, creating and sharing this with you. In fact we got some Unicorn Mail today.... Perfect timing for a landmark episode! A box arrived and inside was a ENORMOUS unicorn head mask. And Dave’s wearing it right now! He’s got a pink horn and a bright rainbow mane and he looks AWESOME!
I guess! But really, if I’ve sounded weird it’s because I have this ridiculously HUGE mask on which I should probably take off right now. Morgan’s parents sent us this gift - thanks Jerry & Jo for this fantastic and magical surprise!
(as Dave is taking off mask) I’m thinking, we should totally convince one of the kids to be a unicorn for Halloween! This would be perfect!
While you’re taking off your mask and getting resituated, In other news, we were at a dinner the other night and Dave met someone who has also seen a Fireball! If you listened to Episode 18, we talked about the fireball Dave recently saw and we talked about the statistically the odds being SO low - one in every 200 hours of watching for one (which you don’t do - yours was just that freak chance of seeing one). But we met this guy (also named Dave) and he too had a fireball story. He does love astronomy, but his sighting was also just by crazy chance, but it was fun to swap stories and have that ‘me too’ moment and just be reminded that while it’s so easy to get caught up in our small little worlds, there is a BIG amazing world out there and beyond that there is a BIG mysterious universe!
All right, I’m back!
Welcome back! Welcome back! Welcome back! Welcome back!
Is there anything else we want to follow up on that comes to mind?
I don’t think so… well, maybe I can just say that Jadyn is rocking it in volleyball! After her first couple games where she didn’t quite get the game and didn’t have much confidence to move and/or hit the ball, Jadyn decided to work really hard in the backyard practicing. So this last week she served and bumped back and forth with anyone that was willing around here and she’s now not only starting, returning hits, and serving it consistently over the net, but she’s also playing with confidence! That’s probably the best thing for me as her dad, to see her joy and confidence soar because of her determination to work hard and commit herself outside of practice.
Yeah, it totally is that grittiness that is one of her greatest attributes! When she decides to commit to something or excel at something, there’s no stopping her. We’ve seen it with her in school—not letting her dyslexia hold her down—and now we see it in this! It’s such a great attribute…
And speaking of attributes and strengths, we’re going to actually come back to that in the Home Office Huddle, but first how about a ‘P
Holy Moments - a segment where we reflect, reminisce and remember the most ‘Holy’ moment of our last week.
MORGAN: So for this week, we’re gonna do something different, as a little bit of a teaser for our forthcoming Home Office Huddle, we’re going to give you a bulleted list of our top 5 Holy Moments from our last week.
DAVE: Yeah, the whole purpose of ‘Holy Moments’ is hopefully get us thinking along the lines that holy moments happen every day and we just have to get into the practice of looking for them - it’s basically learning to be present and practice gratitude, so without further ado, my top 5:
Going to the newly opened Redding Food Truck Park
Watching Jadyn a full on conversation with adults about angels and spirituality the other night - I just loved seeing her articulation and confidence as she engaged in conversation
The cooling nightly temperatures that have allowed me to enjoy the early mornings outdoors
Seeing the new blades of grass start to grow on the patch of grass I planted last weekend
Excitement after Jadyn won her first Volleyball game (against the best team in the league)!
And here’s mine:
Enjoying Asher’s company as we went to dinner in Sacramento and drove home from dropping our sister-in-law off at the airport
Taking the online “Science of Well-Being” class - love of learning is one of my signature strengths so I’m just really relishing in this
Watching Jadyn find her confidence in Volleyball and learning that hard work and practice pays off
I also loved watching Jadyn talk with adults - I took her to a consult last weekend to learn more about creating hair routines tailored to her hair type and it was fun to just watch her talk to an adult with confidence and composure - it reminds me that all my silly fears about her future that revolved around her dyslexia and learning disabilities, she’s going to be just fine!
And lastly, I got an impeccably timed card in the mail from a dear friend in Colorado - it was encouragement and life and a reminder that I have such great friends, even if they’re physically present in my day-to-day life.
It’s Home Office Huddle Time in which we Talk about what’s surfacing in our current pursuits—both personally and professionally—as a Husband/Wife duo.
This week we’ve been talking about happiness, specifically how to get more of it and we thought we’d share that conversation. I think this surfaced last week when you were reading an article right Morg?
Yeah, with our clean air, I was outside reading through the July issue of the Oprah Magazine when I came across an article about happiness. The article was entitled, ‘What would make you happy?’ and it was written by an Oprah staff member about an internal challenge where the entire Oprah staff were given the opportunity to take part in a 4-week experiment to boost happiness. They were going to try to take an online course called ‘The Science of Well-Being’ by a Yale professor named Laurie Santos.
And did you say that this course was the most popular class ever taught at Yale
Yes, Professor Santos came up with this new class called “Psychology and the Good Life” at Yale University and offered it during the Spring 2018 semester. It was her response to all the depression, anxiety and stress she was seeing and it ended up becoming the most popular class ever taught at Yale—I think 25% of undergraduates signed up for it!
That tells you something though, it tells you what people are craving, which is the good life, it makes sense if you look at things like the high rates of depression, disconnection & anxiety
Exactly! So this online course mentioned in the Oprah Magazine called ‘The Science of Well-being’ was actually based on the highly popular Yale course. The article was all about shifting perspectives, practicing gratitude, and fostering new patterns of intentionality in life to boost well-being. At the end of the article was a tiny footnote that said “Try this experiment yourself by visiting oprah.com/gethappy.” I turned to you and said, I’m doing this!
Well coming off of the hard weeks you’ve had as you’ve processed through pain and disappointment and other tough stuff, I was like, yeah, you should totally give it a go. And I honestly knew that if you were going to do it, I was also going to reap from it - not only in having a healthier and happier wife and partner, but I also know that the nature of our relationship is that we share and discuss what we’re learning, reading, and processing so I’d sorta be like I was taking the class too!
Haha! Well here’s the thing, the Oprah staff did a 4-week class but the online class is a 10-week course and it’s free (well, unless you want the certificate after, in which case it’s $49) but it’s taught by the same Yale professor, Laurie Santos and once you sign up you have a whole dashboard with videos, online readings, and short assignments that Santos has renamed ‘rewirements’ (exercises that are trying to get us to rewire our brains). I wanted you to sign up and officially do it with me but you’re busy because your job is the job that actually pays us AND let’s be honest, you’re naturally bent to be more happier, optimistic, and more full of gratitude like we mentioned last week.
That is true, it’s just how I’m wired.
Well, interesting that you say ‘wired’ because here’s something I’ve learned, science shows that happiness is 50% genetically predetermined! That is a lot, but you also have 50% or half that you can control which is pretty significant.
That is significant. Well already I’m finding the things you’re doing in weeks 1 & 2 super interesting - there were a few personal assessments and of course you sent me the links so I could take them too so we could compare where we’re at.
Yeah, the one was a happiness baseline assessment - asking a bunch of questions about fulfillment, engagement, meaning, relationships and health and it gives you a number on 1-10. Dave you were a 7.81 and I was a 5.25 (gulp! It’s almost embarrassing to admit that)
Well I was pretty surprised it was that low because on a day-to-day I’m not seeing you mope around the house like Eeyore but I also know you to be resilient and driven so I think it’s easy for you to stay busy and not let your emotions control you but it’s SUPER healthy to be honest and actually go after the underlying patterns and develop new patterns for well-being.
Exactly! And then the other assessment was super fasnicating - It’s an online test to determine your character strengths. The VIA Institute of Character has a free online 120 question test and at the end they give you a ranking of the 24 character strengths every person has varying degrees, in particular, your top 7 they call your signature strengths are those are where you are going to find the most fulfillment when they’re utilized. Should we share?
Yeah, this was awesome - not only can I see what my natural strengths are, but I can also see the strengths I have that take more intentionality to operate in (those in the lower range) AND I can see how you’re wired and how we compliment each other - because I don’t think we have any of the same signature strengths which I was pretty surprised by.
They also have a youth survey for kids 10-17, we had the kids take it and that was super insightful - Asher’s top 7/8 were: Forgiveness, Spirituality, Bravery, Love, Teamwork, Gratitude, Hope, Humor, & Self-Regulation. And then Jadyn’s top ⅞ were: Curiosity, Gratitude, Spirituality, Bravery, Love, Creativity, Hope, Forgiveness, & Humor. It’s REALLY insightful into our family dynamics because both the kids and I share in 5 of our top 10 character strengths whereas you only have overlap with us 3 in 1 strength which I find interesting bc both kids are actually super similar—they share 7 of the top 8/9 strengths. I expected Asher to be a bit more analytical like you.
I know, I was surprised too, I mean I’m basically the black sheep—it’s no wonder I’m constantly feeling frustrated and stressed in the home about scheduling and getting things done because none of you guys actually value it!!!! This is some REALLY good stuff that we work on to not only increase my happiness in the home, but create more peace in our home in general as encourage each other in our strengths - because the whole concept is that personal well-being and happiness is amplified when you’re operating in that sweet-spot of using your strengths. So the first week’s homework is to purposefully practice one of your signature strengths in a new way each day. And then this week as I’m in the second week, I’m learning the myths of happiness and then my homework for the week is writing in a gratitude journal and practicing the art of savoring (intentionally slowing down and enjoying/taking in a moment or a experience). With the gratitude journal, the rewirement is to write down 5 things you’re grateful for before bed every night because gratitude is almost like the door into happiness so if you can develop practices of action around this, you actually become happier!
Well I think of the G.I. Joe Fallacy that you showed me from the first week’s video - if you know the G.I. Joe cartoon from the 80s, it was always followed by a public service announcement where a kid would say, “Thank you G.I. Joe, now I know!” and G.I. Joe would answer: “Knowing is half the battle!” (Sound Bite: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pele5vptVgc) This Yale professor created this theory and and it debunks the mistaken belief that “knowing” is half the battle… merely knowing is not enough to put it into practice and merely knowing is not enough to change your behavior. I think we ALL ‘Know’ that being thankful makes us happier but the problem is that just knowing something doesn’t actually change us, we have to take purposefully actions and actually do things if we want change and want to be happier.
Absolutely, so there you have it… this has been the discussion in our home this last week - all the ways we’re working on fostering well-being, connection, gratitude, and happiness. And I’d highly encourage you to sign up for the free online class. Yes it’s 10-weeks but it’s only 45 minutes of videos, about 20 minutes of reading, and then another 20-30 minutes of ‘rewirements’ and they even have an app called rewi that you can use to help you. So what’s that? Like less than an hour and a half a week that you can spread out as you want. Super doable and if you get behind, you can just roll over to start a new session right where you left off so there’s no pressure.
Yeah, we’re going to post the link to the free online Course online, “The Science of Well-Being,” - if you sign up for the course there will links to the other baseline happiness assessments we mentioned but separately we’ll also put a link to the VIA Institute on Character in the show notes in case you want to find out what your character strengths are, which we highly recommend
And please share with us - we’d love an email or a voice message about your thoughts on the course or the assessments if you take them! Self-discovery is such a good thing!
Alright...Dave, take us into the depths with your a Deep Dive…
Friendship quote by Jordan Peterson (page. 82)
On the Screen - in which we visit and review what we’re watching this week
Last week was busy and full with family in town and different things going on so we did not go to the movies, although, we are gearing up for a four-day weekend because our kids have school off Thursday and Friday and so I’m sure we are bound to hit up the theater and will have some reviews for you next week.
And to be honest, our time in general for entertainment has been pretty much nonexistent this past week but here/there we’ve watched a couple of episodes of 2 new shows that we’re enjoying as a family and those shows are ‘Making It’ and ‘Stay Here’
‘Making It’ is a crafting show on NBC hosted by the amazing talents of Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman. We are big fans of ‘Parks and Rec’ here in the Hansow Home and so we really do love those two together - takes us back to the days of Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson. The show is a reality competition but with crafters/makers.
And let me just say that in addition to being incredibly talented, they are all so sweet together! In most reality competition shows you have people who are incredibly competitive and the producers create drama by pitting people against each other but I love that in this show there’s none of that. There’s nobody being made the enemy or being asked to pretend. In fact, everybody on the show is so kind and supportive to each other which is super refreshing. And you have the humor of Amy and Nick to balance it out. It’s just a light and fun show, plus it’s really inspiring to see people’s creativity at work in real time!
Totally! I give ‘Making It’ 8 out of 11 unicorn horns. And the other show is ‘Stay Here’ on Netflix. It’s about redoing Airbnb spaces. It’s fast-paced, fun and inspiring and the main designer is Genevieve from the TLC show ‘Trading Spaces’ back in the day.
Yeah, it’s fun watching a space get transformed but I also really enjoy seeing how the proper marketing techniques can help that space maximize it’s earning potential to bring in extra income for the homeowners. That’s really fascinating. Plus the bonus is that you get inspired with maximizing your own space in the process. Got some future #morganization projects brewing. So what’s the rating Dave?
I’m going with 8 out of 11 unicorn horns for this one as well.
Alright it’s time for Morganization - Check in with Morgan on a project from her never-ending ‘to-do’ list and help bring some accountability (and sanity) to our home.
This is long overdue, but we’ve been running long these last few episodes so we’ve been cutting this segment, but we left off the beginning of August checking in with you about our bedroom organization...how’d that go?
Well, it kind of looks like poo now because our bed is unmade today and there are pillows everywhere, but...
Which by the way, I need to interrupt here, pillows...a plethora of pillows are one of the things I’ve had to surrender to having in our bedroom and in our marriage. I don’t get the reason of having 15 pillows on your bed that you have to move off each night and then move back on in the morning after you make it!
Okay, it’s 7, not 15, there’s 2 big shams and then 5 smaller more colorful decorative pillows that add the pop! And it looks good when it’s made right!?
It does, but I just find it a nuisance and I’d love to know if I’m alone in this...maybe I’ll do an IG survey this week and we can follow up next week, okay, sorry for the interruption, carry on…
Okay, so I was able to go through our room and all the boxes and stuff...we hung artwork that had been sitting around for a year, I went through piles of papers and magazines and have some boxes and bags of things in the garage that we’ll be donating. The ONLY thing left are boxes of Asher’s LEGOs that I need to take pictures of and upload to Ebay. And there are quite a few of those - maybe 10-15 sets - they’re taking up a corner of our bedroom, so maybe that can be my next project?
I’m done for any way I can encourage you to purge and downsize and simplify, so yes! I will say, our room feels fresh and more spacious and I’m not having a small panic attack from the claustrophobic feeling I used to have when I entered it, so way to go! It looks great but it also feels great!
Thanks - so my next #morganization project are getting rid of the Legos!
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Brought to you By
“Today’s show has been brought to you by the words ‘’HAPPY.” The glory of God is Man Fully Alive and part of you living fully alive is purposefully engaging in the good life in front of you! Figure out your character strengths and what makes you come alive! Remember, knowing is not half the battle...you have to take action on what you know. We GET TO actively participate in creating our well-being and happiness! Maybe gratitude and savoring come easily, awesome, keep it at, you are a BRIGHT LIGHT, and the world needs you to stay healthy and keep shining! And if you’re like me and need some intentionality and motivation to get into the rhythm of practicing gratitude, make it a daily priority and practice. You manage our own happiness, so give yourself permission to take care of you and foster gratitude and happiness in your heart and home! The World NEEDS you radiant and FULLY ALIVE!
“Until next week...keep embracing the mystery, asking questions, and giving yourself permission to enjoy the process. And watch out for those freakin’ unicorns...they’re glitzy and shimmery and full of crap!” ;)