Happiness and Stress

As I sit at my little bistro table on my patio is sunny, warm California I’m contemplating how to Hit The Road Jenn! hang on to a bit of happiness in the face of life change stress.

I’m about to get up and continue the task of “what goes to Good Will and what moves with me”, sorting a life of accumulated stuff. Some with emotional connections to the event or the giver – somethings are more easy to let go.

What of my past life comes with me as I start into this adventure into the unknown?  I remember leaving home at 18 and being so happy to finally start “my” life.  Now there’s the knowledge of the paperwork, packing, sorting, figuring out where the new Whole Foods is, where to get a great mani-pedi and where the cool shoe stores are ; -)

I’ve loved my California life so it is bittersweet to leave.  So, how do I stay happy while staying goodbye to places, people, memories, getting focused and task oriented to get the job of moving done?

I was hoping by paragraph five I would have had an epiphany!  But alas, no….maybe another cup of coffee and packing procrastination will do the trick – heheheh.

I do keep thinking of the move as an adventure. I’m excited for the new hikes, getting involved with Geek Girls/Girls In Tech in my new town, oh and the new restaurants  shows, music and the exciting new opportunity that is drawing me there.  I am filled with gratitude for my life and my home here in Marin County.  I’ll miss Marin fondly I’m sure but I know the thrill of returning to a much loved place as a visitor so my love affair with the Bay is not over, just changing.  Plus SF is joining London, NYC and BVI of places that make me happy to visit!

Got tips for staying happy during big life changing events?  I’ll circle back in a couple months and let you know what worked…or didn’t work!



Image purchased from istockphoto.com

BOO! When Happiness Is Scary

We’ve all had those moments – utter despair, blinding rage, simmering anger.

It’s from that place that “happiness” is the most scary.

It’s scary because:

  • It’s almost inconceivable that we could be happy again
  • It’s such a huge shift that if feels uncomfortable to contemplate…much less actual do
  • It’s scary to fake it through because if you’ve lived long enough, you know that stuffing dispair, rage or anger just means it’s gonna leak out again later…probably at the most inconvenient time!

What to do?

First step: feel the feelings…no matter how uncomfortable.  If there is any way you get get alone for even 15 minutes to just have a crying jag or a hissy fit…it’ll help

Next:  don’t aim for happy, go for “neutral”.  Think about your basic human needs:  get enough sleep, eat healthy, nourishing foods, get out and breath fresh air, take a walk, exercise even.  Try to avoid sugar, alcohol and junk food…that stuff tends to take us on a roller coaster ride.  We feel better for a bit then wham we’re down again.  Try your own experiment here and see what works for you.

Then: When you’re at neutral, now it’s time to start thinking about being happy.  What made you happy in the past?  What are you dreaming about for the future.  What happy making things can you provide for yourself?

Need more tips?  Check out The Happiness Handbook for more info about how to clear the crap, decide what makes you happy, communicate it effectively and then…get your happy dance on.

This Halloween…hopefully only the trick-or-treaters will scare you!



First Official, Professional, Review!

Here it is…woo hoo!!

“Flaa’s guide aims to send the reader down the path of self-discovery.

After living through a divorce, Flaa finally decided that there was only one thing in the world that was going to make her happy: herself. But who was she? The answer came as she took the time to rediscover what she enjoyed and then tell other people about her findings. Flaa’s book explains how the author found her own fulfillment, and the author’s hope is that her readers will use the handbook to do the same…

Reaching a state of elation may be a process, but the work outlines three steps to get there: Decide what makes you happy, communicate your needs, and do a “happy dance,” i.e., express your joy. Along with this simple strategy, the guide presents plenty of different exercises and activities…

The aim of all these exercises, and the book itself, is to give the reader the tools they need to figure out how to find their bliss. For Flaa, taking an active role in the creation of one’s own joy helps actualize it.”

Kirkus Reviews – October 2012


Thanks Kirkus!



Entering Uncharted Waters….Radio Waves

Oooh ahhh….today was my very first radio interview (since I was 16 years old and won a speaking competition).  I practiced quite a bit…I slept not the night before (being a night owl…it actually was easier to just stay up all night for an East Coast show)

But truth be told…I was wired!  Not scared…excited.  This is the beginning of the PR push for the holidays so radio and TV appearances are being booked as I sleep!  It’s weird putting myself out there.  Telling my stories.  Letting strangers into my psyche (be gentle please)!

And it’s really rewarding.  Not long ago a woman called.  She was over 60 years old and had lived a life of service.  She’d never really thought about what made her happy.  She did the “Top 5 Things That Make Me Happy” exercise. Well…she found 13 things.  She told her lovely husband what they were and within 3 days he’d done 1/2 of them!  She called me in tears of joy at having her needs and desires met so quickly and enthusiastically and it mists me up just recalling the memory.

I told my stories in the book, thinking about when I was in the puddle of tears on the floor how I could have used some gentle guidance about how to get out…to hear that someone else had been down too and that really good things are yet possible.

Now’s the time when things are changing for me.  Strangers are reading The Happiness Handbook and I’ve heard back that many feel like I’m right there with them and that they know me. (and I suppose now they do indeed!)

That makes me happy…and it is a little scary giving up my privacy, so please hold that thought when you hear me on the radio.



When Women Soar…

Today is the first day of the Women At Woodstock Conference hosted by Ann Baker. My company is one of the sponsors and I’ve sent a couple books to be raffled off.

What I love about this women’s meetup is that it’s focused on helping women 50+ (that’s why I was outlawed this year giggle) renew and revitalize themselves so as they journey through Act II of their lives they can live big full, passionate, lives filled with vitality and grace.

So many times we (at any age) get stuck in a role, a job, a way of being that is us living lives that are less than full. Some times we forget our dreams…our passions…our lives.  Sometimes we’re too stressed to even go there in our thoughts because we can’t put yet one more thing on our plates…even if it were to help fill our tanks back up.

Thanks Ann, for creating a space for women to embrace emerging the fullness and richness of their lives.  I look forward to being old enough to play with you all!



Portland Women Rock!

Had lunch with the new chapter of eWomen Network in Portland Oregon today.  What a great group!  If you’re an entrepreneur chica in Portland, be sure to check it out.  I joined eWomen in SF when I was coming out of my post divorce cocoon.  I hadn’t socialized in awhile and I’d lost my mojo.

eWomen gave me a safe place to practice my business pitch, get clear about what I needed for my business and…the courage to ask for what I needed.  That…all need practice.  Plus I met many great friends that I still have today 🙂

The best part of the day…my speech didn’t bomb this time 😉  It’s thrilling for me to be able to share a couple tips in just 20 minutes and see the light bulb “ah ha” moment go on in people’s brains.  Very fun!

Thanks Portland.  Hope to see you again soon.



I’m The Bomb….aka I Bombed, I Really Bombed

Yes, that’s right…it’s my first official bomb.

Recently i spoke at a conference. I went on over 2 hours after they told me I would, the crowd wasn’t into it…so I cut my speech short…so short I left out all the juicy, funny stories and just hit the bullet points.  B.O.R.I.N.G.

But here’s the really interesting thing….There were about 200 people in the room, men and women.

1.  All the women sat there with their arms crossed in front of them with this expression of “I don’t need to be happy” on their face (well, not ALL of them but remember, I bombed so it seems that way of course).

2.  But when I was done speaking ALL…yes…ALL of the men came up and thanked me.  They really get it that I’m helping them win by helping women figure out what makes them happy and to communicate it to the guys more concisely.

3.  AND…none of the women said anything.

I thought that was interesting.

Now…off to figure out a backup plan if my part every gets delayed like that or if the crowd isn’t with me from moment one like I’m used to!  Not the best part of my day/life!