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In Pursuit of Happiness

This sponsored post is part of my ongoing project #ExperienceBuick. Throughout 2015, I will be experiencing Buick through a series of events and initiatives that reinforce what this American car manufacturer brand is all about. My trip to Los Angeles including all activities was paid for, but as ALWAYS, all opinions are my own.

Experience Buick Project

There are a thousand decisions that we make on a daily basis, most of them unconscious. Left foot out of bed first or right? Squeeze the toothpaste from the top or bottom? Feed the cat first or prepare coffee?

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To-Happiness- Kayla-Nicole
Photo credit: Kayla Nicole

Lots of choices, lot of decisions.

I personally feel that one of the most important choices we make every single day is the decision to be happy. It is a life choice I have made daily since April 2002 and it has profoundly changed my outlook on life.

People who know me today say that they generally cannot believe that there was a different Andi pre-April 2002.

Trust me, people, there was a BIG difference.

That Andi was a miserable person who made everyone else around her miserable as well. I was a kickass project manager, but woe is you if you did not do what I want. I was a fun friend, girlfriend, and wife that on a dime could turn into a raving bitch for no reason. Fun times people. Fun times.

Then one morning in April of 2002 I woke up and said to myself, “Man is it miserable being you! Get over yourself and get on with your life.”

And from that day forward I did.

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Illustration by Carrie Campbell

And honestly, I have never looked back. Does that mean every day is sunshine and roses? No, it certainly does not. But when there are problems, because problems are just a natural part of life, by facing life with a desire for happiness and positivity I can attack whatever is ailing me or mine from a much better place.

Why am I telling you all this?

A few weeks ago I joined some of my fellow #Experience Buick bloggers in Los Angeles for a 24-hour of Happiness event and was deeply and vividly reminded of the magical effect of this crossroads in my life.

Experience-Buick-Bloggers
The Experience Buick Bloggers

Buick brought together 6 happiness experts from interesting intersections of life and we spent the day and night learning about their thoughts on happiness and getting to your happy place via areas where they were subject matter experts.

Buick-Happy-Panel

I got to speak with:
> Shawn Achor, author and happiness researcher
> Chad Dennis, yoga instructor to the stars
> Amanda Chantal Bacon, wellness guru, and Moon Juice founder
> Jeff Kober, actor and meditation coach
> Irene Neuwirth, jewelry designer
> Dr. Dot, masseuse to the stars

The person who had the most profound effect on me was Shawn Achor, every word that came out of his mouth resonated with me and I walked away from our conversation with some excellent tips on choosing happiness in situations I would never in a million years think I could find a shred of happiness in.

More on that in a second.

Shawn Achor - author, happiness researcher, CEO of GoodThink Inc
Photo credit: Buick

Shawn Achor is a happiness guru who has studied the science of happiness at Harvard. He is also Oprah’s happiness coach and is consulted by numerous organizations, including the Pentagon! I tell you this because there is hard data to support happiness. It is not just because I currently live in Berkeley that I am telling you this!

If you consciously choose happiness you can trump genetics and experience. Happy people are more productive at work too. Happiness impacts your whole being.

Choose-Happiness

Because this was a Buick event we did speak about cars! The average person will spend about 38,000 hours in a car and it is typically considered the 2nd least happy time of the day (the 1st being when you are doing household chores). People in California (in places like LA and the SF Bay Area) spend an average of 101 minutes a day in a car.

LA-Traffic-Eric-Demarcq
Photo credit: Eric Demarcq

What could you do with that time?

Flip your commute on its ear. Consider the time in your car leisure time!

Many Buicks have noise-canceling systems. When your brain has too many stimuli it restricts your happiness, by being in a quieter environment, you don’t hear the road and you can focus on other things.

Stress is inevitable. Particularly the stress of driving in traffic if you live in California! Challenge yourself. Instead of getting aggravated, practice gratitude.

For every red light, choose one thing you are grateful for. For every one mile, you traverse in gridlock traffic, choose one thing you are grateful for. I won’t promise you that you will look forward to red lights or gridlock traffic, but it will definitely change your perspective.

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Photo credit: dalioPhoto

Since the event, I have taken Shawn’s words to heart. I have only driven to work once since then as I usually commute and it actually helped lower the natural anxiety I feel when I know my office is literally a mile away and that it’s going to take 30 minutes or more to get there.

Because I commute on BART most evenings I now think of something I am grateful for at every stop. I won’t say I love BART any more than I did before, but I do arrive home calmer and happier.

I am grateful to Buick for hosting the event and for the affirmation that by choosing happiness every single day is the right decision.

Buick-24hours-Happiness


The idea of test-driving a car for 24 hours at your own pace and in your own space is an amazing way to #ExperienceBuick. The Buick 24 Hours of Happiness Test Drive lets you take any of their vehicles out for a whole day on the road. All you need is your driver’s license, proof of car insurance, and a sense of adventure!

How about you? Is happiness something you think about and strive for? Have any recommendations on how to be successful at making that choice?

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62 Comments

  1. Yes! I’m much the same. I still let emotional frustrations get the best of me sometimes, but I’ve been making a conscious effort to change that. I’d love to be able to consult with a happiness guru or especially a meditation coach. I’ve been practicing meditation every morning, but I’ve only read about it — I’ve never given myself the opportunity to speak with an expert. I think that would be really helpful!

    1. @Katie, it was interesting to Speak to Jeff, but honestly I didn’t digest everything he was saying because I was geeking out on the fact he was on Sons of Anarchy!

      1. Ha too funny! I only got a couple of seasons in before I realized the characters were pretty much all jerks (murderous grownups in a bike gang — c’mon) and I didn’t really like them so I stopped watching. Justin finished it out though. 😉

  2. I discovered true happiness almost 4 years ago, when my nephew was born! I was there the minute he was brought into my sister’s room, after the c-section! He was perfect! My first nephew! After that, I have had some bad days, but nothing like before! I love every second I have with my nephew. And, now that there is another nephew on the way, I can’t imagine anything better than that!!!

  3. I love the idea of a 24 hour test drive! It really helps to decide if you like a car or not. I find that after a little while I can start to get the feel of the car.

    1. @Jeanette, I think it is a great initiative because it does take driving it for a bit to know if you really like it.

  4. I totally agree with you. Life can be rough, with lots of trials, but even in the worst of time we can control our attitude. We can still choose to be happy. I love that you can recall the crossroads. It would be fun to look back and be able to play out the “road not traveled” and see how things would have turned out if you hadn’t chosen the Happy Path.

  5. Andi, Almost every day I think about you on the BART and say a prayer for you. I picture you reading or writing posts in your head. Great things are ahead for you – just around the corner. Hold on and keep on keepin’ on. This Buick stuff is such a great opportunity. xoxo

  6. I do my best to try to be happy all the time. It;s not always easy, but I look at my kids and they definitely make me happy!

  7. I try to stay happy and positive most all the time. My job and my dog and my family are what makes me happy!!

  8. Choosing to be happy definitely makes a lot of difference. I always try to be happy and get rid of all the negativity. It’s not always easy, but the results are very rewarding.

  9. I understand that life has its fair share of ups and downs, but I have always been the type to strive for happiness no matter what the situation is. I believe having a positive attitude can make a world of difference!

  10. Everyone just wants to be happy. Personally, there are times that you feel you are left alone at the crossroads. My advice is to stop, back up a bit and look at things at a wider perspective. The road to your happiness starts when you take that first step down the road you choose. Smile! God loves you!

  11. A great way to stay positive is to have a box of affirmations! First, you make a list of all positive attributes that you find in yourself, and what you do. Then, cut them up in strips, fold them, and put them in a box. Then, any day that you feel down…pull out an affirmation, or two, and start feeling better!

  12. Thanks for sharing your personal story of choosing happiness. I wish I could do that myself because most days I’m miserable.

  13. find true happiness is not easy. I always be thankful for everything i have in my life. bad or good and always try to be positive.. but not easy

  14. Happiness for me was when I got out of my grief stage after finding out my oldest son has special needs and started to take charge. Nothing make me happier than when he’s happy and doing well.

  15. This sounds like it was an amazing event. Every morning when i wake up i try to list all the things i am thankful for, It helps me get into a positive mindset for the day.

  16. My grandfather always drove a Buick. I still remember the new car smell in his car. I love the look and the new technologies they’re offering now.

  17. My grandparents had several Buick growing up. My dad also owned two buicks. I had one too. They were great cars.

    I always strive to be happy. Some days with a chronic illness it is tough.

  18. I try to be happy each and every day. Stress and worry can sometimes change that but when I stop to see how precious life is, I reign with joy and happiness.

  19. This is so true, Happiness is a choice and I called it a wise choice, because being in a negative situation is a waste of time. It won’t get you anywhere.

  20. You are absolutely right on this. The choice whether to be happy or not does not depend on others, it depends on you and what you do. One of my favorite songs says it “Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
    There’s still time to change the road you’re on”. Thanks for making me remember this song today. I needed it.

  21. I love this, I suffer from really bad anxiety. I realize that it is changing me a bit and I don’t like it. I to fight to maintain my joy and not let anxiety take over me. I’m in the DC area so we have traffic like LA/San Fran/NYC. I’m trying to slow down more in life and stop and smell the roses.

  22. that’s so interesting you got to experience this!! i just finished reading the happiness project.. and though i was underwhelmed by the book.. it really started to make me think about how being happy can be a gracious act to others.. it doesn”t mean that you’re fake.. and there is a time to share your miseries and sorrows.. but sometimes you take one for the team and you are happy on behalf of everyone. i can’t imagine you being the pre 2002 andi you describe.. and honestly speaking.. not everyone gets to see this side.. but jacob knows… i am still a raging bitch! haha

  23. I test drove one car a stick shift (that I didn’t know how to drive, the salesman was teaching me) after about an hour I had it down and was shifting no problem. We got back to the dealership and he wanted to sign me up for the red one we were driving but I said no, I wanted the pretty blue and silver one I hadn’t stripped the gears on, lol !! He got so flustered, but I got the SUN I wanted !!

  24. I absolutely love the choose happiness theme – it really creates positive thinking and encourages people like myself to choose happiness over other non-happy feelings! thank you!

  25. Actually yes. I try very hard to not think about things in the past since they bring me down and I try not to feel sorry for myself. I have found calming exercises help me when I am feeling overwhelmed or when I have racing thoughts.

  26. Hey Andi !
    Thanks for this nice post , in fact i wasn’t aware who Shawn Achor was but after a read your article a took a look on him and after reading and listening some of his work, i find him very clever when he speaks about Happiness , especially on his book ” Before Happiness”.
    I know that in these hards days it is hard to find the happiness but if we are dedicated and being disciplined then everything is possible.
    Wish you good luck Andi