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In Pursuit of Happiness

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Experience Buick Project

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, but as ALWAYS, all opinions are my own.

To-Happiness- Kayla-Nicole

Photo credit: Kayla Nicole

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?

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.


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-hours of Happiness event and was deeply and vividly reminded about the magical effect of this crossroads in my life.


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 that they were subject matter experts of.


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, included 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.


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 happiest 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.


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-cancelling systems. When your brain has too much 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.


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.

Every happiness expert at the Buick 24-hours of Happiness event shared great tips for finding happiness and Buick has produced tons of great content including videos and podcasts (along with fascinating research). If you are interested, check it out at

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

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! See participating dealers on the happiness site.

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

Currently August 2015
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