In Pursuit of Happiness

Experience Buick Project

Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!). Opinions are always my own and I’ll never promote something I don’t use or believe in.

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.

In-Pursuit-of-Happiness-Carrie-Campbell-660
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.

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 that they were subject matter experts of.

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, 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.

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 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.

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-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.

stoplight-heart-dalio-Photo
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 buick.com/happiness.

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.

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! 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?

59 Comments

  1. Katie @ Domestiphobia
    August 20, 2015

    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!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      August 22, 2015

      @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!

      Reply
      1. Katie @ Domestiphobia
        August 24, 2015

        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. 😉

        Reply
  2. Kristin K
    August 20, 2015

    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!!!

    Reply
  3. Jeanette
    August 20, 2015

    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.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      August 22, 2015

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

      Reply
  4. Shaney Vijendranath
    August 20, 2015

    Definitely! My aim is for my family to always be happy and to be in a happy marriage. I’ve had a rough couple days being stressed with work but still smiling. 🙂

    Reply
  5. Kelly
    August 20, 2015

    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.

    Reply
  6. jen
    August 20, 2015

    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

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      August 22, 2015

      @Jen, I love knowing that you are thinking of me on a daily basis!

      Reply
  7. Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle
    August 20, 2015

    There are so many times in my life that a sign reading “happy” or “dragons” would have benefited me. LOL. I think most people can say that, though.

    Reply
  8. Robin Rue (@massholemommy)
    August 20, 2015

    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!

    Reply
  9. Elizabeth H.
    August 20, 2015

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

    Reply
  10. Liz Mays
    August 20, 2015

    What an awesome perspective on happiness. I had no idea there were people who were considered experts on the subject!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      August 22, 2015

      @Liz, me either, it was pretty fascinating to learn about!

      Reply
  11. Ourfamilyworld
    August 20, 2015

    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.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      August 22, 2015

      @OurFamilyWorld, agree!

      Reply
  12. HilLesha
    August 20, 2015

    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!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      August 22, 2015

      @HilLesha, I totally agree!

      Reply
  13. Tanya C. {@Treats by Tanya}
    August 20, 2015

    Buick is leading the way with bringing customer satisfaction back! Next week we plan on car shopping, maybe we should be looking at Buicks!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      August 22, 2015

      @Tanya, do it! And with the 24-hours of Happiness campaign you can test drive it without stress.

      Reply
  14. Annemarie LeBlanc
    August 20, 2015

    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!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      August 22, 2015

      @Annemarie, well put and I totally agree!

      Reply
  15. Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly
    August 20, 2015

    Enjoy the journey while on the pursuit of happiness as that is what it’s all about! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      August 22, 2015

      @Tracy, agree!

      Reply
  16. Kristin K
    August 21, 2015

    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!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      August 22, 2015

      @Kristin, that is an awesome idea!

      Reply
      1. Kristin K
        August 22, 2015

        Thanks! It’s not mine. I learned during a group therapy session!

        Reply
  17. Bonnie @ wemake7
    August 21, 2015

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

    Reply
  18. rika
    August 21, 2015

    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

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      August 22, 2015

      @Rika, it is definitely not easy, but it is worth it.

      Reply
  19. Ashleigh Walls
    August 21, 2015

    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.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      August 22, 2015

      @Ashleigh, that is a good goal to have.

      Reply
  20. Ann Bacciaglia
    August 21, 2015

    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.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      August 22, 2015

      @Ann, that is a great daily exercise to do.

      Reply
  21. Dina
    August 21, 2015

    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.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      August 22, 2015

      @Dina, what they are doing today is pretty amazing!

      Reply
  22. Uplifting Families
    August 21, 2015

    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.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      August 22, 2015

      @Christy, keep your head up!

      Reply
  23. Michele D
    August 22, 2015

    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.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      August 22, 2015

      @Michele, that’s the way to do it!

      Reply
  24. Chubskulit Rose
    August 22, 2015

    When it comes to happiness, I am ery easy to pleasae and any little things that we do as a family makes me happy. We never had a Buick so tis is a nice read.

    Reply
  25. Manu Kalia
    August 23, 2015

    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.

    Reply
  26. Bradley Finnearty
    August 24, 2015

    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.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      August 24, 2015

      @Bradley, I love that, I am going to have to check out that song!

      Reply
  27. Camels & Chocolate
    August 24, 2015

    How cool would it be to have “happiness expert” as a bullet point on your resume?!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      August 24, 2015

      @Kristin, I know! He was fascinating to talk to!

      Reply
  28. Mimi "MimiCuteLips" Green
    August 24, 2015

    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.

    Reply
  29. Esther of Local Adventurer
    August 30, 2015

    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

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      September 2, 2015

      @Esther, I am sure that Jacob would say you are an angel 😉

      Reply
  30. Diana Ware Page
    August 31, 2015

    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 !!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      September 2, 2015

      @Diana, I love this story!

      Reply
  31. Gimm
    September 14, 2015

    The idea of test-driving a car for 24-hours
    Is simply awesome. Plus I like the images you used in here.

    Reply
  32. Emily Benzing
    September 17, 2015

    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!

    Reply
  33. Shannon
    September 18, 2015

    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.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      September 28, 2015

      @Shannon, I see so many people fall into that trap, such a good reminder that hindsight is 20/20!

      Reply
  34. Kamagra Uk
    November 25, 2015

    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

    Reply

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