Nataly Kogan: Happier Now

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May 1, 2018

Nataly Kogan is a public speaker, author, and the founder of the training organization Happier. With Sounds True, she has published the book Happier Now: How to Stop Chasing Perfection and Embrace Everyday Moments (Even the Difficult Ones). In this edition of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with Nataly about redefining happiness not as a state where we experience no negative feelings whatsoever, but as a skill we must constantly hone. Nataly shares some of her life story, including her childhood experiences as a refugee and why she spent much of her life chasing the unattainable goal of “I’ll be happy when . . .” Tami and Nataly also discuss the benefits of maintaining a regular gratitude practice, then walk listeners through a five-minute “happiness workout” that can be done on the spot. Finally, they talk about how personally fulfilling creative activities can actually make us more productive and help us practice the everyday skills of happiness. (67 minutes)

Nataly Kogan is an entrepreneur, speaker, and author on a mission to help millions of people cultivate their happier skills by making simple, scientifically backed practices part of their daily life. Nataly immigrated to the US as a refugee from the former Soviet Union when she was 13 years old. Starting her life in the projects and on welfare, she went on to reach the highest levels of corporate success at companies like McKinsey & Company and Microsoft. When she still found herself unfulfilled, Nataly set out to discover what really leads to a fulfilling, happier life. Her explorations led her to create Happier, a company whose award-winning mobile application, online courses, and “Happier at Work” training programs have helped more than a million people improve their emotional health.

Nataly is a sought-after keynote speaker and has appeared in hundreds of media outlets, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, TEDxBoston, SXSW, The Harvard Women’s Leadership Conference, and The Dr. Oz Show. She is a self-taught abstract artist and a devoted yogi. Nataly lives with her husband Avi and daughter Mia outside of Boston, although Nataly will always be a New Yorker at heart. For more, visit happier.com.

Author photo © Jonathan Gershon Stark

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Founded Sounds True in 1985 as a multimedia publishing house with a mission to disseminate spiritual wisdom. She hosts a popular weekly podcast called Insights at the Edge, where she has interviewed many of today's leading teachers. Tami lives with her wife, Julie M. Kramer, and their two spoodles, Rasberry and Bula, in Boulder, Colorado.

Photo © Jason Elias

Also By Author

Nataly Kogan: Living in a Friendly and Joy-Filled Univ...

What brings you your greatest joy? How do you access your inner “awesome”? Nataly Kogan has made it her life’s work to help people overcome burnout and break free from endless busyness. In this podcast, Tami Simon speaks with Nataly about her new book, The Awesome Human Journal, and the practical steps we can begin to take right now to shift out of self-defeating thought patterns (and their corresponding emotions), reclaim our energy, and share our gifts with the world. 

Tune in as Tami and Nataly discuss insights from neuroscience that everyone should know; the human brain’s negativity bias; creating a better relationship with your thoughts—a key to well-being and emotional fitness; the worst-case scenario exercise; finding certainty in uncertain times; working within your sphere of impact; cultivating agency; freedom from skepticism and mistrust; living an aligned life in a universe that is friendly; energetic self-care; breaking the habit of denying ourselves joy; changing our habitual frame of reference to something positive and supportive; and more.

Note: This episode originally aired on Sounds True One, where these special episodes of Insights at the Edge are available to watch live on video and with exclusive access to Q&As with our guests. Learn more at join.soundstrue.com.

The Awesome Human Project

Nataly Kogan is an entrepreneur, speaker, and author on a mission to help people cultivate their “Awesome Human” skills by making simple, scientifically backed practices part of their daily lives. The author of the books Happier Now and The Awesome Human Project, she has appeared in hundreds of media outlets, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, TEDxBoston, SXSW, and the Harvard Women’s Leadership Conference. In this podcast, Sounds True founder Tami Simon speaks with Nataly about how we can live in a way that enables us to thrive while we give all of our gifts. They also discuss developing the five skills of emotional fitness; the practice of “struggle awareness” when faced with a challenge; overcoming the brain’s negativity bias, and the art of “courageously talking back to our brains” with kindness and compassion; the five traits of the Awesome Human; a leader as someone who positively impacts another person’s ability to flourish; sharing your emotional “whiteboard” to support the best possible interactions with others; the concept of “surface acting” at work and how it contributes to burnout; investing in a daily check-in with yourself; the power of self-compassion and self-acceptance; self-care as the skill of fueling your emotional, mental, and physical energy; and connecting to your “bigger why.”

4 Ways to Practice Gratitude This Holiday Season

The holiday season can be hectic and overwhelming, with many mixed emotions, from excitement to stress. It’s the perfect time to commit to a daily practice of gratitude which will help you experience more moments of contentment and joy and give you resilience to handle the many challenges (including travel and stressful relatives). And when you share your gratitude with others, you help them feel seen, valued, elevated, and help yourself feel more closely connected to people in your life. Here are four ways to practice gratitude this holiday season. 

Say Thank You and Mean It

When you thank someone, be intentional about it and put your heart and appreciation into your words. Take a moment, pause, look them in the eye, smile, and say ‘Thank you’. If there is something specific you want to thank them for, do it, go the extra step, that’s awesome.

Daily Gratitude Bookends

Begin and end your day by writing down a few things you’re grateful for. Literally bookend your day with gratitude. If you’re not a journaling type, that’s fine—how about sharing what you’re grateful for with someone else, like a family member, friend, or co-worker—in-person or via text or email. You won’t just be practicing gratitude for yourself but inspiring them to do it also. Remember to be as specific as possible and don’t neglect really small moments.

Gratitude Zoom

If you’re feeling down or caught in a negativity spiral, pause and challenge yourself to find something you can appreciate within your experience, however small. For example, if you’re sad about being sick and missing out on what you would rather be doing, can you feel grateful that you have medicine or a comfortable place to recover or people around to help care for you?

Gratitude Antidote

When something stresses you out—too much traffic, an annoying colleague, etc.—use it as a reminder to practice gratitude. You don’t have to be grateful for whatever is stressing you out, but use it as a nudge to pause, take a breath, and think of something, however small, that you are grateful for in that moment. When you do this, you prevent your brain from going into a negativity spiral, where one annoying thought brings on another, and another, and another, until you have a really rough day.

 

Nataly Kogan is an author (Happier Now), speaker, and the founder of Happier. Her work has been featured in hundreds of media outlets, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, TEDx Boston, SXSW, and Dr Oz. Nataly lives with her husband and daughter in Boston. For more, visit happier.com.

 

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We recommend starting a podcast club with friends or family to do these practices together. Links and assets to help prompt reflection and build community can be found with every episode on WeAreTheGreatTurning.com.

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Both of these episodes are about the second phase in the Spiral of the Work That Reconnects, Honoring Our Pain for the World. This bonus is a recording of Joanna leading a meditation called Breathing Through, recorded at a retreat in 2006. In it, she’ll guide you to create space to acknowledge and honor the pain for the world that you carry without numbing or getting overwhelmed. All you’ll need for this bonus exercise is a place where you can close your eyes and relax.  

We recommend starting a podcast club with friends or family to do these practices together. Links and assets to help prompt reflection and build community can be found with every episode on WeAreTheGreatTurning.com.

 

Ep 5: This Pain Is Not for Nothing

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Joanna and Jess speak with great vulnerability and candor about what it takes to navigate our darkest feelings—and the strength and beauty that can be found when we honor our pain. 

Trigger Warning: In this episode, we discuss suicide.

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We recommend starting a podcast club with friends or family to do these practices together. Links and assets to help prompt reflection and build community can be found with every episode on WeAreTheGreatTurning.com.

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