Happiness Group

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About The Happiness Group and Mission

Our Community Synagogue Happiness Group is one drop in the bucket of a movement of people who are seeking answers to the question of increasing overall happiness.

Life is challenging and will always have ups and downs!  We can't promise that you will be 100% happy all of the time, but we are confident that we are able to gather the most cutting-edge information available on the science of happiness and deliver it in a fun, interactive, supportive environment, where all who seek to sustain a higher level of joy are welcomed to participate.  We hope that you will join us in our effort to improve ourselves and our ability to face adversity, bounce back from the dramas of life, and remain positive through all of it.  We aim to complain less, give back more, build community, and learn the tools to remain cool and collected in times of stress (and laugh too)!

Each session focuses on a topic, and we often invite a member of our community to share their insights related to that topic. The meetings last approximately one hour.  First, we mingle, nibble on some snacks, and listen to uplifting music. Then we are brought into our space with a relaxing, beautiful, and brief meditation to clear our minds.  After we hear from our speakers, we discuss what we've heard, and all voices are invited to participate.  Every participant is given a Happiness Journal where we take notes and place "nuggets" of information or tools on stickers. At the end, everyone is given some "homework" to think about or practice until our next meeting.

This group is open to the public and to people of all religions, and you do not have to be a member of the synagogue or Jewish to attend.

Your Happiness Group leaders (the “Happy Squad”) are Hayley, Macha, Cynthia, Missy, Evan, and Rabbi Pollak. We are always available for questions or to listen to ideas for future sessions. You can reach Rabbi Pollak at [email protected].

Where have we been?

Last year, our group tapped into some of the "hottest topics" surrounding promoting happiness. We learned about finding calm in body and mind, community service and giving back, and the importance of self-care.  We filled our toolboxes, made and built friendships and community, and we walked away from each session feeling pretty high in spirits and ready to take on the next challenge!

Where are we going?

This year our Happiness Group has developed "curriculum" focusing on specific ideals common amongst joyous people. We have six events planned for 2017-2018, and we hope that you will mark your calendars now and commit to sticking with us for all six (or at least most) meetings. Practicing happiness is not a one-time thing, but a process. For the list of upcoming events, see the reverse of this handout.

September 14: Happiness Kick-Off

We'll be setting goals for a happier new year and welcoming Rabbi Sam Pollak and Evan Mallah to our Happy Squad.  We will set our intentions for a sweet new year (and eat apples with honey to seal the deal). Rabbi Pollak will discuss how we align and straighten out our spiritual "kinks.” We will learn enlightening life tools for planning, prioritizing and goal setting.

November 30: Gratitude

Cultivating Gratitude leads to joy. Without gratitude, it is very difficult to leap over life's obstacles. Those who practice gratitude take the time to notice and reflect upon the things they're thankful for, experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems. We will take a deeper look at gratitude and how to incorporate it into our daily routines easily.

January 18:  Judgments, Preconceived Notions and Limiting Beliefs

We all have opinions, beliefs, or preconceived notions. We have noticed, in ourselves and others, a tendency to discount anything that falls outside of what we've decided we "like."  We will learn how to treat every experience as brand new and how to recognize our own limiting beliefs.  A simple shift in perspective can help us see that there is always something to learn from every experience.

March 15:  What is your Egypt?

Where are you spending your energy and efforts?  Taking our cue from the Passover holiday, we will explore how to identify what’s stealing our energy so much that you throw up our hands and settle for “Egypt” when the “promised land” awaits you.  What are we afraid to leave behind and why?  Whether it be money, health, success, popularity, friends, jobs, homes, vacations, more children– whatever it is– learn to align with your goals and break free from what doesn’t serve you.

 

April 19: Sprouting, Growing, and Glowing

With spring upon us, we cannot help but take in the beauty of earth’s nature around us.  How can we align with that sprouting and growth and be in unison with all of the change in our lives so that we are able to reach higher levels of happiness?  Learn how to plant seeds of internal change and how to nurture your own growth.  This session focuses on flexibility and self-care.

May 17: Slow to Anger

The words “slow to anger” are woven through our Hebrew Bible.  Control of temper is a critical component of sustained joy.  With the help of some experts from our community, we will share valuable tools that will help to slow our reaction, internally validate ourselves, and basically help to keep our noses clean and our minds guilt and worry free.   We will learn how to support ourselves through the process of decreasing our gut reactions.  With this knowledge, we can learn to release anger by pausing, taking a breath, and reconnecting with the ultimate goal: joy.

June 7: Humility

Where could we be more humble, and what would that look like?  Why is humility so important and how is it connected to our state of happiness?  We will deconstruct what it really means to be humble and how we can strengthen our humility muscles to ensure that we are taking up the right amount of “space,” without making ourselves or others feel small.