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Tessa Stowe – The Roadmap to Happiness

Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.

Stu: This week we welcome Tessa Stowe to the show. Tessa is the Happiness Pathfinder who found a path back to happiness for herself and shares it with others. Her expertise is on the subject of reclaiming happiness and being as happy as one can be.

In this interview we discuss why so many of us are unhappy and the tools, tips and strategies to fix this, enjoy …

Audio Version

downloaditunesListen to Stitcher Questions we ask in this episode:

  • What is true happiness?
  • Why are so many of us unhappy?
  • What strategies can we learn to become happier?

Get More of Tessa Stowe

Download your Happiness Roadmap Below:

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Full Transcript

Stu

00:03 Hey, this is Stu from 180 Nutrition. Welcome to another episode of The Health Sessions. It’s here that we connect with the world’s best experts in health, wellness, and human performance in an attempt to cut through the confusion around what it actually takes to achieve a long-lasting health. Now I’m sure that’s something that we all strive to have. I certainly do.

00:23 Before we get into the show today you might not know that we make products too. That’s right. We’re into whole food nutrition and have a range [00:00:30] of super foods and natural supplements to help support your day. If you are curious, want to find out more, just jump over to our website. That is 180 Nutrition dot com dot AU and take a look.

00:41 Okay. Back to the show. This week I’m excited to welcome Tessa Stowe. Tessa is known as the Happiness Pathfinder who has made it part of her life’s purpose to decode the science around happiness to create practices that everyone can follow that ultimately leads to a happier life.

00:59 In this [00:01:00] interview we discuss her journey that led her to this path and also the habits and behaviors that are subconsciously making us unhappy. What it ultimately boils down to is that life really sucks when we’re not happy. I encourage you to sit down, relax, and enjoy this conversation. Over to Tessa.

01:20 Hey, guys. This is Stu from 180 Nutrition and I’m delighted to welcome Tessa Stowe to the podcast. Tessa, good morning. How are you?

Tessa

01:28 Good morning, Stu. Stu? [00:01:30] Stuart? Both?

Stu

01:31 Oh, look, Stu. Stu to my friends. In fact, Stu to everybody. Feel free to Stu away.

Tessa

01:37 Okay. I’ll Stu away with Stu today.

Stu

01:41 Thank you so much for joining us. Before we get into the questions today I’d just love it if you could tell our listeners a little bit about who you are and what you do.

Tessa

01:51 Who am I?

Stu

01:52 Yes.

Tessa

01:52 Gosh, that’s a big question.

Stu

01:53 Who are you?

Tessa

01:56 Well, my name is Tessa Stowe and I’m all about [00:02:00] helping people fast-track their happiness, particularly after a significant event has sucked it out of them. I do that with happiness recipes and we’ll talk about those as we go. Essentially they’re very fast, fun, effective, and you can fit them into your day.

02:19 I actually got into this … I’m not a counselor, I’m not a therapist, I’m not any of those things. It’s more from my [00:02:30] life experience and I’ve also really studied and connected with a lot of the world’s leading experts on happiness and behavior.

02:38 Right.

02:38 I got into this because basically I was tricked. I was tricked.

Stu

02:44 Intrigued.

Tessa

02:45 I was tricked. In 2013, November the 29th … November the 17th. Gosh, how can I get the date wrong? November the 17th, my husband died from brain cancer.

Stu

02:58 Oh, dear.

Tessa

03:00 [00:03:00] Yes. It was terrible. I just basically … Roll forward like five months. I was living in bed. Yeah. For days, if not weeks. I didn’t want to get up. What was the point? My life had absolutely no meaning. I mentioned this to my grief counselor and so she said to me, “Tessa, will you do one little thing for me?” I said, “Well, as long as it’s little.”

Stu

03:28 Right. Yeah.

Tessa

03:30 It has to be [00:03:30] little. She said, “Okay. When you wake up in the morning get up, put your clothes on, and walk across the road.” I went, “Hmm.” I said, “Then what?” She said, “Well, you can turn around and go back to bed if you like.” I went, “Okay. That’s easy enough.”

Stu

03:49 Yeah.

Tessa

03:49 It was only little and I’m a person of my word and I really liked Anne, my grief counselor, and so I did it. It was amazing. [00:04:00] Sometimes I’d cross the road and I’d go, “Okay, I’m here” and I’d just pivot and go back to bed.

Stu

04:05 Right.

Tessa

04:07 Other days I would go, “Wow. Since I’m here I might as well keep walking.”

Stu

04:12 Right. Yeah.

Tessa

04:14 I would end up walking for 30 minutes or an hour and I went, “Wow. This is really cool.” I got really fascinated by the fact that she got me just to do a little thing and I ended up doing a big thing.

Stu

04:27 Right.

Tessa

04:27 I thought, “There’s something in this.” I [00:04:30] thought, “Maybe I can use this to somehow get myself to be happier if I can just figure out what I’m supposed to do to be happy.” About the same time, I don’t know how it happened but synchronicity, I connected with BJ Fogg. Have you heard of BJ Fogg, Stu?

Stu

04:50 I have heard the name but I can’t place the face.

Tessa

04:55 Well, he’s the world’s leading behavior scientist and [00:05:00] he’s developed this method. It’s called the Tiny Habits method, which basically is all about getting you to create habits. Really fast, quick, and easy.

Stu

05:11 Right.

Tessa

05:11 It was funny because there I was in my own fog, coming out of it, and meeting Fogg. BJ Fogg. We connected and I got very involved with him and his work and his methodology. Then at the same time on the other side I started really studying the scholars and the scientists to find [00:05:30] out what really makes you happy.

05:31 It’s interesting. When you go through a significant event and you come out of it and your happiness is kind of like [inaudible 00:05:39] you realize that a lot of the stuff that you thought was supposed to make you happy or you were told to is just a load of, let’s be polite, bollocks.

Stu

05:48 Yup.

Tessa

05:51 I kind of [inaudible 00:05:51] of all of it and then I ended up putting the two together like what really works and with BJ Fogg’s methodology [00:06:00] and came up with these happiness recipes. It’s just been an amazing journey. Yeah. That’s me.

Stu

06:11 Very, very keen to get into those strategies then in a minute. First up, I’m curious as to how … I mean, you’re the happiness guru.

Tessa

06:25 I hate that word guru. I don’t think anybody is a guru. I don’t like expert, guru, because [00:06:30] there’s always something else. You know what I mean?

Stu

06:33 Oh, that we’re always learning but certainly you know a damn sight more about this than me so that makes you an expert in my eyes.

Tessa

06:43 Oh, okay. Okay. In that context, I accept guru.

Stu

06:47 Okay. How would you personally define happiness? Some people think, “Well, I’ve got to be rich to be happy.” Other people … I’ve traveled quite extensively around the world and for me it seems to be the people [00:07:00] that appear to be the most happy were the ones that had almost nothing to their name.

Tessa

07:04 I know. It’s amazing. That’s one of the reasons I love travel as well because you just … It’s amazing. Happiness, there’s two components. It’s a feeling good in the moment, feeling joyful, feeling appreciative, feeling love, feeling connected, kindness. That is part of happiness.

07:29 There’s [00:07:30] another part to it, though, which is having a feeling that your life is meaningful and that you’re making an impact and your life is worth living.

Stu

07:39 Right.

Tessa

07:42 I kind of nailed the bit about feeling good. I worked that out, how to do things with these recipes, how to do things so that I was feeling good in the moment, but I remember something knocked me off my perch [00:08:00] and I ended up back in bed.

Stu

08:03 Right.

Tessa

08:06 That’s another story but you’re not happy all the time. Even as a happiness guru. I was back in my bed and I’m lying there and I’m thinking, “This is really strange. I’m supposed to be the happy person.” I’m going, “Well, it’s because I don’t have a meaning. What’s my meaning?”

08:24 My husband was my whole life. He was my why and he had gone. I realized [00:08:30] that happiness is also having a meaning, a reason to get out of bed every morning.

Stu

08:37 Yeah. A life’s purpose, right?

Tessa

08:38 A life’s purpose. Something. It doesn’t have to be like change the world, right?

Stu

08:41 No.

Tessa

08:43 It just could be like raising your children or connecting with your neighbor or something. I was struggling lying there thinking, “What’s my purpose? I have no meaning.” I thought, “I’ve just got to nail that one and then I’m fine.”

08:59 I [00:09:00] did. My meaning is really sharing my journey and inspiring others and helping others with this happiness recipes. That gets me out of bed in the morning because I write about it, I talk to people about it, I help people, I’ve got happiness … I’ll talk about [inaudible 00:09:25] coming up.

09:27 It’s that and plus my husband had … [00:09:30] A bit of a story, a sad story rather, but basically he … For the course, he was in the South African Army, he destroyed water wells in Africa and he had an extreme guilt around that. He wanted to do something about that.

09:49 He died before he could. I want to actually do that as well is fund water wells in Africa. I’m just bubbling with meaning [00:10:00] now. I’ve got a lot to do. That just made a huge difference.

 

10:06 In summary, happiness is feeling good in the moment with those feelings but having a meaning, a reason to get out of bed. People don’t … Please don’t stress out that it’s got to be monumental, huge, big. It can be just something like a meaning is to go out there and connect with one person today and make them feel good. It’s just whatever is meaningful for you.

Stu

10:29 Great. [00:10:30] No, that’s great. Important to note then that you didn’t in your explanation of happiness talk about, “Well, I just won that fancy new car” or the latest iPhone and just constant holiday. It’s not possession-based. It’s very much …

Tessa

10:48 No. No. In fact, we are completely misled about happiness and what causes happiness. There’s the [00:11:00] scientific stuff if you research all that. They say the 50/40/10. They’re saying 50% is determined by your genes, 40% is by your actions, your own actions, what you actually do, and then 10% is by that fancy car, the house, all that stuff. We’re misled to think that 10% is a lot bigger.

Stu

11:28 Yes.

Tessa

11:29 It’s only 10%. [00:11:30] When you get that fancy car … I don’t know if you’ve noticed. If you go buy a fancy car you get a little blip of happiness and then you go, “Oh, I’m not happy anymore” so you want to buy a bigger car to get a bigger blip.

Stu

11:43 Yeah.

Tessa

11:43 And a bigger blip. Yes. It’s interesting. Just one point is 50/40/10, 50 by your genes, and I think that’s out of date. I think it’s a lot less. You’ve interviewed [00:12:00] Dr. Bruce Lipton, whom I love.

Stu

12:02 Yeah.

Tessa

12:03 He talks about how people talk about being victims of their genes and they’re not. Genes get blamed for so much.

Stu

12:10 Yes, they do. No, absolutely right.

Tessa

12:12 It’s a great excuse. I think you’re actually more in control of your happiness, a lot more, than even the scientists are saying. I think they’re revising it. You know, basically you’re in control.

Stu

12:27 Is it me or do [00:12:30] you … I just get this feeling that there are a lot of unhappy people in this day and age. I don’t know why. What are your thoughts?

Tessa

12:39 Totally. Now, Stu, before we go there I just want to say that there are times when it’s the best thing for you to be unhappy and it’s very appropriate. Like when my husband died, for example, I was unhappy. It was important that I was unhappy [00:13:00] because that helped me process it. It would have been weird if I was happy the moment he died.

Stu

13:05 Yeah. Yeah. That wouldn’t have been quite right.

Tessa

13:09 No, it wouldn’t have been quite right. I agree that even though there’s so many reasons about why we ought to be happy in theory, logically we’re not. I think I’ve come to the conclusion … I’ve thought about this a lot because it’s really important. I’ve [00:13:30] come to the conclusion that there’s two reasons that you’re seeing this rise or apparent rise in unhappiness.

13:40 The first reason is that we’re hooked into what I call a state of emergency. We’re hooked into it. Imagine that you’re being chased by a saber-tooth tiger. All your energy and focus is going to be in survival. [00:14:00] It’s really not the time to stop and smell the roses.

Stu

14:07 Yeah. No. That’s right.

Tessa

14:09 It’s just not safe. You just wouldn’t do that. The way we’re kind of wired, which is quite brilliant, is being attacked by a saber-tooth tiger, don’t be happy, just focus on surviving. Then the moment you outrun the saber-tooth tiger or whatever [00:14:30] you can chill and then your body will flip you naturally back into what I call the thrive and be happy state.

Stu

14:40 Right. Yes.

Tessa

14:42 That’s where you can be happy. You can stop and smell those roses. It’s quite a safe thing to do. It’s quite appropriate. These two states are brilliant. There is a small flaw in the whole system, though.

Stu

14:58 What is it?

Tessa

14:59 The [00:15:00] small flaw is that what triggers you into that state of emergency is your perception of something that’s life-threatening. It’s not that it really is life-threatening, reality, it’s what you perceive. If you perceived you are being threatened you go into that state of emergency automatically. In [00:15:30] this day and age in particular there are so many false triggers that trigger you into that state of emergency. False triggers like the news.

Stu

15:42 Yes. Yeah.

Tessa

15:45 Some social media, our busyness, stuck in traffic, some people that we’re around. We’re constantly being triggered, triggered, triggered, [00:16:00] to the extent that you’re just spending more time in that state of emergency than you are in the happy state. It’s the triggers that we are unintentionally exposing ourselves to.

16:16 Yes, we’re living in that … That’s the first reason. We’re actually living through no conscious fault of our own in that state of emergency. That’s the first reason. The second reason, which is [00:16:30] really important as well, is that we’re really passive about our happiness. We just go with the flow. It’s like you mentioned, the big car, the big house. We all think that we’re supposed to get all those things because we’ll be happy.

16:49 It’s very passive and we just end up where we end up. It’s bizarre. It’s really bizarre because [00:17:00] if you wanted to get fit … You look fit, Stu.

Stu

17:04 I try my best.

Tessa

17:07 You look very fit. You just haven’t thought, “Well, I’ll just see what happens.”

Stu

17:12 No.

Tessa

17:12 “I’ll just go with the flow and see if I end up fit.” I mean, you’ve actually worked out, “What is it that I need to do? What do I need to eat? What do I need to do in order to get fit?” You’ve worked that out and then you’ve gone and done it.

17:28 Yet with happiness [00:17:30] we haven’t. We have not been … I don’t ever remember going to happiness school. You know? We’re taught, “This is what actually makes you happy. It’s proven. It’s scientific. It’s not commercial. It’s actually scientific. It’s proven to work. These are the things you can do.”

17:49 Then we’re not taught how to actually get ourselves to do them. Your happiness is so important and yet [00:18:00] we’re not taught how to go about doing it.

Stu

18:06 It’s a good point. There’s very little, if no, psychological training or advice when we go through school. It’s all statistics and geography.

Tessa

18:20 Yet happiness is so important. It’s just mind-boggling.

Stu

18:28 In your mind’s eye, what are the tell tale [00:18:30] signs then that we may becoming less happy? Instead of just, “I just feel miserable today” can we nip that in the bud way before we ever spiral down into what then might become depression for instance?

Tessa

18:43 Yes. Well, there’s definitely … There’s tell tale signs that people are unhappy overall. Remember when you’re in that state of emergency, [00:19:00] you remember?

Stu

19:01 Yes.

Tessa

19:01 You are not happy. 19:00 Efficiency, you remember?

Stu

19:00 Yes.

Tessa

19:01 You are not happy because it’s simply not safe to be happy. It’s just not safe. So you are not happy. And when you’re in that state of emergency, it’s okay for a short period of time. But if you’re in it for too long, then what happens is your immune system goes down, there’s no growth and reappear, and you’re very susceptible to stress related diseases [00:19:30] and the proof is that we are basically hooked into the state of emergency and living there is apparently five out of six deaths. One of the leading causes of stress 80% plus of doctors are a visitors of stress.

19:51 We’re hooked into that state of emergency. Awareness too is huge to happiness. [00:20:00] It’s like realizing that you’re being hooked. That there are these false triggers, like and becoming aware of the false triggers. And we’ll talk a bit about that when we talk a bit about social media, but it’s being aware of them. And then it’s kind of like being intentional about happiness actually, as well. And actually putting things in place is awareness and then putting things in place. But awareness is huge. And I just don’t [00:20:30] think we’re aware. I mean, I certainly wasn’t aware. I mean, I went along I’m doing all the things you’re supposed to do and completely screwed up really.

Stu

20:47 Intrigued and as to the strategies. I mean, you weren’t aware. What made you aware? What governed that change to think, right, this is what I need to do. Were you told? [00:21:00] Did you discover it?

Tessa

21:01 No, no. It was all because of that … I’ve always had a curious mind. It used to drive my husband nuts because I used to always say why, why, why. So when I started realize that and he tricked me and I started walking, I thought oh. Like gosh. So there’s something in the what she did that got me walking and so I became really curious about how to get myself to do [00:21:30] things particularly when I was so low in energy and motivation. So it’s like, how do you do things when you don’t have the energy and the motivation?

Stu

21:40 Yeah. It’s a vicious cycle isn’t it?

Tessa

21:45 Yes. So, how do you get yourself to do things? And then I thought, well, what really makes me happy because I knew for a fact, I woke up to the fact that a lot of the things I thought was supposed to make me happy didn’t. For example, people say stuff makes [00:22:00] you happy right?

Stu

22:00 Yeah.

Tessa

22:01 Well I can assure you that when you’ve lost your husband, you can’t go and hug your stuff.

Stu

22:06 No. That’s right.

Tessa

22:08 It has absolutely no … I’d get rid of everything in a blink. I mean, to have my husband back. I started to realize this to something … What is happiness? How do you actually get what really works? And then I went looking for the answers to that and it wasn’t easy. Because there’s so much information [00:22:30] out there and the scientists and the scholars are absolutely brilliant. I mean, and they’ve done unbelievable research. But to try and actually take what they’ve … They often say stuff and gobbledygook. Have you noticed that?

Stu

22:44 Yeah. Well, oftentimes it’s not straightforward. I’ll grant you that.

Tessa

22:48 No. And one of my skills and I’ve always been got at it, is taking something that’s really complicated and making it simple. So I’ve always been really good at that. So I’ll read [00:23:00] through all this stuff, the scientist and I go, “Okay, so what are they actually saying, and how can we apply it?” And what’s really interesting is, and this is a slightly off topic, but a lot of these scientists and scholars, they study a specific aspect of happiness. And then you ask them, well are you actually doing yourself? They go no I’m a bit busy. So they’ve got that side of it, but they haven’t got the how to do it side. So I find it absolutely fascinating, [00:23:30] really.

Stu

23:30 Yeah. It’s ironic isn’t it?

Tessa

23:32 It is. So I’ve kind of made it … Why I’m going to solve this puzzle. It’s the missing piece and put the two together.

Stu

23:38 Great. So tell us what you found. What’s the roadmap to happiness?

Tessa

23:44 The roadmap. Oh, yes. Very cool. Well, a big part of it is to answer a question.

Stu

23:55 Right.

Tessa

23:58 And it’s a really important question and the first question [00:24:00] is are you committed to happiness? And people will go, will say to me, “Gosh Tessa, but isn’t everybody committed to happiness?” And I go, “Well, no. Definitely not.”

Stu

24:16 Yeah.

Tessa

24:16 If you asked me after my husband died, are you committed to happiness? I would have said, “Absolutely not. I am committed to being unhappy. It would be [00:24:30] completely disloyal of me to ever be happy again.” So I was committed to unhappiness. So, but then that fortunately changed over time.

24:41 The roadmap for happiness is, first of all, are you committed to happiness? If the answer is yes, proceed to step number two. Because it’s a timing thing to a lot of people. But you’ve got to get to that point of being committed. Because the next step is all about [00:25:00] then being intentional and being intentional with your actions. So making sure that you do the actions that will lead to happiness. So intention. There’s the crunch, though, isn’t it? Because, okay, I’m committed. I’m going to be intentional about taking those actions that are going to lead to happiness. And Okay, question is, [00:25:30] right. Well, what are those actions? What are the ones that have proven to make you happy?

25:38 And then, well even if I know what they are, well, how do I actually get myself to do things? Because Stu, I’m sure there’s things that you know how to do, but you just don’t get around to doing them even though not really good at them.

Stu

25:51 There are lots of things that I know I should do that I never make it to.

Tessa

25:58 That was like, okay, [00:26:00] be intentional. And that’s where these happiness recipes come into place. And because I solve that, this is the what to do and how to do it. And I’ll give you a quick crash course on how to craft a happiness recipe.

Stu

26:15 Okay.

Tessa

26:18 Basically, and by the way this is taking, is using essentially just modifying B. J. Fogg’s method. I’ve just got a tribute B, J. because he’s just [00:26:30] amazing.

Stu

26:31 Sure.

Tessa

26:31 But I’m modifying it specifically for happiness. So basically, to create a happiness recipe, what you do is you take a behavior that is known to increase happiness, proven not … Like for example, we all know that being present and being mindful is proven-

Stu

26:52 Right, okay.

Tessa

26:54 To increase happiness. I mean, there’s all sorts of scientific studies, but that’s just like there’s [00:27:00] no doubt about it, being present. So you take that behavior, which is big mindfulness and then you come up with an action that is in alignment with that behavior. So for example, we have mindfulness. So an action could be staring at your food. Really looking at your food. So that could be the action.

27:27 The next thing you do is okay, you’ve got the behavior, [00:27:30] you’ve got the action, you now make it really tiny. So you make it a really tiny action. And you make it less than 30 seconds. So staring at your food for 30 seconds. So then you just kind of take this now and you put it into a little new you form a recipe and the format for happiness recipes is after I and prompt it, and you find a prompt. After I am prompted, [00:28:00] I will do blah. So in this example, it could be after I pick up my fork or chopsticks, depending what you eat with, I forgot my fork I will look at my food for 30 seconds or less. That’s it. No more than 30 seconds. 30 seconds or less.

28:21 All this is really the magic sauce is, after I [00:28:30] pick up my fork I will look at my food for 30 seconds or less. And as soon as you’ve done that, you celebrate. You just go, “Yes.” Or you can just say something inside or just you celebrate. And because that actually, I mean there’s a whole lot of chemical scientific reasons. Basically, that will encourage you to do it again. And actually it’ll encourage you to look at your food for a lot longer and you’ll find it will [00:29:00] flow out into your day.

Stu

29:01 Okay. And just reading between the lines as well, it seems that if we are actually, if we’re actually concentrating and focusing with study on one small little nugget, like looking at your food, then you’re becoming more present. And by becoming more present, you are switching off the stress hormones that maybe present that that given time. Because many of us rush through our food looking at our mobile [00:29:30] phones because we are way too busy to do anything else. So it is getting back to that rest and digest phase and out of the fight and flight I guess. Is that what’s happening?

Tessa

29:39 Absolutely, absolutely. And the more you do it, the more you do it. And the beauty about this whole method is that it’s very under the radar. Because some people might dismiss it and go “Ha, 30 seconds or less. Now what good is that going to do?”

Stu

29:53 Yeah.

Tessa

29:53 But it’s the fact that it grows. And if you don’t think this works, think of Facebook. When Facebook started [00:30:00] back in 2004, did they ask you to spend an hour or two on Facebook?

Stu

30:04 No.

Tessa

30:06 They asked you just to do one little thing. And one little thing lead to one little thing to one little thing. So these happiness practices, it’s scientifically put together and it takes down the resistance to starting which is huge because it’s not a big thing I’m asking you to do. It’s taking down the resistance [00:30:30] and then it’s basically kicking a natural momentum to have it roll forward. So and it rolls forward into other things. You’ll find that if you actually do this practice, you’ll actually enjoy your food more. And if you’re sitting with somebody, you’ll probably start looking at them as well and you just feel so good. You actually start looking at other things and hearing sounds and it just has the most amazing role on effect.

31:00 [00:31:00] Happiness recipes are really … I’m just so excited about them. And they’re so powerful. And after a while it actually just becomes automatic. You don’t even have to consciously think about it or do it. You need to craft them in the right way, though obviously. There is an art a science to it. But they’re really, really powerful.

Stu

31:22 And how many recipes do you have in this roadmap to happiness?

Tessa

31:29 The roadmap [00:31:30] just talks about that high level.

Stu

31:31 Yes.

Tessa

31:32 But basically the recipes, I’ve got are basically, they layer on top of each other.

Stu

31:37 Okay.

Tessa

31:39 And it’s basically, there’s lots of recipes for being happy in the moment. If you can just be happy in the moment it rolls out to the rest of your day and it’s amazing. So it’s like recipes for being happy in the moment. And that’s where I really start because of that, I call it the Big Bang [00:32:00] your happiness back really. You can get that happiness moment and then you can move to happiness in self because that’s huge. Being happy in yourself. Getting rid of that, I don’t know. You have that voice in your head sometimes?

Stu

32:15 Well, sometimes is … Yeah. Always.

Tessa

32:19 That voice in your head like go away.

Stu

32:22 Please. Yeah.

Tessa

32:23 Yes and you’ve actually had Dr. Joe Dispenza on as well.

Stu

32:27 Yes.

Tessa

32:27 That’s one of my favorites. [00:32:30] He’s great for that as well. So it’s happy in the moment, happiness in self and then happy in relationship. So there’s different types of moments, different types of recipes. And the other thing Stu is to remember that not one size fits all. So it’s like there’s a whole lot of recipes and you just try them out and tweak them and throw away some because it’s just not you.

32:55 It’s like for example, my friend and Louise. Adorable friend. [00:33:00] If I asked her to meditate, for example. Oh, she just can’t do it. Do you mean like, forget it. So it’s not her thing. But you can do other things like pick up your folk and look at the food, that sort of thing. So it’s kind of tailoring it to what works for you. Because, some people get really happy gardening, for example. [crosstalk 00:33:21]. I hate gardening.

33:26 But it’s just having this once you have a whole [00:33:30] lot of happiness recipes in your recipe basket, you can pick and choose. And after a while, it just becomes who you are. You don’t ever arrive. It’s like, being fit. You just can’t get fit and say, “Oh, I’m fit. I’m done.”

Stu

33:49 Yeah that’s right. It’s a constant process, isn’t it?

Tessa

33:55 That’s right. But it’s just having these things so that you just, you have all these [00:34:00] habits. Like fitness for example now I’m completely addicted to waking you up in the morning … Guess what? Waking up in the morning putting my clothes on and go across the road.

Stu

34:12 Well if it makes you happy.

Tessa

34:14 Oh it’s fantastic. And I’m out there in nature. I’ve got the ocean there. I have met so many people. I mean, I tell you. I get out when it’s light. I’m out amount just after about 5:15 and I don’t look that crashed. I do brush my teeth, wash my face [00:34:30] and all that. But I don’t look [inaudible 00:34:32]. I must meet about 10 people I know and we chat and I have a huge social thing going at that time in the morning.

Stu

34:42 That’s great. I live by a mentor that you find what you love and just do more of it. Whatever that might be. Like if you love riding your bike, try and get on your bike every day. If it’s gardening.

Tessa

34:57 Absolutely.

Stu

34:57 Well, you mentioned [00:35:00] when you wonder out in the morning, there are a few people there and it’s almost like a community. And I’m intrigued as to the value that you put on a strong community for happiness.

Tessa

35:14 Oh huge. Absolutely huge. And when, by the way when I was back in corporate days-

Stu

35:21 Yes.

Tessa:

35:22 Gosh, I don’t think I was a very nice person. But I remember somebody saying to me relationships, everything and [00:35:30] I sort of went, “No they’re not.” I was too busy for relationships and I just went, “No.” Boy have I changed. Community and relationships are so important on so many levels. In fact, I can’t remember the guy’s name. But there’s been a study done for 80 years by the guy from Harvard. Do you know his name? But [00:36:00] anyway. He studied for 80 years. He followed these people for 80 years. And he found improved a direct correlation between your life expectancy and happiness depending on your community. So who you hang around with affects your life and your happiness.

36:21 And it’s not just close friends and family. Because we all only, most of us only have what … [00:36:30] The only family I have is my brother in New Zealand. So it’s not just your close friends and family. It’s all the networks that you interact with. Like me, my coffee, walking in the morning crew. I just love them to bits. We look out for each other. If no one’s there after a couple of days, we say what’s wrong. Where are they. It’s when you go to the shops and you connect with people. It’s all those connections.

37:00 [00:37:00] And just think of it. It really does increase your happiness and your life expectancy. And I think it’s inside [inaudible 00:37:08] there’s the oldest men in the world. In Okinawa in Japan is the oldest woman. And they’ve gone there and studied it and it’s all about, like, strong communities.

Stu

37:20 Absolutely.

Tessa

37:20 And it’s about communities. But it’s also Stu, It’s about the right communities. Because happiness is contagious. [00:37:30] It’s extremely contagious. So vibes are contagious. So if you’re around people with bad vibes, you’re going to catch that. So you want to surround yourself with people who are uplifting, that add to your happiness and feeling good as opposed to taking it away. Because, just think of it. If you’re around somebody who’s taking away your happiness, they’re actually decreasing your life expectancy.

Stu

38:00 [00:38:00] Yeah. Well when you put it that way-

Tessa

38:00 Expectancy.

Stu

38:01 Yeah. Well, when you put it that way I completely agree. I’m intrigued that you bought up Sardinia and [inaudible 00:38:09] as well because we spoke to Dan Buettner a while back, who’s the author of a book called The Blue Zones.

Tessa

38:17 Yes.

Stu

38:18 That was a fascinating conversation. Blue Zones for all our listeners that are familiar with that term is an area of the world where it has the highest concentration of centenarians, so people that live over 100 [00:38:30] years. He found that it was community, and it was purpose. And they-

Tessa

38:35 Yes, meaning.

Stu

38:36 Yeah, meaning and relationships.

Tessa

38:40 The meaning is in the community. Is like helping each other in the community.

Stu

38:44 Yes, exactly right. I feel these days, and this will be a little bit of a segue into social media as well and smartphones, but I feel that many of us perhaps not consciously have shifted [00:39:00] a very large part of the community aspect over to mobile and internet devices where we don’t meet up anymore but we text and we email. A lot of our pleasures are sort through being very insular at home browsing through whatever real might be on our social media platforms. Your thoughts then on social media impacting our happiness.

Tessa

39:27 Aha. [00:39:30] Very interesting topic. Definitely impacts happiness if you’re passive. If you just go on to social media yeah passively. Because you need to realize that social media is designed to hijack … Is to get you to think [00:40:00] a certain way. It’s designed to get you to think a certain way. It’s designed to get you to act a certain way. It’s designed to get you wanting to buy what’s being advertised.

40:17 It’s very clever the way they do it. It’s completely under the radar. You might go, “Oh, no, I’m in control.” But you’re not [00:40:30] because it’s so subtle. It’s like what I said, if Facebook in 2004 they said, come and spend an hour on Facebook. You would have gone, “Don’t be ridiculous.” But they see bit by bit by bit, suddenly, people are just voluntarily doing it. You don’t even know it’s happening.

40:56 The other thing is too, is with social media, [00:41:00] is you’re getting these false triggers. I talked about false triggers or [inaudible 00:41:05] into a state of emergency. You’re getting lots and lots of false triggers for sitting off that state of emergency. You’re getting news, You’re getting not nice images, you’re getting all sorts of things that will set that off. If you go on to it just blindly, you just got [00:41:30] to realize it’s happening and you can’t really do anything about it. The other downside with social media is actually the time you’re taking away from other activities.

Stu

41:41 Yeah, that’s a good point.

Tessa

41:42 Yes, you’re taking it away from … I don’t know, Stu, have you noticed people are sitting in restaurants with friends, and they are all on their phones and not talking to each other? It’s taking you away from connecting with people. When you just connect with somebody, you [00:42:00] smile, you just automatically feel happier. You see the photo on social media, it doesn’t actually do anything. It’s actually because of it’s a chemical reaction.

42:11 Social media is taking you away from things like people. It’s taking you away from exercising, it’s taking you away from being in nature, it’s taking you away from sleeping. It’s all those sorts of things. [00:42:30] That’s the downside. Having said all that, I love social media.

Stu

42:39 Oh, right. Okay.

Tessa

42:42 I love it because I’m completely intentional about social media. When I say intentional, on my phone, I actually have it set up. I can just click and I just go straight to the Facebook [00:43:00] pages and the Facebook groups that I like. I’ve got some groups where I’m just learning heaps. People are so generous with giving, helping out with them information in all different areas, and the groups are really uplifting, and the pages are uplifting.

43:22 I’m very intentional about going into where I go. Sometimes I will just check the feed [00:43:30] danger, danger, and then it ruins my day. I’ve just got to stop doing it because I know you can’t help, you’ll just get sucked. So, I’m very very intentional. You can actually increase your happiness on social media. I have for example, if you’re intentional, I’ve got a yes to happiness Facebook group. I ask people what they like about the group and they say, they come in there every day, we do a quick little exercise and they say they feel happier. [00:44:00] It’s not that social media in itself is bad. It’s that we just got to be intentional about it, and just be aware.

Stu

44:11 I think that’s a really good point, with the intent. If you’re going and you’re using your mobile phone, your smartphone, social media, with an intent, then I think that’s a great thing. But you mentioned as well that you can get sucked into the void of the feed. You lose days to the [00:44:30] feed. It’s perfectly programmed to elicit a dopamine response.

Tessa

44:36 It’s scientific. People don’t-

Stu

44:39 I think when you sit back and think about what’s actually happening? You’ve got a feed that never ends. That feed will never end. Every two, three, four, five seconds, you will find something that elicits that dopamine response so you feel great. And then you’re hunting for the next one. But [00:45:00] the feed never ends. You could be there for an hour.

Tessa

45:03 Or longer.

Stu

45:05 Yeah, or longer. And what could you have been doing in that time? If you’ve got an intent, absolutely. I think it can be useful. Of course, these devices are so unbelievably useful for other things like maps and the lot.

Tessa

45:20 Oh, incredible. Oh, gosh, it’s just amazing. I think they get bagged. But it’s not social media. It’s in our devices, it’s how [00:45:30] we use them.

Stu

45:31 Yes, definitely. Good stuff. Well, that is wise words. I’ve got a couple more questions just before we wrap up, because we’re coming up on time. One, is specific to exercise.

Tessa

45:47 Yes.

Stu

45:49 How important do you think that movement, and I’ll use the term movement over exercise, is for a more positive mindset? Can we be truly happy if we [00:46:00] don’t really move that much? What are your thoughts?

Tessa

46:03 I don’t think so. I think if you don’t move, you’ll die. You just have to move. They say if you don’t use it all or lose it. It just depends on the type of movement and who you are. It’s like, if I just think through instead of movement, I just think about exercise for [00:46:30] a moment. If somebody is really grumpy and negative, I don’t know about you, but I know some grumpy and negative people who exercise, and they’re still grumpy and negative.

Stu

46:44 Yeah.

Tessa

46:47 Just doing that by itself doesn’t make you positive. But having said that, I think it depends a lot on the exercise or the movement. Because if you’re doing a movement that is helping your body and your mind, [00:47:00] like for example, going for a walk in nature, that is movement that is really good for you for all sorts of reasons, but you’re out there in nature. So you’re getting all these vibes off nature and the smells and the sounds. That’s why I love yoga and Pilates because it’s very much the body and the mind. I just know for me movement, getting out of bed and going [00:47:30] for those walks, that was that movement, and it was a movement … If she told me to go to the gym and work out, first of all, I wouldn’t have done it. It would have done my head in, where it’s going the movement and combining it in nature [inaudible 00:47:50] mind.

Stu

47:50 I was saying that’s important too, because I think if you asked a group of people, well, tell us about your most happiest moments. I think oftentimes that will be [00:48:00] a memory that is on the beach, on holiday, or in the forest or the mountains. It’s probably not going to be, oh, that time in the office.

Tessa

48:11 Or, that time on social media. You’re not going to go, “Oh my God, it was just amazing. On my death bed I’m talking about that social media moment.

Stu

48:19 Yeah. Boy, that post was so much fun. That’s right. I think it’s important, but obviously, biologically and emotionally, but it does expose [00:48:30] you to the elements. I wonder whether it’s actually part of our DNA. We come from the earth. We feels so much better when we’re outside, when we’ve got all of the elements and like you said, the sights and the smells and the sounds. We’re exposed to nature 24/7 when we’re doing it.

Tessa

48:49 It’s amazing. Stu, while you’re out there walking, do you go for walks?

Stu

48:53 I do.

Tessa

48:54 Well, do something slightly nutty. I like to do things that are a little bit out there. But next time you pass a tree, [00:49:00] give it a hug.

Stu

49:02 Wow, tree hugging. Well, I live in Byron Bay, so it’s not uncommon.

Tessa

49:11 You see tree huggers do you?

Stu

49:12 Oh, yeah. I don’t know that I could find a tree that isn’t already being hugged. So, that’s a bit tricky.

Tessa

49:18 It’s just amazing just during those sorts of things. Because, okay, you can go into the theory of trees and everything, but it’s just the fact that you’re hugging and your present to hugging, it’s just [00:49:30] amazing.

Stu

49:31 It is so many things. I have a final question that we ask before we wrap up today. That is more specific to you. Given the fact that you have a very large amount of knowledge that enables you to be as happy as you can and also spread that word with everybody else. What are your non-negotiables that you do every single day to ensure [00:50:00] that you crush each and every day? They might be super small or they might be really deep rooted, but I’m wondering those things that you just have to do every day to make sure that you’re happy and your day is successful.

Tessa

50:12 Right. I follow what I call the MEEV diet.

Stu

50:18 Okay. What is that.

Tessa

50:22 It’s basically, I’m very intentional. You hear me talk about intentional a lot, but I’m very intentional about what goes in my mouth. [00:50:30] I’m very intentional what goes in my eyes. I’m very intentional about what goes in my ears, and I’m very intentional about the vibes that I’m around. It’s because that has a huge impact on how I feel. I’ll confess, I do drink wine. I’m not completely perfect at the MEEV diet. I like wine. New Zealand Sauvignon [inaudible 00:50:59] to be precise.

51:00 [00:51:00] However, I can bet this, with I balance it off, because six out of seven mornings I have the 180 protein superfood.

Stu

51:11 I thought you were looking quite healthy.

Tessa

51:15 I found your food when my husband was dying, I was desperate for anything that was going to try and save him. I found it then and I’ve been using it ever since. It was fabulous, and you’re [00:51:30] super greens. The MEEV diet is awesome. It’s an awesome diet, and it’s easy to remember as well. That’s the diet. I’m fanatical about having happiness moments. I love happiness moments because they’re so quick, and you just have a couple here and then they just flow on. I’m just like, it’s just fabulous. I’m also every day it’s really important to me to be [00:52:00] kind, to connect to somebody. I see people every day, but I just get a coffee, I have a chat, I smile. I see people. I just smile, smile. Kindness doesn’t have to be a big thing. It can be a smile.

52:19 I’m very conscious of it. Just suppose I didn’t see anybody. I’d be on social media, finding someone to say something to. Or I go into my happiness group, just something to [00:52:30] reach out and touch somebody with kindness basically. That’s huge for me, monumental.

Stu

52:37 Fantastic. I think those things are so important, absolutely key. They feed into most of the conversation I think that we discussed this morning. So, it clearly works. For all of those that want to get more of Tessa Stowe and your strategies and roadmaps and recipes, where can we send them? What’s the best place?

Tessa

52:56 I highly recommend downloading [00:53:00] The Roadmap. It’s actually, How To Reclaim Happiness Roadmap. I think it’s a profound roadmap myself. There’s five steps to it. They’re big steps obviously, but they’re five. There’s a lot in it. You can get that by going to sayingyestohappiness.com/180, the number. [00:53:30] That’s sayingyestohappiness.com/180 and download the roadmap. And then that roadmap you’ll also get a link so that you can join the My Yes To Happiness Facebook group. In that Facebook group, every day we do a … Because you know I’m into quick. Maybe some quick little action that’s basically designed to give you a happiness moment for the day, and then set you up.

53:59 It’s just [00:54:00] been amazing the feedback and the results were getting in there. You’ll get that link in the roadmap. Also, I’m on Valentine’s Day next year, February the 14th. I’m launching my Yes To Happiness gym, where basically, the gym will all be about these happiness recipes. The whole point of the gym is to take you from being passive about your happiness to active. To go from there to there it’s [00:54:30] basically incorporating these happiness recipes for being happy in the moment, happy in yourself, happy in your relationships.

54:40 That will be, once you’re connected with me after you’ve got that roadmap, you’ll get to hear all about that as well. First though is download that roadmap.

Stu

54:52 Fantastic. Well, look, we will put those links in the show notes as well and share that across our audience. But Tessa, thank you so much for your time this morning. [00:55:00] Its been fantastic.

Tessa

55:02 Oh, it has been fun.

Stu

55:05 That’s what it’s all about.

Tessa

55:07 Well, it is. It is.

Stu

55:09 Yeah, excellent. Well, look, we’ll share this across our networks and hope that we can get as many people as we can into your roadmap for happiness and get excited about the recipes and becoming happier. As happy as they can be. Thank you so much.

Tessa

55:27 Absolutely. Thank you so much, Stu.

Stu

55:27 You take care.

Tessa

55:27 Bye.

Stu

55:27 Bye bye.

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