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 Transformation: turning tragedy into triumph (Dr. Tim Sharp's chapter)

On April 2, 2016 Dr. Timothy Sharp proudly launched another book in which 12 amazing people tell their inspirational stories of post-traumatic growth. In some way or other, they all experienced adversity BUT they also all found ways to not just "bounce back" but more so, to "bounce forward" to better places. In these motivational stories the authors describe how they used tough times to learn, grow, become wiser and better. And also, how you can too. Here, we share with you Dr. Sharp's very personal story. It's yours for free. And we hope you find it helpful and interesting.

 So you've seen Dr. Happy speak - what do you do now?

If you're visiting this website because you've recently seen Dr. Happy (Dr. Timothy Sharp) speak or present a workshop, or maybe you've read or heard one of his regular appearances in the media, you might be thinking "What next?" This simple, easy to read one-page summary will provide you with a few pointers and help you consider the range of options available. So don't just think about being happy...make happiness an intergral part of your life. You'll never regret it!

 The Greatest Resource in your organisation is your people

No matter what your position within your team or organisation, it's in your interest to find out what can be done to help everyone be as happy and functional and productive and efficient as possible. This short document outlines our approach, here at The Happiness Institute, to organisational issues and Executive Coaching. Read it, enjoy and feel free to contact us if you'd like to know more.

 The Happiness Institute's "CHOOSE" Philosophy - 6 Powerful Positive Psychology Strategies

Everything we do here at The Happiness Institute is based on the philosophy that happiness is something you choose. This is both a philosophy of self-responsibility and a mnemonic, representing the 6 key strategies we believe lead to real and meaningful happiness. If you've seen Dr. Sharp speak and describe these key strategies then feel free to print this out as a reminder of his message.

 Scientific Support for and benefits of Positive Psychology

Positive psychology, or the science of happiness, is not just a fad; nor is it pop-psychology or amateur self-help. It is a serious scientific discipline based on solid, empirical research. In this document are just a few of the more interesting and powerful findings including many of the potential benefits associated with happiness.

 Happiness FAQs

Read Dr. Happy's responses to some of the more common questions he's frequently asked about The Happiness Institute and, more generally, happiness.

 20 simple tips to be happy now

Download this free eBook with all of Dr. Happy's expertise and experience compressed in to 20 simple tips!

 Choose to be happy - special report

This free special report will help you understand how damaging depression can be if you don't do anything about it. Just as, if not more importantly, it will also help you understand the 6 key strategies we believe will help you move towards living a happier life.

 Happiness Increasing Techniques

Based on the fantastic work of Sonja Lyubomirsky, and loaded on to this site for International Happiness Day, these proven, effective and pratical tips are guaranteed to boost your happiness. Read them, practice them, master them and...increase your happiness!

 Daily Happiness Checklist

At The Happiness Institute we've been saying for quite a few years now that achieving happiness requires nothing more than practicing a few simple disciplines...every day. Well, now we've developed a daily checklist to help you remember what it is you need to do! Based on Dr. Sharp's extensive research and experience, this checklist will provide you with the framework for living a great life...every day. Read it; do it; and enjoy happiness because of it!

 Weekly Happiness Action Plan

Achieving happiness requires nothing more than practicing a few simple disciplines on a daily basis. To help you remember what to do, and to help you develop the discipline to focus on and to prioritise happiness related activities, Dr. Sharp has developed this simple but powerful tool. Use it every week to clarify what's most important for your happiness, and experience the difference in no time at all!

 What happy people do!

Achieving happiness requires nothing more than practising a few simple disciplines every day. This practical resource lists some of the more effective happiness behaviours commonly used by real life happy people! Use it and enjoy.

 An Introduction to Coaching

Because coaching is relatively, and relatively unregulated, there are many myths and misconceptions about what it is and how it works. This short article summarises coaching and explains the differences between life, business and executive coaching. We hope you'll find it helpful.

 The VIA Classification of Character Strengths

A vitally important component of our approach to happiness here at The Happiness Institute is helping individuals (and organisations) identify and utililse core strengths. By doing so they find they're significantly more effective, enjoy life more and experience more "flow". This happiness resource will help you start your journey towards finding your strengths...the next step is working out how to make the most of them!

 The Happiness Institute's Guide to Utilising Your Strengths

Happiness stems, at least in part, from becoming more aware of and then fully utilising your core strengths (that is, your attributes, talents, positive characteristics and abilities). Designed to accompany "The Happiness Institute's Signature Strength List" this "Guide to Utilising Your Strengths" provides some examples to get you thinking about how you can best make the most of our inner (or signature) strengths. Have fun trying out some (or all) of the ideas proferred and have fun coming up with additional ideas!

 The 7 Most Commonly Asked Questions About Happiness

Having seen treated and coached over 1000 individuals, presented to thousands more, worked with numerous organisations to improve morale and satisfaction, and conducted literally hundreds of media interviews, Dr. Sharp has answered his fair share of questions on happiness. In this free eBook, he responds to 7 of the most commonly asked questions with practical and succinct solutions. We hope you enjoy it and find it useful in your search for happiness. In fact, we're sure you will!

 From Depression to Happiness in 7 Simple Steps

Although The Happiness Institute has been established with a positive focus very much in mind, we're well aware that many people are searching for happiness as a remedy for distress and depression. And the good news is that the best cure of unhappiness is happiness. In this short, free eBook we're happy to present 7 simple and practical tips to get you started on the path from depression to happiness. It is, we acknowledge, simply a starting point but there's no doubt it will provide a great start for those who're looking to move out of depression and into happiness.

 Happiness - 10 Tips for Overcoming Worry

Many things can get in the way of happiness but one of the most common is worry. For some people, worry can be pervasive and highly distressing. Chronic worry and authentic happiness are basically mutually exclusive. But the good news is that worry can be overcome with the application of a range of proven and effective strategies, many of which are introduced in this easy to read, free eBook. This publication will provide you with the knowledge to start combating worry, and once you get on top of worry you'll be well on the way to experiencing more happiness. So find out how to beat those pervasive, negative thoughts - because life's too short not to be happy!

 Resilience - maintaining happiness through the hard times

Life is not always smooth sailing and even the luckiest and best of us face hardships at times. At The Happiness Institute we strongly believe everyone can experience more happiness but we’re also realistic enough to know that no one will be 100% happy 100% of the time. With this in mind we recognise that as humans, even as happy humans, we’ll experience a range of emotions (both positive and negative). Accordingly, we also believe that happiness is not just about enjoying the good times (although this is an important part of happiness) but in addition, happiness is also about working through the difficulties we all face from time to time. Happy people tend to face these challenges more effectively; they’re more resilient…and not surprisingly, resilience breeds happiness. So next time you’re experiencing difficulties or facing adversity or struggling with challenges, try the following resilience tips tested and recommended by The Happiness Institute.

 Healthy lifestyle tips for happiness

It's hard to be happy if you are, literally, sick and tired all the time. There's no doubt that health is an important component of happiness. This short tip sheet summarises some key strategies for living a healthy (and therefore a happy) life. Read, enjoy and most importantly (for your happiness) put the strategies into practice!

 Building Positive Relationships

There's no doubt that happy people have both more and better quality relationships. This brief summary outlines The Happiness Institute's simple but effective "SUPPORT" model which can be applied to enhancing your personal and professional relationships.

 Happiness and Work Life Balance

There's no doubt that for many of us work is an important component of our lives. At the same time, however, it should not be everything. For most people, happiness comes from achieving at least a semblance of balance and the good news is that although not always easy, it is possible. This article summarises some key points to keep in mind while striving to achieve work life balance. We hope you'll find it helpful.

 Examples of Unhelpful Thinking

Automatic Negative Thoughts are one of the most destructive forces working against happiness. Understanding them will help you take the first step towards changing them. This simple tip sheet provides examples of some of the more common (and damaging) types of unhelpful thoughts. Read and review them, then consider the "Managing Unhelpful Thoughts" Resource.

 Managing Unhelpful Thinking

Unhelpful thoughts can literally destroy happiness and contribute to depression, stress and anxiety (not to mention an array of other problems such as relationship difficulties). The good news is that they can be beaten and this practical tip sheet provides a simple process for getting rid of negative thought patterns.

 Effective Behaviour Change

Most people know what they “should” do to live a healthy and happy life. To be fitter and healthier, for example, everyone knows they should eat less fat/sugar/salt, eat more fruit and vegetables, and exercise more. The reality is it’s not rocket science. But why, then, do so few people do these things well? The answer is because so few people have an effective system in place. If you want to develop healthier habits try these simple, but powerful strategies.

 100 Ways to Happiness

Check out this summary of Dr. Sharp's very popular book... The good news is that achieving happiness is not a herculean task. It doesn’t require expensive therapy or years of self-examination. Often it is about fine tuning our thoughts and putting in place some simple daily practices. Dr Sharp draws on the latest research into the science of happiness and presents it here in 100 bite-sized chunks of inspiration and instruction. Read it from cover to cover, or dip in and out for a regular dose of happiness training. Learn how to increase your happiness levels by: • improving your physical health • counting our blessings • nurturing positive relationships • becoming a giver • better managing your time Accessible, informative and funny, 100 Ways to Happiness encourages us to regard happiness as something that is achievable, manageable and hugely enhancing to the lives we live now.

 100 Ways to Happy Children

Check out this great summary of Dr. Sharp's very popular book... As parents we know that nothing is more important to us than the happiness of our children. But how can we confidently teach them to find happiness when it's often such a struggle to achieve it in our own lives? Psychologist and father of two Dr Timothy Sharp shows us how to give our children the best opportunities to live happy lives. Drawing on the latest research into positive psychology – 'the science of happiness' – he walks us through issues such as: - being a good (happy) role model - promoting physical health - setting boundaries - negotiating school and learning - dealing with challenging behaviour - creating family time - celebrating individual qualities Packed with anecdotes, 100 Ways to Happy Children is the perfect guide for busy parents wanting to rethink their way through the roller-coaster ride of raising children. Read it from cover to cover or dip in and out for a dose of inspiration as you deal with the daily trials and joys of the most important job in the world.

 Men's Health Article - Live on the Bright Side

Enjoy this feature article from Men's Health magazine in which journalist, Ben Jhoty, test runs some of the core positive psychology strategies recommended by our very own, Dr. Happy and The Happiness Institute. This is a great example of someone putting the principles of positive psychology into action in a very real's also enjoyable and funny to read!

 Positive Psychology - 10 Ways to beat the Recession Blues

Enjoy this article from ipac's client magazine.

 The Happiness Diet in MindFood Magazine

In the January/February 2011 Edition of MindFood Magazine (published in December 2010) The Happiness Diet was featured on the cover and in a two-page feature article. Including interviews with Prof. Sharp (aka Dr. Happy), the creator of the positive psychology coaching program, as well as Catherine Warren, one of the participants in the SBS Documentary that featured The Happiness Diet (The House of Food Obsessives), the article makes for some good reading and offers hope to the many who experience eating and weight issues. We're happy to attach the article here for your reading pleasure.

 The primacy of positivity - applications in a coaching context

Prof. Sharp recently had this article published in Coaching: an International Journal of theory, research & practice. Coaches generally assume that their clients will be happy after they’ve achieved their goals, which is not an unreasonable assumption, and which is a belief shared by the majority of clients. It may not, however, be helpful as it will be argued in this paper that such an approach may well contribute to a phenomenon labelled as the ‘tyranny of when’ and also to a range of problems including negative, self defeating emotions such as frustration. As an alternative, the author proposes that rather than waiting until success is achieved, happiness and positivity should come first and foremost. By promoting the ‘primacy of positivity’ coaches can help their clients achieve their goalsby capitalising on the significant findings of Fredrickson, Lyubomirsky and others and by leveraging off the energy and motivation created.

 Cleo Article - July 2011

Are you Happy? It may seem like a simple question, but the answer can be trickier to work out than an advanced Sudoku puzzle. More than just owning the latest Zara threads (although, that is nice!), happiness is an overall state of mind that isn't altered by our environment. Research has shown that happiness has less to do with circumstances and more to do with genetics and, most importantly, the way we choose to think about ourselves and the world.

 Australian Cosmetic Surgery Magazine Article

Beautifully Confident The right attitude to beauty and understanding it objectively can help you live each day confidently and positively. Jessica Rule reports.

 Body + Soul and Empower Articles. June 2011

Dr Happy speaks in several publications on how to choose to be happy, as well as providing come everyday tips for how to achieve it. From Body + Soul - Winter 2011 and emPOWER - Winter 2011

 The primacy of positivity – applications in an educational context

Teachers often assume that their students will be happy, engaged, and well-behaved in school after they’ve achieved some of their academic goals. While this is not an unreasonable assumption – shared by teachers and students alike - it may not, however, be helpful. It is argued in this paper that such an approach may well contribute to a phenomenon labelled the “tyranny of when” and also to a range of problems including negative, self-defeating emotions such as frustration, boredom and disengagement. As an alternative, the authors propose that rather than waiting until success is achieved, the skills of happiness and positivity should in fact be taught first and foremost. By promoting the “primacy of positivity” educators can help students achieve their goals by capitalising on the significant findings of Fredrickson, Lyubomirsky, Cornelius and others and by leveraging off the energy and motivation created.

 MXActive Article 19/10/2011

Smile High Club - An article explaining The Happiness Diet in MXActive section of MX Sydney on Monday 19/10/2011

 The Happiness Diet - 10 Tips

Whereas most diets propose that if you lose weight then you’ll be happy; The Happiness Diet proposes that if you get happy first then you’ll lose weight!

 A Positive Approach - Fernwood Magazine Nov-Dec 2011

By Diana Timmins If you are struggling to lose weight, stop right now! Instead turn your efforts to making yourself happy - the results may surprise you! Article from Fernwood Magazine Nov-Dec 2011.

 Grown Up Wisdom - Good Health Feb2012

Grown Up Wisdom - By Bonnie Cleaver From the Good Psychology lift-out of Good Health, Feb 2012

 Food Obsession - Australian Natural Health

Dr. Happy contributes to an article on food obsession.

 The Primacy of positivity: practical applications for Speech-Language Pathologists

Here's Prof. Sharp's latest publication looking at applications of his "primacy of positivity" theory to the practice of Speech-Language Pathology. This would also be relevant to other health professionals, teachers and anyone else looking to utilise the power of positivity in a professional setting so read on and enjoy... Health care professionals, including speech-language pathologists, generally assume that their clients will be happy after they have “gotten better” or somehow achieved their goals; which is not an unreasonable assumption, and which is a belief shared by the majority of clients. It may not, however, be entirely helpful. Such an approach may well contribute to a range of problems including negative, self-defeating emotions such as frustration which could impede treatment progress. Rather than waiting until success is achieved, happiness and positivity should come first and foremost. By promoting the “primacy of positivity” speech-language pathologists can help their clients better achieve their goals, leveraging off the energy and motivation created.

 Be a better you now!

Dr. Happy was recently asked to join a panel of health experts for an article in Madison Magazine about being a better and healthier your! Along with a fantastic group including experts in training and nutrition, the team presented simple but powerful strategies on finding health and happiness! Open the file to read the full article and most importantly...start putting the tips into practice!

 The Happiness Diet's Top 10 Tips for Successful Weight Management

Over the last few years The Happiness Institute's Chief Happiness Officer, Prof. Timothy Sharp (aka Dr. Happy) has worked to develop a radical approach to weight management; an approach based on the powerful principles of positive psychology and an approach designed to (1) address the complex psychological issues many people struggle with, (2) provide people with practical and effective strategies to enable them to do what they know they should do AND (3) encourage people to harness the energy created when you're having fun! Check out Dr. Happy's Top 10 Tips here and then if you'd like to know more, head over to!

 7 Principles of Healthy Relationships

Dr. John Gottman is the undisputed king of healthy relationships and once again he's summed up the key variables that are important for happy and positive relationships in this great poster (a summary of one of his books). Check it out!

 Get Happy (by Dr. Tim Sharp)

Get Happy is Dr. Sharp's chapter in a wonderful new book (published in June 2013) titled "Life Surfing Life Dancing". In this chapter Dr. Sharp summarises the latest research from positive psychology and the science of happiness. Learn how to discover and utilise your strengths, build optimism, improve the quality of your relationships and more. We hope you enjoy this FREE offering and we hope you share with anyone and everyone who might be interested.

 Be Your own Therapist - Dr. Happy quoted in Dolly Magazine

In the August editition of Dolly Magazine Dr. Happy was asked to provide some advice about how to detox from technology. Open the attached document to read what he said.

 Relaxation – Controlled Breathing

Relaxation strategies can be extremely helpful and useful. Relaxation can help you to better manage stress, tension and anxiety. Relaxation can help you perform better at work and remain calmer in any situation. It can be used at work or at home, on the bus or while you are standing in a queue. Relaxation is a skill that will become more effective and easier with practice. This method of relaxation is usually referred to as “controlled breathing”. It is most effective in reducing anxiety and helping you to keep calm. It is quick and easy to use anywhere and anytime. Simply follow the instructions below.

 Relaxation – Progressive Muscular Relaxation

This method of relaxation is usually referred to as “progressive muscular relaxation”. It is most effective in reducing stress and tension. It is usually easiest to do sitting or lying down.

 Relaxation – Visual Imagery

This method of relaxation is usually referred to as “visual imagery relaxation”. It is most effective in creating feelings of calmness and tranquility, and the form of relaxation that most closely resembles meditation. It can be practiced anywhere, but is typically easiest to do in a quite, peaceful location. Start by following the instructions below, but feel free to experiment & come up with your own ideas.

 The 3rd Edition of Dr. Sharp's The Happiness Handbook is now out!

Dr. Sharp's "The Happiness Handbook" has been labeled a "positive psychology classic". It's been in publication now for almost a decade and is sold all over the world. In April 2014 the 3rd, revised edition was released with a new preface and some additional content (especially in the "healthy living" chapter). Check out the article below and then head over to our Resources/Books section to purchase your copy!

 Fit for Happiness

In March 2014 our very own Dr. Timothy Sharp (aka Dr. Happy) was quoted in this great "Live Happy" article on his "Primacy of Positivity" theory and the connection between getting happy and healthy. Download the article for free and read it at your pleasure.

 3 Things to Help Your Child Be Happy

Check out this great, practical tip sheet developed by our very good friend Kari Sutton for International Happiness Day 2014.

 Mindfulness and Happiness

Check out this great tip sheet on mindfulness and connecting specifically developed by our very own Dr. Paula Watkins for International Happiness Day 2014.

 RISE UP and be more resilient

Check out this great tip sheet on resilience specifically developed by our very good friend, Ingrid Poulson, for International Happiness Day 2014.

 Stop worrying what others think and instead, enjoy more happiness!

Check out this great tip sheet on finding happiness by worrying less about what other's think, specifically developed by our very good friend, Jen Knutson, for International Happiness Day 2014.

 Happiness in Business

Creating happy workplaces should be a key focus for businesses given the link between workplace satisfaction and productivity, and between consumption and wellbeing. The latest NAB Quarterly Wellbeing Index and Consumer Anxiety Index includes some intriguing data for businesses considering how to improve staff engagement and customer satisfaction.

 Get Stronger as you Get Older

In May/June 2014 Fitness First magazine published this great article highlighting how age should be no barrier to strength training and fitness. There's no reason, it's proposed, that we can't continue to get fitter and stronger as we age. Check out the attached article for a great read.

 Our Negativity Bias

I can remember some of the worst events of my life with great ease and, if I let myself, I can easily find the negative in most situations. I am not alone in this. Psychologists and neuroscientists have known for decades that humans (and other animals) display a “negativity bias” – a perceptual phenomena whereby the brain attends to and processes negative information faster than positive or neutral information.

 What is MEsearch?

MEsearch is a way of approaching and experimenting with strategies and tools from science to (a) motivate us to try them and (b) reinforce our freedom to use them… or not.

 Live Happier Live Longer - Book Extract in Prevention Magazine

The June 2014 edition of Prevention Magazine included a fantastic extract from Dr. Happy's new book "Live Happier Live Longer - Your guide to positive ageing". Check it out!

 Brain Basics for Modern Minds (and Meditators)

Things are good. Truth be told, most of us a pretty blessed. We've got greater access to education, better healthcare and a higher quality of life than ever before, yet we just aren't happier.

 For more happiness...try minimalism

Too many of us have too much "stuff"; which is not entirely bad but it almost certainly doesn't add to our happiness. Check out this great Women's Fitness mag article, to which our very own Dr. Happy contributed, on minimalism.