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The Science of Happiness, with Nataly Kogan

The Science of Happiness, with Nataly Kogan

Episode 132: The Science of Happiness, with Nataly Kogan

When Nataly Kogan realized that although she had the perfect job and family on paper, there was something missing from her life, she founded Happier - dedicated to helping individuals find more joy in everyday moments and get through difficult ones with compassion and resilience. Focusing on the science of happiness, Nataly talks about how she came up with the idea for her company, Happier, and why it’s important to practice gratitude and self compassion. On this episode, she focuses on the importance of creating kinder relationships with ourselves, being able to beat the feeling of not being enough, and the importance of companies focusing on the happiness and well-being of their employees for success.

Episode Transcript

00:11 Kristy Wallace: Hello and welcome to the Ellevate Network Podcast: This is your host, Kristy Wallace, with my co-host Maricella Herrera. How is it going Marcella?

00:22 Maricella Herrera: Good. It is good.

00:24 KW: I say the same thing every week, I'm always like, "Hey, how is it going?"

00:30 MH: I know but it's good, I got to see you for a few minutes.

00:33 KW: I know we kind of catch up over microphones and podcast speak. So I have a question for you, are you happy?

00:41 MH: I am, I am happy. I think I am. Someone else asked me... Well, actually someone actually, the other day told me I was very unhappy and I had to stare them down and be like, "I'm happy."

00:57 KW: Do not tell me if I'm happy or not.

01:00 MH: Why are you talking about my emotional state?

01:04 KW: Well, it but that's... Well, so you bring up a really interesting point there because really, we're the only people that know inside. Many people are unhappy and they become really good at masking it or feel that they are unable to express their true feelings in a public space, and many of us are really happy and content, and we just show it in different ways right. Well, our guest today, Nataly Kogan is just a really fascinating. She's done, just tons of thought leadership and research around how to be happy, what are the ways to just shift in mindset around happiness?

01:45 KW: And there's actually a little spoiler alert, some real medical research that supports the value of thinking happy thoughts on a regular basis and how that starts to shift our make-up. But she is a former VC, has a really inspiring story of how she grew up and where she came from, but most importantly, she founded a company and app called Happier, which is a technology company and an app that I have been using, so I'm not just the podcast moderator, I'm also a user, is that I don't know, I tried to fit that into something quirky, but it didn't work. Anyway, what about our community, how do they find their happy place?

02:29 MH: So this is an old poll, which we should probably update, but it's interesting to see that about 22% of our community finds their happy place during exercise; 14% find their happy place as they cross a task of their to-do list, of course as they should, high achievers; 14% say they read interesting books or articles; 13% go for a walk; 10% have a glass of wine, wine helps...

03:07 KW: Until it doesn't.

03:10 MH: Until it doesn't. Good point. And then 8%, meditate.

03:14 KW: Ah yes. I'm a fan of that. Well, for all of you out there listening, I wish you the best of luck finding your happy place. I think it is certainly achievable, but it takes some work and some intentionality. It's not always, there's a lot of ups and downs in life. So you've heard from our community, some of their best tips and tricks. I'd love for you to listen to my conversation with Nataly and share what you think about that. So, you can tweet it to us at Ellevate NTWK, or shoot us an email,

03:52 KW: And share what makes you happy and how you find that place. Because I think it's a conversation, we're not having enough around women in the workplace and just women in general who take on so much in our lives, in our work places, in our families and communities and it can be overwhelming and beyond just those external forces, some of us are not always happy to... That's not how we're made or how we are feeling during that time, and we need to talk more about how we can be aware of those feelings and find the support to help us through those times. So I hope you enjoy this conversation with Nataly, and we'll see you back here next week on the Ellevate Podcast.


04:44 KW: Well, Nataly, thanks so much for joining us today on the Ellevate Podcast, I'm really excited to have you here.

04:54 Nataly Kogan: Thanks for having me, I'm so grateful to have a chance to chat with you and your listeners.

04:58 KW: Yes, and I am pretty certain this is gonna be one of my favorite podcasts.

05:04 NK: No pressure.

05:05 KW: Already. I mean just knowing about your story and the work you're doing and I think it's this aspect of mental health and happiness and the power of technology to support that is just to me, something I'm incredibly passionate about and that we don't talk enough about. So, would you mind sharing with our listeners, a little bit about your journey to happy and how the creation of Happier came about?

05:36 NK: Yeah, definitely, so I start my story back when I was much younger and I grew up in the former Soviet Union, and it's often like a weird place to start, but really my path did really start there. So I grew up in the former Soviet Union, and we're Jewish so we were persecuted, and we left to try and make our way to the United States when I was 13 with my parents. We lived in refugee settlements in Europe for a couple of months just applying for permission. My parents were doing interviews, writing affidavits and eventually, we were lucky to get permission to come and we landed our first place in America, we lived in the projects in this little city called Ypsilanti, it's outside of Detroit, and so here we were in the projects very grateful to have welfare and food stamps to start.

06:25 NK: But for me, we were excited to be in America, but I was overwhelmed with so much self-doubt and fear. You know at 13, I think you're overwhelmed with all that stuff period. Like, who am I? And I had lost the only identity that I had, I was a really good student, I was always really smart, and I could hardly speak English, I didn't understand basic things. I was in all these remedial classes, and that was such a rough time for me and the only time that I felt good and wasn't lost in all that anxiety and loneliness, and it was when I achieved something.

07:00 NK: Even small, like I remember the first time that I said a sentence in a history class and no one laughed I was like "Oh my God, this is amazing." When I got moved out of remedial English into regular English or on and on, and eventually, I went on to graduate at the top of my high school. We obviously moved out of the projects by then. And I had this idea, I actually remember thinking, I'm like, "Wow whenever I achieve something, I feel awesome and I share it with my parents and they feel great, and okay this is gonna be it, this is how I'm going to reach our American dream, I'm gonna achieve so many amazing things. I'm gonna make everything in my life, okay, I'm gonna take care of my family and then I'll be happy and I'll feel good all the time. And that's the American dream." And so, I lived according to this, I'll be happy when, mantra for most of my life, for a couple of decades and I, by many measures, achieved so much of my, "I'll be happy whens".

07:55 NK: I graduated at the top of my University at Wesleyan. I had all sorts of very hard to get jobs. I went to McKinsey right after college. I became a venture capitalist at 26 as a woman in an industry where there's less than 6% women. I started companies, I wrote books, I had really senior roles. I married my college sweetheart, Avi, we had a beautiful daughter, Mia, we lived in New York City which was my American dream. On the outside, I was like, over-achieving at achieving and I never managed to feel happy for more than a few moments and I didn't know this at the time, but I think we all fall into this trap. Like my circumstances might have been different, but I think we've all... Everyone listening, we've all caught ourselves thinking I'll be happy when, when I lose weight, gain weight, get a new job, move, find my soulmate. And I didn't know why that happiness never lasted, it was like this happiness bubble, and it would just pop, and I had to chase the next achievement.

09:00 NK: And I did this for a couple of decades and then eventually I really hit a wall, I was burned out, I was exhausted, but more than that, I just wasn't actually enjoying any of this great life I had built, and I felt really guilty about it 'cause how can I dare not be happy in New York City with a great career with a husband I love and a daughter, and I was really overwhelmed, and I didn't really know what to do, I didn't know why this I'll be happy when, thing doesn't work.

09:25 NK: And I stumbled into research on happiness, and to be honest with you, this was crazy to me. Like I don't know. They say Russians are good at three things. Suffering, making others suffer, and complaining about suffering, and it'd be really funny if wasn't true. And so, I don't come from a culture where happiness was discussed or studied, so it was crazy to me that people research happiness. But here was this, and my father is a scientist, so I have a great respect for science, and I started just consuming all this research about, what does it mean... What is having a good emotional well-being lead to that? It's not just some feel-good thing that people who are happy are more productive, more creative, they are more altruistic, they're more likely to make better decisions.

10:11 NK: And I was like, "Wow, this isn't... Happiness, isn't just a prize you get at the end of doing the right stuff of like doing enough and being enough. It's an input into living a truly good fulfilling life and doing all these things I wanna do". And the second thing... And this was really the turning point for me is, there were all the scientifically proven small habits that were shown to dramatically improve your well-being if you try them.

10:37 NK: And the number one that the research was talking about was gratitude, and I was so reluctant, I thought it was so cheesy like, how writing down three good things that I appreciate about my day could ever make a difference, if achieving all these things didn't, but when you're desperate, you have to try something new. And so, I went on this 30-day gratitude experiment and every day I wrote down three good things about my day, and I committed to having one moment of gratitude that I expressed to another person and the rest is history.

11:07 NK: I started to notice such shifts in both being able to actually experience joy in the simple everyday moments that were already there in my life. I didn't have to fight for them, it's that I now was honoring them with my presence and my gratitude and not just using them as a means to an end. But the second thing was that, it's not that I was like, happy-go-lucky all the time or never felt stressed, but when I was stressed or going through a challenge, the gratitude practice if I did it, it gave me this inner buffer, inner anchor, as a source of resilience to get through whatever storm I was in, and I was so impacted by what I was experiencing that I said I really wanna... If this works for me, I know it can work for so many people.

11:49 NK: And that's where the idea for Happier came from. And I was... At the time I was an executive at PayPal, we'd sold the company to them, and I quit and started Happier with the same mission that we have now. And that is to help millions of people to practice their happier skills, because happiness is a skill and that's one of the core mind shifts that has changed my life and to help millions of people practice their happier skills, that are all science based, so that they can truly thrive in their work and in their life. And that's how, Happier was born.

12:19 NK: The first thing we created was a Happier mobile app that's become the largest app for people collecting and sharing moments of gratitude, more than 8 million moments of gratitude have been shared all in the interest of creating this gratitude habit that research shows and our audience has told us in so many ways that when you practice gratitude, it not just makes you feel better, but it reduces stress, and anxiety, helps you sleep better, makes you more productive and creative at work and so on, on and on.

12:50 NK: And since then, we have a Happier at Work program that we just launched. We have courses. I do a lot of speaking, but that's how Happier was born from my own struggle of figuring out how to feel good and content for more than a few moments and not always have to fight so much and not be so afraid of not feeling good and learning that being happier doesn't just mean finding more joy, but it's also about learning how to embrace the difficult moments and how to get through them.

13:18 KW: Kathryn, our producer and I, are just sitting here like, "Oh this is amazing." And touching and powerful. What does gratitude and look like?

13:28 NK: Yeah, it's a great question because when I first started to read these scientific articles, to be honest, what I thought of gratitude at the time was like, isn't it that thing that we do at Thanksgiving when we like, hold hands and we say "Oh I'm so grateful to be here and thank you for this food, now let's eat." It was this very ephemeral, again, kind of like cheesy idea and really when we talk about gratitude and the practice of gratitude again, our whole view at Happier and my whole mission that I'm on is to share with people that happiness is a skill.

14:00 NK: Gratitude is a skill like in my book, I write about the five core Happier skills, gratitude is one. And so to build any skill all you have to do is practice. And so when I talk about gratitude, I actually talk about a very specific ongoing practice of gratitude, that eventually helps us create what psychologists call a grateful mindset. So the reason it's so powerful and this is so important to share, and the reason I'll be happy when never works for any of us, is because our brains have two qualities that make it impossible.

14:33 NK: The first is adaptability. We get used to things, good and bad things really quickly and thank God we do because it helps us survive and get through changes, but that means that that new job or the new fridge or the new partner you're dating, they seem like, 'oh my God, once I have that person, I'll be so happy,' and we are happy for a while, but then very quickly the new becomes the new normal, and the brain is like, 'Okay, I'm used to this,' like, okay, like yeah, whatever fridge, the next thing. And that adaptability really makes it very difficult for us to feel any lasting joy or satisfaction when we hang it on the outside of ourselves.

15:10 NK: So that's a first place where the practice of gratitude is so powerful because what gratitude does, when we say, 'Okay, this cup of coffee, I'm holding in my hand right now, it's not just a cup of coffee, it's actually a moment. I am grateful that I'm able to sit here and have this wonderful cup of coffee. I'm actually also grateful for all the people that I may not know that have contributed to creating the coffee that is in this cup and making the cup and selling it.'

15:37 NK: When you practice gratitude, what we're asking our brain to do is to take this moment, and even if it's a moment we have every day, have coffee every day, to treat it as special, to pay attention to it, to pause and honor it with our attention and therefore, to not take it for granted. So the first part of the gratitude practice is being very intentional about zooming in, and the smaller the better, things, people, experiences in our every day and actually saying thank you to them and be feeling grateful for them. And what that does is it interrupts that adaptability of the brain.

16:15 NK: And one of the things, one of the ways I think about it when we practice gratitude, so when you intentionally capture, the capture is really important, so you have to write it down, you have to say it to yourself or someone else, or take a photo. Otherwise the brain ignores it. When we capture a couple of things we're grateful for. Those things come out of the background, they come out from almost this inertia of our brain to go right through them. And Albert Einstein said "you can live your life as if nothing is a miracle, or as if everything is a miracle," and the first power of the power of gratitude again pausing to intentionally notice, appreciate, and capture the gratitude in some way, moments throughout our day, it allows us to see all these things we're otherwise adapted to as little miracles and we derive joy from them without doing anything else other than honoring them with our presence and gratitude.

17:05 NK: The second power of the gratitude practice, again, this practice of pausing and intentionally focusing our attention on something we appreciate. And capturing that gratitude in some way and being very, very specific, so less I'm alive and more as I said, I'm so grateful I get to have this cup of coffee in the morning and really enjoy it. The other reason this is so powerful, is because all of our brains have a negativity bias, and that is we are much more sensitive to any negative stimuli, than anything positive and the brain evolved this way to help protect us from danger. Danger, usually has negative stimuli, but unfortunately, what that means is our brain is constantly scanning our environment for something that's wrong, and we have it to different degrees, but we all have it and so we notice things that are stressful, or wrong or imperfect, much more than they're good.

17:54 NK: And so the other power of this intentional focus gratitude practice is that it counters that negativity bias, and it asks the brain, brain, can you please register some of these positive things? And it's really powerful. Researchers have found that just three weeks of every day writing down three things you are grateful for, actually alters the chemistry of the brain and makes it more likely that your brain on its own starts to look for good things to appreciate which I think is incredible.

18:23 NK: Like gratitude, I talk about gratitude as the magic pill with no side effects that is accessible to any of us at any time and it has these amazing benefits. So a long answer to your question but hopefully a good background. I wanted to make sure I really shared why this focus practice of gratitude is so essential because of the brains that we're given.

18:46 KW: I mean I love this, I cannot wait to start this practice. It's funny, so as I imagine many of our listeners are doing, you kind of are taking this moment as I'm listening to you, to think about my own life and happiness and gratitude. And you mentioned a little bit ago just about this chasing the American dream. And so many of us are doing that, we're working hard, we're working hard towards some goal that oftentimes is not really set by us, but set by a larger societal narrative around what success looks like. And when I think about me personally, I don't stop, I'm constantly moving, I'm constantly doing things. And part of that, if I were to self-analyze, is this nature of, "If you don't stop then you're not forced to think about things and to think about life, and... " And when we do stop to think it's oftentimes, "Okay, what's wrong, what am I not happy about, what's not working versus... "

19:46 NK: Because that's your brain, right? The negativity bias is right there.

19:49 KW: Yeah, and when I am grateful, when I am happy it's usually, "Oh, I'm so grateful for my kids and I love them very much, and they're great and every time I see them, it makes me happy and it makes me... " But I'm not thinking about me personally, what is it about the work that I do, or me personally as an individual. There's these certain moments that, or pieces of our lives that we can be very aware of and grateful for, but taking a step back and thinking about all the pieces that form into you, including the most important piece, which is you, and how you can become more intentional about being grateful for just the life you have, the person you are, and all the things that surround you.

20:35 NK: Well, it's so... I love this question 'cause I think it's so relevant for so many of us. And actually, I just got back, I recorded a new 21-day audio program, a 21-Day Gratitude audio program with my publisher that comes out in February. And as I was working on it, I said, "Wait a minute. We have to have several practices that are about expressing gratitude to ourselves, for ourselves and one of the reasons that I think that that is so essential and so few of us do this, is, we are fantastic at treating ourselves so harshly, at talking to ourselves in such a harsh way that we would never reserve for people that we love. And I wrote this op-ed for the Washington Post and it was called, "How Grit almost Killed Me," and the point I was making is that I spent most of my adult life just grit and bearing it. I worked myself to the bone, because I thought first of all, I thought I was chasing happiness that way, but underneath that, there was this gnawing feeling that it's not, I'm not doing enough, it's that, I am not enough. That I, as I am, my being, is not enough, so I have to do all these things to get the right, to feel good. And I think so many of us are in that trap. And for me it wasn't like one day I had this eureka and I realized it.

22:05 NK: I got to a point where I was hardly functional. I got to a point, and this is a couple of years in, and this is why I wrote my book, this is the first part of my book. This was as I was running Happier, so I was a CEO of a company called Happier, I was teaching hundreds of thousands of people, this magic of gratitude and this practice and changing their lives, but ultimately I was still using gratitude as a band-aid over all these feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt, and all these feelings that eventually they just all spilled out because the other skill that we never learn, and this is why I'm so passionate about doing the work that I do, is that we are not meant to feel good all the time, being happy is not turning negative into the positive, it is two halves that one is, how to find more joy in everyday moments and the other is the skill of learning how to embrace our difficult feelings and give ourselves permission to feel them and not feel like we're failing at life when we do that.

23:04 NK: And I got to such a dangerous place, I got to a place where I was hardly functioning as a human. I thought I was losing everything, myself, my marriage, my family, my company and only in that darkness I was very lucky and very grateful, I connected with a teacher who began to guide me down this process, and I did my own work, was the realization that all this drive to work non-stop, to treat myself so poorly was coming from this feeling that I am not enough. And I think so many of us have this underlying thing. And there's so many factors into why that is, first of all the negativity bias that we have, helps there as well. We usually are so fantastic at noticing all of our imperfections instead of practicing gratitude about things and behaviors and qualities that we have, that are awesome. The second part is the society we live in, that worships work and overwork and over-achievement. And so, of course, we don't feel like we're enough but there's other forces as well. And so for me, that was such a powerful realization, and that's why when I speak about gratitude, yes we also have to practice gratitude towards ourselves.

24:12 NK: And I mentioned this gratitude program that I just created that comes out next year, but one of the themes is all about gratitude to yourself. So one of the things I encourage you to do, and this is something I do and I hope the listeners would do, and this is hard; but when you're making your list of gratitude can you make... Can you express one gratitude towards yourself? The other way I think about this is, I have this... So whenever we are creating a new habit, it's better if we connect it to something that we're already doing. So I have one of my favorite practices, I call it 2-4-1. So every time you criticize yourself, which most of us do non-stop in our head, pause and then say, something to yourself that you're grateful for about yourself.

24:55 NK: And what you're doing, you're actually using your brain's negativity bias and this constant self-criticism to trigger you to do this practice. And over time, the beautiful thing about practicing is, it builds the skill of gratitude towards yourself, it actually builds self-compassion. It builds a kinder relationship with yourself, but I think that is so essential and I'm so glad you asked me this because our gratitude is incomplete and our practice of gratitude, is not complete unless we also practice gratitude towards ourselves.

25:26 NK: And the reason I'm so obsessed with the word practice is, you can practice before you feel it, and that's the beauty of any practice. So even if you don't feel like being kind to yourself, even if you don't feel like, "Oh," and like, even if you're stuck in that self-criticism, where "I'm not enough," practice just practice. When you write your gratitude, write one thing you're grateful for within yourself or a pair, every time you criticize yourself with something you're grateful for and over time, practice cultivates feelings.

25:54 NK: And this has been proven in Western science, I'm a big yogi, so it's a big part of yoga, is that it's not just feeling leads to action, action can also lead to feeling. I can go on about this for like three hours, I'm gonna stop myself but I love that you asked me about that, because it is so essential that when we practice gratitude, that we also practice it towards ourselves. And one of the... At Happier we have the Happier method and there's five core Happier skills; gratitude is one, but self-care is another. And part of self-care is self-compassion, which is all about creating a kinder relationship towards ourselves, which is one of the most challenging things I practice still.

26:32 NK: I teach courses on self-compassion, I do this for a living, I do Happy at Work at companies where I train their employees and leaders and yet it's still difficult for myself because there's such a deep rooted sense of not being enough in so many of us. But the only answer is to practice. And so, when you practice gratitude towards yourself, you're building that skill of self-compassion, you're building a kinder friendship with yourself and you see the difference. But that's our only answer but I'm so so glad you asked me that.

27:01 KW: You mentioned the work you do with companies and I'm really excited to hear more about this, because in my experience companies tend to think about their employees in terms of skills and competencies. "So we will invest in professional development, so you can learn a new skill, or a new time management technique, or whatever that may be." But when you take a step back and think about your employees as a whole person and the impact that mental health and emotional health can have on someone's acting as part of a team or their work, or just their mindset, their creativity and innovation, it's very forward-thinking to really see why it's so important to invest in that. And I would love to hear about some of the companies you work with, and how that part of your business came about.

28:00 NK: Yeah, it's a great question, lots of layers to it, and I'll just as a preamble say a couple of things. So it is absolutely forward-looking. The companies that are understanding that the emotional well-being of their employees is directly tied to their success as a company, that body of companies is growing and it's growing mainly because there's now so much research that shows that when employees are happier they're more productive. They're more creative, they're more likely to help each other, they deliver better customer service, they work better as teams, they're more satisfied with their jobs, they're more engaged and on and on. And there's so much research now that many more companies are opening up to this. At the same time as you say, this is new, and I am fully aware that we are at the leading edge of something, that I think, 20 years from now, companies will look back and any company that is not providing some kind of Happy at Work or employee well-being training will be looked at as a crazy, weird company that is wasting money. But it's absolutely still... We're still at the cutting edge, but those companies are growing and it's because of all this research that is directly tying employee well-being to success and engagement and ultimately company success.

29:14 NK: The way this came out, this came up, was actually very organic. So I started speaking a few years ago and doing more and more speaking just to share these messages and lessons and skills with people, and there were just all these executives and all these speaking engagements that would come up and they'd be like, "This is amazing. What do you have for companies?" And then it was about two years ago, that this happened at one of the big conferences and I was like, "Okay we gotta create something. And so it really came out organically that way. And we've been piloting the program with a bunch of companies for the last the year and a half, we actually just formally announced it to our Happier community yesterday, which is awesome. And the reaction, so many people are asking for information, which is great.

29:57 NK: And here's the thing, I think... You talked about skills and the companies invest in teaching skills. This is really essential and when we talk to companies, what I say to them is, "Your employee emotional well-being is perhaps the greatest unrealized asset that you have." People cannot work more, people are overworked, 80% of American employees say they're stressed or overwhelmed, and only 30% of employees in America say they're fully engaged with their jobs. Those numbers are really crazy because we spend so much time working. But when we talk to companies, this is what I tell them, "That you can unleash so much more engagement and productivity, and creativity, and teamwork, and you can make this a place where people really thrive when you teach them the skills," again, it's all about these skills, "when you teach them these skills so that they can optimize their emotional well-being." And the way we do the workshops, the program is it's all very interactive.

30:55 NK: And so, pretty early on, what we started to learn about was, "Wait, we're not just teaching these skills to individual employees, we're actually changing the culture and the way that the gratitude and intentional kindness, which is one of our skills; and acceptance, which is one of our skills, and the bigger why, which is connection to a sense of meaning, that when we do these workshops, this program, that we're also creating these foundational cultural elements that dramatically shift the culture. And that's really what we're after, is to teach employees and leaders, these scientifically-based skills, so they can optimize their emotional well-being, so they learn skills to get through change, so they learn how to be more resilient when there's so much stress around. At the same time, we are infusing the culture and creating these foundations of culture of psychological safety and trust, and gratitude and collaboration, and it's amazing to see.

31:52 NK: This work, you can hear it in my voice, this is my bigger Why, because I think that we can truly, truly have... Start a revolution, almost, and have all these dominoes just one lead to another because when we're going to workplaces, we can connect to so many people at the same time. But I also understand that it's a challenge because not every company sees its responsibility that way, and not every company values that and there's still many companies who kind of thing like, "Yeah yeah, employee-wellness whatever, like let's give them $50 off the gym and check box, right?" But I'm excited that there are different companies and so we've taken a billion-dollar company through, we've taken a $100 million company through, with all their divisions, we've taken individual teams at companies. Yesterday I was...

32:37 NK: I did a two-hour Happier skills workshop at this amazing local non-profit, it's called Series and they consult... They help companies all around the globe create more sustainable practices and so they're doing this important work and so we're working with all kinds of companies. But the feedback has been overwhelming, and overwhelmingly positive, and again, those are the two things that we're focused on.

32:58 NK: Is how do we teach leaders and employees these skills to help them be more engaged, be more productive, enjoy their work more, connect deeper to a sense of meaning, find the skills to improve their resilience, because change happens, uncertainty happens, stress happens. And also as we do that, to really create these foundations in their culture around gratitude and kindness and connecting to a sense of meaning and creating a culture of psychological trust, which so much research has shown, those are the elements that help people thrive at work and also enjoy their work, which is such a huge thing.

33:35 KW: Yeah, and when you think about how much of our identity is tied up into work, how many hours we spend at work, how intrinsically tied work is to this "American dream," that we referenced earlier. It really all comes full circle and just touch on the app that you've created and how can listeners connect with that and best take advantage of what you've created.

34:04 NK: Yeah absolutely, so the app is out there, and I just have to say at the onset, the iPhone version is out, we're actually releasing a brand new Android version the next couple of weeks. So, Android users you have it also. It's free and it's all about helping you create this habit of practicing gratitude so you can, if you go to you can get all the information about the app, or you can download it in the App Store. And again, Android folks, it's coming, I promise. But just other ways to connect and dive into practicing your happier skills, if I may do a little Usefulness blog. But if you go to, we have so many free videos and articles and blog posts and background on the five core happier skills. We also have this awesome 21 day Happier challenge as a digital course which is fantastic. My book just came out a few months ago and it's all about, well, I share some of my story that I shared with you guys but it's then lays out the five core happier skills, and there's 37 one-minute practices in it.

35:03 NK: And this is actually, this is like an obsession of mine. How to make these practices, so doable and yet powerful so we can fit them into our busy lives. The book's called Happier Now: How to Stop Chasing Perfection and Embrace Everyday Moments, even the difficult ones.

35:19 KW: Perfect, well thank you so much for joining us today on the Ellevate Podcast, it's really been amazing to talk with you and to talk about this, it's just so important and I really appreciate you sharing all of your insights and learnings with us.

35:35 NK: Well, thank you so much for having me I'm grateful that you're gonna share them with your folks.


35:40 S1: Thanks so much for listening to Ellevate, if you like what you hear, help a girl out, subscribe to the Ellevate Podcast on iTunes, give us five stars and share your review. Also don't forget to follow us on Twitter at @ellevatentwk, N-T-W-K, that's Ellevate Network, and become a member. You can learn all about membership and all the great things that Ellevate Network is doing at our website, that's And special thanks to our producer, Catherine Heller, she rocks, and to our voice over artist, Rachel Griesinger, thanks so much, and join us next week.


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