Hi, I’m Natasha and I help people be happier.
By “happier” I don’t mean “feeling great, wonderful, and positive all the time.” That’s not realistic. It’s not even healthy. All our emotions are feedback – even the lousy ones.
What I mean is, I help people manage and use healthy negative experiences, while creating and shifting their focus to more positive ones. But before I get into all that, let me take you back for a bit…
When I was 7, I used to ride the school bus. The kids at my stop were all different ages; some younger some older. There typically were no parents there, and this typically was no problem.
One day, I was waiting at the stop as usual, along with the others. On that particular day, something happened that burrowed a tiny hole in my mind and stayed there from that point on.
There was another girl about my age (let’s call her Eva) at that bus stop. Eva lived in my neighbourhood, and our parents knew each other. We’d sometimes hang out. That day, one of the older girls at the bus stop (let’s call her Ali) decided to pick on Eva.
Ali was at least 4 or 5 years older than us, giving her an obvious advantage back then. She began by taunting Eva and calling her names. It was enough for Eva to start crying.
But it wasn’t enough for Ali.
So she ripped a chunk of dirty grass from the ground and chased Eva. When she caught her, she held her still and rubbed (no…ground) the grass and dirt on her head, in her hair, and over her face. Ali was laughing. Eva was sobbing. The rest of us were horrified.
I sat with Eva on the bus that day and tried to comfort her, help her clean up. Eva was understandably pretty upset. I felt sad too. But I discovered something that day: Helping her (in whatever little way I could) made us both feel better.
I went on to make “helping” a career I love. I’ve spent the last decade studying psychology, building a successful practice in Toronto, honing my craft and becoming an international expert in it. I’ve helped people to be kinder to themselves and to others, because I know how it makes people happier:
1. Being caring, considerate, and affectionate connects two people: The Giver and the Receiver. Both sides of the transaction engage the reward and pleasure centres of the brain.
2. Experiencing meaningful connections with people and being appreciated makes us feel like we matter.
3. People who express gratitude, don’t dwell on the negative, and focus on the good instead are less angry and more optimistic.
4. Being kinder to ourselves through how we mentalize and treat our past, present, and future selves increases how much we value ourselves.
Accept and be grateful for your past, engage fully with your present, look forward to your future with excitement, and believe the world is mostly a good place.
Kindness by this definition is a formidable way to be happier.
It is essential for success and satisfaction in life.
So it came as no shock to me when I became a mother that, more than anything else, I wanted to raise my kids to be kind. I also knew the best way to teach them to be that…was for me to be that. Consistently, by putting it into my daily practice.
A recent study conducted at Harvard University showed that parents rank kindness and caring as top priorities for their children, but the same study showed that children aren't getting that message. 80% of the kids in the study said their parents care more about their academic achievement than being kind.
Clearly, there's a disconnect.
I created The Kindness Journal because of my kids…but I really created it for me. So we could practice more and preach less as parents.
I used my knowledge of what has worked in real life counselling adults, teenagers, and children – along with the latest research and data on happiness - to carefully design the daily writing prompts and exercises.
I have 2 boys now! They are the lights of my life and inspire much of what I do. I think of the kind of world I hope they’ll grow up in, and the kind of men I hope they'll be in it. They totally define my moral compass.
With our current stream of non-stop negative news, it can seem as though the world is filled with nothing but tragic events, and terrible people doing terrible things. This isn't true. Yet we’re more vulnerable than ever to becoming bitter, cynical, and negatively oriented.
With constant access through social media to all the “amazing things” everyone else is getting up to, the risk for feeling totally (and irrationally) inadequate has never been higher.
Despite living in the most “connected” time ever, with the ability to "talk" to almost anybody at any time using technology, people increasingly report feeling lonelier than ever before. I call it being “conn-tech-ted.”
I created The Kindness Journal as a solution to all of this. To help me, my clients, and now you, to live with intention.
Stop comparing yourself to others, start focusing on your own strengths and accomplishments, savor joyful moments, actually connect more, remind yourself the world is a good place, and make a difference in it with positive actions.
I’m confident this Journal will have as great of an impact on your life, and the lives you touch, as it has on ours.
If you have any questions, want to share something, or just want to get in touch to say hi, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to learn a little more about me and my work in the field of Psychology, visit here.
Thank you for stopping by!