Today I am happy to welcome Jo Howarth to Getting To Know... Jo is the creator of The Happiness Club and author of Glad To Be Dan.
You are the creator of The Happiness Club, can you tell me more about that and what inspired you to set it up?
I am a mindfulness practitioner and advanced hypnotherapist by trade and I realised that, whether I was seeing someone on an individual basis or running a workshop, what I was helping people to do was find their happiness. We all have our own definition of happiness and the things that we think will make us happy. And happiness is really what we are all after, whether we think that happiness will come from being successful or being loved or being relaxed or having a big house, the thing we are all after is happiness. Once I realised that then it became obvious that the best way to help people do that was to give them daily guidance and that is what the club does. My members receive a daily tool, tip or thought to help them ditch the negative stuff, root themselves in the present moment and embrace a positive future.
Your book, Get Happy! The Essential Guide To A Happier Life, gives advice and tips on how to "choose happiness every single day" can you give any examples of what we could expect to find?
Absolutely. The book is a compilation of the first 6 months worth of daily thoughts from The Happiness Club so is designed to be read one page a day, in the same way as the members of my club receive their daily thought. An example would be:
How often do you say to yourself "I want that" or "I wish I had this"?
As humans we do this all the time.
We talk and think about things we want, the things we wish we had in our lives, the things we are lacking.
When we "want" something, what we are doing is focusing our attention on the lack of it, if we want it then we don't have it. We are reminding ourselves that we don't have it. Does that make us feel good? Nope.
Today when you get one of those "I want" thoughts, take a moment to imagine, just pretend that you already have that thing. Allow yourself to experience how good that feels.
Now hold on to that feeling as you go through your day.
Glad To Be Dan, is a story aimed to help children deal with different emotions, what made you decide to write a children's book?
I am passionate about working with children to help them learn how to deal with different and difficult emotions. In my opinion it is one of the most important things we will ever learn as human beings and if you can learn it when you are 4 or 7 or 9 then it stands you in better stead for the life and the world ahead. It is about building emotional resilience within children from an early age so that it becomes second nature to them, so that these tools and techniques are a normal part of their every day life, so that the resilience is inbuilt in them. Writing Glad To be Dan was a way to get these tools and techniques into the hands of as many children as possible in an affordable way.
Both of my books can be accessed through my website: www.thehappinessclub.co.uk/
Does a lot of research go into finding methods that work to make people happy?
Yes it can do, a lot of the techniques that I teach to people are ones that I use or have used myself and they are techniques that I teach to everyone I work with. But I am also constantly training and learning as much new stuff as possible, I believe that we are always learning and that we should always be learning in order to expand and grow within this world. I love coming across new ideas and using them myself before passing them on to my clients.
You are also a mindful hypnotherapist, can you tell me anything about what that entails and how it works?
Mindfulness is about being in the present moment, for me it is about increasing your awareness on a conscious level and awareness is the key to life, the universe and everything! It is about paying attention to all the brilliant things within you and around you. Practising mindfulness helps us to realise that thoughts are just thoughts, they do not need to have the power over us that we give them.
Hypnotherapy allows us to work with our limiting beliefs on a subconscious level. The subconscious mind is by far the bigger part of us and allows us to operate on auto-pilot, which is ace when we are doing routine things like putting on a pair of socks but not so ace when it makes us repeat negative behaviour patterns over and over again. Hypnotherapy is the best way that I have found of stopping those automatic knee-jerk reactions to things. Hypnosis is also a completely natural state of mind to be in - we all spend roughly 85% of our day, every day, naturally in hypnosis.
Have you always known that you wanted to write your own book one day?
Yes but I didn't realise until a couple of years ago that it would be about happiness!
When you're not writing what would we find you doing?
I run workshops for businesses, teaching them simple practical techniques to help reduce stress and sickness absences levels. And I run a Happiness Programme for schools which is Mindfulness based that teaches children and the staff that teach them how to be happy and mindful.
When you are writing, do you have a set routine or schedule that you like to follow?
Yes I write every morning as part of my daily routine - I get up at 7am, meditate for 15 minutes and then write for approximately half an hour every day.
Do you have a favourite author?
There are so many! I like Eckhart Tolle, Dr Robert Anthony and Alan Cohen at the moment and my favourite children's author is Jude Lennon, the co-author of Glad To Be Dan, she's ace.
What can we look forward to next from you?
I have just begun my journey into the world of webinars so the next one I'm running is called A Happier Family in 5 Easy Steps and is on Monday 5th December, you can book a place here: https://www.eventbrite.
The next two books in the Get Happy! series are underway so look out for Get More Happy! and Get Even More Happy! on Amazon in 2017.
Plus Jude, Trev and I are currently working on 8 more children's books to help them learn about dealing with more specific emotions such as frustration, anxiety, sadness and specific situations like bereavement, divorce and the arrival of new siblings!
Thank you so much to Jo for answering my questions and sharing more information about The Happiness Club
To Connect With Jo Howarth
Glad To Be Dan
Dan doesn't feel very happy. In fact he's feeling sad. His mum's on hand to help him out But can she help Dan feel glad? Dan is having a bad week. He's feeling sad, anxious and worried. His mum has some great ideas to help him feel glad to be Dan again. But will they work? This delightful and charming story includes mindful exercises to help young children learn how to cope with different emotions.