1. If I Follow You, Will You Follow Me?

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    Facebook has people competing for the highest number of “friends” and being “unfriended” is a status to be avoided and feared. LinkedIn limits you to connecting to people within just two degrees of Kevin Bacon, so if people aren’t in your “network” you can’t reach out to them (unless, perhaps, you pay more money); and although Twitter is much more “follower friendly” some people categorically refuse to follow back so their profile reflects a status that says, “I am so important that all these people follow me. Better yet, I am so important that I don’t need to hear what anyone else has to say, so I follow a limited number of people.”

    In a world where some social media can leave you feeling…well, less than social, Cheers stands out for being a platform that encourages us to follow (read: energize, support, interact with) one another and rewards us for doing so.  The Cheers community is happy, uplifting and sharing and a unique cyberplace where one good turn definitely deserves another.  There’s something for everyone — you can Celebrate friends, family, places, things and if you’re an individual who thrives on being at the top of the numbers game, the more you cheer on your fellow community members the higher your Cheerfluence score!

    As for me, I always follow back. It may take me a while, and sometimes someone will fall through the cracks, but I do my best to be a Cheerful example!

    Celebrate What You’ve Learned: Heck, this one is easy! Crank up the Genesis and follow someone today and if someone follows you…well, you know what to do! Check out the featured feed to find great new friends to follow!

  2. Vacation: Do or Die?

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    Americans are seriously lagging behind their European brethren when it comes to vacation days. While many Europeans get at least 30—yes, THIRTY, vacation days (and take them all!), most Americans only net 14 measly days a year—and then leave some of them unused. What’s more, the Bureau of Labor Statistics points out that up to a quarter of American workers don’t get any paid vacation at all. Emphasizing the difference between us and other countries is the International Labor Organization’s study that shows Americans working 137 more hours per year than Japanese workers, 260 more than British workers, and 499 more hours per year than workers in France.

    The problem is, being all work and no play does more than make Jack a dull boy — sometimes it kills him. Studies show that men who don’t take regular vacations are 32% more likely to die of heart attacks, and women who don’t indulge in a little time away from the office are eight times more likely than women with a two-break-a-year habit to suffer from heart disease. Luckily, just a few days on vacation can foster better sleep patterns, improved reaction times, and happier, healthier people.

    ln fact, taking regular vacations can reduce chronic stress and depression, give your brain and heart a boost, improve family (and marital) relations and give you the perfect opportunity to create new, healthy habits. Best of all, it doesn’t matter where you go or how long you stay — any vacation destination is a good one — hooray!

    So what’s a cubicle-dweller to do? Take a break! Get away, even for just a few days. And resist the urge to work on the road. Don Joseph Goewey, the developer of a neuroscience-based stress relief approach called “Mystic Cool”, notes that even when on vacation stressed-out employees often check into the office nine or ten times.  Don’t. The world won’t end if you don’t read your office emails. I promise.

    Celebrate What You’ve Learned: Looking for a getaway to unfrazzle your nerves, soothe your psyche and generally decompress? Check out the “Paradise” or “On the Road Again” Celebrations or see what other Cheeristas are doing on their days off by clicking on “Vacation Days”. You just might find your perfect place!

  3. Dawn Run

    Cheers is a place for sharing our successes, our happy moments, and for motivating each other to be the best we can be. A simple shot of Agnes’s running shoes reminds us that we have the power to improve our lives starting with the first decision we make when we wake up in the morning. Keep up the good work, Agnes!

  4. Money Really CAN Buy You Happiness!

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    Did you know that giving gifts and other random kindnesses can make the gift giver happy? Researchers have proven that people feel much happier when they are buying something for someone else rather than themselves and, best of all, the more they focus on their past kindnesses, the more likely they were to spend money on others rather than themselves!

    Martin Seligman, author and psychology professor, notes that people involved in a philanthropic activity of any type rated themselves much happier afterwards than people engaged in having “self-fun” (like doing a pleasurable activity or eating something yummy) making altruism a good prescription for a happiness boost.  Like any prescription, practicing giving comes with side effects. Social psychologist Elizabeth Dunn points out that giving has both short- and long-term effects. She says, “Giving once might make a person happy for a day, but if it becomes a way of living, then it could make a lasting difference.” 

    Sounds like the way to happiness is pretty clear: give unto others and then…continue giving to keep those happiness hormones flowing!

    Being altruistic (that is, practicing kindness and generosity to others rather than yourself), especially in a spontaneous, extraordinary way can amp up your happiness quotient in no time. In fact, it is a perfect way to promote connectedness and community and help us focus on and be grateful for the things we have in our lives. Spontaneous giving can make us feel needed and worthy and, best of all, can help ignite a chain reaction of people passing kindnesses on to others. 


    Celebrate What You’ve Learned: Check out the Gifts in Plain Sight Celebration on Cheers. Wrap up a gift of your choice, attach a card (click here to request some free tags or create your own) and leave it somewhere for some lucky stranger to find. Smile. Rinse. Repeat!

     

  5. Graduation Day

    As Spring turns to Summer, this time of year marks huge milestones for many of us. It’s graduation season! Whether you are graduating from high school, college or even kindergarten, it’s time to celebrate all your hard work and to make plans for the future. Cheers to you for this achievement and may you take each new step with optimism and perseverance. 

  6. Tattoo Your Way to a Better Day!

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    Many people see tattoos and other body modifications in a negative way, while others say it promotes individualism and creativity. Whatever your opinion, there is no denying that body art is becoming more prevalent each passing year - a research poll from 2010 shows that 23% of all Americans have a tattoo and at least 32% of adults aged 30 to 45 have at least one. Participants in the craze say their tattoos have boosted their self-esteem and self-confidence and taught them to take better care of the skin they’re in ).  And trending research shows that vaccines just might be more effective when delivered as a tattoo rather than a shot!

    Besides the lift you can get from wearing a beautiful piece of art or a meaningful statement, people with tattoos have a vested interest in taking care of them. Many people are more careful to monitor weight losses and gains after getting inked to avoid stretching or distorting their tattoo. And to keep the color looking sharper longer, the experts will tell you to avoid excessive sun exposure and keep your skin moisturized so it remains pliant and supple. All of these things lead to better self-care and a glowing complexion - what could be more uplifting than that? 

    As for me, I’m a fan. I got Toby, the bee tattoo on my big toe, six years ago and he still makes me smile every time I see him!

    Celebrate What You’ve Learned: Thinking about getting your first tattoo or adding to your collection? Join the Tattoos and Body Art Celebration on to see a variety of creative ink choices or add a picture of your own tattoo to the Celebration as inspiration for others!

  7. Selfies on Parade

    Selfies are all the rage and on Cheers, they are something special. Cheers are typically about what us happy and what we are grateful for, so we rarely post shots of ourselves. This new celebration created by Juli-Juls has our community turning their cameras the other way. Show your cheer with the community by posting a pic of your beautiful/smiling/warm/silly face! 

  8. Remember to Be Happy!

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    For some, it’s a whiff of sunscreen on a warm day; for others, the spicy bite of cinnamon.  For you, it might be a few notes of “Don’t Look Back” by Boston or a rerun of “Gilligan’s Island” that takes you on a happy detour down Memory Lane.  It’s no surprise that a scent, sound or place can stir up memories, even among the stodgiest of us, but did you know that reminiscing can actually make you happier?

    Researchers at Loyola University have found that people who dwell on good memories for at least 20 minutes a day grow more cheerful over the ensuing week — and definitely rate themselves happier than when they are thinking of their current situations—proof positive that sometimes it IS good to dwell on the past!

    Interestingly, our compatriots in the 17th and 18th centuries viewed such timeless musings as a bona fide disease, like kidney stones!  Although this opinion is not the norm in today’s society, current research goes a step further by supporting nostalgia as a therapeutic adjunct to happiness.  Reminiscing helps to boost self-esteem and increases a sense of social support; plus, focusing on the good times gives you a more positive outlook on life and minimizes regrets.  U.K. psychologist and researcher Tim Wildschut notes that these kind of nostalgic thoughts usually feature important people in our lives, and help to trigger a feeling of belonging. In addition, they help cement positive feelings about friendships and people in general. For the elderly and others who may experience periods of social isolation, a little nostalgia can be just what the doctor ordered!

    Celebrate What You’ve Learned: Take your own trip down memory lane with a roadmap available on the Cheers app! Check out Just Remembering, Lost and Found 45s, or Your Favorite Movie Lines and Quotes to jog your memory. If you don’t find what you need, just start your own Celebration worth remembering and let the good (old) times roll!

  9. Disney Magic

    Disney resorts offer magical experiences for kids of all ages. Join Ursula’s Disney Magic celebration to share your favorite moments. Can’t make it to the park? Cheer your favorite Disney memories!

  10. Walkin’ on Sunshine: A Simple, Fun Way to Get Happy

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    It’s no surprise that when people are looking to de-stress their lives they often yearn for a day at the beach or the serenity of a tropical island. Sunny climes (even pictures of them) seem to elicit smiles and sighs of relief almost universally. 

    Although there’s no denying a day spent kicking back in a hammock or on the sand rather than at a job or doing housework sounds dreamy, part of the reason we feel more uplifted on a sunny day is that sunlight actually boosts our mood. Science backs this up, showing that the more UV light we’re exposed to, the higher our levels of serotonin rise—and serotonin is the neurotransmitter responsible for keeping the blues at bay by elevating mood. 

    Not only does exposure to sunlight help boost our production of this natural anti-depressant, but it increases our vitamin D levels. Vitamin D derived from sunshine is used by the body more easily than vitamin D supplements and, besides helping with serotonin production, it also boosts immunity and helps keep your bones strong—giving you another reason to seek the sun. 

    To get the beneficial mood-lifting and immunity-boosting benefits of your daily dose of sun, you need to be sure to skip the sunscreen for at least 15 minutes, three times a week. After you’ve taken your quarter-hour sunbath, then slather on the sunblock to protect your skin from too much sun, which can contribute to aging and skin cancers in high doses. If you really want to bliss out, make sure to catch some rays at a location that makes you smile: the beach, a favorite park, a garden or the local swimming hole—wherever you feel happiest.

    Celebrate What You’ve Learned: Although the Cheers app can’t radiate sunshine quite yet (that may have to wait until version 3.0), we do have some great Celebrations that help you bask in the glory of sunny locales like Sunrise/Sunset and Beaches and Paradise.