Happy Days

Hi Friends,

This week’s newsletter isn’t about fitness or nutrition, but a different, and important part of wellness.


I just read an article about Finland again being ranked the happiest country in the world – that’s 6 years running. Taxes are very high in Finland, so money doesn’t seem to be a key to happiness, nor does the weather. So why are they so happy, and how do they measure it anyway?

“Happiness markers” rank Finland at the top in over 100 global measures of economic and social success. So – I totally get that an equitable education system, a publicly funded healthcare system, and public transport make it a very livable country. But institutions themselves don’t make people happy.

Things that fit the happiness description for me: engagement, purpose, helping. 

1. Coaching. I half-jokingly say I love strength coaching for women because unlike parenting, people actually want to listen to me! Coaching is truly fulfilling because it’s purposeful – my skills and strengths can help people. Engagement with clients makes me happy, and empowerment makes my clients happy.


Strength is everything! Iron Ladies Strength Training For Women starts March 5th
Kettlebell leaks
Fun with kettlebells!

2. Community activism. Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition began in 2015 to make streets safe for walking and biking. Advocacy for equitable mobility brought    about a reconfiguration of Main Street, and the work continues. Check out @apcompletestreets and apcompletestreets.org. It involves communications and            meetings across the state in-person, virtually, and within Asbury Park. There’s badgering, emailing, and calling city officials, and monthly community “slow roll” bike rides. Happiness, even delayed gratification, is seeing the smallest, incremental improvements in the city.

bike advocacy
Learning ways that other countries make streets safer.


Polli and team in Trenton
With a great team testifying in Trenton before The Transportation Committee for NJ Target Zero, no traffic fatalities by 2040 or sooner.

3. Community engagement: I was blown away watching a remarkable documentary, A Most Beautiful Thing in 2020, about the first all-Black high school rowing team. Watch it, and you’ll understand the inspiration to bring rowing to kids in Asbury Park. I screened the film twice, bugged a lot of people for 4 years, and it’s finally become a reality. Beginning this Friday at The Boys & Girls Club, with 10 ergs provided by Monmouth University Women’s Rowing coach, as well as MU team members helping me coach – The Youth Indoor Rowing Program!


teachinig kids to row 1
Introducing rowing to kids at Asbury Park Library.


The Youth Indoor Rowing Program is finally starting 2/23

This doesn’t mean that I’m happy all the time. But having purpose, being engaged, and helping sure does make me feel good.

The same three simple tenets, engagement, and purpose help elevate Finnish people to a happier place. according to phychologist/philosopher Frank Martela:

1. A strong sense of community and relatedness.

2. Doing good deeds for other people.

3. Finding a clear purpose for oneself.

“When you help someone, when you have a positive impact on others, your own happiness and sense of meaningfulness increases.” He says that performing acts of kindness, like listening, encouraging someone, helping a family member or friend on a project have been directly linked to creating a sense of happiness and satisfaction in people with anxiety, depression, and stress.

Happiness is helping my clients gain strength, and become empowered in their lives, and so is finding purpose in community activism and engagement.

I’d love to know about you. Happiness is _________________fill in the blank.












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