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HowdYYC: Meet Karen Judge

by Calgary Downtown Association


Advocate, researcher, educator, and now author of all things happiness and mental health, Karen Judge has made it her life’s mission to be happy and teach others to do the same. At the start of 2020, she founded A Dose of Happiness with the goal of creating a space for cultivating happiness through experiences, education, products, and services. We had an illuminating conversation with Karen that certainly sparked some happiness in us! 

What inspires you?

The younger generation. They sometimes get a bad rep, but I am absolutely in love with them. I actually feel that I am one of them, and I think like them. I know they aren’t perfect, but what generation is? We are all doing the best we can. Why I am so inspired by them is their level of consciousness towards spirituality and what really matters in life. They demand meaning in life and are more purpose-motivated than money-motivated. I just love being around their energy. I believe the secret sauce for the future is to combine the wisdom of the older generation with the consciousness of the younger generation. I often say to those younger than me that if they promise to keep me groovy with the world then I can provide the wisdom, knowledge and experience.

My son is in that age group and he really gives me hope for the world. If my son is one representation of the younger generation, I am really excited to watch what will happen. I think we should not underestimate how much the younger generation really knows, and where they are putting their attention really matters, because there is something really powerful there.

Who is your hero?

I am my own hero. That’s what we all need to learn to do, is to be our own hero. Relationship with self is the most important relationship you are going to develop in your life. Happiness is not the absence of sadness, but it’s having the skills and tools to know how to turn that around, and it’s in you. Our journey is ours to take and it’s not for anyone else. We really need to develop ourselves, and rely on ourselves, and trust ourselves, and feel safe with ourselves. I want everyone to build their own superhero cape and be their own hero.

Is your glass half full or half empty?

Both! Because you can’t ignore, and you can’t pretend. You can’t have the good without the bad. It’s about facing reality and seeing it, but putting your focus on the full glass. Seeing the possibilities and opportunities and putting the focus on that over the challenges. But you can’t ignore the challenges. And you still gotta feel your feelings. And to be happy, you need to be sad. And for me, it’s about seeing both. It’s about seeing the silver lining in the empty glass because there’s the full glass. And that’s what’s going to move us out of where we are right now [during this pandemic], is the ability to focus on the good things, and not just that half empty glass.

What are you most excited for in 2021?

I have a book coming out. I was planning for this month, but because of this lockdown, there have been a few challenges. My book has been supposed to come out a few times now, but I really believe that this is the time and the place now. So I’ve decided to launch my book on March 20th. My book is called ‘Drive Your Happiness.’ I talk about a style of thinking I’ve created called “mind health”. It’s a proactive style of thinking. My book is not about my story. It’s about the lessons I learned about my story, and I share those lessons with others. I use the metaphor of driving a car because our brain remembers better through metaphors. That’s what I call the book- it’s a tune-up for your mental well-being. It’s about an hour-long read. I wanted to write a book that most people would get through and I knew it was going to be fun, and energetic, and impactful.

What three things do you think of the most each day?

Well, every single morning I prime myself. And it’s what I teach. We need to prime ourselves every morning and set ourselves up for a good day. The first thing I do is make my bed, to make it look like it’s a hotel room, because it’s the first small win of the day. We need small wins, because the minute we go out, the world is going to start taking energy away from us. So, the minute we wake up we have to start building energy, set ourselves up for a good day and ignite inner control

One of the things I think about every morning is: how am I going to touch someone’s life today? I think of that every single day. How am I going to make a difference out there in the world today?

The next one I think of every single day is my mind health. It’s about a daily habit. Every single day, like brushing your teeth or having a shower. We need to make this part of our daily habit. And I challenge people, “Did you think about your brain this morning?” And chances are they haven’t. How are you feeding your brain? How are you managing your stress? And what about the toxins in your environment? Pay attention to those. So, I absolutely think about that, every single day.

And the third one is: how am I going to have fun? Every day we should have fun. Every day. I believe an important principle is that we should always have something to look forward to. Tomorrow is not a guarantee. We’re humans. We’re all here to have fun. We’re here to experience pleasure and to have fun. And there’s nothing wrong with that. We should embrace that.

Say howdy to some of the faces making a difference in our community, HeartBeats is now #HowdYYC! Downtown looks a little different than we are used to, and while a few doors are temporarily closed, the spirit of western hospitality shines through. 

Arrow Right

A Dose of Happiness

Bankers Hall - 315 8th Ave SW


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