Get to Know You: Brian Rendine
Get to Know You: Brian Rendine 1024 1024 MPatton


In today’s get to know you post, we’re talking with our Director of Program Development, Brian Rendine.

I am Brian Rendine, outdoor enthusiast, father of two boys and husband to a wonderful wife!

United EVENTures is an opportunity for companies to improve their team morale through fun and engaging activities that will leave a lasting impression. I am the Director of Program Development and I work with clients to build their team experience with United EVENTures. The client dreams up the team building event that they want to experience and then it’s my job to make it happen. I work with the company to tailor the experience to coincide with a goal their team wants to achieve. If a team wants to work on communication, I’ll work with them to design a program that encourages positive and thorough communication. Long and short of it, I make dreams come true!

The programs and services we offer motivate me to work hard for both our employees and our clients. It matters when you can see that you made a definitive difference and our clients leave with smiling faces.

When I was younger I debated between being a doctor or a teacher. I ended up teaching Physics for ten years before heading out with United EVENTures. I guess there is a common thread in there somewhere; science, coaching, and helping people reach their goals.

You never really know what you’ve achieved in life until you look back on it later. Right now it’s a work in progress, but my two boys are my biggest achievement.  In ten years I hope to be happy, healthy, and continuing to share ideas and change lives.






happiness, improve, be happier, self kindness, self awareness, tips
5 Easy Life Changes for a Brighter and Happier Self
5 Easy Life Changes for a Brighter and Happier Self 960 640 Emilie

Naturally, human beings are intrigued by the idea of happiness. There seems few things in the world that could be as important as our happiness and the well being of those we love. Luckily, scientists and researchers have been just as preoccupied with the idea of happiness as we are. So we combed through the research to tell you the best habits and tweaks to edit into your life to optimize your sense of well being.

Eat food that satisfies you

A recent study showed that participants’ satisfaction with their food-lives was actually a strong predictor of participants’ happiness. Pause and think about what you ate yesterday. What have you eaten thus far today? How many of those meals and snacks made you happy that you were eating them? Work to plan out your meals and snacks, so that you are enjoying more and more of the food you eat each day, instead of grabbing food at the last minute, simply because you are busy rushing from one thing to the next. Work hard to be excited and happy about what you put into your body. The more satisfied you are with your daily meals and snacks, the more this will be reflected in your well being.

Spend time around other people, even strangers

We all know that human beings need social interaction, even those of us who highly value our alone time. A recent study analyzed various types of shopping methods: from online shopping, to phone shopping (in which you talk to a store attendant as they help you make your purchase), and in-store shopping. It showed that online shopping did not improve participants’ wellbeing, but that both interactive shopping options improved participants’ mood (whether on the phone, or in the store). So if you are feeling down but still want to spend some alone time, keep in mind that even minimal human contact will improve your mood. Try working in a cafe around other people, running to the corner store to pick up some food, browsing for novels at your local bookstore, or calling a friend for a quick phone call.

Spend time around nature and animals: or watch a video

 It’s not a secret that being around animals can improve our mood. Recently, scientists have become more and more aware of the positive effect of animals and nature in our lives. In fact, many hospitals have begun bringing in dogs to spend time with cancer patients, and some universities have even brought dogs to campus to help students de-stress during finals. A recent study has actually shown that even a video of a dog resulted in better wellbeing of participants during a high-stress situation. So the next time you’re stressed but aren’t close to your pooch, try watching a video of a dog, or even some other form of nature. Of course, spending time around animals and adding some plants to your workspace will help as well.

Hop on social media

This may surprise you, since many of us have heard that getting too wrapped up in social media can actually hinder happiness and self esteem. However, a recent study showed that scrolling through your Facebook feed elicits more positive than negative emotions, and can actually improve positivity if the user does not feel envy from various posts. The study demonstrated (as one might suspect) that this positivity is optimal when viewing posts from people you are tied most strongly with, yet do not make you feel envy. Try going through your Facebook newsfeed and “unfollowing” people on your timeline whose posts you do not actively enjoy. By unfollowing someone, you are not un-friending them, you will simply no longer see their posts in your newsfeed. They are not aware that you have unfollowed them, and you can still see all of their posts whenever you want. The only difference is that whenever you scroll through your newsfeed it is sure to put you in the best mood possible.

Practice observation, self-kindness, and common humanity

Ever wonder why so many people go on about the benefits of meditation? Well a recent study actually broke down the different benefits of frequent meditation, and isolated which three components contribute to a sense of well being. They concluded that the three important factors were observation, self kindness, and common humanity. Observation referred to the way in which participants were more aware of sensations and feelings within their body and environment. Self kindness referred to the idea of using positive language and thinking when self reflecting, without being critical or harsh. Common humanity involves taking this self-kindness and applying it to others and the rest of society. Remember that you have flaws, and that’s okay. But it is also important to remember that the same goes for other people. Remember that we are all in the same position, going through the same difficulties and struggles. Try embracing these three qualities (perhaps through journaling, meditation, or introspective thinking) and it will lead you to a healthier and happier sense of well being.

Lin, Ruoyun Lin, and Sonja Utz. "The Emotional Responses of Browsing Facebook: Happiness, Envy, and the Role of Tie Strength." Computers in Human Behavior 52 (2015): 29-38. Web.
Lobos, Germán, Marcos Mora, Maria Del Carmen Lapo, Constanza Caligari, and Berta Schnettler. "Happiness and Health and Food-related Variables: Evidence for Different Age Groups in Chile." Suma Psicológica 22.2 (2015): 120-28. Web.
Finkbeiner, Kristin M., Paul N. Russell, and William S. Helton. "Rest Improves Performance, Nature Improves Happiness: Assessment of Break Periods on the Abbreviated Vigilance Task." Consciousness and Cognition 42 (2016): 277-85. Web.
Campos, Daniel, Ausiàs Cebolla, Soledad Quero, Juana Bretón-López, Cristina Botella, Joaquim Soler, Javier García-Campayo, Marcelo Demarzo, and Rosa Maria Baños. "Meditation and Happiness: Mindfulness and Self-compassion May Mediate the Meditation–happiness Relationship." Personality and Individual Differences 93 (2016): 80-85. Web.
Wang, Xia, and Luqiong Tong. "International Journal of Research in Marketing." Hide the Light or Let It Shine? Examining the Factors Influencing the Effect of Publicizing Donations on Donors’ Happiness 32.4 (2015): 418-24. Web.
efficiency, productivity, happiness, health, life hacks
5 Life Hacks on Self Improvement
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The road to self improvement can often be difficult and we may find ourselves not knowing where to begin. It’s hard to know if we’re doing the right thing, at the right time, yet we keep going in hopes that we will guide ourselves in the right direction. I have compiled some of my best tips to help in your personal growth journey. Some of them are simple steps in which you can engage in immediately, while others are bigger steps which take a more conscious effort to act on.

  1. Read a book everyday

Books are concentrated sources of wisdom. The more books you read, the more wisdom you expose yourself to. Some of my favorite books that I have come across and have recommended to others are The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey, Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson, and Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns.

  1. Let go of the past

Now is the time to let go. Letting go can be difficult. Letting go of people, unhealthy relationships, expectations, desires, ideas… the list goes on. Every day, every moment presents an opportunity to create ourselves anew, to shrug off the baggage of the past, open ourselves up to the possibility of the moment and take action to create an incredible future.

  1. Unplug from social media

Last year I decided it would be a good idea to get rid of all social media accounts for a period of time and it was the best decision I have ever made. I found myself becoming immersed in follower requests, messages, likes, and friend updates. I was so focused on others and how I portrayed myself on social media that I slowly realized I was wasting my time by being so consumed in media, and getting less real things done. Even if you don’t get rid of all social media completely, unplug from social media at least once a week or for a few hours each day.

  1. Learn to laugh at situations that would normally make you angry

Laughter is truly the best medicine. We realize that in life, things may not always work out the way we wanted them to, or expected to, but we must work with the cards we are dealt. Not everything has to be taken as a serious or frustrating issue. Take it easy and live lightly!

  1. Get yourself a journal

The simple act of journaling has the ability to change your life. It provides you with clarity and organization, which in turn, aids you in realizing your dreams and desires. By journaling, negative emotions can pass through your writing without them feeling like a permanent obstacle.

happiness, healthy living, office, workplace
5 Simple Changes for a Happier and Healthier Workplace
5 Simple Changes for a Happier and Healthier Workplace 960 640 Emilie

It seems like every year offices become more and more focused on productivity and streamlining processes, and less focused on the health and happiness of employees. But not only should we care about the wellbeing of our employees because we want them to be happy, we should also remember that keeping employees happy and healthy actually improves productivity. When employees’ health and happiness rates drop, so does burnout and turnover rates. So whether you are an employee or employer, here are 5 ways you can make simple changes to make the office your happy place.

1. Increase views of vegetation and green space. Studies have shown over and over that happiness increases when we have regular scenic views or are surrounded by other greenery. Of course, the ideal scenario is to have an office with a large window overlooking a park or other vegetative view. However, most of us don’t have this as a viable option. Instead, try bringing additional plants into your workplace. If you do have a window near you, try rearranging your desk or chair so that you have better sight-lines to see outside. Being surrounded by plants and vegetation instinctively improves our mood because of biophilia, which is the term that refers to our innate connection to other living systems. Having these plants to water each day and take care of will make you feel more cheerful.

2. Foster those friendships. It shouldn’t be surprising, but having those close friendships in the workplace is incredibly important to being able to maintain the tedium of the daily grind. Often times the people we work with are more important to our happiness than the actual work itself. Employers should try to foster interaction, group bonding and acceptance amongst their employees. Remember, happy employees means a better work environment and more effective productivity.

3. Make your workplace your own. We spend so much time decorating our homes. We hang up pictures of our family and favorite memories, we decorate with our favorite decor, and we buy new furniture to make each room reflect our identity. But why do we spend so little time making our workplace feel like home? After all, we probably spend more waking hours there than in our actual houses. Try finding a new shelf for your desk, or get some cubicle wallpaper. There are tons of ways you can spruce up your workspace through personal mementos and your own design flairs. Making your workspace feel homey should be just as important as making your actual house feel like home.

4. Get moving! We all know that during the work day it is difficult not to be too sedentary. However, there are many small ways to be more active throughout the day. Treadmill desks have been shown to benefit postprandial glucose levels and cholesterol levels, and both treadmill and standing desks have been shown to improve psychological wellbeing. You can also try bringing some light weights to use as you are on phone calls, or take a quick walk around the building every hour or so to stretch your legs.

5. Work for flexibility. Research has shown that flexible workplaces result in increased feelings of empowerment as well as improved quality of life. Employers should be aware of this relationship in order to increase happiness and efficiency within their employees. Of course, employees only have limited control over how flexible their workplace is, but there are several ways you can work to increase flexibility. A flexible workplace is one in which you are allowed to complete your work in convenient ways. Be firm about not completing tasks when you are not available, such as outside of office hours. On the flip side, when you are allowed flexibility, prove that you can accomplish the task effectively even with added leniency.

Gilchrist, Kathryn, Caroline Brown, and Alicia Montarzino."Workplace Settings and Wellbeing: Greenspace Use and Views Contribute to Employee Wellbeing at Peri-urban Business Sites." Landscape and Urban Planning 138 (2015): 32-40. Web.
Chaiprasit, Kemakorn, and Orapin Santidhiraku. "Happiness at Work of Employees in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Thailand." Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 25 (2011): 189-200. Web.
MacEwen, Brittany T., Dany J. MacDonald, and Jamie F. Burr. "A Systematic Review of Standing and Treadmill Desks in the Workplace." Preventive Medicine 70 (2015): 50-58. Web.
Subramaniam, Geetha, Peck-Leong Tan, Balasundram Maniam, and Ershad Ali. "Workplace Flexibility, Empowerment and Quality of Life." Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 105 (2013): 885-93. Web.
DiPirro, Dani. "5 Tips to Make Work Your Happy Place." Livehappy. N.p., 26 Jan. 2016. Web.
happy, how to, good day, fresh start, happiness
How to Make Every Day a Good Day
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We all wonder how to make each day as positive as possible. The internet is littered with articles about the best morning rituals and daily activities- from meditation, to tea drinking, to exercising- we tend to hear the same suggestions that will supposedly revolutionize our lives. The problem with these methods is that it gives us a to-do list, which when completed, should bring us happiness. This premise relies on certain assumptions: that drinking tea will make us healthier or more relaxed, and that meditation will make us more introspective and in tune with ourselves. However, assuming that these methods are the proper methods for each unique person is a drastic leap.

Instead, we need to be looking at the end goals, which will allow us to create a custom plan for ourselves. For instance, do not necessarily spend months meditating every day with the goal of becoming more in tune with your self and your surroundings. Instead, understand your goal and experiment with methods for reaching it. Perhaps the way you are best able to be in tune with yourself and others is through writing, or painting, or hiking. We must realize that we are all different, and thus reach the same end through different means.

This point is made well by Peter Drucker in his Harvard Business Review article, Managing Oneself. Although Drucker applies these ideas in a business sense, versus applying these ideas for personal growth, the point remains the same. He mentions how we all learn differently, work differently, have different values/focuses, etc. He says that many people are not aware of their natural tendencies, but think that they are. You can read the entirety of his article here at hbr.org.

Drucker suggests that in order to truly understand your personal tendencies, the most effective solution is to keep a journal, or use some other self reflective method over time. By noting the way various scenarios effect you, you will be able to look back with more objectivity than subjective feelings within the moment. You will get to see if drinking tea really made you more relaxed, instead of simply thinking I really feel this green tea relaxing me. The same idea can be applied to the pursuit of happiness. Focus on the goals you would like to achieve (like relaxation) and try methods for yourself. Keep a journal and eventually, you will learn what is actually the best method for you to personally use.

Overall, while we strive for each of these goals, we must remember that there is no “one size fits all.” Reading lists about ways to improve family communications or life purpose will certainly give you ideas on how to find those things, but they are not the only methods, and they very likely may not be methods that work for you.

For instance, improving physical health does not mean 30 minutes of cardio a day and weights 3 times a week. It does not mean interval training or intense workouts to try to get that “beach bod.” What it does mean is altering your exercise regime and diet in a way that makes you feel physically in-tune with yourself. If you are always out of breath, try some cardio. If you are always stiff, try some yoga. Focus on diets and exercises which target ways in which you can feel better, not the latest fitness craze.

Similarly, improving mental health does not mean doing de-stressing exercises or creating goal lists for yourself. It may mean this, but not necessarily. If you have been feeling restless recently, try engaging yourself in a new, more challenging job or project. If you feel worn out, try seeking a more positive, rejuvenating environment to spend part of your day in.

No matter what part of your life you are trying to improve, remember to keep that journal. Write down how each activity makes you feel. Down the road you can see if any effects were truly there, and how long lasting they were. And more than anything, remember not to force anything which isn’t working for you. Meditation doesn’t have to make you feel relaxed, Interval Training doesn’t have to make you feel physically healthier. Each one of us is different, so remember to start focusing on the results, and not just the trends.

Photo Courtesy Yann (talk) - Own work, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7866365
work-life, balance, family, happiness, career
Finally Attainable? Research Shows How to Achieve a Work-Life Balance
Finally Attainable? Research Shows How to Achieve a Work-Life Balance 960 640 Emilie

The ever unattainable work-life balance: we all search for it, but finding it is a different story. The more that happens in our lives: becoming married, having children, receiving promotions, the more we worry we will be unable to balance all that is on our plate. But, believe it or not, research demonstrates no correlation between marital status, presence of children, or even age of children on typical perceived work-life balance. With this in mind, we can know that even with a busy family life, we can still attain harmony: we just have to know how.

Try mindfulness exercises. Studies have shown that increased mindfulness correlates with a better work-life balance. Mindfulness refers to the ancient Buddhist idea of being present in the moment: paying attention to the sounds, feelings, smells, and sights within the present moment. Whether washing the dishes or taking a shower, mindfulness focuses on the beauty and senses within each moment. Luckily, the internet contains many suggestions for methods to improve your mindfulness. We particularly like the articles and methods from Tiny Buddha and Della Terra Wellness.

Focus on your sleep. It also has been demonstrated that sleep quality mediates the relationship between mindfulness and work-life balance. We all know that sleep is important, and the last thing a busy person wants to be told is to spend more time sleeping. But here is yet another reason why it is so important, so remember to get your 7-8 hours a night! Additionally, pay attention to the quality of your sleep. Nowadays, there is a lot of technology at your fingertips to track how well you are actually sleeping. Take a look at your Fitbit’s sleep data, or try  apps from the Apple Store like SleepCycle or SleepBot.

Talk to Your Partner. Support from your partner is crucial in being able to maintain that work-life balance. Keep the communication open and frequent with your partner. Admit challenges you are having at work or at home. Being honest about the struggles you have in both aspects of your life, as well as any difficulties you have balancing the two, will allow you to more easily handle the challenges of your hectic life.

Turn to your Coworkers. Not only is partner support incredibly important, but so is coworker support. As the only people who truly know what you are going through at work, make sure you are choosing to befriend coworkers who are supportive and caring. As much as you can, try to work alongside coworkers that you can rely on when it comes to work crises, it will make your life less stressful if you don’t have to worry about every crisis that arises.

Be aware of your workplace environment. Whether or not we want to admit it, sometimes the workplace we are in will prevent us from achieving this balance. Research shows that employees have the best work-life balance when they are with a company that has a positive organizational structure. This includes the following factors: 1) allowing employees enough freedom so that they do not feel like they always have to check or receive approval for their actions, 2) motivating employees through reward instead of punishment, 3) consistently being open to many different opinions, and 4) embracing employees as part of the identity of the company.

Let go of control. It may sound counter-intuitive, but the more you try to control both your work and family life, the more it leads to conflict between the two. A recent study from the European Management Journal shows that seemingly positive traits, such as self-direction and achievement, are actually associated with a decrease in work-life balance. When we attempt to keep both our work life and family life perfect, we get stressed out when there are issues in either one. We then perform less well in both parts of our life, resulting in a damaging, cyclical pattern. Instead, we must remember that neither our work life or family life will be perfect. In fact, even if we devoted our time solely to one of these parts of our lives, problems would still arise. It is not until we stop trying to will our control over everything that we will achieve a more harmonious balance between the two.

Panisoara, Georgeta, and Mihaela Serban. "Marital Status and Work-life Balance." Procedia- Social and Behavioral Sciences 38 (2013): n. pag. Web.
Chernyak-Hai, Lily, and Aharon Tziner. "The “I Believe” and the “I Invest” of Work-Family Balance: The Indirect Influences of Personal Values and Work Engagement via Perceived Organizational Climate and Workplace Burnout." Revista De Psicología Del Trabajo Y De Las Organizaciones32.1 (2016): n. pag. Web.
Allen, Tammy D., and Kaitlin M. Kiburz. "Trait Mindfulness and Work–family Balance among Working Parents: The Mediating Effects of Vitality and Sleep Quality." Journal of Vocational Behavior 80.2 (2012): n. pag. Web.
Ferguson, Merideth, Dawn Carlson, Suzanne Zivnuska, and Dwayne Whitten. "Support at Work and Home: The Path to Satisfaction through Balance." Journal of Vocational Behavior 80.2 (2012): n. pag. Web.


Ted Talk, Shawn Achor, Happiness, Work, Success
How to Find Happiness in Your Work
How to Find Happiness in Your Work 1024 543 Emilie

Here at United Eventures, we are all about promoting teamwork and camaraderie, so that going into work each day is something you love to do. We think it’s important for everyone to enjoy the work that they do, and appreciate the successes they have made. For this reason, we wanted to share researcher and bestselling author Shawn Achor’s inspiring Ted Talk with you. Achor discusses a major mistake we make by assuming that we will attain happiness if only we gain the success we are looking for. He says that every time succeed at one goal, we raise that goal so that we once again have to work for success. In this way, if happiness is on the other side of success, we will never reach it.

Achor lists several ways that we can find happiness that helps us achieve success, instead of success helping us achieve happiness:

  1. 3 Gratitudes: Each day, write three new things that you are thankful for.
  2. Journaling: Each day, write about one positive thing that has happened over the last 24 hours.
  3. Exercise
  4. Meditation
  5. Random Acts of Kindness: Write one positive email or text each day saying something kind to someone you know.

Achor offers each of these suggestions so that we can find happiness to improve our work, instead of creating an endless cyclical relationship between success and un-fulfillment. Comment below with your thoughts about Achor’s talk!



work, workplace, career, career satisfaction, fulfillment, happiness
Work or Happiness? Do we have to choose?
Work or Happiness? Do we have to choose? 561 440 Emilie

In modern day America, we have been taught time and time again to find something we are passionate about. We are taught that a career is a place to find challenge and fulfillment in life. But this hasn’t always been the case. In fact, many cultures still consider work a necessary means to an end; a task that needs to be completed before you can enjoy the true passions in your life. Instead, the United States has fallen into an era in which we are driven by achieving passion in our work-life, and thus we become more absorbed with demanding jobs that tend to seep into our lives past 9 AM to 5 PM.

In an article by Forbes, several techniques are suggested for finding happiness in the workplace. Overall, it suggests that emotional intelligence is the ultimate tool for finding joy in work. It reminds us to take charge of our life and our desires, while still remembering to let go of things we can’t control. For the whole article, click here.

So what do you think? How should we find joy in our work? Should we find passion in the workplace, or start looking elsewhere? Where does the balance lie between time we devote to work and finding happiness? Share your thoughts below.