Barbara Becker Holstein in “Four Gateways to Happiness” from Women’s Paths to Happiness

Posted on January 28, 2010
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“When you fall in love with yourself, you begin to feel the positive self-esteem that comes when we don’t deflate ourselves. “You’re ready to take yourself out for tea or to that wonderful spa for a day, or to go back and play the piano, which you always wanted to do. You’re ready to recognize all the tools of wisdom that you have to offer. You’re ready to recognize that you have an Enchanted Self that deserves to be part of your every day.”/ ~ Barbara Becker Holstein in “Four Gateways to Happiness” from Women’s Paths to Happiness

Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, Positive Psychologist, Begins Her Adventure of Enchanted Self Clothing for Women and Girls.

Posted on July 17, 2009
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We need to live our lives, not just pass through. Yesterday I went to NYC with two girlfriends. We went to a fabric store with fabrics from around the world. I just soaked in the colors and textures and I was like a kid at her first circus. My mind was full of sunlight and energy from the colors and the feel of the materials. Do you know that I’m starting an Enchanted Self clothing line? I’m not sure how it will actualize. Right now I am just on the adventure and enjoying every moment. I want women and girls to have the courage to wear more fun and colorful garments! There just isn’t enough fun stuff in the stores. From what I see, the Tweens have the most choice of color and cute styles. As you get to the bigger sizes designed for us ‘Women’ the styles become bland and the colors less beautiful. What do you think?

Of course, I bought a piece of material yesterday. It is a light turquoise and it is wonderful. It will make a perfect summer shift for us ‘women’. I’ll be working on the design! Yes, let’s have fun and be delicious not matter what our size and/or age. Let’s not just wait until we are 80 and dare to wear purple!

Blessings Make The World Go Round! Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, Positive Psychologist comments.

Posted on May 12, 2009
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 Hi Ladies,  I hope you are having a beautiful day today.  Don’t we all need to!  Do you feel better when someone has blessed you?  I sure to.  It makes me feel cared about in a special way when I know someone has blessed me.   I’d like to know how you feel about blessings?  Did you ever have a really special ‘blessed’ day after someone blessed you?  A blessing can be as simple as “Take care”.  Or it can be much more such as the blessings I have listed below from my e-mail blessings that I send out once a week.  By the way you can sign up for my blessings by going to the front page of .  

Enjoy these four blessings and please send me a blessing by giving me the blessing of your response!  Write to me here on this blog or at 

 “May the wonders of technology always be a boon to your life and may you have the courage to not let these wonders ‘bust’ your integrity, time or need for genuine privacy and intimate connection that can not be had by turning on an electrical current.”  

“May all that befalls you be delicious and filled with delight even if at first you are puzzled or dismayed! ” 


“May you always be pleased with freedom, both inside and outside of yourself! ”  


“May you be blessed with a disposition that is just as sunny in the rain as in the sun.”  


The Wise Older Woman

Posted on April 29, 2009
Filed Under Happiness, Positive psychology for women, The Enchanted Self | 1 Comment

Recently, I attended a beautiful wedding. A young Jewish couple came together in joy and the room was filled with happiness. Outside of the banquet room I noticed a group of older women sitting near the door collecting charity. They all looked very pure and plain at the same time, young seniors and older seniors, nothing fancy about them. Their hips were full. They were wearing comfortable walking shoes and somewhat frumpy looking clothing. There wore either wigs or kerchiefs. They had a sweetness that if I were a child again, I would have felt delighted to have come home to milk and cookies with any of them. I ended up giving a dollar to just about each woman, in fact two dollars to the woman who actually changed a twenty for me so I could give out my money.

Later on in the evening, I went back out where they were, when nothing much was happening in the social hall. I was looking to have a bit of conversation with one of the ladies. I think I felt a need to be connected to their warmth. I certainly couldn’t ask for milk and cookies, but I could talk!

The woman I started to talk to was well up in years. She had beautiful, lively eyes-eyes that could have gone with a twenty year old or even an infant, they were so bright and full of life. Her skin was beautiful. Her body and her face showed age, but no where near the age that she apparently is. She told me that she came to this country 65 years ago with three children and then went on to have seven more. That means that she is about 90. She didn’t look a day past 75!

She told me that she comes out to all the weddings to collect charity. She’s very proud of the fact that last year she collected $30,000 for poor, sick people in Israel and brides who needed money for their wedding expenses. She told me that she doesn’t keep a dime for herself and that her daughter who lives in Israel helps to disburse the money.

By her intensity, I could see that she took her job extremely seriously and with utter devotion. She told me a few other things about herself. Her husband is no longer alive. She receives Social Security. Of her ten children, nine are living; one daughter was lost at 41-I don’t know to what illness. She is very proud that a number of her children are Rabbis, teachers and school principals in the Jewish educational world. That’s about the extent of the details.

She opened a window to me. I never really knew nor had I ever really talked to any of these women that are always at weddings of this type, asking for money. I guess, like we often do with people we don’t know, I basically dismissed them almost as non-entities even though I always gave at least a few dollars.

Talking to this woman of course made her so alive and real to me as she obviously was for 90 years before I knew her! I was impressed with her generosity of spirit, her sincerity and her utter devotion to her cause. She was passionately committed to her cause. She refreshed me with her energy and focus.

She is a woman, of course, who has known so many people and seen so many things! Having nine living children, she probably has 80 grandchildren. Her world is rich with people, children and grandchildren and probably great grandchildren to love. A private life, her name even if I shared it with you, would not ring a bell. Her charitable work is not a registered charity. She doesn’t go on TV with commercial pitches. She just comes to one wedding after another, sits out in the hallways, puts a little sign asking for money for the poor, ill and brides, in a dish and collects. Then she ships the money to Israel and starts all over again. There’s no middle management. There are no commissions to pay. There are no cuts. It’s just dollar bills transforming lives.

It’s simple. It’s without layers. It certainly is the antithesis, the absolute opposite of the concept of managed care where one hand doesn’t wash the other-where one hand watches the other and takes a cut until there is less and less left.

Yes, as a positive psychologist and a woman, talking to her was for me, really the best part of my week! She uplifted me and reminded me small is not less!

I hope you enjoyed my little story. Remember, the Seventh Gateway to ENCHANTMENT is Positive Action-Good Deeds! I hope this wonderful wise woman helps all of us have the courage for lots of good deeds this holiday season!

Spring Into Enchantment

Posted on April 21, 2009
Filed Under Positive psychology for women, The Enchanted Self | 1 Comment

Who can control a smile sneaking across your face as you go outside on a beautiful spring day, suddenly finding your nostrils filled with a sweet aroma of fresh blooms, while feeling warm breezes against your skin, whispering, “No coat today.”? Nature provides enchantment all around us in the spring. The birds sing, the flowers bloom, animals have their babies, new birds learn to fly. If you look high up in a tree you might see an exquisite bird singing loudly, full of life. It is as if nature gives humans an opportunity for enchantment all around. Yet, we often are indifferent, not responding spontaneously to the rebirth of spring. We seem to be, at times, equipped to live lives of misery brought on by ourselves. Many of us are able to generate a bad mood, put ourselves down, see our future as dark or today as gloomy. We have lost or never had the easy comfort and capacity to relax and enjoy life that a cat has on a sunny porch just snoozing and rolling over. We humans have to work at enchantment. Let s take a moment and look at what the major components of this work called “enchantment” are.

To experience what we call THE ENCHANTED SELF, that is positive states of mind and body again and again, a person must be able to develop three capacities. The first is the ability to successfully meet one s needs. This can be challenging when we find ourselves committed or obligated to be elsewhere or doing other things. There is a saying, “If you can t go to the mountain than bring the mountain to you.” You may yearn to be outdoors playing sports or gardening but find yourself stuck indoors at home or at work. Opening the windows to let fresh air in, displaying a vase of colorful flowers on a table are some of the ways that can enable you to experience a spring day.

What s important is that you recognize what you need and then act upon it. This may mean verbalizing what you want to others or just giving yourself permission to take the time to do something that adds enjoyment to your life.

The second capacity we need to develop is having a positive appreciation of yourself, so that you see yourself as worthy of experiencing enchanted times. This means recognizing your personal value. Your children and/or husband, wife, boss, significant others are all important and should be treated with care and respect, but they are not more important than you. You are unique, with talents, coping skills and potential. You have the right to balance your life so that your needs can be taken into consideration. This self value is another building block of enchantment.

The last component is recognizing what really does give you pleasure. You may love walking on the beach, your bare feet touching the sand, still cool in the spring. You may enjoy going to a local county park when temperatures start rising. Someone else may prefer to engage in a more active social life in the spring and perhaps does not care about being outdoors. The spring may stimulate a yearning to have friends visit, or go to the local fine restaurants and experience different types of foods Enchantment requires a self knowledge that only each person must know for himself or herself.

And don t forget your memory banks, your wonderful treasure chests. As you begin to spring into enchantment,

it is in these memory chests that you will recognize your special interests and preferences. Your positive memories can help you frame out what you would like to do this season.

Here is an exercise to get you started:

Close your eyes and let your mind wander back to something that you loved to do as a child in the spring. Did you like to climb trees? Did you like to ride a bike? Go fishing? Run? Catch lightning bugs at night? Think about the way your body felt as you did this activity. Did you feel excited? Did you feel particularly alive and alert? Did you feel relaxed? Think about how you felt when the activity was over. Were you exhausted? Were you revitalized? Were you hungry? Now list some of the skills that were necessary to perform that activity. For example, if you used to love to climb trees, some of the skills might have been agility or arm strength to lift yourself onto branches. Another skill was probably good balance. Do you still have these skills? If so, what would you like to try at this stage of your life that might let you get back in touch with the physical pleasures that you were so naturally in touch with as a child? Perhaps dancing or lifting weights or rock climbing? Whatever your physical pleasure may have been, lift it out, dust it off, and use it. And most important, enjoy!

If you do not have these skills, what are some alternatives? Perhaps rather than tree climbing you could stretch in all directions, lying on a mat or on a soft carpet. This will require much less in the way of balance or risk-taking. Perhaps you would enjoy a risk-taking adventure via a book, movie or a computer game. Reinvention of yourself in order to experience pleasure is a never ending pursuit.

How do we finally begin to generate a world of enchantment? It is very simple. If you are leading an enchanted life you will quickly see that you send out positive energies and positive messages. Before you know it, there is a mutuality of shared enchantment going on. Laughter is infectious, good moods are catching, and like the birds singing, all of these happy reflections of harmony are resonated again and again as they move out in ever expanding circles. We hope you will take some time to spring into enchantment and to let yourself move from feeling enchanted to being truly enchanting.

Interview with Loretta Kensley, author and expert in the Sacred Feminine

Posted on March 25, 2009
Filed Under A Positive Therapy, Happiness, Positive psychology for women, Published Articles | 1 Comment

I thought you would enjoy hearing Martha Trowbridge, my co-host on Happiness for Women Only! interview Loretta Kensley, author and expert in the Sacred Feminine and the originator of the website, They are discussing a critical subject for women, finding happiness through creativity.

June 2, 2008

Download the Mp3


We all need to take Vacations, at least vacations of the Mind!

Posted on January 11, 2009
Filed Under A Positive Therapy, Happiness, Positive psychology for women, The Enchanted Self | Comments Off on We all need to take Vacations, at least vacations of the Mind!

Recently, in a women’s therapy group that I run, the desire for fun and a change of pace over took me. I suggested that we deviate from some of our typical work and instead go around the room imagining a vacation treat designed to suit each woman’s desires.

It was fascinating to see how many marvelous vacation ideas quickly emerged. One woman wished to go to Mexico and South America to view the ruins and lie on the sun in beautiful beaches. Another woman wished to go to Greece and see the ancient ruins there and then slowly make her way through Europe. This could take a leisurely period of time, perhaps even a year. Another also wanted to go to Europe but to do other things, such as take gourmet cooking classes in the South of France and become somewhat fluent in several languages. Another woman opted for spas and other experiences to bring vitality to her body and ultimately her spirit. One person was in reality making plans to go to several meditative retreats over the next few months.

I was fascinated as each woman spoke and realized two things. First, I would have been a happy companion on any of the presented vacations. Each one sounded fulfilling, energizing and provided a change that would be good for me, as well as the person who thought of it.

Secondly, I realized how much each woman, no matter what her background or problems, yearned for change, adventure, getting to know strangers and other places, no matter how burdened by daily problems of relationships, children, money, employment.

Finding Joy after Relationships Fail

Posted on December 30, 2008
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Maureen states, “I didn’t want the book to end. I want to find to what happens to the girl!”

Come and listen to this lively conversation about the psychology behind The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything).

Contact Talk Radio

Dr. Holstein talks about The Enchanted Self, when women are happy, what damages them and how they can reconstruct themselves.

Posted on December 11, 2008
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When I did my research with women, I discovered that, indeed, women have a great capacity for happiness and pleasure.Yes, we are born with it, we have that capacity.And the women I interviewed, all of them verified that in some way they had a way of accessing happiness, states of well-being, feeling good.They all did.Whether it was through planting a garden, whether it was through reading stories to their grandchildren, going on trips, mentoring others; whatever it was, they had a place where they felt whole and where they felt in a great mood and what we would call being in a state of happiness.

However, I also found out some very damaging news as I went over the case studies and as I further listened to my clients and my friends as I was weaving through all that I was discovering.And some of the damaging news that I discovered was that women are often thwarted by society at large to not feel comfortable to go after their own sources of happiness.

One major example would be that a woman might be very content and really enjoy her body and her whole being.She loves to do whatever.She loves to just have people over, she’s comfortable wearing any clothes that feel good on her.She could be potentially the happiest person.However, the television, the newspapers, the movies, everything, are saying to her:think thin, do your eyebrows, wear a different kind of clothing, how much skin can you bare and not be ashamed of your wrinkles, try this new products, better get better underwear, mm-hmm.Get with it, lady.

Now, obviously, there are some women who are able to put up barriers and not be influenced by society at large.But many of us suffer the consequences of a society that is more external, from the outside in, rather than internal, from the inside out.And that’s a real difficulty.And that does impinge on our sense of happiness.

Also, often women return to their capacity for happiness only in secret, when nobody is looking.In other words, they feel sort of ashamed, or it’s just an extra, you know, when I finish folding the clothes and I finish all the bills and I finish getting everything done for everybody else, then I’ll try to sneak in 15 minutes of meditation or 15 minutes of making myself a special treat in the kitchen or relaxing in the bathtub, whatever it is.

But that’s not enough.That will have us end up in a situation of being empty, running on empty.Literally.Because we won’t have spent enough time replenishing and finding ways to truly enjoy life and feel happy on a daily basis.It’s not something you can just way, well, six months from now I’m going to have three hours of happiness.It won’t work.It just won’t work.We just need so much more than that.

So, really, it is my mission and my passion to teach women how to re-access and, for some women, to access for the first time in a long time, more happiness and well-being as often as possible in their lives.And I’m going to talk about some of the ways that I do that.

However, I just want to mention why, and what is this whole term, The Enchanted Self ®, because my mission is tied in to the expression, The Enchanted Self.

The Enchanted Self is that place within ourselves where we recognize what gives us pleasure, what feels right for ourselves, what feels whole, what feels good, what makes us feel in a great mood.And it is also a special place within ourselves that has a warehouse and a factory attached, just for us.It has a warehouse full of our own memories of what makes us happy, what feels right to us, what feels special, what makes us feel joyful.It’s a computer — well, I like to think of it as a warehouse, because I don’t think as much in computer terms.And it has stacks and stacks of the good memories, the positive things that have happened to us, the things that we have enjoyed.And, true, they may be mixed with some very negative things, but there are ways to sift through that.

And, also, it’s a factory.It’s a factory within ourselves where we literally have a whole staff that reinvents and recombines and regenerates the ways that we can take our lives and find ways to have pleasure and happiness and better times, right now, or in the future.

What do you think? Are you agreeing with me?

Nancy Drew and THE TRUTH, (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything!

Posted on November 12, 2008
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Who did you idolize from television or books when you were a kid? If you are at all like me, you probably enjoyed lots of famous characters and actresses.  I loved Lucille Ball for example, yet Nancy Drew served as an even more important figure in my life than Lucy. She was VERY important when I was nine, ten, and even eleven.  I would wait with high anticipation if I knew my mother was coming home from shopping and might have a new Nancy Drew book with her.  If she did, my next week was sure to be close to heaven.  I would have a mystery to solve along with Nancy and all the positively luscious feelings of excitement I would be bound to feel as I accompanied her on her newest adventure.  Forget her close buddies, they were only silly girls.  I was dedicated as she, to solving mysteries, and I was there for her.  Oh, they were wonderful adventures that we took together-just Nancy and myself. And when it came to an end I had a let down that could only be compensated for in one way-a long bike ride, a coffee ice cream cone with jimmies on top and the beginning allure of the next Nancy Drew book. 

I think that Nancy Drew was an important icon figure to me, as a positive psychologist,  because in the language of Positive Psychology, she gave me hope.  She validated that I was smart.  She reinforced my resiliency.  After all, I figured out at least some of the mysteries before she did.  She gave me such a sense of competency.  If she could do it, so could I.  I just hadn’t had the right opportunity yet, so for now I accompanied her.

She reinforced my strengths and interests.  After all, I could figure people out.  I could travel, if only my parents would let me.  I could act very grown-up and be a leader.  For example, I was on the Student Council.  Yes, everything about her was affirming to me.  Even her boyfriend gave me hope that someday I would have a boyfriend just as nice and kind and loving,  In fact, Nancy Drew was probably the best therapy I had in my life from the ages of 9-11.  And she didn’t even know she was a Positive Psychologist!

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