nicole bensen

in creating a more meaningful, connected, happy life

My mission is to support you 


You can be productive, have success, enjoy the finer things in life, and have wellbeing. If you want support creating a life beyond meetings, promotions, the “hustle” and your next win, let’s talk.

best life

When you're ready to live your

Tentacles and Tea, like its quirky name, takes an irreverent approach to “healing the mind, body, and soul.” Instead of asking you to change who you are to “become more whole,” Tentacles and Tea sits starkly in the opposite corner: to encourage you to self-amputate the parts of your life that are no longer helpful—whether it’s your career, expectations, past, or something else.

It’s this line of thinking that inspired my approach to wellbeing, based on an interpretation of the incredible octopus, known for its ability to be flexible (literally), to problem-solve, camouflage, ink and flee, or voluntarily break off its own limb to escape a toxic situation.

Spot the octopus?

My name is Nicole Bensen; I’m a happiness and wellbeing enthusiast, and I’m delighted you’re here. After spending nearly a decade at Google, where I ultimately managed the wellbeing program for executive women leaders, I ironically experienced burnout myself. In pursuit of a healthier mental place, I had questions like:

Learn more

I founded Tentacles and Tea to share the research I learned, and to facilitate creative, joyful ways to increase your happiness, resilience, and wellbeing. (And, no, I’m not a meditation expert; yes, I still have champagne taste, and no, research shows that wanting to be happy does not equal being selfish.) 

My mission is to support you to also create a more meaningful, connected, happy life. I do this by encouraging you to set boundaries, to offer yourself compassion, to do things that make you happy, and by emphasizing your strengths to help you achieve your dreams—whether your dream is to volunteer full time, learn French, or have a private jet.

I look forward to meeting you at a retreat, corporate workshop, my group program, or in one-on-one coaching.

“Is it possible to be happy without becoming a meditation expert?”
“Am I allowed to want nice things, or is that being selfish?”
“Actually, is wanting to be happy the very definition of being selfish?”
“Why do I believe being selfish is ‘bad’?”

Whether joining one of my corporate workshops, public group program (Next Level You), an #IamRemarkable session, or 1:1 coaching, most of my clients work in a corporate environment. I’ve had the honor of supporting people who work in tech, entertainment, real estate, education, and consulting—in companies including Google, YouTube, Apple, Netflix, Cisco, KPMG, Dropbox, San Jose State University and start-ups.


Executive Coaching

Next Level You

Team workshops


Watch this space for global wellbeing retreats for women once the world is traveling again.

In my last role in Corporate America I planned learning experiences in luxurious locations in and outside the US, and I’m thrilled to be offering those to you in the near future.

Corporate facilitation: My most-popular corporate workshop, “Increasing happiness, resilience, and success,” is 90-minutes of simple, fun, research-backed ideas. I’m also happy to talk about custom workshops for your group’s needs. Previous teams have used my workshops as a lunch-and-learn, an offering during wellness week, manager forums, and for team meetings and onsites/offsites.


One-on-one Positive Psychology Coaching: We’ll meet for 50 minutes weekly or bi-weekly (your choice) and work together toward achieving a goal you have (or helping you discover what that goal is if you’re feeling stuck). My methods are based in empirically-validated techniques for assessing and developing potential, identifying and overcoming obstacles, and supporting you to achieve greater levels of success. Life, career, and goal-focused.

My signature group program, “Next Level You,” gives over 25 tools to busy, overwhelmed, stressed-out people who want help in increasing happiness and resilience, overcoming Imposter Syndrome, and feeling worthy beyond accomplishments. We’ll meet in a small group online for 2 hours each week over a series of weeks, and you’ll be handed simple, actionable ways to increase your wellbeing.

For #allthetools

Personalized and private

Let’s work together

Groups and work teams

“Your session was just what we needed and was timed so perfectly to close our year. It almost felt indulgent during the 90 minutes yesterday. Thank you for your passion about this and leaving us with tools to use. We are all better for it!”

— julie, director, google

“Just what we needed. We are all better for it.”

“Nicole is well-researched and experienced. One of the most notable impacts is my ability to break out of spirals. I am a chronic overthinker and overanalyzer. The [Next Level You] workshop helped me to stop the spiral and move out of it with several different methods—I’ve used a bunch of them at different times. I fall asleep easier by shutting these spirals down!”

— erin watson, senior program manager

“Nicole is absolute delight of a human being.”

“Nicole recently ran an #IamRemarkable workshop for our Women@Signifyd ERG, and it was truly transformative. Not only did our participants leave with an important, enriched perspective on their accomplishments and how to talk about them out in the world, they all bonded on a deeper level than most of us ever have in a professional setting. Seeing our brilliant, accomplished women get so vulnerable and raw was one of the most meaningful experiences I’ve gotten the pleasure of participating in. Thank you, Nicole!”

— Emily Mikailli, VP of People Operations, Signifyd

“Truly transformative. Seeing our brilliant, accomplished women get so vulnerable and raw was one of the most meaningful experiences.”

“Nicole created and facilitated a 90-minute workshop for my team called, ‘Increasing happiness, resilience and success.’ She shared research and exercises and fostered a safe space for my team members to connect with each other and learn tips to boost their wellbeing. People said the session allowed them to reground and refocus, and in some cases made them realize that they hadn’t taken a moment to slow down until that very moment. This exercise was imperative for our team after the craziness of 2020 where many of us are balancing work and home life in a way we’ve never had to before. Nicole’s presentation style adds to the calming and grounding nature of the content, she is very inclusive and does a wonderful job fostering a safe environment for people to share. Looking forward to partnering with her again soon.”

— jenica erickson, staffing manager, google

“Calming and grounding. Inclusive.
Safe environment for people to share.”

“If you’re feeling overwhelmed with no time for yourself (like I was), you’re going to benefit even more by signing up for Next Level You. The workbook is still something I pull out. It’s been helpful to look at the things I was trying as part of the workshop homework and realizing six weeks later I’m naturally doing some of these things week-over-week. I want to say it’s been life-changing, and I know that sounds silly, but it brings me immeasurable joy to practice some of the things I learned. I now write gratitude letters every single week!”

— victoria kroll, product support manager, google, and presdient of a non-profit

“I want to say it’s been life-changing, and I know that sounds silly.”

“Nicole Bensen designs thoughtful and hugely effective programs for high achieving women — she is hands down the best program manager I’ve ever worked with. Run, don’t walk, to sign up for her new program, as it is sure to sell out soon!”

— Christine Carter, Ph.D., Author, Speaker, Coach & Consultant

“Thoughtful and hugely effective programs for high achieving women”

“We are *so* grateful for you. Thank you for sharing your time and expertise with the women@BLD community, designing a workshop that is relevant, timely and empowering, offering tools that are accessible and easy to maintain. The workshop went really well—am in AWE of the number of folks that joined us (it’s amazing for us to hit 50+), and clearly, the feedback has been tremendously positive.”

— natasha wright, REWS People Development Program Manager

“Relevant, timely and empowering”

“Next Level You is a way to connect with other people, learning how to take on life’s challenges, or even your own personal internal challenges. It’s a course that is grounded in facts and research and also has a community aspect.”

— ashley mills, management consultant

“Grounded in facts and research”

“Your content could not be more timely for so many of our managers both personally and professionally, and it was lovely to see everyone respond to you - those who know you and those who don’t. Thanks again for sharing your scientifically grounded approach to what really makes our worlds spin and for giving us more tangible resources to support ourselves and our teams.”

— nina, staffing manager, google

“Tangible resources to support ourselves and our teams”

“The most valuable thing you presented for me today was actually the thing you said about, if ruminating/over-thinking was actually working, you would have solved the problem by now. That was such a simple concept, but my mind was blown. The overall value I think your program offers is showing how, as humans, we are very much alike. We are biologically wired and have evolved to perceive certain things as a danger to us even if it really is not something life threatening. And that even the highest-achieving people can feel like frauds and make mistakes. So much good stuff that your program puts out.”

— sabrina porter-parees

“Even the highest-achieving people can feel like frauds.”

“[The Next Level You program] is a way of examining our thoughts and the lies we tell ourselves to break past that and become better, happier people.

Two benefits: 1) Setting the time aside to invest in myself was really valuable to have that thing I knew I was going to do every week that was going to bring me something and nurture something in me. 2) Having this toolbox I can draw from of things to turn to when I feel stuck and blocked and boxed in.”

— Crystal Coleman, Product Support Manager, Google

“A way of examining our thoughts and the lies we tell ourselves”

“Nicole recently hosted a 45-minute Happiness Workshop for my group. She is an amazing facilitator, her calming presence is contagious and the content she shared was fascinating and well-researched. I particularly enjoyed the actionable small ideas that will make a big difference in my and my groups’ lives. Thank you so much for your time and energy.”

— Julia Arndt, CEO, Peak Performance Method

“Amazing facilitator...presence is contagious, and the content is fascinating and well-researched”

“I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to attend your sessions. The information, practical tools, and connection with the other ladies was exactly what I needed at this point in my life. Thank you.”

— michelle kandah, it program manager, cisco

“Exactly what I needed”

“I’ve picked up so many tools to level up my self-confidence! I loved being a part of this. This couldn’t have come at a better time. I also learned different practices on how to stay calm—which I need because school starts next week!”

— june caloroso, speaker, career coach

“So many tools to level up my self-confidence”



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