Happiness 101! A Simple Lesson!

There is a lot going on!  That includes everything in your own life and the world around us. Although much of it may not directly affect our lives, it still is chatter and chaos that impacts our well being. Sometimes I feel like Dorothy hanging tightly on to Toto as everything around me is about to be swept away.

The important thing is how do we stay grounded and continue to find happiness in our lives?

At the age of forty-five, Gerard d’Aboville set out to row across the Pacific Ocean from Japan to the United States. His rowboat, which had a living compartment thirty-one inches high, containing a bunk and one-burner stove. Though he rowed twelve hours a day, battled cyclones and headwinds, was capsized dozens of times forty-foot waves that hit him like cannonballs, he never quit; even when he was trapped upside down inside his cabin for almost two hours while nearly depleting his oxygen trying to right the boat.

One hundred and thirty-four days after his departure, d’Aboville arrived in the little fishing village of Ilwaco, Washington, leaving his body bruised and battered, and weighing thirty-seven pounds less.

When he reached the shore he was greeted by reporters bombarding him with questions. One reported asked, “ What did you do at those moments that you were in distress and thought you were going to die? Did you pray”? d’Aboville replied, “No, I took action.”

That simple but powerful answer offers us a possibility towards happiness. You alone cannot solve all of the world’s problem or perhaps even your own problems, but you alone can take action to make small things happen.

Taking action moves the needle forward. We often use the expression “baby steps” and that is exactly what it is. It may take just a few steps or many , but you will feel more in control and baby steps will keep you moving.

If you are passionate about the environment, you have a choice from being actively involved in your community’s recycling program or simply just take your own bags to the grocery store. You may not want to run for a political office but you can pick up the phone, call your local representatives and voice your opinion. And of course most important is to vote!

You also need to find the balance between being informed and being overwhelmed. It is too easy to get caught up in the 24 hour news cycle and social media. Know when to say “enough” and then step back.

Studies have determined that it wasn’t going to be the major issues in our lives that will bring and sustain happiness; winning the race, getting the promotion, buying the house, but rather continued smaller efforts on a regular basis.

We rely so much on those major events, that we overlook what has been proven to actually increase our good feelings and happiness. Happiness is found from the start of your day to the end with small simple actions and interactions. The best news is that we don’t have to depend upon anyone or any thing other than ourselves to make that happen.


Two other important factors in feeling happy is appreciation  and acknowledgement of all the good that we experience.  At the end of the day, reflecting on all that we are thankful for adds to our well being.

After a mammogram several years ago, an unusual dark spot appeared on the screen. It would be several days later before the additional test would provide an answer. I got the phone call as I was walking in a parking garage. I passed another shopper who made the comment that I sure looked happy with this broad smile on my face. It occurred to me a bit later that every morning when I wake up, I get the same news, “I do not have breast cancer”.

 Here are 5 simple steps to bring happiness into your day

  1.  Begin the day but making your bed and doing it perfectly. This sets the tone for the entire day.
  2. Look for ways to pay someone a compliment or simply a gesture of kindness.
  3. Each day look for an opportunity for a social connection. Take a moment and interact with a co-worker. Chat briefly with a stranger you meet . Don’t always text or email, but pick up the phone.
  4. End your days by reflecting on all that your appreciation and are grateful for.
  5. Connect with nature. Take time to be outdoors and enjoy all that surrounds you. “Stop and smell the roses” does have an impact.

As we journey through life, it is the small interactions and accomplishments on a daily basis that determine our happiness. Start thinking small!





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