Wednesday, May 18, 2016

5 things that might make you happier

This is not an essay on 5 ways to be happy, because happiness is truly a choice. You can't read an article on happiness, and suddenly be happier. Nope, you alone must do then do the work. I'm simply going to suggest some tried and true ways that can create more happiness. Maybe you are already doing some or all. Maybe you could use some help. I share this with you, because I want to live one of my most favorite quotes ever, by Roger Egbert:

"I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try.”

  • Listen To Yourself More And The Outside Less
We become so conditioned to do what we think we are supposed to do, and think what we are supposed to think, that sometimes we don't even remember how to listen to our insides. Man, I've been there, and that's scary. Who are we, if not a collection of our genuine needs, thoughts and wants? Sometimes we've kept our inner voice on mute for too long. So listen for that whisper. Listen to when your body says you are tired. Pay attention to the times that something gives you a sick feeling and you can't put your finger on why. Your insides- HATE to be ignored. And when you do- you physically end up feeling bad. How many of us suffer from SO many of the things on this list? It's not ok. You don't have to figure out and fix everything at once. For now, simply pay attention to how you feel throughout the day. Keep a log. What stresses you out most? When are you most calm?

  • Surround Yourself With People Who Lift You Up. 
Who you hang out with matters. Spend time with people who cherish you. Who want to spend time with you too. People who encourage your success and passion. People who throw a rope to help you out of a bad place. Most importantly- BE THAT PERSON TOO. It feels so good to help others. Steer clear of negative assholes intent on teaching you how to be like them. THEY SUCK. Ever heard of mirror neurons? They are fascinating. In the early 1990s, researchers made an astonishing and unexpected discovery.  They had implanted electrodes in the brains of several macaque monkeys to study the animals’ brain activity during different motor actions, including the clutching of food. One day, as a researcher reached for his own food, he noticed neurons begin to fire in the monkeys’ premotor cortex—the same area that showed activity when the animals made a similar hand movement. How could this be happening when the monkeys were sitting still and merely watching him? During the ensuing two decades, this serendipitous discovery of mirror neurons—a special class of brain cells that fire not only when an individual performs an action, but also when the individual observes someone else make the same movement—has radically altered the way we think about our brains and ourselves, particularly our social selves. Our body has the ability to feel and mirror what others are doing. Be around good people.

  • Say NO More
Especially things you do because of guilt or obligation. Things that don't fill you up. It's so important to figure out what means the most to you in life. If you had to name the top 3-5 things in your life, what would they be? So often we find ourselves naming things that we aren't consistently contributing towards. We must do in action instead of simply say in words. What three words do you want used to describe your character on your obituary? (Mine are encouraging, genuine and loving) Write them down, put them on a post it and put it on your mirror or in your car. Make more choices that contribute towards who you want to be and what means most to you. Let some of the other stuff slide.

  • Go On An Inspiration Diet.  
No, no, no- this has nothing to do with eating kale. (You're welcome.) But if you like kale- eat away. An Inspiration Diet has to do with things besides food that you feed your body with. Ingest good books and positive messages. Pay attention to what you read, what you watch and what you think about. Pay attention to how you feel after doing those activities. Most importantly, pay attention to how you talk to yourself. Author of the book, Hustle, Joshua Medcalf says, "At some point in my life I realized my story was mine. I realized that the story I told myself about myself matters greatly. Most importantly, I realized that while I have very little control over what happens to me, I have 100% control over the meaning I give it. It's amazing to me how often people use this narrative to brainwash themselves into believing the worst possible story about themselves.

  • Take care of YOU. 
Life is crazy, and there is never enough time to do everything that matters, but you must find time to take care of yourself. Chances are, no one else is going to do it for you. One thing that I do NOT skimp on is taking care of myself. When I don't- I am not ok. I'm a bad mom, wife, human and friend. How do I do this? I wake up before the rest of my family so I have time to breathe, drink coffee, and mentally prepare for the day ahead. These moments have become sacred to me, and the best way to start the day on a good note. I also make sure I have at least one thing scheduled week to look forward to. This may be coffee or a walk with a friend, or a girl's night out. It doesn't have to be anything big. But human interaction- non-kid and non-work related is needed by every one of us. It gives more than it takes from our day.

I also work out at least four days a week. I need endorphins more than most people I know. If I have gone a few days without getting exercise I feel foggy and anxious. Endorphins trigger positive feelings in the body, similar to that of morphine. I am prone to anxiety and depression, and regular exercise helps keep those monsters away. Sometimes when I'm in the middle of a funk, even going for a walk feels impossible. Same days I just can't. But some days I can and do. Even a 15 minute walk around my neighborhood can work MAGIC. I get out of the prison of my mind, I think my problems out logically- instead of just spinning them around on a loop. I am a NEW person when I reenter my house. 

Lastly, just for bonus points, look at these pictures. GUARANTEED to make you actually feel some happy right now...

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Scenes from the pool today.

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So here they are. I work on happy DAILY, because it's important to me. We weren't put on earth to feel miserable. Do the hard work, add some happy to your life. The work is worth the reward.


  1. Hi Chrissy! I have read your blog for awhile now, not really sure why or how I even came across it, since I don't know anyone personally with Autism but I do know that many years ago I wanted to be a special education teacher. And while unfortunately I did go to school for that, I never got a chance to finish. My life took a different turn and I got busy raising two boys of my own. Guess God knew they needed me more. I wouldn't trade them or my life for anything. Such an amazing accomplishment to get to be a Mom! Anyway, I just read this article and thought of you, not really sure why except that I thought you might find it interesting. Maybe you already saw it, no idea! Something just told me to send the link to you! The brain is an amazing thing...I think it is important to never underestimate it...

    Keep being a great Mom!

  2. I just want to say thank you for writing. I never comment but I so often read your posts -- and I always take time to read them slowly -- and realize I'm focussing on the wrong things. You help me see my life in a better way. So thank you, and please keep writing.

  3. Your boys are truly the cutest kids in the world! So photogenic! They brighten my day.