Thursday, January 13, 2011

Happiness Reminders

In connection with our focus this month on giving ourselves permission to be happy, I’ve been noticing and looking for reminders that it is okay to be happy. We had our first monthly discussion group on Tuesday, and some folks came up with some good observations. For example, our bodies tell us it is good to be happy. Happy people are healthier and recover more quickly from illness.

It is socially beneficial to be happy because people around us will be happier. I know this from my own family. At times when things got stressful at home and the kids’ moods and behavior deteriorated, I found that fussing at them was not effective at all (that control thing). However, when I would disengage and focus on my own calming down and recentering, magically balance was restored and things improved for everyone. Well, at least sometimes! But at least I felt better! And that enabled me to be more helpful to them.

The Bible is full of exhortations to rejoice and be joyful. We are instructed that a joyful heart is good medicine. We are encouraged to count everything joy and to make a joyful noise (that’s one of my favorites). The angels brought good news of great joy. Joy is a fruit of the spirit, and we are told that our joy will be complete. “This is the day the Lord has made. Rejoice and be glad in it.” –Psalm 118:24

Buddha told us that there is no way to happiness, that happiness is the way. Be happiness itself, he taught. The Dalai Lama says the purpose of life is to be happy. Buddhism is all about the cessation of suffering. (Note: Buddhism does not teach that life is pain free. As Sylvia Boorstein writes, pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.)

I would be interested in knowing about other faith traditions and joy. If anyone can share something about that, please do.

Poetry, art, music, nature, so many things can connect us to joy. What are some happiness reminders in your life?


  1. My family, my cat, and sunshine are some of my happiness reminders. When I'm not happy, deep breathing and finding something, no matter how small, to be grateful for helps me tremendously.

  2. Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass

    My dad played this groups music in the 60's constantly! Whenever I hear a song from Herb, I smile and I'm instantly brought back to the 1960's, a much happier, simpler time.

  3. Waking up every morning and having life is my happiness, and from there I do what and give what I after day I hope for a very, very extremely long time! ;)

  4. My dogs consider me their equal. I am flattered daily.

  5. I want to thank you Galen for your very heartfelt and thoughtful and considerate comment left on my blog the other day... it meant so much too me!


  6. Hi Galen,

    I feel that it is always good to have reminders that remind us of the need to be happy. And it is true. If we only open our eyes, there are so many reminders around us to be happy. As you have rightly pointed out, happy people are healthier people. Our happiness and lack thereof affects our loved ones as well. And of course, religion is a great reminder of the need to be happy.

    In the past I used to be drawn to sad stories which in turn contributed to my unhappiness. In truth, we are what we eat, or we are what we nourish ourselves with. Nowadays I always make sure to avoid reading unhappy things and to focus on happy things. Whether it is in the form of romantic comedies or inspiring comics or books, I always go for the uplifting.

    Thank you for sharing this happiness reminder with us! :)

    Irving the Vizier

  7. My husband when he is silly brings me happiness. I too like the idea of making a joyful noise. Grated sometimes ones joyful noise is another persons headache. *lol*

  8. I am one of those people that believe no matter how bad things are, they could always be worse. I try to find the good in everything, even painful things bring lessons that will help us be happier as we mature. I also believe that happiness is like a smile and VERY infectious, if you smile the person you smile back will almost always smile back to you and smile at at least one other person. :)

    I really enjoy reading your blog, it makes me think, which is a good thing! I chose you to give one of my 15 Stylish Blog awards to, the info on it is on my blog page,, I just won it yesterday and am passing it on. Have a great weekend!!

  9. Galen -
    My happiness reminder is Mt. Hood--that beautiful snow capped mountain I see everyday as I drive to work or through town. The mountain reminds me of the beauty of God's creation and to rejoice with awe at it every day. But, through personal experience and the loss of life on Mt Hood, seeing the mountain also reminds me to live life fully and that happiness comes from engaging in meaningful relationships and activities with others. We don't know the number of days we have, so we need to live them well.

  10. Thanks to everyone for the happy comments! It is so interesting to see all the different things that remind us to be happy. I felt happy just reading all your comments.

    And a special thank you to Coupon Queen for the blog award! That is a very nice compliment and I appreciate it!

  11. Of course laska the love kitty - and a surprise. In my year of "connecting" I'm "feeling" so much of the pain of others - and it is hurting deeply. Didn't see that coming.

    But also I've found that I have shared
    feelings" of happiness too - their "happy" made me "happy". Didn't see that coming either - and it's a good thing because sometimes the "sad" I'm tapping into is very very heavy.

    God bless

    thank you.

  12. You said, "It is socially beneficial to be happy because people around us will be happier." My experience has been the same too. As a happier person, my children and husband are also happier.

  13. I always tell myself, "Life happens...try to enjoy it!" Life has certainly happened in my family, but I have found that looking on the positive side is much more productive...and when I become negative, I sometimes give myself permission to just go with usually passes.


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