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Happiness Hack: A simple, free and easy way to boost your mood (plus someone else's!) on any day

Updated: Feb 26

I stopped into a local package delivery store to mail a gift to a friend across the sea.

The store, which smelled of fresh paint, was empty, except for a young man behind the desk who quickly stood up and greeted me with a grin.

“I’m Sunny,” he said, extending his hand. “I’m new to the neighborhood.”

We struck up a conversation about traveling to exotic locales, as well as the destinations on our "bucket" lists.

“What made you decide to open a shipping franchise?” I asked.

“I wanted a business that is part of the community,” he explained. “So many of our interactions these days are virtual. I miss the personal interaction.”   

I nodded in agreement. On one hand, I love how the internet can now connect us to almost 8 billion people around the globe, including my new friend in Dubai, to whom I was shipping this package. And, I believe that what we crave as human beings is meaningful connections. Social media can be a powerful bridge to this, but it’s up to us as individuals to take it a step further and make the time, set the intention, to connect with others in meaningful ways.

Harvard university is currently conducting the longest scientific research study on happiness. They are now 80 years into their research. When their current Director, Dr. Robert Waldinger is asked, “what does the data tell us we should focus on for more happiness in life?”, he responds without hesitating. "We should focus on building positive relationships. Meaningful connections and relationships keep us healthy and happy. Period. “

Sunny and I chatted a few more minutes, when I got an inspiration. “Hang on a minute,” I said, then ran out to my car and brought back a copy of Decide Happy. His face lit up, “Thank you. I’m so excited to read this!” He thought for a moment, “Wait a minute,” he said, then disappeared into the back room, returning with a coffee mug and pen. We exchanged our small gifts along with a hug and, savoring the friendly connection, both parted ways with a smile.

  • How long does it take to connect with someone at a personal level?

  • To look the other in their eyes?

  • To smile and acknowledge that you truly see them?

  • How much does it cost to thank the person behind the cash register, at the coffee shop or grocery store?

  • To read their name tag and thank them by their name?

  • To ask, “How are you doing today?” And mean it?

  • How long does it take to do something kindhearted for a stranger?

  • And how good does it make you feel when you do?

Both Sunny and I left that interaction feeling happier. As I left the store, I smiled at the harried-looking woman walking in and held the door for her as she juggled her packages. Her face warmed and she smiled back.

These small connections and kindnesses have untold ripple effects in our world.

How can you be an unexpected force for good by connecting with others in more meaningful ways?

Who can you acknowledge today?

Happiness Practice

  • The next time you are in a coffee shop, or store, or encounter a stranger working or going about their day - how can you acknowledge them, see them as a unique human being, show that you care?

  • Is there some small act of kindness you can show them?

  • How does this kindness-doing make you feel?

Want More Happy in your life? click here.

Decide Happy is now available wherever books are sold, including Amazon.

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