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The Habits of Happiness

Updated: Jan 11

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

- Confucius

Last week, I Decided Crappy.

Granted, it was a tough week.

  • My gentle, 12-year old greyhound Elsie spent 3 days in and out the Pet ER with life-threatening (self-inflicted) GI issues.

  • The day after she was released from the vet’s care, still unstable on her feet from her near-death experience, she scarfed up a random, half-decayed chicken bone off of the street. My attempt to pull it out of her mouth sent me to the ER with a Hulk-sized finger we were sure was broken.

  • My smart, stubborn father, who refuses to wear a life alert, had another fall involving 911.

  • One of My Most Beloved People, after what should have been a minor outpatient surgery, ended up in the emergency room for the 3rd (and 4th) time in 2 weeks.

  • Underlying the medical drama was the chronic lack of sleep from the every 2-hour “wake-up-I-need-to-go-out-NOW” alerts, per bullet #1.

  • Mix in the usual too many “To-do’s” all layered on top of the 24/7 news, keeping its constant, frantic drumbeat in the background.

It was a recipe for a doozy of a stress cocktail.

I felt frenetic, scattered, worried and overwhelmed, my brain spinning at all hours. Between 1 AM and 4 AM seemed to be Prime Time.

The week had me thinking about the power of our daily habits on our lives. It struck me how quickly the demands of life sent my daily Happiness Habits, so carefully cultivated for so many years, careening off the bottom of my priority list.

How is that I could so quickly let life hijack the habits and rituals that set me and my day up for success? Momentum- positive or negative, is an awesomely powerful force, isn’t it?

A Very Wise Friend reminded me that “Sometimes slowing down is the most productive thing we can do.”

In our frenetic, hyper-paced world, we can best serve others, and ourselves, when we remember that old airplane instruction,”Put your oxygen mask on first, before you help the person sitting next to you.”

I know the habits that help me focus, and feel strong, positive and calm:

  • My Daily 10 - ten minutes of focusing, and setting my intentions for how I want this day to be. And how I want to be this day

  • Focusing on what I’m grateful for. Truly savoring these graces in my heart

  • Physical movement- working out, walking the dogs through the park or around the block

  • Listening to inspiring podcasts while I commute

  • Reaching out to My People. Connecting with them in a personal, meaningful way

So, I read, and re-read page 3 of Decide Happy, to remind myself, once again, to DO what I KNOW:

  1. Happiness is a Constant decision

  2. Happier people take specific actions (consciously or unconsciously) to achieve this desired emotion. It’s not enough to just decide, we have to actually DO some things a little differently.

  3. Happiness takes practice. Sometimes, when life is rolling along the way we want, it’s easy to feel happy. But sometimes? Sometimes it’s just really hard work.

For 6 days, I embraced the suck. Sometimes we have to feel it all. We have to go through it to get through it.

But I don’t want to be stuck there.

So today, I decide Grace over Gray.

Today, I decide to feel grateful, not agitated.

  • Grateful that I still have my sweet, stubborn dad in my life.

  • Grateful that my beloved dogs are both alive and safe.

  • Grateful that I still have all 10 fingers and they are all functioning 100%.

  • Grateful that my loved one sought out answers and is on the road to recovery.

  • Grateful that I have been given this breathtaking gift, the opportunity to help others at the most personal level.

Today, I’m moving forward down the road of life.

Happiness is a set of learnable skills and habits, as much as it is a mindset.

  • What are your Happiness Habits?

  • What are the things, especially those small things, those daily routines, that set you and your day up for success?

  • What will you do to ensure you do them when- especially when- those storm clouds roll in, and the events of life compete for your time and mindshare?

Happiness is a constant decision. On any day, at any time, we can decide.

With so much Love,


aka “A Work in Progress”

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1 Comment

Therese Hyatt
Therese Hyatt
Apr 11, 2023

As always, your column is right on point. Needed to hear this today. Thanks my friend.


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