Happiness Articles

Know What Makes You Happy? 3 Tips to Help You Achieve It!

Monday, September 15th, 2014

finding-happiness-cartwheel

You already know what to do to increase your happiness. Now get unstuck and do it!

You know a zillion things you could do to feel better, to increase your happiness and to get more of what you want, and yet you don’t do them.

You want to lose weight but you don’t change what you’re eating. You want to be creative, but you zombie out in front of a computer screen instead. You want a deeper and more fulfilling relationship with your partner, but you avoid talking about what you’re feeling.

What’s Holding You Back? 5 Ways to Break Free from Mental Barriers

Monday, September 15th, 2014

What’s holding you back? 5 Ways to Break Free from Mental Barriers  The power of fear never ceases to amaze me. It can control people’s entire lives and destiny! 

I was in Orlando, Florida, the day I realized that fear was just a made-up idea — a concept that is both very real for most people, yet not real at all. I was in my car, listening to an audio CD of interviews with self-made millionaires when the interviewee (in response to a question about how he got one particular business started) said: “I figured, if it wasn’t going to kill me or cause permanent bodily harm, what was there to lose really? So, we gave it a shot.”

That was a life-transforming moment for me. If it wasn’t going to kill me or cause permanent bodily damage, why not give it a shot?

How to Be Real Without Being Mean

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

What is Anger?The mantra to “get real” has become popular nowadays — and for good reason. We live in a society where images rule and authenticity is reserved for blue jeans and ethnic recipes. We’re trained to polish and parade a false self that we think will garner acceptance and accolades.

The isolation and disconnection that’s rampant in our society is based on a disconnection from our own genuine feelings and longings. We’re afraid to show what’s real, including our fears, insecurities, and yearning for love and intimacy. Instead, we may try to project a confident, self-assured, unruffled self that we think will win us friends and gain success. For example, we might conceal our hurt or sadness when our partner is late. Our built-up disappointment or resentment might leak out later over something trivial, which leaves our partner confused.

How to Love Yourself

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

How to Love YourselfI have a confession to make. I have a reminder on my phone that goes off every morning at 8 o’clock that says simply, “You’re awesome.” This might sound dumb but you’d be surprised how often I forget that fact.

This is just one tool in my arsenal of tricks that I use to combat the depression and paranoia that come with a mental illness.

I’ve been in some pretty dark places and I’ve thought many times about putting an end to things when I’m having a hard time, but then, every day at 8 a.m. my phone vibrates and I’m reminded that I’m awesome.

September Is the Other January: Do You Agree or Disagree?

Saturday, September 13th, 2014

Agree, Disagree? September Is the Other January.Even though I haven’t been in school for a long time, for me, September  marks the beginning of a new year.  Orange is the new black, breakfast is the new lunch, Monday is the new Thursday, pork is the other white meat, and September is the other January. (And yes, it’s still September, even though most schools start in August nowadays.)

January is the official start of the new year, and I always get a burst of renewed zeal at that time, but September also gives the same feeling of an empty calendar and a clean slate. The air seems charged with possibility and renewal.

5 Ways to Reduce Helplessness

Saturday, September 13th, 2014

5 Ways to Reduce HelplessnessWhen trauma hits, we may feel utterly helpless. We may feel powerless, paralyzed, wounded. The trauma may be a physical trauma, such as a car wreck or any kind of abuse; an emotional trauma, such as bullying or poverty; or a community trauma, such as an earthquake or murder, according to Deborah Serani, PsyD, a clinical psychologist in Smithtown, N.Y.

It may be a single experience or a series of events, she said. Either way, the moment is “so extreme that you’re left feeling completely powerless.”

Strategizing to Break Old Habits and Pick Up Better Ones

Friday, September 12th, 2014

HabitsRepeatFourI’m writing my next book, Better Than Before, about how we make and break habits  an issue very relevant to happiness.

Each week, I post a before-and-after story submitted by a reader, about how he or she successfully changed a habit. This way we can all learn from each other.

How Music Heightens Our Experiences

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

How Music Heightens Our ExperiencesThere’s a whimsical, charming scene in Begin Again, starring Keira Knightly, Mark Ruffalo and Adam Levine, that showcases two of the characters strolling through the streets of New York City, bonding through music. The gold and silver lights of Times Square shimmer in the dark, and earbuds are plugged in as they absorb favorite songs and guilty pleasures off their playlists.

These snapshots were not only a beautiful love letter and ode to the city, but they paid homage to the power of music as well. Music was a vibrant color to a blank canvas; music lit up the night and made it sparkle; music smacked them awake.

Music has the capacity to heighten our daily experiences — to alter our emotional states, to enhance, transcend and inspire the present moment.

3 Thorny Obstacles to Being Authentic

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

More Questions to Help You Deepen Your Connection with Your PartnerWe long for intimate connections, which are essential for our emotional and physical health. But oftentimes we don’t know how to create the connections we desire. Summoning the courage to reveal what we’re experiencing inside allows people to see us and know us. Showing our authentic heart rather than blaming, attacking, or shaming people allows them to feel safer coming toward us.

Yet, we often have blocks to moving toward the authenticity that would create a fertile climate for warm connections with people. Here are some obstacles I’ve observed in my work as a marriage and family therapist for over 30 years:

Putting Off Some Horrible Task? Try These 7 Tips

Monday, September 8th, 2014

ProcrastinationIt’s a Secret of Adulthood: Happiness doesn’t always make me feel happy. Often, I know I’d be happier if I do something I really don’t feel like doing. Making that phone call. Dealing with tech support. Writing that email. Going to the gym.

Those dreaded tasks hang over my head, though; they make me feel drained and uneasy. I’ve learned that I’m much happier, in the long run, if I try to tackle them as soon as possible, rather than allowing myself to push them off.

The Sad Truth about Your Smile

Sunday, September 7th, 2014

The Sad Truth about Your SmileIf you’re subscribing to the old adage of “grin and bear it” “keeping smiling” or “chin up” to mask unwanted negative emotions, you’re not doing yourself any favors, or fooling anyone else for that matter — science shows us homo sapiens are not that easily fooled.

Researchers say that over time, putting on a fake smile can actually cause people to associate smiling with feeling unhappy, an internal cognitive dissonance, causing not only temporary confusion, but a sense of  uneasiness. The better option that is recommended is that people should instead forgo a smile until whatever negative emotion they’re feeling is resolved or subsided.

A New Experience: I Was in the Napa Valley Earthquake

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

napaearthquakeI had a profound experience Sunday. My husband and I, and much of my family, were in Napa Valley for my cousin’s wedding. At 3:20 a.m., I was lying in bed awake, because the time change meant that my body considered it past my usual wake-up time of 6:00.

As I was lying there, I felt the earthquake hit. My husband woke up right away, and we lay there clutching each other. Neither one of us said a word.

Recent Comments
  • April: I found this article refreshing. It not only addressed some of the issues of having ADHD as a woman, but also...
  • John M. Grohol, Psy.D.: I’m no lawyer, but this seems that, at least for those who paid for their memberships,...
  • mel young: How are u going?i have been investigating odd for the last 6 years! My daughter is very difficult to deal...
  • One more: The legacy of suicide is much more than this. Ernest Hemmingway’s suicide involved 6 or 7 other...
  • One more: Nice sentiment, but unfortunately for some of us, the thoughts do not pass even after years and we spend...
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