Are you happy?

Here’s popular author James Patterson’s story about what inspires and motivates him to write. I think it’s a story capturing happiness magnificently.

I truly love writing. I sometimes think about my grandfather when I reflect on this. When I was a boy, I lived in a town on the Hudson River. During the summers, my grandfather would take me once a week on his frozen food and ice cream delivery route. We’d be up at four in the morning packing up the truck, and by five we’d be on our way. Driving a delivery truck isn’t the most glamorous job in the world, but every morning, my grandfather would drive over the Storm King Mountain toward West Point, and he’d be singing at the top of his voice. And he told me this: “Jim,” he said, “when you grow up, I don’t care if you’re a truck driver or a famous surgeon—just remember that when you go over the mountain to work in the morning, you’ve got to be singing.” Writing stories keeps me singing. Writing to me isn’t work, and I like that a ton.”

I just love James Patterson’s grandfather! Don’t you?

And to his message, are you singing?

According to the 2017 Harris Poll, only 33% of Americans surveyed said they were happy overall.

Happiness — a state of being worth cultivating James Patterson’s grandfather encourages and well-being gurus all over the world teach.

In this article, you’ll get how to say “NO” to living without happiness once and for all by discussing FIVE actions you can start today. I wonder which song you’ll be singing!


#1 — Choose to feel happy while listening to music.

Research reveals that people who are intentional about feeling happy while doing an activity like listening to happy music are actually happier than people who just listen to music.

So tune in (pun intended) to being happy and enjoy music.

Need a happy song?  Listen to favorites, Put the Lime in the Coconut or Oh What A Beautiful Morning. And of course, the ever so popular, Happy.

Quadruple your happiness and add some movement (try NOT to move) with this production: 100 Movies Dance Scenes Mashup.

Be happy on purpose. Nice.

#2 — Make happiness your identity.

Recently I worked with an accountability partner to make some headway on being a better writer. A fabulous jump-start. Over twelve weeks, I’ve practiced better time-management, achieved daily writing tasks and enjoyed a reward of walking in the park. Let the good times walk and roll!

But here’s what I want you to get that was key to success — I created an identity sentence which I read and wrote daily.

The formula goes like this:

I’m someone who (your identity phrase).

=> I’m someone who keeps her commitments.

=> I’m someone who gets important things done.

How about creating an identity statement around being happy?

=> I’m someone who embraces happiness even when times are tough.

=> I’m someone who realizes that happiness is about taking on new challenges.

=> I’m someone who takes responsibility for her own happiness.

=> I’m someone who takes time to enjoy the small things that make me feel happy.

What would your happiness identity statement be?

For more ideas, read: 3 Signs You’re A Truly Happy Person (& Not Just Faking It With Optimism).

#3 — Approach change with possibility thinking sooner.

My friend and colleague, Lizet Pollen wrote a wonderful article about two ways to approach change: through the lens of deficit or the lens of possibility.

For me it is clearly more uplifting (and therefore happier) to go with the possibility approach, asking the question: What would you like instead?

Here’s some of her examples. Does statement B feel uplifting to you too?

A – I don’t want others to keep walking all over me and disrespect me.

B – I want to be more confident and assertive.

A – I don’t want be stuck in this job position forever.

B – I want to grow and develop in this job position.

Read Lizet’s entire article by clicking here.

Make it a habit to add the question, what’s possible and/or what would I like instead when feeling challenged.

#4 — Challenge assumptions and beliefs which say you are undeserving.

I know intelligent, successful adults who struggle with childhood memories of being told they are unworthy and undeserving by authority figures including parents, caretakers, teachers, and ministers. During stressful times, it’s hard to disengage from the powerful grip these messages hold.

And what makes these messages so hard to shake is the common psychological dynamic called introjection, that is, the unconscious adoption of the ideas or attitudes of others. So, these adult children continue to struggle with unworthy, undeserving, introjected messages delivered in the past. Indeed, a significant part of them believes they are undeserving and unworthy in the present.

Monitor what you’re saying to yourself — that self-talk we all do. Keep a log for a week and STOP the self-flagellation. If you like, you can replace it with an encouraging message like, I’m okay, I’m learning or Yes, I messed up and I’m taking appropriate responsibility. Use the possibility approach mentioned above.

If you’re still struggling, be courageous and talk with a professional who can help you process those memories, so you can feel empowered to let them go and choose possibilities for growth.
Know this: you were worthy and deserving then and worthy and deserving now. Challenge any belief to the contrary.

 #5 — Have meaningful conversation.

Research has shown that people who spend time with others tend to be happier and something else:

Findings demonstrate that the happy life is social rather than solitary and conversationally deep rather than superficial.

So, increase the quality of your time with others.

Committing to a long-term relationship so you can share deeply isn’t always easy, but well-worth the well-being, meaningfulness and happiness possible.

Say “NO” to living a life without happiness once and for all.

Take control and choose to feel happy listening to music, make happiness your identity, shift into possibility thinking, focus on your worth and have deep, meaningful conversations with others.

Ready? Let’s sing!

I’d love to know — What happy song are you singing?

If you’re ready to be happier, I’m your accountability partner for the asking. Meaningful conversations are my specialty. Contact me today so we can talk.

Want help with Saying NO to loved ones? Get your free copy of the Say NO Checklist.

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