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The Happiness Makeover July 19, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Gratitude, Happiness, Mindfulness.

In The Happiness Makeover: How to Teach Yourself to be Happy and Enjoy Every Day, M.J. Ryan shares what she has learned about how to find and really feel the joy in life.

Ryan’s own desire to be happier motivated her to explore the wealth of knowledge available in different cultures and fields on the subject of happiness.

Ryan includes a Bibliography which identifies forty of her sources ~ a helpful addition for readers who want to research further on the subject of happiness.

At the outset, she addresses basic concepts to demonstrate that you can be happier, as long as you are willing to train your mind, the way you would train a new puppy, by using positive reinforcement until your new happiness habits become automatic.

In the next section, what’s standing in your way, she addresses potential barriers to happiness: negative self-talk; hanging on to resentment; expecting life to be fair; living in the past, or worrying  about the future; being too attached to desires; struggling against the what is; having unreasonable expectations; striving for perfection; wanting to be right, more than you want to be happy; and biochemistry.

From there, she offers numerous tips on activating daily happiness: recognize that you are only responsible for your own happiness; make a list of what you really enjoy; find your tribe; keep frustrations in perspective; practice gratefulness; explore choices; find ways to enjoy your work; revel in simple pleasures; learn to think optimistically; be happy for everyone else’s sake; focus on what is going well; live according to your true priorities; accept the things you cannot change; stretch yourself; get out of your rut; make someone else happy; be true to yourself; and stop trying to fit yourself into someone else’s mold.

When asked, What is the meaning of life?, the Dalai Lama answered, “to be happy and to make others happy.”

If you agree, you owe it to yourself to spend some time exploring as many avenues as you can to increase the happiness in your own life, and in the lives of those around you.

The Happiness Makeover: How to Teach Yourself to be Happy and Enjoy Every Day is an excellent place to start.

No rules.  Just write!

Related post:  13 Books That Changed My Life


1. Richard W Scott - July 19, 2011

It seems to me that the way to happiness is to first choose what you have, rather than what you don’t have.

nrhatch - July 19, 2011

I agree! Happiness is not always about getting MORE . . . sometimes it’s about wanting LESS. 😀

2. kateshrewsday - July 19, 2011

Sounds like an inspiring read, Nancy 🙂

nrhatch - July 19, 2011

Wonderful tips and techniques for training our minds . . . the way we would train a young puppy (or a constantly chattering monkey).

The mind is a wonderful servant . . . and a terrible master. 😉

3. misswhiplash - July 19, 2011

Happiness is being content with your life
Being happy with what you have
Not envying others their riches
And above all knowing that you are never alone
You always have a friend
And you have faith ( whatever it may be)

nrhatch - July 19, 2011

I can honestly say that I am NOT jealous or envious of anyone. I would not voluntarily step out of my life and into someone else’s . . . leaving all my experiences behind.

Here’s to peace and contentment. 😀

4. Tokeloshe - July 19, 2011

Great post, thank you.

nrhatch - July 19, 2011

Thanks, Tok. Glad you enjoyed.

5. Paula Tohline Calhoun - July 19, 2011

Sounds a great book! I’ll check that one out – perhaps as a gift for someone (or two) I know. . . 😉

We have been on the happiness train lately, haven’t we? Nice ride! Reminds me of the great scene from the movie “Parenthood.” (A terrifically cast film) Grandma does a great job in talking about life and happiness and the way life goes. . .Here’s the link:

nrhatch - July 19, 2011

Thanks for the link. I swapped it out because the audio on the longer clip was so poor.

Life is like a roller coaster . . . and that’s much more fun than being on a perpetual merry-go-round. Grandma is SMART!

Paula Tohline Calhoun - July 19, 2011

I initially picked out this shorter clip – I knew the sound was so low on the other, but I love the way Steve Martin talks about life: ” Life is messy! I hate that about life! It’s so MESSY!”

Glad you switched out – it is a lot easier to hear. . .

Not only is Grandma smart, as the scenes after this one will show, Mary Steenburgen says to Steve: “I happen to like the roller coaster! As far as I’m concerned, your grandmother is BRILLIANT!”

Of course the great reply to that from Steve is, “Oh yeah? If she’s so smart, how come she’s sitting in our neighbor’s car?”

nrhatch - July 19, 2011

Your recounting of the dialogue made me laugh all over again. Steve Martin has nothing on you. 😀

6. SuziCate - July 19, 2011

Sounds like a great book. Wonder if it’s available in kindle.

nrhatch - July 19, 2011
7. Maggie - July 19, 2011

I think I might read this. Sounds like it would be helpful.

nrhatch - July 19, 2011

It’s a wonderful reminder to remain mindful of our thoughts. Are they:

Much of what we think doesn’t need to be thunk. 😉

8. Piglet in Portugal - July 19, 2011

“make someone else happy” This is very simple but something we should do. The pleasure of giving is better than receiving!

nrhatch - July 19, 2011

I agree. The best way to cheer ourselves up is to cheer someone else up. 😀

Cindy - July 19, 2011

And create a ripple effect. I found a blog (can’t find it again) on Freshly Pressed last week, where a woman has started a project to go out every day and perform a random act of kindness.

nrhatch - July 19, 2011

It’s lovely when ripples of kindness spread around the globe. 😀

9. SidevieW - July 20, 2011

Happiness isn’t about what happens to you in life, it’s about what you make of it

nrhatch - July 20, 2011

And it’s about not sabotaging the happiness that could be ours right here, right now.

10. jannatwrites - July 20, 2011

Sounds like a good read with practical ways to focus on happiness.

nrhatch - July 20, 2011

Another method of mindfully mastering our thoughts . . . to put them to work for us (rather than allowing them to run amok).

11. eof737 - July 20, 2011

Happiness is a choice and while it doesn’t guarantee any concrete change in our condition, it brings about some sense of peace and clarity… I’m all for being happy… life is short. 🙂

nrhatch - July 20, 2011

Sometimes everything is “right” in our life, but we’re just to busy to embrace it. Clarity is key.

12. sweetdaysundertheoaks - July 20, 2011

I am going to be purchasing this book! Thanks 🙂

nrhatch - July 20, 2011

I hope that you find it helpful in maximizing happiness (by defeating any self-defeating habits). 😀

13. Vix @ LittleMissEverything - July 20, 2011

Right now I def need a happiness makeover 🙂

nrhatch - July 20, 2011

We all need attitude adjustments from time to time. Maybe we should schedule them like we do oil changes. 😉

Here . . . have a smile on me! 😀

14. Christine Grote - July 24, 2011

It sounds like a good book, Nancy. I might see if I can get it on my kindle. Thanks for the suggestion.

nrhatch - July 24, 2011

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