Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Five Simple Steps to lead a Happier Life

By Chalene Johnson

1. BE THANKFUL. Make a list of 10 things you are most thankful for in your life today. Post this list on your bathroom mirror. Start your day by putting in focus those things that you have to be thankful for. Forget about what you don’t have, once had, or wish you had. Be thankful for the many blessings you do have. Put this list on paper. The act of handwriting this list will dramatically change your perspective.

2. PRACTICE BEING HAPPY. No one likes a grump! Becoming a happy person takes practice for some, but the rewards are endless. The single greatest choice you have is to choose to be a happier, less stressed individual.
Happy people are more likely to be bumped up to first class when they fly. They win the favor of those who “hold the power.” They are more likely to be promoted, receive kind gestures, room upgrades, free stuff, flowers from their spouse, and compliments from strangers. They laugh harder, have fewer wrinkles, and make other people smile in their presence.

3. BE KIND TO PEOPLE. It may sound strange, but I remember feeling happy just a couple of weeks after September 11, 2001. Looking back, I now realize it was because for about a month, strangers were kind to strangers. Life's pace slowed. Whiners stopped complaining. We waited patiently in lines and even offered to let others “cut” ahead of us. We held the elevator door and waited patiently for the person driving ahead of us to notice the light had turned green. We met our neighbors. We were nice to each other. Being kind when things are going your way is easy. Being kind when things aren't going your way is a true test of character.

4. GIVE COMPLIMENTS FREELY. The only thing that feels better than getting a compliment is, perhaps, giving one. A woman in her late 70s stood behind me in the grocery store. I turned and noticed how stunningly put together she looked. She wore a beautiful hat (I so love it when women wear big hats), a yellow patent leather purse, matching patent leather shoes, a strand of pearls, and perfectly styled hair. I smiled at her and said, "You look absolutely beautiful today." She grabbed my wrist tightly and with tears in her eyes replied, "My husband died a year ago today. He was the last person to say those words to me." Giving her that compliment was like giving myself a gift. I have told that story many times and each time I feel a rush of gratitude.

5. SPEND MORE TIME WITH YOUR FAMILY. Learn to say "I'm sorry, I have to decline." There's nothing more important than your close friends and family. Commit to giving up one not-so-important activity that is currently eating up your precious time and replacing it with family or friend time. You'll never regret it. People often ask me why I don't produce more workouts, do more than one Camp Turbo, or make more out-of-state appearances. The reason is I've learned to put limits on my work so I can be with my family. At the end of your life, you won't wish you had volunteered for more “projects” or worked more hours, you'll wish you had more time to spend with the people who matter.

Thanks for reading!
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Amy J and Scotty said...

That was so wonderful!
I really loved the compliments entry! How you told that woman how beautiful she was, and how deeply and beautifully it affected her.
I love doing things like that.
There is nothing more rewarding than bringing light into someone else's life. You never know when someone needs a lift in their hearts.

My self help books have been teaching me to be grateful and thankful. So that's what I do. Every night before bed, I pray, I go through each and every thing I can think of that I am thankful for each day, and thank God for everything. Even when my husband and I are struggling. I am still thankful.

Happiness is awesome :D

Anonymous said...

excellent advice! thanks :)

carmen said...


Epic Fitness said...

As always great post Chalene. It's really great to be reminded from time to time that we make our own happiness and our experiances in the world are subjective. So let's start turning lemons into Lemon-aid!

Ricky's Common Sense said...

I used to be angry all the time and being happier is just so much easier. I'm going to try and incorporate these steps more into my daily life. Thank you!

Trainer T.s Fitness said...

Thanks I needed this today :-)

TheFitnessFreak said...

Great advice! Thanks Chalene:)

lindab said...

Just love you!
I needed this :)

SusanPainter said...

That was awesome! Thanks Chalene.