Posted by: Suzan | September 1, 2010

Simply Be Happy

Abraham Lincoln once said, “We’re as happy as we make up our minds to be.” Can it really be this simple?

I believe happiness is a reflection of our attitude towards life. It is connected to the thoughts we’re having on a moment-to-moment basis. If we aren’t satisfied with who we are and what we have, it is difficult to know joy. We must first accept where we’re at and who we are, ‘warts and all’, in order to ‘be happy.’

When we pack our calendars like overstuffed suitcases, there isn’t any space to even know how we feel. We numb ourselves out, drag ourselves around, and wonder why we can’t possibly be enjoying our non-stop activities.

Slowing down to notice what lights us up and then taking the time to let go of what clearly does not are necessary if we want to experience joy. We must pay close attention to our thoughts which often line up in our minds like the recent traffic jam in China (60 miles long). What are we reinforcing? Do we allow our minds to nag, scold, or even belittle us? If so, happiness doesn’t have a chance in this ‘land mind.’

Take the time to breathe, be present, mindful, and most of all, to appreciate who you are and what you have – right here and right now. There is always more ahead, and planning is important. Yet when you plan, plan and when you are living your life, LIVE. Be in it, don’t question yourself like a slow torture for what you did yesterday or worry about what ‘might’ occur tomorrow. The future isn’t here yet. All we have is NOW.

Happiness resides in the present. When you can embrace each moment ‘as it is,’ be grateful for it, and assure your mind that ‘this is SO’ – you can simply ‘be happy.’

***I highly recommend a visit to Dr. Martin Seligman’s site entitled: Authentic Happiness to learn about his work in positive psychology and to take one of his many free happiness quizzes:


  1. Good advice to live in the present moment. Sometimes it’s hard to learn how to do that without meditation training. Love the authentic happiness site.
    You can go back each year and retest yourself to improve your optimism.


    • Thanks Gina. You are right. Meditation training is so helpful for anyone who wants to become mindful – on a deeper level. I still think anyone with a strong desire can practice the art of ‘noticing’ their thoughts. Merely observing them like as if one is watching a movie (not judging them). It isn’t easy to do yet is transformative if done consistently over time. Some people carry a notebook around to jot them down. Others just notice them. Making sure we are deeply breathing at all times is critical too. We need enough oxygen to make clear decisions! I know you know all of this — just sharing in case it will help any of the readers. I’m so grateful for your support, Gina!


  2. Very nice post and I totally agree with everything you’ve said. I have to be very mindful of taking a hold of my pessimistic thoughts and turn them around into more positive ones. They can just feed off of themselves.


    • I’m glad you enjoyed the post and found it helpful Ellen. Congratulations on the effort you are making in your life to remain positive – it takes a lot of discipline. It is so worth it as I’m sure you well know (for our own peace of mind and for the role models we become for others)!



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