I know last month I mentioned how much I love April because of all the flowers in my garden, well this year has been no exception.  I have been taking my little parrot, Molly, out in the garden every day to enjoy the flowers, sunshine, and fresh air.  Every time we walk outside, she makes a special sound that lets me know how happy she is, it's heartwarming.  This next 2 months we will be looking at happiness and how to create it in your life.  Well, I have to tell you that one thing I am abundantly happy about is getting to hug again.  I am a Hugger and COVID was tough for me.  Elbow bumps are not as satisfying as a good hug, and I am thankful for those of you I get to hug on a regular basis.  What are you happy about today, right at this moment? 



How to Have More Happiness-Part 1 of 2

People say Shirley was born happy. Nothing seems to get her down. Even though she’s had a tough life with difficult relationships, thankless jobs, and a recent health scare, she’s always quick to offer a genuine smile and find the best in every person and situation.

Then there’s George. George seems to have it all: good health, a loving family, a nice home, fun friends, and a good job. But George complains all the time. He always seems to be looking for the cloud beneath the silver lining.

We all know people like Shirley who, despite their circumstances, exude happiness. Most of us also know people like George who, despite having every reason to be happy, never seem to be.

It turns out, there are more ‘Georges’ out there than ‘Shirleys’. A recent Harris Poll indicated that only 1 in 3 Americans are happy, with the rest wishing they could find that missing ingredient to their happiness.  That’s a lot of unhappy people.

The ‘new’ happiness

Many of us, including George, grew up being bombarded with messages from society, culture, and popular media convincing us we’ll only be happy if and when we:

  • have more money
  • find the perfect job
  • lose weight
  • meet Mr. or Ms. Right
  • buy this brand of car (shoes, clothes, etc.).

The trouble with these messages is that once we achieve the external stuff, our expectations expand to fit our new reality, and we’re back to being as unhappy as we were before we got that new smart phone, car, or raise.

Luckily, like Shirley, more and more of us are turning away from money and possessions as our source of happiness and discovering other ways to find our bliss. According to The Life Twist Study commissioned by American Express, the authors found the top 5 indicators of a happy and successful life are:

  1. Being open-minded and flexible.
  2. Finding time for the "important things in life".
  3. Having healthy relationships.
  4. Managing personal finances-Covered next month in Part 2
  5. Good work-life balance-Covered next month

So how do you focus on experiencing more happiness and live more like Shirley and less like George?  By looking for the best within yourself, in others, and in all of life’s situations.

Here are a few practical tips to help you find your own personal bliss in your pursuit of the truly "important things in life":

Choosing open-mindedness and flexibility by:

Deciding to be happy. Happiness is a personal choice. Realizing that you are both the source, and the cause of your well-being (and your suffering) is the first step to achieving happiness.

Not judging. No one likes the feeling of not measuring up. Judging yourself and others turns life into a competition and that causes stress and drains the joy from life.

Not complaining. We often complain in an effort to influence others to abandon their own viewpoints in favor of our own. It’s a form of manipulation that fosters a negative attitude. Being more tolerant of others’ thoughts and toning down our own opinions makes us more open-minded. If something must be said, try focusing on constructive criticism vs. complaint. 

Finding time for "the important things in life" by:

Practicing daily gratitude. Appreciating what you have – loved ones, a home, clothing, and your health can be a source of happiness. The simple act of saying ‘thank you’ to a loved one or the clerk who packed your grocery bags can lift their spirits as well as yours.

Laughing more. Laughter is therapeutic. Your body releases endorphins that contribute to your sense of well-being. Tell a joke, watch a sitcom, or spend some time with the office comedian.

Developing healthy relationships through:

Self-acceptance. It’s hard to be happy if you don’t like yourself. Accepting yourself is an act of love. And feeling love can make you feel happy.  List 10 qualities you love most about yourself. (If you find it hard to list 10 things list at least 2 or 3 to start with). Learning to laugh at yourself, accept constructive feedback, and forgive your misdeeds and shortcomings also helps create space in your heart for happiness.  Remember you are a work in progress.

Forgiveness. Holding a grudge keeps you isolated from others. Practicing forgiveness releases you (and the other person) to move forward. You can practice forgiveness by accepting and offering apologies graciously and by understanding others by putting yourself in their shoes.

I'll cover managing personal finances and work/life balance next month.  


I am launching a new service for my clients called 911 COACHING. These are single sessions usually conducted within 48 hours of receiving the request.  This is for those times when you need some quick reassurance, support, and strategies for a challenge you are facing.  These can be for work confrontations, wedding or family drama, and much more. To learn more about this exciting new service please click this link. 


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Stay safe, healthy, and happy!

Coach Jan  

Jan Cerasaro
Jan Cerasaro Coaching