8 Ways to Happiness

Blog Post #326

We are all looking for ways to improve ourselves. Here are a few steps to be happy and content that I have found useful. I believe the fifth one is the most important step to take and it is easier than you think! The sixth one is the most fun!!


10 Steps to Happiness

  • Be humble
  • Laugh at yourself more often
  • Listen more, talk less
  • Smile, it’s contagious
  • Be grateful
  • Dance with abandon
  • Inspire others
  • Teach others
  • Give generously
  • Love unconditionally

How do you get happy?


Smile Yourself Happy!

Blog Post #271

Have you noticed how smiling can instantly improve your mood? It seems that the simple act of putting on a smile can make you feel happier and even lessen anxiety and lower blood pressure.

Smiling stimulates the pleasure and reward area of your brain which releases dopamine. Dopamine makes you feel good. Also, studies have shown that smiling has a positive effect on your heat rate, blood pressure and other stressors.

I’ve tried this myself, at times when I felt a little sad or out of sorts. I smile in spite of how I feel — and it works! Wearing a smile does make me feel better. It’s like that old saying: “fake it until you make it.”

Try it the next time you are feeling stressed or frustrated — put a smile on your face and feel the magic.

Smiling Guy photo


I Feel Good! 10 Little Things That Make Me Happy

Blog Post #266

Here I am, thinking of happiness again. I guess today I am feeling a little down-in-the-dumps, as my mother would say. As I was slumping on the sofa in a little bit of a blue funk, my brain began to remind me of some of the things, events and people that are important to me and I started to cheer up.


I decided to make a short list — just ten things — that make me happy and see what would happen to my bad mood.

After a few minutes of scribbling down some of those ideas, thoughts and memories, I actually began to smile and the black cloud began to drift away.

Notebook photo

This is my list (in no particular order) of ten small things that make me happy.

A toasted peanut butter and banana sandwich

My cat sitting on my lap

Finishing a good book and starting another

The many YouTube dance videos of Bruno Mars song “Uptown Funk”

The way lime green looks with hot pink

Tea with my girls

The sound of my husband’s laugh

An unexpected compliment

A chat with a friend

A long, deep hug from someone I love

Tell me, what makes you happy? Share your list in the comments.


A Daily List For Gratitude

Blog Post #249

Tonight, we are celebrating my eldest daughter’s 28th birthday.

When I look at her, l can still see the sweet little girl who brought so much joy to our lives. She has grown into a wonderful, kind and loving young woman — everything a parent could want in their child. I am grateful to have her in my life.

morning scene image

Thinking about feeling thankful, I was reminded of an inspiring quote that expresses a compelling list of daily gratitudes — which I feel, are key reasons to be happy in life. What makes you feel grateful?

“Each day I am thankful for
Nights that turned into mornings,
Friends that turned into family,
Dreams that turned into reality, and
Likes that turned into love.”
~ unknown


How To Be Happy — A List

Blog Post #232

If you’re feeling a little blue right now, don’t despair — everyone experiences times when they feel less than happy.  It’s okay — life can be hard and it isn’t unusual to struggle with your emotions from time to time, especially around the holidays.

moon image

Luckily, unless you are dealing with chronic or serious depression, there are easy actions you can take to help lift your spirits.

I have five go-to steps that always help me feel my best. Maybe they will work for you!

Start with the basics. I aim for 6-7 hours of sleep every night and I make sure that I eat regular, healthy meals. I always feel better emotionally and physically when I am well rested and well fed!

“Sleep is the best meditation.” — Dalai Lama

Live in the moment. Dwelling on the past or worrying about the future are definite hindrances to happiness and peace of mind. When I find myself obsessing about that thoughtless remark I made yesterday or when I agonize about an upcoming project, I take a few deep breaths and refocus my mind on the present.

“Your true home is in the here and the now.” – Thích Nhất Hạnh

Smile. I’m serious! When I’m feeling blue — I put a smile on my face. The simple act of smiling lifts my spirits instantly and helps me change my state of mind into one of positivity. Try it — you might be surprised!

“You’ll find that life is still worthwhile, if you just smile.” — Charlie Chaplin

Cultivate gratitude. Every day I list all the things that make me grateful. In this way, I focus on what I have instead of what I lack. It is easy to feel happy when you realize how much good is in your life.

“It is not joy that makes us grateful. It is gratitude that makes us joyful.” — David Rast

Be Positive. We all suffer from negative thinking at times — thoughts of inadequacy and helplessness make it impossible to feel joyous. I find that a bit of yoga or a walk outside usually helps me to find courage, confidence and optimism — all elements that promote serenity and happiness.

“You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind.” — Joyce Meyer


Happiness in 8 Photos

Blog Post #229

I am trying to keep up with my 101 Days of Happiness project — but I find that I sometimes miss a day (or three, or…)! But, I figure that there really aren’t any hard and fast rules governing this venture so I’m going to do it my way and not worry too much about posting photos to Instagram on a daily basis! (I know — I’m quite the rebel!!)

This collage of my latest pics has a winter, Christmas-sy theme going on. I anticipate that this will continue until the New Year, because, well —  ’tis the season!!

101 Days of Christmas collage

This collection represents Day 41 through to Day 48 of my 101 Days of Happiness! Follow me on Instagram —@catewjo!


These Days of Happiness – 8 More Reasons to Smile

Blog Post 210

I’m still taking photos for the #101daysofhappiness — but I have to admit that I haven’t been taking them/posting them every single day. It’s not that I don’t find something to be happy about every day, it’s that sometimes I can’t take a photo at that moment.

For example, last Wednesday as I was hurrying to catch my bus home, a gorgeous bald eagle flew over my head. I was awed by the sight (I am always awed when I see an eagle — who wouldn’t be?)  By the time I grabbed my phone to snap a pic, he was gone — a mere speck in the sky. So, no photo for that flash of happiness.

There have been many such moments — but I’ll keep going. Hopefully, I’ll get better at it…

These eight photos represent some lovely illustrations of some of the happy instances in my life — the beauty of downtown Vancouver, loved ones, special gifts and special places.

This project is helping me focus more on the present, to notice and pay attention to the ordinary moments that make up every day — the big and little things that are truly important and that bring true happiness.

Life is good and that brings me happiness!

More days of happiness photos



10 Ways to Help You Feel Happier

Blog Post #164

Everyone wants to be happy — we’re all searching for that elusive emotion. Just look at the self-help section of your favourite bookstore — there are any number of “manuals” on happiness and how to attain it. Try a google search using the phrase “how to be happy” and you will come up with around 319,000,000 hits!

After reading various lists and articles, I found some common ideas, thoughts, and principles on achieving happiness. I must confess that I did not look at all 319,000 them — but I’ve listed ten of those concepts that resonated most strongly with me.

What are some of the ways that help you feel happiness?

Live in the Moment image

Practice humility

Smile genuinely

Listen intently

Express gratitude

Forgive wholeheartedly

Foster acceptance

Give generously

Live in the moment

Spread kindness everywhere

Love unconditionally







Tomorrow is Monday — Remember to Be Awesome!

Blog Post #157

It’s Sunday night and the prospect of Monday morning looms ominously in our minds. Why is it that weekends seem so short? Doesn’t it feel as if we need another day between Sunday and Monday?

monday morning blues

We’ve all felt the Monday blues at one time or another — and the make us feel wretched and grumpy. But don’t fear, try these 10 ways to help banish those blahs and brighten up your day!

Do a little planning on Sunday night. Make your lunch before you go to bed, decide on what you will have for breakfast and pick out your clothes for the day. Being prepared for Monday morning eliminates the panicky feeling of trying to figure it all out before you’ve even had your first sip of coffee! Plus, this will give you a little more time in the morning for a leisurely start to your day.

Take 10 minutes to make a Monday “To Do List”. Before you go to bed, write out a list of tasks you need to tackle on the first day your work week. This will help you to feel organized and capable of handling whatever projects you have on your plate.

Make time to relax on Sunday night. Read a book, watch your favourite TV show, spend some time with your friends or family — do something that makes you feel happy and content. Putting your mind at ease before you go to bed will help you sleep better and you will wake up feeling refreshed in the morning.

Get a good night’s sleep! It is difficult to feel joyful (especially on Monday mornings) if you haven’t had enough zzzz’s.

Give thanks. Take a moment when you first wake up to acknowledge the things you are grateful for. Studies have shown that expressing gratitude actually helps you to feel happy — and feeling happy will help beat those Monday blues.

Establish a morning mini-workout. Even 15 or 20 minutes of exercise will improve your mood and help you feel energized all day. It’s hard to feel stressed and unhappy when endorphins are coursing through your body.

Eat breakfast. It really is the most important meal of the day. Fueling up after a good night’s sleep will help you feel great and better equipped to face the morning.

Play your favourite music as you are getting ready — While you are brushing your teeth or getting dressed, listen to some happy tunes. This will help elevate your mood and put a jaunty lilt in your step.

Take short breaks throughout the day. Get up from your desk periodically, take a little walk around the office — even if you only grab a glass of water. Try to get outside for a short time during your lunch break, fresh air does wonders for your mood. While you’re at … drink that glass of water! It’s important to stay hydrated.

…and don’t forget the most important thing — Be Awesome!




Can You Make Yourself Happy — What Does Science Say?

Blog Post #145

A friend of mine shared an article on her Facebook page — New Neuroscience Reveals 4 Rituals That Will Make You Happy.


The article says, right at the beginning, there is a lot of “stuff” on the internet on happiness — countless ways to be happy, why being happy is good for you, happiness challenges (see my post on 101 days of happiness, here and here) And as it points out, a lot of it is written by people who don’t know what they are talking about.

I believe in choosing happiness, finding and expressing gratitude and spreading love through random acts of kindness. So, of course, I was curious to learn what neuroscientists had discovered about happiness and the brain.

The rituals that neuroscience has found to be instrumental in helping you to be happy are: feeling and expressing gratitude, naming your negative feelings, making a decision, and reaching out to touch someone.

I found it interesting that one of the best ways, studies have found, to combat negative feelings is to discover things that you are grateful for and to express feelings of gratitude. These efforts actually boost dopamine production in your brain, helping you to feel happier. And, even more fascinating, is that the search for gratitude is more important than actually finding something to be grateful for.

I like the advice of naming your negative feelings, as a way of acknowledging — not suppressing — those bad feelings and accepting them for what they are.  Also, I love the idea that making a “good enough” decision was more helpful than striving for the “perfect” decision.

As for human touch, well, I am a firm believer that hugs, pats on the back, and a gentle touches on the arm or shoulder, makes two people happy — the “huggee” and the “hugger.” And, as Charlotte Diamond said “four hugs a day, that’s the minimum, not the maximum”

If you’re interested, read the entire article. Tell me what you think — I’d love to know your opinion.