Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Don't Worry, Be Happy

If ____ I will be happy. Go ahead, take a minute and fill in the blank. Typical responses are: If I fall in love, If I have a different job, If I have a different house, If I have more money, If I have better health, and the list goes on and on.

What do YOU have to get in order to be happy? Unfortunately, anything you can get to make you happy, you can un-get. There is nothing you have to do, be, or get in order to be happy. Think of what you wanted 10 years ago. Chances are, you’ve done it, been there, or now have it, and you may still be unhappy.

Choosing to be happy is a habit. It is as simple as that.

There are motivational gurus who speak about it, best-selling authors who write about it, and hundreds of books that explore it, and all point in the same direction. Our thoughts are so powerful, they create our reality. Choosing to be happy may sound like a simple task, but if it is not a conscious choice, it can prove more difficult than one would think.

So where do you start? Try these 7 techniques to make happy a habit:

#1  Make a Choice

The hardest step to achieving happiness is the first one. It either sounds like it’s too common sense to have to work on it, or it feels like a waste of time, but if you make a conscious decision to work toward happiness, you’ll have a much easier time being successful.

#2 Make a Mental Picture

Because we are so visual in nature, making a mental picture is a powerful first step. When you have the feelings associated with happiness, what do you see? Now draw it and tape it to your computer, your refrigerator, and your bathroom mirror. Every time you catch yourself having an “unhappy” thought, think of your picture. Block any other thoughts out of your brain, and focus on the picture.

#3 Get a Replacement Thought

If you want to change a habit, you have to have something to replace it with. My friend has been diagnosed with three brain tumors. She is in her early forty’s, and at this point, there is no cure. When I start going down the “unhappy path”, I think of her tremendous strength and remind myself how precious our time here really is.

#4 Change Your Expectations

If your expectation is that you will be happy all of the time, you will be sorely disappointed. How do you know when you’re eating amazing food? Because you have had bad food to compare it to. In order to experience happiness, it’s necessary to have some not so happy times. Our life is kind of like autopilot. We know our destination, but we rarely fly in a straight line to get there.

#5 A Little Goes a Long Way

Every single day, regardless of how crappy you might feel, find something to be happy about.  Even if you only feel happy about 1 thing each day, that’s 365 happy things a year!  It goes back to the slight edge concept.  It’s the little things done consistently that make the biggest impact.

#6 Let Go

My husband, the eternal optimist, has to continually remind me about this one. When we allow people or situations to determine our happiness, we relinquish all control and become a victim. We have expectations about how a situation should go or how someone should act, and then we end up disappointed, frustrated and unhappy when things don’t go as we had expected. Sometimes you just have to let go and know that the future will happen whether you are happy about it or not.

#7 LIVE!

I was watching a show on T.V., and the narrator said, “Everybody dies, but not everybody lives.” For such a simple statement, it sure says a lot. Feeling truly alive and experiencing happiness is just like becoming healthy. It’s tough at first, but if you stick with it, it becomes a lifestyle.  Live your life as if it were your last.

So next time you see this statement: If ________ I will be happy.

Just shorten the sentence:


Read that again. 🙌 ...

I played piano from the time I was four years old until the age of 15 and during that time, I had a lot of recitals. I remember being so nervous before each recital. What if I played the wrong note? What if I forgot the music? My dad would look at me, hold my hands, and say:

Whatever you do, DO NOT think of pink elephants!!

At the time, I had no idea why in the world he would say this. All I do know is that when I sat down to play, all I saw were pink elephants, and I was able to tackle my nerves.

Turns out my dad was helping me to practice the ironic process theory which explains that when we try to suppress our thoughts, we focus on them even more. Seventy to 80% of our thoughts are negative and repetitive. If not managed, intrusive thoughts can lead to anxiety, depression, and a whole host of mental health challenges.

If you tend to get stuck in rumination, or if your thoughts sometimes get the best of you, here are a few ways to take back control:

1️⃣ Recognize that your thoughts are not facts.
2️⃣ Use your brain. Do a math problem, practice a different language, or play a puzzle game. When you access the prefrontal cortex, the higher level thinking part of your brain, you get out of the emotional limbic system.
3️⃣ Distract yourself. Sometimes a simple distraction gives you enough distance to quiet your intrusive thoughts.
4️⃣ Practice mindfulness.
5️⃣ See a therapist. When negative, intrusive thoughts impact your ability to do your job, maintain relationships, or start clouding your judgment, it may be time to get help. As someone with plenty of intrusive thoughts, therapy has helped me tremendously.

Don’t forget, your thoughts and feelings are not facts. They are simply habits that need to be shifted. Be patient with yourself, and if all else fails, whatever you do, DO NOT THINK OF PINK ELEPHANTS!

Pets provide a deep sense connection and unconditional love. I don’t know what I’d do without without these two nut jobs! Happy National Love Your Pet Day! ❤️🐶 #mindfulmonday #mindfulness #petsnuggles #ilovemydogs #petsofinstagram #nationalloveyourpetday ...

I hope your Friday includes donuts. 🍩 ...

Midweek reminder: Reset your mindset. 🧠 ...


Anne Grady is a Speaker, Author, and #TruthBomb Dropper.

Anne shares practical strategies that can be applied both personally and professionally to improve relationships, navigate change, and triumph over adversity. And she’ll make you laugh while she does it. Anne is a two time TEDx speaker, and her work has been featured in numerous media outlets, including Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Fast Company and Inc. magazines, CNN, ESPN, and FOX Business. She is the best selling author of 52 Strategies for Life, Love & Work and Strong Enough: Choosing Courage, Resilience and Triumph.

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  1. Great piece and very true. From another aspect think of it this way – You create your tomorrow today. What I/we do today determines our tomorrow. I.e. if I tell my wife that she looks fat in that dress, chances our my tomorrow won’t be very bright. If I tell my co-worker what a great job he or she did today, chances are my tomorrow will be brighter. Our actions today determine our outcome tomorrow.

  2. Hi Christian,

    What a great way to look at it! Thanks for sharing. And you’re right…saying your wife looks fat never equals a good tomorrow 🙂

  3. the best part is “living every day” like it is your last. My wife, Nina, taught me that especially the last few years of her life. I am teaching my daughters this as we speak. Well at least trying to since they are now all grown up. You can’t buy happy, You have to “create it”.

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