We can look at some of the poorest poverty-stricken families in the world, yet they seem to find joy and happiness in their daily lives. Happiness doesn't come from outside of ourselves it comes from within. It's a mindset shift. It's a decision that no matter what is going on around us, you choose to look for happiness.
And you, that guy in high school I thought was the love of my life for about a week, whose face I don't even remember now. You, that girl who handed me a handkerchief when I was crying on the bus after finding out my best friend had passed away. And you, that old lady I helped walk home and who told me her life story in the process.
How effective do you think you'll be in creating a better year for yourself if you're too focused on what's been going wrong in your life so far? Yes, you may come up with a list of New Year's resolutions because you're keen to avoid another year like the one just gone but how easy do you think it'll be to keep those resolutions?
As a parent of children who are fortunate to live in comfortable circumstances, I don't want to have to cancel Christmas or deprive them of the things they want. I don't want to make them feel guilty for having a better life than the many less fortunate children in the world. At the same time, I do want them to know that not everyone in the world enjoys the same level of comfort and security as they do.
If I wasn't this unwell, I probably wouldn't have done any of the things that I have done since I was eighteen. If I was well enough to have gone to drama school in New York when I wanted to, I would have. Instead, I have had to constantly find new paths to follow that are right for me at any given time. And they have changed so many times.
Jo is the epitome of human strength, courage and love. Her daily commitment to focusing her attention on being thankful can teach us all a thing or two about gratitude. Giving thanks is giving Jo her life back by reminding her what she still has right now. As such, gratitude is incredibly powerful and comforting.
The shortest route to you wanting to tear your hair out and scream is to tell an ungrateful child to feel grateful for something. It's counterproductive to try and force kids to feel something they're not feeling. Children need to develop a meaningful, genuine sense of gratitude over time; we can't impose it upon them.
Teachers are the unsung heroes of our society. They are often undervalued and unappreciated. They are the whipping boys, the scapegoats and the fall guys for what isn't working in our education system. Let's face it, teachers get a bad press. Almost without exception there is something negative mentioned about teachers in the media every day.
Have you ever worked in a business that looked professional and successful on the outside, but turned out to be dysfunctional on the inside? Maybe there was a destructive culture of office politics and complaining. Maybe the company simply didn't care about its people, or it was a chaotic, high-stress workplace, with low morale and high burn out.
I have been sitting in a hospital bed in an isolation room for the last five days... Being mindful allows me to notice thoughts and feelings as they arise - this is an incredible evolutionary ability of the human brain. Observing and accepting sensations and thoughts for what they are allows me the opportunity to pay attention to, and choose my responses based on, what is most important.
Wow, I thought. Life is great! GREAT! And for a moment I was flooded with happiness and joy about how well everything was going. And then, as it always does, sheer dread kicked in. This can't last, I thought. Oh my God, I'm too happy. Things are too perfect. It's just a matter of time before the other shoe drops. Horrible, awful things happen to people all the time. I should know.
When it's too hot, we complain, too wet, we complain, too cold, we complain, too windy, we complain. Complain, Complain, Complain... We complain about the weather, life, health, people... We all do it. Complaining comes quite naturally to us, doesn't it? Sometimes we don't even realise we're doing it.
My friend Ruth recently confessed to me that she just didn't know how to feel really happy. She wasn't depressed, she insisted, she just wasn't feeling really happy. What is happiness? I asked her. She immediately came back with, "It's a feeling. A good feeling". As our chat continued we realised that we can't wait to feel happy. Sometimes we have to do happy.