Do you know the secret to happiness?


I confess: there isn’t just one secret to happiness. I can guarantee that you’ll be a whole lot happier if you live in the now, not mulling over the past or dreaming about the future.

Fairytales and Fitness

You can’t change the past
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, right? We go through hard times so that we can grow and appreciate the better times. It’s pretty rare to say oh goody, bring on some more hard times!

Those hard times test us, challenge us, and do actually help us change, hopefully for the better. The hard times are our teachers.

Our unhappiness when we think about the past comes from thinking about the things we would change, if only we’d known better. Guess what? You can’t change a thing. Accept that it happened, learn from it, and let it go.

I’ll be happy when . . . 
What’s wrong with being happy right now? Why wait for a future that isn’t guaranteed?  Or a future that doesn’t make you feel as happy as you thought it would? What can you find to make yourself happy right now? It’s not always easy, believe me, I know that! Often it’s the little things; they’re always there, if you look hard enough.

  • The sun shining on your face
  • A beautiful sunrise/set
  • A warm home to hole up in or come home to
  • Friends & family
  • A piece of chocolate melting on your tongue
  • The soft fur of a cat
  • The gentle rumble of a cat’s purr
  • Your dog’s happiness when you come home — whether you were gone 1 minute or 10 days
  • The smile on a loved one’s face
  • A hug
  • The color and beauty of flowers

I could go on and on. So many things on the list above don’t even cost a dime. When you’re really present, when you’re here in this moment, right here, right now, you are much more likely to notice all these small blessings in your life.

Why can’t I dream about the future?
You absolutely can! Dreams can also help us grow. Dreams can take caterpillars who work so hard to break out of their cocoons and turn them into beautiful butterflies who float on the wind.

The problem comes from being overly attached to the outcomes of your plans and your dreams. Falling back into that I’ll be happy when ______ mindset. Sometimes we achieve our dreams and realize that they don’t make us happier after all.

Pushing off the happiness that is always available to you right here and now for a happiness that might never come slowly causes us to believe that good things aren’t meant for us, and we shut down and harden our hearts.

Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay.
— Simon De Beauvoir

Find something to be happy about today
Even if you’re having a really cruddy day, pick something on my list that makes you smile, or come up with your own list. If you run today and it doesn’t go well, smile — just a simple smile on the run can change that run. Look around you. Take in the beauty of nature.

Find happiness now

What’s your secret to happiness?

What simple pleasures would you add to my list?

Do you consider yourself a happy person?

24 thoughts on “Do you know the secret to happiness?

  1. Surround yourself with positive people is important too.

    I’m happy when I am healthy enough to run, have a good book to read, the sun is shining or I have the company of a friend to share some time among some other things.

    If I’m lucky I can find some happiness in every day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent points, Judy, thanks for the reminder to treasure the moment.
    I am reading a book on Stoicism right now. The author advised to practice “negative visualization”, meaning to think how the the situation could be much worse. It makes you appreciate the present more. It’s counter-intuitive – but it works for me.
    Have a great day!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this, Judy. I’ve been trying to “find the good” in every day (one of my goals for November) because it was getting to the point where I could only focus on all the crap that’s happened. I’m not perfect but I do now catch myself falling into a spiral where I then stop myself and try to find something at that moment that’s good to think about. It helps.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a great post, and quite timely with Thanksgiving right around the corner. I believe there’s always something to smile about, even when one is at their lowest. I write down something I’m grateful for each night…it really helps me end each day on a happy note.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s funny, I really wasn’t even thinking about Thanksgiving. I was actually thinking about my parents. My mom hangs onto the past so hard, and it definitely doesn’t make her happier — not that what she’s going through isn’t hard, it totally is.

      I write down three things I’m grateful for at night — when I journal. Which is on and off again, but mostly on.


  5. I do often find myself thinking if I can just do xyz, then it will great. It’s easy to attach happiness or a feeling of success to some arbitrary thing or accomplishment instead of focusing on all that is making you happy at the present. Great reminder 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am generally a happy person because I choose to be. Things that can tend to make me less happy is thinking about loss ( which is part of life I suppose). Also, dealing with other people’s “stuff”. I know I can only control my own “stuff” so I just try to concentrate on that. Does that make sense?
    Thanks for linking up with us!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Loss is indeed a part of life, and it’s hard, but the loss also means that you opened your heart, and that’s ultimately a good thing.

      It’s hard not to react to other people’s stuff sometimes. Really, really hard!


  7. I consider myself to be happy but I have struggled with depression throughout my life. It has become worse over the past couple of years. While I don’t dwell on the past, the passing of time has been really hard for me. When people say that time flies when you have kids, they aren’t joking. Now it’s just Mike and I and we have to get back to being a couple again. I’m so glad that I’m able to run well again. Running is so much more than exercise for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’ve gone through a lot the last couple of years, Wendy. And it can definitely be hard to get back into a new routine when the kids have flown the coop. You’ll get there, it just takes time.

      Running is somewhat on the back burner for me right now. A little frustrating because that’s not really want I want, but OTOH, in some ways maybe it’s a good thing. Maybe it saved me from burning out on it, too!


  8. “You’ll be a whole lot happier if you live in the now, not mulling over the past or dreaming about the future.” This is so true, Judy! I used to spend a lot of time dreaming about the future, wishful thinking, whatever you want to call it and once I moved past that and learned to live in the moment I became so much happier. I consider myself quite happy now and I should because I’m blessed with a very good life. Just wish my mom didn’t live six hours away…

    Liked by 1 person

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