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A recipe for a happier life

Updated on August 23, 2017
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Jan T Urquhart Baillie has many sides to her personality, born out of a difficult life, and success due to her optimism and practical skills

Happiness doesn't always come easy, but...

... you can make the best of what life deals you and be happier. Have a positive attitude is so easy for someone to say, but how do you do that when everything around you is so negative?

What follows is a recipe for making the most of your life as it is now to gain a happier life for yourself.

Image: iStockphoto[dot]com

What is happiness?

From Dictionary[dot]com:


1. the quality or state of being happy.

2. good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy

Happiness comes from within

Discover what make happiness

Pride in yourself and your achievements, satisfaction with your 'lot', contentment in all that you do, and serenity are all the psychological traits of a happy you.

Acquiring friends and wealth are two of the earthly ways of gaining happiness.

Religious beliefs attribute happiness to love of God or a Higher Being.

Biological problems can influence our feeling unhappy.

Each individual has his/her own reasons for happiness, but always it comes from inside the person — whether physiological or psychological.

Are you addicted to unhappiness? - Buy this inspiring book on Amazon

Addicted to Unhappiness: Free Yourself from Moods and Behaviors That Undermine Relationships, Work, and the Life You Want
Addicted to Unhappiness: Free Yourself from Moods and Behaviors That Undermine Relationships, Work, and the Life You Want
From the back cover: "Everyone is born with the potential to live fulfilled lives, but many of us find it difficult to realize that potential. Now the best-selling author team of Drs. Martha and William Pieper help you understand how you may have unknowingly become an addict to unhappiness."

Happy or sad?

What do you think makes one happy?

Recipe 1: How to stay unhappy - and have a miserable life


Ingredients list for an Unhappy life - not in any special order

  • Tell yourself you are a bad person
  • Look at all your lumpy bumpy bits in the mirror
  • Constantly criticise your life partner
  • Harp at your kids, don't give them any praise at all
  • Say: "I can't"
  • Sit around doing little
  • Be positive you can't do this, or that
  • Don't smile
  • Stay indoors
  • Don't look around you to see good stuff
  • Berate yourself for all the bad things you think you've done.
  • Nurture your guilt
  • Be angrrrry!


for an unhappy life

Add in all of the ingredients or as many as you want.

Stir and stir and stir around in your head.

Simmer for years and years until you don't feel anything but miserable.

Serve up your misery to all who are around you.

Watch out for these:

  1. Guilt
  2. Greed
  3. Destructive self talk
  4. No pleasure in simple pleasures
  5. Anger

Seeking happiness?

Are you looking in the wrong places?

In our materialistic society, we are conditioned by advertisers to buy this, we must have that, get a bigger house, have two or three cars per household, have/get/buy more, more, more...

In TV ads we are encouraged to think that we will be ostracised if we don't have a certain product, or live in a so-called bad neighbourhood.

What if our circumstances prohibit us from moving to a 'better' area? Does that make us bad? Of course not! So we only have one car in our family, does that make us unworthy of friends or love? Of course not!

Don't allow these influences to change how you perceive what is good for your well-being. Always let your inner spirit be your guide.

Look inside yourself for the key to happiness.

Anger Management for Everyone shows you how to cope with life's adversity, unfairness, and disappointment, so you can successfully “put anger in its proper place and live a vital, happy, and upbeat life

— The book authors

Hear Tony Robbins speak on letting go of anger

Angry? Read how to manage it - on Amazon

The Anger Trap: Free Yourself from the Frustrations that Sabotage Your Life
The Anger Trap: Free Yourself from the Frustrations that Sabotage Your Life
The Anger Trap is a landmark book that strips away the myths and misconceptions about anger and reveals how you can learn to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy anger so that you may choose—or help someone else to choose—a better, more spiritually enlightened path.

Recipe 2: How to get happy - and enjoy a much happier life

Ingredients list for a Happy life - in no particular order

  • Smile a lot
  • Think about what IS good in your life
  • Give thanks for what you DO have
  • Give of yourself to others, whatever you can
  • Say nice things to you about you
  • Be glad about being alive
  • Keep a notebook or journal about the good stuff
  • Don't sweat the small stuff!
  • List all the good things in your life today
  • Tell yourself you ARE happy
  • Go outside into the sunshine
  • Take a (short) walk
  • Laugh


for a happy life

Take all the ingredients, or as many as you like.

Use large quantities, not small.

Mix them together until of a happy consistency.

Bake them in a moderate 'oven' until well done when poked in the centre. The poking implement should come out free of unhappy ingredients.

Serve daily for a happy existence!

Hints for best results - for cooking up your happy life

Image: iStockphoto[dot]com

It's all small stuff - on Amazon

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff and It's All Small Stuff: Simple Ways To Keep The Little Things From Taking Over Your Life
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff and It's All Small Stuff: Simple Ways To Keep The Little Things From Taking Over Your Life
Reading this little book can help you change your thought patterns. It can give you insight into your unhappy habits.

Hint 2. Change your self talk

Encourage yourself

Instead of saying:

  • "I can't do this!"

Try saying:

  • "How can I do this?

What do I need to do to make this work?"

I grew up with hearing what a bad person I was. Constantly criticised about every little thing I did. Nothing was right for my mother. I had to sweep the floor again, no matter how good a job I thought I had done.

If I came second in class, it wasn't first.

This developed a habit in me of 'knocking' as we call it in Australia. I would run movies in my head about things that I had done and ask myself over and over why I did it in this or that way.

As I grew in my own self worth, I stopped this bad habit.

Self talk can be very negative, or it can be very positive.

Learn to tell yourself good things about what you are experiencing.

You'll discover how powerful that habit can be.

Hint 3. Rid yourself of guilt

earned and unearned

Guilt is a burden that you don't need to carry.

If only, ...

...won't change what has happened.

If you did something to someone that has earned you guilt, then forgive yourself, and ask the other person for forgiveness.

If you are carrying around guilt that has come from something you think you should have done, let it go. You can't change the past. You can only affect the future.

Sometimes we feel guilty about something that was not our fault. This is known as unearned guilt. Perhaps you survived when someone else didn't, from the same accident. This is a very common form of unearned guilt.

(I first learned about this notion from Dr Nathaniel Branden's book: "Honouring the Self")

Maybe you feel guilty because you were given more skills and talents than your siblings. That is not something you have done, so how can you have guilt about it?

Letting go of the guilt can be freedom in itself.

Read this - my copy has highlighter all through it!

Honoring the Self: Self-Esteem and Personal Tranformation
Honoring the Self: Self-Esteem and Personal Tranformation
"Tell me how a person judges his or her self-esteem," says pioneering psychologist Nathaniel Branden, "and I will tell you how that person operates at work, in love, in sex, in parenting, in every important aspect of existence--and how high he or she is likely to rise. The reputation you have with yourself—your self-esteem—is the single most important factor for a fulfilling life."

Hint 4. Learn to like yourself

You are so very nice

We have been conditioned to not like what we see in the mirror by sales pitches aimed at selling us the fountain of youth.

One of my favourite TV shows is how to look good naked. It's not about being brazen and immoral, it's about being comfortable in your own skin.

Many years ago a popular psychologist, Dr Irene Kasorla, appeared on a daytime variety show in Sydney television, and her catchcry was: give yourself a kiss.

Here's a good recipe

Be Happy Without Being Perfect: How to Worry Less and Enjoy Life More
Be Happy Without Being Perfect: How to Worry Less and Enjoy Life More
Do you have trouble going to bed at night when there’s a mess in the kitchen? Do you think you would be happier if only you could lose weight, be a better parent, work smarter, reduce stress, exercise more, and make better decisions?

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