A Happiness Exercise to Start the Year!

2013-12-25-18.05.38Continuing with the theme of really learning to speak Happiness fluently this year, stop right now and look around your world.  Think of ten things that are making you happy in this moment.

Find the happiness even when it’s not obvious.  If you have to stretch to get to ten — good!  It’s an exercise and sometimes that requires moving beyond our pre-conceived limits.

Be very specific when making your list.  Do not write, “My kids make me happy.”

What, specifically, about your kids is making you happy right now (and if there’s nothing because they’re being little monsters, don’t include it!)  This also gives you the freedom to include — and acknowledge — everything about them that makes you happy.  It can be:
“I’m happy the boys are still asleep so I have some quiet time to myself.”
“I’m happy that Jeannie’s gymnastics class got snowed out today, so I don’t have to drive in this weather.”
“I’m happy that the kids are fine with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch.”
“I’m happy to hear the girls singing in the bathroom.  I love it when they do that!”

There are so many things in your life to be happy about right now.  Try to have at least two or three on your list that aren’t obvious, and spend a moment reflecting on them.  How often do you just forget those things and go on with your grouchy day?

Now is the time to see your life for what it is — happy!  If you spot it, you got it!

For a guidebook in achieving lasting, permanent happiness, check out “Happiness as a Second Language,” a Happiness Top Seller on Amazon, and for even more happiness, please follow Speak Happiness on Facebook and Twitter.

To read Valerie’s Huffington Post Happiness Blog, click here.

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6 thoughts on “A Happiness Exercise to Start the Year!

  • Valerie Alexander Post author

    Sometimes I write blog posts in advance and forget about them, which was the case with this one. Seeing it now, I thought I’d jump in and be the first to comply.
    1. I’m happy that being the author of this blog is making me do this. It’s been a really fun exercise and my day is starting out brighter than I thought.
    2. I’m happy that when I just get up and open the doggie door for the dog, then go to my office and start working, she comes into my office and hounds me (excuse the pun) until I go out and play with her.
    3. I’m happy that I live in a place where I can go outside in sweatpants and a hoodie at 7:30 in the morning to play with my dog (HUGE apologies to everyone who is snowed in today, but seriously, this one makes me really happy!)
    4. I’m happy that when I come back inside, the house still smells like shrimp scampi and eggplant parm from last night. (in a warm, home-cooked sort of way, not in a stale, “is that garlic I smell?” way.)
    5. I’m happy there was half an apple in the fridge this morning. It is the exact amount I wanted for my yogurt.
    6. I’m happy that I chopped the apple into small enough chunks that I found the worm that made its last supper my apple, and was able to cut him out. RIP little nematode.
    7. I’m happy that the first six entries on this list were really easy to come up with, so now I’m cheating in making the happy list by adding an entry about the happy list. So meta…
    8. I’m happy that we get our car back today, after being in a loaner since December 18th.
    9. I’m happy that I have a Scratcher that won a free ticket! Not only because it’s fun to win, but it also gives me a reason to walk to 7-11 to cash it in, which will get me away from the computer and outside for 20 minutes.
    10. I’m happy that I finally figured out (after two winters in this place — don’t judge) that if I leave the vents in my office open when I go to bed, it won’t be freezing in the morning and the bedroom won’t overheat in the middle of the night. I know it’s less efficient to heat an empty room, but oh-sweet-lord this is so much more comfortable.

    Okay — made it ten to pretty easily, actually a lot more easily than I would have thought, and I didn’t even get into the really big happy-making stuff (amazing developments on the Hollywood side of my life, all kinds of husband happiness, etc.) Wow, this feels great. And I am in such a good mood to start my day.

    Readers — please do this exercise. Seriously. It works better than I had imagined. Go for it. Be happy!

  • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt


    1. I’m happy that, although the hot water pipe in the upstairs bathroom is frozen, the cold isn’t – and we can use the toilet.
    2. I’m happy we discovered this NOT by finding broken pipes and water all over the floor, but by daughter not being able to take a shower.
    3. I’m happy we discovered this during the daytime – at the warmer part of the day (if there is such a thing today).
    4. I’m happy NJ had warm weather yesterday, and the snow fell off the solar panels, so we are contributing electricity into the grid, instead of being a drain on the grid (people in NJ have been asked to minimize use of electricity so there is enough for all of us).
    5. I’m happy I discovered daughter has a fever – because she was being very grumpy, and this explains it. And she apologized.
    6. I’m happy I managed to do some writing this morning in spite of the very large concentration of interruptions.
    7. I’m happy because DH went to lunch with a friend (his first time since retiring), and is bringing me CHEESECAKE.
    8. I’m happy because I got my Tuesday scene posted on my blog for my novel, Pride’s Children – instead of remembering in a panic late tonight that it’s Tuesday.
    9. I’m happy to be in a warm house and all the good things about that for which I am very grateful. And the roads are clear.
    10. I’m happy daughter is here because her apartment at school is in a FAR colder place today – but that her roommate is there to make sure things are okay. So, best of two worlds.

    Had to work at it a bit, but there you are.

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

        Cheesecake Factory lo-carb cheesecake with walnut-graham crust IS amazing – I’ve tried making my own, and theirs is WAY better.

        So yes – forgive the plug – it WAS wonderful.

        And the little bit of crust I had was also wonderful, and I’m saving the rest for after the allergist tells me I’m not allergic, suddenly, to tree nuts (long story). The little bit didn’t cause death, so I’m grateful about that, too.

        Life is an adventure.

        • Valerie Alexander Post author

          Our house is on an eating and exercise plan that involves almost all protein for all meals, except two nights a week we carb load (including dessert) and tonight is the night. I cannot wait. Depending on the menu, cheesecake may be in order. You’re inspiring me.