two blue chairs on the beach facing the ocean

You’re living life at full tilt; Saturday and Sunday are as busy as Monday through Friday. I know. It’s hard. I lived this busy, chaotic life for many years while raising my family. Other people’s happiness was more important to me than my own. Where was the time and energy for me to feel less guilt and more happiness?

Happiness Challenged

That changed about 10 years ago as I was forced to up my happiness game when my 20-year marriage ended abruptly. Truthfully, I was a mess of negative thoughts and despair.

Without knowing what I was doing, I created some ways to stop the downward spiral of thoughts. I made a mental gratitude list. No matter what, I was thankful for my kids and my job. Calling up my mental gratitude list became automatic the more I practiced it and helped me work my way out of those difficult years.

I also wrote a list of “What I Know for Sure”—thanks, Oprah—to help ground me in the stable parts of my life as I became a single mom. I carried the list in my wallet and reviewed it on especially difficult days.

Student of Happiness

Fast forward to a few years ago, I became more intentional about evidenced-based happiness practices that I learned as part of the Johns Hopkins Work-Life Pledge. Next, I passed The Science of Happiness, a 10-week online course offered by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley.

Here is what I know for sure about happiness:

  • It’s vital to your health.
  • It can be practiced in small increments of time and space.
  • Technology can help and hinder happiness.
  • Your happiness comes first so that you can give your best to others.

How can you be happier now? Start here.

Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky shares The Person-Activity Fit Diagnostic in her book The How of Happiness to help people find their best fit for happiness activities based on their strengths, goals, needs, and lifestyle. Answering the 12 questions and calculating your score and best fitting activities takes between 15 to 30 minutes. If you need to complete it in 5-to-10-minute chunks of time that’s ok.

Once you have your four activities with the highest Fit scores, you are ready to explore related practices on the Greater Good in Action website. Not surprisingly when I completed the diagnostic, Expressing Gratitude was one of my highest Fit scores.

I visit the Greater Good in Action website with my high Fit scores and first click on Gratitude. I find descriptions of eight different practices, including their required level of effort, frequency, and duration. I plan to write a letter of gratitude to a former supervisor in the coming months.

It’s. Your. Turn.

Will you try The Person-Activity Fit Diagnostic? Maybe visit the Greater Good in Action website to check out the 55 happiness activities they’ve posted? Take one step today to intentionally focus on your happiness. You’re worth it. When you take charge of your choices, you show up for yourself and the ones you love.

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Karen Clark Salinas

I’m Karen Clark Salinas, and it’s my mission to help women live their full purpose (work + family) without sacrificing wellbeing. I want to be the coach I wish I’d had when I was a working mom. Someone to help me get unstuck and live my life more intentionally. Marriage, motherhood, chronic illness, divorce, remarriage, and caring for aging loved ones contribute significantly to my story. I know for sure that, with my support, you can pursue your professional dreams while raising a happy and healthy family.