Could You Be Happier?

By Erica Sofrina, Motivational Speaker, Teacher and Author

Did you know that 40 percent of your capacity for happiness is within your own power to change?

Some myths about happiness are:

  • We must go somewhere else to find it
  • We’ll be happy if we change our circumstances
  • We either have it or we don’t

(from The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky)

The fact is you can increase your happiness level with intention and practice. Like anything that is repeated over time, happiness can become a habit!

Gail Danchig, MA, the founder of Courageous Happiness®, teaches that by combining mindfulness, creativity and positive psychology, we can learn to better deal with challenging life issues and increase our level of happiness, resilience, optimism and well-being.

Who wouldn’t want that?

I asked Gail to share with our readers some of the exercises she uses in her Courageous Happiness® seminars that can become a part of a daily happiness practice.

Five things you can do that will increase your Happiness:

1- Keep a gratitude journal – Each night, write down three things you’re grateful for from that day. They can be simple gifts and appreciations of the day or big meaningful events that occurred. As you go to sleep, go over the three gratitudes in your mind, taking in the good feelings associated with those you expressed.

2 - Do something that stirs your creative juices, without letting the inner critic stop you from enjoying the process. Read or write a poem. Sing, draw or paint. Dance to your favorite music or new music. Try something you haven’t done before. Be wild and spontaneous!

3 – Write down 10 things that bring you joy. Commit to experiencing more of them every week. Make a “joy” date with yourself or someone else, doing one or more of the things on your list. Do this without judging yourself.

4 - Spend time in nature every week. Be present with the beauty of what you see, hear, smell and sense. Breathe it in. Later bring in the memory and experience of this place. Savor it. Use it as a resource for renewal anytime you need it. ( Read more: Your Personal Nature Meditation, , The Healing Benefits of Walking Barefoot, The Healing Benefits of Hugging a Tree)

5 – Practice Self-Compassion by doing this loving-kindness meditation:  Find a quiet place to sit or lay down in a comfortable position. Close your eyes. Notice what’s going on in your body, mind and emotions, being with the way things are without judgment and without trying to change anything. Notice any sounds or sensations. Breathe slowly and deeply into your heart. Say these words to yourself: May I be peaceful.  May I be well. May I be safe. May I be happy. May I be kind to myself. Take a couple more breaths. Then open your eyes slowly, noting your experience.

A commitment to a daily happiness practice is the ultimate gift we can give to ourselves. I encourage you to find time each day to use these simple yet powerful exercises and watch your happiness quotient grow!


Gail Danchig, MA, MFT, the founder of Courageous Happiness®, is a licensed psychotherapist, registered expressive arts therapist, educator and life coach, with a private practice in Marin County, CA. She offers workshops, groups and consultation in her studio and through various universities and agencies. To learn more about Gail’s work, go to


For more about Erica Sofrina you are invited to visit


Judith Corrigan
Judith Corrigan6 years ago

I also find that if you get rid of clutter,sort out financial commitments(not neccesarily fully but what you can afford) and try to remove negative things from your life,it is a little easier to become happier.

Loo Samantha
Loo sam6 years ago

thanks for sharing.

Arlene A.
Arlene alingawad6 years ago

thank you that will be of great help to me right now.Godbless

Erica Sofrina
Erica Sofrina6 years ago

Thank you for all the great comments, yes indeed Melanie, habits can be altered. It may not be easy but it can be done.Lets invest in our happiness!

Melanie F.
Past Member 6 years ago

Thank you very much for this truly uplifting article and sharing those five excersizes.
To me the hardest ones are: withouth judging myself and practice self-compassion.
Sometimes I act better with anyone else out there than with myself - but that's also a habit and habits can be altered, right?

Thank you

Judith V.
Judith V.6 years ago

The mind is very powerful. So powerful in fact, that we can create or destroy our reality with just a thought! I am a 'drama queen' about this. Ha ha ha!

Alicia N.
Alicia N6 years ago

Great tips......... also what it brings happiness to my life is
praying and meditation. I am alive, I am grateful I am happy!
Thanks Erica for always sharing good stuff.

Beverly G.
bev g6 years ago

thks i cud do wiv this

Beverly G.
bev g6 years ago

thks i cud do wiv this

Gail D.
Gail Danchig6 years ago

It's great to read all your comments about my suggestions for increasing happiness and inspiring to hear how many of you already practice some of these things. For those who are new to these practices or feel it sounds difficult, I wanted to say it's not easy, as it takes time and committiment to rewire our brains towards the positive. Naturally there is suffering. However it is still possible to create new habits that incline the mind towards happiness and joy.
Research shows that if you use your natural strengths more and do those activities more often that already make you happy, you can increase positive emotions, and the ability to flourish and thrive.