San Diego Family Mediation Center

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How to Be Happy

This past weekend I spent Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, with my family in Arizona. Rabbi Bonnie Koppel gave her evening sermon on “How to be Happy.” It struck me as something that is so simple to think about, yet often so hard for us to achieve. Especially when you’re going through a life change, such as a divorce, it can often be difficult to think about what being happy looks like, so I wanted to share Rabbi Koppel’s list on how to be happy along with my thoughts.

  1. Make the decision to be happy

While this may be the most obvious one, we often forget that we have to decide that we want to be happy and be wiling to do the work that comes along with it before we can make any change.

  1. Make the best of whatever comes your way

You may feel that this is the worst situation that you’ve ever been in, and it may be, but for those who look at a bad situation and decide that they’re going to make the best of it even if it does suck it allows them to find the silver lining and still be happy.

  1. Understand that everything has a price

As Rabbi Koppel reminded us, “there are no free lunches, ” and this applies to life in general. There is a price for everything we do, and we have to decide whether the price is worth it.

  1. Speak in positive ways.

I think it goes without saying that when we speak positively, especially about others and ourselves, it’s easier to feel happy by those positive words. The inverse is true as well, speaking negatively can make it harder to get out of a funk and feel happier.

  1. Expect less and appreciate more

When you’re going through a divorce it can be difficult not to expect things from your ex that they don’t deliver on but if you can lower your expectations and appreciate what they are doing then you can allow your self to feel happy.

  1. Find ways to give back to the community

I know that whenever I do volunteer work or just give back in some way to my community I always feel better and seeing others benefit from my work or time never ceases to put a smile on my face.

  1. Care for your body through food and exercise

If we’re not taking care of our body by exercising regularly or eating well then we can feel sluggish and it’s hard to be happy. Even if it’s just a short walk each day or playing with your kids and/or pets, exercising boosts your endorphins and will always make you feel better.

  1. Make time to be with the people you love.

While life can get busy, it’s important to make the time for the people you love, now, before it’s too late.

  1. Pursue intellectual and spiritual growth.

It’s important to never stop learning, whether it’s intellectual or spiritual growth, learning something new allows us to grow and be a better happier person.

  1. Spend time with others who share your values.

Spending time with those who share your values can be uplifting and help you feel happier because you know that the people around you care about or find important the same things that you do.

List of “How to be Happy” credited to Rabbi Bonnie Koppel of Temple Chai in Phoenix, AZ, reprinted with permission.