Getting Happier

Apr 29, 2024

Recently, I’ve been reading a book on “the art and science of getting happier” called Build the Life You Want, by Arthur Brooks and Oprah Winfrey. It’s chock full of good learnings, including these 10 quotes that are especially relevant to raising young people with disabilities:

  1. Scholars have shown that when people reflect on difficult experiences with the explicit goal of finding meaning and improving themselves, they tend to give better advice, make better decisions, and solve problems more effectively.

  2. Negative emotions help us to learn valuable lessons so we don’t make mistakes again and again.

  3. While you may not be able to will your feelings to improve, you can choose how you talk to and treat others, which will give your loved ones more energy to help you when you need it.

  4. A life with close friends can be happy even when many other things are going wrong. A life without close friends is like a house in the winter (in Massachusetts) without heat.

  5. Researchers have shown that asking people to think of happy things from their past can improve their mood. You can reap similar benefits in a systematic way by keeping a journal of happy memories and reviewing it when you are down or out of control.

  6. Our lives are spent in connection — to other people, to our work, to nature and the divine — and the more we do to improve those connections, the better off we are.

  7. Committing yourself to honesty starts with a commitment to be honest with yourself, and an effort to seek out and accept complete honesty from others, especially loved ones.

  8. When your ideas are threatened and you feel defensive, actively reject your instinct to defend yourself and become more open instead.

  9. Don’t just spend time away from work; spend it with people who have no connection to your work. (If your job is taking care of your family, this principle still applies. You need to have relationships with people who see you as more than a provider and caretaker.)

  10. Optimism is the belief that things will turn out all right; hope makes no such assumption but is a conviction that one can act to make things better in some way.


The next step.

After nearly three years and 117 free newsletters filled with information and resources to help young people with disabilities and those who support them in life, today is my final issue on Substack. You can still search the archive to gather info on topics of interest. But beginning later this month, my newsletters will be hosted on a different publishing platform. I’m moving ahead with happiness and optimism for whatever lies ahead. I hope you’ll join me on the journey.

person jumping on big rock under gray and white sky during daytime
Photo by Sammie Chaffin on Unsplash

If you no longer want to receive my free newsletter or future communications from me, you can always unsubscribe at the bottom of this email. Otherwise, I’ll share more helpful info soon through an updated format. New look and feel. Same valuable stuff. You can continue to reach out to me here. I love connecting with readers and try to reply quickly to all messages received.

As always, thanks for being here…and happy February. Enjoy the leap!

Interested in learning more about one-to-one coaching? Contact Kris for information on what this might look like for you, including outcomes, availability, fees and more.

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