10 Ways to be Happier and Enjoy Life


Smiles, laughter, and positive feelings are components of happiness, but happiness isn’t easy to define. For some people, a wedding ring gives them a blissful feeling. For others, wealth determines their happiness. I’ve decided to step outside of my comfort zone and embark on a new journey of achieving what happiness means me, which is personal development. My aim is to become a better mom, attain spiritual growth and accomplish other life goals. However, while waiting for the next level, it’s easy to forget that appreciating the beauty in life comes from having peace, joy, love and happiness before any goal is obtainable. Here are some simple yet meaningful ways I’ve found to be happier.

1. Do Some Internal Spring Cleaning.I got the idea for this first step from Author and Inspirational Speaker Iyanla Vanzant’s classic book, In the Meantime. Every now and then, I have an aha moment when my life reflects a different chapter in her book about house cleaning. She brilliantly expresses an underlying message of spiritual cleansing in order to find love and happiness: “There’s a foul odor, the origins of which you do not know. You have become aware that there are little holes in the walls of your life. Termites, perhaps? Something eating away at the very core of the structure, your structure, which is your life” – Iyanla Vanzant. A healthy attitude develops when you clear your house of past hurts, grudges and etc. Also, cleansing through meditation on God’s word will explore matters that manifest in our attitudes and drain us of our happiness.

2. Expect Positive Things. - A winner always finds peace in constructing optimism. Nothing positive will ever come from expecting the negative will happen at every attempt to try. A true diva understands that failure is inevitable, and she always reminds herself that losing is part of the art of winning. In fact, if I get nothing else out of waking up early on Sunday mornings to Preacher and Author Joel Olsteen’s sermons on television, I understand his message of keeping a faith-filled heart in the midst of hard times. You have no choice but to feel happy when you shift your focus to something positive.

3. Laugh More. – Get one good laugh from your gut, smile…doesn’t that feel better? Find humor in each situation. Laugh at yourself. It allows you to see things in a less threatening light so you can enjoy the moment. I know it’s an old cliche, but laughter is in fact the best medicine. Laughing helps heal the body, relieve anxiety, improve our attitudes and cause positive changes in our brain chemistry. It triggers an increase in what is known as the feel-good chemical, endorphin.

4. Be Generous to Others. - Ironically, acts of altruism produce more “happy highs” than going to our favorite store and buying loads of our favorite things. Yes, doing for others rather than ourselves makes us happier. Researcher Elizabeth Dunn reported that those who spend money on others reported having greater happiness than those who spend money on themselves. It’s natural to question dishing out extra money and etc., but when the act is done, there’s no doubt you will get a gratifying feeling.

5. Brush it Off. - The unhappiest people are the ones who are easily offended. Running around with a chip on the shoulder isn’t a pleasant feeling; a thick skin develops with practice but is rewarding. The next time you feel the need to take offense to a mouthy co-worker or a raging driver, interpret it as “just one of those days” for that person and don’t personalize it. Train your thinking to dismiss and forgive instantly for the sake of your own peace and happiness.

6. Make Friends and Cultivate Relationships. - “Independent Woman” has become the anthem for some women, in addition to a bit of an “I’m-my-own-best-friend” attitude. Still, we weren’t designed to be lonely. Our biological make up supports having intimate social interactions. Having a circle of friends to share funny stories with and to stand by when life gets tough sounds “Kum-ba-yahish” but actually increases happiness and can add years to your life. Studies show that people’s mortality rate double when they’re lonely and people with meaningful friendships live longer.

7.  Don’t Compare Yourself to Others. -Comparison is the Thief of Joy” – Theodore Roosevelt. I posted that quote on my Facebook and Instagram page as a reminder to myself that comparison is a no-no. Seeing how it’s impossible to keep up with the Joneses, be mindful that everyone is engaged in his or her own race to fulfill their own purpose. Comparison will never get you ahead in your own race, and you will never succeed at running anyone else’s.

8. Set Goals and Complete Them. - Feeling accomplished increases self-esteem. When we set a goal and accomplish it, it creates positive feelings and a new confidence in our abilities. Goal progress is associated with positive emotions and overall enhances our psychological well-being, studies show.

9. Meditate on the Word. - Being a God-chick and proud of it comes from knowing who you are in Christ Jesus. This is part of my journey to spiritual growth, and I’m aware that such lifestyle doesn’t guarantee a “a bed of roses.” But one of God’s promises is that He will equip us with everything we need to succeed in our purpose, as long as it’s pleasing to him. – Hebrew 13: 21. Given that those who believe in Him are more than capable because of what He’s promised us, gives us a peace and happiness that no other advice can give us.

10. Be Grateful. - Happiness is ultimately a choice. Appreciating things in your life and understanding that things could be worse helps to put thing in perspective. Some well-known figures produced inspirational quotes about happiness in trying times.  “Think of the beauty still left around you and be happy“- Anne Frank



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August 30, 2014 at 12:30 am Leave a comment

A Powerful Message From Talented Youth Leaders

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Signs of Cell Phone Addiction: Could it be Straining Your Parent-Child Relationship?

Addicted to your cell phone

Do you unlock your cell phone every 10 to 30 minutes? Does being away from your phone make you anxious? If you can honestly answer true to these questions, it’s possible that you could benefit from a cell phone hiatus. I’m not innocent of being glued to the cell phone—spending time texting, surfing timelines, playing games and etc. are all pretty harmless and fun. Still, if it’s a dependency, the distraction that it causes is something seriously worth looking into. So how do you know if what you think is casual cell phone use is actually displaying addictive behavior that can possibly be setting your parenting priorities on the back burner?

Signs of Cell Phone AddictionIt seems that studies may just be catching up on our attachment concerns in the past couple of years. You can find a plethora of articles on the topic. Before, teenage addiction was the hot topic, but now, it seems parents are just as guilty of missing out from swiping away at their smartphones. You’ve seen instances when mothers in public were on the cell phone while the child wasn’t their center focus; it happens and there are sure signs of addiction.  The symptoms of dependency are increased use, inability to cut back, engaging in behavior despite risks of negative consequences—even slightly ignoring children or your own safety. In the news a while ago, a woman fell into a manhole while walking down the street on her cell phone. Similar to her story, if excessive phone use is a definite distraction as it was for her, chances are the cell phone is the root of other hindrances i.e. lateness, delaying priorities, lack of eating, isolation, or sleep deprivation, studies show. As parents, every bit of energy counts. When we are deprived of our needs, it shows in our attitudes and triggers consequential behaviors.

One study in the Journal of Pediatrics proved that adults absorbed in their mobile phones ignore their kids or may even lash out on them. Out of 55 parents at a restaurant, 44 were absorbed in their devices at different rates. Some children responded by entertaining themselves, and others acted out for attention. The caregivers either separated or shared the devices. But the absorbed parents responded harshly to child misbehavior.

When asking a State worker who has worked heavily with social services in Perth Amboy, NJ, she admitted to seeing some parent and adults display abuse patterns with their cell phone and act inattentively when handling business. “It’s definitely an obsession,” she added.

To test the theory, I sparked a challenge of completely cutting usage for three days and noted the results in my journal. The first night was peaceful—parent/child interaction was more intimate. My concentration was fervent and in the present. Day two and three were a little more challenging. I was irritable and had the urge to turn on my phone. I found out that I could use a little more cutting down when engaging in parent/child activities.

Why are we so Dependent? In the smart phone era, many get their entertainment and companionship from cell phones while in-person, face-to-face interaction has decreased. When the phone alerts, it can mean intriguing information is available. Pay attention to your feelings when hearing an alert on your phone. What do you feel? Is it anxious, happy, or annoyed? The phone triggers different feelings from positive and negative interactions with the outside world, which form an addiction or emotional attachment. Some continue to look for information that spark the pleasurable feeling that they crave.

Cutting Your UsagePhone apps are designed to control cell phone use. Breaking Free app is a useful one. If you’re looking to cut your cell phone use, keep busy, find hobbies, and spend time with friends and children without the cell phone in hand. Tune in to the present and learn to enjoy the experience. To put it simply, turn it off! As you become comfortable, try leaving the phone at home when you go out. You will see how much you will enjoy yourself. Lastly, set a limit for the day and cut off all alerts after you’ve reached your daily limit.



July 30, 2014 at 4:32 pm Leave a comment

The Balancing Game

While stepping out on my backyard deck yesterday, I noticed one thing. It was quiet. I mean there was no other noise besides the trees swaying and the sound of a few cars driving by from holiday traveling. The moment reminded me of one of my grandmother’s “southern gal” expressions that always brought me to tears of laughter. “It’s quieter than a mouse pissing on cotton,” she would say. It was that way since my 6-year-old son A.J went to Balmar Beach with a cousin for the Fourth of July weekend. He does go out with family sometimes, but I forgot how it feels to get a ton of things accomplished without him. I began to think about all the activities I use to engage my son when multitasking to get through the day. My next task was listing them and finding more options. Here are a few tips that I came up with.

Continue Reading July 6, 2014 at 12:51 pm Leave a comment

Reclaiming Your Victory: Single Moms Win

Shortly after graduating college, pursuing my career was no longer my first priority. I was preparing for the full-time job of becoming a mom for the months ahead of me. What an enormous responsibility for a single, young aspiring journalist!

Continue Reading June 16, 2014 at 8:42 pm Leave a comment

Author Eileen Riley-Hall Shares Her Story: Parenting Girls on the Autism Spectrum

High school English teacher and mom Eileen Riley-Hall co’ taught autistic children in college summer camp and has worked with special needs students for over 25 years. However, she had never suspected her own daughters’ diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Continue Reading April 17, 2012 at 8:52 pm 2 comments

Trayvon Martin: Another Senseless Death Disturbs Millions

Many are outraged as the heart-rending death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin has touched viewers nationally. Friday evening, Sanford, Florida police released seven 911 recordings of calls made by Martin’s shooter, George Zimmerman, and frantic neighbors in the area the night of the shooting. The tapes expose some truth to the Martin case, after an ongoing dispute over whether Martin was killed in self-defense.

Continue Reading March 17, 2012 at 7:20 pm 31 comments

How to Let Go: Studies Link Forgiveness to Better Health

It’s incredibly easy to hold a grudge in such trying times like these: almost half of marriages end in divorce, mass layoffs last year compelled workers to cling to their jobs, and so on. Dating is even harder than ever these days. When transferring baggage from one relationship to another, often times, we find ourselves in a battle for our feelings. Anything can trigger resentment—no matter how well some are at hiding it—the truth is everyone has a distinct story to share about their own sensitive pasts. For those who do, masking unforgiveness as a replacement for handling it appropriately is very unhealthy studies show, and bitterness is commonly the resultant emotion.

Continue Reading March 17, 2012 at 11:08 am 10 comments

Redshirting: does it work? Education Professionals Share Their Views on Keeping Children Back from Kindergarten

At one point, if parents so much as thought that their child would be held back in school, it wouldn’t have been a pretty picture. Apparently, the idea of holding children back has expanded in meaning over the years and has become an increasingly popular trend for parents of preschool aged children who prefer them to be the oldest in their classes–This term for this is redshirting.

Continue Reading March 10, 2012 at 6:41 pm 28 comments

Where are we 100 Years Later?

“How simple a thing it seems to me that to know ourselves as we are, we must know our mother’s names.” ~ Alice Walker.

When Author Alice Walker wrote this statement as part of an essay, Search of Our Mother’s Garden, she was referring to the act of identifying ourselves by learning who our biological mothers and grandmothers are. This serves true in knowing about your past as a woman as well.

Continue Reading March 7, 2012 at 5:26 pm 7 comments

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