What are the Rules of Your Relationship?

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A society with no rules. We've seen it in movies and TV, and many of us fantasize about the ability to break a law without repercussions. But at the same time, we know that most rules, boundaries, and guidelines in our society exist for good reason. There's a silent contract of expectations – and there are consequences for breaking those expectations. When you enter a store, there's an expectation that you're there to buy and not to steal. And a red light is enforced because if even a few of us ignore it, many of us could die.

So, when it comes to society, the rules are often cut and dry. But what about the rules and boundaries of a romantic relationship? Just like in society, clear-cut expectations can serve to help us avoid unintended consequences.

In more traditional partnerships, the most obvious rule is romantic/sexual commitment. If the rule of infidelity is broken, the consequence can be irreparable damage. At the same time, and interestingly, partners in open relationships often have more rules and better communication about their lives outside of home life. Even still, lines can be crossed, expectations can be shattered, and a healing process must begin.

What do you do when you feel as though an established boundary has been crossed? Do both parties know the rule was broken? And can the relationship dynamic be repaired through communication? Here are some steps to take:

Step 1: Find Out If They Think They Crossed a Line

The first step is establishing that your partner knows they crossed a line. Was it a misunderstanding, or an intentional breach of contract? If they didn't realize their misdeed, it's possible that the boundary needs to be reestablished and redefined. Take the time to discuss your understanding of the rule and get on the same page.

But if it was an intentional breach?

Step 2: Try to Understand Why They Did It

If your partner understood it was over the line and did it anyway, ask them why they moved forward with their action. They might not know why they did it. But they also may. And if they're able to share their reasoning, this is an opportunity to deep dive into their answer. It can be useful for both this partnership and any other in the future to gain more understanding – both for you and them.

Step 3: Express Why It Hurt You

Try to let them know how their actions affected you without being judgmental. When we're hurt, our gut reaction can be to retaliate and tear the person down. That's not necessary or productive, even if it feels good in the moment. Instead, use language like, "When you did X, Y, and Z, it really hurt because it broke the trust I thought we had established. And now we need to find a way to build it back up."

And If You're the Rule Breaker…

Even if it was unintentional, it's important to acknowledge how your partner feels. Remember, their truth is theirs, and yours is yours. Do not negate their truth. Support it and ask how you can move forward from the issue together – and, ideally, stronger than before.

How to Move Forward

Ultimately, a broken rule boils down to broken trust. Our bodies don’t know how to separate levels of broken trust, so they all feel severe. To repair, it's necessary to overcommunicate about understanding the reaction of the hurt party, then accepting a plan to move forward from the injury. Consistency and transparency are the keys to rebuilding trust, and it is not something that happens overnight. If you want to repair, give it time and patience.

 

 

 

Identity Crisis: Losing Touch with Yourself and Finding Your Way Back

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Sometimes, you look at yourself in the mirror and barely recognize yourself. But don't turn away. Look deep into your own eyes and recognize that you've lost your sense of identity.

Our identity is who we are at our core. It's an incredibly important and personal element that we must be in touch with at all times. A day where we don't know what we believe in—when our moral compass is going this way and that—can be incredibly painful. But why does it happen?

We lose our way for a variety of reasons. And if we can identify any of them, we can gain a clearer understanding of why we're feeling outside of our selves.

Coping with Trauma and Grief

If you have experienced any type of trauma and/or loss and not processed it correctly, it can lead to dissociation as a coping method. This is when you can have your body in one place while your mind is elsewhere – either actively or passively. Dissociation can be a beneficial technique when feeling overwhelmed. But it leaves you feeling disconnected from your life and allows you to make important decisions from outside your body. Therapy, meditation, and yoga are great methods for dealing with trauma and loss.

Feeling Abused/Gaslit

Sometimes, we find ourselves in toxic relationships where we have been emotionally abused. And a quiet form of abuse, called “gaslighting,” is where the victim is made to feel as though he or she is crazy. This is a long process and can be quite hard to detect. But any time your feelings about (or understanding of) a situation is belittled or undermined, you're being gaslit. But when you're told your perception is wrong for so long, it can lead to distrust in yourself. But this can force us to lose touch with your own ethics and morality. Trust your feelings!

Being a Chameleon

Who doesn't want to fit in with any type of group at any given time? And some can shape our interests, preferences, and needs to best align with those around us. But while this can be an endearing trait, it can make it hard to know what you really enjoy for yourself. When you shape your personality around fitting in with others, it means that you put your needs last. Don't be the last person on your priority list; otherwise, you'll lose sight of yourself.

Pleasing People

This is similar to being a chameleon. While it's great to amenable, it can mean existing solely to meet the needs of others. When that happens, you aren’t taking the time to understand what you want in your own life. If you feel as though people interact with you just to get what they want, you can end up feeling resentment towards them – and yourself!

It’s important to recognize this: the people who truly care about you will want to know what YOU want.

Being Indecisive

Our personality is ever-expanding. But some traits are solidified in childhood. If you grow up in an environment without a decisive role model, you might learn that leaning on others to make decisions is the best thing to do. You must learn to pay attention to your own preferences, then assert them when needed. However, it is quite challenging to simply begin to get in touch with what you want. You're a human, not a light switch! Instead, it takes some re-programming to truly identify with our desires, and have the decisiveness to act on them.

How to Find Your Way Back

If you’ve lost touch with your identity—for these reasons or any others—try the simple exercise of being honest with yourself with every decision you make – and start small. Go to the store and ask yourself which type of ice cream or brand of coffee you prefer. Try out different things until you realize that you have a preference, and then assert that preference with yourself. Then, the next time someone asks you how you feel or what you want to do, be honest with yourself by expressing your need. It can be uncomfortable at first, but you'll eventually get used to naming your preferences – which will lead to learning more about who you are at your core and what drives you.

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The Difference Between Feelings and Emotions

To quote Kenny Rogers in his song "The Gambler":

“You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em.
Know when to fold ‘em.
Know when to walk away.
And know when to run.”

Many people think that feelings and emotions are the same thing – but they're not! Emotions are what trigger feelings. For example, an emotional response to new love can bring on the feelings of butterflies in the stomach and sweaty palms. Feelings are like symptoms, and we often group them together into words like excitement, fear, anxiety, and so on.

We often make the mistake of focusing on the feelings rather than the root emotion. Misinterpreting our feelings can lead to acting prematurely. And that can get us into trouble.

The Kenny Rogers lyrics are great advice when it comes to playing cards – and even better advice when it comes to knowing when and how to act on your feelings. Especially if the disclosure might cause some conflict in your life. And "if you're gonna play the game, boy, you gotta learn to play it right":

Knowing When to Hold 'Em

Not everything we think or feel needs to be shared right away. In fact, learning discernment is one of the key ingredients for happiness. Sometimes, we have a very quick emotional reaction and need to hold our tongues. Otherwise, we're prone to say something we'll regret later. If you find yourself having a strong physical reaction to a trigger, it’s always best to pause before saying what’s on your mind. Hold those feelings—even for just a moment longer—to test the urgency of your statement.

When to Fold 'Em

After you’ve taken a moment or two to assess your initial reaction, you may realize that you don’t need to express the thought or feeling to someone else at all. Getting it off your chest might be as simple as making a journal entry or taking a walk around the block. But always ask yourself: "If I share this, does it take me a step closer or a step further from my ultimate goal?"

When to Walk Away

If you notice you have an emotional response to the same trigger, you may realize that it's time to walk away. This doesn’t mean you're giving up. It means you've done all you can to put your self-care first. It is totally okay to set boundaries and say that something isn’t good for your well-being. In those cases, the smartest thing is to move on.

When to Run

This is where trusting your gut instinct comes into play. If your body tells you to run, it’s likely best to act on that now and apologize later (if you need to). Our gut instinct is nature’s red flag indicator, and we often don’t pay close enough attention for fear of making a mistake and hurting someone’s feelings. Just think from a survival standpoint for a moment: isn’t it better to read someone wrong and ask for forgiveness rather than being naïve and getting really damaged? (Yes.)

Like Gambling, Practice Makes Better

This process takes a lot of self-awareness and willingness to process in real-time. It’s not the easiest to have that level of understanding in every moment, especially when you're feeling triggered and seeking relief.

Ultimately, it's always important to say what you need to say. But there are certainly ways to make that experience a more positive one for everyone involved. Self-reflection is the key to this successful sharing of your feelings and helps to ease others into the process as well.

 

 

The 3 Types of Good Apologies (And the #1 Non-Apology)

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“I’m sorry." It's just two little words, right? But together, those two words pack a lot of punch. And like any impactful phrase, delivering a meaningful apology requires a bit of finesse.

Let's start with the WORST type of apology: a non-apology. That's when someone says something like, "I'm sorry you feel that way." There's no accountability. They're saying that the issue isn't what they did, it's how you reacted to it. So, a good rule of thumb: if you want to make an apology, admit you made a mistake and you want to apologize for it. Otherwise, you're just criticizing the person.

Basically, the best apologies come from the heart. And just like compliments, they should be tailored for the person on the receiving end. Know your audience – and be aware that all three of these apologies are for the person receiving them, not the person delivering them:

Apology 1: Offering Compensation

Let's say you're in a crowded coffee shop. You take a step back without looking, and you bump into someone, spilling their fresh and hot coffee down their shirt. An easy apology would be to say, "I'm so sorry about that. May I buy you another cup?"

The "compensation" is simply the offer of replacing what was lost or broken. So, you may also offer compensation in terms of time and an act of service. For example, let’s say you wake up cranky and take it out on your partner. To apologize, you may say, “I apologize for being short with you earlier. I'm going to make it up to you by being extra sweet this week – or by making your favorite dinner tonight.”

Apology 2: Empathizing with Their Experience

An empathetic apology is one in which you let the victim know that you understand how they're feeling. These apologies are best used for someone you have a close, intimate relationship – that you want to maintain. This can be a close friend, family member, or partner.

For example, let's say it’s your best friend’s birthday party and you arrive two hours late. Even if it was due to traffic or some other valid excuse, it is still best to acknowledge how the other person feels. You can say, “I apologize for being late. You must have felt like you are not a priority, and that’s not the case. You are very important to me.”

This lets them know that you understand their reaction, and you're suggesting that you would feel the same way if you were in their shoes.

Apology 3: Acknowledging That You Violated the Rules/Norms

This apology applies to when you do something that affects a group as a whole, like a group of friends or a family get together. Recognize the norms you broke, let the "team" know you recognize the violation, and tell them how you'll do better next time. Examples include being less competitive during game night, drinking less at the next function, and so on. It might feel embarrassing, but not addressing it can lead to resentment and long-term consequences. You want to get invited to the next one!

However, All Genuine Apologies Are Effective

These examples are just that: examples. All an apology needs to be genuine is accountability and sincerity. When you’re accountable, you own what you've done without an excuse. When you’re sincere, your tone reflects it, and the recipient can feel like they can trust your apology.

Finally, once you have mastered the art of apologies, don’t forget to say that you’re sorry to yourself. Then forgive and move forward! Forgiveness is the second half of the apology dance, and it's equally important. Besides, if you can't forgive yourself, you can't expect anyone else to!

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The Subtle Art of Meaningful Compliments


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Being nice to someone feels good. In fact, one of the best experiences we can have in life is making someone smile. And a compliment is one of the easiest ways to do exactly that.

We all know how to acknowledge something that we like. But complimenting someone often takes a bit more nuance. Here are 5 tips and tricks to help you deliver meaningful, impactful, and rewarding compliments:

1. Know Your Audience

When you want to give a compliment to someone you know personally, it’s best to think about what makes that person proudest. Some folks pride themselves on their creativity. Others on their sense of style or making people laugh. If you know a detail like that about a person, it’s wonderful to highlight that area of expertise.

For example, for the consummate homemaker, you could say something like, “You are such an incredible hostess. You always make me feel so comfortable in your home.”

2. Remember: THEY Are the Subject of Your Praise

When possible, the other person should be the subject of the compliment. That sounds simple enough, but can you tell the difference between the A and B examples below?

a.       I love your dress.

b.       You look amazing in that dress

Example A makes you the subject of the compliment. Example B keeps them front and center. When you only highlight the dress, the person might as well be a clothes hangar!

3. Don't Be Afraid of Details

The more specific you can be, the better. Infuse your compliment with some details to drive it home and avoid sounding generic. Something like: “You are such a good listener. Not only do you always make eye contact, you seem genuinely engaged in the conversation. I really appreciate that.”

4. But Keep It Genuine

Somewhat counterintuitively to the previous point, few things make someone seem disingenuous like providing too many details. A compliment is a gift given without expectation of anything in return. You know how you can often tell when someone's complimenting you just to butter you up? They're only giving the compliment in the hopes of getting something in return. Make sure that your compliment is genuine and not over the top. If you tend to over-compliment, it may be harder for others to believe that you're truly sincere. It's a fine line, but it's one worth riding.

5. And Make Sure to Compliment the Mirror

Appreciating others is a fantastic feeling. But sometimes appreciating yourself can feel even better! Don't worry about being cocky – this is about self-love and self-confidence. We all need a boost of both every now and again!

Here's a strategy. Go to the mirror and say something nice about yourself out loud and in the third person. Let's say your name is Jane. You'd say: "Jane, you are a beautiful person inside and out. You give so much of yourself to others, and you deserve love and happiness. I appreciate you."

Using the third person helps us feel like we're our own cheerleader. Be your own cheerleader!

Practice Makes Them Perk Up

If all of this feels a bit foreign or awkward, no need to worry. Complimenting—whether yourself or others—takes a little practice. It also takes getting used to some vulnerability. But once you get in the swing of things, you’ll be offering up niceties like it's nothing (even though it can mean everything!)

 

 

5 Ways to "Let It Go"

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Queen Elsa from Disney’s FROZEN (2013) is not the first to harp on the importance of letting go. Gurus around the world say that the key to a peaceful life is the ability to let go of worry, expectations and resentments. While that mantra is a sound one, it's much easier said than done.

So how does one actually “let it go"? Here are some tips and guidelines to help you on your path to feeling less worry about things you can’t control:

1. Identify the Deeper Reason You Can't Let Go

When we're holding onto something, it often means there's a deeper issue. Perhaps your trigger is any time you don't feel in control. Maybe it's trust issues. It could even be that you've attached a moral value to something. Whatever it's grown into, it's important to dig deep and find its root. Once you determine the why, you can choose whether or not you want to release it.

2. Journal, Journal, and More Journaling

The practice of writing down your thoughts and feelings (without editing them!) can be very revealing. It's also often a crucial element to the first tip. When you free associate and simply write down everything that comes to mind, it invites your subconscious – which may be the part of you that won't let go! Take fifteen minutes to simply write. Then, go back to it later on to see if you can glean something meaningful. You often will!

3. Visualize the Release

Close your eyes and picture a release. Something like:
• Balloons floating away.
• Birds flying.
• Clouds passing through the sky.
• Wind blowing through the trees.
Then, take the thought or feeling that you want to let go of and visualize it as part of that image. Watch as your resentment or fear floats away in one of the balloons or on the wing of a bird that soars off into the distance. When you use visualization, it can give a new (and more positive) sensation to focus on.

4. Use Reverse Psychology – On Yourself!

What if I told you that you HAD to hold onto everything that ever made you upset? How does that feel? When it feels like you have no choice, it put things into perspective. Specifically, that you do have a choice!

Letting something go is actually something to choose, the same as holding on to something. Break it down into those two options, and that choice becomes vividly apparent. Then, decide which is the more freeing and appealing option?

5. Change Your Expectations

This is a tip to use in the future as well as the present. To change your expectations means to set goals without any emotional attachment. It's not that you can't want anything, but it's helpful to think more logistically than emotionally when you're setting goals. When you limit the emotional attachment, it's easier to keep moving forward. Then, when something doesn’t work out, you're less inclined to hold on to it.

If none of these tips help, you can always resort to singing along to the soundtrack of “Frozen” and see how that makes you feel! (I only make that joke because I know you these tips will work wonders.)

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How to Stay In Touch with Your Mind-Body Connection

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Do you believe in the mind-body connection? It's fascinating (and a little scary!) how so many of us can disregard our physical state of being when faced with emotional distress.

Often, we will say that we feel depressed and anxious – and fail to mention that we aren’t sleeping well, eating healthily, or moving our bodies enough. (That's not to mention the use of stimulants and depressants that we engage in daily, such as coffee, alcohol, marijuana, and the like.)

Luckily, we have some easy life hacks to help us treat our bodies like the temples that they are!

Start with Things You Can Control

If you find that things feel out of sorts for you, it is always best to start with the items that you can control. Take note of what you're eating, drinking, and the quality of your sleep, as all of those will directly impact mood and functionality.

Don't hesitate to use apps to track these elements. They're a great way to see patterns – and identify cause and effect. Once those areas are consistently healthier, you can really take a look into mood levels and dive deep into the emotions you're experiencing. Whether due to stress of relationships, work, or family life, keeping careful track is always a highly productive method for better wellness.

Meditation Is Your Best Friend

You can practice meditation anytime and anywhere! You can even use it in small doses inside of a conversation that is making your blood pressure rise. Seriously! The misconception about meditation is that you must have the perfect spot, with the right lighting and music and no interruptions. While that's ideal, it isn’t always practical. It can also dissuade people from trying it.

To meditate, you simply need to breathe and regulate your body. When you can regulate your body, it helps with your reactions to outside stressors, creating a sense of self-control where otherwise you might feel untethered.

When you meditate, you can learn to provide for yourself what you might be seeking in others: validation, comfort, and knowledge. Spending quiet time with your own thoughts can greatly inform you about your needs and how to best provide them.

Combining Professional Help with Personal Meditation

When you combine the daily practice of meditation with therapy, you can use the insights you gain in sessions as material for your meditative practice. For example, if you learn in therapy that you have a hard time expressing when you feel hurt about something, you can focus on that revelation during meditation – and safely experience vulnerability.

Where to Go from Here

It's important to keep in mind that humans are complicated machines that need lots of care and compassion. You cannot abuse your body without having it affect the way you operate emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually. So be extra cautious with how you're taking care of yourself, and note when things are potentially off.

The more intimately you know yourself, the better!

 

5 Ways to Overcome Your Resistance to Change

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When it comes to change, we tend to think of it as either frightening or exciting. Those are two powerful emotions! And, amazingly, change is a combination of both.

When we first enter adulthood, we're forced to change into mature, functioning grownups. Leaving childhood behind means changing in huge ways, and it's scary, exciting, and we're (likely) better for it.

But then we get older and set in our ways – and change starts to feel dangerous. The fear of the unknown takes over, and we dig our heels into our routines and ways of thinking. In fact, change is often scarier than fixing dysfunctional behavior; even when we know we'd be happier, more fulfilled, and better off for it

That's not a headspace you want to be in. Don't wait until change is absolutely crucial, start the moment it pops into your head.

How? That's what I'm here for! Here are five considerations to help you overcome our natural resistance to change:

1. Understand the Consequence of Staying Unchanged

You need to have a clear image of what will happen—both for you and to you—if you decide not to change something. When you can slow down and play the tape forward, you can see how your behavior will continue to negatively affect you and, potentially, others.

2. DESIRE the Change that YOU Need

In case you couldn't tell, the two keywords there are "YOU" and "DESIRE." You cannot change for anyone else – it must be because you want it. And when it comes to desire, there needs to be some forward-motion energy behind the decision.

3. Go for Bite-Sized Goals

Figure out ways to change using baby steps. For example, let’s say you’re trying to cut back on caffeine. Instead of going cold turkey and suffering caffeine withdrawal, taper back one cup at a time, and ween yourself off. Rome wasn’t built in a day – and neither will ending a dependency.

4. Identify Your Reward System

When going through a behavior overhaul, you need to be encouraged and acknowledged by yourself and others. Some of us need words of affirmation; others need to treat ourselves here and there as a reward. Celebrate every accomplishment. Relish every validation. You can overcome anything with the right support system, even if it's from within.

5. Track Your Results

Remember: baby steps. Giving up something we're used to is uncomfortable at first, and the positive effects might take some time to illuminate. Take notes on how you feel. Track little (physical, emotional, social) changes that you see. Every so often, take some time to look at all the progress you have made.

Keeping your progress written down will help you stay on track! (It always does.)

Getting Started

In the long run, you can’t (nor should you) change for anyone else. What it truly takes is your own willpower to make a shift.

But! And this is a big but, I cannot lie:

You can take advice and encouragement from those around you! When you decide that you're ready to embark on this journey, ask for help. Let someone who loves and supports you to hold you accountable. It's a free, meaningful, and effective tool to help keep you moving in the right direction.

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Are You a Good Listener or a Good Speaker? Here's How to Be Both.

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Did you know that your facial features are a good indication of your strongest sense? If you have big ears, you're a good listener. If your mouth is large, you're a great public speaker…

I'm kidding! That old folklore is absurd – but feeling connected to our stronger (and weaker) senses can be incredibly helpful.

As a therapist, I constantly need to incorporate all of the senses. But most importantly, I am there to listen first. And I mean really listen. Only then can I interpret and reflect back what I'm hearing.

Listening is my most valuable tool, and I happen to be good at it. How? Well, it didn't happen overnight: it took years of training and practice.

Making Sense of Our Senses

What is your most valuable sense? And how can you work on improving it? In photography, seeing is a skill. In the culinary arts, taste is a skill. Like all senses, listening is a skill too – and all skills require practice to get stronger.

Each of us prioritize the use of different skills in our work lives. But we all need to be good listeners and communicators when it comes to our interpersonal relationships.

Let’s say that you're great at getting your point across. Your choice of vocabulary, tone, and subject matter is always well-received. While that's a crucial skill, how are you at relaying back what someone else has said? What about listening for additional meaning beneath a person’s chosen words?

On the flip-side, perhaps you are amazing at parroting back a message that was relayed to you. Maybe your listening ability makes you a master at interpreting what others are saying. But when it comes to speaking your mind, do you often find yourself at a loss for words?

Honing Your Skills

The best way to heighten our senses is to be honest with ourselves. "What areas am I good at, and which do I need to work on?"

If You Need to Work on Listening…

Instead of being the one who always speaks up in a one-on-one conversation, try staying quiet and letting the other person fill in the empty spaces. Further, instead of interjecting with a new concept or idea, try asking questions to get clarity on what they just said. Once you're sure you heard their idea, repeat it back to them using a phrase like, “So, what I’m hearing you say is…”

Pretend as though you’re on a fact-finding mission and get as much clarity as you can!

If Speaking Isn't Your Forte…

Find a person who is willing to listen and practice with them. Start by communicating how you feel about something. Often, a feeling is one of the hardest things to formulate. If you can start with that, then you have already overcome one of the most typical hurdles.

For example, if you were to say, “I am really excited about this opportunity!" you would be using a feeling as an opener. This helps endear the listener to you and personalize the experience. Then, you'd try to prioritize the most important points you’re trying to make. The simpler the better when you're making a point. Too much embellishment leads to unnecessary details that can lose the listener's attention.

Find Your Role Model

Whether you need to work on speaking or listening, time some time to observe someone in your life with that skillset. Notice what it is that they do to be successful in that area. At first, mimicking someone can help you embody behaviors – and it won't be long before you're initiating it on your one.

Alternatively, you can also come right out and ask the person what makes them such a good listener or speaker. The compliment will certainly be well-received, and they may have specific advice to help you on your journey to improving the skill.

While we each have our own natural talents, it’s always a good idea to work on improving areas of communication. It will help you create more meaningful connections, guaranteed!

How to Always Pursue Happiness

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As all Americans know, "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" are inalienable rights. They're not privileges, they're rights. As such, we are all encouraged to pursue and define our happiness as we each see fit (as long as it doesn't impede another's happiness, of course!)

However, like all rights, we still need to make the choice to pursue it. While most of us can grasp the concept of pursuing what makes us happy, the ability to do that often requires a shift in perspective.

Shifting Your Perspective

Your happiness becomes tangible the moment you decide to do something about it. Much like dating, it is near-impossible to meet someone if you never leave your couch. Unless the pizza delivery person is single or you take the enormous risk of inviting someone over off a dating app, finding the right person takes action.

The same is true for finding your bliss.

In a previous blog, I go over some tips to reach happiness on a more consistent basis. But the first step is recognizing you're unhappy – or not as happy as you could be. Since happiness is a choice, so too is unhappiness. Our inalienable right is the pursuit of happiness. That phrasing reinforces the fact that there is some chase and effort involved.

Happiness on a Situation-to-Situation Basis

You can look at every situation differently. In fact, it's within that variety of perspectives that makes it possible to find happiness from one situation to the next. Of course, sad news without an obvious silver lining will eventually arise. But even then, you can decide how best to take care of yourself and get to a place of calmness, peace, and, eventually, happiness.

The key? The ability to shift perspective as the need occurs.

For example, say someone is going through a divorce – and it's a muddy and drawn-out process. You can choose to focus on what’s being taken away and the grief of loss. Or, you can choose to focus on what new opportunities lie ahead — and the prospect of a fresh connection with someone new.

If you're grateful for your current experience, you have control over your perspective. The more you engage in this practice, the better you'll be at stringing together longer moments of satisfaction – which leads to an enduring sensation of happiness.

A Journey Worth Embarking On

Remember: happiness is a journey that takes chasing and endurance.  There is nothing passive about the word "pursuit." Doesn't it make you imagine law enforcement going after a suspect? It's a word that strong implies acting with purpose – and purpose requires a crystal-clear goal.

Besides choosing to be happy, it is important to get clear with yourself on what you believe contributes to your happiness. A winning equation would be:

Action + Choice + Perspective + Gratitude = Consistent, Long-Term Happiness.