Personal Projects

When things are going well, it’s generally easy to recognize life’s blessings. But what about when you’re facing adversity or tragedy? According to Dr. Robert Emmons, the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, it’s not only helpful to be grateful, it’s essential.

In the days immediately following the 9/11 tragedy, for example, gratitude was found to be the second most common experienced emotion, after sympathy. The ability to appreciate your life circumstances is a powerful coping strategy during stress and trauma, and while we often remember adversity with deep pain, gratitude helps us to heal a bit and gives us the strength to move on.

“In fact, it is precisely under crisis conditions when we have the most to gain by a…


Think you can’t learn to be grateful? Think again! Researchers at the University of Minnesota found that only about 40 percent of a grateful disposition is inherited from our genes. That means that we can have a direct effect on the other 60 percent of our personal gratitude!

One of the most popular and effective way to cultivate gratitude is by keeping a gratitude journal. It’s an opportunity to focus on the abundant gifts we are fortunate to have, as opposed to harping on what’s lacking in our lives. And the great news is it’s easy to do! Start slowly if that’s what’s comfortable for you, and write down a couple of things you’re thankful for as you look back and…


Having gratitude is awesome when things are going well in your life, but did you know it’s even more powerful when life isn’t exactly hunky-dory?

This interesting piece by gratitude expert Dr. Robert Emmons explains how recognizing and expressing gratitude during tough times can help give uplifting perspective and remind you of your past strength. I’ve used this strategy with great success in my own household when someone has fallen pray to chronic complaining. Having them list a few things they’re grateful for has an almost instantaneous positive effect. Try it some time.

Meanwhile, I’m a huge fan of keeping a gratitude journal. Here are three things on my gratitude list this week:

1. Dinner with my lifelong best friend. We…


How to Be Happier in 6 Weeks

What would you say if I told you that by making one little change, you could be happier? Well it’s true…and all it involves is incorporating a little gratitude into your life.

According to Psychology Today, a study of gratitude journaling showed that people who tracked their gratitude once a week were happier after six weeks. Yup, just by writing down a few things you’re grateful for on a weekly basis, you can increase your happiness. In fact, if you started today, you’d be happier by the end of the year.

You don’t have to share what you write with anyone, just do it. I can almost guarantee it’ll be a positive change. 

I’m happy to share 3 things I’m grateful…


At heart, I’m a big “thanker” and I love this Harvard Business Review piece about how to give a meaningful thank you. While it’s specifically about showing gratitude and appreciation toward employees, the concept is universal: the folks who help you and your family on a daily basis don’t hear “thank you” often enough. That means people like the cashier at the supermarket, the washing machine repair guy, your son’s karate instructor. While you might be thinking that paying the person is thanks enough, everyone appreciates the motivating effects of a genuine “thank you.” So think about spreading the happiness with a heartfelt thank you to someone who has gone above and beyond for you this week.

Who and what am I…


3 Things I’m Grateful For

What would you say if I told you that by making one little change, you could be happier? Well it’s true…and all it involves is incorporating a little gratitude into your life. According to Psychology Today, a study of gratitude journaling showed that people who tracked their gratitude once a week were happier after six weeks. Yup, just by writing down a few things you’re grateful for on a weekly basis, you can increase your happiness. In fact, if you started today, you’d be happier by the end of the year. You don’t have to share what you write with anyone, just do it. I can almost guarantee it’ll be a positive change. 

Here’s are three things I’m grateful for this week:


It’s Gratitude Friday, and I just want to offer a gentle reminder to take a few minutes today and think of something…or three things…or ten things…you’re grateful for this week. Share them here, post them on your Facebook, write them on a sticky note or in a beautiful journal, whatever feels right to you. But definitely take the time to do it—the gratitude habit makes a huge difference in your pursuit of lasting happiness.

Here’s my list this week:

1. A huge burst of productivity and creativity. I feel like I’m finally on a roll, and I’m so grateful to have found that spark.

2. My friends! I’ve got the best ones out there and they…


Sharing the Gratitude Habit

One of the simplest ways to get a boost of happiness is to reflect for a couple of minutes about things you’re grateful for in your life. Could be a person, maybe it’s an accomplishment or some good news, perhaps a simple joy or something you’ve learned. It’s too easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day hassles and forget to stop and appreciate the good things.

I try to take some time every Friday to write down three quick things I’m grateful for during the previous week. Here’s what I’ve got this week:

1. A last-minute dinner with two of my college boys. So good to hug them for the first time in almost a…


100 Happy Days Follow-Up

You might remember me mentioning that I started a happiness project called “100 Happy Days” back on my birthday in May. The challenge was to take a photo every day for 100 days in a row of something that—DUH—made me happy that day.

I posted at least one picture (sometimes more) every day on my Instagram with the hashtag #100happydays and lo and behold, 100 days later I had this wonderful visual collection of things that made me happy or sparked a happy memory. Some days were more of a challenge than others, but then I’d walk around my house or my yard and find something that made me smile—a book, a flower,…


Growing up in the ’70s and ’80s, my siblings and I used to snicker and roll our eyes at our dad’s frequently-repeated phrases of wisdom, rules and advice. To be sure, some of these gems were corny, archaic holdovers from his own childhood — “A little deprivation is good for the soul,” for instance, and “A pint’s a pound the world around.” (We always figured that one might come in handy if any of us ever appeared on Jeopardy!) Others were trite clichés, including “Buy low, sell high,” and “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” Still others were his own original sayings, crafted in pursuit of helping manage the chaos of…