With the hustle and bustle of our daily lives and the cultural prioritization of ambition and achievement that we all live with, it can be hard to find a person — much less a book — that teaches you the importance of seeking out, not accomplishments, but true joy. It seems strange, at first: after all, don’t we all want to be happy? Maybe so, but a rare few of us prioritize it on a daily basis. If you’re interested in changing this in your life, then “Live Happy: Ten Practices for Choosing Joy,” may just teach you how.
“Live Happy,” published by Deborah K. Heisz and the editors of Live Happy Magazine, posits that happiness is, according to a 2005 study, 50 percent genetics, 10 percent environment, and 40 percent choice. While a big chunk of happiness comes from things that are beyond our influence, that 40 percent of control over our own emotions is key to a positive outlook.
The book also offers an even more intriguing insight into why so many people who believe that they are seeking out happiness end up missing the mark: most are going about it backwards. “Research shows that, although getting exactly what you’ve always wanted doesn’t ensure happiness, your odds for realizing your dreams improve significantly when you’re happy,” reads the introduction. Being happy allows you to thrive, to use your skills and talents to become fulfilled. Seeking out what you want won’t ensure your happiness, in other words, but being happy will allow you to fulfill your wildest dreams.
The book’s pages are filled with 40 real-life stories that align with one of ten tenants of happiness, defined by the book as follows: attitude, connection, meaning, creativity, gratitude, mindfulness, health, resilience, spirituality, and giving back. The stories come from such famous names as Jason Mraz, Hoda Kotb, Alanis Morissette, and Arianna Huffington, and touch on tools used by these and other people to search for — and find — happiness. Each major section contains several stories, followed by a “Get Happy” section, encouraging the reader to take concrete steps to fulfill this particular tenant of happiness.
The book masquerades as a self-help book, but it is truly an inspirational book. It is not the sort of tome you need to read from beginning to end, but rather the kind of book to give a permanent place on your coffee table, so that you can pick it up and read one of the stories at random to reinforce your own search for happiness, when you feel you need it most.
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Image care of Live Happy