Whether we choose to notice it or not, I believe that every day at least one thing makes us happy.

Happiness is a funny thing. We are lead to believe that one day we will experience it or that at some point in the future we will achieve it; when really, happiness is everywhere.

It’s not some big ‘a-ha!’ moment in our lives, but rather, it’s a tiny little spark of emotion that we can either choose to foster, or ignore.

Let me explain.

I sat down tonight and randomly decided to make a list. I don’t know why, but I just felt like I had to follow this instinct.

The list was to be of things that make me happy. And it began like this…

·       Watching ‘Friends’ episode re-runs at every opportunity possible
·       A glass of red wine with my love or my friends
·       Soaking in the tub, listening to music
·       The smell of coconut oil
·       Watching cartoons or animation movies on Sunday’s
·       Etc. etc. etc.

What I began to notice was that these things were in my control. And, yes, they may not be significant experiences that encourage an overwhelming sense of joy, but they are small occurrences that make me feel good.

So I asked myself, why am I just realizing this now? Why haven’t I ever thought about what inspires that little spark of positive emotion before? I thought, if I could just compile a decent list of these things, I could pick one when I was in need of a blissful boost.

So I continued making my list:

·       A cup of herbal tea, lightly sweetened
·       Knowing I can sleep in the next day
·       Reading fitness magazines
·       Watching babies make new discoveries
·       Stars in the night sky
·       Listening to the sounds of the waves
·       Sun rises and sun sets
·       Having my morning coffee
·       Achieving a new personal record in the gym
·       Etc. etc. etc.

This list making became super easy. I just kept writing and within minutes I had two hand-written pages of simple, controllable things that make me feel a sense of happiness. I literally had to stop myself or I wouldn’t have anything to write the next time I choose to do this – and I will. 

What this task reminded me was that life is truly what you make of it. We can either focus on what’s stressing us out and what’s out of our reach, or we can step back and focus on controlling what we can – our emotions, our outlook and our actions.

It reminded me of the wise words written by one of my idols – Karen Sampson. As a child, this woman inspired me tremendously, and continues to every day of my life.

In a document stored on her laptop, found after passing from a long term battle with Cancer, Karen at age 37 had written:

“By some absolute miracle, I learned early on that in spite of what was happening inside my body, I could control my mind.” – Karen Sampson

Yes, we all have our bad days. And yes, we all face stressful situations. But if we can learn to be in command of that little spark of emotion, we can create our own joy during even some of our toughest encounters.

So I encourage you to self reflect. What makes you happy? What ignites that flicker of enjoyment in your life?

Literally make a list for yourself and make it a goal to do at least one of these things every day. I bet what you’ll quickly notice is that you already do –you probably just weren’t aware of it before.

Like I said previously, I believe that every day at least one thing makes us happy. We just need to learn to foster it and appreciate it more.

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What is change? Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary describes change in 7 different ways. In short, ‘to change’ could be to transform, to alter, to modify, to adjust, or to revolutionize – among others.

It is a complex word usually accompanied by complex decisions, actions, thoughts and emotions. I find it humorous that a tiny 6-letter word can capture all of that essence.

As I say the word repeatedly in my head it sparks an abundance of mental activity. I think about my journey, I think about my path and I think about my values. I’ve changed. Not because I was forced to, rather, because I wanted to – I was inspired to.

And simply because I opened up my mind and listened to my heart simultaneously, I continue to evolve as a result.

As many of you know, this journey has literally renovated me. Aesthetically speaking, I appear enhanced and improved – yes – but more importantly, foundationally I am stronger, more stable and more able to support myself.

While embarking on what merely seemed like a ‘weight loss journey’, I truly failed to recognize the domino effect that would unfold before me. Like many people do, in the beginning I was focused on the physical changes rather than the mental, social, spiritual and environmental ones that would follow.

I know I’ve spoken of this matter before, but I wanted to highlight it again. Why? Because it’s been 543 days since the beginning of my journey and my life continues to blossom positively as a result of it.

Now more than ever, it’s clear to me who I am, what I want, what I need and where I want to go in life – and learning these things has lead me down new and exciting paths.

Recently, I travelled to St. Lucia. For those of you who have never been there, St. Lucia is a beautiful island in the West Indies that has a stunning amalgamation of mountains, rainforests, low lying lands and beaches. Not to mention, home to over 170,000 of the kindest people I think I’ve ever met.

Oddly enough, what was supposed to be a short family getaway actually became a life changing event for me – another pivotal moment.

Just as my life was heading down one path I was awakened with the sight of what could be. I was intrigued.

On this trip I saw a life I’d always wanted. I saw support, simplicity, health, longevity, happiness, kindness and appreciation. In just one week I was captivated by the idea of living a life less monotonous that highlighted my values and propelled me forward – forcing me to always strive for greatness. I saw the future me.

It’s safe to say I came home and made some changes. After much self reflection I ended my nearly 4 year relationship, I moved into a new place, I grew closer with my sister (my new roomie) and began strengthening bonds with some new friends. And yes, in time, I also entered a new relationship with someone who reflects the same passions, values and beliefs as I.

I feel free. I have a warm sensation that I have taken a giant step towards the person I truly want to be, and I have my journey to thank for it.

To some, these changes may seem sudden – which they are. But do not get that confused with thoughtless. The thoughts, the feelings and the desire to change my situations at the time had been looming over me for quite awhile; I just hadn’t found my ignition switch. And I also hadn’t found the bravery to take that leap of faith.

My trip to St. Lucia and the people I met there showed me the way.

So if there is one thing I want to leave you with today it is this: embrace the change that feels right to you.

Like I recently wrote on my facebook page:

“With an open mind & a willing heart, there’s no limit to life’s adventures. Be open to new experiences & people. No matter how unconventional your path may seem, if it feels right inside, you can’t deny it. Life is filled with many paths, and who knows? Maybe the road less travelled will guide YOU towards YOUR happiness.” - Kristen Adamson