Please enjoy my blog where I offer tips, advice, and quotes on personal development, motivation and happiness.

How To Be Happy

Happy Faces

Are There Ways to be Happy?

Raising this type of question can appear so simplistic, but it is probably one of the most philosophically explored topics since the discovery of brainwaves in humans.

“Is There a God?” may be the number one most asked question.

“Can I be happy? And how do I achieve that?” are likely the next most-popular queries. Those answers cannot really be solidified by anyone but you. Introspection, education and other ideas (see below) can help you find your answers.

More Questions Before Answers

What ways can you, or I, my mom, or your brother, or anyone for that matter, be happy? It is such an absolutely nebulous question because, truly, is anyone continuously happy? If we were content all the time, how would we know it? We wouldn’t be able to identify it. If we had no other feelings in which to juxtapose our state of being, there would be no contrast informing us of our actual state of glory.

So for the sake of realism and to legitimize the information in this article, we have to assume that the term “happy” is a blanket. It’s an umbrella that covers a spectrum of delight and overall feelings of satisfaction intertwined with sprinkles of anger, fear, sorrow, and maybe several other experiences that help house and describe the gamut of human emotion. But let us assume that the happy element exists as the majority.

Happiness is Not For The Forever-Unhappy

The other assumption that must be made in this experiment to encompass definitive determinations of happiness is that this information cannot be retrieved from nor geared towards the perpetually unhappy. Happy for the “typical” is not necessarily something like your shoe staying tied all day or a plane not crashing into the house. There is a lot of relativity packed into this topic.

So again, for the sake of this particular piece, let us accept that the term happy will be relative to the “average” sort, one who perceives happiness as a feeling of inner bliss (for perhaps 60-85% of awake time), as opposed to a one who experiences it as a completely unusual occurrence or a manic episode.

To feel happy or to want to feel like a happy person, you have to want it. It is a state of mind as well as a desired state of experience. Someone who wants to be miserable shall be. Another who finds solace in unhappiness, won’t gravitate toward the positive. If you are currently unhappy, but want a change and you seek the unfamiliarity of joy, then read on.

Materialism Is Not An Answer

Most findings show that in order to create an overall happy feeling in humans, materialism plays a minute part. In fact, Carey Goldberg, in his New York Times article states, “…materialism is bad for your emotional well-being.” Studies point to divorce, depression, and illness as a result of attempting to obtain an abundance of material objects; the stress becomes overwhelming.

Obviously, in order to survive in modern society, it is expected we will maintain a job, a shelter in which to live, and sustenance such as food and clothing. So it is too absolute to suggest that we do not need certain material objects. The point is, however, that those objects are truly necessary. (And by the way, being grateful for those few necessities helps us on our quest to live happily.)

Nonetheless, possessions of interest, which in the scope of life do not a happy person make are: many or fancy vehicles, an overabundance of clothing, excessive jewelry, and the list goes on… It may look nice and it may add comfort, but materialism does not equal internal satisfaction.

We Have The Tools

The majority of good feeling is derived from within— a positive attitude, an optimistic outlook, a healthy lifestyle, and a generosity of spirit. The other elements (outside ourselves) generally consists of things we share with other humans (again, not materialistic) — touching, laughing, conversing, sharing ideas, listening, and giving.

The tools we need to explore and achieve our unlimited ability for happiness are within our grasp; we either have them or can develop them. The number one essential is desire. Once you have decided that you will do all in your power to create joy, you cannot fail.

10 Lifestyle Choices to Create HappinessClick To Tweet

Now that you’ve established an overall goal, putting the following 10 lifestyle-behaviors into practice should help you gloriously on your way.

1.) Positivity: How you perceive the world affects your being. Your brain tells your body how to feel. If your brain sees things as ugly, hard, miserable, cold, bad, unfair, etc., that is how you will feel in relationship to your life.

Watch how your brain works. If it starts to slip into negative mode, switch-up those thoughts. Positive thinking is key. The glass IS always half-full, period. Don’t doubt it or deny it. And, once in a while, it actually may be completely full.

It is essential that you embrace this fundamental practice. Optimism and positivity are your choice to make. Find something good in everything, even the littlest of things. When you do, you will see and feel that the world is a brighter and nicer place. Experiencing things that way will bring you a sense of joy.

2.) Exercise: There is no place for denying the need for exercise. You can learn to love it and even crave it, if you find the right activity. The gym may not be your spot. There are outdoor sports (swimming, basketball, softball, running/jogging, Frisbee), small group activities (hiking, biking, yoga, martial arts, dog walking), and individual ways (brisk walking, stretching, weight lifting) to get your heart-rate up, tone your muscles, and maintain bone density.

Keep in mind, it’s great to look good, but that’s not what we are focusing on at this point.

The idea is:

  • to release endorphins—those feel-good hormones;
  • detox your body (release toxins from your organs); and
  • create an achievable goal so you can feel successful. According to the Mayo Clinic, “…the psychological and physical benefits of exercise can also help reduce anxiety and improve mood.”

3.) Eating Properly: We’ve all heard the expression, “you are what you eat.” This is true in every sense. Three different studies of eating Fast-Food collectively concluded it “can inhibit savoring, producing negative consequences for how we experience pleasurable events.” The bottom line is to eat fresh foods. Avoid saturated fats and processed foods, decrease sugar intake, and that will be a great start on the road to happy feelings.

4.) Sleeping: When we don’t get enough sleep we get cranky. Cranky does not equal happy. The benefits of sleeping a proper amount reduces stress, allowing us to feel rested, relaxed, and hence, joyous. For youngsters (those still growing) and the elderly, between nine and eleven hours per night are recommended. For the ages in between, eight hours is ideal.

5.) Touching: The sense of touch has been proven to decrease feelings of anxiety. Anything that decreases stress increases relaxation. Calm, peace, and lack of tension equals a feeling of bliss.

6.) Smiling: Physiologically, the movement of the corner of the lips moving upward improves one’s mood in a positive direction.  Smiling genuinely feels really good; however, if you are in a rut, fake it. Try it—force a smile—it is guaranteed to make you smile again or even laugh. Smiling = Happy.

7.) Giving: Pleasure centers in our brain are active when we experience things like dessert, sex, or acceptance of money. One important study showed that the “pleasures centers” are equally active when we observe someone giving money to charity. Giving to others increases well being above and beyond spending money on ourselves. Giving gifts, a helping hand, time to listen, anything that offers assistance to another selflessly, creates a feeling of joy for the giver.

8.) Gratitude: A positive-effect proven as a direct practice of gratitude is the diminishing effects of depression. In The How of Happiness, Lubomirsky writes, “Grateful responses to life can lead to peace of mind, happiness, physical health, and deeper, more satisfying personal relationships.”

Being grateful for large experiences or acceptance of gifts is natural (or naturally taught). Being genuinely grateful for the little things is an acquired skill. This skill is fundamentally essential in feeling happy. Some examples are: grateful to wake up; grateful you have hot water; grateful you have shoes; grateful your children are healthy; grateful you can see…get the picture?

9.) Loving Others: When was the last time you honored your best friends or told them you love them? We get shy, for some silly reason, when we want to verbalize our love directly to our friends, siblings, parents, grandparents, and sometimes even our children. Instead of texting, “Luv ya”, try vocalizing, “I love you.” It will go a long way, both ways. Even if the other person cannot respond, you will have expressed yourself fully.

10.) Loving Yourself: It sounds so corny and cliché, but embracing your strengths and weaknesses will empower you. Knowing who you are, your capabilities, and your ability to improve allows for a relaxed sense of oneself. As mentioned many times, the absence of stress will nurture joy. Make time to be alone: in nature, meditating, breathing, reading, looking at old photos, observing others … Whatever beckons you to an environment of tranquility/inner excitement will ultimately guide you to a happy place.

Your Turn

Let me know what you do to improve your happiness, along with your advice on how to be happy today in the comments below.


Goldberg, Carey. (February 8, 2008). Materialism is bad for you, studies say. The New York Times. (

Lubomirsky, S. (2008). The How of Happiness. Sphere.

Seppala, Emma M. Ph.D.  (November 5, 2012). Psychology Today: Emotional expertise for happiness and success

Top 20 Motivational Songs That Will Lift You Up!

The Power of Music

The Power of Musc

Music has been a staple to human well-being since the beginning of mankind. The vibration of sound created by any kind of instrument (including the voice), has evoked a distinct feeling in listeners. Add meaningful lyrics, and a motivational song can be born.

Let’s Start Motivating

The definition of motivation according to Mirriam-Webster is “the condition of being eager to act or work.” The main reason a person becomes motivated is because there is a force that compels them; that particular compulsion is for some type of reward. Basically, motivation is propelled by a personal prize.

Motivation, Music, and Your Brain

Ideally, we all want to feel motivated—we want that prize. That reward can be: increased self-confidence, weight loss, career or educational success, the attention of someone romantically, financial gain, etc. These are all motivating factors. So how can music give us that experience?  Let’s ask the brain.

Studies have been conducted for decades on how music affects our feelings, which are generated by brain activity. Music used to be considered just an “art.” In 1969, Lola Cuddy set up a music psychology lab at Queen’s University in Canada. That program was paramount to the ensuing studies conducted on parts of the brain in which music affects our memory and feelings.

Music is more than a simple sound; it is processed by several different sections of the brain. At least eight parts of the mind are positively affected by music. Some benefits are: increased cognitive and motor skills, language, reasoning, and visual ability. If finding out why music motivates us, then we want to focus on the centers that affect emotions and make us feel rewarded.

Motivational Musical Brain Centers

 At the 2013 Annual Society of Neuroscience Conference, Dr. Gottfried Schlaug talked about music as a multisensory experience. He infers that it essentially “engages pleasure and reward systems in the brain.” 

The Cerebellum – this cortex allows for the emotional reaction to music. When you hear a song and you start dancing involuntarily, or your foot starts tapping on its own, this is your cerebellum responding to the tune being played. 

The Amygdala – this center is quite primitive; it is the fight/flight, fear area. One of the reasons the amygdala plays a part in listening to a song, is that it responds immediately to a trigger. The response system is sudden, so a song with a memory of motivation (or reward) is instant.

Nucleus Accumben – this area creates an emotional reaction to songs and music in general. It forms expectations; it expects an approaching reward. So if there is increased brain activity in the nucleus accumben, it means that the song is creating motivation.

 Songs with Words

 Lyrics have their own set of motivators. Words (in a song) cast from memory of good-feeling and accomplishment can propel a listener to feel empowered. This is one of the reasons why we love to sing along!

Singing aloud (whether on key or not) may create a physiological reaction that releases serotonin. Serotonin is basically one of the feel-good, brain chemicals. Your brain has elasticity and, obviously, memory. So when particular words and/or lyrics trigger empowerment/motivation, it will release an amount of serotonin; it is a chemical that has memory of positive feeling.

Another theory for motivation derived from music is that, as humans, we seek companionship and unity. Music, especially specific songs, brings people together. Unconscious bonds form. A person who abhors large crowds may still be compelled to go to a concert with 10,000 others because there is an unspoken kinship. That unified feeling feeds the brain, and hence the music/the songs motivate the individuals.


The “psychology of music” informs on specifics of keys and tempo in regards to how we react to certain songs. Without lyrics, the emotional response is dependent on the instrumental. Specific keys definitely create a variety of emotions.

The key of F-minor is said to evoke depression, funereal emotion. Lullabies, for example, are meant to calm babies so they can drift off to sleep more easily. Chopin and Beethoven wrote sonatas and nocturnes in E flat major. That key is often used in our children’s bedtime songs and lullabies. The expression “Music soothes the savage beast,” may hold some truth.

Alternately, then what “Riles the wild?” According to, the key of D is known as a key of “triumph…victory rejoicing.” Hence, choosing an appropriate key like D-major or B flat-major will promote feelings of positivity and motivation. Whether we understand musicality, we understand instinctively which keys (without having to know what they are) make us feel a certain way.

The Top Twenty Most Motivational Songs

Now that we’ve established and understand what makes a song so empowering, let’s explore 20 of the best. With the introduction of video, the visuals definitely impact feelings as well. This is a very eclectic group of songs spanning over centuries, so many on the list should please both young in age as well as those young in spirit and heart.

20.) Vivaldi – “Winter” from his Four Seasons. Obviously watching the violinist and the entire orchestra is inspiring. Watch and listen. Then, play it again, this time with your eyes closed and with a goal in mind. This classic piece will make you feel like you can achieve whatever you dream.

19.) Beethoven – 5th Symphony (1st movement). Again, listening with eyes closed allows your auditory senses to indulge in any emotional response you might have. It’s no coincidence that this YouTube video (with no video, just sound) has had almost 20-million visitors. This piece by Beethoven has most undoubtedly inspired many.

18.) Aretha Franklin – Think (Freedom). This is a song that doesn’t require visuals to get the mind excited. The tune, lyrics, and Franklin’s energy evoke a sensation of excitement and determination.

17.) Chuck Berry – Johnny B. Goode. The guitar and piano riffs will distract anyone from any negativity. Here’s a song with a catchy beat and simple lyrics. A quick motivational pick-up.

16.) Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Can’t Hold Us. This contemporary song excites and motivates from its first musical note.

15.) Rolling Stones – Let’s Spend the Night Together. The piano music and energy from Mick Jagger bursts through in this classic hit.

14.) Meat Loaf – All Revved Up. The title says it all. This tune from the Bat Out of Hell album will motivate you, especially after minute 3; it gets wild and gnarly.

13.) Queen/David Bowie – Under Pressure. This is a classic-rock hit in the original key of D major. No wonder this a feel-good staple; incredible musicianship, arrangement, and brilliant voices make this an overall, superb, motivational song.

12.) Journey – Any Way You Want It. There are several Journey songs that are uplifting, but this one in particular empowers and motivates. From its original release in 1980, it’s shown a resurgence amongst today’s younger population.

11.) Michael Jackson – Beat It. This extraordinarily talented writer, singer, dancer inspired audiences over decades. This song will make your toes tap whether you’re 3 or 93. The video never gets stale either; Jackson’s moves motivate.

10.) Pharell – Happy. Getting happy or happier will happen when listening to this song. It is aptly named.

9.) Gypsy Kings – Bamboleo. Dare to sit still during this high-energy guitar masterpiece. The band may be from France and sing in Spanish, but they groove internationally.

8.) 2001: A Space Odyssey Theme Song. The build-up excites the listener; once those deep, recognizable drums join in, we are fully committed. By the grand finale, we are pretending to conduct the orchestra.

7.) Black Eyed Peas – I Gotta Feeling. This song is a great example of people wanting to share an experience. You can’t help but get motivated and have a good time, and rock the house.

6.) Rocky Horror Picture Show- Time Warp. This song was the 20th century’s version of the Macarena. This is a fun pick-me-up. Take note in the video of a 20-something Susan Sarandon.

5.) All the Single Ladies. The song is really fun, but if you attempt to dance like Beyoncé does in the video, you will have a great time!

4.) Beatles – Birthday Song. If this song doesn’t elevate your spirits, that’s pretty sad. Even if it’s not your birthday, this uplifting tune should make it a better day!

3.) Aillen Quinn – Tomorrow. This tune from the Broadway show and film “Annie” warms even the coldest. Annie said that singing this song when she was in the orphanage cheered her up. Now, that’s a motivational song.

2.) Kelly Clarkson – Stronger. Another empowering bonding song. Women, especially, can relate to the lyrics. Dancing is not required, but jumping up and down may happen.

1.) Psy – Gangnam Style. The video has been watched almost 2 BILLION times. That’s inspirational unto itself. Push judgment aside on this one and just let it make you smile.

Take a Chance

Some of these songs may be familiar, others completely unknown. When you’re feeling like you could use a spiritual boost, click on a link to one of these motivational songs. Odds are you will feel lighter, yet stronger in just a beat, a heartbeat.

Let me know what you think of my list and what your favorite motivation songs are.

How To Achieve Your Goals – (Infographic)

It has been said that everyone has goals, whether we know it or not. We have goals to keep our current job, or to get a different one. We have goals to save for the future, or to travel, take a vacation, or purchase the things we need and want to make our lives more enjoyable. Now the issue comes when you try to reach these goals, because as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once said:

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

So before you can reach your goals you need a plan. I have created a complete step by step infographic on how you can create this plan. Read my infographic on How to Achieve Your Goals below to learn exactly what you need to do to achieve your goals.

How To Achieve Your Goals

 What Do You Think?

Let me know what you think about the steps I outlined in this infographic – How to Achieve Your Goals in the comments below.