Written by Dr. Ron Rubenzer, Fellow – American Institute of Stress

YOU write the story of your life.

If you are not influencing the story of your life, who or what is? Free will is what makes us human.

Starting now, Make the rest of your life, the best of your life (or at least better.) Time only moves from this day forward. Nothing ever happened in the past that can prevent you from being present now (Eckhart Tolle).

Make Happiness a G.L.A.D. Habit.

A gratitude journal

Keeping a gratitude journal can help you focus on what brings you joy

“The Pursuit of Happiness” is a top course at Harvard. Some principles of being content can be boiled down to G.L.A.D habits. G.L.A.D. stands for:

Gratitude

Laughter

Acceptance

Devotion.

You are invited to “fill in the blanks” under each section.

Gratitude: You owe a debt of gratitude to your parents. By today’s standards, you cost almost a quarter million dollars to raise from childhood. ($233,610.00 USD, 2017). Be grateful to your parents.

You owe thanks to the countless “makers” of everything you use, consume or enjoy. Look around you. What item have YOU made, that you use? We are interdependent on hundreds of others through our lifespan. Do YOU make, from scratch, your own food, car, house, electricity etc.? There are those who can’t even make their own bed. Be grateful for those who have a work ethic.

The ungrateful entitled actually believe life owes them, forever. (By way of review, entitlement is a personality trait driven by exaggerated feelings of deservingness … [which] may lead to chronic disappointment.)

If you have been through many storms, be grateful you are still standing. For a brighter day, choose to be positive. Keep a judgment free gratitude journal.

Gratitude Stem: I am grateful for ______.  I can “pay forward” by ______.

Two women laughing

Laughter is one of the best ways to reduce stress

Laughter. Make fun of stress. Some actually believe stress is your friend. Your sense of humor is your sense of balance. Even in the hospital, your response to humor is a marker of cognitive fitness. Keep a humor file, in case of emergency. Try to have one “good humor man” (i.e. Person) in your life.

Humor Stem: A funny thing happened to me ______.

Acceptance. It is our mind’s default setting to want things to be the way we want them to be (wishful thinking). Accepting things as they are (it is what it is) is a beginning point to calmer, effective action that will change our circumstances or our minds.

According to the “Big-Five-Trait” theory of the Most Valuable Person on the job, being agreeable is an “added value” trait.

Acceptance Stem: Just for today I will “Grin and Bear” it when ______.

Devotion: Dedication to any valuable cause beyond yourself is almost guaranteed to bring
you happiness. If you have a pulse, you have a purpose. NASA has already told the universe (in writing,) “We come in Peace.” If nothing else, you can make your home peaceful.

Devotion Stem: I am dedicated to: ______.

Reality Check

Perhaps once a week, check if you are really being G.L.A.D.!