Lessons from a Fish - A Sense of Wonder

Last night I was watching a fascinating TV documentary on fish. There are fish that have lengthy fins that allow them to fly over the water for long distances and who lay their eggs on a floating raft. There are fish that eat from the mouths of a Hippopotamus and others that scratch themselves against the sides of rough sides of sharks to get rid of their parasites. This world is a marvellous place. It amazes me how I can have been alive for fifty years and learning and being aware and still find out new things every day.

A sense of wonder is a key element in being happy and in having fun. Happy people are curious; they explore and learn something every day. People with a sense of wonder are never bored. We wonder where this road leads and what this lever does and if this leaf is edible. We poke and prod and test things and see what happens when we change things around.

We want to know what the universe is made of and what Mars looks like on the surface. We want to watch the ladybirds up close and see what those tiny little seeds hold inside. Happy people find joy in their lives by looking for things to enjoy about right where they are.

If your job is boring, explore options. Can you do it quicker, or better, or differently? If you are trapped in an unhappy situation, what else could you focus on to help the time pass? Keep your sense of wonder and curiosity. It will not only make you happier, but it will also keep you young.

Have a happy week. Nikki


Happiness is it’s own reward and leads to more happiness. Even pretending to be happy can make us happier. Consider the following story.

In 1875 a cleaning woman named Mary St. Clair had saved £60 and hidden it at home. Her ex husband arrived in town and soon after her money went missing. Mary was naturally very angry and wanted her money back but when the local constable arrived, she was arrested for swearing. When he heard her story he then went on to declare her a lunatic and had her locked her up in the local gaol.

I can sort of picture Mary as an angry person, standing up for her rights and giving the constable a piece of her mind. She might have been yelling or screaming or stamping her feet. It is unlikely that she was standing serenely trying to explain the situation calmly.

Our actions don’t usually have such sever consequences, but they certainly lead to the repsonses we get. A naturally happy person who lost a large sum of money would spend time trying to get it back. The anger would be tempered by the knowledge that anger should be channeled into useful action. A happy person is more likely to be believed, trusted and assisted.

An unhappy person believes things will end badly and so helps bring to pass the very thing they don’t want. Our actions affect others reactions and there is nothing we can do about it.

There is a saying that “whether you think you can or think you can’t you are right”. I would add that “whether you think you are happy or think you are sad, you are right”. We are only as happy as we choose to be and if we choose happiness, then we bring more of it into our lives.

Mary spent two weeks in the miserable conditions of that gaol, before they realised she was sane and she was allowed to go home. That was a high price to pay for allowing herself to get so carried away with anger that a constable thought she was insane.

Bad things will still happen to happy people, challenges and sometimes tragedy are part of life, but if we can just belive that we are happy, then we have much more chance of making it come true. I know that from personal experience.

Have a happy day - Nikki


Activating Happiness

There are so many wonderful things to do in life; hobbies, sports, travel, crafts, games, Facebook, social events and so much more. Any one of these can add to our happiness.

But it is also possible for hobbies and sport to interfere with our happiness. Take a minute to consider the questions below and see whether you are creating as much happiness as you could.

   Is there anything in your life which is taking too much time, attention or space?

   Do others complain about the time you are spending on your activity?

   Is anything important being neglected because of other good things that take too much time?

   Are you spending too much time on things that used to make you happy but now make you anxious?

   Are you spending money you don’t have on things you can live without?

If any of these apply to you, then it might be time to slow down, take a break or stop taking part completely. Rest and relaxation are an important part of a happy life and happiness will not last long when there is obsession or addiction.

Neither will happiness last if you have a dull routine. If you find yourself doing the same things week after week, it may be time to add a few different activities to your life. Try something new, experience new things or see new places. It can be as simple as trying a new recipe or reading a new book, or as exotic as planning a round the world cruise. Change can be stimulating and refreshing.

Happiness is not found in never ending business or in mindless inactivity. It is found somewhere in between. Take some time to reconsider how you spend your leisure time and you might just increase your level of the greatest currency there is. Happiness


Cold Mornings and Sad Tales

Yesterday I took a trip into the township where I am staying and noticed a little memorial garden I had never seen before. It has about 40 headstones that have been moved from somewhere else. I was intrigued and began to read some of the head stones.

I was struck by the number of young children that had died in the years the cemetery was operating. The last few headstones were particularly sad. Whole families of children seem to have been decimated.

Joseph Gordon and Mary Atley, lost their first born son on 4th July 1867, the same day he was born. Their daughter died in May 1870 aged two years old.

The Hobsons lost both their sons, two year old Walter and four year old William in 1866.

Henry and Susan Dean had five children born between 1861 and 1866. The oldest of these, Charles died at 5 years old, just four months before their fifth child William was born. Then in 1867 all four of the other children died within a six week period.

I can’t help feeling that we have so much to be grateful for. Grateful for life and health, for good medicine and good doctors and hospitals that save lives.

I did some research and found out that until 1866, the Mudgee hospital was still using candles for light and presumably, open fires for warmth. In 1859, one patient complained that she was not offered water to wash in for two weeks and the hospital matron was accused of being “stupid drunk” on duty. At least twenty per cent of the people in the hospital that year died.

I have just moved to a colder region for four weeks and was feeling rather sorry for myself. There is frost in the mornings and last night a cold stormy rain blew through. Then I read about other families who have lived here and began to be enormously grateful. Grateful for;

Warm beds
Electric Blankets
Slippers and bathrobes
Umbrellas and polar fleece jerseys

When I am tempted to feel sorry for myself it can help to think about how much worse some people have it. An attitude of gratitude makes me happier and attracts more good into my life.

Looking on the bright side is not just an interesting technique or a catch phrase, it is a sensible and healthy thing to do. It will make you healthier and increase your level of happiness. I guarantee it.


Learning to be Happy.

Nothing is as constant as change. We can rely on things to improve, or get worse, to increase or diminish and, if left long enough without attention, gradually fall into chaos. There is no point lamenting the fact that things are not how they were because change is a natural and useful part of life.

Imagine if the sea were static. It would stagnate like the little green pools that have no inlet or outlet. Imagine if the sun never went down or the sky was always blue. How would the ground get moisture? How would we all get rest?

Our lives too need change. Every day brings new challenges and new opportunities. If we try and run from them they will still be there. So how can we cope, especially when change is unpleasant?

Learn to love learning. Take every opportunity to learn and find out something new every day. Learn from every change and every challenge and every hardship. Learn from things that seem to stay the same that you wish would change. Challenge yourself to find the learning in everything that happens and it will help you cope with difficulties and find more appreciation for the good.

Being interested in new things will keep you youthful and energised and make you more interesting to others. Keeping your brain active is also a proven technique to help fight memory loss as we age. Every change, good or bad is an opportunity for learning.

And if things don’t seem to be changing as you would like? Set about creating change. Take a new course, learn a new language or learn to play a musical instrument. Start a new hobby or learn a new skill. Take up chess, or croquet, or tap dancing. The world is a wonderful place and there is so much to learn. Make a list of all the things you would like to do and begin to work on it today.

Someone once said, “A mind stretched by an idea can never go back to its original dimensions”. Spend the rest of your life expanding and stretching your mind. It is a proven path to happiness.

Joy in the little things

Have you ever been on a plane trip? I am still a little nervous on plane flights but I can’t help being overawed at the marvellous views. I love watching the cities get smaller and I love seeing the white fluffy clouds spread out below me.

It truly is a wonderful world and we have so much to be grateful for. It is easy to forget how wonderful life is until we step back and look at what we already have. Sometimes we focus so much on what we want “next” that we don’t spend time enjoying what is already ours.

All of us have air to breathe and food to eat. We have the companionship of others and we can always find work to do that is meaningful. We are surrounded by trees and grass and plants of all kinds.

For you to be reading this, chances are you have a computer, and that means you are richer than 88% of the world’s population.* I expect you ate breakfast and lunch and dinner and if you are anything like me, several snacks in between.

I live in Australia and it truly is a land of plenty.

Today, maybe you would like to spend a few minutes thinking about whether you focus on what you do have or what you don’t have. Do you enjoy where you are now? Do you experience the beautiful things that are around you now? Find a way to enjoy what is yours today.
It might be a good day to take a walk and visit a local park or work in your garden. Visit a friend or bake a cake. There are so many options.

Above all have fun. Life is meant to be joyful.


Happiness or Success?

Some people wonder if they should pursue happiness or success. They think it is an either/or world; we work hard and sacrifice for our success and we enjoy happiness when we can. These people may only allow themselves to be happy two weeks a year when on holiday, or worse, decide to delay happiness until some specified point in the future.

It’s a shame.

Happiness is the point of our existence. It is not the goal, but is found in the every day experiences of working towards meaningful goals.

The joy is in the journey and reaching the goal can sometimes bring an emptiness we don’t expect. We stop and wonder, …. Now what do we do? Is this all there is?

Have you noticed that a surprising number of famous people at the peak of their careers are not happy? Sometimes, they are so unhappy they commit suicide. It is possible to have everything you have ever wanted and to be a success in the eyes of the world and yet life can seem meaningless. Success is not a guarantee of happiness.

If you are successful and not happy, is that really success?If you are a happy even though you are not seen as successful, isn’t that its own type of success?

Bertrand Russell wrote, “The happiness that is genuinely satisfying is accompanied by the fullest exercise of our faculties and the fullest realisation of the world in which we live”.

Happiness isn’t a destination, it’s a journey. It is using our talents and abilities and making a difference in the world

And happy people are much more likely to be successful. Happiness can definitely be found on the road to success. If it isn’t found on the road you are on, … maybe …. just maybe …you are on the wrong road.


Boost your Happiness Immediately

Happiness can seem fleeting but since it really is a state of mind there are things we can do immediately to change our happiness levels.  Here is one that may seem surprising.

Life up the corners of your mouth. That's it..... Just act like you are smiling and your body thinks you are. There is a physiological effect that makes you instantly feel happier.

Yesterday I was out walking without a coat and it began raining. I began to get wet and soggy and I was feeling rather sorry for myself. I tried this little trick and it worked for me just like it has in the past.
Just try it....

And ... let me know how it works for you.



Wow ... a new blog to play with and on my favourite subject. Happiness.

It's a crucial subject because .... what else matters? Why have money if it is not to get things that you want. And why do you want them? Perhaps you are really chasing happiness.

Why study? So you can earn more, or know more...... so you can buy things you need or want and know stuff because .... it makes you happy.

Tal Ben-Shahar who teaches a course about happiness at Harvard calls happiness the new currency. Above a certain level of basic need, we all chase things because we want to be happy. And the funny thing is that it is not "things" that make us happy. No way.

So what does?

It is, how we think about "things". And ... how we think about others. And ... how we think about ourselves.

I am one of the happiest people I know. I have several medical problems and no income and am separated from the man I love (for now). But I am happy because I focus on the wonderful things I have instead of the things I don't have. Sound easy? It can be.

In this blog I plan to write to you every day and give you a Happiness Boost.

Lets get HAPPY.......
P.S. I take a lot of photos so I like to include them in my blog. I took this photo yesterday in the front yard of the house where I am staying. Isn't he a character. He even looks like he is smiling.

Inspiring Thoughts on Happiness

and how to bring more happiness into your life.

Some of my other blogs are about My Travels in Oz, House Sitting and Writing Blogs. See Below

  • http://travellerinoz.blogspot.com/
  • http://www.squidoo.com/house-sitting-free-accomodation
  • http://www.squidoo.com/design-elements-of-a-blog
  • http://www.surprisingaustralia.com/
  • http://onlineincome-thetruth.blogspot.com/