Tag Archives: Happiness

Double Happiness

Posted on May 10, 2016 in Fun by Sandra Bienkowski

On June 27, 2012, my doctor uttered this life-changing sentence: “Don’t be surprised if it’s twins.” My HCG level (the pregnancy hormone) was through the roof. As a 40-something mommy-to-be, I was thrilled just to be pregnant. Twins? I had a smile glued to my face as my brain raced with questions. Twins!? What do we need? Two of everything? How big will I get? My husband and I are both planners: We like to be prepared; he’s an Eagle Scout! But how do you prepare yourself for two infants at once?

You can’t prepare

We enrolled in a Parents of Multiples class. It was great to meet other parents of multiples and be reassured from the Mary Poppins-like teacher, but I laugh when I think back on the class now.  Valuable lesson of parenthood: There are some things you cannot plan for. The teacher advised us to pack a bag for labor and delivery and fill it with a tennis ball for lower back massages, lollipops as a distraction tool, lavender oil for relaxation and a favorite pillow from home. We dutifully packed our bag and thought we were ready.

Read the rest of Double Happiness on Live Happy!

10 Ways To Put Happiness Into Practice

Posted on February 23, 2016 in Fulfillment, Gratitude, Happiness, Personal Growth by Sandra Bienkowski

Write things down, listen with empathy, and when all else fails—take it to the playground.

How can we feel happier on a day-to-day basis? Practicing gratitude, unplugging and living in the present moment come immediately to mind. Sometimes we know all the right answers, but putting those ideas into practice is the tough part. To help you fully embrace life as it unfolds before you, we’ve put together this list of helpful practices. (Happiness overachievers can click on the highlighted links to learn even more about each practice.)

Strengthen self-control.We don’t have to exhaust our willpower or decision-making quota for the day when we make healthy habits automatic. Make one or more of these fundamental habits a regular part of your daily life in order to help you set and keep other healthy habits: 1. Get seven hours of sleep; 2. Go for a 20-minute walk; 3. Don’t let yourself get too hungry; 4. Take time to unclutter; 5. Give yourself a healthy treat.

Get some sleep. According to sleep expert Michael Breus, Ph.D., sleeping less than seven hours each night can negatively impact your outlook, make you crave unhealthy foods and even kill your productivity. For those with serious trouble sleeping, he suggests you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, take the TV out of the bedroom and get out of bed if you can’t fall asleep within 20 to 30 minutes.

Build up your emotional toolkit. If you struggle with depression or bouts of anxiety, build up your emotional toolkit. Use the tool of self-compassion to treat yourself with the same loving kindness you would extend to a friend. Silence that inner critic and give yourself a soft place to land when things don’t go right or you are working through a challenging experience. Fill up your mind with kind thoughts about yourself.

Read the rest of this article on Live Happy. 

11 Ways To Be Happier Today

Posted on February 16, 2016 in Fulfillment, Gratitude, Happiness by Sandra Bienkowski

Happiness is the gateway to success, but like most good things in life, it also takes some work. Roll up your sleeves and put some effort into becoming a happier you. Here are 11 things you can do to enhance your happiness today. (For all of you happiness over-achievers, click on the headings below for more information on each tip!)

1. Take a look back

If you aren’t sure of your passion as an adult, revisit your youth for clues. Perhaps when you were a child, teenager or even a young adult, there was something that you were passionate about. Maybe there was something you loved to collect, a place you loved going, or an activity that you loved doing. Bring those old experiences back into your current life.

2. Go in search of awe

A sense of awe may help you fight depression and inflammation. Find awe by visiting a natural wonder. Listen to your favorite music. Lose yourself in an art museum. Go in search of what inspires you deeply.

3. Connect with people

Our relationships can have an almost magical effect on our happiness. Singer-songwriter Lisa Loeb feels fulfilled when she’s collaborating and connecting with others. You can find inspiration in others, too.

4. Value experiences over things

Things are nice, but the joy we get from experiences lasts longer, causes less waste and probably has a smaller negative environmental impact. Walk to a destination with your family to enjoy the outdoors and connect through conversation. Take a hike in nearby hills. Plan an exciting trip together. All of these things will give enjoyment that you can anticipate, experience and then savor afterward.

Read the rest of my article on Live Happy. 

Working On Your Own Happiness Is Not Selfish

Posted on December 14, 2015 in Fulfillment, Happiness by Sandra Bienkowski

Working On Your Own Happiness Isn't Selfish - Here's why! - Live Happy magazine

If you had the choice to spend the day with someone who exudes happiness or someone who has a martyr thing going, it wouldn’t be a tough decision, right? How about your super upbeat friend vs. your chronic complainer friend? Not a challenging choice there either. Spend time with someone who exudes positivity, and you are more likely to feel positive. Hang with someone who acts like life’s number one victim, and guaranteed, Debbie downer is going to rub off on you. It’s called emotional contagion, and it means the emotions of others can influence us. So if happy people make other people happy, why is it that happy people are sometimes thought to be selfish?

“The belief that unhappiness is selfless and happiness is selfish is misguided,” says Gretchen Rubin, happiness expert and author of The Happiness Project and Happier at Home. “It’s more selfless to act happy. It takes energy, generosity, and discipline to be unfailingly lighthearted, yet everyone takes the happy person for granted.” Put another way …

Happiness takes work.

Happy people are taken for granted because they are thought of as  naturally happy people or born happy, yet upbeat people have to work at being resilient, bouncing back, rising above, and staying positive. The outside world only sees the happy person and not the effort behind the scenes, so positive people don’t receive credit for creating their sunshine-like dispositions. “Happiness is a work ethic. You have to train your brain to be positive, just like you work out your body,” writes Shawn Achor is his book, The Happiness Advantage.

Read the rest of the article on Live Happy: Working On Your Own Happiness Is Not Selfish

9 Ways To Make the Most Out of Thanksgiving This Year

Posted on November 23, 2015 in Fulfillment, Fun, Gratitude, Happiness by Sandra Bienkowski

If you love Thanksgiving but your traditions are getting a little tired, we’ve got you covered. With a little creative planning, you can make this year’s Thanksgiving the most festive and fun-filled yet.

1. Plan ahead for the day you want

It sounds simple, but your ideal holiday won’t materialize unless you make it happen. Maybe you envision a formal Thanksgiving dinner complete with centerpieces, nameplates and an elegant menu. If that’s your plan, spell it out ahead of time. If you want potluck, paper plates, jeans and football, plan that and let people know. Share your desires openly with family, i.e. “I hope you will stay all day so we can have lots of time together”—to create the day you want.

Related: 8 Easy Practices To Enhance Gratitude

2. Think about timing

It may sound like a no-brainer, but the timing of your dinner can impact the entire day. If you call your mealtime too early, you might get stressed with the-time crunch of meal prep (unless you’ve done most of it in the days before). Some like to eat later in order to enjoy appetizers and the anticipation of the holiday meal all day. Or maybe you have guests who are going to be glued to a particular football game during the day. Consider all of these variables and plan accordingly.

3. Relax your expectations

Without dwelling on it, acknowledge something will likely go wrong with your day, but that’s OK. A quirky uncle might say something, well, quirky. Someone might not show up who said they would. If you want to have the best possible holiday, roll with the punches. (Rest assured: No one’s Thanksgiving is perfect.)

Read the rest of this article on Live Happy:

 9 Ways To Make The Most Of Thanksgiving This Year

Celebrate International Day of Happiness with a Happy Act

Posted on March 19, 2015 in Happiness by Sandra Bienkowski

Did you wake up happy today? It’s the first day of spring, and the International Day of Happiness! Join the celebration!

Here are 15 Acts You Can Do Today! Use hashtag #HappyActs on social media!

If there is a one-word answer to the secret of happiness it is GRATITUDE. Here are some ways to practice gratitude daily and welcome more happiness into your life.

I hope you smile today … it’s contagious!

P.S. Follow Live Happy on Pinterest to get an instant happiness boost!

Happy Homework

Posted on February 3, 2015 in Happiness by Sandra Bienkowski

About half of your happiness is genetically determined, but the other half is in your hands. Want to be happier? Live Happy can help! We put together the Ultimate Happiness Hot List with 54 things to help you become happier today.

Need more happiness to savor with your morning coffee? Check out Live Happy’s Wake Up Happy Tips from the experts!

Do you love to pin or peruse Pinterest? Follow Live Happy! If you want a big delivery of happy to arrive in your mailbox, subscribe here to the magazine.

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” ― Dalai Lama

It’s up to you! Do your happy homework!

Choose Happy.

Choose Happy.

I Have Not Disappeared (Completely) into Mommyhood

Posted on June 14, 2014 in Happiness, Relationships, Self Improvement by Sandra Bienkowski

Yes, you might just find me in the morning picking up Cheerios off the floor and smashed banana pieces off my clothes. I turn my back for two seconds and my 17-month girls have found a way to dump water out of their sippy cups or make each other giggle by throwing food on the floor. Life is fun chaos … for sure.

With twins, my hubby, working from home, exercise, sleep (what’s that?) and all the usual life-maintenance stuff, I finally squeezed in a moment to share a bit of news with you! I recently started writing for MindBodyGreen. If you haven’t heard of MBG (say what?) it’s an awesome personal growth and wellness site! Check out my three latest articles below!


And thanks in advance for reading/commenting/sharing!

Gotta go now, I think I hear a baby waking up from an afternoon nap.



The 4 Best Lessons I Learned From Seeing A Therapist in My 20s

When I saw a psychologist for depression in my 20s, he told me I could win the hurt Olympics. My butt landed in that recliner chair across from him every Wednesday for an hour so I could stop the cycle of hurt. READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE: The 4 Best Lessons I Learned From Seeing A Therapist In My 20s

5 Signs You Are With the Wrong Person

Before I met my prince of a husband, I dated this guy I can’t even think about for two seconds without cringing. READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE: 5 Signs You’re With The Wrong Person

9 Tips to Save Your Marriage From Being Totally Boring

I heard once that people spend more time planning their wedding than their marriage. It stuck with me because it defies logic. Why spend more time planning a single day than the decades of marriage to follow? READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE:  9 Tips To Save Your Marriage From Being Totally Boring

Thanks for reading! Talk to you on the next send! – Sandra


Bumpy Road to Happiness

Posted on December 14, 2011 in Fun, Goals, Happiness by Sandra Bienkowski

Are you happy? Do you have fun? If you answered “no” to either question, I’d like to help you ditch the drudgery and find joy. I am passionate about helping other people live happier, more fulfilling lives. I know what it’s like to be in the depths of depression (a story for another blog), but I dug my way out. Now I hope to inspire others with what I know.

I want my blog, Journey to Joy, to offer straight talk, real solutions that work, and the truth. First, a bit about my journey …

Several years ago, the quote, “the road to success is always under construction” certainly applied to me. Everything was going wrong. (Not the depression I spoke of earlier, just a bad patch) It was almost comical; at least that’s how I like to think of it now. My car went from reliable to lemon. I couldn’t get my car to shut off. Seriously. I felt like I was stuck in some sort of horror movie where my car was out to get me. Costly repairs made my paycheck disappear in a not-so-magical way. I also realized (after way too much time) that I was dating another narcissist. Maybe not by clinical definition, but let’s just say I should have bought these men mirrors instead of dating them … but I digress.

My friends were getting laid off in droves at the publishing company where I worked. While my job was safe, it was like going to work at a ghost town. It was no longer a fun, fulfilling place of employment. Feeling overwhelmed, I quickly turned into one of those people so consumed with my own problems, I became a crappy, self-absorbed friend. I lost some friendships in the process. I was in my 30s and life wasn’t turning out like I planned.

I pulled out my journal because writing always centers me. I wrote out a vision of how I wanted my life to look. And then I wrote out the depressing part—how my life currently looked. I asked myself: What steps do you need to take to turn your life into your ideal vision instead of its current mess? The action steps included things like: dump the lemon car and boyfriend, find a new job I love, and be a better friend. I was amazed at how quickly my life turned around. I landed a job at SUCCESS, a national magazine, writing about how people can improve their lives. (Fitting, right?) I took a time out from dating. I stopped talking about my own problems long enough to be a good friend again.

When you get clear on your problems and clear on where you are going, you can improve your life—fast.

If you don’t like where your life is today, write out a plan for your ideal life. What’s your ideal vision for your life? Write it down. Now write a description of how your life currently looks and compare it to your ideal vision. Don’t forget the most important part—the action steps that will lead you to your ideal life. List them for every change you need to make.

A quote from Katori Hall, a playwright featured in O magazine sums up this blog best. “It was like God was holding a bag of blessings and I was holding a bag of shit, and when I let go of my bag, God was like, ‘here you go.’”

So let go of the crap and let your blessings begin.