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Popular Articles

Crazy-Makers: Dealing with Passive-Aggressive People

Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

When You Have Been Betrayed

Struggling to Forgive: An Inability to Grieve

Happy Habits: 50 Suggestions

The Secret of Happiness: Let It Find You (But Make the Effort)

Excellence vs. Perfection

Depression is Not Sadness

20 Steps to Better Self-Esteem

7 Rules and 8 Methods for Responding to Passive-aggressive People

What to Do When Your Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Marriage

Happiness is An Attitude

Guide to How to Set Achieveable Goals

Catastrophe? Or Inconvenience?

Popular Audios

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Relaxation for Children

Loving Kindness Meditation

Self-Esteem Exercise

Lies You Were Told

Choosing Happiness

Audio Version of Article: Crazy-Makers: Passive-Aggressive People

Audio Version of Article: Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

Audio Version of Article: Happiness Is An Attitude

All Audio Articles

Happy Habits: 50 Suggestions--page 7

by Monica A. Frank, Ph.D.
"Happiness is not something you achieve. In fact, the more you try to find happiness, the less likely you will be happy. Happiness occurs by how you live your life."


Contact comfort is a basic human need which contributes to positive mood. Contact comfort is the need for physical contact with another living being. In some ways, it is as important as the need for food and water.

For instance, many years ago it was discovered that infants living in orphanages where they were fed but were not held often developed a syndrome called "failure to thrive" which could even result in death. This was attributed to a lack of physical nurturing and it still can occur in situations of neglect.

Animals can often provide the contact comfort that people need. And for many people, it is almost impossible to be negative with an animal. Have you ever noticed how people's voices will even change when they are talking to an animal? If you don't have a pet yourself, you may be able to find opportunities such as a friend's pet or helping out at a shelter or going to a petting zoo.


Our brains thrive on change. Give your brain a vacation by doing something different. Whenever we do something different or change our routine, different parts of the brain are stimulated. When we stimulate different parts of the brain different chemicals are released which can help to improve mood.

Again, developing the conditions for happiness may be just doing simple things. For example, taking a drive (this doesn't mean the drive to work or running errands) or getting a change of scenery is another simple thing a person can do. In fact, a change of scenery can be looking at what you see everyday with a different perspective.

For example, choose to look for the different variation of colors in your environment or notice the microcosmic world. Any activity that is out of your normal routine will do. The idea is to engage in some activity that stimulates the brain in a different way.


Happiness is closely associated with physical health. Another area of health that can contribute to positive mood and overall happiness is obtaining proper sleep. Too many people are sleep deprived which tends to create stress, an obstacle to developing happiness.

Several factors can interfere with proper sleep. First, for those who are sleeping excessively, it is important to establish your sleep hours and to stay awake during the rest of the time. Excessive sleep can change your chemical balance so as to make you more fatigued and unable to focus or think clearly. Even if you don't sleep well at night, it is necessary to remain awake during your established wake time to help train your body for the proper pattern and to re-balance the neurotransmitters (chemicals in the brain) that aid with sleep.

For those with insomnia, the most common problem is worrying about the stressors or mistakes made or certain negative beliefs/ideas. This type of thinking is stressful and causes increased physical and mental tension. The more tension a person experiences, the more difficult it is to fall asleep (and stay asleep). Relaxation is necessary for sleep. Therefore, the most effective methods for sleep is to engage in relaxing activities for about an hour prior to sleep and to use a relaxation audio or do some sort of mindfulness or meditation practice when going to bed.

As much as people want to believe that TV is relaxing and will use it to fall asleep, IT IS NOT! It may help you fall asleep because you turn off the intrusive thoughts when focused on something else, but it causes other sleep disturbance such as restless sleep or early-morning awakening because it is stimulating the brain, not relaxing the brain.

One particular type of worry that people with sleep disturbance may have is the fear "What if I can't get enough sleep? I won't feel good tomorrow and won't be able to function." This thought actually increases tension and reduces the chances of being able to sleep well which creates a negative cycle and reinforces the fear. It needs to be addressed with the cognitive therapy techniques in which you identify the irrational thought and challenge it. In this case, the irrational thought is catastrophic thinking which needs to be changed from a catastrophic worry to an inconvenience: "I would prefer to sleep well tonight, but if I don't it is not terrible. It is just unpleasant, but eventually I will sleep if I stick to my plan."

Sleep is an important issue but often a difficult one to address. As you can see from the above, it involves behavioral and cognitive components. Therefore, when addressing this issue start with manageable steps and focus on gradual improvement. For instance, if you want to do relaxation and can't focus because you are too overwhelmed, just tell yourself to turn an audio on even if you don't listen to it fully. Any steps in the right direction will help you to eventually achieve what you want. READ MORE: page 8