Happiness Evangelist

The Place to Be Happy is Here…

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Make a Choice



We often define ourselves by things that are “outside” us: relationships, work, family – even our own bodies.

But what would it mean to have our lives dramatically altered?

Who would we be then?

One day in 1986, Janine Shepherd’s life changed forever. Her long cherished dream of representing Australia in the Winter Olympics was shattered when she was hit by a truck during a cycling training session. Her neck and back were broken, her right arm, collarbone and ribs shattered. Her right leg was ripped open; she sustained internal injuries and lost most of the blood in her body.

She was not expected to survive this ordeal. But survive she did. ‘Never’ was a word she refused to hear, because she made a conscious choice to live. She chose to inspire and encourage others with her indomitable spirit and extraordinary courage. She chose to lift herself out of her pain and depression. She pushed her body to mend itself and forced her legs to walk again, step-by-painful-step.

She now has a private pilot’s license, a commercial license and an instructor’s permit!

Her journey to recovery experiences are recounted in her books: Never Tell Me Never, Dare to Fly, On My Own Two Feet and The Gift of Acceptance.

A ‘walking paraplegic’, Janine explores the universal quest to find meaning and fulfilment in this TEDx talk. http://www.karmatube.org/videos.php?id=3576

What are the choices that we make??



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Let Us Give Thanks!



If the only prayer you said in your whole life was ‘Thank You’, that would suffice. Meister Eckhart

Dr. Robert Emmons, author of ‘Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude can make you Happier’ says that frequent thankfulness boosts happiness by 25%. He says that in order for gratitude to yield happiness and health benefits, it must be CHRONIC. “A habitual attitude of thankfulness, as opposed to one-off reactions. Feeling gratitude must be ingrained into your personality, and you must frequently acknowledge and be thankful for the role other people play in your happiness.”

Research has shown that:

–  those who kept weekly gratitude journals, exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).

–  self-guided gratitude exercises with young adults resulted in higher reported levels of the positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy compared to a focus on hassles or a downward social comparison (ways in which participants thought they were better off than others).

–  children who practice grateful thinking have more positive attitudes toward school and their families (Froh, Sefick, & Emmons, 2008).

Emmons designed “The Gratitude Questionnaire-Six Item Form (GQ-6)” to measure a person’s Gratitude Quotient. (McCullough, M. E., Emmons, R. A., & Tsang, J. (2002). The grateful disposition: A conceptual and empirical topography. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 112-127.)


Using the scale below as a guide, write a number beside each statement to indicate how much you agree with it.

1 = strongly disagree

2 = disagree

3 = slightly disagree

4 = neutral

5 = slightly agree

6 = agree

7 = strongly agree


1. I have so much in life to be thankful for.

2. If I had to list everything that I felt grateful for, it would be a very long list.

3. When I look at the world, I see much to be grateful for.

4. I am grateful to a wide variety of people.

5. As I get older I find myself more able to appreciate the people, events, and situations that have been part of my life history.

6. Long amounts of time can go by before I feel grateful to something or someone.*


1. Add up your scores for items 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

2. Reverse your scores for item 6.  That is, if you scored a “7,” give yourself a “1,” if you scored a “6,” give yourself a “2,” etc.

3. Add all the scores.

This is your total Gratitude Quotient; a number between 6 and 42.

The higher your score, the greater your Gratitude Quotient!

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SMILES Tone | SMILES Series | Mindful

“We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware, beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.”

Please read this real life experience of Kent Nerburn, a cab driver, in which a life transforming experience blurred the line between the receiver and the giver. 

When we are mindful of another, we bring happiness and joy…to them and to ourselves.


Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living.  One night I took a fare at 2:30 am. When I arrived to collect, the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. 

So I walked to the door and knocked. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.  

After a long pause, the door opened.

A small woman in her 80’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie.  

By her side was a small nylon suitcase The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.  

“Would you carry my bag out to the car?” she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.  

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.  

She kept thanking me for my kindness. “It’s nothing”, I told her. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated.”

“Oh, you’re such a good man,” she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, and then asked, “Could you drive through downtown?”

“It’s not the shortest way,” I answered quickly.  

“Oh, I don’t mind,” she said “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.”

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. “I don’t have any family left,” she continued. “The doctor says I don’t have very long.” I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

“What route would you like me to take?” I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.  

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.  

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.  

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, “I’m tired. Let’s go now.”

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.  

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.  

“How much do I owe you?” she asked, reaching into her purse.  “Nothing,” I said.

“You have to make a living,” she answered. “Oh, there are other passengers,” I responded. 

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.  Our hug ended with her remark, “You gave an old woman a little moment of joy.”  After a slight pause, she added, “Thank you.”

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift?  What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?  On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.  
We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware, beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

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Viral Kindness

Let us make an effort, a personal practice of allowing others to go first, holding doors open & smiling at strangers 🙂

It requires very little effort and brings joy to the giver and to the receiver. 

Let us embody these qualities especially when we are in a hurry, when we are not in the best mood or when we are tired. 

It’s amazing how when we place our focus on serving others, it lights up their day. This then bounces back, energizes us and makes us both happy. 

It is contagious and it spreads quickly…like a virus.

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Happiness is a Conscious Choice

The world is filled with formulae to happiness.
Constant bombardment with images & ideas of keys to happiness.
All of these boil down to the concept:
If you do this or don’t do that
If you look like this or have some of that
You will be happy.
The simple truth, however, is that:
You alone decide whether or not you feel happy.
Happiness is your conscious choice…