Thursday, December 3, 2009


Each morning when I open my eyes
I say to myself: "I, not events,
have the power to make me
happy or unhappy today.
—Groucho Marx (1890-1977)

You can sow seeds of resilience by practicing the art of partnership, by using humor to heal, and by choosing happiness. Yes, happiness can be a choice.

Partnership may be practiced with a trusted life partner, sibling or friend. Teach your partner and others to act on your terms, rather than taking over. Partnership requires candor, collaboration and boundaries. First, you need to know what you want (which is not always easy to express.) Then, you will need to speak clearly and non-judgmentally in order to be heard. Your partner and family may need to listen in new ways to acclimate to your new ways of operating and speaking.

Since caregiving is serious business, it calls for the medicine of humor. Humor not only mitigates times of tension, it is therapy. Therapists use humor to open clients for growth. It moves you through your emotional terrain. It also boosts your immune system. It is healing. Make a list of the things you laugh at and the people who make you laugh. Stock up on funny movies and books. Prescribe for yourself daily laughter.

And if you think happiness just happens to you, think again. To some extent, we feel victims to our emotions... often to the degree that we think we are. Here, too, we can become proactive. Study the conditions that give rise to your happiness. Build into your life the experiences, people, and ways of thinking that bring on a episode of happiness.

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