Friday, July 12, 2019

Live The Good Life

Since 80% of Americans struggle with finding happiness in their lives, I never feel alone when I have a down day.

I recently listened to a Ted Talk by Dr. Robert Waldinger who is the current director to the   Harvard Study of Adult Development . The project is the longest of its kind, an eighty -year ongoing research project, which is studying the lives of two generations of people in hopes of discovering ……

What Makes A Good Life?

After 80 years of research, they proved the prescription to A Good Life is quite simple.

Strong Satisfying Relationships = Good Health = A Good Life

And yet we as Americans find this a hard pill to swallow. Research revealed that being happy and experiencing a good life has become an almost unreachable goal for us.  Why are 20% of us reporting we feel lonely and a whopping 80% of us are  saying we’re  dissatisfied with our jobs and our life?

The reason is we want a quick fix and relationships are complex.

So, what constitutes a strong satisfying relationship? The main ingredient is the security of knowing someone has “got your back” in good times and bad times, in sickness and health, richer or poorer. That feeling of security protects the brain, lessens pain, and cures loneliness.

But Americans define success in materialistic terms. We worship those who are rich and famous. Our youth aspire to live the life of the jet set, to live in a mansion overlooking the beach, and to be world renown – All of this encompasses the American Dream.

But with 80% of us experiencing discontentment, a new movement is trending -- The Minimalist Movement, which focuses on living life based on experiences rather than worldly possessions.

“Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are. It solely relies on what you think.”


Neuropsychologist Rick Hanson, author of Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science Of Contentment, Calm and Confidence, argues that the problem is we're wired to scout for the bad stuff.

I have talked about this phenomenon during my writing seminar, What Makes A Good Story? Our brain’s only purpose is to keep us alive, thus it is always anticipating what MIGHT happen. I refer to the cave man whose brain searched behind every passible tree, rock or bush in anticipation of danger. The novelist’s challenge is to feed that tendency, keep the “what’s going to happen next?” tension going in order to keep the reader … and the brain…interested and engaged.

Of course, tension and conflict are great for a bestselling book, but in real life, worry and fear, along with tension and conflict guarantee a rocky, steep and cumbersome   path to unhappiness, stress, loneliness and bad health.

So, what is the formula to find calm and contentment, security and faith that we travel stay on the correct course?  Check out the author of Building Your Field Of Dreams,  Mary Morrissey  and her 3-step challenge to happiness.

   Decide to be happy. 

Usually when I am down it is because I doubt who I am and what I am doing. Compared to American standards I am not wealthy, although I do live comfortably. I have no degree, so I ask myself, what do I really know?  Just how good of an author am I without a degree?   And I am not a spring chicken and there is no rooster in sight.   Now you are depressed about my life, too. Right?

So, here is what I do.

1.     Knowing that 80% of Americans are dissatisfied with their lives somehow  makes me feel better.  I am not alone.

   2.  I listen to music. I play songs that pump me up. My favorites? The Neighbors, I’m On MY Way, Jessica Mears, This Girl Is On Fire, and almost anything of Jennifer Nettles but Playing With Fire and Stand Back Up are just a two of my favs.

   3.  I read affirmations which I have written.

    4.  And if nothing else works, I get mad. I go for a strenuous hike and work it off.

5.  I Choose a positive attitude.

Viktor Frankl, author of Man’s Search For Meaning wrote: “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged then to change ourselves.”

I came across a story about a boy trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle of the world. It was an intricate puzzle with many pieces and his father was amazed the child assembled it so quickly. “How did you do that?” The father asked.

“It was easy,” the boy said. There was a picture of a man on the other side. I put together the man and then the world was fixed.”

6. “I thank God for the good and the seemingly bad. The experiences in my life which  I believed were the worst that could happen to a person ended up being the best things that ever happened to me.” When things are dark, and I can see no way out I know it is only the way to a better place.

The unpleasant experiences were what I needed to experience, to grow, to discover new perspectives and become stronger. I may not have achieved what I thought I wanted, but I always received  what I needed. And what   I needed was what I had really wanted all along. 

 7. Trust and believe is the final step to a good life. Do not to run away from life’s challenges. Some call it faith. When I have no control to change the situation the only choice left is to trust that   everything is happening exactly as it should and believe that there are no mistakes.

Be excited!

  Take nothing for granted!

            Meet life head on!
                                Live The Good Life!

Judy Howard

The death of Judy Howard’s husband gave the author a wake up call. Life is short. Howard sold her pet grooming business, which she had operated since the age of eleven and engaged full throttle into her new passions of writing and traveling.

Judy Howard’s writing career expands across many genres, including memoir, romantic mystery, reality fiction, travel and young adult, and now with THE GRIEVING GIFT, an autobiographical novel.

In all of Howard’s books the theme is always the same - overcoming life’s difficulties.

Judy lives full-time in her Winnebago motorhome with her cat, Sportster,   traveling across the country as a motivational speaker and offering writing seminars.

When Judy and Sportster are not traveling, they spend their time in Sun City, California.

 an autobiographical novel

Janice’s older sister, Margaret, wanted to believe that the L.A. doctors at Cedars Sinai Medical Center held a magical deck of cards, but after eight years of treatment they dealt their final card. The Hospice card. No miracles for Margaret. Janice reassures her big sister she will be there, holding her hand every step of the way.

On a death watch, you get to know things about a person you wish you didn’t. It is like a roller coaster ride. And like most rides, it brings us back to the place we began, reminding us of who we were and who we have become.

The twists and turns of Janice’s emotional journey transports her back through the repercussions of her teen pregnancy and into the present estrangement from her daughter, whom she has not heard from for the last sixteen years.

Coming to terms with the grief of losing her sweet Margaret, and dealing with her fear of a lonely future is too much for Janice to imagine. When Margaret’s soul goes to rest in L.A. heaven, how will Janice face the emptiness? Will there be such a thing as a Grieving Gift?

Click on the link below to find out more about Judy's books.

Oh, and don’t forget!! Readers’ reviews  keep writers motivated.


Other books by Judy Howard: JUDY’S AMAZON  AUTHOR  PAGE

Click on the link below to find out more about Judy's books.

Safe travels!


  1. I am a recent widow and I have chosen to move forward with lots of folks supporting me (having my back). I especially identified with this quote;
    "So, what constitutes a strong rI satisfying relationship? The main ingredient is the security of knowing someone has “got your back” in good times and bad times, in sickness and health, richer or poorer. That feeling of security protects the brain, lessens pain, and cures loneliness.

  2. Very strong encapsulation, Judy.

    For me, your #6 is my #1.