Happiness and your Brain!

Happiness and your Brain!

brain, happiness

Love your brain

No, this isn’t a post about brain science and happiness in fact it’s a post to highlight a story I heard today on Radiolab which is a really amazing radio show.  If you’ve never listened to Radiolab you really have to check it out, it is part National Public Radio, part Science Friday, part This American Life.  Today on Radiolab the show focused on what they called, When Brains Attack! a show about when people’s brains work against them in odd ways.  One of the stories was about a man named Kohn and it is one of the most touching stories you’ll ever hear, enjoy and have a happy day my friends.

Below is the link to When Brains Attack and Kohn’s story starts at the 26:10 mark, check it out:  http://www.radiolab.org/2012/jun/22/

Other Touching Happiness Posts!

Remember the Sweet Things – maybe the most amazing story ever!

A Jar of Happiness & Good Things – a great to build your happiness!

Appalachian Trail Happiness: Trail Angels – read about the kindest people ever, trail angels

There are Angels Among us – A story about a truly amazing man




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Happiness is Poetry: Gregory Corso

Happiness is Poetry: Gregory Corso

Gregory Corso, poetry, poet

Gregory Corso

I remember the people I knew in prison; I was very fortunate to know them – they came from 1910, 1920, 1930. ~ Gregory Corso

Another poet I found via the American Bible of Outlaw Poetry.  I love the picture above it really seems to fit his words.  The second poem, The American Way, was written in 1970, if someone had told me 2017, I wouldn’t have blinked, funny that. ~ Rev Kane

The Whole Mess … Almost

I ran up six flights of stairs
to my small furnished room
opened the window
and began throwing out
those things most important in life
First to go, Truth, squealing like a fink:
“Don’t! I’ll tell awful things about you!”
“Oh yeah? Well, I’ve nothing to hide … OUT!”
Then went God, glowering & whimpering in amazement:
“It’s not my fault! I’m not the cause of it all!” “OUT!”
Then Love, cooing bribes: “You’ll never know impotency!
All the girls on Vogue covers, all yours!”
I pushed her fat ass out and screamed:
“You always end up a bummer!”
I picked up Faith Hope Charity
all three clinging together:
“Without us you’ll surely die!”
“With you I’m going nuts! Goodbye!”
Then Beauty … ah, Beauty—
As I led her to the window
I told her: “You I loved best in life
… but you’re a killer; Beauty kills!”
Not really meaning to drop her
I immediately ran downstairs
getting there just in time to catch her
“You saved me!” she cried
I put her down and told her: “Move on.”
Went back up those six flights
went to the money
there was no money to throw out.
The only thing left in the room was Death
hiding beneath the kitchen sink:
“I’m not real!” It cried
“I’m just a rumor spread by life … ”
Laughing I threw it out, kitchen sink and all
and suddenly realized Humor
was all that was left—
All I could do with Humor was to say:
“Out the window with the window!”

The American Way

I am a great American
I am almost nationalistic about it!
I love America like a madness!
But I am afraid to return to America
I’m even afraid to go into the American Express—
They are frankensteining Christ in America
         in their Sunday campaigns
They are putting the fear of Christ in America
         under their tents in their Sunday campaigns
They are driving old ladies mad with Christ in America
They are televising the gift of healing and the fear of hell
         in America under their tents in their Sunday
They are leaving their tents and are bringing their Christ
         to the stadiums of America in their Sunday
They are asking for a full house an all get out
         for their Christ in the stadiums of America
They are getting them in their Sunday and Saturday
They are asking them to come forward and fall on their
         because they are all guilty and they are coming
         in guilt and are falling on their knees weeping their
         begging to be saved O Lord O Lord in their Monday
         Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
         and Sunday campaigns
It is a time in which no man is extremely wondrous
It is a time in which rock stupidity
         outsteps the 5th Column as the sole enemy in America
It is a time in which ignorance is a good Ameri-cun
         ignorance is excused only where it is so
         it is not so in America
Man is not guilty   Christ is not to be feared
I am telling you the American Way is a hideous monster
         eating Christ   making Him into Oreos and Dr. Pepper
         the sacrament of its foul mouth
I am telling you the devil is impersonating Christ in America
America’s educators & preachers are the mental-dictators
         of false intelligence   they will not allow America
         to be smart
         they will only allow death to make America smart
Educators & communicators are the lackeys of the
         American Way
They enslave the minds of the young
         and the young are willing slaves (but not for long)
         because who is to doubt the American Way
         is not the way?
The duty of these educators is no different
         than the duty of a factory foreman
Replica production   make all the young think alike
         dress alike   believe alike   do alike
Togetherness   this is the American Way
The few great educators in America are weak & helpless
They abide   and so uphold the American Way
Wars have seen such men   they who despised things about
         but did nothing   and they are the most dangerous
Dangerous because their intelligence is not denied
         and so give faith to the young
         who rightfully believe in their intelligence
Smoke this cigarette doctors smoke this cigarette
         and doctors know
Educators know   but they dare not speak their know
The victory that is man is made sad in this fix
Youth can only know the victory of being born
         all else is stemmed   until death be the final victory
         and a merciful one at that
If America falls it will be the blame of its educators
         preachers   communicators   alike
America today is America’s greatest threat
We are old when we are young
America is always new   the world is always new
The meaning of the world is birth not death
Growth gone in the wrong direction
The true direction grows ever young
In this direction what grows grows old
A strange mistake   a strange and sad mistake
         for it has grown into an old thing
         while all else around it is new
Rockets will not make it any younger—
And what made America decide to grow?
I do not know   I can only hold it to the strangeness in man
And America has grown into the American Way—
To be young is to be ever purposeful   limitless
To grow is to know limit   purposelessness
Each age is a new age
How outrageous it is that something old and sad
         from the pre-age incorporates each new age—
Do I say the Declaration of Independence is old?
Yes I say what was good for 1789, is not good for 1960
It was right and new to say all men were created equal
         because it was a light then
But today it is tragic to say it
         today it should be fact—
Man has been on earth a long time
One would think with his mania for growth
         he would, by now, have outgrown such things as
         constitutions manifestos codes commandments
         that he could well live in the world without them
         and know instinctively how to live and be
         —for what is being but the facility to love?
Was not that the true goal of growth, love?
Was not that Christ?
But man is strange and grows where he will
         and chalks it all up to Fate   whatever be—
America rings with such strangeness
It has grown into something strange and
         the American is good example of this mad growth
The boy man   big baby meat
         as though the womb were turned backwards
         giving birth to an old man
The victory that is man does not allow man
         to top off his empirical achievement with death
The Aztecs did it by yanking out young hearts
         at the height of their power
The Americans are doing it by feeding their young to the
For it was not the Spaniard who killed the Aztec
         but the Aztec who killed the Aztec
Rome is proof   Greece is proof   all history is proof
Victory does not allow degeneracy
It will not be the Communists will kill America
         no   but America itself—
The American Way   that sad mad process
         is not run by any one man or organization
It is a monster born of itself   existing of its self
The men who are employed by this monster
         are employed unknowingly
They reside in the higher echelons of intelligence
They are the educators the psychiatrists the ministers
         the writers the politicians the communicators
         the rich the entertainment world
And some follow and sing the Way because they sincerely
         believe it to be good
And some believe it holy and become minutemen in it
Some are in it simply to be in
And most are in it for gold
They do not see the Way as monster
They see it as the “Good Life”
What is the Way?
The Way was born out of the American Dream
         a nightmare—
The state of Americans today compared to the Americans
         of the 18th century proves the nightmare—
Not Franklin not Jefferson who speaks for America today
         but strange red-necked men of industry
         and the goofs of show business
Bizarre! Frightening! The Mickey Mouse sits on the throne
         and Hollywood has a vast supply—
Could grammar school youth seriously look upon
         a picture of George Washington and “Herman Borst”
         the famous night club comedian together at Valley
Old old and decadent   gone the dignity
         the American sun seems headed for the grave
O that youth might raise it anew!
The future depends solely on the young
The future is the property of the young
What the young know the future will know
What they are and do the future will be and do
What has been done must not be done again
Will the American Way allow this?
I see in every American Express
         and in every army center in Europe
         I see the same face the same sound of voice
         the same clothes the same walk
I see mothers & fathers
         no difference among them
They not only speak and walk and think alike
         they have the same face!
What did this monstrous thing?
What regiments a people so?
How strange is nature’s play on America
Surely were Lincoln alive today
         he could never be voted President   not with his
Indeed Americans are babies all in the embrace
         of Mama Way
Did not Ike, when he visited the American Embassy in
         Paris a year ago, say to the staff—“Everything is fine,
         just drink Coca Cola, and everything will be all right.”
         This is true, and is on record
Did not American advertising call for TOGETHERNESS?
         not orgiasticly like today’s call
         nor as means to stem violence
         This is true, and is on record.
Are not the army centers in Europe ghettos?
         They are, and O how sad   how lost!
The PX newsstands are filled with comic books
The army movies are always Doris Day
What makes a people huddle so?
Why can’t they be universal?
Who has smalled them so?
This is serious! I do not mock or hate this
         I can only sense some mad vast conspiracy!
Helplessness is all it is!
They are caught   caught in the Way—
And those who seek to get out of the Way
         can not
The Beats are good example of this
They forsake the Way’s habits
         and acquire for themselves their own habits
And they become as distinct and regimented and lost
         as the main flow
         because the Way has many outlets
         like a snake of many tentacles—
There is no getting out of the Way
The only way out is the death of the Way
And what will kill the Way but a new consciousness
Something great and new and wonderful must happen
         to free man from this beast
It is a beast we can not see or even understand
For it be the condition of our minds
God how close to science fiction it all seems!
As if some power from another planet
         incorporated itself in the minds of us all
It could well be!
For as I live I swear America does not seem like America
         to me
Americans are a great people
I ask for some great and wondrous event
         that will free them from the Way
         and make them a glorious purposeful people once
I do not know if that event is due   deserved
         or even possible
I can only hold that man is the victory of life
And I hold firm to American man
I see standing on the skin of the Way
         America   to be as proud and victorious as St.
         Michael on the neck of the fallen Lucifer—
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The Science of Happiness

The Science of Happiness

happiness scienceIf more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

This whole idea of happiness for a long time was thought to be a bunch of hooey, the realm of poets and philosophers but not something measurable or real.  However, over the last 20 years the field of positive psychology has made a lot of strides toward legitimacy.  So here are some pieces that tell you what they’ve come up with ~ Rev Kane

From Real Simple, a piece on the relationship between genetics and life choices and how the inter-relate  http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/life-strategies/inspiration-motivation/the-science-of-happiness-00000000050227/index.html

From Time.com a pretty comprehensive piece on what Psychology knows about what makes us happy  http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1015902,00.html

A pop culture piece from Men’s Health on how variety might be the secret to happiness  http://news.menshealth.com/the-new-science-of-happiness/2012/05/16/

A good survey of the science from the LA Times  http://www.latimes.com/la-he-happy8-2008sep08,0,6171435.story



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Sometimes the simplest things

Sometimes the simplest things

happiness, simplest things

Happiness, the simplest thing

So the other night I was dancing around the web adding to my collection of quotes about happiness when I stumbled upon this quote.

Rules for Happiness:
something to do,
someone to love,
something to hope for.
Immanuel Kant

I absolutely love this, for many of my happiness resource posts I look for simple suggestions  on how to live a happier life and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything more simple or direct than this quote.  This quote lays out a really simple road map for living a happier life.

First, have something to do, something that gives you a sense of purpose in life, something that makes you feel good for a reason other than the paycheck attached to the job.

Second, find someone to love.  This doesn’t necessarily mean romantic love but have someone close to you, someone you care about even more than yourself.

Finally, have something to hope for, something to look forward in the future.  This comes back to simple mindfulness and the idea of being present.  You should be focused on the present on what’s happening in this moment but always be preparing for the future, having a goal something to live for and as always, and I’m sure Kant meant to mention it, have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

Some other Happiness Posts You Might Enjoy!

Happy Anniversary – Ministry of Happiness: Our Best Posts

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Remember the Sweet Things

Happiness is Taking Risks

Appalachian Trail Happiness: Acceptance is the Way


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Happiness is Natalie Portman: Annihilation

Happiness is Natalie Portman: Annihilation

natalie portman, happiness, celebrity

Natalie Portman

I’m going to college.  I don’t care if it ruins my career.  I’d rather be smart than a movie star. ~ Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman

I’ve been a fan of Natalie Portman for a very long time.  I thought she was outstanding in the professional at the young age of 13.  She of course most famously starred in the early Star Wars films while in high school and in the middle of those films she enrolled at Harvard.  She’s obviously talented, obviously beautiful and if you know anything about her, obviously brilliant.  I’ve often joked that given how amazing she is we are obviously destined to be together, that joke of course ended on a day when I drove into Big Sur after spending three days at a silent retreat only to find a bit too much traffic.  When I asked around I found out I had driven into town on the day of her wedding, a lovely little coincidence.


So it was with a bit of a grin when sitting through her most recent film Annihilation that I came to realize her character was married to a man named Kane in the film.  But what I really want to talk about tonight is the film Annihilation.  Ms. Portman  was excellent in the film, but I really want to talk about this film as it is the best “pure” science fiction film I’ve seen since Arrival.  Now what do I mean by a “pure” science fiction film?  I mean a film that relies on the underlying science and the cerebral aspects of the film rather than aliens, monsters, space crafts or explosions.  Not that I feel including any of these rules it out, and not that I don’t love films with those in them, but they are not the focus in a “pure” science fiction film.  Annihilation has its monsters and explosions, but the focus of the story is a purely scientific question, what is life?

I don’t want to go much further in talking about the story, but it’s a great story.  The thing is the story caught me a little bit by surprise.  There’s a mystery to be solved and it’s during the investigation of this mystery where a really amazing concept, underlying the question of what is life, is revealed.

An audio and visual trip

One of the things I believe is that this film should absolutely be nominated next year for an Oscar for score, sound design and cinematography.  Although visual effects may be the more appropriate category.  I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a film where I was so captivated by the visual and audio landscape of the film.  Even the visuals of the final credits are absolutely amazing and will lead me to going to see this film again.

Now if your type of science fiction is a Transformers movie, or anything with Michael Bay-like effects and explosions.  If Arrival bored you to tears, stay away from Annihilation, there won’t be enough here to keep your attention other than the visual and audio landscape.  However, if you like your science fiction to be thoughtful, deep and leave you wondering and thinking hours after you have left the theater, than check this film out.

A Big Screen Movies

I love going to the movies, I always have, I love the experience of sitting in the dark, big sound and a large screen.  I love the ability to be able to be totally immersed in the film experience.  But in recent years I rarely go anymore and when I do, I pick matinees and wait for a film to be out for some time so there will be smaller crowds.  Suddenly listening to someone else’s cellphone or conversation or the constant, “what did he say?” absolutely drives me nuts and absolutely ruins the experience for me.  People seem to be far too used to watching movies at home and have lost the polite boundary that should exist in a theater.

Because of this, I typically only go to what I call big screen movies.  These are films that have heavily visual and audio landscapes, films that I feel will likely lose something when they transition to the small screen.  I was lucky when I went to see this film, I happened upon a brand new theater, with reclining lounge chairs, and only 6 people in the theater.  That definitely made the experience a bit more interesting.

I’d love to hear what you think about the film but of course you’re always free to just enjoy what I wrote.  Have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane

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Wisdom and Happiness

Wisdom and Happiness


happiness, paulo coehlo

Today the consideration that without wisdom there cannot be happiness, what is wisdom, the piece linked to below believes that wisdom is:

1.  Understanding and common sense

2.  Ability to discern right from wrong

3.  Curiosity

4.  Versatility

5.  Good critical thinking skills

Here is the link to the full piece  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ethics-everyone/201107/wisdom-and-the-search-happiness

Other Happiness Posts You Might Enjoy!

Happy Anniversary – Ministry of Happiness: Our Best Posts

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Remember the Sweet Things

Happiness is Taking Risks

Appalachian Trail Happiness: Acceptance is the Way

Happiness is Not Safety




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A special deal for my readers

A special deal for my readers

books, happiness, poetry

Both of my books

Write something worth reading or do something worth writing about.               ~ Benjamin Franklin

Hello my friends, today I wanted to show my appreciation for your continued support of my blog and my writing efforts.  Both of my books Appalachian Trail Happiness about my time on the Appalachian trail and Otherness, my recently released book of poetry, sell for $9.99 on Amazon.  I also sell signed copies through me for $15.00 a piece.  But, because of your continued support I’m offering a special deal for my readers.

I’m happy to provide signed copies of both books to you for $25.00.  If you’re interested in this deal just email me at Happinesskane@aol.com and I’ll give you the details.

Thanks again for your continued support and have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane


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Happiness and Compassion

Happiness and Compassion

happiness, compassion, dalai lama

Compassion is strength

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice
compassion. ~ Dalai Lama

One of the things I admire most about the Dalai Lama is his commitment to compassion.  Most recently he made the following comment:

I really feel that some people neglect and overlook compassion because they associate it with religion. Of course, everyone is free to choose whether they pay religion any regard, but to neglect compassion is a mistake because it is the source of our own well-being.

As our mission states the Ministry of Happiness is non-denominational and as such, we echo the words of his holiness, compassion should be embraced.  It is important to be compassionate whenever possible and have empathy for those who deserve it.

Personally I have always taken the Taoist position on compassion, you should offer compassion whenever possible, as long as doing so will not endanger you in any way.  Compassion like anything should be practiced in moderation and with care. 

Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.   ~ Frederick Buechner

Other pieces you might enjoy!

The Art of Smiling and Being Positive

Happiness is Poetry: Raina Maria Rilke

Happiness is Staying Positive

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Working on a Happy Monday

Working on a Happy Monday

Monday, quote, happy

Happy Monday

When life gives you Monday, dip it in glitter and sparkle all day.                         ~ Ella Woodward

Daylight Savings Time

Ahh Daylight Savings Time is back and I’m really happy about that.  I’m one of these people who would actually prefer to have Daylight Savings Time all year.  You see I’m not a morning person and I really don’t like leaving work in the dark for a chunk of the year.  I know there are plenty of people who would prefer things the other way and even a few who probably enjoy the shifting back and forth.  That’s just not me.

believe in yourself, quote, meme

Believe in Yourself

Sometimes Mondays are dangerous

The big downside of the switching back and forth of course is that we lose an hour this weekend.  Actually, we lose the hour we gained back in the fall, but that won’t wake getting up this Monday morning any easier.  This isn’t just an inconvenience, or even just the makings of a sleepy morning, it is in fact dangerous.  There is an 8% increase in strokes on the Monday after the time change to Daylight Savings Time. So truly friends, take it easy this Monday morning.  Also watch out for sleep deprived drivers.

happiness, choice, happy

Happiness is a choice

Change your perspective on Monday

So we’re all going to go to bed early tonight right?  Of course not and I know a lot of you are like me and find it hard to get to bed on time for a normal Sunday night.  So, tonight, with the time change, it gets even harder.  So tomorrow morning, or this morning, depending on when you are reading this, you’re likely to wake up a little more tired than a typical Monday, a little more grouchy and not in the best mood.  That’s why it is so important to remember the quote above, you see we decide whether or not we’re going to be happy.  Sure, it’s hard, but let’s all try just a little harder tomorrow morning to be kind, to be grateful, to not be so short with each other, to let someone into traffic, hold a door, say thank you and good morning and let’s all try to have a happy Monday my friends.  ~ Rev Kane



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Back to the Basics to Be Happy

Back to the Basics to Be Happy

be happy, back to the basics

One way to be happy

Do you really want to be happy? You can begin by being appreciative of who you are and what you’ve got. ~ Benjamin Hoff, author – The Tao of Pooh

If you read this blog regularly you know, like others, I suffer through periods where I’m out of sorts and not as happy as I would like to be, life right?  When I write about these times I often mention getting back to the basics to be happy.  It hit me the last time I wrote that, that I’ve never actually done a post on what that means, so here it is tonight.

Getting Back to the Basics

First of all when I say the basics what am I talking about?  I’m talking about the essentials of life, the lower levels of Maslow’s Pyramid if you like.  My short list includes the following; eating, sleeping, exercise, drinking water, shelter, safety and human contact

eating right, be happy

Balanced can also be happy

Eating right

Nutrition is incredibly important, so one of the first things you have to ask when you’re feeling out of sorts is are you eating right?  And what does that even mean?  For me, having blood sugar issues it usually means am I laying off of Coca Cola.  But in general the issue is, are you eating in a balanced way.  Are you getting enough protein?  Are your meals of consistent sizes and eaten at consistent times.  Are you eating late at night just before bed or eating things that are leading to upset stomachs or indigestion?  Are you eating enough fruits and vegetables?  And yes I sound like your mom right now, but making sure your diet is balanced lets your body act naturally and do the things it is supposed to do.  Eating right is a great first step to feeling better and it’s a lot easier to be happy if you physically feel good.

sleep, be happy, happiness

Sleep to be happy


Are you getting enough sleep?  This is a really fundamentally important question for me.  If I’m not getting enough sleep I seem to eat worse, and my mood really starts to tank and can lead me into a bout of the blues pretty quickly.  Sleep is also not always a consistent period, the myth of 8 hours of sleep doesn’t work for everyone.  Some people need less, some people need more.  When I’m exercising regularly and eating well, about seven and a half hours is enough for me.  The worse my diet is the more I need and when I’m eating poorly and my blood sugar is high I often regularly need 9 hours a night.  Having enough sleep is a great way to try to be happy.  A rested brain that has had the chance to recover helps everything look just a little bit better.

taylor swift, exercise, be happy

Exercise to be happy?


Regular exercise, I know, it’s the last thing you want to hear about, but regular exercise is really crucial to overall health and to help you to be happy.  When you exercise you sleep better, you reduce your stress levels and a myriad of other benefits to regular exercise.

be happy, getting back to basics

Even squirrels know to get back to basics.

Drinking water

Probably the easiest way to correct feeling out of sorts sometime is just to drink some water.  Being properly hydrated is something that I pay a lot of attention to as someone who hikes, lives and plays in the desert.  Getting dehydrated can actually  be quite dangerous.  I remember the first time I went to Burning Man, the playa where it is held is hot, dry and at a couple of thousand feet above sea level.  I had driven in from land cool, moist sea air in Monterey, CA.  But being a tough guy I started right in setting up and going hard at getting my camp set up.  A friend and veteran burner kept calmly recommending that I take a break, have a snack, drink some water.  I didn’t listen, at least not until the world began spinning a bit.  Then a chair, a cooking and about 32 ounces of water got things right.  An extreme example I realize but staying hydrated is hugely important.

back to basics, be happy

Hopefully your shelter is better than this one

Shelter and Safety

This is one that I really hope is a quick check off of everyone’s list. The biggest of the basics a roof over your head is an absolute basic need.  It’s incredibly hard to be happy if you are homeless because not being sheltered from the elements also means you have no safe place to sleep.  These things though have a less literal interpretation though that is equally important.  Are you comfortable in your home, is your home environment free from stress and conflict, is it a refuge from the world or just another place in a storm.  Safety also means psychological safety.  If the place you call home is not someplace you feel safe and sheltered, it’s hard to be happy.

be happy, human contact

A hug to be happy

Human Contact

One of the things that gets overlooked as a basic to be happy is a decent level of human contact.  There is a lot of research on the benefits of getting hugs.  But any caring contact matters.  One of the things I love most about visiting oldest sister’s house is that fact that my nieces are both hug machines and the older is the best back scratcher I know.  Massage is also a way to get this type of contact.  We release chemicals in our body when we get caring contact that elevate our mood and help us to be happy.

So when you’re feeling a blue, a little out of sorts try getting back to basics to be happy.  Go through the checklist, most of the time something off of the list above is lacking.  So get what you need and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

Other Posts to Help You Get Back to Basics and Be Happy!

The Best of the Ministry of Happiness

We hear you, We see you, We love you

Happiness, Attitude and Simple Pleasures




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