On Being Happier

Of the 7.4 billion people living today, pretty much 7.4 billion of us want to be happy.

I assume you are one of them.

And by habit, you may automatically look outside of yourself, and organize your life around getting those things you assume will make you happier.

Finding the love you want, or landing the book deal, getting pregnant, buying a beautiful home, securing a job that lights you up…

The list goes on and on..

Particularly if you live in an abundant part of the world, where the pursuit of happiness is not only possible, but expected of you.

When Thomas Jefferson, primary author of the Declaration of Independence, the document that laid out the radical new vision that became the United States of America in the year 1776, suggested we include the line

“We hold these truths to be sacred…that all men are created equal & …. derive rights inherent … among which are … life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness,”

he was not securing the right to run after those things we believe would offer us greater happiness.

Because 200 years ago, the meaning of the word “pursuit” was not what it is today.

Back then pursuit did not mean “the effort to attain.”

Back then pursuit meant “to practice.”

Thomas Jefferson was referring to the right to practice happiness.

Not like happiness was something to get. But like it was something to create.

We understand peace as a practice. We meditate. We do yoga. We listen to calming music. We may even chant soothing mantras.

We don’t necessarily expect our external circumstances to generate internal peace. We understand that peace is an inside job, and that when we practice peace, we become more peaceful.

So too is happiness a practice.

We want to stop expecting our external circumstances to provide it for us. We want to integrate the practices of happiness into our daily lives in much the same way we have integrated the practices of peace into our routines.

What are these practices?





The practice of happiness is you

shutting down your computer & cell phone

in the middle of the day, and going

for a leisurely walk in a nearby park.


It’s stopping to speak to a neighbor

for no reason, other than

to enjoy that person’s company.


It’s learning something just for fun,

and not because it’s going to

increase your value in the marketplace.


It’s creating something—even badly!

Making up a simple song, writing a poem,

making drawing or building a sand castle

for its own sake, and not because

it’s going to make you famous.


It’s walking barefoot in the grass.

Smiling more. Laughing harder.

And hugging someone with your heart.


Happiness is a practice.

What will you do today,

to generate more of it

for yourself and for others?

To our collective joy and evolution in love,



Katherine Woodward Thomas is the NY Times bestselling author of Calling in “The One” and Conscious Uncoupling: 5 Steps to Living Happily Even After.

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