Three Simple Steps to Unlock the Secret to Happiness

Don't let your happiness rust shut.  Exercise it! #CoffeeforYourHeart via @blestbutstrest



Dear Friend,

You are brave. Crawling out of bed on a cold, dark morning when you’d rather cocoon yourself in the comfort of your covers takes bravery. Whether dark depression or mild dissatisfaction whispers in your ears that the solution lies under the guise of more sleep—you’ve ignored it and taken the first step. That takes courage.

But now what? How can you face the day when the weight of all the thoughts in your head press down and slows your steps, your thoughts, the beating of your heart?

The secret to happiness lies in three simple steps. I know. I’ve tried them and they work.

Step one: Do something for God. He promises to give us the desires of our heart IF we delight in him (Psalms 37:4).

The word ‘delight’, when used as a verb simply means ‘to give great pleasure, satisfaction or enjoyment to; to please highly.’ God takes great pleasure in our efforts to know him better.

He created us for our company. The mind-boggling truth remains no matter how we feel or what we’ve done—ME reaching out to HIM brings him satisfaction.

As you spend time with him, the promise comes true. He will give you the desires of your heart.

Step two: Do something for yourself. Yes. YOU! What recharges you? Play loud music and dance with abandon. Schedule a manicure. Read (guilt free). Go for a walk. Go for a run.

Treat yourself as if you love yourself—and while you may not FEEL like you love yourself right now, in this very moment, feelings follow actions. It might not happen overnight, but investing in you will pay giant dividends.

After all, we can’t love our neighbor as ourselves if we don’t love ourselves (Luke 10:27). If self-loathing haunts our hearts, disdain for others nips at our thoughts and actions.

Do something for others and expect nothing in return. #happiness via @blestbutstrest
Step three:
Do something for others. Look for opportunities to serve others. Open a door for someone else. Bake cookies and give them away. Call a friend and listen more than your talk. Buy extra groceries and leave something in the collection box for a local food bank. Smile at a stranger.

What you do doesn’t have to cost money or take hours of your time. Often the simple acts of service or courtesy that others extend to us can make or break the mood of our day—so join the ranks of those who extend courteous words and acts to others.

After all, the Golden Rule urges us to “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31). And in doing, you will find that you delight God. Which takes us back to step one!

Start with step one, and you’ll have the courage to execute step two. Following step two will give you the energy to accomplish step three. Repeat daily. Keep a journal and write down what you’ve done at the end of each day (or what you plan to do at the beginning of each day).

Three simple steps to unlock the secret of happiness. They don’t cost money, but they can make you feel like a million dollars. (tweet this)

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a ‘recovering cancer caregiver’ who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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  • I absolutely love this, Anita. Yes, I’ve struggled to get out of bed in the morning. Especially these days when it is cold and dark. But you are right. These things do work. I’ve tried them too. Some days I forget, but then I come back to them. Thanks so much for this reminder and speaking truth into this dark world. You are a light!
    Abby McDonald recently posted…Why Can’t They Just Be Grateful?My Profile

    • :). This time of year is especially hard, isn’t it? We got down to 14 one morning! Thank you for your kind words :).

  • I always love your posts. They are practical and do-able. Always speaking Truth. Thank you Anita…I’m here from Holley’s place today. xo
    Susan Shipe recently posted…thankful for truthMy Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by and leaving encouraging words for me, Susan :). Have a wonderful day!

  • It’s life-changing when you can learn to be content in all circumstances. And these are some great suggestions for doing just that. Glad I stopped by this morning!

    • Amen! Those three simple steps can be done anywhere! Thank YOU for stopping by!

  • I love these steps, Anita. Even in my missionary life, it is easy to feel tired of the grind. Remembering to focus my efforts in these terms makes it seem so much less consuming.
    Colleen Mitchell recently posted…The Divine Imagination at PlayMy Profile

    • Amen to the missionary life wearing a person down! I’m glad you found the steps helpful :). May God continue to give you strength for your work.

  • Wonderful thoughts today, Anita. I can relate to this: After all, we can’t love our neighbor as ourselves if we don’t love ourselves (Luke 10:27). – I think I have more than learned this the hard way over the last year. As much as I truly DO love others, when I dislike myself it makes it hard to give them the love they truly need and deserve.
    Jennifer Frisbie recently posted…Off the beaten path…My Profile

    • Yep. That’s my bugaboo, too. I have to take the time to love myself and be intentional about it so that I’m ready to love others. It’s not a selfish kind of love, but a quiet understanding that I need to nurture my spirituality, my creativity and my physical self in order to have energy to go out and love the world.

  • I love all three of your simple steps, Anita. Looking back I can see that following these steps has brought me through so much. They are indeed steps to happiness. Thanks for sharing!
    Barbara Deatherage recently posted…Thinking Outside the Gift BoxMy Profile

    • I know I’m not the first to come up with the three steps–but those three things really do make a difference when I’m feeling down in the dumps and reading to dig myself a pit of pity.

  • Hey Anita … I love the path you’re taking us on today! Sometimes we need things spelled out for us … and you have done that well.

    Blessings, friend!
    Linda@Creekside recently posted…Yay, Yuko !My Profile

    • Thank you for stopping by and gifting me with kind words today :).

  • Love this post 🙂 Especially how one step leads successfully to the next and it all begins with God.
    Thank you for sharing your post today ~ blessed my day!
    Sherri recently posted…Bookshare: Accessible Books for TexasMy Profile

    • Thank you for your kind words, Sherri! Every journey begins with a single step :).

  • Thank you Anita. Now I will give this a try. It is hard to get up and put one foot in front of the other. But I have to move forward….
    Paula recently posted…TOUCHING SPIRIT BEARMy Profile

    • You can do it, Paula! You are brave, beloved of God and stronger than you ever imagined (and lots of people are holding you up in prayer as you continue your journey through grief). Hugs to you this day!

  • What great reminders! I am writing these on post-its and putting them on my “inspiration” page in my planner.
    Melissa recently posted…Cold Days And Stuffed Shells In The Crock PotMy Profile

    • Ooooh! Post it notes are a great idea! Or iPhone reminders ;). It’s crazy how sometimes just being reminded helps us be intentional!

  • This is a GREAT list! I love how you start with God and it’s active on all three points.
    Jenny recently posted…Making Thanksgiving Traditions at HomeMy Profile

    • Pretty much, it all has to start with God ;). He’s my source and without him, well, I’m not a pretty picture!

  • Absolutely simple but doable and effective ways to be happier. Why do we always forget? Sharing this right now. 🙂
    Lux Ganzon recently posted…Who’s Your Daddy?My Profile

  • Love this wise, practical, and relevant council, Anita. It’s amazing how stepping out of our circumstances vs. marinating in them can make a huge difference. Forcing ourselves to move. I went and had a mani/pedi tonight and enjoyed a little quiet time…it recharged a drained battery! Blessings to you.

    • I’m glad you had some time to yourself today, Tiffany! Now your hands and feet are ready to take you out of your comfort zone ;).

  • This is so true! I know when my girls were little, I had dark and lonely days. I started a blog where I did something for someone else every day. There were days my head would hurt, but the headache was gone after thinking of someone else. There are so many ways to serve and bring joy! 🙂
    Sarah Donegan recently posted…Help My UnbeliefMy Profile

  • These are so key! Having a simple and intentional plan for your day makes all the difference. Thank you for bringing this message so directly, yet with so much encouragement. Your words always inspire and have been one of my biggest blessings in 2014.
    Karen Brown recently posted…MovingMy Profile

    • Thank you for your kind and encouraging words, Karen! My journey has been blessed because of you and the way you’ve shared your journey with me. Happy New Year!