Your Dose of Happy News in 500 Words or Less

The past year has been interesting, there’s no way around it. I’m sure everyone has had their own battle and more often than not it’s about things that are pretty heavy that can take an emotional toll.

Reading and seeing negative things in the news is hard for anyone, and living some of them seems unimaginable. In light of the plagues of negativity that seem to swirl around, sensationalized, here are some headlines and stories making the world a little bit brighter. I’m also curious to see how posts about positivity perform, because I’ve talked in other posts about how poorly they do. If it’s something people want to see and read, I’d happily do more because personally, I love this s***.

NFL player Don Jones II upholds promise of taking friend with special needs to prom
Don is no stranger to busy schedules, but after promising Lindsey Preston that he would be her prom date, he was able to keep that promise and in turn lit up not only the smiles of his Lindsey, but the rest of the school as he showed them all some new dance moves. Don stayed for the duration of the night, and was more than happy to keep a promise he made to a friend of his who he met from his mother teaching her.

Yale offers to teach it’s most popular class online for free, to anyone
It’s no secret that health and wellbeing are becoming increasingly popular as each year goes by, and after the huge success of Psychology 157: The Science of Wellbeing, Yale has offered to teach the course online to anyone seeking to learn it. The course specializes in teaching how to maintain personal health, and is absolutely free for anyone who wishes to take it.

Scientists accidentally discover super-enzyme capable for devouring plastic waste
A group of scientists originally researching bacteria, haphazardly came across an enzyme capable of safely decomposing plastic and waste back into the environment- a breakthrough in the recycling industry. And since enzymes are biodegradable, there are no harmful repercussions of the bacteria. Pending a patent, recycling plastic back into reusable plastic or a material fit for the environment is on the way.

Nova Scotian communicates for the first time in 21 years after brain injury
After a traumatic brain injury left Joellen Huntley feeding through a tube and unable to speak since 15, her mother thought communicating with her would never be an option. However, with the technology called Eyegaze, Joellen is able to communicate to her mother with signs and symbols based on where she looks with her eyes. Her mother was overcome with emotion as she explains the only thing she’s ever wanted was to speak with her daughter.

Skydiver Gregory Robertson hurdles out at a 320 km/h to save unconscious skydiver
While this headline is from history, this day in April 31 years ago, it’s a story worth retelling. After two skydivers collided in mid-air and knocking one unconscious, Gregory leaped out of the airplane after her- tucking himself into a ball in attempt to catch up. He was able to make enough speed in time to reach her, and held her in his arms as he deployed his parachute to safely land the both of them.

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Start With 5: Give Me a Better Title!

Let’s start this with a party pickle

I like good feelings, you probably like good feelings. This series is all about giving those underrated, overlooked feelings the credit they deserve- maybe making us both feel nicer along the way.

I’ve been super appreciative of how this series has taken off. If you’re reading this as one of the people who give these posts some love on social media, this one’s for YOU.

I’m Jordan, and here’s this week’s Start With 5.

1. When you’re really sweaty or dirty and you step into that nice, refreshing shower

I don’t know about you, but I am fairly pathetic when it comes to being dirty. My mother will be the first to tell you about how even as a little toddler when I played outside I would come running back to ask her if she could wipe the dirt off my hands. Meanwhile, my little sister’s waist-deep in mud and laughing. So maybe it’s not as relatable for you as it is to me, but man that shower feels great and even more so after a long, dirty day.

This guy gets it.

2. That fresh smell after it rained

This one is pretty straight-forward, and if we were just talking about showering ourselves, then we can appreciate when good old Mother Nature does the same thing. The presence of water actually carries smells more, meaning that we’re actually just able to smell the earth a little better.

Can you smell it?

3. When you’re cutting wrapping paper and the scissors start gliding

How satisfying is it when the scissors just start sailing through the paper, smoothly and accurately? I’m not the greatest arts-and-crafts fella, but when this happens it makes me feel like some sort of talented craftsman (definitely not what’s going on, I can assure you of that).

Thanks, Google Images

4. Going to bed with fresh sheets

Whether in a hotel room or your very own, when you hop into bed with a fresh set of bedding it just feels much more relaxing than when you climb into a hot mess of blankets. As I live in a house with four other guys, we definitely don’t wash our bedding as much as we should, but this is giving me a little motivation to get fresh with it.

Pre-bedtime mood

5. When that show you love comes back, or your favourite sports season starts up again

If you like Pina Coladas… and getting caught in the rain several hours of binge-watching TV shows, then you’re as stoked as I am when your favourite show/sport is back in action. Later in the evening, when you’re unwinding from your day, having that one show to entertain you definitely makes the night better.

I’m talking THIS excited.

Honourable Mention: 

When one of your readers give you a much better title for your series on the good things in life. Only an honourable mention because it hasn’t happened yet but I bet it’s an unreal feeling. So please, if you think of anything let me know down below or on Facebook in the comments!

Start With 5: Kanye Cracks the Post?

Image result for person happy looking at list
Me (probably) in a couple decades

I have to say, coming up with these feelings is pretty fun. It makes it easier for me to notice them in every day life as they happen- not only making a mental note to appreciate it more, but also a note to jot it down here, in my… Journal? Diary? I think that’s basically what it is, but since I’m a millenial, I’m just going to go ahead and call it a blog.

5 Guys Burgers and Fries do fast food, but I do lists (and still can’t come up with a catchy title). Here’s 5 underrated feelings to continue your week.

1. When you drop your phone and you’re bracing for the worst, but you pick it up and it’s all good

Dropping your phone sucks, and no matter how careful and graceful you are, it’s going to happen. So when my phone makes a particularly long plunge towards the cold, hard earth and I turn it over and it’s unscathed, it really makes me sigh a heavy sigh of relief (I don’t know where the inspiration for Titanium, bullet-proof, or any other lyric Sia has about being unbreakable came from, but it definitely wasn’t an iPhone- so these moments are definitely appreciated)


2. That first sip of coffee or tea in the morning

The initial taste of your hot drink of choice is good any morning, but it hits a little better on those mornings that are just a bit more of a struggle. I’m a tea guy myself, and that first sip is usually far too hot because I’m usually not patient enough to wait until it’s past its scalding phase. Hot drinks are meant to drink hot, so what if I burn my tastebuds off a little bit? Either way, my double dose of tea is one of my favourite things in my morning routine. Must be the British in me.

In case you were wondering, this is how you model sipping coffee

3. The ‘thank you’ wave of appreciation when you let someone merge in front of you

It’s the little things. When someone’s coming in and you’re a good sport and let them in, it’s a small token of gratitude to have them wave their appreciation. We’re all about manners in Canada (most times) and this is basically a must for drivers in the North. Bonus points for when that person is getting ignored by other impatient drivers and then you go on and save the day to let them in.

Can you imagine if we actually lived like stock images make us seem like?

4. Remembering a password first try for a site you don’t use that often

With the varying standards of what makes a password strong, you can’t even use the exact same password for every single site. So when I’m logging onto something I seldom use and I just throw some combination in, or one of my old passwords that I don’t use anymore and it works on the first try, I ignore the feeling that I’m sort of Oracle and just take a second to appreciate my wizardry.

You know what, I’m feeling these stock images. Let’s keep it going

5. Getting a text or call from a friend saying they were thinking of you

This one is the bee’s knees and can really go a long way to making your day, can’t it? Knowing you were on someone’s mind and mean enough to reach out to let them know that is a pretty good way of them letting you know you’re valued to them. It may not happen a whole lot, but it’s always appreciated when it happens and can make the heart feel a bit warmer. Since we’re all reading this anyway, I challenge myself and you to reach out to someone you haven’t heard from in a while and let them know you’re thinking of them- all the reasons of why it’s a nice gesture are all highlighted here so why not be the creator?

Comment who that text is definitely from.
P.S., I never thought I’d see the day that Kanye was on the site in any way. Anything is possible.

That’s all for this week. Use these buttons to share it how you feel and help this guy continue to build The Five You Need into a career- have a great week!

Why Is It Easier To Focus On Negative Things? And What Science Says To Fix It

It doesn’t take a genius to explain that being happy is much more enjoyable than being miserable but, mirroring how complex the human mind is, true comprehension of happiness is the type of lifelong stuff that we may never fully figure out. Yet the nature of it, at least for me, is so interesting and worthy of study that I naturally feel compelled to learn more- and like the Rock on his “cheat day” from his rigourous diet, I’m hungry. 

As you already know, the world can be a pretty negative place. 

People that seem to enjoy sucking the energy out of places, internet trolls, and don’t even get me started on the news. Negativity breeds negativity, or so the saying goes, and for some reason or other, it just seems like we’re naturally able to listen easier to that negative voice, feeling, or person, more than the positive stuff.


One of my favourite authors, Harvard psychologist Shawn Achor, explains why we as humans just can’t help but be drawn to the negative stuff sometimes and how it’s just flat out easier to feel negativity than it is to feel happy (or else I’m sure that we all would just choose to be happy).

He basically says that way back in the day, like way, way back in the day, all that negativity was actually super helpful in keeping us alive. 

In early human times, the fella that walked around in the sun thinking about how great everything is was much more likely to get devoured by some sort of vicious predator or ignore other signs of danger, like say walking off a waterfall (I don’t know, I wasn’t there- you come up with a better example).

So as a result, those that were able to focus more on all the bad things that could be around them lived more and the others… Died. 

This repeated itself over and over until the genes of all those negative people who were pretty good at singing Bee Gee’s songs lived long enough to pass down the habit to their kids and the others either learned quick or didn’t get the chance to even have kids.

When it comes to survival, that stuff makes a lot of sense. But the reality is now that we don’t have any real threats that are hunting us down and trying to kill us each day.

Since we can’t just give the habit back to whoever gave it to us, we as humans have an innate proclivity towards sifting out all those negative messages from the good ones, as those are the ones that can do damage to us.

A huge example of this is the news. Why do they report such negative content all the time? The answer is simply because they’re doing what every business tries to do: give the people what they want, so they can make money from it.

People are just naturally more interested to read or hear about that homicide that happened the other day, or whatever else happened that was horrific in some way. The interest comes from the simple fact that we focus on it more subconsciously because our instincts make us feel like it could possibly threaten us in some way.

It doesn’t look like this type of media is going to change either, after a Russian news site decided to pump out only positivity for a week and lost two-thirds of its readership in one day

Anyone in charge of anything at a news company will undoubtedly avoid making the same mistake. For myself, I chose to unfollow any news outlet or source of breaking information because I simply realized that internalizing all of that negativity is likely influencing me far more than being ‘in the know’ about the horrors going on. 

I also figured that if something was big enough to actually impact me, I would almost certainly hear about it from other people– and I really don’t care if I’m the first to know.

Another idea Achor explains is that to counteract these negative messages it takes a considerable amount of effort. 

Since we are predisposed to focus more on bad things, it takes 3 positive messages to counteract 1 negative message. 

An example of this could be at work, or school, or wherever you spend the most time. Someone could tell you you’re doing a good job or give you another positive affirmation of some kind, but if the next person told you that you’re useless there, the message from that person who’s probably just taking out some of their own inner turmoil out on you would stick with you for far longer than the person who told you’re doing good work. 

We’d wonder what that guy’s deal was and likely begin questioning if he was right or what exactly he was meaning.

The same goes for the rest of the negative messages in the real world. Since we’re just instinctively more concerned about negative things, we grant them way more of our focus than the others. 

To balance this, seeking out those messages of positivity can help train our brains to see more of what we’d rather see and not what our instinctive brain thinks we want to see.

Pointing out areas of gratitude is a great way to plug this in- it can really start by taking a minute every day to think about all the things you’re grateful to have and that you’d be upset if you didn’t have. 

As we know in this world, anything can change at any minute and that thing you took for granted every day can be gone in a second.

Gratitude doesn’t have to be for all of the best things in your life either. Do you have eyes in your head right now to read this? Sweet, that’s pretty dope. 36 million people in the world aren’t so lucky

If you’re scrolling on a phone to read this, imagine how difficult your everyday life would be without it, and the opportunities and ease it affords you. You get the idea, and the examples are limitless.

One could even say those tiny little things that make you feel good for a moment, or longer, are worth giving more attention to, and we as privileged humans probably overlook them on a daily basis. 

As I’ve explained in this article, it’s not exactly our fault (we can blame the ancestors and their knack for surviving).

I started out a series a couple of weeks ago, and it literally just gives a shout out to those good feelings we’re all familiar with that might slip under our radars if we let them.

If you haven’t already, you can check them out here and here.

As always, thanks for reading and your help makes a big difference in the growth for The Five You Need. We’ve eclipsed over 2,500 followers across all platforms and I’m super grateful for that.

If you think anyone else might like to read about this study, you can send it to them directly with the buttons below.

The next goal is getting to 1,500 likes on the Facebook page (currently at 1,283). We’re almost there! Help a guy out and give some love to anything you see on Facebook from The Five You Need, it helps Facebook see that what the page is sharing is worth showing to more people. 



  • Achor, S. (2010). The happiness advantage: The seven principles of positive psychology that fuel success and performance at work.
  • Achor, S. (2013). Before happiness: the 5 hidden keys to achieving success, spreading happiness, and sustaining positive change. First edition. New York: Crown Business.

Start With 5: Do You Let These Feelings Slip?

I’m feeling something good coming. Not only is this series super fun to write, I feel like it’s some of my better work, and the responses have been great. The best part about it all is that I get to write straight off the cuff, providing a voice for the thoughts tapping around my head. In case you missed it, here is the first piece where I describe some super underrated feelings that probably get overlooked. This is purely just about giving some well-deserved appreciation to feelings that just slip right past our radar sometimes.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s Mambo Number 5*
(*underrated feelings)

1. That ‘AHA!’ moment you finally remember the word that’s on the tip of your tongue

It’s like a floodlight that surges with power before the huge shine of light and man, does that ever feel good. The longer you spend wrestling over what simple little word was on the tip of your tongue, the greater the rush pumping through your veins momentarily. Am I exaggerating this a little? Maybe, but when this happens to me I am way too excited for a second and I’m hoping there’s at least a few other people who can relate. Who knows, maybe this will be the best parts of my day when I’m much older and wiser yet still approaching senility. As an old man, I’ll make a point to still get fired up when it takes me a little too long to remember what I ate for breakfast, but I remembered nonetheless.

2. When you find a new song and instantly fall in love with it

I might be just impressing my own personal pump up package with these feelings, but here’s another thing that gets me jazzed up (not a bad pun, but certainly a welcomed coincidence). I cycle through music pretty quickly and pretty regularly, yet finding new songs with HEAT are still few and far between for the most part. When you find that song with some fire though, those first few listens are like an audio-espresso in the ear-drum. I then listen to them until the wheels fall off and then wonder why I have a tendency to just way over-do things. I guess that’s why I can’t have nice things.

3. Not being allergic to peanut butter

Man oh man, if you are reading this and you are allergic to peanut butter, I am so sorry. That creamy, peanut-y goodness is just different- healthy, tasty, and addicting. I probably slap way too much of it on my little pieces of toast, but it’s only to keep me from just eating it straight from the tub. If you don’t think peanut butter is that big of a deal, I bet if you couldn’t eat it for the rest of your life you’d miss at least a little bit (and if you still can’t agree to that, then maybe go eat some more Brussels sprouts or whatever else you’re probably into, I don’t know).

4. Driving past a cop and then almost freaking out because you realize you’re cruising a little too fast, but it’s all good because he’s in a good (or lazy) mood

So going back to number 2, finding that new tune can lead to number 4- and that stroke of luck followed by a wave of relief is a pretty good feeling. It happens, sometimes you just don’t realize you’re into that zoom zoom mode and when your friendly neighbourhood police guy let’s you off the hook it feels pretty good, doesn’t it?

5. When you wake up wondrously rested and ready to go

As an avid sleep fanatic, let me just start this by saying that this doesn’t happen a whole lot for me, so when it does, it’s a pretty special feeling. Sometimes I ruin it by going right back to sleep, but sometimes I get up feeling pretty charged up for the day. It definitely helps when you have some good stuff to look forward to, but either way when this miracle happens I do not take it for granted.

*Photo to illustrate that even when I wake up energized, I’m still a baby*

That’s it for this week. Using one of these buttons down below would make me a happy guy, mainly because I had to figure out a bit of coding just to add them. Let me be the first to tell you, that stuff is not easy. Have a good week!

Have a feeling that fits the topic? Maybe I’m overlooking it- comment it below or send me a message and I’ll feature it!

Start With 5: Have You Overlooked These Feelings?

Officially reaching the last month of summer really makes you wonder where the time went, and how it just keeps getting faster and faster. Since time won’t wait for anyone, taking time to appreciate moments as they happen and even in reflection helps lets us savour the flavours as they constantly come and go. Savouring’s the name of the game here for this series, where each week I’ll be sharing 5 things that just made me feel some good kind of way- maybe you’re familiar with the feelings.

1. That feeling when you finish an overdue or challenging task

It’s Saturday morning, first day of the long weekend, and I wake up and just take a look around and it’s like I’m seeing my house for the first time with brand-new eyes.

We’re living like slobs, and since I have the day off I figure enough’s enough. I blast music through out the house to get the juices flowing and power clean the house in some sort of weird, focused determination (with the begrudging help of my visiting little brother, who did his absolute best to seem enthusiastic- kudos to him).

After I was done, I literally stood there with my hands on my hips, just stuck in a power pose for a minute with some major BDE (if you’re not familiar with the term, let me just substitute it for ‘confidence’ before you go looking it up…). Man, that felt good. The cleaning itself was nothing to celebrate, but that feeling after was great. I kind of just started cleaning to tidy up a bit, but once I got rolling it really did feel great and the moment of accomplishment after was nothing to take for granted.

2. When the sun comes out from being behind a cloud

Simple but pleasant, being outside when it’s not sweltering hot is much nicer with the company of a warm sun. I was sitting outside and subconsciously had the expectation that there would be no sun, so when it peeked out and shone down, it felt reeeeaaaal nice.

3. That moment of excitement and anticipation near the end of a game

If you’re not a huge fan of sports, maybe you should just mosey on to number four.

Okay cool, it’s just us now. How sick is that end-of-game rush when the score is just a little to close for comfort? I was at the Calgary Stampeders football game with my little brother (shout-out to the sister for the tickets) and the game took that surprise turn with the other team making an unlikely run during the final minute of the game. There’s nothing like the energy of live sports when the game is close. Looking over to see my little brother not just on the edge of his seat, but standing on it, was enough to emphatically illustrate that it wasn’t just me going wild with anticipation. The game ended on the final play, with the loser-other-team only inches away from stealing the game.

4. Sitting down after a long day

After a long day, especially one with walking or activity, plopping down on the couch knowing everything is done is a great feeling. I find this to work especially better when you have a brother to grab some snacks and the remote for you (camp Big Brother isn’t free, you know).

It just doesn’t feel the same after doing nothing

5. Hearing some thoughtful comments from someone you care about

My friends and I like to think we’re pretty insightful cats sometimes, and when we have a group dinner we’ve been known to talk about things we’re grateful for, or what we like about one another. It’s not a bad way to boost the day, and hearing my guest, my brother participate and deliver some comments straight from the heart really made my night, in combination with him being a part of something like this for the first time. Now in the first year of being a teenager, we’re starting to see our relationship deepen and I’m stoked for it.

The little bro and I at the game

That was my five, what’s a feeling you were happy for this week? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

The Formula for ‘Being Happy’ (Achor)

If everyone could choose to either be happy or be sad, I’m sure there would be a clear favourite from the two options. It’s obviously not as simple, and involves so many things that make it complexly different for each person. I’d like to think that most people know what gratitude is, and the impact that it has every single day. I’m sure everyone could easily explain what it is, wrapped neatly in well-thought out answers, in different amounts of depth and in different ways. After all of this considered, I just wonder why it isn’t talked about more, or why we don’t see more of it in every day life.

I’m sure anyone who took the time out to explain what being grateful meant could do a great job at it, and could logically infer that having more of this is better for happiness. And if they can’t, they should.

The greatest motivator that had biggest hand in restructuring the way I saw the equation of productivity and happiness was best explained by Shawn Achor, the author of the Happiness Advantage (also the single most influential book I’ve ever read). I’ve written about this topic in a dialogue sort of way, and if you haven’t checked it out already and are interested, you can click here.

Basically, the author (Achor), explains that there’s a bit of a misconception around productivity, success, and happiness. Most people see it like this:

People work tirelessly to become successful, with the ultimate goal of being the happiest they can be. Which is what everyone is ultimately trying to do right? At the end of the day, we all have stuff that make us happy, and it’s the pursuit of this that keeps us going (shoutout to Will Smith).

However, while it’s great and all to have this end goal in mind, the biggest message from Achor’s philosophy is that it’s backwards. I like to think of an analogy of waking up in the morning, since it’s something I used to be terrible at and am now somewhat manageable at. When I’m happy or excited, for whatever reason at all, it’s fairly easy to spring out of bed and get going with whatever’s got me fired up and ready to go.

When I’m not-so-happy is the time where this gets way to difficult. I linger, procrastinate, debate what I’m going to do, or just waste some time away on my phone. I’m sure someone can relate to that.

This is the same for productivity and success, which is better illustrated like this:

If I can get to that place of happiness and excitement beforehand, I’m way more inclined to get stuff done and my overall productivity sky-rockets. It isn’t much of a surprise that people get more stuff done when they’re feeling good, yet it still isn’t enough of a commonplace at work, school, whatever. Google is all over this idea and has been for years, evidenced by the puppies in the office, nap pods, frequent breaks, and anything that will boost the morale and mood of their employees. They know that happy workers means more results.

Now obviously, moods aren’t able to be controlled on demand like Pay-Per-View (anyone still use that?). If everyone could click to be stoked and happy, like already stated, they would. This is where gratitude comes in, and acknowledging things around you is the vehicle to get there. By making a point to appreciate what’s already here, the habit of satisfaction in the present moment is found. I was laying in bed last night and thought of a situation wherein I was genuinely concerned for my safety, and from that small flashback I was overcome with some appreciation for being safe and comfortable where I was- something usually super easy to overlook and something I’ve probably overlooked hundreds of times. Thankfully, it’s something I usually don’t ever have to think about- but it doesn’t mean it’s not something I can’t appreciate. I can think of dozens of things that I overlook on a daily basis that I would miss should I not have it, and this is the central theme around gratitude. Why wait until something’s gone before truly appreciating it? Reordering these appreciations really makes me feel luckier and can usually always improve my mood.

Gratitude is everywhere, and if someone doesn’t think they have anything to be grateful for, they might be doing it wrong. Some days without a doubt will always suck more than others and nothing can change that, but appreciating something when you have it feels a hell of a lot nicer than appreciating it while it’s gone. Practicing this daily has become routine, and like any skill the improvements result in it becoming easier and more natural, creating a more effortless pathway to gratitude.

You Can’t Always Choose Life, But You Can Choose Gratitude

Gratitude comes at me in so many different ways it’s not even funny. It’s easy to be grateful for family, friends, achievements, and stuff like that- because those are some of the best things in life. Naturally, we like these things.


Today though I found myself feeling gratitude for an event that could’ve been immensely worse had the dice been shaken differently and thrown a different way. The kind of gratitude that left me with something I cherish deeply: life.

Taking things back a bit, and I’m cruising through Thailand on a bike I rented from the mountainous Pai area to head back down to the bustling but charming city of Chiang Mai. I had trekked up about a week prior and now it was time to head south again to move on to the next leg of our journey, back down the mountain highway.

Winding through the road with the smell of a jungle-y forest and the remnants of the rain that had swept through an hour ago made for an unreal ride. After about a quarter of the way down, we stopped to grab a tea as these two particular Canadian boys had somehow already become climatized enough that temperatures in the mid-to-low twenties were actually making us chilly, in lieu of the usual high thirties.

Not even an hour after sending my mid-journey snaps and messages to people back home, winding around the corner I caught a blanket of gravel while trying to hang the curve to the right.

It didn’t work so good, and in a split second, I spilled over top of the handlebars and onto the highway, crashing to the ground.

I immediately jumped up, in a daze while I tried to make sense of what just happened. Braden had slipped in front and hadn’t seen me tumble.

The tingly-sensation of shock crept across my body as I instinctively screamed his name, hoping he would hear and come back for me.


I began to feel out of body as I looked over my wounds, looking but not really seeing them. Noticing the shock in my body rising, I began reassuring myself despite the fact that the pain hadn’t set in yet- this concerned me.

I watched as a few cars drove past me, my wounds beginning to bleed and my shredded poncho reduced to just a symbol of what had happened. On queue, Braden raced around the corner, and a local pulled over and ran to my assistance. I’m not even really sure how everything happened from there on, but the bike was pulled from under the guard rail and I was loaded into the local’s vehicle- a man named Te (who had at some point also enlisted the help of another local woman, who climbed in quickly to take me to the hospital. I could feel my bearings coming back to me, and while this was nice, this was accompanied by the corresponding pain.

Three doctors hurriedly but meticulously cleaned the various wounds ranging from my shoulders to my feet. Braden and Te made sure to capture the whole encounter through photos, as Te was incredulously and affectionately calling me Superman as I refused to take a photo without smiling. Albeit some were downright forced, as the skin in the right side of my body were scraped and scrambled like ground beef cooking over the stove.

Slowly, in between the winces the whole ordeal slowly crystallized in my mind. The bike jammed into the metal plated guardrail, the way I fell off the bike and protected my head, and the local who found me and came to my rescue instantly, loading me into his car, blood and all.

Sitting there finishing getting cleaned and sterilized, and the bandages relieving some of the pain, I realized how lucky I was.

Not going to lie, tears formed in my eyes.

Te waited for the duration until I was cleared to leave the hospital, and while his English was a little less developed, he understood enough for us to embrace each other and revel in the moment.

I sat there with the most tremendous and profound gratitude for life and the way I had avoided being closer to an encounter that jeopardized it. Reality hits me in different ways, but nothing could stop me from the thankfulness for the severity of the situation and the kindness shown from absolute strangers.

Toughness is a quality I’ve been both unpacking and exploring lately, and even on the ride to the hospital, however delusional it may be, I was thankful for the opportunity to show myself that I was tougher than this event. Someone dear to me explained the beauty in adversity, and how in these moments we find out who we really are and in turn presented with an opportunity for growth.

I can definitely be a big baby some times, but through this I was excited to dig down and power through it. A little unorthodox? Maybe. But after today there’s no other way to frame it.

I’m sure I could look at it all from a different lens, criticizing the roads, weather, luck, or maybe even my driving. But truthfully that sounds like such a bizarre concept that accepting that is less likely than me getting my damage deposit back on the bike I just crashed.

Not a freakin’ chance.

I’m going to keep loving life, loving today, and carry it with me tomorrow.

What about you? Leave me a comment and tell me something you’re grateful for!

Te, left side in the red shirt. The doctors/nurses who mended me. And the woman who guided Te to the hospital!

Take Control of What You Can or Your Life Might Suck

As I’m walking to my car, I take a moment and acknowledge how the air is refreshingly comfortable, opposed to the stifling heat that enveloped the outdoors over the past couple weeks.

Fall is definitely coming. 

I look around, and realize that up until now I hadn’t even noticed the gradual change from lively, leafy green, to pieces of yellow and amber scattered throughout parts of the trees. Frankly, the assortment of colours looks scenic, and along my drive I overlook a valley and see even more, with the yellow and orange cozying around the river. With this view comes anticipation of everything the new season is going to bring with it. My mind wanders very easily and before I know it, I’m already fantasizing about Thanksgiving turkey and hoarding an entire pumpkin pie to myself.

A few hours later, I overhear someone meeting the same realization that summer is fading away, and dreading everything that strings along with the change.

Huh, well that’s another way to look at it. Listening to the distaste throws me off a little bit, as my own excitement for what’s to come clearly is not mutual.

Why view it as impending colder weather and dead leaves when you can think about awesome things, like a new medley of colours surrounding the outside, a comfy hoodie to enjoy it with, or even something like the white girls delight- pumpkin spice lattes?! (Maybe this is the year I try them, although I am admittedly reluctant, as I will probably be on that hook for life…)

Neil Pasricha has been a pleasant inspiration to me via the book he’s written, The Happiness Equation. As an individual who has committed himself to being a student of happiness, the findings he has discovered are incredibly interesting and the topic is something I will always be drawn to. Early on, long before his success, he took on a personal challenge of writing 1000 Awesome Things, a daily article on something fantastic, yet common, that he encountered and might otherwise have overlooked. Things as simple as when someone holds the elevator door open and waits, or the feeling of warm photocopies fresh out of the printer.

While there were other things accompanying his journey to satisfaction, what he noticed was how much his appreciation for life and all it’s details grew. Every day he sat down and wrote about something awesome that he experienced throughout his day, and as you can imagine, the list reached 1000 after some time. On top of appreciation, what he didn’t realize was how trained his mind became at recognizing positivity in seemingly small details. Before long, no matter how insignificant, nothing that impacted him in a good way went unnoticed or unappreciated in his life.

This is an attractive idea, but going in the opposite direction is also entirely possible. Scoping out negativity can become just as much of a ritual as the optimistic side. In fact, lawyers are highly trained in finding flaws and inconsistencies in the legal system and obviously become much better at it over time as they develop their skills. Interestingly enough, studies have shown that this does not contain itself at work, as attorneys have been shown to carry this habit over into their personal lives and in anything they interact with outside of the office. The critical mindset accompanying lawyers can become apart of who they are!

Personally, after learning two very real and very different sides of the coin, it’s not difficult to see which route I’d rather go. And to be quite honest, the more attractive option is also not as difficult as it seems. Noticing and appreciating the little details that swirl around our lives every single day is very doable. Before long, and with practice, your mind won’t even have to try- you’ll be trained in seeing your life how you want it. I don’t about you, but the idea motivates me to take an extra moment on top of each happy moment, just to appreciate it in full. Yeah, there’s no denying that at some point something won’t be great, and sometimes it’ll suck. But taking charge of what I can control is a step along the path of love and satisfaction.

The season’s changing, there’s no doubt about that.

What will you see?

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Practice Makes Perfect, Happiness Is No Exception

Happiness seems to be the thing everyone looks to chase, one way or another. Catching it, however, is impossible due to the emotion naturally washing in and out of our lives, similar to the ocean’s tide and it’s cycles. Like the ocean, controlling this emotion is met with the same futility. Understanding what control we have, and don’t have, over our emotions is crucial in our own self well-being. With this in mind, it’s important to understand that there are ways in which to manipulate more positivity into your life- by which happiness is a pleasant by-product.

One of the most basic aspects about happiness itself that many people don’t realize is how much of a habit it is. In the same way someone can be completely negative, it’s possible for someone to be positive. I’m sure when given the chance to reflect on it, everyone can think of a person continuously cheerful and lucky, and someone who is relentlessly negative and down on themselves. We as humans are creatures of our own habits, and as much a cup of coffee in the morning to start the day, other habits have a way of dictating our emotions. While it’s nearly impossible to just suddenly declare “from now on I’m just going to be happy,” magically transforming into Mary Poppins, implementing methods of positive habits can make being happier simply easier. Similar to how practicing over and over again in something such as a sport, driving, or in my grandma’s case- quilting, it is possible to becoming more skilled at being positive.

Positivity has always spilled out of a friend of mine, and I must admit, sometimes it was just flat-out annoying. When I was presented with some of the more challenging phases of my life, this guy always seemed to be riding out life in the luckiest of ways. However, after beginning my own quest in self-growth, understanding part of what makes him tick ended up being incredibly interesting. This guy does not have a negative habit in him. He is so deeply entrenched in overlooking negativity while at the same time reinforcing positivity that he just appears to be the luckiest guy in the world. This made me realize just how important perception is into luck and happiness. Luck is an entirely real thing, and people possess either bad luck or great luck. The truth behind it is what events you choose to perceive. A person who chooses to hover on all of the unfortunate events in their lives will reflect that in how they view their life. On the same token, someone who overlooks such things and chooses to gravitate to all of the great happenings in life will undoubtedly present as someone who unexplainably has a ton of good luck. Practically adding this into your life is as simple as making a concerted effort to brood on anything positive that happens to you or around you. Over time, the changes possible are remarkable. As humans are creatures of habit, you’ll start to realize how effortlessly natural this becomes. Eventually, respectfully blocking out negativity will become second nature, and soaking in all the good around you happens automatically.

A habit helping out a happy frame of mind is the importance of gratitude. This trait is hugely important in developing satisfaction, which easily translates into well-being and positivity. Look at gratitude as a vehicle for happiness that allows everything around you to be converted into aspects of your own happiness. You could be the wealthiest, most privileged person in the world, but without a presence of gratitude you will be less satisfied and happy than a family with minimal necessities in life but who are wrapped up in an incredible appreciation for one another and the world they share around them. In addition, understanding the relationship of gratitude and happiness is profound. It is difficult for depressive moods to exist in the presence of gratitude. Implementing this in your life is as easy as compiling a list of things you’re grateful for. Making this a habit is as easy as thinking about anything you’re thankful for every day. Whenever you’re driving, in the washroom, or just have a minute to yourself- make a simple list in your head of three things you’re grateful for. This can be anything! From family and loved ones, to the person who held the door open for you this morning when your hands were full. Gratitude can be found everywhere.

This a relatively short article on the practical side of happiness, and there is a whole host of other aspects comprising its body. Utilizing these habits can aid in harnessing the good in your life, which in turn is very effective in raising your overall well-being. Challenge yourself to notice the positive aspects in your life- study the happy-go-lucky people around you. Take note of their habits, but most importantly, always be in tune to the things that make you happy.

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