The Number One Secret for a Happy Life


I know, right? Discipline? You gotta be kidding.

No. I’m not.


Isn’t discipline stressful? (No again!)

Earlier I asked you all, “how many of you feel stressed?” So, we have to imagine the virtual show of hands. Usually, when I ask this question in a room full of people, everyone raises a hand and several people raise two. Okay. This is not a problem.

So, if we can reduce, remove, eliminate stress, imagine how happy all of us could be.

See it.

Seem impossible? Not at all.


Whether we are talking meditation or making a living; working out or anything that we want to accomplish, changing behavior from not useful to useful; wanting to stop feeling sad, angry, depressed, whatever – discipline is the number one way we get there.

Discipline is what gets our butt out of bed in the morning to meditate. It can be a challenge in the beginning but very quickly, that discipline of getting up and practicing becomes it’s own reward. How? Because when we do it instead of just talking about it, we FEEL DIFFERENT! We feel better, more calm, focused. The brain in our heads actually changes in all kinds of positive ways. Those neurons up there with habits maybe for laziness, hitting the snooze button, begin to fire together in new patterns. And those that fire together, wire together. The whole beautiful thing is self-reinforcing.


Soon, we can’t imagine hitting the snooze button. Because through discipline, we begin to experience for ourselves, by eliminating all the picking and choosing, “should I get up now? I don’t know….it’s cloudy today. Maybe I’ll stay in bed awhile…” and so on…. that sticking to a routine for doing things which are beneficial does a mind and body good. We don’t have to wonder about it because we can see it/feel it/experience it for ourselves.

So, I challenge you. I implore you. I encourage you… Pick a day within the next 7 days and start. Write it in your calendar or iThingie or device. Decide to be determined about meditating every day at the same time. I like first thing in the morning because it changes the whole day. Write down the time you will practice and for how long. Stick to it as if that moment you picked for paying attention really matters, because as Jon Kabat-Zinn says, “you know, because it really does.”

Jon Kabat-Zinn


Try starting with 15 minutes. Just sit and breath. When the mind wanders, notice, maybe label it, “thinking thinking thinking,” and gently return your full awareness to the physical sensations of breathing. Maybe notice the feelings as the air comes and goes in and out of the nose. Maybe feel the belly rise and fall. Whatever. No need to judge anything. Just be. Just breathe.

Then, be disciplined and do it again tomorrow. Do it every day for a month. Tell people who will support you in your pursuit of a peaceful, happy heart and mind. They can encourage you. They might even want to do it with you. How cool is that? (Very!)

Check in here and let me know how it’s going. What do you encounter? What questions do you have?

If you feel like you need a little support, come on in and we can help. It’s nice to sit together in a group. I like knowing that later, when we are all back at home, that intention for practice is out there. That others are trying too.

You can get your happiness, one mindful breath at a time.

Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you might find this useful.



Author: Hillary Johnson

Improvisational documentary and fine art photographer.

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