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By Lisa Cypers Kamen.

Istock 000006117948XsmallLet’s face it: we live in a broken world, and the sooner you acknowledge this reality the better off you will be.

Not exactly the kind of advice you’d expect from a happiness expert, right? Well, believe me: By choosing to accept this reality, you choose to move forward, and you must move forward in order to build the momentum you’ll need to make a positive difference in the world.

Every time something bad happens, there is an opportunity to experience new light in your life. You just have to keep your mind and eyes open to see it.

It’s natural to feel overwhelmed by any number of issues you may be facing today—whether it is economic strife, relationship problems, sickness, death or addiction—the list of life’s ills is never-ending. Pick up a newspaper any day of the week and it’s easy to feel bogged down by all of the doom and gloom, to get paralyzed by denial and/or fear.

But by giving into that paralysis, you relinquish the opportunity to take charge of your life and make a positive change. Instead of feeling paralyzed, practice acceptance and free yourself to find inspiration in even the most difficult situations. As Winston Churchill once said, “We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself the means of inspiration and survival.”

The difficulty you are facing can actually empower you, if you let it, and elevate you to a position in which you can thrive, rather than merely survive. Participating in a positive activity will help you deal with your pain by replacing it with fulfillment and inspiration. This transformation can come about as you hone in on a cause you feel passionate about and join an organization that contributes to it, support a friend in need, organize a community food drive or park cleanup crew, volunteer at a hospital, or simply listen to what someone dear to you has to say.

By accepting life’s difficulties and using them to inspire acts of positivity in your life, you’ll create new richness in both your own life and in your community.

Happiness Strategy:

When difficulty strikes, it’s easy to let all the positive things fall by the wayside. But the positive things are exactly what we need to keep in mind when the going gets tough. This exercise will help you remember and track your positive goals even when adversity threatens to overshadow them.

Take out a piece of paper and list 20 things you have been meaning to do but have not done for one reason or another. These should be smaller, achievable things, such as volunteering at the animal shelter or taking a painting class. They can even be everyday acts you don’t usually make time for, such as taking a bubble bath or trying a new healthy recipe. The important thing is that every thing on this list should be a positive act that would inspire you or bring you happiness.

This list will be your little black book of happiness. When adversity strikes, refer back to this list you’ve made and make an effort to accomplish one of the things you’ve written down. With this list by your side, there’s no excuse to let your goals and happiness get steamrolled by the hardship you’re facing.

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Lisa Cypers Kamen is a filmmaker, positive psychology coach, author, host of Harvesting Happiness Talk Radio, professor and lecturer specializing in the field of sustainable happiness. She is widely recognized as an expert on the subject. Lisa’s acclaimed documentary film co-produced with her now fifteen year-old daughter, Kayla, “H-Factor…Where is your heart?” explores how people in varied circumstances find, generate and share happiness. In addition to her film on happiness, Lisa has also published a number of articles and books entitled, Got Happiness Now?, Are We Happy Yet?, Leadership: Helping Others to Succeed and Reintegration Strategies, about combat trauma and using positive psychology principles to create wellness in a post-war new normal. Lisa’s written work is featured on blogs for the Huffington Post, and and she is a TEDx community event speaker. In addition, she is the Happiness Expert for the Florida Department of Citrus/ Florida Orange Juice in its Take on the Day campaign.

Harvesting Happiness for Heroes™ is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that delivers stigma-free integrated combat trauma recovery services to warriors and their loved ones. Modalities include scientifically proven strengths based Positive Psychology coaching and interdisciplinary tools such as film, yoga, meditation, art and creative writing designed to mindfully empower the client to achieve increased self-mastery, self-esteem and reclaim her/his life. HH4Heroes focuses on the balance of mind, body and emotion resulting in greater overall wellbeing and the transformation of Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) into Post-Traumatic Growth (PTG). HH4Heroes offers retreat workshops, one-on-one coaching, Battle Buddy programs, as well as our new R.E.B.O.O.T Online virtual community coaching classrooms designed to reach underserved areas. In addition, HH4Heroes deploys Return to Duty™ civilian and corporate training to help welcome a warrior home and into the community and workplace.

Lisa is committed to teaching Happiness is an inside job™ and helping others end their needless suffering through intentionally cultivating greater joy.

For more information, please visit, and

This Post Has One Comment

  1. You are so right when you say, “Every time something bad happens, there is an opportunity to experience new light in your life. You just have to keep your mind and eyes open to see it.”

    I love the image of finding the light through the cracks. That light, of course, is framed differently than the light that comes through tree branches or window screens. I’ll be watching lights, shadows, and cracks today–literally as well as metaphorically.


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