Tag Archives: Happiness

Daily Joys Create a Happier Life

What’s the difference between joy and happiness?

Both joy and happiness are feelings. We can feel joy and we can feel happy. However, observation of joy shows that it tends to come from inside of us, whereas witnessing the feeling of happiness shows that most of the time external factors elicit the response.

Last week I mentioned that the act of smiling, the actual turning up the corners of our mouth, can help our bodies produce neurotransmitters that affect us by stimulating positive emotions. What if another simple act of just our understanding the difference between joy and happiness can also help us feel better and make a BIG difference in our lives?

We know that happiness is important not only emotionally, but also physically. Our personal happiness really does affect how well our life goes all around. If we aren’t happy, it means we are feeling or experiencing other emotions instead that may influence our physical health. And if we add stress in our life on top of not feeling happiness, it can lead to feelings of loss of control, lack of purpose, unworthiness, and bad habits leading to unhealthy choices.

So, what can we do? How can we turn a downward emotional spiral around?

First, seek to understand the difference between joy and happiness, and instead of looking for happiness outside of yourself, focus on cultivating the feeling of small joys every day. Experiencing small joys daily can help create a happier life overall.

We all have small joys. Your joys are individual preferences within you as you experience life. Here are a few ways to help you identify and adopt habits that will nurture your own small joys.

  • Start every day by appreciating something about yourself.

Recognize something you love about yourself. Disregard the perceived flaws you may think you have, but actively single out something that you identify in yourself that you either adore, admire, or appreciate, just because it is part of you or maybe the way you do things. Maybe it’s your sense of humor, your own eyes when you look in the mirror, the types of books you like to read, how you notice things no one else does, your ability to think about subjects in a certain way, or your love of color, coffee, or cantaloupe. See—this is not hard. It’s very simple but you must make it a habit EVERY DAY. And this is not at all being vain. These are special little joys of you just being you. These daily joys help build self-esteem and lead to positive choices in taking care of yourself, which ultimately leads to healthy feelings of well-being.

  • Identify a purpose in your life.

This is a big thing that determines how we treat ourselves and how we feel about our life. If we don’t know what our purpose is, then it makes it hard to get out of bed in the morning. Or if we are doing things that do not align with our purpose, it really makes it hard to keep going. Our personal purpose will light the internal flame of joy that radiates outward into our life and everything we do. And you don’t just have one purpose, you could have many purposes in life, but the thing to look for is where your values line up with your beliefs. If you make goals from the intersection of your values and beliefs, life just seems to follow your purpose and light your path. And feelings of purpose are vital for daily joy.

  • Think flexibly so you can adapt to change and cope with stress.

 There is nothing like stress and things not going your way to zap your joy and steal your happiness. We have ideas of the way we want our life to go and rarely does a life journey follow the yellow brick road as we had imagined it to be. The zapper is our rigid grip on the idea of the outcome we anticipated. But what if we could loosen our mental hold and allow ourselves to lean into the way things are going, even if we don’t like it and it makes us uncomfortable. What if we could perhaps adopt the attitude of not labeling the disappointment or struggle, but just being with it and watching what unfolds for the unexpected blessing.

Starting each day appreciating yourself and living your chosen purpose in a flexible manner is something that may take discipline to foster. If we can be adaptable in thinking about our lives and the course it takes without attachment, we might more readily appreciate each small joy in its own moment. In recognizing and embracing each of those precious moments, it will become evident that the whole of a happy life is made up of the small daily joys we choose to savor.

This week conquer your reality in 10 minutes at a time by observing those little things you adore about yourself, by opening yourself up to living your purpose every day and cherishing each moment of joy as it comes.

Hearts & Hugs,

Dr. Jen




How Aroma Influences Mood

What is your favorite aroma and why? How does that aroma affect your mood and behavior?

My favorite aroma is the smell of coconut lotion. Why? Because my favorite place is the beach and I’ve linked the scent of coconut with the memory associated with my favorite place.

Another example would be the scent of Sunday dinner as I walked into my grandmother’s house. It always gave me a happy and comfortable feeling when I was growing up. It was part savory and part sweet. Those specific spice and fruit aroma’s today still give me that feeling even away from my grandmother’s house because they are intrinsically linked in my mind as a memory with a good feeling.

Influenced by the Experience of Smell

Our emotional and mental state can easily be influenced by the experience of smell. This is because as we sniff an odor, the molecules penetrate the mucous membrane in the nose. The receptors on the hair-like cilia bind with the molecules and send a message through the olfactory nerves to the olfactory bulbs in our brain. From there the signal of the odor is passed to other parts of the brain, most notably the hippocampus and the amygdala.

The hippocampus is where our limbic system (or emotional processing) is located, where emotions, sexual arousal, memory, and even learning can take place. And the amygdala is where our emotions get tied to our memories. So, between the hippocampus and the amygdala, aroma and feelings get connected to evoke emotions subconsciously. Memories almost always invoke an emotion and if a scent is attached to a memory, it may be easy to invoke that emotion when you smell that reminiscent odor.

An Easy Way to Use Aroma

Essential oils, more specifically, have many compounds that may affect us through our olfactory system that are not always connected to memory per se, such as lavender being known to calm and relax, and lemon believed to invigorate. Here is an easy way to use aroma to help set the mood. We all know this to an extent, but why don’t we take advantage of it?

Commercial businesses have figured this out to get us to buy more, or to make us happy when we are shopping. Cosmetic products use purposefully designed fragrances to elicit our purchase. Some stores brand their customer experience with a signature scent that is intended to get you to stay longer and shop more.

Candles, Potpourri and Essential Oils

Now that we know aroma can affect us, our emotions, and moods, and ultimately behaviors, let’s use it to our advantage. We can light our favorited scented candles and put potpourri in our drawers and bathroom. But there is even more we can do!

Aromatherapists use the natural aroma of essential oils to promote feeling better in many ways, from energizing to motivating and relaxing to meditating. Over the past couple years, I was introducing aromatherapy and the positive effect that aroma could have on people by giving them “happy” essential oil recipes.

Combinations of essential oils in a diffuser, a mist, a bath, or a massage oil can do wonders for lifting or calming the spirit. My followers loved it! However, there were a couple dilemmas for my clients. One, buying multiple pure essential oils can get expensive. And since they wanted to have more than one mood, over time they would need to purchase multiple oils for many recipes.

A New Mood Aroma Experience

As I pondered the dilemma and wanted to make it easy for everyone to have this positive life experience, I came up with the idea of the New Mood Aroma subscription. This is a way they could get a new mood delivered to them every month. I took the guess work out of combining the oils and now have pure essential oil blends in personal inhalers. It’s easy and convenient. Twist off the top and waft under the nose. I like to think of it as a way to carry a little self-care in your pocket or purse.

A lot of DIYers will still want to purchase all the oils and experiment with mixing the right ratios to elicit the intended aroma, but for the rest of us I’m excited to announce the New Mood Aroma subscription has launched.

This has been an exciting project for me that started with helping family, friends, and clients. Now I offer it to anyone that wants a way to breathe in happiness. Feel free to check it out at NewMoodAroma.com

Hearts & (gentle) Hugs,

Dr. Jen