11 habits of supremely happy people

happy face drawing

Reminders to help us be happy.

When you encounter a really happy person, are you envious or actually just a tiny bit annoyed?

I always like to see research about happiness, because the first thing I do is compare myself to what the scientists say I should be doing.  We all just want to be happy.  I think for most people, it’s hard to be happy all the time, but when I see these little reminders, it helps keep me a little bit more on track.

Here is a list from The Huffington Post about The 11 Daily Habits of Supremely Happy People.  Here are habits that happy people do to reinforce their happiness. How do you fare?

1. They smile
2. They build and nurture relationships
3. They create value
4. They eat healthy
5. They live in the moment
6. They set goals
7. They’re accountable
8. They laugh
9. They’re adventurous
10. They think positive
11. They embrace change

I think they missed two, well, sort of . . . making meditation and mindfulness part of my everyday life have been two of the most important life skills I have adopted.  Mindfulness is about #5 above – living in the moment, but with a non-judgmental attitude. Meditation is also a beautiful way to notice your life, build resiliency and cultivate joy.

As a change manager who teaches meditation, I was glad to see #11 ‘They embrace change’.  I echo this as I see that the people who don’t let workplace change get them down are indeed generally happier people.

Whatever you choose to do, do it with awareness and intention!  Notice how you are living your life. Appreciate the good things in your life.

Wishing you a series of wonderful moments, every day.

~Wendy Quan, The Calm Monkey



Pause and Laugh!

May contain nuts

Fun, unexpected and wonderful!

How often do you laugh?  If you remember back to your childhood and how much you laughed, what are you like now?  If you’re like most adults, and me, laughter is few and far between most of the time other than a chuckle here and there.

We get so caught up in our busy lives.  The weight of the world is upon us.

I’m taking a ‘pause’ right now in my life – which means intentionally suspending most of the ‘doing’ I do. I’ve never done this before. There are some things that just can’t be suspended, but everything that I can pause, I am pausing.  I’ll write more about this pause, this sacred pause, soon.  It’s an unexpected discovery I am having.

What I’ve noticed is that my whole being feels lighter as I’m in this period of pause, and I’m laughing more!  Oh, what a feeling!

Yesterday I went for a walk, and noticed this rather professional-looking message on the sidewalk so I took the photo.  “Huh? What is that doing there?  What the heck does that mean?”  I laughed and thought, what a great little out-of-context fun thing someone did.  I makes you pause and ponder. It was beside a forested area where there are squirrels always scurrying around.  Just a fun little thing I wanted to share with you.  Being relaxed enough to see and enjoy fun little things in life is wonderful.

Have a great day, wherever you are in the world!


Living joyfully does not mean living in the clouds

Joy questioned

Is this what it means to live in joy? Not exactly…

Honestly, I did not understand (or really care) about what it meant to live life joyfully.  It has only been in more recent years that I ‘get it’.  The learning developed over time, and did not happen in an instant.

I would like to address the stigma that I think exists about this. When someone truly does not understand or care about living with an attitude of joy, they often label and joke that such people are hippies, tree-huggers, living in the clouds or my personal favourite ‘Woo-Woo’.  Some of my friends joke with me, calling me ‘Woo-Woo Wendy’ – we have good laughs about that and here’s why….

It’s funny because they remember where they came from before being open to living their life with awareness and intention. They can look at themselves now, and remember that before they practiced meditation and mindfulness that they would have looked upon such people as ‘woo-woo’.  Now they are basically ‘woo-woo’ themselves! And they look at me as the instigator  🙂

My point is that once you wake up to life, live life in the moment, and choose to find joy rather than living life through a lens of negativity, your experience of life changes dramatically.

To live joyfully means:

  • to pay attention to the present moment
  • to try to live without judgment
  • to be grateful for the wonderful things in your life
  • to notice even the smallest and seemingly mundane things in life, like appreciating how you have a roof over your head, or that you can enjoy your cup of coffee in the morning, or how your body carries you through your day.
  • to choose your perspective on life
  • there is so much more… what else can you think of?

And does not necessarily mean:

  • you are living in the clouds and are not grounded
  • a religious connotation
  • to ignore the bad things in life
  • that you are jumping up and down and happy all the time

We are all human and even people who live joyfully are not happy 100% of the time. To experience the ups and downs and emotions of life is to be human. But when we have a grounded perspective of life and choose joy over suffering, our human experience is so much better.

So if you ever scoff when you see people who live joyfully or when you see a touching quotation about the beauty of life, stop for a moment and be curious why you do that. Maybe, just maybe, there is something about this joyfulness stuff?

If you want to get into this subject in a much deeper way, here is a wonderful interview with Dr. Wayne Dyer called Seven Secrets of a Joyful Life.

Create a wonderful day,


Why and how to find your purpose

Path to dreamIf you scoff at the question ‘What is your purpose in life?’ I invite you to challenge yourself as to why you do that.   When I was younger, that question meant next to nothing to me, because it just seemed so ‘out there’ and rather hippy-ish, and after all, didn’t I have all the time in the world to think about that kind of thing later on?

I had wonderful parents growing up, but they didn’t seem interested or supportive in helping me to value life. My upbringing was simply about the day-to-day doings of life.  As I became an adult, I started to wonder about my purpose in life, especially when I saw people who just seemed to have it all figured out.

So why should you find your purpose?

Knowing and living your purpose in life gives your life a deep meaning. It brings true fulfillment and happiness. It provides perspective that when you face the day-to-day grind and irritations, that these things are just ‘things’ and are fleeting.  It makes you truly feel valuable and connected to something bigger. It makes you feel that you’re not alone, and that you are adding value to the world.

Aren’t these good reasons to care to find your purpose?  I think so.

How do you find your purpose?

This can be tricky. I personally searched for years. But I admit that my searching wasn’t too much more than curiosity and waiting for my purpose to be presented on a silver platter.  For me, the result of my cancer journey was my wake-up call to create a more meaningful life by helping people become more awake to the joys of life.

I hope you do not need to experience a big life challenge before you are willing to find your purpose.

Here are 5 very helpful questions that I saw in a Huffington Post article to help you think about what your purpose might be:

  1. What am I here to learn (in this lifetime)?
  2. What am I here to teach?
  3. What am I here to overcome?
  4. What am I here to complete?
  5. What am I here to express?

An interesting note is that you may have more than one purpose, or your purpose may change over time.  You will know when you have found your purpose and are living it – you will feel the deep connection to life with joy and fulfillment.

My purpose

Sharing my purpose is quite a personal thing, but I will share it with you. I think my main passion is the same as my purpose.

I hope to help people awaken to the joys of life.

I have discovered that teaching others the powerful combination of meditation and mindfulness in workplace settings and public classes results in higher resilience and improves the meaning of people’s lives, in subtle and profound ways.

If you are currently searching for or living your purpose, I would welcome you to leave a comment below to share what your journey of discovery is like.  I think sharing this knowledge will help others.

Warm wishes,


MBSR learning #4: Observe your run-away thinking

Here is another great learning from my mindfulness class:

The #1 biggest obstacle for people when meditating is feeling frustrated when they can’t quiet their mind – their mind keeps getting distracted by thoughts that interrupt their meditation. Meditation becomes frustrating and they feel like they can’t meditate.

It is fundamentally important to realize that the mind will have thoughts during meditation. The mind will wander. The mind will jump around like a monkey.

The key is this:

Be mindful and aware that these thoughts are happening, and gently bring your attention back to the chosen focus of your meditation (whether it is your breath, a mantra, sensations in your body, etc). This in itself is being mindful.

Here is a great analogy:

Train station

Let the trains of thought come and go, but don’t get on.

Think of your distracting thoughts as a train.  When you are meditating or practicing simple mindfulness, you may be aware that the distracting thought (the train) has arrived. What you do not want to do is ‘get on the train’ and feed the thought or keep with the thought. It’s like you are at a train station, watching the trains come and go, but do not get on. Or if find yourself already on the train, be mindful and get off the train.

As you practice mindfulness meditation, you will get increasingly better at recognizing when the train arrives, and get better at not getting on the train, and letting the train pass you by and go away.

This is being mindful. This brings more peace into your life.

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