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News[letter] From The Happy Side


Hi Everyone,

We hope you’re well out there. These days, more than ever, I (Alice) have been taking comfort in the small joys I find each day – signs of spring, interactions with friends and family, immersing in writing, long walks, and bike rides.

I’ve also been thinking about resilience. In this Newsletter, we address not only happiness, but how resilience and happiness lead to each other. We hope that the quotes, articles, activities, and more in this Newsletter bring you not only an infusion of joy, but perhaps some ways to help you get through these challenging times.

As one of the articles below says, “Every new moment is a new gift.”


Alice B. McGinty and Alan B. Havis

Quotes From the Happy Side

“The greatest secret to happiness and peace is letting every life situation be what it is, instead of what you think it should be. Then, make the very best of it.” Thibaut

“Judge nothing, you will be happy. Forgive everything, you will be happier. Love everything, you will be happiest.”  — Sri Chinmoy

If you want to be happy, be.” — Leo Tolstoy

Articles From the Happy Side

1. Resilience in Positive Psychology: Bouncing Back & Staying Strong, by Seph Fontane Pennock, BBA

Some highlights: 

  • Learning to perceive obstacles as challenges rather than hindrances. 
  • Identifying and leveraging your strengths. “When times are tough, it’s easy to lose hope and optimism. That’s why we need to know our strengths, especially when life gets tough.”

2. Recipe for Your Personal Happiness — Start With Gratitude & Be Compassionate!  (Paul Adam Mudd)

Some highlights:

  • This article about mindfulness offers many gifts, including this quote, “Every new moment is a new gift.”

  • “Happiness is actually found in the subjective everyday experience. It isn’t some grand, exotic, mystical, unattainable thing. Nor is it something that only others can experience. …In fact, it’s found in small things, everyday things... You just need to know where to look — Right Here, Right Now.”

Activities From the Happy Side

Make a gratitude journal, and each day write down three things that you feel especially grateful for.  

Now, add to that. Write down your strengths in your notebook as well. Remind yourself of what you have to offer. The article, “Resilience in Positive Psychology,” says, “Strengths serve us well in times of darkness, as well as times of light. It’s time we start knowing our own and valuing them.”

Movies From the Happy Side

Harold and Maude (1971) is among both Alan’s and Alice’s favorite movies. We re-watched this life-affirming film together recently. Here’s my (Alan’s) review:

What is it about the movie Harold and Maude that we all find so joyful? I guess we can start with the Cat Stevens sound track -- probably the best of any movie I know. And then there are the coolest cars ever… a 60’s hearse and a Jaguar XKE customized to resemble a hearse. While these things are happiness-worthy alone, this movie’s happiness goes much, much, deeper.

For those unfamiliar with the film, it’s about a young man consumed with death and despair who meets a 79-year-old woman who’s consumed with life and happiness. The young man comes from vast wealth and the old woman has few possessions, possessing only things of meaning to her as opposed to things of value. She rejects the notion of ownership.

But she has exuberance in abundance, as is reflected in her adventures, dancing, smile, and most of all, her outlook.  And even though the two only have one week before her 80th birthday and pre-planned death (“80 is a good age to die”), the young man for the first time sees what happiness is and can be, and ultimately adopts it for himself.

Song From the Happy Side

Cat Stevens (Yusuf) If You Want to Sing Out (theme song from Harold and Maude)

Blog Post From the Happy Side

Happiness is . . . Magic

So we’re in Chicago on the coldest weekend of the winter. This year it was Valentine’s Day weekend, but the coldest weekend changes every year to the one weekend each winter that I happen to find myself in Chicago.

Regardless, Alice and I find Chicago magical. The old historic Chicago hotels like the Drake, the Knickerbocker, and the Palmer House. The larger than life shops along Michigan Avenue. And of course the multitude of gastronomical delights from Chicago style pizza to grand steakhouses.

But on this trip, we experienced something new . . . parlor magic. Up close and personal. Right before our very eyes. Two rows, thirty people, and an unobstructed up close view of one very good magician. In a matter of one hour we were transformed.

His trade is slight-of-hand and ESP magic. Cards would disappear in thin air and reappear someplace else. Cards were torn up only to be unfolded whole again. Dice were put in people’s cupped hands and shaken, only to have the magician guess what the “up” number was. Repeatedly. People’s names were correctly guessed. People’s thoughts were articulated. And numbers, haphazardly taken from here and there were transformed into an order that perfectly matched the serial number on a dollar bill produced from the pocket of a randomly selected guest that began the show. All seemed absolutely impossible.

It got me thinking about what it is about magic that we find so engaging? I think I know the answer. It’s the ability for a short time to get us to suspend reason and transform us back to a time when we were kids. When we didn’t know the answer to how everything worked. When so many of our experiences were fresh and new and . . . magical. Magic took me back to that time, and back to my happiness.

Thank you for taking the time for this News[letter] from the Happy Side. We hope it’s brought you joy and comfort, and maybe a special nugget or two to help make things brighter. 


Alice & Alan

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