14. "To commit to loving a person for five minutes is easy. To commit to loving a person for the rest of your life, after you have met them, is a strong commitment. But when you commit to loving a person before you meet them and for the rest of your life, you have made the strongest commitment one can make to a relationship." ― Tom Houck, Being Faithful To Your Future Spouse: Faithfulness Begins Before You Meet
Notice, talk about, and write about what does feel good in your life today. It could be the pancakes for breakfast, the call to or from a dear friend, yoga at the gym, the flowers you saw on your walk, your good vision and hearing, the cleared desk or table, or anything that leads you to more peace and contentment. I sometimes read my list of gratitudes when I’m feeling grumpy or overextended. When I take a few moments to focus on what does feel good, I’m usually much more able to settle down and do what feels important to do.

42Indeed, the core interpretative mechanism uncovered in the material analyses in this paper – the notion that generically initiated readers interpret conventionality differently from readers who are not familiar with the genre’s codes and conventions – has the potential to shed new light on the broader discussion of the role of conventionality in the popular romance genre specifically and other kinds of genre fiction more generally. It stands to reason that the dynamics uncovered in the category romance’s materiality also apply to the text this materiality encloses and represents. Indeed, if we consider this materiality to be a physical manifestation and performative representation of the identity and characteristic traits of the text (as I have implicitly done throughout this discussion), the implications for the role of conventionality in the category romance narrative are potentially far-reaching and call for a renewed examination of the poetic functioning of both romance and other kinds of popular fiction.
Spend more time outside. Just going outside and breathing in fresh air and letting the sun fall on your face is guaranteed to make you feel happier. If you have something to do that you can do outside, change your plan to accommodate the sunshine. If you were just going to read a book in your dark, stuffy room, go read in the park instead. If you’re having lunch with a friend at a café, ask for outdoor seating. Being outside – provided that you’re not in the middle of a storm – is guaranteed to make you feel happier.
The groups were then tested six months later to assess their relapse rate. Of those who had taken the medication alone, 38 percent had slipped back into depression. Those in the combination group were doing only slightly better, with a 31 percent relapse rate. The biggest shock, though, came from the exercise group: Their relapse rate was only 9 percent!
Isn’t that beautiful? When it comes to God, you don’t have to pick whether you want committed love or compassionate love. He encircles you, surrounds you. You are swimming in and exalted by his committed, compassionate love. He doesn’t just love you legally, which is true, right? Jesus died for your sins, so God loves you and he won’t hold you accountable for a sin that his Son died for. Legally, he loves you in that way. But it is more than that! His heart is moved with compassion for you.
Think of emotions such as sadness, stress and anxiety as red flags that your mind wants you to pay attention to, Gielan explains. If you’re angry, for example, it likely means there’s an injustice that you want to correct. If you’re anxious, there may be a threat you need to attend to. And if you’re sad, it means you care about a situation so deeply that it’s causing you distress. Negative feelings can also serve as the catalyst you need to transition to a better place in your life — a new job or a different relationship, for example. 
As a matter of fact, it’s already happening. Now that young girls like my twelve-year-old friend Mai are being exposed to modern Western women like me through crowds of tourists, they’re experiencing those first critical moments of cultural hesitation. I call this the “Wait-a-Minute Moment”—that pivotal instant when girls from traditional cultures start pondering what’s in it for them, exactly, to be getting married at the age of thirteen and starting to have babies not long after. They start wondering if they might prefer to make different choices for themselves, or any choices, for that matter. Once girls from closed societies start thinking such thoughts, all hell breaks loose. Mai- trilingual, bright, and observant- had already glimpsed another set of options for life. It wouldn’t be long before she was making demands of her own. In other words: It might be too late for even the Hmong to be Hmong anymore.
Exercise regularly. Regular exercise has been proven to make people feel happier and even just 30 minutes of exercise a day can have a significant impact on how happy you feel. You may not want to hit up the gym or go for a quick run when you’re feeling down in the dumps, but that’s precisely what will get you up. If exercising alone is too boring for you, then take a group yoga, dance, or barre class or join a team sport.[6]
19Various elements of the clinch image are subjected to this genre-internal system of secondary codification. For example, the attire worn by the cover models can function as a code for the novel’s subgenre. That models on the cover of historical category romances wear clothes that are instantly recognizable as period costumes comes as no big surprise and is a fairly obvious example of such a secondary codification of the clinch image. Other clothing-based codifications that are common in the romance genre are perhaps less obvious to the public at large. The relatively recent trend in paranormal romance to deck out cover models (particularly women) in leather clothing is probably not well-known outside the genre. Nonetheless, as romance bloggers Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan have observed, within the romance genre a female cover model dressed in leather or spandex-like clothing serves as a reliable semiotic sign that the novel in question features a paranormal storyline (178).
Keep a folder of quotes from 14,000 Things to Be Happy About or affirmations, happy memories or travel photos where you can easily access it when you notice you need a lift. You can even combine (4) a treat, (5) a change of location and (6) a folder and promise yourself that you will take a positive action when you notice that your peaceful place is slipping away. You may still be less than satisfied in your relationship, with your child, parent, or friend, or with your check book or any other part of your life. It may seem difficult to imagine yourself in a state of happiness when you observe your life. Well, if you can do even one thing to feel more peaceful, your thoughts are likely to follow. How about an “afformation” (a question) — “What makes it so natural to focus on what is working?” From there, you’re on the trail that leads to happiness. If you detour, you can always get back on the main road. Happy trails to you!
It is a mistake to think that love comics are read only by adolescent and older children. They are read by very young children as well. An eight-year-old girl living in a very comfortable environment on Long Island said, “I have lots of friends and we buy about one comic book a week and then we exchange. I can read about ten a day. I like to read the comic books about love because when I go to sleep at night I love to dream about love.”
The next time you’re feeling down, try harnessing the power of a yellow hue. Research shows happy people tend to associate their mood with the cheerful color, and folks also tend to think of yellow as the color of optimism (possibly because we associate it with the sun). To incorporate the power of yellow into your life, try adding a bit of yellow to your outfit or painting your walls the cheerful hue.
At some points in life, it's not possible -- or at least not easy -- to feel happy. However, even then, it's sometimes possible to feel happier. By taking whatever steps you can manage to give yourself whatever happiness boost is possible, you give yourself a deeper reservoir to deal with your happiness challenge. Here are some strategies to consider:
If you consider that the average life expectancy is between 70 and 80 years of age and that a third of that time is spent sleeping, the fact that you and your sweetheart talk about how to spend the hours you have remaining together is significant. When you’re single you can make decisions based on your wants alone. In a committed relationship, however, it matters what the other person wants to do and where they see themselves in the future. So if you and your partner are making plans together, there’s a good likelihood that your relationship is in for the long haul.
Kirby: Joe and I were working for McFadden Publications at the time. McFadden had comics and in one of the books we did a feature called My Date. It suddenly occurred to me that McFadden was the biggest purveyor of romance in the world and was making millions at it, and we were sitting on top of the same thing, except that there were no romance stories in comics. My Date was a prelude.

I had the Young Romance idea coming out of the service. I saw all these adults reading comic books and said, “Jeez, they’re all reading Disney and Donald Duck.” I got together a few pages of True Romance Confession and I thought the girls, the housewives that were reading comics, the housekeepers, the housemaids, everybody who was reading comics would really like to read some adult comics. I showed it to Jack and he loved it.
I ran into a friend, who I have known for about 8 years ( he was actually a former teacher of mine at the University although he is younger than me. haha). Anyway, he invited me to sit with him and we had some fun conversation. He asked if he could walk me to my car when I was ready to leave and I said yes. Long story short, he kissed me. Honestly, I did not feel anything. It was almost like kissing my brother as they say. I felt a little guilty because I know he knows the guy who I am "dating". I felt like I did something wrong, yet I know Matt and I are not exclusive. I know he has active dating website accounts. Why do I feel so bad about this when for all I know could have kissed someone else last night as well?
The comics industry took into account many of the criticisms leveled against romance comics when it enacted the Comics Code Authority in 1954. The Comics Code was implemented to help stave off the backlash against comics and is credited with destroying much of the comic industry and curtailing free speech and creativity for decades. Several specific provisions were directly leveled at romance comics and the advertisements found in them.
One of the very first signs of commitment in a relationship is when two people spend lots of time together. Outside of normal working hours and with all the things you could be doing in a day, there usually isn’t much time left over to spare. And since time is one of the few commodities that none of us can get back, the fact that you and your significant other choose to make time for each other on a regular basis is a good sign that you’re both committed.

37As noted in the above analyses, this is hardly a subtle process. On the contrary, the category romance is very obvious in its material genre performance. This generic blatancy is, as Gelder has pointed out, another characteristic element of popular fiction, in which “generic identities are always visible. This is how it differs from Literature. Popular fiction announces those [generic] identities loudly and unambiguously” (42). Although it is precisely this very emphatic generic conventionality that gives rise to the stereotypical interpretation of genre literature in general and the category romance novel in particular as a kind of literature that is repetitive, formulaic and inferior to literary fiction, this is the price that the category romance novel is apparently willing to pay in order to achieve the generic transparency that is the commercial bread and butter of popular fiction.


Make time for “me time.” If you want to feel happier, then you have to spend more time thinking about yourself. This doesn’t mean you should be completely selfish, but it does mean that you should schedule times when you can just be alone with your own thoughts, ideas, and favorite activities. Your life may be hectic, but there’s always time to squeeze in a half hour or an hour here and there just to be by yourself, whether you’re taking a walk, writing in a journal, or just reflecting on the week.
It was hard to imagine loneliness here. Just as it was impossible to imagine where in this crowded domestic arrangement you might find the happier twin sister of loneliness: privacy. Mai and her mother lived in constant closeness with so many people. I was struck—not for the first time in my years of travel—by how isolating contemporary American society can seem by comparison. Where I come from, we have shriveled down the notion of what constitutes “a family unit” to such a tiny scale that it would probably be unrecognizable as a family to anybody in one of these big, loose, enveloping Hmong clans. You almost need an electron microscope to study the modern Western family these days. What you’ve got are two, possibly three, or maybe sometimes four people rattling around together in a giant space, each person with her own private physical and psychological domain, each person spending large amounts of the day completely separated from the others.

Neil Pasricha is the New York Times–bestselling author of the Book of Awesome series, which has been published in ten countries, spent more than five years on various bestsellers lists, and sold more than a million copies. Pasricha is a Harvard MBA, one of the most popular TED speakers of all time, and the director of the Institute for Global Happiness. He has dedicated the past fifteen years of his life to developing leaders—creating global programs inside the world’s largest companies and speaking to hundreds of thousands of people around the world. Pasricha lives in Toronto with his family.
When it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle, eating well is clutch—especially since the nutrients you consume improve your mental health as much as your physical well-being. Case in point: Research finds that happiness and mental well-being are highest among people who eat a good amount of fruit and vegetables per day (seven portions, in this case). Check out this long list of mood-boosting nutrients here, and fill up your plate with the good stuff.
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