Loretta Graziano Breuning, Ph.D., grew up surrounded by unhappiness and was determined to make sense of it. She was not convinced by theories of human motivation she learned in school, so she kept searching. When she learned about the effect brain chemicals have on animals, human frustrations suddenly made sense, so she retired from teaching and founded the Inner Mammal Institute. The Inner Mammal Institute provides tools that help people make peace with the animal inside. It has helped thousands of people learn to manage their neurochemical ups and downs. Discover your inner mammal at InnerMammalInstitute.org
4. Take action. If you’re in a bad situation, take steps to bring about change. If you’re having trouble with your new boss, you could decide to try to transfer. Or you could change your behavior. Or you could find ways to pay less attention to your boss. Ask yourself, "What exactly is the problem?" It's astounding to me that often, when I take time to identify a problem exactly, a possible solution presents itself.
“Generally if people compare themselves to those who are worse off, they’re going to feel better,” continues Bauer, now a research associate at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and a clinical psychologist at Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Associates of Toronto. “When they compare themselves to people who are better off, it can make them feel worse.”
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.
Think about buying toilet paper in 7-Eleven. It will likely be one brand, in one-roll quantities, and it will likely cost you four bucks. 7-Eleven is a great chain of stores, but they excel at convenience, not low price or variety. What does this mean? If you badly need a roll of toilet paper, you’ll take the individually wrapped roll of Scott’s they have and forego your desire to get the Charmin Ultra Soft you normally prefer. (Which, at the risk of oversharing, is my favorite.)
24As the illustrations above show, the predominant effect of such an invasive design template is a very strong sense of standardization. It makes category romance novels look like uniform assembly-line products that lack the individuating and unique characteristics that we as a culture tend to value – particularly in art and literature. Instead, category romances all look the same and appear to be mutually interchangeable. This dominant impression of interchangeability is amplified by the fact that the elements that traditionally signify the book’s individual identity, such as its title, the name of the author and the summarizing blurb on the back cover, are also slipped into the line’s design template, which in effect almost completely mutes their message of idiosyncrasy. Instead, these elements appear to merely be (insignificant) variations upon an already-existing pattern that in effect appears to be more meaningful. In the public’s interpretation of the category romance’s design template, this message of standardization is likely dominant and the line template in effect serves as a code signifying extensive similarity and lack of singularity.
Use of and/or registration on any portion of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement (updated 5/25/18) and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement (updated 5/25/18). Your California Privacy Rights. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. Ad Choices.

Love, as it turns out, is a feeling (no surprises there). We get tingly and joyful. We get excited. We love. We hug and kiss and wrap our bodies around each other because it somehow expresses this feeling. “I want to smoosh my body onto your body” is probably the best way I’ve heard this described, in one of the best explorations of this topic I’ve ever read.


I don’t mean to imply that the Hmong don’t believe their children matter; on the contrary, they are famous in anthropological circles for building some of the world’s most exceptionally loving families. But this was clearly not a society that worshiped at the Altar of Individual Choice. As in most traditional societies, Hmong family dogma might effectively be summed up not as “You matter” but as “Your role matters.” For, as everyone in this village seemed to know, there are tasks at hand in life—some tasks that men must do and some tasks that women must do—and everyone must contribute to the best of his or her abilities. If you perform your tasks reasonably well, you can go to sleep at night knowing that you are a good man or a good woman, and you need not expect much more out of life or out of relationships than that.
All I can say is Wow! I absolutely couldn't put this book down. I have read all of Debora's books so far and I absolutely love the characters. The stories Debora writes are so enthralling, and she keeps you on the edge of her seat, wondering what will happen next. I laughed out loud at parts, and also cried at parts of the story. What a wonderful story, and of course, no surprise to me, since I didn't expect anything less! My only wish is that I could have these marvelous people in my neighborhood - or in my family!
Loretta Graziano Breuning, Ph.D., grew up surrounded by unhappiness and was determined to make sense of it. She was not convinced by theories of human motivation she learned in school, so she kept searching. When she learned about the effect brain chemicals have on animals, human frustrations suddenly made sense, so she retired from teaching and founded the Inner Mammal Institute. The Inner Mammal Institute provides tools that help people make peace with the animal inside. It has helped thousands of people learn to manage their neurochemical ups and downs. Discover your inner mammal at InnerMammalInstitute.org
Love commitment might be just another phrase, but it has a deep meaning. Any and every relationship requires commitment to cement it and make it strong. But what is commitment? Is it just a promise, or much more? What is committed love? Is it any different from ‘just’ love? Now that’s a question I’ve heard many people ask and ponder over. So let’s take a look at some points that show what is committed love.

The rationale: No matter how much you feed your mind, it’s difficult to make an actual change in your life if your body stays the same. Your mind and body are one unit. What is happening to one influences the other. Whether you feel uncertain or fantastic, your physiology changes. When you are feeling physically strong and powerful, your mind follows suit. Changing how your body works can change your mind and your general worldview.
36Genre is thus one of the most important organizational and interpretative pillars of the field of popular fiction, and it steers the mass communication that marks this field in the right direction. Given the industrial, commercial and communicative prominence of genre in popular fiction, it is in fact only logical that the category romance novel – one of the most (in)famous examples of genre fiction – emphasizes this generic identity in the public codification of its materiality.
15This double semiotic codification – and its concomitant potential for divergent interpretations – is present in nearly every aspect of the category romance novel’s materiality. To illustrate how the dual semiotic decoding of these properties may work, I will focus on three illustrative examples in the rest of this paper. These analyses focus on three standard elements of the category romance’s paratexts : the front cover iconography, the line template in the design of the category romance’s material packaging and the preview scene that is routinely printed on the first page of a category romance novel.
Let go of control. If you really want to feel happier, then you have to let go of the idea that you have control over all of the things that happen to you – from the successes and failures in your career to the health of your favorite pet. The fact of the matter is, you have almost no control over all of the things that happen to you, including how long you’ll live. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you can realize that you don’t have control over what life may bring – but that you can control your reaction to it. The power to be happy or sad is in your hands.
Coexisting without trust is bad, but getting burned again is worse. So instead of taking a leap of faith with that crazy neighbor or the coworker who stabbed you in the back, you can find steps that are comfortable. For forty-five days, craft reciprocal exchanges that build stepping stones toward trust with difficult people. You can’t predict the results since you can’t control others. But you will expand your sense of control over the trust bonds in your life. This is hard work, and it may not feel good in the short run. But in the long run, it builds confidence that you can do something about those thorns in your side learn how to feel happy in spite of them.
24As the illustrations above show, the predominant effect of such an invasive design template is a very strong sense of standardization. It makes category romance novels look like uniform assembly-line products that lack the individuating and unique characteristics that we as a culture tend to value – particularly in art and literature. Instead, category romances all look the same and appear to be mutually interchangeable. This dominant impression of interchangeability is amplified by the fact that the elements that traditionally signify the book’s individual identity, such as its title, the name of the author and the summarizing blurb on the back cover, are also slipped into the line’s design template, which in effect almost completely mutes their message of idiosyncrasy. Instead, these elements appear to merely be (insignificant) variations upon an already-existing pattern that in effect appears to be more meaningful. In the public’s interpretation of the category romance’s design template, this message of standardization is likely dominant and the line template in effect serves as a code signifying extensive similarity and lack of singularity.

When I was growing up in my small town in Connecticut, my favorite neighbors were a white-haired husband and wife named Arthur and Lillian Webster. The Websters were local dairy farmers who lived by an inviolable set of classic Yankee values. They were modest, frugal, generous, hardworking, unobtrusively religious, and socially discreet members of the community who raised their three children to be good citizens. They were also enormously kind. Mr. Webster called me “Curly” and let me ride my bike for hours on their nicely paved parking lot. Mrs. Webster—if I was very good—would sometimes let me play with her collection of antique medicine bottles.
This rite of committed relationship passage is so iconic that entire movie scenes and magazine articles have been dedicated to its discussion. If one or both of you have keys to the other’s house, you’re in! I mean, how many people have keys to your place? Chances are not many, but if they do and they’re not your parents, it’s a good sign you’re in a committed relationship.
Believe me, modern Western marriage has much to recommend it over traditional Hmong marriage (starting with its kidnapping-free spirit), and I will say it again: I would not trade lives with those women. They will never know my range of freedom; they will never have my education; they will never have my health and prosperity; they will never be allowed to explore so many aspects of their own natures. But there is one critical gift that a traditional Hmong bride almost always receives on her wedding day which all too often eludes the modern Western bride, and that is the gift of certainty. When you have only one path set before you, you can generally feel confident that it was the correct path to have taken. And a bride whose expectations for happiness are kept necessarily low to begin with is more protected, perhaps, from the risk of devastating disappointments down the road.
Feel more compassion. Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, once said, “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion; if you want to be happy, practice compassion.” You may think that feeling compassion for others has nothing to do with your own level of happiness, but in fact, being able to feel compassion for a friend or stranger in a difficult situation can make you a more whole, self-aware, and grateful person. If you’re so busy obsessing over your own struggles and never look around to see how other people are feeling, you’re bound to be less happy than a truly compassionate person.[3]

The rationale: No matter how much you feed your mind, it’s difficult to make an actual change in your life if your body stays the same. Your mind and body are one unit. What is happening to one influences the other. Whether you feel uncertain or fantastic, your physiology changes. When you are feeling physically strong and powerful, your mind follows suit. Changing how your body works can change your mind and your general worldview.
“The Pew Research Center reports that millennials are significantly less likely to be married than previous generations in their 20s. And a recent Gallup poll found that the percentage of 18 to 29-year-olds who say they are single and not living with a partner rose from 52 percent in 2004 to 64 percent in 2014. Marriage among 30-somethings also dropped 10 percentage points during that decade, while the percentage living together rose from 7 to 13 percent.” Source
First off, you’re not alone. Take Tony. He came up with the concepts behind 5 to Thrive after he’d been kicked out of his house by his angry mother on Christmas Eve. He was still in high school, had no money and going home was no longer an option. An action plan was born, one that Tony has used in his own life – a plan that you, too, can use to achieve a happier life.

One of the most productive ways to think about popular fiction is in terms of genre, a term that simply means – in our case – the type or species of fiction being written. The entire field of popular fiction is written for, marketed and consumed generically : it provides the primary logic for popular fiction’s means of production, formal and industrial identification and critical evaluation. (Gelder 40)
While some factors that affect happiness might be outside of our control (such as genetics or certain life circumstances), there are always actions we can take to amp up our own good feelings. To smile wider, be more satisfied with life, and feel altogether better—both in the present and the future—try introducing any (or all!) of these practices into your life.
×