How can I be happy?

Chaeedy asks…

“I’m still feeling a bit melancholy a good deal of the time. I often think I might be in a bit of a mid life crisis. Even though I have a beautiful family, I often think ‘What’s this really all about?’ Like nothing seems to do it for me anymore, where’s the joy/excitement?

The anxiety isn’t there nearly as much as it used to be (or the thoughts), but you’d think I’d be super happy all the time. Perhaps this is REALLY where meditation comes in? Very confused!”

Man looking at confusing sign
© Doug Wheller

I can tell you with noooooo doubt that if the six lifestyle elements are in place, you cannot NOT be happy. A well functioning body, high energy and living in the moment allows joy — which is really your natural state.

I’m so sure of this that I know that you are lacking in one or more of these areas.

Sleep, diet, live in the moment and organization spring to mind in your case…

I say organization because you worry and worry is not joy. And worry becomes a habit — everything does. The organization and “tidy your soul” information in Happy Guide is to take you away from worry…

And I suspect with you there are still unresolved issues with food intolerance.

Everything affects everything else. The worry means you don’t sleep well. Food intolerance can cause/contribute to anxiety and so on.

Yes — meditation is the most powerful tool to learn to live in the moment. It’s quite incredible! Keep doing it — religiously! :-)

A beautiful family and all the material things cannot make you happy on their own. Happiness is what’s left when you remove the blocks to happiness really — physical, mental and emotional blocks.

Putting the six lifestyle elements in place will remove all those blocks. See the “tidy your soul” section in the “Get Organized” chapter of Happy Guide for more details.

You can practice meditation every second of every day. Simply focus all your attention on what you’re doing. A very simple thing with profound consequences.

Hope this helps Chaeedy, I know how frustrating and confusing it all can seem. Trust the Happy Guide way and you’ll be amazed…

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Michael Kinnaird is the author of Happy Guide, the result of a 20 year exploration into what works for health and happiness.

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10 thoughts on “How can I be happy?

  1. Man, you keep blowing me away! That’s definitely what I was looking for (and the reason for my confusion). I know it’s semantics, but ‘presence’ vs ‘Present moment’ makes a HUGE difference! As for sleep, even though my stress level has gone down since not working, my sleep STILL isn’t great… still often wake up around 2:00 A.M. Of all the tests I took with my homeopath, the two things that actually showed something were 1) I almost certainly have Candida, 2) my cortisol levels were out of whack (high in the evening, low in the morning). What’s salivary amylase? (I likely took a test for that as well). As for vegetarian diet, I have a gut feeling you’re likely right, but part of me just can’t do it.

    Sorry to take up so much of your time.




    1. Hiya Chaeedy,

      Well this is very interesting. If you have candida, it’s most likely responsible for your suffering. When candida changes into the fungal form it can cause ‘leaky gut.’ Say hello to a whole host of problems as stuff gets into your blood that has no place being there. In my view, this is all linked with gluten too. Not sure why :-) Just an instinct.

      I read that gluten breaks down in a a certain way and if you have leaky gut then these opioid-like molecules get through. Also, gluten can damage the villi.

      So the good news is I think you have a good plan of attack here.

      Re veggie diet… If you can’t you can’t and I’m in your camp in that I hate the idea of hurting animals. I even put an ant outside yesterday :-) So it’s a big dilemma for me. Anyway, you do eat fish. Do you eat eggs too?

      The Big Question is; Do we NEED animal source foods? And the answer is a big ‘pfffffff.’ There are A LOT of factors and issues here. Taurine, protein in general, creatine, b12 and omega 3 are ones that spring immediately to mind.



  2. Wow Mike:

    I have to tell you that that was (in my opinion) the most profound note you have ever written me. IT REALLY hit home. I think I’m finally getting the whole thing.

    Thanks so very much! I actually think I’m finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel! (what a long strange trip it’s been :-)



    I take it when you say “human food” you mean food from animals?


    1. Wonderful Chaeedy, that’s fantastic! :-)

      I had another little thought when I was out walking — ‘presence’ is different to ‘the present moment.’ Presence refers to a state of alert awareness whereas the the present moment could include your unconscious thinking :-) BUT unconscious thinking will dimish your ‘presence’ and even completely obliterate it! Like the sun and cloud thing :-)

      Human food includes animal source foods. The only guarantee of health is to eat human foods in the right amounts. That’s not to say that a vegetarian diet wouldn’t work for some but I cannot guarantee it will work for YOU.

      The science of human nutrition is a baby science. The more I look into the more I think that for now, the only sane option is to eat what we are evolved to eat. I hope one day that the raw vegan diet will prove it’s worth.

      Even today I read that a new protein has been discovered. The optimal diet will prob be a raw diet of some kind. But no research has been done (of any value).

      As I say in HG, I recommend that anyone suffering from chronic illness eat human food to the exclusion of all other stuff… including coffee. I said that it’s unlikely coffee is a factor but how can we be totally sure? Everyone is different.

      I was looking into sleep debt for you this morning actually. I wonder if this is a factor. Apparently there is a biomarker for sleep debt — salivary amylase. Do you get ENOUGH sleep?


  3. Mike:

    I know you’re very busy, but had to ask one last question. Living in the present, always. Consciousness. I understand the concept (at least I think I do), but with anxiety and OCD, what about those thoughts? What about the thought of doing something awful, right then and now? It’s one thing if it’s in the future, but what about those thoughts happening now, regarding actions now? How do you stay in the present and ignore those thoughts, which are in the “present”?


    1. Hi Chaeedy,

      Thoughts aren’t you but the only way you can know that and so have freedom from them is from a stand-back postition, from awareness. In most people’s reality, thoughts themselves are running the show. The thoughts drag in all their attention.

      To live in the moment is to be totally immersed in the background consciousness that you really are. That is the whole of you. Old patterns play out because thoughts become habits but they become de-activated without continued attention, without your unconscious attention.

      To be totally present is to have no thoughts at all. It’s quite a simple thing but as you say, difficult to do at first. You can do 10 seconds no? The ‘no-mind’ technique as we’ve come to call it. So then, it’s only a matter of getting longer and stronger. Listening is all you need. Awareness.

      Just play the ‘catch the next thought’ game all the time.

      You can continue with the breathing meditation that’s fine. I just do ‘intense listening’ for my meditation these days, as in Happy Guide.

      Whatever you give your attention to you empower. So most people are empowering all sorts of random rubbish. And as I say, that’s going to create all sorts of hell.

      To make quick progress, you must do meditation. Our unconscious habits are far too powerful to make serious progress without it. Two thirty minute sessions a day will work magic. One session if you don’t have time for two — it’s depends how quickly you want to progress.

      And you must also address anything that is potentially disturbing the functioning of your brain — food intolerance. Suspect anything that is not human food that you eat often. In your position, I would give up grain containing gluten in a heartbeat.

      Oh and… if you are anxious that is going to produce seriously disturbed thinking because ‘fight or flight’ is the best state to save your life, not think clearly. It’s almost impossible to calm down from anxiety just by thought-control methods. You just have to get rid of that adrenaline — run!!

      With more and more meditation, you will be able to spot tensions and triggers of stress. And you will have the power to remove your attention. And meditation will generally move you out of fight or flight into “the relaxation response”… the entirely opposite physiological state where it’s far less likely that you’ll have a stress reaction.

      Re awful thoughts being in the present — this is where we can get lost in the clunky use of words. Think of it like this: you are the sun, thoughts are like clouds. Have enough clouds and they will block out the sun entirely.



  4. Hiya Mike:

    Once again, thanks very much; very insightful. I guess one can’t only do one or two of the six and think it will be OK. Plus, anxiety and depression bring additional baggage like bitterness, resentment, etc. which not only are wrong, but fuel the situation. “Live in the moment”… very powerful/true words. Strange how difficult it is to do! Reminds me of a quote of yours at the start of a chapter regarding bad habits… “like a comfortable bed; easy to get into, hard to get out of”.

    Plus, regarding how things are all linked together, I think I first was stressed, then depressed, which led to anxiety, and as an extension OCD.

    It’s all connected. I’ll go back and re-read Happy Guide, specifically regarding “tidy your soul.”

    Thanks man! Your last comment about “A beautiful family and all the material things cannot make you happy”


    1. Thanks Chaeedy, yes, you can only enjoy your beautiful family when you are “in joy.”They are not the cause of joy. Us humans have our values mixed up — think “The American Dream.”The dream of a whole nation. House? Check. Children? Check. Car? Check. These are not the boxes to check for happiness :-)

      I think you can see the good in your life but you aint FEELING it. “Too many mind”was a line in the movie The Last Samurai,”did you see it?

      How sad that we all inherited the crazy values of our culture. The blind are leading the blind down here :-)

      I”ve known many millionaires and they are just like everyone else — mainly unhappy. The only ones that weren”t were the ones who realized that an excess of money can”t make you happy. Nothing wrong with an excess of money btw… just the IDEA that when you have it, you will be happy.

      It”s wonderful that you can see the connections in your life now… how it all started with stress. And how bitterness can become a habit. Thoughts do harden into habits and so we become our thoughts. Again, see how everything is connected… lack of awareness leads to unconscious thinking which becomes us. Unconscious thinking will always lead to hell!! And so the answer is to become conscious, to gain freedom over the thoughts we think.

      And what could be more important since thoughts become us.

      Yes. Live in the Moment is difficult to do at first… until it too becomes habit.. the habit of being aware, which is really the habit of simply being, and noticing disturbances in your energy field (thoughts/feelings). The more
      unconscious thoughts you have the more “disturbed”your are. The habit of “listening”when applied with consistency and persistence, has amazing transformational power. Do it with dedication and you will see amazing things happen to you… all good things.

      The main reason it”s so difficult is that you have to drop everything — including all those concepts about who you are. We have created a map and called it “me.”:-) We keep going back to the map over and over and over habitually with such rapidity that it kind of “projects”a false sense of self. Do you see that?

      So LIM has to be done slowly or it can become scary and lead to disorientation and confusion.

      I think “Trust in God” means trust the moment — trust life!! And that takes a bit of time.. trust needs to be earned. We need to feel safe that it works and that takes time — to be able to fully “let gooooo.” :-)


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