Follow the five keys to happiness

As a child, I remember being very happy.
I loved school and my school friends. I loved playing by myself and enjoyed my family.
After reading Patricia Lorenz’s book, “The 5 Things We Need to Be Happy and Money Isn’t One of Them” last week, I began thinking about what exactly had made me so happy as a child.
It surely wasn’t money because my parents had bought their farm one year before the “crash” at a pre-Depression price. Then they had to pay off the mortgage with Depression dollars.
Lorenz also speaks from experience when she says that money doesn’t make us happy. Although she has authored 11 books and hundreds of articles, she has never made more than $30,000 a year.
As a single parent of four children, Lorenz began writing because money was in short supply. And since that time, her writing career has blossomed.
She is the author of “Life’s Too Short to Fold Your Underwear” and co-author of three “Chicken Soup” books, including “Chicken Soup for the Chocolate Lover’s Soul.”
Lorenz lives her book “The 5 Things We Need to Be Happy.” In fact, she told the Tampa Tribune, “I am the happiest person I know.”
So after reading the book, I decided to use Lorenz’s “5 things” to better understand my happy childhood experience.
1). Lots of people to love
I had lots of people to love, including my twin–a huge German Shepherd named “Tiny.”
Lorenz says it’s not the fact that other people love you, but it’s lots of people to love that makes you happy.
2). Interesting things to do
Growing up on a farm, as I did, there were many fascinating spots to explore. Our farm had a sugar bush with beautiful flowers in the spring, a pond where a mill once stood, and a hay mow to jump in.
I was always busy exploring!
Something interesting to do, and something you can accomplish every day, is one of the keys to happiness, says Lorenz.
3). Something to hope for
Even though we didn’t have much money, my mother planned many excursions–from picnics at beautiful Whetstone Gulf to frequent visits to Grandma’s house.
There was always something to look forward to.
4). Something to believe in
Something to believe in takes the stress out of life, says Lorenz.
Beginning as a small child, I believed what I was taught in Sunday School. And when Aunt Fannie taught us to sing “g-doublow-d good,” even though I didn’t get the words right, I got the message.
5). Laughter
Our family laughed a lot. Any happening could become a family joke.
The chapter on laughter begins with this warning: “You don’t stop laughing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop laughing.”
“The only person who can make me happy is me,” says Lorenz. “It’s not fair to blame someone else if I’m unhappy. It’s not their job.
“The job of making me happy is mine alone.”
How does your life fit Lorenz’s five keys of happiness. Do you have lots of people to love, interesting things to do, something to hope for, something to believe in, and laughter?
If not, make a list of actions you can take today to begin building a happier life.
Remember, the job of making you happy is yours alone.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at or visit

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