My grandmother is one of the most vibrant and giving people I have ever met. She in unabashedly joyful in her life. I see her embrace her family and new people at the temple without hesitation. She has helped raise many of her grandkids and was the first one singing and dancing on the dancefloor at my wedding.  At eight-two, she has faced her share of life’s tragedies and in considerable physical pain that is now chronic, yet, she seems to have found a way to keep smiling, keep doing and keep loving.

Having met someone who has truly learnt to be happy? I asked her for her secrets and she shared her small things she does each day to increase her happiness. I was amazed to find how similar it is across generations.


Her daily exercise routine provides her with a lot of joy and a strong sense of her ability. She has always made this a priority, even if it’s for a short period of time. And even when she really didn’t feel like it.

Family time

She makes it a point to have daily connection. She loves to reach out and check in on a friend or family, and just say hi for a few mins. Given that nothing that makes her happier than being surrounded by her friends and family, of course, people are invited to visit her any time of the year.


Cooking for herself or for forty, she finds this to be a relaxing outlet, a way to be creative while staying in control of what goes into her body. Nourishing her body and watching others enjoy her food is a source of happiness she has cultivated. We love it when she cooks too!

Good sleep

She planned her days to ensure her body got to rest. She could always tell that sleeping enough made her more relaxed and focused, and this put her in a better mood. A BPS Research Digest that explored an afternoon nap study found a correlation that sleep affects our sensitivity to negative emotions.


Singing to herself, or out loud for others, is one of her favorite things to do. She loves to practice her old classical music but also finds that singing out loud is relaxing and joyful.


Over the years, she’s established traditions around holidays and birthdays that give her daily joy to plan and look forward to.

Short Daily Commute

When she worked, she had a manageable commute. She instinctively knew that a long commute would be draining mentally exhausting. If you do have a long commute, find ways to entertain, connect or relax with podcasts and music. Check with your manager about your remote work options.

Making things

She loves her arts and crafts. Creating something with her hands has always given her a sense of accomplishment. She likes to make things, color in her adult coloring books, paint furniture or nowadays doing a small project with a grandchild.

Stepping outside

While she worked, she would always step out during a work break. Nowadays stepping outside every day, or just standing outside for a few minutes if the weather isn’t ideal, is something she enjoys. She finds it shifts her mindset and uplifts her mood to see the world and breathe in fresh air.

Quiet time

Last but certainly not least, for years she has practiced her meditation or quiet time. About ten minutes in the morning and evening, she sits on her own, with her eyes closed in prayer or meditation, or just to count her blessings. This practice grounds her daily by letting her tap into what is most important.

Young or old, it’s imperative for us to choose our own daily practices that replenish our cup of happiness.  The good news is that the simplest things don’t even cost any money.


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