What Will Make This a ‘Happy’ New Year for You?

My inspiration for this article comes from a TED talk that I happened to view on New Year’s Day given by a wise 17 year old young man, Sam Berns.

Sam has an exceedingly rare genetic disorder, progeria, which involves an abnormal protein causing accelerated aging – stunted growth, tight skin, lack of hair and heart disease.  He has the appearance of a skinny gnome and weighs not much more than 50 pounds and despite his bizarre look he has a smile and a spirit that lights up an auditorium.

San Berns

What Sam says is the most important thing he wants us to know about him is simply that he lives a very happy a life.  In his TED talk, sitting in a small chair on stage in front of a full audience so his feet can rest on the stage floor, he shares the three aspects of his philosophy of happiness.

1)  focus on what you can do rather than what you cannot do.  In his words “Be OK with what you ultimately can’t do because there is so much that you can do.”

As you can appreciate, there is a lot this young man cannot do because of his physical limitations.  However, Sam points out the many things that he can do.  He can enjoy music, concerts, movies, and reading and he can play a musical instrument.

In addition, he manages to put things in the ‘can do’ category by making adjustments.  He speaks of his dream to march in his high school band playing the snare drum.  Given the weight of the regular harness used for the drum, this was not possible.  Solution – create a light weight harness.  Done.  Success.  Sam realizes his dream to march  with the band playing his drum.

Consider whenever you find yourself saying ‘can’t’ whether you can adjust that to ‘can do’.

2)  surround yourself with people you want to be around who accept, support, help each other and see each other for who they are from the inside – what Sam refers to as ‘quality people’.  He describes his wonderful family, his small group of close friends who also play in the band, and the strong nurturing community he has found with the band.

Sam Berns Band

Sam’s example reminds me of the very vital role of community and connection with others in our life.  He reminds us to love our family and friends, appreciate and acknowledge our mentors and community as providing the positive influences and nurturing in our daily lives and the opportunity to contribute positively in return.

3)  keep moving forward – stay in a forward state of mind and create something to look forward to. 

Understandably Sam has times when he gets down.  However, he does not stay stuck in a low ebb but rather will acknowledge the emotion and do whatever is needed to keep moving forward.

There are many ways to make the shift from a low mood.  I have found the following to be very useful.

i)  take a break with a soothing cup of tea

ii)  focus on anything and everything you can be grateful for and appreciate about your situation

iii)  change your energy by moving your body – dancing, going for a walk, exercising – or singing.

iv) take some slow deep breaths, relax and visualize a time you were very happy and content.  Invite that energy to fill you up.

 v)   consider ‘what if … ’ and list the positive outcomes that are possible.

vi)  focus on the outcomes you most desire – how you desire to feel, be, and experience your life.  Writing your vision for your life really helps too.

Please contact me on my facebook page and send me your own ideas for resetting yourself for happiness.

It is a new year and every day in the new year is a new day.  We get to reset our desires and intentions of how we want to feel, be, do and have in our life every new day.  What do you most desire for your life?  What will make you happy?

For me the most stunning part of Sam’s message is that living a happy life is the most important thing about me too.  It is only as a happy person that I can best shine my light to live my life to the full and contribute to others.  And further Sam reminds me that living a happy life is a choice.  I get to choose what I think, what I focus on and how I feel.

Wishing you the joyful creation of your ‘happy’ New Year day by day.

PS  Sadly, I just found out that Sam Berns died almost a year ago on January 10th, 2014.  Here’s the link to the YouTube video ‘Remembering Sam’ -  http://youtu.be/Fekab9Pu2us .   This young man who touched so many people had both a happy and very fulfilling life.

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete acknowledgment with it -  Dr. Nelie Johnson is a family physician and facilitator for healing – inspiring and guiding people to heal their life and heal their body.  She is a contributing author to a bestselling book and provides seminars, workshops, and private consultations.