Untitled (work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas
18 x 24 inches
Barbara Muir © 2017
When I taught college positive psychology, (happiness)
which I secretly work into any subject I teach, one of the
exercises I used at the beginning of each class was 10 reasons
to be happy. 10 students would come to the front of the class
and say why they were happy. It was a college course, and
many students had no idea how to be happy.
The experience was quite moving. One girl I remember
went to the front of the class, looked down as if she might
cry, then lifted her face and said in a small voice,
"I'm happy because I'm alive." Every time someone said
why they were happy, the class clapped.
The result? Everyone in the class began to get happier.
Amazingly. It helped. They made friends with each other,
they started to study, they got good marks, and that one
exercise out of many had a huge impact.
I will never forget seeing that same sad girl 6 months later,
skipping down the hallway, her hair in pigtails, tied with
bright wool, her clothes a vibrant pink, the smile on her
face radiant. She stopped me because I didn't recognize her
from the depressed person she'd been, and said. "Thank you!
and hugged me."
So.... Let me take some of my own medicine. I've spent
the afternoon in a hospital with a dear family member.
1. I am happy because I have a loving husband.
2. I am happy because I have a loving family.
3. I am happy because I have kind, funny friends around
4. I am happy because I'm an artist, and I love making art.
5. I'm happy that I get to teach and meet amazing people
every year in that job -- even with one night a week.
6. I'm happy that I live in Canada -- never happier about that.
7. I'm happy that I've learned how to be happy, and am
still learning, and think I will learn more and more for the
rest of my life. And I'm grateful for all that you've
taught me on the subject
8. I'm happy that I've learned to love myself enough to
choose only to be with kind and happy people.
9. I'm happy that I don't believe in horoscopes, superstition
or most dogma.
10. I'm happy that I love to read and I have a wonderful
Oh no. I could go on. I'm happy that my artist friend
Janet Vanderhoof got me to meditate, which has been
a wonderful gift.
I have a million more reasons, but I'll save some for another day.
Have a thinking-about-10-reasons-to-be-happy day.