How to Feel Happy for No Reason

Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one’s own sunshine. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson.

happy-for-no-reasonLooking for a Mother’s Day gift? A thank you present for a loved one? Or maybe an investment to support your own soul in tough economic times? I can personally recommend Happy for No Reason: 7 Steps to Being Happy from the Inside Out by Marci Shimoff . (Marci Shimoff was co-author of  ‘Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul’.)

I agree with Jack Canfield when he says that Marci Shimoff has “a unique talent for making deep spiritual concepts immediately accessible”.

Some self help books make you feel like you’ve just eaten a nutritious salad; they’re full of great stuff that’s good for you but leave you feeling hungry very soon afterwards.  This is a book whose message lingers and whose practical tips, used daily, can help you become happier for the rest of your life. I’d always used the following questions with coaching clients, but this book reinforced and expanded them so that they are now part of my psyche:

What expands you? What contracts you?

The book is in three parts.

Part One explores the whole paradigm of feeling happy for no reason through three guiding principles:

  • What expands you makes you happier.
  • The universe is out to support you.
  • What you appreciate appreciates.

Part Two shows us how to raise our level of happiness using the metaphor of creating a ‘home for happiness’. It looks at the 7 main areas of our lives: personal power, mind, heart, body, soul, purpose and people. For example, the first section is called 1. The Foundation —  Take Ownership of Your Happiness. The last section is 7. The Garden— Cultivate Nourishing Relationships.

Part Three gives clear directions for putting happiness habits into action each and every day.

Woven throughout the book are a hundred real life stories about people who have discovered how to feel happy for no reason  – often in turbulent or traumatic times  – and how to sustain that feeling. I cried in a café when I read one of them. I won’t spoil it.

Please check it out. If you’re not ready for it, someone you love may be. Happy for No Reason: 7 Steps to Being Happy from the Inside Out


What expands you? What contracts you?


  1. Thanks, Janice. Yes, for me there’s staying-power in Shimoff’s ideas, stories, activities. I seldom buy books (preferring the library), yet this one I did.

    I especially appreciate her scope ~ assimilating wisdom from spiritual traditions, touching on modern science, portraying distinct life paths, and more.

    Thank you for the nudge to return to this treasure. I value the main title ~ Happy for No Reason ~ as a provocative mantra!

    Thank you for inviting us into your stream of happiness,

    1. Thanks, Connie! This is one of my ‘keepers’ too. Synchronicity made me decide to do this review today. Nadia (Happy Lotus) had a post during the week about the reference in the US Constitution to the ‘pursuit of happiness’. As I was writing a comment, I remembered the Dalai Lama quote and where I’d seen it. (Thanks, Nadia for setting me off!) I was in the middle of writing a post about the book when Jean mentioned it. I now plan to re-read it. I’m guessing the universe means me to!

  2. There’s something in the air! Yesterday a client said he was reading The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky. Love that synchronous happy thought. I ordered it and I’ll let you know how it is!

    Gary Koehler´s last blog post..Life Like Dominoes

    1. Hi, Gary! Isn’t it weird how these threads and connections feel like they’re woven to support us! If you enjoy it, maybe you could do us a review. 🙂

    1. @Connie
      Checked out the link you shared and it’s a strange, lovely post. It’s at times like these that I feel the world would so benefit from you having a blog – you’re a treasure trove of inspiring resources!

  3. Hi Janice,

    First of all, please know that your site always makes me feel like I can just relax and unwind. These last two days have been insane (truly insane) and just this afternoon things started to lighten up. I came to your site and it just made me feel better. So thank you for being you!

    Glad to know that one of my posts was able to “set you off”! I have heard a lot about this book and have not read it yet. I will add it to my list. I am all for happiness! 🙂

    Nadia – Happy Lotus´s last blog post..There Is No Excuse for Laziness

  4. Thanks for sharing a great find Janice. I am looking forward to adding this to my summer reading list. What expands me besides an amazing chocolate cake would be to sing songs with my children. I checked out a book with Broadway songs. What could be better than this genre? It has sweet and sour. Every epic is tragedy, but Broadway musicals have a way of making life feel better a with a song and dance. My daughter and I sang Hard Knock Life, Maybe and Tomorrow all from Annie. We listened for our intro on the CD, followed the notes on the sheet music, pointed to the lyrics with one-to-one synchronicity and sang loudly, probably badly if someone else were listening and with all of our hearts. She said, “Ah I feel so good Mom! It’s like I can breath better, I mean bigger, I feel bigger … well you know, right?” ” Yes Mia, I know.” Happy Friday Janice, you are an angel. Great post!

    Cindy´s last blog post..Being Honest Prevents Roadblocks

  5. @Nadia
    Thank you! One of the things that relaxes and expands me at the moment is enjoying these comments boxes. I had a small, private blog for a year just to learn the technicalities. I occasionally sent a few links to coaching colleagues, but kept the comments switched off because I was scared I wouldn’t be able to handle them. These ‘boxes’ here are heartwarming. I learn, I link-hop, I enjoy what folk share and I feel safe.

    (By the way, Nadia has a guest post today at Goodlife Zen, one of my own favourite ‘feels good to be here’ blogs.)

    I’ll post a chocolatey recipe for you sometime! I could just hear you and Mia at that piano – and as always, her sense of childlike wonder, her wisdom beyond her years and yet so because of her years warms my heart. I’m glad you and Sean are nurturing her soul like this, and I’m glad you share it with us. This may sound daft, but although I’m enjoying the young adults my kids are turning into, I sometimes miss my ‘youngsters’ and the jaw dropping gems of innocent wisdom they used to come out with before they became self aware t(w)eenagers.

    My daughter was in a singing competition a few weeks ago and her songs were from Broadway shows. They gave her a great chance to express fragments of her life experience and combine her drama skills with her love of music.

  6. Hi Janice,

    This is a really good review! The book has been in my To Read pile for a long time, and now you’ve really whet my appetite to get to it.

    Thanks 🙂

    1. You’re welcome. Hilda, and thank you for the kind words. I wasn’t sure how I’d get on with writing book review posts, as my natural inclination with films, books and music is to simply shout “You’ve got to buy this book! I loved it! It’s really,really good!” (Strunk and White would curl up and groan with the amount of reallys that slip in when I’m excited.) But it is a good book and she has good mini posters with it. Let us know how you get on with it.

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