The Alphabet of Happiness: H

I hope you found yesterday’s post regarding Giving and Grieving to be helpful. If you just joined this journey, be sure to take the time to go back and read from the beginning. Without delay, let’s get to it and discuss the letter “H”.

Hope, Health, Hugging


What does it mean to have hope? It can be used as a noun, a verb, an adverb, and an adjective. You can feel hopeful. You can have or provide hope. You can remain hopeful. You can even hope for something to happen. And you can have hopeful thoughts. Due to the many ways in which you can use the word hope, I’m going to provide a somewhat generic definition.

The dictionary tells us, “hope implies little certainty but suggests confidence or assurance in the possibility that what one desires or longs for will happen.”

In the absence of hope, you wouldn’t have any “why” to live for. You may be thinking that you don’t hope things will change or even that they won’t ever change. The fact is that without hope, you are like a black slate, devoid of any color, personality, sound or purpose. If you don’t have hope, y0u wouldn’t be living.

No person, living situation, job, family, marriage, home, or situation is perfect. The so-called desire for perfection is way overrated. However, you still strive every day in thought and action to improve. You do this because you want to feel better. You want to be happy.

hopeIt’s important to remain hopeful. It’s ok to dream and to think big. It’s ok to think about the future and to wish for greater opportunities. What isn’t ok is to get stuck there. In other words, you don’t want all of your focus to remain in the future. You have to deal with life right now first. But, as I mentioned before, you have to remain hopeful at all times, to the best of your ability.

I recall a quote by Bertrand Russell, “Man needs, for his happiness, not only the enjoyment of this or that, but hope and enterprise and change.” Don’t give up! Don’t lose hope!


If you’ve been following along with this series of posts, then you will recall that we have already discussed the topics of diet and exercise. I’m not going to be redundant and explore those topics anymore. Most often, when we think about our health, we think about our weight, what we eat, and whether we get any exercise or not. Well, that’s just part of your overall health picture.

Let’s talk about good mental health. If you suffer from a mental health diagnosis or know someone who does, then you are probably well aware of the effects on one’s mood. Depression is such a huge roadblock to happiness. In fact, depression is the polar opposite of happiness.

According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, major depressive disorder (a psychiatric disorder) affected approximately 253 million (3.6%) of people in 2013. That number is staggering! What is even more alarming is that studies have shown that depression affects 1 in 10 Americans at one time or another. Now our percentage is up from 3.6% to 10% of Americans. Of those affected by depression, it is reported that 80% of those folks aren’t receiving any type of treatment for their symptoms.

Personally, I find those statistics overwhelming. Simply stated, that is a lot of people who on most days can’t find any happiness.

depressionJust as you work to keep yourself physically healthy, it is equally important to have good mental health. Don’t feel ashamed, embarrassed or uncomfortable if you are represented in these statistics. Ask for help! Talk to your family, your doctor, your spiritual leader, teacher, go to a clinic or call one of the many free hotlines which are available. Whatever you do, if nothing else, take care of your mental health! The struggle is real, but there is help out there!


Hugging is a delicate subject for many. Hugging isn’t for everyone. I tend to be a “reserved” hugger. This means I am ok with hugging in certain situations and with certain individuals. But, there are many people who don’t want or like to hug at all. So, please be aware that hugging isn’t for everyone. As a general rule, inquire before you hug.

With that said, let’s talk about hugging. Next to a handshake or a pat on the back, this is one of the most simple and basic expressions of love and support. If you are comfortable with hugs, they are powerful. We all want to feel loved. We all want to have that feeling of safety and security. Giving and receiving a hug is one of the quickest and easiest ways to feel happiness.

Hey, you never know. Not only can hugging bring happiness into your life, but a hug a day just might keep the doctor away.

As we continue this journey together, I encourage you to keep reading. If you have yet to find your own how or why to happiness, I strongly believe you will. Please come back tomorrow as we explore the letter “I”.


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