How to Be Happy, Healthy and Holy

. at . 10 comments

I never expected to hear a nun, the speaker for the evening, say,

“Fat People Are Harder to Kidnap” (bumper sticker).

I never expected to be hugging strangers – 17 to be exact. We were only supposed to hug 12 but I got into a hugging conga line and I got carried away. I am more of a serious person than one given to laughter. And so I never expected to laugh a good portion of the 40 minutes Sister Anne spoke to us. But all that occurred.

I went with my long-time friend, Geri, to a women’s event at her church, St John the Baptist Catholic Church. Sister Anne Bryan Smollin, PhD was the instigator of the unexpected. She is a “popular international speaker on wellness and spirituality who receives enthusiastic reviews for her enormous energy, keen insights and sense of humor.”

Oh yes, words, laughter and insight tumbled onto the audience like the waters tumble down the cliffs at Niagara Falls. I definitely had to be in the moment in order to process her rapid-fire speech of jokes, experiences, and wise observations.

The main theme can be summed up in a three-part sentence: Seize each moment by paying attention to life as it unfolds, by taking care of yourself, and by choosing happiness. My lecture notes give a few details on how to do this. They are, obviously, lacking Sister Anne’s vocal energy, but I think you’ll still learn a useful tidbit or two.

Three Myths

  1. You are not supposed to enjoy work. Supported by the TGIF culture.
  2. People who laugh often are lazy, no-good, and un-focused.
  3. As you get older, it is inevitable that you will get sicker.

Two Things Needed For Health

1. Slow down to enjoy and live in the moment now.

  • Seize this moment.
  • Many live with blinders on and miss the holy in the moment, the surprises.
  • Look for the unexpected in each day.
  • Look for the things that will bring joy, and touch your heart and soul.
  • People of gratitude live in the moment. Before retiring each night, recount 3 blessings of the day. Doing this will help you sleep better and wake up happier.
  • We are called to be Resurrection people so live like you are alive.
  • Slow down and see the scenery.
  • Be connected with others. Rejoice in each other’s goodness.
  • Let go of the clutter of old hurts, memories, and whatever it is that is holding you back.

2. Make the choice to be happy.

  • You’ll have to do this (on your own) because this is a lonely culture. It won’t easily support your happy choices.
  • Give up the cross, we need the wood.
  • Many are rigid in their relationships and things. It is their way or the highway. You don’t need to agree but to accept others.
  • Make 3 mistakes a day on purpose. If you do more, you get bonus points. 
  • Choose to be happy, healthy, holy people.
  • We all need a hobby just for ourselves.

Take Care of Yourself

  1. Take care of yourself so that you can take care of others.
  2. Written on a friend’s mirror: “You are looking at the face of the person who is responsible for your happiness today.”
  3. You need balance.
  4. Grab the joy and grace of each moment.

Four Ways of Healing

1. Laughter.

  • It bonds us together.
  • It helps us know we can deal with life.
  • Brings pain relief.
  • Helps us sleep better.
  • Research shows that memory retention is enhanced 250%-700% more when laughter is part of the learning environment.
  • Read the work by Norman Cousins . He prescribed 4 hours a day of laughter for himself. He healed himself of terminal cancer.
  • Home work – Find 2 laughing buddies.

2. Crying.

  • Don’t hold back the tears.
  • Both laughter and crying release negative energy and emotions.

3. Yawn/stretch/smile.

  • It only takes 15 muscles to smile.
  • Gets oxygen to the brain.

4. Touch.

  • We all need touch to survive and thrive.
  • 4 hugs – survive.
  • 8 hugs – maintain.
  • 12 hugs – growth.
  • Sister Anne had us get up and hug 4 people, then 4 more and then 4 more. Not only did we get our touch requirement met, there was also a lot of laughter, some of it nervous but most of it was joyous.
  • 13 calories a kiss. This is the kiss on the cheek type of kiss. She did not have us kiss others.

Two Skills We All Need

1. Smile.

  • Smiling lights up the brain and can help you remember what you forgot. Go in to room and forget why? Stand there and smile. It just might help you remember why you went there.
  • There are 80 ways of smiling.
  • Bless each other with our smiles.
  • Smiling, laughter and pounding on thymus gland plumps it up and makes it work. Stress will shrink it.

2. Eye contact.

  • Keep eye contact in our homes, schools, places of worship, wherever we are.
  • This shows respect and dignity to others.

Boosting Your Immune System

  • When we do a kind act for someone, it boosts our immune system.
  • When we witness a kind act, it boosts our immune system.
  • Give something away each day; kind word, note, compliment.
  • Whatever you give away comes back.

NOTE: Sister Anne has written three books. You can find them at

It seems that everything that is good for me takes work. I.e. jogging, flossing, keeping an organized schedule. I’m sure you can add to this list. Well, this night I engaged in something that was good for me. It was unexpected. It was fun. And it wasn’t work – at all.


Entry filed under: Boundaries, Gratitude List, Learning, Main. Tags: , , .

Friday’s Favourite’s – 9/17/2010 Friday’s Favourite’s – 9/24/2010

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Brenda  |  . at .

    Sounds like a really fun evening. I like it when someone can make me laugh and teach me something at the same time. Thanks for summarizing all this for us. (did you take notes or just remember?)


    • 2. susan2009  |  . at .

      I almost always take notes at any “speaking” night I attend. It helps me focus better, sit more calmly, and remember better. I am still smiling just thinking about it.


  • 3. jeanne @ Inspiring Ideas  |  . at .

    Sounds like it really was “good for you!” What a great inspirational evening! Thanks for sharing!


    • 4. susan2009  |  . at .

      You are welcome, Jeanne. I mainly write these things so that I don’t forget what I heard. It was inspiring. lately I’ve been hearing the same messages over and over again.


  • 5. lynette  |  . at .

    3 thumbs up. I’ll have to read her books.
    Reading through Streams of Living Water, Richard J Foster. The chaper on Holy Living….very good. This goes with what I read in his book. Also goes with Sunday’s sermon which put a lightness to my step & convicted me as well.
    I would have given you a holy kiss.


    • 6. susan2009  |  . at .

      I would have taken your holy kiss, Lynette. 🙂 I am so glad that that the conviction came with a “lighter step.” Isn’t that so like God to “swat” us with kindness. LMK if/when you pick up one of her books.


  • 7. BlessedMama  |  . at .

    Great copious note taking! I especially like the part about making mistakes; I meet my quota early each day!


  • 8. susan2009  |  . at .

    Blessed Mama – I hear you about meeting the mistake quota each day. When my kiddos were at home, I also met that quota EARLY each day.

    I like to take notes. Maybe I am strange that way.


  • 9. freecatholic808  |  . at .

    Thank you for this. Loved Sr. Anne when I heard her at a conference here in Honolulu last weekend. Shared some of her insights through two blogposts. and


  • […] How to Be Happy, Healthy and Holy […]



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