From The Straits Times    |

Over the weekend, after months of ignoring my mum’s nagging, I decided to finally straighten out my shelf that has been disgustingly covered with inch-thick dust. And I’m glad I did, because I found some old books that I used to read again and again (before the Twilight series, that is), including one called 14,000 Things To Be Happy About by Barbara Ann Kipfer.

It’s one of those books that, at any random page, you’re bound to find something to make you smile. And they are as simple as “staying home on New Year’s Eve”, “a cat running 30 mph” or even “having a sense of your own space”.

A friend once told me it’s important to make a list of happy thoughts to get one going in life. I never felt compelled to do that, until I picked up this irresistible book again. But since I’d probably take 14 years to come up with 14,000 things that make me happy, I’m going to start with the first 5 that come to mind:

1. Breakfast
Strange as it sounds, the thought of eating breakfast makes me happy. Sometimes, in my half-awake state, I’d dream that I was gleefully spreading peanut butter on my slice of white bread. Upon realizing it is just a dream, I’d dash out of my room to make it a reality.

2. The sound of a cat’s purr
There’s something magical about a cat’s purr – it relaxes me instantly and turns up the corners of my mouth. Perhaps it’s the understanding that cats usually purr out of contentment. 

3. Great colleagues
I think it’s important to surround yourself with good, well-meaning people, and I’ve been blessed to have met fun colleagues along the way. Whenever I’m swarmed with work, I know I can count on them to make me smile. So thank you, Vanessa and Taina, for being the way you are.

4. Looking out into the vast sea
Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed, I’d just close my eyes and picture a sunset, and me lying on the deck of a yacht, sipping a glass of margarita and smelling the salt breeze.

5. Getting away
The moments before I board the plane for my holiday destination are one of the best feelings. The thrill of not knowing what to expect gets my adrenaline pumping. 

Go on, make your own list. And when you’re feeling down, just read your happy list and you’ll find yourself smiling again.