Recognize the Good Things In Your Life

For the past 14 years I have been editor-in-chief and publisher of Chicken Soup for the Soul. During that time I've had the pleasure of reading tens of thousands of stories from people all over the world.

Of the thousands of stories, some of my favorites are those that focus on happiness — how to find it and how to keep it. Not only did I develop an understanding of what makes people tick... I learned what makes them happy!

So when we decided on our new book, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Your 10 Keys to Happiness, I knew immediately it would be a passion project for me.

I began the book with a chapter on counting your blessings because I think that’s the most important key to happiness. I’m not sure you can truly be happy if you aren’t aware of what’s good in your life—if you’re always focused on what you lack instead of what you have.

Here's a preview of one of my favorite stories from the book about how to count your blessings to make every day a good day:

It’s amazing how powerful the active practice of gratitude can be for focusing us on what’s good in our lives. In Joan Donnelly-Emery's story, "Worst Day Ever," Joan learned this when she was diagnosed with lymphoma the same day her husband lost his job. Her husband had the right attitude, though. He said, “Someday in the future, we’re going to write about today and we’ll call it Worst Day Ever.”

They both went right to work solving their problems. Alan would eventually find a new, even better job, and Joan would successfully navigate her cancer treatment.

As the one-year anniversary of their Worst Day Ever approached, Joan and Alan decided they should commemorate the day – with a fun trip to Las Vegas. They have continued to celebrate March 19th every year since then, with trips to Savannah, Destin, and even Dublin, Ireland on the ten-year anniversary! Joan says, “Each year, we raise a glass and toast that awful day and all the days since, which we survived solely because of a bounty of blessings.”

Joan says the greatest blessing of all is that celebrating the Worst Day Ever has stripped away all the trivial stuff and shone a bright spotlight on all the important things, like faith, family, perseverance, love, and health. She said they don’t take any of those things for granted and they feel blessed to have them in abundance.


Chicken Soup for the Soul has been “changing lives one story at a time”® since 1993 with more than 250 books that provide hope, inspiration, and tips for a better life. Virtually every title becomes a self-help bestseller. Each book contains 101 true, personal stories submitted by ordinary people with extraordinary experiences to share. The topics are wide-ranging, but always inspirational and entertaining, covering everything from faith and spirituality to family, marriage, pets, and overcoming challenges of all kinds. Life values such as gratitude, forgiveness, mindfulness, positive thinking, and giving back are a big part of the series, with specific self-help books that help readers of all ages, from children to the elderly.