Creating The Happiness Habits That Build Unstoppable Momentum!

Jul 4, 2016 | Sensory Goodness

Careting Happiness Habits from The Tao of Dana

I hope you’re celebrating in a huge way today!

And, I hope you’re celebrating every day!

Celebrating is a daily part of that stuff we all like to talk about called Gratitude.  I know, you may make a gratitude list sometimes.  You might even do it daily.  You might say, “I’m so grateful” when asked how you’re doing.

And all of it is awesome.

But: loads of people, myself included, can be so utterly grateful, yet… at the thought of a celebratory moment or a celebration of that first step you took toward a new career or the celebration of your grat health or a wondeful relationship that’s growing… or a small victory… the common response I hear is: “Well, there’s really nothing to celebrate…yet.”

Celebration is integral to success because it’s the way that we build a chain of reward patterns that fuel happiness as a habit, and celebration is what builds momentum.

It’s not reserved for the finish line any more!

Flowres at the Farmers Market from The Tao of Dana

Happiness becomes a habit when it’s practiced.  Just like everything else.

The science on happiness is extensive now and it’s pretty conclusive from all of hundreds of articles and finding and studies I’ve seen that it starts and ends with us. While there are things and people we might attach to the meaning of our happiness, our actual happiness as a state of being not dependent on anything or anyone.   It’s a state of being…and a series of chemical reactions light up your brain as a result of that state, perpetuating that state, promoting it and making it into a super-addictive feel-good habit.

If you’re working toward something amazing like a big business deal or a big new lifestyle switch or a new career or a big move, it may feel like (or there may actually be!)  a long road ahead of you.

If you can’t take every small win along the road of every day and be excited about it, acknowledge it and maybe even do something special to commemorate it,  you’ve set yourself up for one great big uphill battle that’s way harder than it needs to be.

How much different would your 12 hour workdays of intensity be if you took some time in the day after some moments of success to play with your dog, take a bubble bath, see some friends…?

Very different. I promise.

I’ve done the “no celebration till it’s 100% done” way for most of my life and it sucks.  I thought it was noble to sacrifice myself but I had people coming up to me saying things like, “Don’t be so hard on yourself” and I wouldn’t understand quite why? I was doing great things and achieving so much.  Sure I was somber and I spent more time isolated than ever, way more than I needed… and maybe I didn’t smile that much… but:  one day I’d be sooooo happy.

Except, I wasn’t.  I was increasingly dissatisfied and no amount of achievement could make it better.

Have you hit that spot, where you just can’t figure out what to do next? 

I learned to celebrate out of deep necessity.  My two choices were: do things that made me happier or sink into a real serious depression.  Believe it or not, I still struggled to justify fitting “happiness” into my big schedule of busy.

Nights at the Korean Spa, though, that was awesome.   And Buddhism in the afternoons. Totally life changing.  And walks on the beach that’s so close yet seemed so far.  And naps.  And cooking for fun after a day of doing.  And sleeping in.  Hiking at off hours after I finished some writing. Day trips.  Learning photography.  Museums.

None of this cost much of anything.  In fact, most of it was – and is- free.  None of this took lots of time.

Of course, I became more productive, more inspired, happier, healthier, more flexible.  I got so many new ideas, so many new people showed up….

How can you celebrate every day? 

It was suggested to me to try this, and it worked:

Make a list of even ten things you love to do that are “doing” things.  You don’t need anyone or maybe not even anything to do them.   Make another of the things that you’ve always wanted to try.  Start with what you know, fitting in the fun stuff to celebrate every day. Then add in the extra-cool stuff you’ve always wanted to do.

Celebration does become a habit.  Risk the time it takes to celebrate.

Flowers at the Farmers Market from The Tao of Dana

Why celebration? 

Happiness fires off a series of chemicals- endorphins, testosterone, dopamine- that all feel incredible and even euphoric.  Celebration is pure life-building happiness! has a super-comprehensive breakdown of what happens when you fire off all of these happiness chemicals in your brain (by celebrating!).  You can read it all in depth here, but I wanted to share the bullet point list of the net result of turning toward more happiness on a cellular level:

“Stimulating the growth of nerve connections.
Improving cognition by increasing mental productivity.
Improving our ability to analyze and think.
Enhancing our view of our surroundings.
Increasing attentiveness.
Even more happy thoughts.”

Rather than looking ahead at a very long marathon and realizing that you may get very few moments you deem to be deserving of praise and celebration.  it’s a big feedback loop of greatness when you start to celebrate.

Here’s one big thing to keep in mind: you can’t “fake” celebration and happiness in a neurological/energetic way and have the same effects.  Meaning: if your brand of celebration is getting drunk, doing drugs, what my friend Kim calls junk food sex (i.e.: no love)… you might have moments of rapture but you aren’t building those neural pathways to the same deep happiness that’s cellularly spectacular and life changing.  If you like all of the above (I love tequila rarely but I do, but it’s not my go-to celebration!)  that’s totally cool, and no judgements from me, but by letting yourself have celebration time that’s connected to the present moment with no additives needed and you’ll build the habits that will sustain and build your rocket-ride of momentum.

So, so, so much fun ahead!!!

If you’ve got a ton of work ahead, your list of tiny and great-big celebrations can keep you in the flow of things.

It’s all so easy once you allow yourself to start…I hope you do!

xoxo Dana




feng shui 101And, if you want to dive in to your own personalized feng shui in a modern, practical way, Say hello to Feng Shui 101.  Its the guide I made for you to create your own personalized feng shui at home, in the office, wherever you may be… in 8 weeks.  It’s not filled with strict rules or what you “must” do.  Its filled with information, questions, exercises and even videos and classes to help you confidently create amazing spaces with killer feng shui and live with more flow.   Learn more about the 8-week feng shui adventure & grab your copy to get started right HERE…  And, as always, please let me know what happens!




  1. Terri Fox

    You are the best, Dana! Don’t know if you read my (way-too) long email from last week (no worries if not — I’m sure you get a zillion!), but your post today is so perfect. My husband and I are consciously trying to be more positive and HAPPY with where we are right now, even if it may not be our ideal. And it’s helping! We’ve replaced, “Oh, we can’t afford that…” with, “We do not yet have the money for that, but we will soon!” and, with my health issues, I replaced, “I don’t feel well enough to do that,” or, “I’m too sick,” with, “I am not yet well enough to do that, but I will be soon!” What a difference in our outlooks!


    • danaclaudat

      this is sooooooooo exiting to hear!!!!!!! yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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