Tips for living: Wendy Ulrich shares several 'Habits of Happiness'

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 26 2014 5:00 a.m. MST

"Habits of Happiness" (Deseret Book, $10.99) is a little book that looks like it can't possibly hold very much information. But don't let looks fool you.

It contains a treasury of valuable information.

Wendy Ulrich, a psychologist who worked in private practice in Ann Arbor, Mich., for 15 years before serving with her husband in the Canada Montreal Mission, is the former president of the Association of Mormon Counselors and Psychotherapists, a mother, grandmother and author of "Forgiving Ourselves" and "Weakness is Not Sin" and "The Why of Work" with her husband, David. She is also a frequent presenter at Time Out for Women.

Here are some of the tips she offers:

• Exercise is important and if needed, start small and start doing something. "Don't even try to get motivated to exercise," Ulrich advises, and recommends using a bit of reverse psychology. Don't make regular exercise too difficult. Just do a little something at first. If needed, start out by just standing near or on the treadmill. Walk around. Then walk around the block. Ease into a routine. "Get moving. The motivation follows," she writes.

• "Stop hoping to find friends," she writes. Sitting around hoping and waiting for someone to discover you as a friend is not a very effective strategy, in the workplace or out. A more effective strategy is to learn and practice the skills of being a friend, she writes.

• Don't "endure to the end" — again, that may sound like wrong-headed advice — but enjoy life as President Gordon B. Hinckley suggested (see "Stand True and Faithful," Ensign, May 1996). "Go outside and take in the sunset. Really look at your granddaughter's smile," Ulrich adds.

Ulrich includes a series of "homework" assignments that bolster self-confidence and a sense of well-being such as "List 10 little things that would add enjoyment to yours or someone else's life" or "Find someone to help today."

"Look for happy surprises each day," she suggests.

Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with more than 35 years' experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.

Email: haddoc@deseretnews.com

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