By Sunny Simon

My close friends refer to me as a happiness junkie. I adore and collect books and blogs on the subject. My favorite, “The Happiness Project,” is a self-help memoir by Gretchen Rubin, an author who spent twelve months methodically improving her happiness quotient in various areas of her life. This morning I added to my collection by downloading the best seller by Dan Harris: “10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge and Found Self Help That Actually Works.” Dan’s formula for creating his new found nirvana is meditation. I confess, drawing myself into a meditative state is a highly touted technique that eludes me. Although I am absolutely no good at sitting cross legged on the floor counting my breaths and making my thoughts go away, I am very good at being happy.

Perhaps my aptitude for happiness was passed down from my mother. Her name was Tillie. She had sparkling blue eyes and a darling set of dimples adding an extra dollop of sunshine to the perpetual smile that graced her face. Born to poor Polish immigrants I think we can safely deduct it wasn’t a wealthy upbringing causing those dimples to become a permanent facial fixture.

Tillie was a just happiness natural. She knew how to create a light hearted environment both for herself and others by always finding a sliver of sunshine even in the darkest days. If something was troubling my mother, walking it off was her “go to” remedy. Tillie never owned or desired a driver’s license. If a destination was further than legs could carry her, she happily hopped a bus.

My given name is Janice, but my mother’s gift to me was to call me Sunny. This proved to be a very wise move especially during my teenage years. Think about it. If you label your teen “a pain in the neck” she has little motivation to be anything else. Living up to a moniker like Sunny, was sometimes a tall order but perhaps Tillie cracked the code with this name thing. We tell our children they are smart so they will gain self confidence and believe it. If you a call a child by a name that reflects bright light, she is continually reminded to do a little shining.

Here’s some good news: recent studies conducted at John Hopkins University School of Medicine concluded that individuals with a positive attitude are less likely to suffer a heart attack. Although I wholeheartedly support Dan Harris in his quest to master meditation and induce happiness, as for my 10%, just call me Sunny. It seems to work.

Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching. More about Sunny at