What made you happy today?

This is an important question people answer everyday on happymap.com (to find out why it’s so important click here to read the blog post).

Below are a few of the answers happymap.com members.


Week 3



Week 2


Week 1


To share some happiness you can register with happymap by clicking here.




Want to be happier? Don’t take selfies.

Want to be happier? Don't take selfies.


This is not meant to offend you.

Let me clarify what I mean by a selfie. I refer to the type of photo that features just yourself pulling an abnormal face, pretending it’s normal.


Want to be happier? Don't take selfies.

Just because it’s common place, due to social media, it’s doesn’t mean it’s acceptable.

Let’s say you think you look particularly nice, enjoy it, for yourself.

Do not take a picture of yourself and post it publicly. By doing this all you’re doing is looking for approval from others.


Want to be happier? Don't take selfies.


Whether you get many or no, “Likes” for your selfie is immaterial. It’s the act of needing the approval that’s impacting your happiness.

With others approval, you feel better, without it you feel worse.

Why put your self esteem in the hands of others?

This only fuels our insecurity, which makes us feel out of control.

Everyone has insecurities but if you let them rule you, it’s impossible to be happy.

This is why it’s usual for insecure people to become control freaks.


Want to be happier? Don't take selfies.


We believe if we can control our environment we can feel more secure.

The truth is we can’t control our environment and trying to do so will result in stress and or depression.

We can only control certain aspects of our lives and they’re all to do with us, not others.

There’s only 3 areas we can control, that will contribute towards our happiness.

1. Consumption.

We control what put into our bodies both, physically and mentally.

It’s been proven that healthy foods not only improve our physical condition but mental well being too.

The mind like the body can be exercised.

What we regularly choose to fill our heads with can be constructive or destructive.

If we read gossip columns or watch soap operas, we become used to judging and comparing. We put others down only to give our, insecure, selves a lift.

If we choose to read about inspirational figures or watch enlightening programmes, then we tend to want to improve and lift ourselves at no cost to others.


2. Sleep

Getting enough sleep is essential for mental and physical well being.


3. Exercise

Regularly exercising makes us feel mentally and physically stronger.

By relying on others approval we’re essentially relying on them for our happiness, which means it’s their happiness, we’re hoping to borrow.


Want to be happier? Don't take selfies.

Our happiness needs to be created by us and this starts with us learning to be self-assured.

Self-assurance starts with self acceptance and this comes from overall well being, the foundations for which are built on the three steps above.

We need to learn to let go of the things we can’t control and take control of the things we can.



An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life…

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy, “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.

One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego.

The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.

This same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old chief simply replied, “The one you feed.”


Want to be happier? Don't take selfies.



The last few days I’ve been quite down.

I don’t know how often I have periods like these because they’re not consistent but I have them often enough to know they’re regular.


When I feel like this I experience dark moods, question the point of everything and have difficulty seeing the positive in anything.

It feels like my optimistic horizon is at my feet, like my prospects.

Today I emerged from this negative fog and the good news is, it didn’t just happen naturally.

I believe I did something that brought about my sunnier disposition.

This morning as I stood in the shower, the water barely touching me, I decided to vent.

I decided to be deliberately negative.


For the few minutes I spent in the shower, I hated anything and everything I felt I had to.

On the list of things I hated were:


Christmas parties


As I stepped out of the shower I consciously decided to leave this negative me behind.

It’s as if I needed a limited amount of time where I could release the negative energy that had built up inside me.

I do not believe this, on it’s own, was the key to me feeling better.

I think it was stage one of a two part process.

As I cycled into work I thought, “What am I unhappy about? What’s the ONE thing that’s making me unhappy?”

I suddenly knew what it was but I believe it took the negative venting in the shower, to reveal it.

Oddly it wasn’t one of the things I vented about.

It’s as if this, main issue, was the cause and source feeding all the other negativity I had.

So now I had the root of the problem I asked myself this question:

Can I do anything about it?

The answer was, “Yes”.

All of a sudden I felt better.


So the problem was not THE problem. The problem was did I have control over the problem?

There’s only two possible answers to this: Yes or No.

If you think you can exert some control over it then it great – if you have no control over it then there’s not point wasting time worrying about it.

Feeling out of control is an insecurity issue and we’re never alone in feeling insecure.

One of the best quotes I read recently was:

“It’s not a question of whether we are insecure or not, it’s a question of how insecure we are”.


If you’re unhappy at the moment try pinpointing the ONE thing that’s making you unhappy and ask yourself if you can do something about it.

If you’re not sure what it is try deliberately venting all the negative issues you have.

I’m pretty sure this is what worked for me. If it does (or doesn’t) work for you I’d love to hear from you.

My email is: justinadamwaite@gmail.com



In what seems like another life now, I used to host a topical panel show on BBC Radio Wales called, “What’s The Story?”.

It was produced by Ruth Jones’ production company, Tidy Productions.

Essentially, it involved 5 us sitting around a table for two days a week, going through the newspapers and talking rubbish to each other.

Out of this, we’d hope to coming up with, what we thought were, funny gags or ideas for the show.

The show was then recorded, in front of a live audience, on a Thursday night and broadcast on the Friday and Saturday.

dean burnett

One of the best gag writers on the team was Dean Burnett.

Dean has an interesting background, he’s a doctor of neuroscience, a lecturer, a tutor and comedian who writes the science / humour blog ‘Brain Flapping’ for the Guardian.

He’s a lovely guy and currently lives in Cardiff with his wife and son.

Here are 6 things that make Dean happy?


What’s the last thing that made you laugh?

The last thing that made me laugh, aside from the various bumblings my son does, was a piece in the Daily Mash entitled, “Tattoos must reflect owners’ averageness”,  about by my mate Nick Pettigrew.



What’s your favourite book?


My favourite book, being a sci-fi nerd, is probably David Brin’s ‘Kiln People’, about a weird future where people can make fully conscious clay copies of themselves, sort of like disposable clones.

It’s a very upbeat portrayal of the future for a change, written in very interesting ‘multiple first person perspective’ style, and creates and explores a completely new field of science.


What your favourite film?


Probably a Pixar, like Up or Ratatouille.

Although my wife and I have a guilty pleasure in ‘The Associate’, a little known Whoopi Goldberg vehicle from the 90s based around Wall Street.

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It’s utterly ludicrous, but all the better for it.


What are you grateful for today?

Dean and family

Today I’m grateful, as with nearly every day, for my wife and baby son.

It sounds corny, but I genuinely think I’m a very lucky person who’s achieved / obtained a lot of things, but would give all that up for them, no worries.

It’s seen as uncool or cheesy to express fondness for those close to you, apparently. Screw that.


Who do you think is inspirational?

A lot of my in-laws are inspirational.

My wife is Indian, and a lot of her family conform to the ‘came to this country with nothing, worked extremely hard and made a success of themselves’ mould.

Hence I strongly object to the knee-jerk immigrant bashing people like to indulge in these days.

Brian Blessed

In terms of famous people, I’m going to say someone like Brian Blessed is a big inspiration.

All that he’s done, all the charity work he does, and is still a larger-than-life character that people find very entertaining.

Anyone who gets an entire round on QI dedicated to them is cool in my book.


What one event has been the most memorable / most enjoyable in your life?

dean lecturing

Not sure if it’s an ‘event’ or several over a very short space of time, but in July 2011 I officially became a doctor, found a decent job after 18 months unemployed and found out I was going to be a dad, all within about a 3 day period.

Hard to forget something that intense.


Is there something that’s happened to you, which at the time was seemingly negative but eventually turned out to be positive?

I was once semi-fooled into doing an interview for a local paper which made it look like I was in agreement with some bogus science nonsense, accompanied with a ridiculous photo of me splashing in puddles.

At the time it was terribly embarrassing and seemed to do serious damage to my hopes of being a respected neuroscientist, but since then I’ve used that event and the anecdotes that resulted to further my science-humour writing, and now I have my own Guardian blog and am regularly asked to do talks, articles etc. so it all worked out in the end.


You can read Dean’s, “Brain Flapping” blog here: brain-flapping

Dean’s Twitter is: @garwboy


You can subscribe to this blog by clicking HERE

It was a Tuesday morning, on the 15th March, 2005.

Matt, as part of the England U21 team, was preparing for an under 21 Six Nations match, against Scotland.

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A scrum was called and Matt being a prop, bound to his fellow team mate.

He heard the ref shout, “engage”, went down against his opposite number, shoved hard and remembers the scrum collapsing.

He was lifted off his feet and recalls it being hard for him to breathe, as his fellow teammates fell on top of him.

When the rest of his teammates got to their feet, Matt lay there, struggling to move.

Referee and former paramedic Tony Spreadbury was praised for his quick reaction to stabilise Matt’s neck, saving him even further damage that could have resulted in his death.

Matt spent 17 months at Stoke Mandeville hospital, before they agreed he was well enough to return home.

He’d dislocated his neck and severed his spinal cord, rendering him paralysed from the neck down.

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 20.26.58

Imagine, you’re 21, rugby is your world and it looks likely that you’ll go onto to represent your country and have a career doing the sport you love.

Then an accident, on the field of play, prevents you from moving any part of your body, from the neck down, for the rest of your life.

You’d think that would be game over but not if you’re Matt Hampson.

Matt set up a charity foundation to ‘Inspire and support young people seriously injured through sport’. 

This text below is from http://www.matthampson.co.uk/

“Through Matt, the foundation is also able to offer mentoring, friendship and education. Very often a chat with somebody such as Matt who has been through it, ‘got the t-shirt’ and overcome many issues himself is the best assistance that injured personnel can get.

Matt’s educational visits to schools and clubs provide understanding and can be extremely motivational to those who hear him talk about his experiences and his zest for life”.

Here are a few things that make Matt happy…


What’s the last thing that made you happy?

Lunch. As you can probably tell I’m quite food orientated.

Apart from that, I’ve just finished a good meeting with the Matt Hampson foundation team to discuss our targets and progress, as far as the beneficiaries are concerned and it’s all going well.


What’s your favourite book?

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 19.21.10

To be honest I’m not much of a reader but I loved Francois Pienaar’s autobiography and I’ve also heard good things about, Engage: The Fall and Rise of Matt Hampson.

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(Matt’s book was awarded the 2011 William Hill Irish Sports Book of the Year and subsequently awarded the, “Autobiography/Biography” category of the 2012 British Sports Book Awards and went on to win the “Best Overall” award).


What are you grateful for today?

I’m grateful for all the support I receive, from donations, to everyone who works for the foundation, to the Leicester Tigers.

Without these people we wouldn’t be able to achieve the things we do.


What’s your favourite film?


Shawshank Redemption.

It’s such an amazing story. The way, Andy, through adversity and against all the odds has the strength to follow through and accomplish his dreams.


What’s your favourite little pleasure?

There’s a lot of things I can’t do, so I enjoy the simpler things in life, like eating nice food with good company and conversation.


Do you have a favourite quote?

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 19.56.12

It’s from my favourite film and it’s so relevant for my situation, it’s what the Matt Hampson Foundation is all about.


Which person inspired you or which person do you think is inspiring and why? 

Mohammed Ali

Muhammed Ali.

I have two canvasses of him hanging in my house and recently watched a documentary on him, which strengthened my respect for him.

Not only was he a superb sportsman but he stood for what he believed in, even when he was arrested and stripped of his world boxing title.

At the time, there was a bare knuckled fighter in Britain who started a petition to get Ali reinstated as the world champ. He managed to get over 200,000 signatures and Ali heard about it, so he personally visited the guy in the U.K. several times.

He didn’t have to do that, it just shows what a man of value he was.

I also respect rugby players in general.

They put their bodies on the line, every game they play and they don’t get paid huge amounts of money.

The rugby community have also been hugely supportive to me all they way.


What one event has been the most memorable / most enjoyable in your life and why?


In April we organised a charity rugby match, Tigers Legends V’s Matt Hampson’s International Legends at Welford Road.

The game attracted 16,000 spectators. It was the biggest attended game that weekend in Europe.

At the start, I went on the pitch and it brought a tear to my eye.


Is there something that’s happened to you, which at the time was seemingly negative but eventually turned out to be positive?

My accident.

I have a Latin quote, carved out of stone, built into my wall of my house, it reads, “Omnia causa fiunt”, which means, “Everything happens for a reason” and I totally believe this.


Matt’s Twitter account is: @Hambofoundation

If you would like to know more about the foundation, its aims or you would like to know more about Matt’s educational visits, contact info@hambo.co.uk or visit his website, http://www.matthampson.co.uk/ for further details.

There are two types of people on this planet: the inspired, of which there are many and the the people who inspire, whose numbers are few.

Claire Lomas after she finishes the London Marathon-824328

Claire Lomas, undoubtedly, inhabits the second category.

At the age of 27, in May 2007, Claire was taking part in the Osberton Horse Trials, when her horse, Rolled Oats, clipped his shoulder on a tree.

cliare horse 01

Claire was thrown forward and smashed into the tree, fracturing her neck, back and ribs, and damaging her spinal cord.

She suffered a punctured lung and needed a tracheotomy to help her breathe.

Surgeons put titanium rods in her back to try to fix her spine but couldn’t repair the damage.

After 10 days in intensive care, she was told by doctors it was highly unlikely she’d ever walk again.

“I remember lying on the ground, unable to feel my legs, thinking, ‘this is really, really bad’.”

“When the specialist told me I’d be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life, I remember thinking: ‘You don’t know who you’re dealing with”.

“I knew, somehow, I’d walk again.”

Five years later, she completed the London marathon.

Claire Lomas walks-831871

As she made her way along the last few hundred yards, towards the finish line, she was watched and cheered on by thousands.

Among the people urging Claire on was Tim Henman, Olympic rower Sir Matthew Pinsent, TV presenter Gaby Roslin, adventurer Ben Fogle and three mounted members of the Household Cavalry, riding in an unofficial guard of honour.

I remember watching it myself and being moved to tears.

Claire started the marathon at the same time as everyone else but because she didn’t finish on the same day (it took her 16 days) it meant she didn’t officially qualify for a London marathon medal.

Claire Lomas

This prompted 14 people to come forward and donate their own medals to her.

Claire took part in the London marathon to raise money and awareness for spinal injuries.

Her sponsorship money totalled £210,000 and her achievement in completing the 26.2 mile course, was covered by media worldwide.

Not one to sit around, in 2013 Claire went on a, mammoth, 400 mile hand-cycle ride around the UK, visiting schools and talking to children en-route. At the finish on 13 May, she had raised over £85,000.

I was inspired to write a previous blog about Claire’s achievements, which you can read HERE but I’d really like to thank her for agreeing to take part in this blog.

Here are a few things that make Claire happy…

What’s the last thing that made you smile / laugh / happy?

claire and maisie

My daughter, Maisie, constantly saying funny things!


What’s your favourite book?

 Katie Piper

Katie Piper’s autobiography because I think she is remarkable.


What are you grateful for today?

claire in bike

My arms.


What’s your favourite film?


Bridget Jones – makes me laugh each time.


What’s you favourite little pleasure?

 Spa break 001

A spa break to have some chill time!


What’s your favourite TV show?


Darren Brown – he is awesome


Which person inspired you or which person do you think is inspiring?


Matt Hampson (injured playing rugby) and Katie Piper, they both have fantastic attitudes.


What one event has been the most memorable / most enjoyable in your life and why?


I couldn’t name one event. Birth of Maisie, the London Marathon and lighting paralympic cauldron are 3 of many!


Is there something that’s happened to you, which at the time was seemingly negative but eventually turned out to be positive?


My horse riding accident in 2007, leaving me paralysed from chest down.

Once I started to start to think and find new things to do, I gradually started to live life again, then going on the have my greatest days after the accident.



If you’d like to see what Claire’s up to now, or in the future, this is here website: http://www.get-claire-walking.co.uk/

And this is Claire’s Twitter account.


I love listening to podcasts.

Screen Shot 2013-09-25 at 14.45.44

One of my favourites is, Entrepreneur on Fire.

The host, John Lee Dumas, interviews entrepreneurs about the, interesting but convoluted, journeys they’ve traversed, to get where they are today.

John himself has an interesting story.

In 2002, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US army.

His class was the first commissioned after 9/11 and so they all knew they’d be doing active service in the middle east. A year later, John started a 13 month deployment in Iraq, as an Armour platoon leader (in a tank).

Seven years on and John found himself back on the civilian street, not really knowing what to do with himself.


Firstly, he went to law school but didn’t like it and so he dropped out.

He then tried corporate finance for a couple of years but his passion for that soon fizzle out. Next came a tech start-up in New York, which didn’t succeed.

So he switched to real estate in San Diego for a bit but ended up going back to Maine (his home state). There, he worked in commercial real estate which, again, failed to ignite his passion.

So at 32 years of age, John was in his car, on the way to the gym, doing something he loved to do, which was, listen to business podcasts.

The trouble is, he loved listening to business podcasts so much, he ran out of podcasts to listen to.

This is when he had his, “Ah-Ha moment”.

He thought, “I love these entrepreneur stories, but nobody does a seven day a week podcast. Why not?”

John sought some advice about doing a seven day a week podcast, from some experienced podcasters.

They all basically said the same thing, “You can’t do it seven days a week. If you don’t run out of interviewees, you’ll run out of time and energy. It’s too much work”

Totally inexperienced, in the world of presenting and podcasting, John went ahead with it anyway.

The result?

As yet, 340 podcasts in, he hasn’t run out of interviewees, time or energy.

In fact, he records a weeks worth of podcasts on a Monday, which can occupy him for 16 hours and has the rest of the week to promote, work on other projects and if he’s so chooses to, relax.

So how is John’s podcast doing?

Not that bad, put it this way, it went to number 1 in the business podcast charts on iTunes, knocking business podcast king, Dave Ramsey, off the top spot, which he’d occupied for five years.


Here are a few things that make John happy…

What’s your favourite book?

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Compound effect Darren Hardy.

It tells you that life isn’t easy. It takes working hard everyday, having small little tiny wins that over time, add up to really big wins.

It was all my little wins, that I kept chipping away at, that finally added up to the number one ranking on the business podcast charts on iTunes.


What’s your favourite podcast?

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How Stuff Works.


What are you grateful for today?


The freedom to pursue my passions…aka: EntrepreneurOnFire.


Which person inspired you or which person do you think is inspiring and why?


Pat Flynn inspired me as he showed that honesty, transparency and giving away incredible value is a recipe for success!


What one event has been the most memorable / most enjoyable in your life and why?


The day my girlfriend Kate was able to join me full time at EntrepreneurOnFire as we are able to build something amazing together.


Is there something that’s happened to you, which at the time was seemingly negative but eventually turned out to be positive?

Quitting law school seemed like a negative at the time, but it allowed me to pursue passions later in life.



John Lee Dumas is the Founder and Host of EntrepreneurOnFire, a top ranked business podcast that interviews today’s most inspiring and successful Entrepreneurs 7-days a week.

His book, “Podcast Launch” the #1 ranked book in Amazon on podcasting, and Podcasters’ Paradise is a community for Podcasters to create, grow, and monetize their podcast.

EntrepreneurOnFire generates over 500,000 unique downloads a month with past guests such as Seth Godin, Tim Ferriss, Barbara Corcoran, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Guy Kawasaki.

Recaps of the 300+ episodes and MUCH more can be found at EOFire.com, Prepared to IGNITE!

In 1984 Jaci Stephen won the Catherine Pakenham Award for young female journalists; she’s also been shortlisted as Critic of the Year three times in the British Press Awards, and in 1999 was named Broadcasting Writer of the Year in the prestigious “What the Papers Say”, Awards.


Her talents have been recognised and employed by an impressive list of esteemed literary organisations, including The Times, The Sunday Times, The Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent, The Express, Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan.

Jaci is also a familiar face on TV as her broadcasting and presenting work includes six years as Film and Television Critic on ITV’s This Morning.

Jaci’s most recent television work includes weekly appearances on the ITV1 Network daytime series, The Alan Titchmarsh Show.

Jaci’s talents don’t end at the tip of her pen, either; she’s an Equity member, a professional actor (as a teenager, she performed with the first National Youth Theatre of Wales), trained singer, award-winning public speaker and an ex-ballroom dancing champion.


In April 2009 Jaci relocated to Los Angeles, where she continues to write for the Daily Mail and features for numerous other newspapers and magazines.

Jaci writes an LA-based blog, which was published, in a shortened form (titled Way Out West) by the Independent newspaper in the UK. She’s also presented from Los Angeles for BBC Radio 2.

She has just completed a memoir, Broke – A Life of Small Change, and is working on a semi-autobiographical novel, The Movie in My Mind, about her experiences in Los Angeles.

She also has a sitcom in development with Ruth Jones’s Tidy Productions, based in Cardiff.

Jaci B&W


Here are a few things that make Jaci happy.


What’s your favourite book?

Screen Shot 2013-09-22 at 14.25.30

Sons and Lovers.

This was the book that introduced me to my favourite author, D H Lawrence.

Not only is it a great industrial novel and love story, it explores the power of emotional violence (on the part of women) vis a vis physical violence (as expressed by men).

Every tortured 18 year old should read it. As should every woman, who abuses men through psychological torture.


What is your favourite film?

Screen Shot 2013-09-22 at 14.29.00

E.T. is my favourite film.

I once crawled through many people’s legs to reach Spielberg to tell him E.T. was the greatest film of all time. “D’you know,” he replied, “I was thinking about that film last week, and I think you could well be right”.

It’s a film about love, friendship, loyalty, and the two biggies, separation and loss.

The final exchange between E.T. and Elliott (“Come” “Stay”) is one of the greatest pieces of movie dialogue that sums up one of the most complex aspects of the human condition – I want you to come with me; but I want you to stay with me. Both are impossible, which is where the heartache lies.


What’s your favorite little pleasure?

judge-alex (475 x 384)

Hanging out on the sofa in an oversized T-shirt, eating home-made spaghetti Bolognese, drinking a glass of Rioja, and watching back to back Suits or Judge Alex on the telly.


Who has inspired you?

My parents inspired me and instilled in me strong morals and a work ethic that has been the key to everything I have done and achieved.

Barak Obama-United States-Politics

On the world stage, I admire Barack Obama.

On the eve of my 50th birthday, I stood crying in front of the TV, immensely proud that I was observing history in seeing a black man become President.


What one event has been the most memorable / most enjoyable in your life and why?

My 40th birthday party, in Soho House in London, was an overwhelming joy.

soho house

Surrounded by amazing family and friends (many of the latter have been in my life for over 30 years), I have never felt so loved and grateful.


Do you have a favourite quote?


My favourite quote is from my most loved artist, Sir Elton John, and is the title of a great song, “This Train Don’t Stop There Anymore”.

The lyrics are about change and moving on.

I’ve always been someone who has clung to the past, often with resentment, and I have learned to move on to each new station in life. I don’t always buy the right ticket, but I get there in the end!


Is there anything you regularly do, that makes you feel good?


There is nothing more intensely powerful and heart-lifting than watching a sunset, sitting at the end of Los Angeles’ Santa Monica pier, drinking a frozen Margarita.

A moment of intense joy in the wonder of nature, tinged with sadness as the sun quickly pockets itself into the horizon, but filled with hope in the knowledge that it will rise again.


Is there something that’s happened to you, which at the time was seemingly negative but eventually turned out to be positive?

People tell lies. It’s human nature.

But four years ago, when I was at my most vulnerable, having lost a lucrative job on a national newspaper, hitting the menopause, and with my 50th birthday imminent and feeling on the scrapheap, somebody sent me a vile e-mail that was packed with lies.

I wanted to crawl into a hole, thinking I was the most unloved, horrible creature on the planet. I went into emotional meltdown, ran away to Los Angeles and did a screenwriting course.

And now I have a new life. The lies still hurt – pain never goes away. But you can diminish it by creating new, more positive memories.

On a less personal scale, when 9/11 happened, I asked myself, “What would be your one regret, if you had been on one of those planes and known that this was the end?” Mine was that I had never lived in Paris. The following week, I was on the Eurostar and living in the City of Light, where I stayed for seven wonderful years.

Follow your dreams. The worst that can happen is that you wake up. But there will always be another one.


 Jaci’s Twitter



At the age of 15 Carrie Armstrong had her first drink.


Almost immediately, she experienced a strong yearning to have another and then another.

It was as if pouring alcohol into her seemed awaken a demon that, until now, had lay dormant. The only way to temporarily satiate, this burning craving of a demon, was to drink more.

Carrie become an alcoholic, pretty much, from the age of 15 until she was 25.

Just as Carrie was recovering from alcoholism, out of the blue, she was struck down by a mysterious virus that nearly killed her.

The virus left her struggling to walk meaning she had to spend the next few years in either a wheelchair, or in bed.

Today, through years of physical hard work and mental determination, Carrie has recovered from both illnesses.

Ironically, after spending years where she was only able to watch (or study) TV she’s become a TV presenter and has also set up a website.

Carrie’s website Life After the Chair is a resource, for other people who face similar challenges to the ones she overcame.

Here’s a few things that make Carrie happy:


What’s your favourite book?

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A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

I love that all the nights Sara Crewe sat in her attic room and hoped for the answers to a better life they were right next door to her the whole time…isn’t it lovely when that happens?


What is your favourite film?

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A Christmas Carol.

All versions-I’m easy. I like that Ebeneezer gets another chance just when he thinks it’s too late. All of a sudden life is shiny and new for him. And from then on he knows there’s no such thing as an Ordinary Day.


What little pleasure makes you happy?

 Caroline Armstrong

Dressing myself. Feeding myself. Leaving the house. Every moment is a miracle really. It never gets old for me, being able to do these things now.


Which person inspires you or which person do you think is inspiring?

carie mum

My Mum.

She was my full time carer for years as well as working 12 hour shifts & she never complained. Never stopped smiling. Never stopped believing l’d get well. Not once. She’s my hero.


Favourite album?

immaculate collection

Probably Madonna’s The Immaculate Collection.

It came out when l was really young but when Pope John Paul II banned it from schools & my Dad banned it from the house it took on Legendary Proportions for me from that point on.


Favourite place?


I love the British Library.

It’s mind-blowing to me. All of those words all in one place. If I could live there I would.


Favourite TV show?


Inspector Morse.

The music is beautiful, John Thaw is flawless & Oxford is somewhere my eyes never get tired of looking at.


What product do you love / can’t live without?


You will rarely find me without a massive cup of Starbucks tea in my hand. If you see me without one? It’s cos I’m busy looking for one.


What one event has been the most memorable / most enjoyable in your life?

Falling in love with people again.

I spent so long in isolation, then so long being unable to navigate the world and mix with people properly that when I was able to enjoy other people again it was the best thing that ever happened to me.


Is there something that’s happened to you, which at the time was seemingly negative but eventually turned out to be positive?

Yes. My entire adult life.

The moment I realised that the main component of Recovery is Faith. And faith is just believing before l see, rather than seeing before l believe.

Then I truly understood that it didn’t matter what crisis occurred in my life, I could always use it as a springboard to a better place just by focussing harder on what l wanted rather than what I already had, that I didn’t want.

After that shift in perspective every seemingly negative thing that had ever happened to me suddenly just became an opportunity for me instead… 

Caroline Armstrong

Carrie’s website: Life After The Chair

Carrie’s Twitter: @CarrieArmstrng



My earliest memory was nearly my last… I think.


My earliest memory was nearly my last... I think.


When I was about five years of age, I was sitting in an old car next to my mother, who happened to be driving.

I wanted to but she insisted that being physically able to reach the pedals was a prerequisite.


My earliest memory was nearly my last... I think.


We pulled up at a T junction with the intention of turning right right up a hill. As we pulled off and veered to the right, the door I was leaning on, gave way.

Next thing I remember is lying on the road and seeing my mother’s car five yards ahead of me.

Almost in shock, I quickly scrambled across the asphalt, on all fours and back into the car.


My earliest memory was nearly my last... I think.


As I climbed back into the car, I remember entering through my opened passenger door but slipping straight through the gap in the front seats and into the back, whilst asking my mum, “Am I alright?”

Or did I?

The thing is, my point of view is all wrong.

When I recall myself getting into the car, I don’t see it through my eyes, navigating my way through the seats. I see myself getting into the car, as if I’m being filmed from a camera on the back seat.

I have witnessed my mother and father telling this story several times to many different people and it always gets a laugh from the person hearing it.

So it’s a fond memory but am I remembering my memory of it or theirs?

I’ve no idea but studies show that recalled situations, especially those with an emotional attachment become your strongest.


My earliest memory was nearly my last... I think.


So what you choose to recall, which are usually situations not of the norm, are remembered.

But what if you consciously choose to recall and therefore remember happy times?

Surely you will look back on life as a series of happy times.

Is it possible to remember the good and forget the bad?

This is the reason I created, “Hit The Happy Button” on HappyMap.


My earliest memory was nearly my last... I think.


Physically having to hit a button when you’re having a happy time helps you remember the good times.

When I fell out of the car, wearing seat belts wasn’t required by law. So I told my mother, “If you’d let me drive that wouldn’t have happened, as I would’ve been holding onto the steering wheel”.

She replied, “You didn’t know how to drive”

I still regard this as very flimsy fact on which to base a winning argument.


My earliest memory was nearly my last... I think.



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