Tom Glaser has literally written the book on the secret to happiness, which, ironically, was born during the unhappiest period of his adult life. Leaving his dream job and in pursuit of a new source of fulfillment, Glaser decided to turn outward. The result is Full Heart Living: Conversations with the Happiest People I Know.
“I noticed that there are these really happy people all around me,” says Glaser, who lives in St. Louis Park. He quickly saw that he didn’t have to look far to find people who were genuinely happy in their lives, regardless of professional success, income or social status. “I decided to go with one degree of separation to make a point, which is that we all know really happy people,” he says. “If you’re not tuned in and not noticing, it’s easy to miss.”
Over a span of five years, Glaser gathered stories and information that led him to discover three key ways people can make themselves happy. The first is to form deeper, more profound connections with people around you. “This doesn’t have to mean your partner,” he says. “It could be your nephew, your neighbor, or just a classmate.” The second is to practice “mindfulness:” taking time to appreciate the particularly rich blue color of a neighbor’s house, for example. Glaser also engages in regular meditation practice, helping him more actively connect with the world aroud him. The final key is to spend time doing things you’re passionate about. Glaser says it’s great when these activities are also in service to others, but it’s crucial that your heart be in it for true happiness to be felt.
Common signs of happiness don’t necessarily show on everyone, Glaser says; each person reaches happiness a little differently, including himself. “Who am I to say you’re not happy?” he asks. “We all have our own definition of happiness.”
Full Heart Living is available at several metro bookstores, as well as at the Yoga Center of Minneapolis in St. Louis Park.