Faith Spilling Over… Into Everyday Life

How Can I Cultivate a Happy Heart?


3 tips for a happier heart. Life will always bring challenges, but we can cultivate a more positive attitude.

Do you know anyone who wears gray-colored misery spectacles? No matter what happens, he finds something to complain about. Those misery spectacles magnify everything. The weather’s too cold, or too hot, or too rainy. The food’s too salty. When you’re wearing gray-colored glasses, your glass is always half empty.

Let me tell you, on my bad days, that person in the gray-colored shades is me. I can moan and groan along with the best of them, but I don’t want to be like that.

How can I exchange my gray misery shades for some rose-colored glory glasses?

Proverbs 15:15 says:

3 tips for a happier heart scripture. Proverbs 15, 15

Wow, I’d love a continual feast. So what’s a happy heart and how do I get one of those, please?

Different translations of this verse reveal the following synonyms for happy heart: cheerful, merry or glad heart; secure mind; and right attitude. Perhaps in everyday language, a happy heart is a positive attitude.

Chuck Swindoll wrote, “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you. We are in charge of our attitudes.”

I believe him, but how does that work in real life? When the bills are due and your bank account’s running on empty? When you work for Atila the Hun? When the kids are sick and you have cabin fever? How can we take charge of our attitudes?

How can I cultivate a happy heart?

Believe it or not, I asked my 16 year old daughter this question. We put our heads together, and came up with 6 ideas or habits to help us cultivate happier hearts. Here are the first 3:

1. Hang Tight With God

God is the source of joy, so it makes sense that sticking close to Him is the most important thing we can do to cultivate a more joyful attitude. Psalm 16:11 says, “You will fill me with joy in your presence.” That’s a promise for heaven, but God also wants to fulfill it now as we walk in fellowship with Him. As we seek Him, He strengthens us for challenges. He renews our minds when we’re discouraged, and fills us with the love, joy, and peace we need each day.

2. Give Up on Trying to Be Happy

Everyone wants to be happy, but maybe we’re running after the wrong goal. We’re pursuing happiness when we should be going after joy. Happiness shifts with our circumstances, but joy depends on our unchanging God. As we focus on rejoicing in God through praise and thanksgiving, we find inner strength, and we just might end up being happier people.

3. Look for Opportunities to Bless Others.

When my father’s wife died in December 2014, we worried about him. After focusing all his time and energy on caring for his ailing wife, Dad had few friends. We wondered how he would survive his first Christmas alone. I’ll never forget how Dad celebrated the holiday. He made lemon squares for the hospital staff who’d cared for his wife, and he gave bags of gourmet popcorn to employees at his neighborhood gym.

Even during difficult times, doing something nice for someone else brightens our day.

3 tips for a happier heart. Life will always bring challenges, but we can put on our glory glasses and cultivate a more positive attitude.

Life will always bring challenges, but we can cultivate a more positive outlook as we make close fellowship with God our top priority. When we forget about our own happiness and reach out to bless someone else, we discover more joy.

Trading our misery spectacles for rose-colored glory glasses won’t make difficulties disappear. But we’ll certainly enjoy a rosier view.

Read the second part of this post for 3 more ways to cultivate a happy heart.

Now it’s your turn. What helps you to cultivate a more positive attitude?

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I’m linking up today with Holly Barrett’s Testimony Tuesday, Kelly Balarie’s #RaRaLinkup, Tuesday Talk with Ruthie Gray,  Jennifer Dukes Lee’s #TellHisStoryHolley Gerth’s Coffee for Your HeartLyli Dunbar’s Thought-Provoking Thursday, and Arabah Joy’s Grace & Truth. Check out these communities for more encouragement.

Photo Credit: Melika

Author: betsydecruz

I want to enjoy the everyday life God is giving me as best I can, even when the road gets bumpy. I love having fun with my teenagers, learning almost anything, and drinking dark roast coffee with my friends.

52 thoughts on “How Can I Cultivate a Happy Heart?

  1. It’s so important to have the right perspective for the good of our own heart. Love how you share the way we must live ever day having “a positive outlook”. Thanks Betsy, for sharing this encouraging post!

  2. This is so intentional and yet faith-filled. I know that I have to cling to Psalm 42:5 some days, talking to my soul — “Hope in God!”

  3. Your daughter is wise for a 16 year old. I agree that we need to let go of our happy and we will be happy. I also know that turning to God will bring me comfort and strength for anything I am facing. God’s word is the source of life and digging into what He has taught will teach us again and again how to live for Him. Living for Him will bring all the happiness we desire. Thank you for continually challenging and teaching us each week.

    • Thank you Mary! My mouth about fell upon when my 16 year old began to describe the difference between happiness and joy!!! May God’s word encourage you as you seek to live for him today, Mary!

  4. I can definitely use this advice, Betsy — I always find it easier to complain and grump about things. It’s so great that you got your daughter’s thoughts on this subject, too. Her perspective on happiness vs. joy is really wise and helpful.

  5. I think we all can find ourselves wearing gray-colored shades at some point or another. Love these tips for swapping the grey for rose though! Great things to keep in mind at all times.

    • Definitely, Lauren. Those gray shades are easy to keep on in February when the weather gets dreary and we long for spring. Happy Tuesday to you! I made the quinoa enchilada bake, by the way. Loved it!

  6. Betsy,
    I think letting go of the pursuit of “happiness” and instead keeping my eyes focused on Jesus so that I may be filled with a sense of peace, contentment, and well being. Reaching out to help others in their circumstances also helps me get my mind off my own difficult circumstances and trials. Great tips…

  7. How fine, Betsy! “Give Up on Trying to Be Happy” really strikes a chord with me as in the trying, I so often fail to feel better. It is in God’s timing and ways that happiness comes. I love your father’s making lemon squares for the staff at the hospital, gourmet popcorn to the gym staff. Just so special. Thanks and I look forward to the rest!

  8. “Everyone wants to be happy, but maybe we’re running after the wrong goal. We’re pursuing happiness when we should be going after joy. Happiness shifts with our circumstances, but joy depends on our unchanging God. As we focus on rejoicing in God through praise and thanksgiving, we find inner strength, and we just might end up being happier people.”

    Betsy, I love this. My life verse is “Be joyful always,” 1Thes 5:16, and I love the way God teaches me the difference between happiness and joy.
    Great words.
    Happy Tuesday!!!

  9. I love this! “Rose Colored Glory Glasses”! Perfect!

    I know I’ve read Proverbs 15:15 before, but it really jumped out at me as I read it here in your blog in a whole new way!

    The points and insights you and your daughter recorded are so edifying and encouraging. Thanks so much for sharing!

  10. This really speaks to me as I’ve been going through a fallow creative period in my life in many ways, a big transition as I face empty nest’s so easy to despair, but God has put on my heart each morning to change my mind with Thanksgiving. How beautiful in remembering how much God has already done in my life, in His own’s a constant returning as you share..our true source of Joy is by abiding!! Blessings today!!

    • May you find much grace for this transition. I’m sure God has great things planned and new opportunities for your empty nest season! You’re so right. Gratitude is a game-changer.

  11. Ah … the cherries! Just the sight of the images of them ripe for the picking made me smile, Betsy!

    Gratitude brings joy, contentment, happiness, peace. And now? Cherries, beautiful cherries!


  12. Good tips, Betsy (& your daughter). I’m right there with you, desiring to feast continually. Looking for ops to bless others was something Lisa Appelo mentioned when Dad died. It helps take us “outside” ourselves and focus on others. It’s a keeper.

  13. Betsy,
    love your photo and the tips from you and your daughter…For me, it is always about first connecting with God, the source of all true joy 🙂 Blessings to you and your family 🙂

  14. I love Chuck Swindoll and I agree – our attitude and the way we respond is so huge. Like you pointed out, happiness isn’t all it’s cracked up to be especially if its not authentic and comes from a forced place. When I can sit back and really process the reality with God, then I can look for Him moving in my situation vs. just complain about what I don’t like. That may not lead to happiness or even joy in the moment, but it does bring peace. You’re always so faithful to encourage us Betsy. Thanks, friend.

  15. Hey Betsy. Well, it makes me happy to be your link-up neighbor at Jennifer’s place today. 😀 It sure is easy to get into a mopey mood sometimes, isn’t it? I’ve been planning to challenge myself to a month of no complaining. You don’t realize how much you complain until you aren’t supposed to…then, hello! yikes. 🙂 Look forward to hearing numbers three through six. : ) (btw, I’ve really been wanting to read your post on prayer, but I happen to be in the middle of writing a post on prayer, and…you know how that goes, you want to be able to hear the Spirit speaking to you, and not have what He spoke to someone else in your mind, ya know? I look forward to reading it once my post is finished. 🙂 ) ((sweet blessings to you, friend))

    • May the Lord fill you with His Spirit, His thoughts, and His encouragement while you write that post on prayer, friend. Look forward to reading it. God’s grace (and good luck!? luck has nothing to do with it!) on that month of no complaining. Sounds like a great challenge.

  16. Rather than focus on how someone else always have MORE than me, I need to cultivate an attitude of gratitude because I have so much more than 90% of the world.

  17. Three things: 1) I bet you and your daughter have some awesome discussions. Over well-cooked food. 🙂 2) I love the glory glasses! Oh, Betsy, if we only had eyes to see all that God does around us and see as He sees. And 3) Your dad was a wise man. It is flat out amazing how contagious putting a smile on someone else’s face is. Can’t wait to see #4 – 6!

  18. What beautiful reminders and a practical list all rolled into one. Thank you for your insights; you encouraged me today.

  19. Gosh the imagery of seeing life as a continual feast really got me today ♥ Praying this into my life right now! I love your first three ways to attack a poor attitude and I can’t wait to see what the last three are next week. Definitely trying to encourage others is a surefire anecdote for me when all I can see in my life is famine.

  20. This is good advice, Betsy. I’ll look forward to your next 3 tips. The one that speaks to me the loudest this morning is “Look for opportunities to bless others.” I sometimes have to push myself out the door to go places with the Lord, but once I do show up, He shows me that much of my blessings come from blessing others. Thanks!

  21. These are great tips Betsy! I love your thoughts on giving up chasing happiness for joy. Thankfulness leads us into the presence of God, where joy dwells in abundance. Thanks for this beautiful reminder. Linking up with you at #TellHisStory

  22. When I came to the realization I was responsible for how I responded to situations it was life-changing for me! I always reacted, now I pray and ask God how I should respond. It’s a much better habit! 🙂 Keeps my mouth out of trouble!

  23. Betsy, you dad is awesome. I want to have that kind of attitude as I grow older and face life’s challenges with God’s help.

    • Yes, he is Lyli. I’ve been amazed at how he’s handled the challenge. Always so positive now when I call. (It’s been 14 months since his wife died, but of course it’s still hard.)

  24. Betsy, thanks for joining us for Tuesday Talk! I LOVE your cherry pictures!!! Pinned, tweeted, featuring next Tuesday.
    Love Chuck Swindoll and his quote is dead on. It is all about our attitude. And the story of your father giving out the lemon squares and blessing the people at the gym – I’ll bet you’re a lot like him. I just think you are!
    Wish we could meet someday. Like in person and for real! 🙂

    • I love Chuck Swindoll and that quote too. I’m planning on going to hear him talk next month at Dallas Theological Seminary, where he still serves as chancellor.

      I’d love to be like my dad when I “grow up.” 🙂 And yes, that would be fun to meet.

      • You’re going to hear CHUCK?!!? Wasssssome!! Be sure to let me know what he says. I love Lucy too. She reminds me of Chuck (naturally). She was always my favorite Women of Faith speaker!

  25. Chuck Swindoll is my husband’s favorite author. I would love to figure out how orchestrate a meeting… I think you and your daughter came up with some amazing advice here!

  26. Pingback: A love story of a most unlikely pair - Rear. Release. Regroup.

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