The “Chore” of Happiness…

After I conquered Graves Disease, I made a promise to myself that I would treat each day as a gift – always aware that life is a blessing. Despite that promise, I am human and sometimes find myself in the midst of small struggles that challenge both my commitment and my confidence.

Last week I read an article in entitled 4 Rituals That Will Make You Happy, According To Neuroscience. The psychology major in me found the article fascinating with very practical advice for daily life.

The four rituals are:

  • Consistently ask yourself the question, “What am I grateful for?” The search for gratitude provides a positive mindset that plays a critical role in creating happiness.
  • Label your emotions so that you can define them, acknowledge them, and take control over them.
  • Make decisions – It is stressful to worry about possible outcomes, so make a decision and move on.
  • Give Hugs – Personal touch is a vital component to creating confidence, support and ultimately happiness.

Like any good wife and mother, I required everyone in the Feed Yard Foodie family to read the entire article 🙂 It is a rather long one with a lot of nerdy physiological psychology terms which brought curiosity from my oldest, and plenty of grumbling from my two younger “budding intellectuals”.


In typical “Anne fashion”, I also put the advice to work the following morning…

I started the day getting my pinky finger squashed between the metal arm of the squeeze chute and the head of a calf. The calf tossed his head as I was manually reading a faulty EID ear tag that my wand reader refused to scan. I have a new crooked bend in my finger and it appears that my fingernail is likely to fall off, but the pretty blue/purple color does give my unpainted nails a nice flair. It was the perfect opportunity to remind myself how grateful I was for technology (at least when it worked).

I continued the day checking cattle health at the feed yard because my cowboy decided to travel up to the Black Hills to watch the annual buffalo roundup at Custer State Park. I am the “back up cowboy” so his daily chores fell to me for the long weekend.


We received 2” of rain Tuesday night and all day Wednesday. Having just completed a dirt rebuilding project in Pen 12, we moved cattle into the pen a few days prior to the rain. When it came time to check those cattle, I stepped confidently off of the concrete pad behind the water tank all while looking carefully at the nearby cattle. I promptly sunk down to my knee in watery mud, quickly discovering that my crew had not packed the new dirt in properly.  As the moisture seeped into the top of my Bogg boots, I realized how grateful I was that the rain had “settled the dust” at the feed yard.

It was about 1:00pm by the time that I finished checking cattle health (sloshing around in my wet boots with a still throbbing finger), and I have to admit that I was pretty well wearing my “grouchy pants” by that time. But, I spent the car ride home (to change my clothes) lecturing myself on gratitude, labeling emotions, making decisions, and thinking where is the heck is my favorite farmer because I think that I need a good LONG hug…

I found him at the office, and he was happy to offer a smile and oblige. By the time that I picked up my favorite ten year old, I was able to look Karyn in the eye – smile – and tell her that my day was much better now that I got to spend the rest of the afternoon with her.


Karyn and I arrived in Ogallala and hour and a half later to watch my favorite Cross Country running teenager have the best race of her budding career – earning the 1st place gold medal in the Varsity High School Girls 5K run. She ran with heart, perseverance, and strength gaining the lead in the final 150 meters of the race.

With tears in my eyes, I had much to be grateful for as I threw my arms around her for a post-race hug. Dozens of different emotions floated around in my brain waiting to be labeled as I made the decision to cherish the moment and thank God for all of the blessings in my life.

While it certainly was not a romantic day on the farm, happiness undoubtedly prevailed…


Filed under Family, Foodie Work!, General

6 responses to “The “Chore” of Happiness…

  1. Smashed finger or 30x100m on 1:10? Which is less painful? I’m pretty sure you can handle pain. You’re old buds. Good post.

    • Thanks for the vote of confidence, Bill 🙂 It is interesting that you brought up a swimming comparison. I often compare the challenges that we faced training in the pool with those that I encounter on a daily basis on the farm. While the physical challenges on the farm are not as demanding as those 3 hour “torturous” swimming workouts, the mental part is actually harder. The stress and responsibilities of the farm never go away — they are chronic — and while the level and intensity ebbs and flows, there is never a break. I find that to be one of the most difficult parts of my chosen profession.

      I hope that all is well back East!

  2. Heather

    What are you thankful for? A therapist said this is something I must ask myself every night. But it helps and is so worth as “stress” or “passion for certain things or kids activities” piles up to help get things completed and prepared for. Thank you for the inspiration and the motivation to not put myself down.

    • Glad that I could help, Heather! Good luck to you and keep it all in perspective 🙂 We all have something special to share — that is our gift and it flows bidirectionally so that everyone benefits.


  3. Bobbi

    Every time I have 1 of “those” days I am always reminded of the words of my hubby. We walked into the house well past dark one cold snowy Sat evening. I started to say how bad of a day it was. He smiled and said “I think it was a very successful day, we have 2 heifers who love their live calves, the calf with the swollen head looks better and is nursing, the prolapsed cow is still alive her calf is having a great time destroying the garage, and everyone else is fed, watered, and bedded down for the night. Don’t worry about cooking supper I will fry some eggs and nuke some bacon!”.

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