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How to Stay in Your Happy Place No Matter What!

Before I forget, I had the greatest time reviewing a subscription box based on psychology principles: Therabox. This was a first for me, and although I had some mixed views, the good feeling has stayed with me!

Speaking of the title here, I’m thinking a therapist might say, there are no bad feelings. 🙂 That could be true, as Shakespeare wrote: there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. But we still have to deal with things, right?

One of my neighbors is the most extrovert-y extrovert you could ever meet: bubbly, vivacious, pretty and driven. When I met her a couple of years ago and learned that she placed very highly as a runner-up on American Idol, I was impressed, but not surprised. She’s a go-getter.

The other day I ran into her in the courtyard and she said she was decluttering. I asked her why, and she said she had a new job, and also had broken up with her boyfriend of three years. Her eyes filled with tears. She said it was really terrible, and explained she meant the breakup was terrible, not the job.

We chatted a bit more and she said her new job meant she was a lot busier. I finally asked her what her new job was: She’s now a lead actress in a Netflix show! I congratulated her on the wonderful news, and she said, yes, it is wonderful, but she wasn’t sure if it would go a third season…

You have to understand how rare it is that an entertainer actually gets work in Hollywood. Maybe a few day jobs a year, a standup here and there, voiceovers, theater, or anything at all to hustle. This is a huge success for her.

Yet it seemed her joy at this gig was quite overshadowed by her heartbreak over the breakup. Afterwards, this cartoon came to mind (about keeping food separate). Is it better to separate our emotions, so that we can rejoice over good things and not let it get contaminated by the wretched feelings of sadness, anger, or depression?

Consider a dog’s outstanding sense of smell. We can all enjoy the scent of beef (or veggie) stew on the stove, and even start to salivate. Dogs don’t smell stew. They smell the beef and then the carrots and then the celery, and then the parsley, and then every single spice! They separate each smell, and that’s how they keep on target and find a missing person with a hankie, or drugs, or pills buried in suitcases at the airport.

What would happen if we were able to cleanly separate each feeling or thought?

I think Anne Kreamer would disagree with me, in her book:  It’s Always Personal: Emotion in the New Workplace  She says it’s normal!

Wiki  goes the other way, and describes how to make yourself emotionally numb. Um, not exactly what I was trying to say.

I think this separation I’m looking for is why I have always liked cognitive therapy. Medicinenet defines it as:

A relatively short-term form of psychotherapy based on the concept that the way we think about things affects how we feel emotionally. Cognitive therapy focuses on present thinking, behavior, and communication rather than on past experiences and is oriented toward problem solving.

What do you think? Are you able to separate various emotions in your own life?

Check out my first book (chocolate) and my second book (love, sweet love). And Like my Facebook page to get notified of new cartoons.

All rights reserved, and content including cartoon is ©Donna Barstow 2017. Contact me for fees and rights if you want to use any of my cartoons in your next project. Thanks!





How to Stay in Your Happy Place No Matter What!

Donna Barstow

Cartoonist for LA Times, Parade, WSJ, Glamour, PsychCentral, Barron's, Weight Watchers, and textbooks & Chicken Soup books. Author and editor of 2 cartoon books and a Barnes & Noble calendar.

I both write and draw all my cartoons. You are warmly invited to share the link to this cartoon. The full-size cartoons are all copyrighted, so please email me at pen.drawing AT g mail (squish it) for rates for use in textbooks, prints, presentations, publications, or websites. Email me AT pen.drawing @ gmail. com. (Squish the address.)

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APA Reference
, . (2017). How to Stay in Your Happy Place No Matter What!. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 30, 2020, from


Last updated: 13 Oct 2017
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