With a thriving career, a two-year-old daughter, Haley, to chase after, and a brand-new baby girl, Hope, Hoda Kotb’s life is as full — and as busy — as it gets. Yet despite being pulled in several different directions, the co-host of NBC’s Today is rarely seen without a smile on her face. “I have so many things to be thankful for,” she beams. “I’m happier than I’ve ever been!”
As a breast cancer survivor, Hoda says that her unwavering joy is the result of looking at life from a place of gratitude. “I had my share of soaking my pillow with tears,” she says. “But I learned every day is a gift, and there’s always something to learn.” And Hoda, who has an inspirational book, I Really Needed This Today, coming out in October, is intent on making the most of every moment. “I’m looking forward to all the blessings still to come!” Here, Hoda shares the happiness helpers that keep her smiling and feeling great — whatever comes her way!
A glass of greens boosts the immune system.
“It can be tough to find the time to make three healthy meals every day with everything else going on!” says Hoda with a laugh. “So recently, I’ve fallen in love with Mr. Greengenes, a green smoothie from Juice Generation. It tastes great and makes you feel good knowing that you’re eating healthy things like spinach, mango, and bananas. For me, drinking one feels like an instant health and energy booster — and it’s fast and easy!”
A quick shower revs energy.
“If I’m exhausted but still have things to do, I’ll hop in a fast shower to help me finish strong,” Hoda shares. “It never fails to rev up my energy so I can power through, day or night!”
Time in nature jumpstarts joy.
“I love to be outside just taking in nature,” Hoda shares. “Walking or running in the park is my go-to for a reset — it’s like therapy and exercise all in one! Doing that makes me feel free and helps me remember how fortunate and unbelievably lucky I am to have the life that I do. When you look around and see all of the natural beauty, it helps lift your spirits and reminds you of your good fortune. And feeling that free while doing something good for you every day — like getting yourself moving or getting some fresh air — is a wonderful way to reflect on all of your blessings!”
Thinking of loved ones motivates and inspires.
“I’m not naturally motivated to exercise, but I do love knowing that every minute I do is making me stronger,” Hoda confides. “Going through breast cancer, I know what it’s like to feel sick and not strong. But these days, I’m not just building strength for myself, I’m getting stronger for my daughters, Haley and Hope. I feel happiest when I feel strong, and knowing that what I’m doing will help me be — and feel — my best for my girls is such powerful motivation to keep going.”
Turning up the tunes increases confidence.
“I’ve definitely had those moments where I need a confidence booster, like before giving a speech,” Hoda admits. “To quiet my nerves and feel my best, I almost always turn to music! Music can have such an amazing and wonderful impact on your mood, confidence, and outlook, and can really make you feel great! There are so many songs that make me feel good the second I hear them play, so in the moments where I need it most, I’ll put on my headphones and play a song to instantly pump myself up.”
Appreciating the little things puts a smile on.
With a job that has her waking up before dawn and going to bed long after the sun goes down, Hoda admits that being in the moment can be difficult. “It’s easy to go into autopilot and do things around your loved ones, rather than with them,” Hoda says. “I’ve been guilty of doing four things at once and suddenly realizing, Wait, I’m not interacting with Haley! I’m doing things ‘around’ her.”
To snap back to reality, Hoda finds joy in the little things. “The other night, Haley wanted to hold hands as she fell asleep,” Hoda says. “In a moment like that, you realize there’s nothing better.” In fact, Hoda’s new children’s book, You Are My Happy ($14.29, Amazon), is inspired by such moments, and follows a mama bear and her cub as they cuddle before bed, sharing what they’re most grateful for. “The little love moments are everything!”
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.