Montel Williams, one of television's most recognizable talk show hosts, who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, believes that the key to happiness is within us.
In his eighth book, "Living Well Emotionally: Breakthrough to a Life of Happiness," he shares some valuable lessons for living a happier, more fulfilled life.
"I wrote this book because a lot of people understand I have MS and I suffer from MS. One of the main symptoms of MS is depression. And a lot of people talk about depression. I really sat down to write a book about how to journey through and navigate depression, but ended up understanding it really has nothing to do with that. It's more about how to figure out how to gain some happiness in your life," Williams told Early Show co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez.
About nine years ago, Williams was diagnosed with MS and he attempted suicide twice. He wrote about those experiences in his book.
"I took a journey for seven or eight years with people telling me 'You're depressed, you're clinically depressed, take this, take that.' I realized that I started living down to that expectation that I was depressed. It was almost like a badge of courage across my chest, 'Montel is depressed.' No, 'Montel needed to figure out how to regain some happiness and deal with life and normal things that take place.' As soon as I learned how to do that, I decided to share it with other people," he said.
To Rodriguez and many others, hearing the news that Williams was depressed came as a surprise because he is viewed as a good-looking guy who has written best-sellers and has had a successful TV career. Yet Rodriguez was struck by a quote in his book.
"I'm a 52-year-old bald headed black guy who is looking for work. In the past year I have been fired from my job as a TV talk show host for 17 years. I have a disease with no known cause, no cure and no way to control the pain," Williams wrote.
"And I lived through that," he responded. "But, at the same time, you know, my issues are no greater than anybody else's in this country. Right now we are living through what we are calling an economic depression. Truthfully, this economic depression was triggered by a national depression. Psychological depression. We've not admitted to half the issues and problems we've had. That we've been dealing with for 10 years and we're walking around trying to figure out how we're going to elevate everybody's lifestyle? No. We should figure out how to fix it. If we can fix what is going on here I think we can figure out how to fix other problems we have," he said.
Rodriguez, whose mother suffers from MS, also recognizes the need for a positive outlook. She sees the difference it makes in her mother.
"Happiness is really something we have more control over than we think," he said. "Fifty percent, you're born with a quotient. About 50 percent of that is locked in. You have a happiness level. Ten percent of that happiness is affected by things that go on around you but 40 percent of you can change."
During this economic downturn, people are loosing their homes. However, there are some people that are still walking around with a smile because they are practicing tools that can help us all when it's depression time or positive time, Williams explained.
Williams offers many tips in his book on how to stay happy. His top five ways you can be happy in 2009 are:
For Williams, his tip, "learn to let go and forgive" is one he values the most.
"You own the definition of who you are. If people tell you you're depressed you're going to be depressed. You walk around telling yourself you will be depressed, you will be depressed. You can spin yourself out of a hole by exercising and practicing positive thoughts," he stressed. "One last thing -- every night before you go to bed write down three things you did today that is worth talking about tomorrow."