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Norah O’Donnell’s 6 Inspiring Rules for Living a Joyful Life

TV journalist Norah O’Donnell is beloved for her heartfelt approach to reporting world events on the CBS Evening News. But, like all of us, even she has struggled through the stress of difficult headlines lately. Here’s how she stays grounded, healthy, and upbeat, no matter what comes her way!

With her inspiring confidence and calming nature, it’s easy to see why the Emmy-winning journalist and anchor is is one of the most watched newscasters on television. O’Donnell, a busy wife and mother of three, has spent more than two decades immersed in stirring stories — a job she started prepping for as a teenager by reading the morning paper.

“I always loved the chance to catch up on anything that happened overnight!” Norah shares with Woman’s World. It was a passion that led her to a job as a print reporter out of college, where Norah quickly moved through the ranks to become a television correspondent and anchor of morning news until taking over the Evening News spot in the fall of 2019.

But despite rising to the top of her field in a job she loves, the 47-year-old has also felt the heaviness of recent events. “The past year was the most difficult journalistic year of my life,” she says. “It had its share of difficult headlines as we’ve told the story of this pandemic, but it’s also been tough personally. Every one of us has the same goal: to stay as healthy as possible and keep our loved ones safe, and it can take a toll.”

Yet, in the face of such struggle, Norah strives to weave one common thread of positivity through every story. “I try to focus on humanity,” she says. “It gives me joy and comfort to know that a story we tell may move people to kindness!”

Here, Norah’s tips for managing stress, keeping an optimistic outlook, finding lasting peace, and feeling great!

Focus on what really matters.

“I keep a list of inspirational sayings and reflect on them daily to remind myself of what really matters,” Norah shares. “One I say to myself a lot is, ‘The quality of your life depends on the quality of your relationship.’ It reminds me to nurture my relationships, because good relationships equal a good life. Another is, ‘Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.’ It’s a reminder that no matter what you’re facing, you can get through it. It builds confidence while inspiring me to be my best and have faith.”

Enjoy a quick mental escape.

“Sleep is one of the most important elements of good health,” Norah says. “To promote a good night’s sleep, I have several tricks, one of which is reading. Whether it’s two pages or 20, reading lets me turn away from worry so my mind can unwind. It’s like an on/off switch: It places me in a land of what I’m reading, and lets me escape from everything else.”

Find peace with daily gratitude.

“I try to take time every day to acknowledge and be grateful for the smallest, and sometimes most obvious, aspects of my life,” Norah reveals. “Of course, I’m thankful for my husband and kids, family and job, but I also try to stay grateful for the basic ability to walk up the stairs or even take a deep breath. Staying grateful makes the trials and stress of the day much less significant—and brings so much peace.”

Enjoy a mind/body hobby.

“I’m excited spring is around the corner because I’m learning to play tennis and golf!” Norah gushes. “It makes exercise fun and gives my brain a workout. It’s fun to walk a golf course with my husband or a friend, and before I know it, we’ve logged five miles. And I love that when I’m working on my swing in golf, I can feel my brain working and exercising too!”

Feed your body with healthy fuel.

“Eating healthy helps me keep up as a busy working wife and mom!” Norah says. “I start the day eating oatmeal and some Greek yogurt with berries or a banana. I also sprinkle pumpkin seeds on top for a crunch that’s rich in zinc to boost my immune system, which has been very important during the pandemic.” Fun fact: One tablespoon of pumpkin seeds fulfills 20 percent of the recommended immunity-boosting zinc for the day!

Find big joy in little things.

“I believe small gestures of love and kindness can cure anything,” Norah says. “The other night, I came home after a long day and was touched that my husband had dinner waiting for me. Small gestures like that or letting someone go in front of you in traffic can have a far-reaching effect—and is something we can all do to add more light to the world!”

Tune in to Norah nightly!

Catch up with Norah every weekday evening on CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell (check local listings for times). Along with coverage of the day’s events, you’ll see her series “Norah O’Donnell Reports,” where she travels the globe in search of a variety of engaging human-interest topics. Want more Norah? Follow her adventures on Instagram or Twitter @norahodonnell!

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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