Ever heard the saying don't just survive, thrive? Here are my seven secrets to help you on your way to happiness:
1: accept yourself
I remember when I was a teenager, my mum said to me that love was acceptance. How right she was. I think this is one of the real secrets to happiness. If there’s something you really don’t like about yourself, then change it, but for me real emotional freedom came when I decided that I was pretty damn good as I was, thank you. I no longer needed to make excuses for who I was or look to somebody else for approval. This is not about conceit. It’s about not beating yourself up constantly for failing to live up to (usually somebody else’s) idea of what you should be.
2: live guilt-free
On days when I’m feeling good about myself and life is just peachy, I can eat whatever I want and I don’t put on weight. If I’m stressed, or feeling bad about reaching for the Kit-Kats, you can bet your bottom dollar I gain a bit more weight on my bottom. Dr Bruce Lipton explains this amazing phenomenon in his book The Biology of Belief – any limiting thought that creates a negative emotion will pump out hormones that create inflammation in the body, which makes us fat. So I always unwrap my Kit-Kat with a carefree attitude.
3: laugh yourself to sleep
I truly believe that the secret to a good night’s sleep is having a laugh beforehand. It clears your brain of all the details from the day and releases any residual stress. My husband and I watch two episodes of Family Guy every night before bed, almost as part of some kind of strange ritual, and the two books that never leave my bedside are a Calvin and Hobbes anthology and a Far Side collection. It really works.
4: trust yourself
Another secret of survival is trusting yourself. A lot of my clients come to me with low self-confidence and self-esteem, and it’s mostly due to their not liking, or not trusting, themselves. I help clients learn to trust the little voice inside their head that might be getting drowned out by others. It could be their mum’s, their partner’s, or the perceived opinion of society. But that gut reaction, or little voice, is their subconscious survival instinct crying out to be heard. Once they’ve learned to listen in, and act accordingly, their issues tend to melt away. I've learned to my cost never to ignore my instincts.
5: don't take things personally
As somebody who lived the hellish life of a perfectionist until my early thirties, learning not to take things personally was a revelation for me. There are some situations you cannot change. If somebody is dismissive or rude, it is usually their problem, not yours. Some things in life simply are what they are. It was such a relief for me to discover this, and stop constantly feeling that if I’d been ‘better’ in some way, things would have been different. Funnily enough, the number of emotional blackmailers in my life has decreased dramatically as a result.
6: invest in yourself
I feel very privileged in my work as an energy psychologist and relationships coach to work with so many fascinating and lovely people, helping them to get more of what they want from life. Sometimes my clients can be treated in a couple of sessions, but there are also those whose treatment can take a much longer time. They remind me, in their brave and inspirational way, that you have to invest in yourself to be truly happy. We're important, and whether it be a walk in the hills, having coaching/therapy or colouring in, time for ourselves is an investment in ourselves.
7: appreciate the little things
Taking notice of the little things in life is so important. We can keep our eyes so firmly on the prize sometimes that we forget the best things in life may already be right in front of us. I gaze at my youngest daughter’s feet all the time; they’re so cute and beautiful and she’s growing so quickly. I enjoy my husband’s smile, and his taking my hand when we are on the high street. Or the sound of the breeze in the trees. Little joys really remind me that there is beauty and love everywhere, and these tiny treasures always lift my spirits if things ever get tough.
Woud you like to feel happier and less stressed? Are you ready to embrace life? I run programs to help people transform their life. To find out more, just click here.
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