5 Easy Steps to Achieving Happiness
BY Gabrielle Bernstein
For 20 years I kept a journal. I wrote about heartbreak, anxiety, and eating disorders. I wrote about trying to quit drugs while high on drugs. Pages and pages are filled with self-loathing and self-doubt. My journal was my only outlet from the turmoil and deep-rooted pain I felt every day. I’d release my fears onto the page and get honest about my sadness as I scribbled over my tears.
Today my journal entries are much different. They reflect an empowered woman who is happy and bleeds authenticity. The words on the page are tinged with pride and compassion. I’ve overcome my addictions to love, drugs, food, work, and fear. I worked hard, and man, was it worth it. My journal shows a deep desire to continue growing from the inside out.
I achieved this higher state of happiness through steadfast journey inward. I came to understand that nothing outside of myself would give me what I was desperately seeking on the inside. Turning my search inward, saved me. Today I am the happiest person I know.
There are some simple steps I’ve taken to maintain this happy state. If you’re ready to deepen your life experience, check out my top five tips for boosting your happiness. When you bring these tools into your daily life, you’ll experience powerful shifts–and by adding them up, you’ll create radical change.
1. Say how you feel!
It’s far too often that we make ourselves crazy by not expressing how we truly feel. When we deny our feelings, we make up stories in our mind that (sooner or later) drive us and everyone else totally nuts. These stories create chaos in our relationships and in our lives. By simply saying how you feel you can save yourself days, even weeks, of drama and inner turmoil. With love and kindness, simply say out loud to yourself or others exactly how you feel.
One of the simplest ways to shift your mood is to breathe. An easy breathing technique that I use regularly is to inhale for five seconds, hold my breath for five seconds, and exhale for five seconds. Whenever you notice tension in your body or a feeling of negativity take over, simply breathe in for five, hold for five, exhale for five. Do this several times and you will immediately feel centered back into your body and release the negative energy that holds you back.
3. Appreciate YOU
Women tend to spend a lot of time taking care of others. This is a beautiful quality, but it can easily make us lose track of our own needs and self-care. I suggest practicing random acts of self-kindness. They can be small (take a few moments to stretch your body) or a little bigger (make yourself your favorite meal, get a deluxe pedicure). Do simple things to show yourself some love and appreciation.
It’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of life, negativity on the news, or the self-inflicted fear that takes over our mind at any given moment. The key to quickly getting out of the fear spiral is to laugh. By simply laughing at our fear we can detach from it and choose to see a better perspective. If something silly is bothering you, this tool can help you let go of littleness and center back into your happy reality. Let laughter melt away the petty fears that consume you. If it sounds simple, that’s because it is. And it works.
5. “When you’re feeling helpless, help someone.” —Aung San Suchi
This is one of my favorite messages. Whenever I feel helpless I help someone. Helping others takes the focus off yourself and immediately shifts you from a “me” mentality to a “we” mentality. This is a very powerful tool for getting out of your own way through the service of others.
I love these five tips because you can start doing them anyplace and anytime—even right here, right now. The secret to happiness is that there is no secret. Anyone can be authentically happy and at peace, no matter what’s going on around us. Just integrate these five easy but powerful tips into your daily life and one by one the shifts will add up … until one day, seemingly out of nowhere, you realize you are, quite simply, happier. It’s not magic! It’s proof that you’ve done the good work to get there.