“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” -John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
Want to know how to make happiness a way of life? So did I.
This summer, I came across an amazing book that’s been out for a while. From it, I learned how to completely revamp my outlook on life. Seriously. Even five months after devouring this read, I focus on the good more and stress less. Even about the big things.
I happened to pick up this book just weeks before some major relationship issues, and major job issues. Without this book, I would have been in full-fledged panic mode. With it, I dealt with these issues in a more healthy and positive way.
“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” -Charles William Eliot
It’s Gabrielle Bernstein’s Add More ~ing to Your Life. Many of you might be aware of this beautiful and compelling happiness advocate, but if her name is new to you, please do yourself a favor and look up her YouTube channel, lectures, and website. If you enjoy any of what she is saying, pick up any of her three (soon to be four) books (I, of course, recommend her first one). I use these as tools weekly.
Behind the Scenes
I’m a pretty emotional person – I tend to take on other people’s problems, I definitely can’t watch those reality shows where people scream at each other (not a great thing to have as a writer!). Perfect, as Gabrielle made the book “to bulldoze negative thought patterns and create personal change through positive affirmations, physical activity, and visualization meditations”. Finally, I had tools to climb out of any negative thought patterns I had the tendency to dive down.
Armed with these new tools, and the information I began gathering for myself after (I wanted to continue my new education in this subject area), I learned to feel much calmer, happier and positive overall.
“One must always be careful of books,” said Tessa, “and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.”
-Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel
On the Job
Sometimes as a yoga instructor, I spend so much time dedicated to helping other people, it’s easy to forget about myself. I know I’m not the only one out there like this! It was wonderful to focus on new and different ways to help, relax and inspire myself (and of course in the process, I end up with new tools for my students!).
When I’m feeling down, I turn to the subject I’m struggling with, and read the stories of other women’s experiences with similar situations, or practice a meditation she outlines at the end of each chapter. It’s precisely how she intended the book to be – when a certain area is dragging you down, practice the meditation and exercises for that particular area for thirty days straight (or, just for a day or two – it’s totally up to you). Immensely helpful.
“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”
-J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
Meditation (intentional thinking, gratitude lists, or just simply sitting and breathing) has helped me so much the past year. It’s such a simple task, and yet we make it so much more difficult than it needs to be. Challenge yourself to try it. Go onto YouTube, look for a talk from Gabrielle (they’re only about 4 minutes long), and see if you don’t feel better after.
My biggest takeaway?
I am in control of my thoughts, which quickly become my emotions, which IS my reality. I finally understood this 1000% for the first time. I create the world I live in, so why not make it an absolutely bright, gorgeous, juicy one? Stop focusing on what is wrong, and you instantly make your world bright.
Just try it – what do you have to lose? Just a bit of stress. I hope this was helpful, and I wish you even more happiness, relaxation, and inspiration in your life this week.
What happiness tool do you love? Please share in the comments below, or let’s connect on Instagram!