5 more ways to HAPPY

I’ve been journaling about my year-end goals. I’m wrapping up two books: one on fitness and one on journaling.

This has been a milestone year, my 50th as of last week, and I am happier than I was when I hit 40.

Last week I started to share the way I rose to this feeling.

I haven’t always felt happy, which probably comes as a huge surprise to the many folks who’ve known me. 

I’ve been in search for answers most of my adult life. Okay, let me just say it outright–I’ve looked for validation most of my life.

That’s not something people openly admit about themselves, but I believe being honest about who and where you are means you’ll also be aware when you find what you seek.

My search led me to live in several cities since I left Iowa 23 years ago. I looked for myself in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, New Jersey, then back to New York.

I’ve performed for Universal Studios, sang in Japan over a summer, become a certified yoga instructor before it was popular, won 2 bodybuilding shows, taught Theatre Arts to children with special needs using the curriculum I created, wrote a book, Lean Happy Healthy You… But it was only recently that I stumbled upon HAPPY.

Falling is a good way make somebody look up.

I’ll be sharing the 50 ways I found HAPPY over the next 10 weeks. 

This is week 2. Visit the first 5  in last week’s post.

Below are 5 more things that have made me happy at 50.

Remember, I’ll be adding 5 each week over the next 10 weeks.

Let each group of 5 sink in. Ponder them. Practice them, if you want.
Maybe you’ll agree, maybe not. Maybe they’ll inspire you to add to my list.

Tell me what you think and add to my list in the comments section.

6. Listen to something inspiring every day.

I Youtube inspiring stuff when I shower in the morning and again as I fall asleep. (Youtube is now a verb). One of my favorite YouTube channels is YouAreCreators created by Justin Perry.

It features short seminars, books on”tape”, and commentary by Justin.

 

7. Feel your sucky feelings fully.

I’m talking about the feelings we’d rather avoid.  Don’t wait, don’t wear the mask, don’t expect your negative feelings to go away by themselves.  Dissing your feelings invites regret and stokes resentment, the two skills complainers have mastered.

I feel my feelings in my journal every morning. I scribble them in anger, frustration, sadness, confusion, and overwhelm until I can write myself some sort of solution. In my journal I ask: What is this awful feeling showing me about my choices, my life, my goal, or my action?

Every emotion is valid. The sucky ones can take us to places we fear, but those places could show answers we’ve searched for all this time.

8. Read so you can practice visualizing.

One of the things I love about reading fiction is I get to escape into somebody else’s life, live in their body, their house, their relationships. As a kid I’d pretend to be different characters through my Barbie dolls, my Cher doll, and my Marie from the Donny and Marie doll set. Yep, my characters were singers most of the time. But I’d also play teacher and mama every day up till sixth grade.

I would shape-shift to become whoever I visualized. When I read fiction, I do the same thing.

The practice of visualizing becomes useful for changing any circumstance you’ve grown out of and want to shed, or used to embody any persona you aspire to become. Practice seeing beyond what’s right in front of you by reading more fiction. Plus, it’ll get you off your phone for an hour.

9. Direct deposit your savings and retirement funds.

It’s absolutely true that money burns a hole in your pocket. If you tend to slip your hand into your jeans to retrieve a $10 bill, but end up tickling a thigh, you might want to try directly depositing your goal-money into accounts.

To me, money is like handling brownies or white cheddar cheese Pirate’s Booty or Ritz crackers. If they’re in my house, I’m gonna eat em. And by eat em, I mean eat till there isn’t anymore left. So, I do not have those items in my house. I leave them at the store until I want one

I’d rather keep my cash in the bank and let online banking distribute my funds. Before you know, your savings and retirement accounts are hefty and you’ve lost weight from not carrying around wads of cash (that keeps disappearing anyway).

 

10. Look lovingly at yourself.

Use a mirror.

I like to smile when I look in a mirror, otherwise I look pretty grim. My thinking face does weird stuff to my mouth and forehead. Ugh.

The mirror is a good place to connect with yourself. I’m aware people don’t like to look at their reflection or can’t do it without thinking horrible thoughts about what they think they see.

Try looking, smiling, and saying what Louise Hay used to say: I love you. I really love you.

Do it right now. I dare you. 

5 more ways to HAPPY next week.

Till then, live above ordinary. I will, too.

Michelle Bernard

J.A.M.

Journal. Art. Movement. is my JAM.

A year before I wrote my first book, I took an online writing course. I certainly had the extra time for writing. My commute from New Jersey into Uptown Manhattan took close to 2 hours. Luckily I was able to schedule all my clients into 3 days instead of 5.

I know it might seem like torture to get up at 4:30am to catch a 5:30 train. You can’t imagine how many raised eyebrows and wrinkled foreheads I witnessed take pity on me.

How long is your commute?

Oh Michelle, you’re so committed.

 

But, I looked forward to the train ride.

Every day I had the choice between sleeping my way into the city or writing. Who gets a free 4 hours a day to read (and finish) books? Who has free time to enroll in a writing course and actually do ALL the assignments?

I chose writing.

That 5-week online writing course in 2014 helped me shape a few articles and poems that I published in online magazines, and it paved the daily journaling practice that I currently greet every morning of every day.

I’m back in New York. No commuting for me anymore. Now I’m walking distance from my clients.

Like it is living in this mad-crazy town, I’m rushing around trying to tackle client business, write another book, and make fitness and yoga videos. Daily journaling for two years in New Jersey gave me so much insight into my real desires, blocks, and solutions, that I had to keep it alive when I moved back here.

So, I said later to sleeping in.

I journal at home now. My journaling begins by 6:30 every morning of every week. Without fail, I walk the pooches at 5:45am, remove their leashes and fill a goblet with cold coffee, add flavored cream, then burrow near the terrace window next to a shelf stuffed with old journals, a lamp, and a view of.. well…construction!

I gaze outside for a few minutes while sipping sweet coffee before beginning writing. There are animals in the trees that haven’t been torn down by the plow. It’s quiet, except for those birds and squirrels. It’s earlier than most people use their voices.

I write.

I never, ever have to search my mind for something to put in my journal. I write like I’m talking to someone; someone who is me but She is listening, letting me get all my feelings through the pen.

I did the journaling thing with Julia Cameron when I lived in Los Angeles. The Artist’s Way was what all of us entertainers did. Mostly because she said to do it. Three pages. Also, with coffee. In the mornings.

But life made changes, habits got interrupted, and I stopped.

Now I embrace the discipline of listening to myself, writing my life, writing my pain, and purging what would fester, because I can clearly feel the benefits.

 

My daily journaling has made me happier. I’ve gotten so clear about what I want and what I will tolerate. I’m awake to what brings me joy and what sinks teeth into my veins to take my energy.

When I journal something inside moves, something gets arrested, something lifts, shakes, becomes unwoven, opens. Sometimes the change will happen in the very moment I’m writing. Sometimes the change is pending, needing me to listen longer, write more, purge more, explore more, wait. And sometimes the journal helps me see that something has already been changed.

 

I’ve created mostly blank book, yet beautifully inspirational journals!

Aren’t they gorgeous?

They are part of my black coffee series of journals for self-exploration. They will help you feel into the celebration of life. That’s what they’ve done for me.

Take a closer look!

 

rise,

Michelle Bernard