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10 Life Lessons Learned From Kids

Photo by Lauren Rosenbaum
Don’t postpone joy until you have learned all of your lessons. Joy is your lesson. ~Alan Cohen

Twirling in her pink tutu, slightly tattered and always a little dirty, my niece opens her arms wide, calling for all of us to get up and dance with her. She wants to hold hands while we jump, spin and leap around the room.

She shouts along to the music, reminding each of us that we should be joining in. “Papa sing! It’s your turn Papa!” Panting and out of breath, we try our hardest to match her undying energy.

After the music — she asks for Justin Bieber by name now — starts to fade, she drops our hands and holds out her arms again. “Ok everyone, it’s time for a group hug!”

We haven’t purposely partaken in a group hug for years now, but we oblige because her smile is contagious and her enthusiasm is impossible to tame.

How Losing My Job Cured My Depression

Photo by Eduardoizq
The things you own end up owning you. It's only after you lose everything that you're free to do anything. ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

I thought I had it all.

I had a job that paid well and all the perks that went with it. I drove an expensive car and rented a spacious (but overpriced) apartment well-stocked with the latest modern conveniences.

I had a circle of equally high-flying, workaholic acquaintances, and we’d spend what little free time we had downing expensive drinks together in fashionable nightclubs and bars.

Fully occupied with my busy schedule, I never looked up long enough to realize that a cloud of discontent followed me everywhere I went. I also didn’t realize that chasing material excess was simply my subconscious attempt to outrun it.

But the economic crash of 2008 changed all that.

How to Find Yourself & Love Life

Photo by Hannes Caspar
Happiness depends on ourselves. ~Aristotle

This is truly an excellent piece of advice. But it took me a great deal of patience, effort, and focus to finally internalize the implications of it. The art of seeking happiness begins by looking, because to love life depends on being able to enjoy being yourself.

The whole exciting process of deciding to be happy begins with the journey of rediscovery — understanding who you are. It seems so obvious: You can’t begin to be happy until you do the things that make you happy.

But do you know what makes you happy?

In this world of 7 billion people, each of us has our own unique path to happiness. But the seemingly simple concept of nurturing your individuality while traversing your own path in this world can be a challenge.

In fact, in most cases, when you sit down and reflect (a task that most of us tend to woefully neglect), you might be horrified to realize that you have become someone you wouldn’t have recognized in your younger years.

Many of us do.

The Art of Positive Self-Talk

Photo by Hannes Caspar
Stop yelling at the movie, you ain’t never gonna change it like that. Go change the movie in the projector. You are the projector. ~David Icke

As a transformation coach, the most important challenge I face is creating change for people that is sustainable.  This requires teaching them powerful but simple techniques that they can take into the real world and use to make significant progress towards living a happier life.

I like to aim for what I think of as full-contact living, which is consciously coming into direct contact with as much of life as we can. By increasing the surface area of our lives, we can fully experience the joy of it all.

How to Turn a Bad Day Around

Photo by Vanessa Paxton

I was on my way home after purchasing a lavender-scented candle to help kick start a relaxing atmosphere I desperately needed to wind down from a terrible and emotionally draining week at work. I was rummaging for my keys in my purse for what seemed like forever.

Oh no! Are you kidding me? I didn’t have my keys!

I could see my keys right now in my mind’s eye. There they were, resting on the table by the side of the door. That morning my boyfriend locked the door as we headed off to work, while I unknowingly left my keys at home.

The thing was that he just got on a bus to meet up with a friend on the other side of town.

I couldn’t help but laugh miserably at myself. What a fitting ending to a horrible week.

Overcoming Obstacles

Photo by Hannes Caspar
A hard fall means a high bounce... if you're made of the right material. ~Unknown

I became freakishly peaceful the summer of 2000.

For a long time, I had been working towards self-acceptance and trying to become more Enlightened, but that summer after my first year of graduate school was entirely different.

  • I was meditating regularly—the silent, lotus-position, old-school way.
  • I took mindful showers and mindful walks, and I mindfully cleaned the toilet.
  • I moved from the more rational and smart “Social Sciences/Psychology” section of my local bookstore to the section they called “New Age”.
  • I was questioning my interpretation of everything and finding real freedom from my thoughts.
  • I was calm. I was happy. All was well in my world.

Then, out of nowhere, I started having severe panic attacks.

Living Alone in a New City – 5 Lessons

Photo by Hannes Caspar
If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older. ~Tom Stoppard

When I was little I’d lay in bed at night and dream about what it would be like to start over. I would move somewhere and no one would know who I was. I’d be living alone and in peace.

In this fantasy I was always the new girl at school. I was quiet and most people just left me alone. I didn’t have a lot of friends, but I wasn’t a complete loner either. To me, this sounded like paradise.

In my late twenties I got to realize my fantasy, moving across the continent alone where I knew no one and could be exactly who I wanted to be, without all the drama that came from years of living in one place.

3 Solutions to Feeling Blue

The most glorious moments in your life are not the so-called days of success, but rather those days when out of dejection and despair you feel rise in you a challenge to life, and the promise of future accomplishments. ~Gustave Flaubert

I sat in bed sobbing myself to sleep.

How had things gotten this bad? How could it be that all the personal development I had worked on for the past two years had all come undone?

Everyone always talks about self-improvement like it’s some kind of constant and steady progression in a positive direction, but they often gloss over those moments of hopelessness when it all seems to come crumbling down on you.

And that’s how I felt. My partner was there next to me, but he couldn’t have felt further away.

All the stresses of life had just been too much.

How to Set Goals with No Guilt

Photo by Shannon
When we’re in the grip of inspiration, an idea has taken hold of us from the invisible reality of Spirit. Something that seems to come from afar, where we allow ourselves to be moved by a force that’s more powerful than our ego and all of it’s illusions, is inspiration. ~Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Goal setting can be a great tool for achieving and improving different areas of your life. It can also be a source of frustration, disappointment and anxiety.

We’ve all heard of the traditional S.MA.R.T. guidelines for setting goals (making your goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely). It seems to be widely touted by personal development gurus and business professionals, however it may not be for every goal seeker.

A few years ago, I worked with a business coach to help me grow my business. I learned a lot, but I also experienced many negative feelings like the ones mentioned above.

When I didn’t meet my goals, I would get very down on myself. I felt like something was wrong with me. My self-esteem went completely down the tubes.

5 Ways to Find Your True Desire

Photo by Hannes Caspar
We are not meant to be perfect; we are meant to be whole. ~Jane Fonda

It’s the crisis of the modern era: stressed-out, disconnected, working so hard and not knowing what, exactly, we’re working for. Entire lives are planned around promotions and pay raises, or around simply surviving the day-to-day, and then we look around and ask ourselves: Is all this work actually getting me where I want to go?

I’ve found myself in this position–the position of the person who has figured out how to work hard and achieve things, but has realized with a sudden and startling clarity that she doesn’t actually know that they are things she wanted.

What do you do when you’ve pursued the things you’ve been conditioned to want, and find that once you’ve got them–they weren’t what you really wanted?

Perhaps what you’ve sought was some outward measure of perfection, and now the journey is towards wholeness.

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