I’m not happy.
Nothing interests me.
I don’t enjoy life anymore…
Do you find yourself thinking these words too often? Well, trust me, I know how you feel because I was there once too.
It was only about five years ago, in fact, when I was spending hours every week desperate, crying in our spare bedroom closet… I’d seen happy people so I knew they existed, and certainly there was more to life than being miserable. I mean, we were put on this earth to make it better, weren’t we?
Eventually my tears turned to prayers, which turned into gratitude as I began to realize that the reason I didn’t feel good anymore was the very same reason I could feel good again. I just had to decide.
So I started noticing my thoughts, and quickly found that way too many of them were self-destructive. I started catching myself whenever one of these negative, limiting ideas popped into my mind, and I tried to shift them, count my blessings and give things a positive spin.
Slowly, I started believing in myself and that’s when things got rolling. It was hard work, really hard work, getting myself out of these dysfunctional thought patterns that had been sabotaging my life for years. But honestly, it wasn’t half as hellish as being miserable all the time. And I know that deep down, you know that too, which is why you’re here now. Let me share with you what I learned.
HAPPINESS IS AN INSIDE JOB
Everything comes from within, so if you’re looking for happiness outside of you, be that in a relationship, a job, activity, or money, then you’ll be forever disappointed.
Of course external factors bring us joy, I mean, where would we be without the people we care about, our homes, our hobbies? But all in all, you, yourself, are the only one in charge of your happiness. You, yourself, create what you are, and what you believe you are. And you, yourself, have the ability to transform your life into your dream life.
So let’s dig into those dreams!
BEFORE I STARTED LIVING MY DREAM LIFE…
I was in a rut, and if you’re there too, know that it’s ok to be down that dark hole. Where you are at this very moment in your life is exactly where you’re supposed to be.
And if you’re reading this, then I believe it means you’re ready to climb (or even leap!) out of that hole, and that you’re willing to change. That’s a great decision! You can trust me again on this one: you’ll be much happier once you start doing what you love.
ENOUGH WITH ‘I’M NOT HAPPY WITH MY LIFE’
There are endless reasons to feel down, and that’s probably more true now than ever, given the current situation the world is in. We’re being bombarded with messages of fear and uncertainty. We’re stressed about the unknown, unable to plan and insecure about the future. I know a lot of people are scared of getting ill, of losing their businesses, of never seeing the light at the end of the tunnel…
But trust me, that light is there. And it can be there if you’re in an unfulfilling relationship, an unsatisfying job, even if you’re experiencing fragile health. That light, it’s there, even if things don’t seem to be going your way, even if you don’t feel pleasure anymore. Everything around you could seem to be falling apart, but you don’t have to.
Sometimes you just have to change your mindset in order to see the light.
WHY MINDSET IS IMPORTANT
Would you believe me if I told you that you have the ability to change anything just by thinking about it? People become what they believe.
It’s been proven that our happiness depends on what we think, our thought life. What we think produces our future. (How it works is actually pretty amazing – I’ll have to write a blog post on it soon!) A large part of our habitual thoughts are negative, and because we hear them so often, they affect us negatively. It makes sense, right?
So don’t be a victim of your inner monologue – take control! Become consciously aware of your thoughts so you can become aware of your negative thought patterns and shift those.
Mindset is everything. A number of studies have been done on the power of our minds, and one that I find especially valuable comes from Dr. Carol Dweck. She explains that there are two types of people: those with a fixed mindset and those with a growth mindset.
Basically, those with a fixed mindset believe that intelligence is static, that we are born the way we are, and that there’s nothing we can do to change or improve. As a result they see effort as fruitless, tend to give up easily and avoid challenges. People with fixed mindsets are often threatened by the success and happiness of others.
Can you see yourself, or parts of yourself, in this description?
Don’t worry if you do! Remember: where you are at this very moment in your life is exactly where you’re supposed to be, and with a little work, you can transform your fixed way of thinking into a much more rewarding growth mindset.
People with a growth mindset believe that intelligence can be developed, and find lessons and inspiration in the success and happiness of others. They embrace challenges, persist in the face of setbacks and learn from criticism. They know that effort is the path to mastery, and they also know that sometimes (often!) you have to work hard to master your own happiness.
So if you see yourself fixed in your beliefs, the first step is realizing that you have complete control of that.
You control your mind.
You choose your thoughts. (Well, ok, you don’t always choose them – sometimes they come crashing in, one after the other, and it seems there’s nothing you can do to stop them from invading your mind. The one thing you can do, however, is completely ignore them rather than continuing to allow them to control you.)
Once you choose to believe in yourself and adopt a growth mindset, that will help you leap out of that dark hole. Instead of telling yourself that nothing makes you happy, spend that energy asking yourself: What makes me happy?
I know it can be hard to pinpoint that – and right now, the easy answer seems to be: Nothing makes me happy. Let’s look at how you can change that.
BRING CLARITY TO YOUR DREAMS
No matter who we are, there are several main areas in our lives that help determine how we evaluate and feel about our quality of life. Family, friendships, health, finances, business, hobbies, community, giving back…
The way you see and feel within each of these areas helps you give meaning to your life, so it’s important to visualize exactly what it is you want from each area.
You, yourself, give things meaning, so in order to feel fulfilled, worthy and light, you need to dig deep to uncover what brings you joy.
DREAMING IS IMPORTANT
What makes you happy? What does your ideal life look like? What does it feel like? If you could be anyone and do anything, who would you be and what would you do? How would this affect your family, your finances, and all the other areas we just talked about?
Go ahead and think about this, but make sure to dream big. I want you to dream in color. Smell and taste what it feels like to be happy. Feel the gratitude, the joy and lightheartedness you would feel if you were living your dream life…
Good. Now let’s see how you can make these powerful positive visions stronger.
CHANGE YOUR ROUTINE
Whether in part or in whole, the way you’re living your life now is not bringing you all the happiness you deserve. Do you know, deep down, what it is that’s causing this unhappy feeling?
It’s so easy to get stuck in habits that are not taking us where we want to go. Maybe you’re spending too much time on social media, getting sucked in, then feeling guilty for wasting time? Maybe you’re eating things that don’t make you feel good? Not getting enough sleep? Fresh air? Not spending enough quality time with loved ones? Feeling depressed because luck is not knocking on your door?
If you can pinpoint exactly what it is that you’re doing that’s bringing you down, or if one or some of your actions are making you regret doing them, then start by changing that aspect of your life.
Or why not switch up your entire routine completely? Don’t check your phone first thing in the morning. Do some stretches instead. Go out for a walk. Eat something healthier or, why not, fancier for breakfast. Take a zigzag route to work and notice what you come across.
Stop and talk to your neighbors or people you don’t know. Call an old friend. When we try something outside of our comfort zone, it helps us feel brave and amazed, refreshed. Go on, be bold! Try new things and take notice of what makes you feel good -and what doesn’t. Create new habits with the goal of developing a newer, happier lifestyle.
BE MINDFUL AND MEDITATE
Get rid of your mental clutter by taking time to be silent. Just slow down, unplug, be still, and notice what’s around you. Make and take time for yourself. In fact, one of the biggest factors of our unhappiness comes from not making ourselves a priority, from leaving ourselves behind and not caring properly for ourselves. It’s vital to sit in stillness, rest, relax.
And while you’re at it, envision yourself living your dream life!
I work out for an hour every morning, and since I’ve started doing so, it has changed my life like you wouldn’t believe. Not only do I feel stronger, healthier, but I have more confidence. I’ve since run a few marathons, completed a triathlon and even participated in a bodybuilding contest! I love setting goals that push me to challenge myself – and I especially love the rewards that come from knowing I can do whatever I put my mind to.
Is there any sport or activity you’ve always dreamed of trying?
Go for it!
Or you can begin with some light stretches, going outside for a walk, or dancing to your favorite music. Yes, just dance and you will feel better.
WRITE IT DOWN IN A JOURNAL
Journaling is one ritual that has brought a great turnaround in my life, and because I know it works, I do it everyday. Writing things down is a tried-and-true way of expressing and releasing ourselves, and making things happen.
That connection time with myself and God in the morning sets me up for a productive and peaceful day. I use my words to create that much-needed peace, focus exactly on what I want most, speak life into those desires, and create a detailed action step to get there.
My day flows better when I journal, so why don’t you try it too?
Use your favorite pen and notebook, or try my Dream Life Daily Journal, which has over 200 pages of prompts, exercises and activities to show you exactly who God designed you to be, and how to become that person. It can help you reprogram and refocus your mind, body, and spirit to catapult you to renewed purpose and success.
BE GRATEFUL FOR WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE
It’s easy to default to the old paradigm of ‘Nothing’s working in my life,’ ‘I have nothing to live for,’ ‘Everything sucks.’ But in reality, we always have more to be grateful for than we think. If we open our minds and look around, we’ll see that we always have more support, more community, and more purpose that we give ourselves credit for.
By changing your mindset, you can see and appreciate what you already have that makes you feel good, rather than focus on what you lack. And like magic, when you express gratitude, you invite abundance into your life. Who doesn’t want that?
REPEAT NICE THINGS TO YOURSELF
The way you talk to yourself is crucial. You become what you believe, so if you believe you’re unhappy, well, there you go, you’ve already convinced yourself! Thankfully, the same is true on the flip side. If you believe you’re happy, healthy, strong and deserving of abundance, then that also applies.
The coolest part of affirmations is that, when we repeat them enough, they start growing from our heads to our hearts. We internalize them and that shifts into our identity. Our bodies can’t differentiate between what’s real and imagined, so go ahead, imagine all the best for yourself then look for it in your life. If you expect good things to come, chances are they will.
BUILD YOUR COMMUNITY
Making the shift in mindset can be a challenge, but it does get easier when you can share your journey with someone. If you feel right now like there’s no-one there for you, like you have no friends, take a look outside of your usual circle. Is there someone you’ve always wanted to connect with but have been afraid to do so? Does anyone else seem to be going through the same thing as you are? Don’t be afraid to reach out and spark a relationship. Often people will be happy you did.
GOD LISTENS TO WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY
What you believe comes true, so take control of your inner monologue. Dare to focus on your dreams, and you’ll see that soon enough, some of them will start coming true! And if everything feels hopeless right now and you don’t know where to begin, I’ve created a 90-day Action Planner (LINK) that will help you focus on the different areas of your life and dig into your dreams.
And remember, be nice to yourself. You deserve it!