Happiness Tip: Remove emotionally heavy items from your house.

House1-polaObjects can have people and memories associated with them, and if these associations are sad, depressing, angry or make you feel bad for any reason, then get rid of those things. When you have items in your house that have heavy associations with them, a part of your mind feels that heaviness every time you look at them, and it drags you down. Getting rid of these items is one of the quickest and easiest ways to feel better on a day-to-day basis.

Some examples of emotionally heavy items to get rid of, such as jewelry or gifts from old lovers or the bed you shared with an ex, are pretty intuitive and most people get rid of these naturally. Less obvious are items that have associations with people you love, but don’t make you feel good. For example, one woman I know always felt sad in her living room, where she had a lot of family photos. They made her feel nostalgic and sad about the passage of time. I suggested she box up the photos and put them in a closet as an experiment to see if it would make the room feel better. She put the photos away and was amazed at how much lighter and more enjoyable the room felt.

You know there is no rule that says you have to have pictures of your kids or relatives or any other thing in your house. If something makes you feel weird, for whatever reason, then get rid of it. There are social conventions about what the house of a good friend, mom, partner, etc. looks like, but these are just imposed ideas that you don’t have to follow. If something makes you feel heavy, get rid of it!

If you feel too attached to an item that you think you should get rid of, put it in a box in an out of the way place and see what it’s like to live without it. You might find you don’t miss the object at all and end up getting rid of it.

Excerpted from the book How to Be Happy NOW…Even if Things Aren’t Going Your Way, available on Amazon.com or Amazon UKCA, FR , IT, ES and DE. © 2013 Sara Weston. A FREE excerpt of the book is available here.

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Happiness Tip: Avoid Naysayers


One tip in How to Be Happy NOW is to Avoid Naysayers, excerpted here:
There are some people who have limited perception and don’t think it’s possible to change your circumstances or make your dreams come true. Avoid sharing your dreams and aspirations with these folks because they can drag you down with their negativity and dissuade you from working towards your goals. Instead seek constructive criticism and feedback from people who are happy to assist you and don’t want to shoot you down.

The movie Maid in Manhattan is an enjoyable Cinderella retread, where the working class gal gets the prince/senator after running away from the ball, however what struck me as true-to-life and illustrative of the “Avoid Naysayers” tip was the relationship between the main character, Marisa, and her mother.  Marisa, played by Jennifer Lopez, works as a maid in a five-star hotel. She dreams of a better life for herself and her young son, and wants to move out of housekeeping and into management. When her mother sees the application she says:

Mom: This fell out of your bag.  Is it yours?MaidinManhattan
Marisa: Yeah, thanks.
Mom: Managment, huh? (raising her eyebrows)
Marisa: Um, hum
Mom: You’re fancy. (glaring)
Marisa: What?
Mom: I’m not saying a word.
Marisa: Can you not say a word somewhere else.

The mom doesn’t believe her daughter deserves to be anything more than a maid and completely discourages her dreams of moving into management. Later in the movie after Marisa is fired they have this exchange:

Mom: We’ll call Señora Rodriguez. She owes me a favor. She has–
Marisa: I’m not calling Mrs. Rodriguez. I love you, okay? I do. But I don’t want to clean houses. There’s nowhere to go from there.
Mom: Hasn’t this taught you anything? Wake up, little girl, you have responsibilities. And they come every month like clockwork. You want to end up back in the projects? Keep dreaming dreams that will never happen. You want to put food on the table? Call Señora Rodriguez.
Marisa: You’re right, Ma. I’m a good cleaning lady. I’ll start over. But not with Mrs. Rodriguez. I’m gonna find a job as a maid in some hotel. After some time passes, I’m gonna apply for the management program. And when I get the chance to be a manager….and I will, Ma, I know I will, I’m going to take that chance without any fear. Without your voice in my head telling me that I can’t.

I’m sure Marisa’s mom wanted what was best for her daughter, she just didn’t have the vision to see that more was available. There’s nothing surprising or wrong about a parent (friend, partner, etc.) having a limited dream, but we can’t pay attention to these people. Instead we need to seek constructive criticism and feedback from people who are happy to assist us and don’t want to shoot us down.

I like what John Tesh said about his transition in career from cohost of Entertainment Tonight to musician. He asked five people he knew well what they saw him doing with his life. Each said they saw him doing something with music and not one of them said they saw him reading celebrity birthdays on TV. He said, “The key is to ask the right people. These should be people who know you well or knew you well in the past and whose opinions you truly value. They should not all be close family members, however. Sometimes close family members point us toward the path that they consider stable or prudent, not to the one that can lead to our true passion.

“If I had asked my parents, they would have said that they saw me as a doctor—because they consider medicine a good profession, not because I have any interest in medicine or an aptitude for it.” Quoted in Bottom Line Personal, November 1, 2012.

© 2013-2018 Sara Weston.

How to Be Happy NOW…Even if Things Aren’t Going Your Way is available on Amazon.com  or  Amazon UKCA, FR , IT, ES and DE.

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Your Future Is NOT Set

Tips-Illus-Movies2Reposting this entry as it covers such an important topic. Some folks on the spiritual path can start to believe that there’s nothing they can do to change their destiny, that it’s all fixed due to their karma, but that’s not the case. The future is not set! You can change your “destiny” through the use of your free will!

Many folks believe that their future is set—that they are destined to continue on the track they are currently on. But while most people don’t do much to change their karma (their state of mind), so their lives do follow the track they’re already on, it doesn’t have to be this way—you can absolutely change your karma through the use of your free will. It is entirely possible to change your state of mind, change the way you react to situations, and change “you”!

PreCogsThe concept of using your free will to change your karma is illustrated perfectly in the movie Minority Report. In the movie there is an experimental “Pre-crime” police unit, which apprehends criminals before they commit their crimes. The unit uses three gifted humans called “pre-cogs” who see crimes before they happen. By monitoring these pre-cogs’ brains, the police know the criminal’s name and when the crime will occur, so they arrive at the scene of the crime before the crime is committed and arrest the future criminal.

The benefit of this method is, of course, that the crime is prevented. The downside is that it doesn’t allow for the possibility that the criminal may change his or her mind and not commit the crime. In fact, one of the more gifted pre-cogs, Agatha, occasionally sees a different future in which the crime is not committed. This seeing, which is divergent from the other two pre-cogs, is called the “minority report.” It represents the criminal’s use of free will to make a different choice and change her destiny. The two pre-cogs who see the “majority report” are seeing the criminal’s karma or default state of mind. Most of the time, all three pre-cogs see the same outcome. This is because most people don’t diverge from their karma. But occasionally, Agatha sees a different future, the minority report, which is when a person uses their free will to break away from their karma.

We all have the ability to use our free will to change our karma, to change our state of mind, our choices, and thus, our future. If you’ve always been bad at finances, you can use your will to make different choices and get your finances in order. If in the past you’ve had calamitous relationships, you can change your state of mind to choose healthier relationships. If you’ve always had an unhappy state of mind, you can use your free will to take steps to change your mind state to a happy one. Your future is not set!

p.s. One of the ways you can strengthen your will is by meditating on your navel center, which is the center of willpower. For instruction on how to meditate, download the free eBook on How to Meditate.

Available on Amazon.com  or  Amazon UKCA, FR , IT, ES and DE.

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Recognize that you don’t have to follow your biological imperatives

Hawk on poleIt’s important to recognize and understand our biological impulses and then choose to follow them…or not! Our body has biological imperatives that were necessary for survival in earlier times but that are no longer useful. In fact, following these impulses can actually make us pretty unhappy. For instance, we are wired to gorge on food even when we are no longer hungry because when food was scarce it was beneficial to store as much fat as possible because it wasn’t known when we would eat again. These days in the West, where food is so readily available, this instinct no longer serves us and it certainly doesn’t lead to our happiness. Today we may want to eat an entire bag of chips but we won’t feel happy if we follow that impulse. Not only will we feel queasy from all the chips, we’ll also feel physically and psychically uncomfortable when we gain weight from overeating.

Our bodies are also very strongly programmed to ensure the survival of the species. To this end, men are biologically wired to want to have sex with a lot of women, while women are wired to compete with each other to win the “head man.” From a purely biological standpoint, the male of our species can ensure the survival of his lineage by impregnating as many women as possible. This maximizes the number of progeny he has and the statistical chance that some will survive and go on to produce children of their own. For the female, the way to maximize the survival of her children is to have a person who can provide food and protection for her children while she is partially incapacitated by pregnancy or taking care of small children. The more capable the man is at providing and protecting, the more likely her children are to survive, thus the incentive for women to get the most capable or “head man.”

Certainly, there is much more behind our decision making and actions than our biology. There is our mind and its will, as well as our soul and its longings. However, it is useful to recognize that there are hundreds of thousands of years of conditioning hardwired into our species to act out these imperatives. The biological impulses to overeat, for men to have sex unlimitedly and for women to compete with each other, can still arise in our default conditioned behavior. It’s important to know our bodies have these impulses so we understand where the drives are coming from and then we can choose to follow them or not. For many, simply the recognition of these drives begins the liberation from them. 

Excerpted from the book How to Be Happy NOW…Even if Things Aren’t Going Your Way. © 2013-2017 Sara Weston. A FREE excerpt of the book is available here.

Available on Amazon.com  or  Amazon UKCA, FR , IT, ES and DE.

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Become financially independent

dsc_0101People make incredibly bad decisions that lead to a lot of unhappiness when they aren’t financially independent. They’ll marry someone they don’t love or stay with a partner or spouse they don’t like solely because they don’t have the financial wherewithal to do what they really want to do. When you are financially independent and are not beholden to a parent, partner or spouse’s agenda or idea for your life, you are free to follow the choices that are appropriate for you, which is an amazingly freeing and happy feeling!

The foundation of financial independence is a good career, combined with the ability to budget and manage your money. You need to be able to support yourself in the style that keeps you from making a bad decision you wouldn’t make if money wasn’t an issue. So while some careers may be easier or more accessible, they may not provide the kind of income you need long-term and therefore won’t allow you to be as independent as when you choose a more lucrative career. However, having a solid income is not enough, you also need the ability to save and grow the money you make. If you don’t save any of your money, then you undermine your independence and quality of life in your retirement years.

I’m not pretending that if you aren’t already financially independent that you won’t have to make radical changes in your life, such as going back to school, starting your own company, living on a smaller budget or stop letting your partner or spouse handle all the finances, but the payoff of not being dependent on anyone else financially is huge!

Excerpted from the book How to Be Happy NOW…Even if Things Aren’t Going Your Way. © 2013-2017 Sara Weston. A FREE excerpt of the book is available here.

Available on Amazon.com  or  Amazon UKCA, FR , IT, ES and DE.

Download the How to Be Happy NOW app

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Core Practice: Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the process of watching what is passing through your mind and stopping the thoughts that are draining or unhealthy. Most things only need to be thought through once. The rest of the thinking, the mulling over and obsessing, is not only draining, it actually makes it harder to objectively see what is best. When you keep your mind quiet and don’t play your worries, schemes and dreams over and over again, you create space for inner knowledge to bubble up and be heard.

Mindfulness isn’t limited to stopping negative or repetitive thoughts, it also includes not holding conversations in your mind with people you know. A lot of people talk to other people in their minds, explaining their beliefs and defending their positions. Not only is this a waste of energy, again it prevents your mind from being still. When your mind is still you can more clearly see the pointers in the universe. The universe gives us all kinds of information, but you have to be still to see it. When your mind is going round and round defending your ego, you miss these pointers, not to mention the relaxation and brightness that comes from being still.

The good news is that after practicing mindfulness for a while it becomes automatic, so as negative or repetitive thoughts and inner conversations arise, you naturally stop them and redirect your mind to higher, calmer thoughts or no thoughts at all.

Excerpted from the book How to Be Happy NOW…Even if Things Aren’t Going Your Way available on Amazon.com and Amazon UKCAFR and DE or as an iPhone app. © 2013 Sara Weston. A FREE excerpt of the book is available here.

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Small Happiness Tip & App Sale Tie-in

dsc_0101Keep on hand at all times great audio books, podcasts, music, books or magazines. It’s helpful to have something entertaining to do when you are waiting in line at the DMV or at the doctor’s office or when you’re caught in traffic or on the subway. There are so many draining situations that become the opposite when you have something interesting to occupy your mind. (Excerpted from the book How to Be Happy NOW…Even if Things Aren’t Going Your Way)

The How To Be Happy NOW app is a great aid for this tip. When you’re in some draining or boring situation, you can pull out your phone and read through the app. Each tip is imbued with light and will give you a refreshing burst of bright energy (for reals 🙂!), which is especially helpful in heavy environments.

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Buy the print version of How to Be Happy NOW…Even if Things Aren’t Going Your Way on Amazon.com, Amazon UKCAFR or DE.

A FREE excerpt of the book is available here.