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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

The Happiness Issue

We all want to be happy. But how can we remain cheerful during a pandemic, when we lose a loved one or when signs of climate change become increasingly apparent? Preparing for this month’s “Happiness” issue was a great reminder that no matter what’s happening in our lives there are things we can do to help ourselves feel more love and joy every day. After two decades of research in positive psychology, we’ve come to better understand how to attain and sustain an upbeat outlook. When we change our thinking and act repeatedly in positive ways, our brains can actually rewire themselves, allowing us to experience greater contentment on a regular basis.

Check out our feature story, “Think Yourself Happy: Seven Ways to Change Your Mind and Be Happier,” which offers study-proven strategies for sustained happiness, such as aiming for a three-to-one ratio of positive-to-negative experiences, reframing our thoughts, invoking self-compassion, questioning painful assumptions, deepening gratitude and practicing meditation, prayer and mindfulness. (Page 26). We are lucky to have our very own expert in the Science of Happiness, LuLu Carter, now offering programs at the first Positive Psychology Center in Southwest Florida. See page 30 for details. 

For many of us, creating real change in our lives will take more than reading an article or self-help book. To help accelerate the process, a life coach might be able to provide guidance and inspiration. Over the past 25 years, I’ve worked with several kinds of life coaches along my journey that have helped take me to new levels of being. Life coaches may specialize in business, parenting or weight loss, but their real function is to help us access our deeper wisdom and make better choices that align with what we truly want in our lives. Coaches have helped me generate new ideas, set goals and identify limiting beliefs that blocked me from moving forward. 

A few years ago, I was working with a local life coach who had designed this incredibly successful program that impacted me so much I invited her to do a series of weekly zoom call sessions for all of our Natural Awakenings publishers around the country. The results were stunning, as we all discovered ways to turn negative self-talk into affirmative statements reflecting what we really wanted to think and feel. By the end of the series, we had a whole new toolbox filled with ways to create the kind of life that reflected what we wanted, including a lot more self-love. 

I hope you’ll find some new tools to inspire you in this month’s story, “Unleash Your True Potential: Working with a Life Coach Can Help.” It even includes a sidebar on how to find the right coach for you on page 32. Meet four local life coaches ready to support you on your journey starting on page 34.

As we move deeper into our Southwest Florida summer, perhaps you’ll look for new ways to bring more happiness into your days. You can start by smiling more! Research from this month’s Inspiration department (page 43) suggests that the act of smiling actually induces more happiness!

Big Smiles, 

Sharon Bruckman