3 Essential Steps to a Happier Life

by Nicia Aiyetoro - Date: 2006-12-27 - Word Count: 1080 Share This!

Your first step to a better life is to do you, meaning take care of yourself, because if you're not happy then you will be hard pressed to make anyone else happy. What is going to make you happy? No one can tell you. Only you can answer that question. It could be money, it could be love, it could be to help others, or it could be none of the above.

You have to sit down and figure it out.

Inevitably, there will be times when you neglect to take care of yourself. This could be physically, emotionally, or spiritually, but you will know when it is happening because you will find yourself becoming increasingly dissatisfied and/or depressed.

Note: When taking care of yourself, you must treat yourself as if you were your own child. The following three steps are essential:

STEP ONE - Take Time Out for Yourself
This means taking time out to do something that will make you happy, empower you, or allow you to grow.

Are you feeling like you might want to jump off a bridge because you can't make enough money?
Research every free class offered in the community and take a couple of them. Local newspapers, local magazines, your local Small Business Administration and the public library are all good places to find listings of free classes offered in the community.

Are your kids stressing you out?
Ask a relative or neighbor to watch them while you take a long, hot, quiet bath.

Do you need to be around people who share your struggles, dreams, and aspirations?
Try joining some of the different clubs and support groups available. These groups can help you make new friends, find a mentor, and/or network.

Know this: There are people out there who want to help you. You just have to find them.

STEP TWO - Talk to Yourself
People always say that parents need to talk to their kids, or that communication is the key to a successful relationship, but they rarely ever advise talking to yourself. Maybe they don't want you walking around hugging yourself or cracking jokes with yourself. But hey, if those things make you feel better then why not?

Note: If good communication is the key to healthy relationships with others, then it is also the key to a healthy relationship with yourself.

When you talk to yourself you should challenge your own belief systems. Be open to the possibility that what you've been taught about life, love or money may be wrong. You will be amazed at how much you can learn just by asking yourself some simple questions.

What do I want? Why? How am I going to get it? What am I afraid of?

You don't have to talk to yourself out loud. It can simply be an inner reflection. But the conversation does need to be completely honest because there is nothing worse than lying to yourself.

It is also important to talk to yourself because most of us grow up hearing and seeing things that are negative and whether we realize it or not, we internalize a lot of those things. We see people struggling on a daily basis and begin to lose hope. We hear people tell us that we can't do this or they can't do that and we start to believe it, even if it's not true. It is easy to internalize the negativity because more often than not, it comes from people that we love. Which doesn't necessarily mean that they're bad people, it just means that negativity and hopelessness are contagious. If it's all you've ever seen it's all you know. But it is time to break the cycle. If no one else is going to tell you that you can do it then you need to be telling yourself because as they say, words turn to thoughts and thoughts turn to actions.

Visualize your dreams and imagine yourself accomplishing them. Then go out and do something to get yourself there. I will say this again, because it is worth repeating. You must treat yourself as if you were your own child. Tell yourself that anything you want to do can be learned. Then go do it.

STEP THREE - Listen to Yourself
In our quest to be strong, successful and self-reliant, often times we neglect to listen to ourselves. This could mean neglecting to listen to our mind or neglecting to listen to our body, but either one can get us into trouble.

Your mind gives you instincts - Your instincts are your first line of defense. They can be wrong sometimes, so you have to evaluate them, but don't ever ignore them. The mind is much more powerful than you think and what it sees in the blink of an eye may not register with you until it's too late. Your mind gives you instincts for a reason. It is trying to protect you and lead you in the right direction. Most times you will listen to your instincts and they will help you, but sometimes you will listen to your instincts and they will hurt you. To keep your instincts from hurting you, you must learn how to recognize when they are a product of fear.

If I do this I might fail.
If I fail I won't have the strength to pull myself back up.

These are just examples, but the point is this, you will never understand your instincts if you don't listen to and honestly evaluate them. Take the time to listen to your instincts and you will have a better chance of getting it right the first time.

Your body gives you feelings - Your body takes on the pressure of the world and most times it will tell you what it needs. Have you ever felt like you needed to cry or be angry, but there was no real reason for it?

There is a reason.

If you feel like locking yourself in the bathroom to cry or beating the crap out of your pillow, then chances are that's what your body needs; a release of pent up emotions. Allow yourself to safely release your emotions, but give yourself a limit.

Today I'm going to cry. Tomorrow I'm going to live.

We all have our good days and our bad days. And even though on our bad days it seems like nothing will ever get better, it will. Things will get better because you will make them get better.

Related Tags: money, love, life, self-improvement, happiness, better, self-empowerment, hoplesness, negativity

This article is excerpted from the critically acclaimed non-fiction book What the…!&$? A Straight Up Guide to Life, Love, and Money by Nicia Aiyetoro, available at Amazon.com and UrbanLit.com. Nicia grew up in the foster care system before becoming an author and motivational speaker for at risk youth. From living in a shelter, to being homeless, to becomming a ward of the state, she was an at risk youth herself and knows first hand what a difference it can make for kids to be taught and encouraged by someone they can identify with. Aiyetoro is also the award-winning author of Children of the State, a criminal suspense novel written around the lives of six teenage girls living in a group home.

Along with her sister Burgandy, Nicia founded Sista Girl Productions in 2004 and began offering free film classes to at risk youth in the Las Vegas Valley. She has also written numerous screenplays and music video treatments.

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