• The Discipline of Becoming Happy

    Happiness is in the right now, in the here. Happiness is a state of mind that needs to be cultivated from within.

    Happiness is a state of mind that requires discipline and the awareness that it is an internal process. His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, says that we can achieve happiness by training the mind. We all know from experience that training our mind is one of the most challenging things to do. Our mind likes to play peekaboo with us.

    Think about that time that you were confident about something and you were on your way to get it, maybe a job interview, a date, signing for your first yoga class, or meeting your guru and suddenly your mind starts peekabooing you into insecurities and fears. You start feeling a rush of thoughts, witnessing them as a herd of wild horses destroying any positive thought you had about the situation.

    “What if she or he doesn’t like me?”

    “What if I am not flexible enough (impression of yoga in the west, based only in the physical body not as a spiritual practice)?

    “What if…?”

    All the what ifs come at once.

    Most of those thoughts are manipulated by our ego that hates to be outside of its comfort zone. Disciplining the mind is one of the best investments for your happiness.

    Here are 5 practices that you can incorporate into your life to contribute to your happiness:

    Create daily routines

    Ayurveda teaches us how to live in harmony with nature and honor the place where we live by adapting our diet and practices to the weather, resources, and opportunities of our environment.

    Ayurveda calls daily practices “dinacharya” and in my next blog, I will explain in detail the practice of dinacharya. For right now, as a daily practice, maintain a sense of gratitude before you start your day; before you even get out of bed say a prayer of gratitude.

    Here is an example that one of my teachers Dr. Vassant Lad uses:

    “Dear [insert name of your spiritual connection], you are inside of me, within my very breath, within each bird, each mighty mountain. Your sweet touch reaches everything, and I am well protected. Thank you, [insert name of your spiritual connection], for this beautiful day before me. May joy, love, peace, and compassion be part of my life and all those around me on this day. I am healing and I am healed.”

    Practice emotional hygiene

    The same way that we practice physical and environmental hygiene, we must cultivate emotional hygiene to help us to get rid of anger, fear, anxiety and other low vibrational thoughts and emotions. The secret here is making sure that as we are cleansing our emotional system from those toxic emotions, we cultivate high vibrational ones; you’ve probably heard that wherever your attention and energy goes that is what you will create in your life. This part of the journey toward happiness is linked to the step below.

    Practice awareness

    Being aware of who you want to become creates a path to who you are.

    Find yourself a quiet corner, your car also works, and ask yourself the question, “Who am I?” Take a deep breath and allow the answers to come.

    Happiness requires trust, discipline, and most importantly self-awareness. So don’t expect to get the answer right away, keep focusing your attention on your breath and ask again and again. Trust that the answer will come to you. Perhaps the answer comes in a form of “who I am not” and that is ok; keep focusing your attention on the breath and shift the attention to “who am I” rather than “who I am not”.

    Self-awareness cultivates the gift of observation and non-attachment. In this journey of self-awareness, you’ll learn how to be observant of your own emotions and the reactions and attachments toward those emotions. Your breath is the vehicle that will transport you towards awareness.

    Detach yourself from expectations

    Expecting something from others is always a guaranteed source of unhappiness. We can’t control other people’s thoughts or reactions, neither do we have any control of situations that are happening outside of ourselves. We are conditioned to find happiness through outside sources and not through our inner being. It is normal to expect something from others, the same as others expect certain things from us. I am not saying that having expectations is a bad thing, but when we condition our happiness and wellbeing to other people’s responses then we can easily get hurt.

    Stay present

    Eckhart Tolle in his bestseller “The Power of Now” said “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.” It is ok to remember the past to learn from it or to feel happiness from a past experience, nevertheless living in the past can be a source of pain.

    When you find your mind spending too much time in the past, use your breath to bring you back to the present; slowly inhale, retain for a few seconds, and slowly exhale.

    The other side of the coin is spending most of your present daydreaming about your future. In reality, the future is an absolute fantasy most of the time created by our ego, our desires, and our conditioning.

    Being absorbed by the past or the future could also create fear. Living in fear is based in our imagination. Fear isn’t based on facts. We allow our mind to go wild and create scenarios about situations that we think could happen. We infuse those thoughts with our insecurities, belief systems, and past personal experiences to create a story in our head that most of the time never sees the light. In the meanwhile, we live in fear, anxiety, isolation, and anger about something that is only in our minds.

    Happiness is in the right now, in the here. Happiness is a state of mind that needs to be cultivated from within. There is nothing waiting on the other side of a new car, a new home, a new job, or a new partner. Everything that we need to be happy is already built within but looking inside for the pursuit of happiness can be painful as we must climb tall mountains of conditioning, belief systems, disappointments, although in that case, there is something on the other side of that inner work, the gift of happiness.

    By Esther Rodriguez Brown

    Esther Rodriguez Brown was born and raised in Barcelona, Spain. Since a very young age, she showed her passion for helping others and got involved in several social justice organizations.
    She arrived in the United States in 2001 and in 2007 she founded The Embracing Project (TEP), a grass-roots non-profit organization that services children survivors of sex trafficking and gang violence. Until she opened TEP drop-in center, the first in Nevada for children survivors of trafficking, she served youth in the streets of Las Vegas using her car as her main office and many times opening the doors of her home for those youth who needed it. Esther traveled around the world to continue her service to humanity and in particular, children and women survivors of trauma, expanding services in several countries. In 2019, Esther merged TEP with a national organization to focus on her other passion, holistic healing, Yoga, Ayurveda, and Jyotish.

    Esther founded Ego Friendly Living in 2016, a company based on the principle of compassion, self-healing, and self-empowerment, focusing on body, mind, and soul, through the practices of self-care and self-love. Her experience working with vulnerable populations and survivors of complex trauma gives her a unique perspective to facilitate healing practices and to teach how trauma can affect our emotional and physiological bodies.
    Esther has a master’s degree in Psychology. She is an Ayurvedic Health Counselor, Vedic Astrologer, and a 200 YTT with studies in Yoga Nidra. Esther travels yearly to India to continue her studies related to body, mind, and soul to share that wisdom with others.

    She is the author of The Power of Your Hands. Mudras for your everyday life. Available in Amazon. She is a recognized national and international speaker and has been recognized in national and international media, documentaries, books, and film and has received many awards for her humanitarian work with children affected by violence.

    Find her on Instagram @Esther_Brown_Inspire
    and on her website, https://www.egofriendlyliving.com.

    Image by Адель Шарипова from Pixabay

  • Happiness Advice from an Expert: How to Find Happiness When You’re Stuck in a Rut

    The most profitable business in the world is the one that spends the least money to make the most money, and the most joyful person in the world is the one who spends the least effort to get the most joy! Instead of trying to do a whole lot, simply commit to doing what you can every day, no matter what. It’s consistency, not intensity, that makes the most difference over time. In other words, prioritize consistency over intensity.

    Hi Rob-

    Please help!

    I can’t seem to get out of the rut I’m in. It feels so unrealistic to have happy thoughts on a regular basis, but that’s what I want most!

    For starters, my life isn’t where I want it to be; I’m not as successful as I thought I’d be. My living situation sucks, I don’t have a job I like, and my relationships are terrible.

    What’s worse, I know I won’t be happy, even if all these things fall into place. I get that, but I still want these other things.

    Finally, I feel like I’ve been working at this happiness thing forever. It’s so hard to keep my mind in a state of acceptance and appreciation, let alone happiness and contentment.

    For example, I’ve kept a gratitude journal for over 3 years, but I’ve dreaded it most of the time! I’ve noticed that it doesn’t work if I don’t work it, but it’s tough.

    I’ve read so many books, tried lots of things, and seen tons of therapists, but nothing seems to work! Becoming happy just feels impossible!

    Can you please help?

    Debbie Downer


    Dear Debbie-

    First, thank you for that very honest, heartfelt message.

    I’ve been there, trust me. It can be so frustrating, infuriating even. But I got through it, and you will, too!

    To that end, please find below a few quick tips, tricks, tools, and techniques that I’ve found helpful over the years.

    I hope that you find them helpful, too.

    1. But first, happiness!

    In short, prioritize happiness above everything else.

    If you can get happy without all the stuff you want, you tend to get all the stuff you want.

    And you get it faster and easier than you would or could if you were coming from a needy, desperate, unhappy, unhealthy vibrational place.

    So put happiness first, and then trust that happiness will lead to everything else you want, too.

    In the Bible it says, “Seek the kingdom of heaven (inside), and the rest will be added.”

    Another way of saying that is, “Seek happiness inside, and everything else will follow.”

    That’s what I’m saying.

    If you take care of happiness, happiness will take care of success; if you take care of happiness, happiness will take care of you!

    Said in another way, happiness is not only the greatest success; happiness leads to success, too!

    Science agrees.

    Happy people experience more success in all areas of their lives. They make more money, live longer, are healthier, are rated as more attractive, get married sooner, stay married longer, and are happier in all of their relationships, whether they are married or not.

    Further, happy people are also kinder, more charitable, and more generous than their unhappy peers.

    Happiness is not only the cheat code or master key to success, then.

    It is also your gift to your success… and the world!

    2. Do less, better.

    You don’t need to know a whole lot to be happy. You likely know enough already. In fact, you probably know too much!

    Similarly, you don’t need to do a whole lot more to be happy, either. You probably do enough already. In fact, you probably do too much!

    In other words, you need to do less, better.

    You need to focus on quality, not quantity. You need to focus on baby steps. The smaller the steps, the better.

    Less is more!

    So, you don’t need to learn more. You just need to apply what you already know! Knowing is doing; knowing and not doing is not knowing. An ounce of doing is worth a pound of theorizing.

    Instead of learning more or even doing more, try choosing the one or two things that you can easily commit to doing every single day, no matter what.

    What happiness activity is currently getting you the greatest results with the least amount of time, energy, effort, and money or resources?

    Stick to that.

    Who are your favorite teachers or authors?

    Stick to them.

    If certain videos or books really help, listen or read them over and over again.

    This is called this “lazy intelligence.”

    The most profitable business in the world is the one that spends the least money to make the most money, and the most joyful person in the world is the one who spends the least effort to get the most joy!

    Instead of trying to do a whole lot, simply commit to doing what you can every day, no matter what.

    It’s consistency, not intensity, that makes the most difference over time.

    In other words, prioritize consistency over intensity.

    Tony Robbins is right, “We overestimate what we can accomplish in a year, but we underestimate what we can accomplish in ten.”

    Bruce Lee is also right, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but the one who has practiced one kick, 10,000 times.”

    Choose your kick.

    Then, practice it. Every day.

    3. Have more fun!

    Most people think that I’m very disciplined, but I don’t see it that way.

    Yes, I get up at 4am every day, meditate, read, and workout for a few hours. Then, I come back and see clients for 12-14 hours.

    Some people might call that discipline, but I call it “blissipline.” By blissipline, I mean that I’ve made a commitment to fun. If it isn’t fun or I can make it fun, I try not to do it at all!

    So, that’s my encouragement to you, too.

    Happiness should be something you do for the fun of it – for the joy of it, for its own sake – not just to get a result.

    If you try to get a result, you won’t get the result. If you try to get good at it, you’ll never get good at it… or enjoy it.

    However, if you try to enjoy it – really enjoy it, instead – you’ll get good at it really fast.

    And you’ll enjoy it, too.

    4. Have faith.

    You’re on the right path- just persist.

    And the way you persist to keep it playful, keep it fun.

    And when you don’t feel like persisting, take a nap!

    You’ve got momentum behind you, and there’s no stopping that or you now.

    You might not see a whole lot of progress, but it’s happening beneath the surface.

    The check is in the mail a long time before you see it show up in your mailbox, so to speak.

    Trust this.

    Have a little more faith… in faith.

    5. Delegate it.

    One of the keys that I discovered along my journey from clinically depressed and suicidal to happy has been this:

    Let other people do the work! Ha ha.

    In other words, the challenge – and opportunity – for most of us is that left to our own devices (thinking), we resort to negativity.

    We don’t reverse decades of negative thinking or unhealthy habits overnight. It takes some time and energy.

    However, we don’t always have the time, energy, or interest to do that work. I get it! We all get it!

    And that’s ok.

    When possible, then, we can outsource or delegate this happiness thing! We can let other people or resources do the work – do our thinking – for us!

    Seminars, workshops, online talks, videos, audiobooks, and books are my favorite go-to tools to this end.

    In short, start consuming positive content all day, even if that means just letting a video out audio play in the background while you go about your day.

    Occasionally, it’s nice and very helpful to let somebody else do the thinking for you.

    6. Start right.

    If you have to, get up a little earlier than usual just to set the tone for the day.

    Don’t start with technology, unless it’s watching or listening to something positive, uplifting, or inspiring.

    Exercise or a little movement or stretching is transformative in this way.

    It’s the equivalent of taking an antidepressant. It has that powerful of an effect on your mood, minus the side effects.

    7. Sleep.

    Sometimes it’s helpful to play something peaceful or positive when falling asleep at night.

    When you’re falling asleep, your brain is most suggestible. It’s in what’s called the “Alpha-Theta” brain wave state.

    That’s why it’s good to meditate or listen to positive content when you’re sleepy. It’s that relaxed state that lets it all in!

    8. Stick to lifters.

    Stick to lifters, not downers.

    If there are certain people who bring you down, limit your interactions with them.

    Or, better yet, eliminate those people from your life entirely.

    9. If you can’t be positive, be quiet.

    Sometimes being quiet is infinitely better – and easier – than being positive.

    The key is to pay more attention to your physical senses as you do what you do, instead of paying so much attention to the story in your head.

    This is what “micro-meditations” are for.

    A micro-mediation is just one, single breath that you take for the joy of it alone. You take – and deeply enjoy – that one breath while you continue doing whatever you’re doing.

    And you try to enjoy that breath like it’s the last one you’ll ever take on earth again.

    Who knows – it could be!

    While you take that one breath, take it through the nose and from the stomach or diaphragm.

    And, most importantly, as you take it, let all of your thoughts go. Don’t try to fight or change any of your thoughts at all. Just ignore them all.

    Practice those micro-meditations as often as you can throughout the day, no matter what else you happen to be doing, and do it for the joy of it alone.

    Remember, happiness is not only present; happiness is Presence itself. It’s being here and now. Really, it’s just Being, full-stop.

    So, as you practice this micro-meditation – or do anything else for that matter – don’t focus on the past or future. Focus on the present.

    If you take care of the present, the present will take care of the future. If you take care of the present, the future will take care of itself.

    10. Get help!

    Reach out to a therapist, coach, or other helping professional if you want or need more help.

    If I can help, just let me know! You know there you find me…


    By Rob Mack

    Robert is a happiness coach & author. He writes and speaks to people about how to live happier lives from the inside, out. Robert’s work has been endorsed by Oprah and Vanessa Williams, among many others. In addition to serving as a Celebrity Love Coach for the television show, Famously Single, on E!, Robert has been a featured guest expert for shows like The Today Show, Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, CBS Early Show, The Balancing Act, and AskHer.com and magazines like Self, Health, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Upscale. Robert has also served as a National Media Spokesperson, Management Consultant, and Executive Coach for companies like Capital One, FitBit, Buffalo Wild Wings, Microsoft, Carnival Cruise Lines, Deloitte Consulting, McCormick & Spice, IFF, Plus Consulting, and Falcon Credit Management. Robert was born in Pennsylvania. He was educated at Swarthmore College, where he received his Bachelors of Science in Psychology, and the University of Pennsylvania, where he received his Masters in Applied Positive Psychology (M.A.P.P.), an ivy-league degree held by only a few dozen people in the world. Robert lives in Los Angeles.

    Photo by Jacqueline Munguía on Unsplash

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