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Many people have asked me over the years what things make me happy and how I always manage to stay that way, so I wanted to share some of my secrets (life hacks, if you will) that keep me overall pretty content and satisfied despite life’s craziness sometimes.

I’ve learned that being self-reliant and teaching others to be self-reliant in any circumstance is one of my gifts. That’s why I like when people ask me how I stay so upbeat. Because the answer — in short — is that I don’t. Some days I feel so overwhelmed that I just want to give up entirely.

But one of the reasons I’m pretty happy overall is that I don’t allow my negative thoughts to control me for too long. Deep down I know that whatever suffering I am going through will eventually pass.

I also have a few tricks (after so many years as a self-help junkie!) that make me happy. These things keep me in tune with the high-frequency vibration of joy and love that I want to be a part of in the world.

Occupying my spare time with projects I love makes me happy.

The underutilized mind is not a happy mind. I write almost every day and ensure that I’m always working on multiple projects that inspire and stretch me. Aside from my valued downtime and meditation, I’m a very busy person, which leaves little opportunity for rumination and overthinking.

Giving as much as I can makes me happy.

It gives me a lot of joy to compliment others, make other people feel special and dial up the kindness wherever I go. Try this! It never fails to give me a boost, as we always keep what we give away.

Focusing on and visualizing what I want makes me happy.

My mind can easily veer into “worst-case scenario” mode unless I consciously disinvite those thoughts. I consistently remind myself why I’m doing what I’m doing and what it is I want to achieve.

Visualize what you want clearly and you’ll notice an immediate shift in how you feel. Visualization also makes you incredibly creative in terms of taking action and making your dreams a reality. That is one of the reasons I love vision boards and host vision board events.

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Asking for what I want (and don’t feel guilty about getting it) makes me happy.

Whether it’s a better table at a Central Park restaurant or the rates I command for different projects, asking for what I want ensures that I feel assertive, authentic and free. Silencing your desires is like taking a weakening drug. The only cure is to identify what matters to you, give yourself permission to know you deserve it and honor yourself by asking for it. I regularly ask myself, “What do I really want?” and allow my heart to lead the way.

Thinking of how happy my past self would have been to have my current life makes me happy.

Five or 10 years ago if someone told me that I would have the life that I enjoy now, I would have been extremely happy. I’m sure A LOT of you would feel the same way about where you are in your life. I remind myself regularly that while I’ll always be working toward something new, I’m still doing OK in the present moment.

Consuming inspirational material EVERY day makes me happy.

If I miss a day, I notice it. I listen to podcasts, I read loads of books, and I make it a point to go to read inspirational articles and videos. External inspiration massively feeds internal inspiration. I can’t live without it.

It’s a simple list, but it works for me and a great for a course correct if I feel I’m in a rut or cycle of events that don’t make me happy.

What do you do to stay happy? I’d love to hear your tips – there might be no more important topic than this one! I look forward to continuing the conversation with you in the comments box below!

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