Gabrielle Bernstein is a life coach, author and all-round spiritual gangster of self-love. Bernstein has written three books including Spirit Junkie and teaches a practical application of self-love, forgiveness, and a holistic approach to spirituality (primarily from from the metaphysical text A Course In Miracles, by Marianne Williamson).
In 2009, Bernstein was featured in the New York Times as a “guru” for the next generation and I absolutely love her recommendations on boosting happiness.
#1 Be Nice To Yourself
“Sometimes the biggest bully you know is you,” says Gabby. “Every thought is an affirmation either lifting you up or knocking you down—your thoughts speak louder than words and you should use them wisely.”
The most important thing to watch out for? Negative thoughts that you might not even realise you say over and over in your head. “Do your best to reframe those thoughts in an empowering way,” says Bernstein. “For instance, if you’re constantly thinking, I’ll never reach my desired weight, change that thought to, I am taking powerful steps towards my desired weight; it’s that simple shift in your thinking that can create a miracle.”
#2 Stop Binging On TV
“We can spend hours sucked into a show or series rather than use that time for creative projects,” says Bernstein, who suggests taking a TV break and replace it with something more inspiring. “Go for walks around your neighbourhood, write in your journal, read a new book, or try a fun new fitness routine,” she says.
The higher purpose: To reclaim lost hours while on your couch and get stimulated in more complete ways, so that in the end you’ll feel happier and fuller by doing things that are giving back to you in the long term, too. “Creative hobbies take you out of your daily patterns and ignite your inner spirit,” explains Bernstein. “You’ll find that time spent in creativity heightens your happiness and gives you more energy for the other areas of your life.”
#3 Make ‘Me’ Time
“Instead of reading your email while you get your nails done, listen to one of my guided meditations so you can use that half hour to slow down,” suggests Bernstein. Or try this easy breathing technique: “Inhale for five seconds, hold your breath for five seconds, and exhale for five seconds,” says Bernstein. “This gets you to slow down, and to centre yourself, which is really important.”
Even utilise the time to write down your thoughts or dreams—but not start a new to-do list.
#4 Begin Each Day Positively
What that doesn’t mean? Checking your phone the moment you wake up. Since most of us are using our iPhone as an alarm clock, it’s very easy to start scrolling through Twitter and Instagram as soon as we open our eyes. “Sit for at least one minute of stillness and recite a positive affirmation, like I’m going to respect myself today,” suggests Bernstein.
New to affirmations? Try Bernstein’s Spirit Junkie alarm clock app. “The idea is simple but powerful,” she says. “Each morning when your phone alarm rings, a positive message from me pops up, allowing it to sink in and soak your soul, starting your day with a confident attitude.” The bottom line: “You want to detox at the beginning of the day, before the chaos sets in,” says Bernstein.
#5 Take Yourself On A Date Once A Week
“This is a powerful habit to create early in the year,” says Bernstein. “It causes you to commit to genuine time for yourself.” And do what you love and makes you happy—so that you are feeling cared for on a regular basis. Maybe it’s a yoga class, or a nice meal, or some solo time at a new exhibit. “One of my favourite me-date rituals is to walk through the park while listening to an awesome playlist,” she says. “A weekly date with yourself will give you an awesome recharge and make you feel good.”
#6 Say No With Love
“It’s very easy to get caught up in the behaviour of people pleasing, which inevitably leads to burnout,” says Bernstein. “But if you begin to say ‘No’ with love, it changes the sentence.” What does this mean? Instead of feeling frustrated and getting upset you can’t do it all, explain why that particular task is too much. This way you and the other person create a dialogue and the guilt disappears. “Trust that the more you honour your own needs the more energy you will have to support others,” says Bernstein.