10 Happy Steps: Lynn Newman for Tiny Buddha

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”  – Mahatma Gandhi
Here we go again, #transformationtuesdays (am I allowed to hashtag?), another week of 10 Happy Steps. This week, our ten steps are from Lynn Newman who described her past-self as someone who was not a picture of happy, wild, and free. Having gone through phases “peppered with depression, darkness, and hopelessness”, she wondered what it felt like to be happy, wild, and free.
She said, “I fantasized about living in Europe, writing in cafes like Hemingway, having wild crazy affairs with sexy men, or even moving to Hawaii and wearing nothing but sarongs and flip flops all day. But in truth, these fantasies were empty.”
None of these brought true happiness or freedom. Yes, they are instantly gratuitous but at the same time fleeting.  After “consumption”, she is left with whatever it was that longs for happiness and freedom.
Through mediation and attuning to the simple things that brings her joy, she felt truly alive and happy. Worry-, stress-, and complication free, she faced her personal storms and tackle the demons that kept her stuck in a rut.
According to Ms. Newman, “Here are 10 stupidly simple tips to live happy, wild, and free”:
1. Write out a short-list of the simple things that give you pleasure.
Keep them in front of your consciousness and make sure you engage with them at least a few times a week. As you do these things, stay present and mindful of the joy they bring you.
For example, I love eating a fresh juicy nectarine on a summer’s afternoon, and meditating in the morning after a fresh brewed cup of tea, and taking a walk with my husband and window-shopping. What are some of your simple things?
2. Get moving.
Maybe you like the openness and relaxation you feel after a  yoga class or the sweat and wild release of spinning. You may enjoy seeing your dog run happily in circles as you throw balls at the park.
Whatever moment inspires you, do it and observe the happiness and freedom it brings. Also, take a short walk after having a meal. This not only helps with digestion, but also instantly relieves any heavy feelings.
3. Eat light.
Support your body/mind/spirit with simple meals three times a day. On retreat, we eat out three small bowls, usually a grain, a soup, and a vegetable. Eating light helps us to feel lighter and also increases concentration, digestion, energy levels, and productivity.
As a practice of mindfulness, I put my eating utensil down between each bite and wait to pick it up again until the food is completely swallowed. It takes 20 minutes for our meal to be digested so I know if I eat slowly for 20 minutes, I will feel completely satisfied without having to eat large portions.
4. Take a cold shower.

Waking up in the morning and taking a cold shower revives and wildly awakes the senses.  Here are some benefits of cold showers:

  • improves circulation
  • relieves depression
  • keeps skin and hair healthy
  • increases testosterone and fertility
  • increases energy and well-being.
5. Talk less, and when you do talk – have noble conversation.
When you hang out with your friends and loved ones, learn to love the spaces in the conversation. Listen more to their tone as they share rather than thinking about how you are going to respond.
Pay attention to what happens to your energy when you talk less and how much happier you feel as you conserve more energy. Plus, you will love the simple intimacy of your relationships as you increase presence and heart-centered listening, freeing yourself of complications and unwanted dramas.
6. Get 10 minutes of Sun a day.
With sunscreen, there are benefits to getting sun. Well-documented research shows there is a relationship between low vitamin D levels and poor health, such as frail bones, multiple sclerosis, and prostate cancer. We need Vitamin D!
Also, light hitting your skin, not just your eyes, help reverse seasonal affective disorder. Here comes the sun! Let the sunshine in!
7. Turn off the TV.
Rather than watch TV, use your time more mindfully. Read, walk, meet friends, or join an evening group or class.Use your time to connect to others and yourself. Or jump in and do something different, spontaneous, and wild!
8. Create.
Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist there are so many ways to express creatively. Cook with a loved one, dance in your living room, sing in the car, journal without editing or crossing out, learn a new joke.
Be happy, wild, and free as you express yourself more creatively!
9. Enjoy nature.
Find the nature that surrounds you—really see it. Observe yourself as you witness nature and appreciate its growth and timing.
If you feel like things are going too slow, too fast, or you aren’t really sure of where you are going, remember there is a natural timing for everything, and all the roads are taking you to the right place at the right time.
Ask yourself, “How can I compare nature’s experience to my life? How am I just like the wild flower that is growing on the path?”
10. Know the simple truth.
With enthusiasm and confidence, state what you know to be true about your authentic self. Ask yourself, “What is true about myself right now in this moment?”
For example, I am enough, I am worthy, I am good, I am loved, I have what I need, or I am a success.
State this affirmation out loud a few times to embody the essence of who you really are in this very moment. Take it in! Believe this and you are free!
Keeping your focus on the simplest things offers an immediate experience of abundant joy. May you embrace simplicity in your daily life filled with lightness, movement, and sunshine!
What are your simple things that bring light to your life?
source: tiny buddha

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