7 Steps for a Happier Life

We all have bad days and good days.  Sometimes the bad days seem to linger a little bit longer than we would want and it even puts us in a rut.  No matter what is happening in our lives, it seems as though everything is just going wrong.  Some call it bad luck or even a curse.  When this happens, we tend to lose all hope and begin to despair.  A sense of helplessness and negativity overtakes our confidence and sends us into a tailspin, that often seems unrecoverable. After the event has transpired, we realize that it was only a temporary period in our lives.  It is during these moments that we need to take control of our lives, despite whatever adversity is occurring.


The seven steps which I am about to describe are very simplistic and obvious to most of us, in the right mind frame; but when we are distressed we seem to forget the basics.  This holds true for anything.  Think back to a time when you were in distress or in a moment of panic, you cannot seem to find your keys or your wallet, your cash or etc.  This is part of human nature, it is not an uncommon phenomenon. It is necessary to condition the mind to be prepared for certain situations, just as first responders are constantly training to perform in a panic stricken or hostile environment; we need to condition ourselves to accept that there will be times when things do not go the way we want.  It is more important to be prepared to recover from those moments with as little emotional damage as possible. These are just a couple of basic fundamental blocks that can be tailored to each individual’s needs.  There is always room for improvement!


1.     Enjoy the Moment – This basically means to enjoy life.  It is like going out to a fancy restaurant and ordering a renowned specialty dish.  This is not something that you would do on an every day basis, so you would probably savor the meal, a little bit more that usual.  Since you are in a restaurant that you do not frequently go to, you deeply absorb the ambiance and atmosphere.  This will probably be an experience that will be engraved in your memory. Take the time to seek all the good, the people and things that surround you.  Just as we focus on the bad times, it is necessary to appreciate and be grateful of all the good times.  I am almost certain that the good moments outweighed the bad moments.  The issue is that we allow bad times to consume us. Instead of dreading the traffic on the ride home, turn on your favorite tunes and look around you and enjoy the ride.  I bet you’ll see things that you have never noticed before.  No two days are like, but if you are not paying attention, you might miss it!



2.     Smile and Laughter – Which do you prefer to be in company of ?  Do you prefer a person who is sour, bitter and critical?  How about a person who is constantly smiling, pleasant, warm and jovial?  I am willing to bet that you would prefer the latter, over the first.  Surely, you have heard the phrase, “Smile and the whole world smiles with you”. Think about it, when you are in a good mood or having fun, doesn’t it seemed that all those surrounding you are doing the same. Norman Cousins deeply believed in the principle of laughter.  He was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis ( a rare form of arthritic disease) and he began to self medicate himself with large doses of vitamin C and extra doses of laughter.  Mr. Cousins would lock himself in a hotel room with reels of the Marx brothers and other comedic films of the time.  He would laugh so hard that his stomach with hurt.  Through his own laughter therapy, he regained his health and lived long beyond his expected prognosis.  You can find more on the benefits of laughter and on Mr. Cousins’ findings by checking out one of my previous blogs http://magicsecretsoflife.com/life-tips/some-of-the-best-medicine-is-free/.



Here is a little experiment you can try at your own convenience.  On any given day when you wake up, say “it is going to be a great day!” It is important to say it out loud and  if possible in front of a mirror.  Second part of this is to smile as much is possible during that day.  Smile at everybody that comes across your path, even if you feel foolish don’t be afraid to do it.  People  greatly gravitate to someone who is cheerful and smiling and reciprocate in a similar fashion.  Since you are smiling, more people are smiling with you.  It is difficult to have a mediocre or crappy day when so many people are smiling, thus making it a great day.


3.     Be Positive  – When you are optimistic you are already ahead of the game.  Look for the positive outlook in everything you do and all your endeavors will show favor.  If you are the type of person who was always concerned about failure, your own apprehension will prevent you from success.  It is all right to fail as long as we learn from our failures and avoid doing them again.  A set back is the greatest stage for a comeback. You need to focus on winning instead of trying. Focus on I will do it, rather than I might do it.  The more you challenge yourself and seek favorable conclusions, the higher the playing level you will be.  Everyone fails at some point or another, those who succeed had the conviction to do so.


4.     Establish your Goals – It is necessary to have goals and aspirations to actualize.  Whether it is a promotion at work, closing a deal or asking someone out on a date; it is necessary to have a game plan.  It is better to set short and precise goals than setting a long term vague goal. For example, setting a goal of being a pilot when you currently have a fear of heights.  In this situation a better goal would be to get over the fear of heights and once that is accomplished the second part can be set into motion. My good friend,  Robert McEntee has a similar web site and he did an exceptional job on the topic of setting your goals.  I greatly encourage you to check out his blog pertaining to this point(http://www.beliefmagic.com/goal-getting-made-easy).



5.     Socialize – This point often gets overlooked by many, but I believe it holds a lot of value.  This doesn’t mean to go out to a club and party endlessly until closing, but what I am talking about is surrounding yourself with a group of people that are supportive.  It is necessary to have people that you can count on for encouragement.  Sometimes our closest friends are not our best supporters.  If you are drowning you need to hold onto something that floats, not something that will pull you down.  Unfortunately, sometimes those were closest to us are our biggest anchors.  That’s why it is necessary to seek who share similar visions and will help you get across the finish line.  The internet and the different social media outlets gives us the accessibility to reach just about anyone,  across the world. Often, the people in our circle of friendship bring lots of negativity and drama that can easily rub off on us.  These relationships can be toxic and unproductive.  It is sometimes necessary to refresh our social group.


6.     Exercise – Here comes the most difficult step of all.  Get out and do some form of physical activity.  Besides all the health benefits, exercise offers a great way to relieve stress. Physical activity also gives us a challenge of doing something that we may not be be used to.  It is necessary to get outside of our comfort zone and constantly be challenging ourselves.  When you exercise, also set goals for your self.  Just like anything else in life practice makes perfect.  When you exercise you physically feel better, look better and feel a sense of accomplishment.  These are all helpful assets in our lives.



7.     Reward Yourself – Every time you see an improvement towards a happier life don’t be afraid to reward yourself.  Positive reinforcement is a great way to condition your mind to keep moving forward in particular direction.  If you had an enjoyable moment, don’t hesitate to share with others.  If someone or something made you smile or laugh, be thankful for the laugh.  If you are in a situation that normally would have let you to be negative, but instead were optimistic and did not let yourself be consumed; then treat yourself.  If you accomplished a goal, then don’t be afraid to celebrate. There is no need to be humble or reserved, only those who envy you will be jealous. When someone tells you that you can do it even though you question your abilities, don’t afraid to show gratitude and appreciation.  When you look at yourself in the mirror and realize that you are toning up and you feel full of energy because of the exercise regimen that you started, maybe, you can reward yourself with a small shopping spree.  We all know that we can be our own worst critics, what we need to do now is become our biggest fans.
















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German (Sal) & Milja Saldarriaga
Fort Mill, SC

I am available for lectures, consulting, life coaching, motivational speaking, interviews and appearances.

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My Life Experience

  • Retired New York City police officer
  • coping with heart disease since 1996
  • had defibrillator/pacemaker implanted in Oct 2003
  • had Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) implanted in September 2009
  • Received heart transplant September 2010.
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