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Women's Health

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30 Days to a Happier Life

WebMD Feature from "Redbook" Magazine

By Charlotte Latvala
Redbook Magazine Logo
They say change is good but it sure doesn't feel that way when your world seems to be spinning out of control. Follow these guiding truths from Ariane de Bonvoisin, author of the new book The First 30 Days, and that's exactly how long it'll take you to be able to face life's surprises with confidence, optimism, and hope.

I'll admit it: I hate change. It's only spring and I already feel uneasy about my youngest child, my baby girl, starting kindergarten in the fall. I'm not alone in my misery; change is unsettling, if not terrifying, for most people I know — whether it's a major upheaval (divorce, new job) or a fairly minor one (painting the bathroom, switching e-mail programs). And women have it extra-tough: Research shows we generally take longer than men to adapt to changes.

To the rescue comes Ariane de Bonvoisin, whose new book, The First 30 Days (a companion to her recently launched Website,, is the ultimate manual for any change. That first month is when new habits are formed, de Bonvoisin explains, and it's the key time for gathering the confidence and energy to get you through the next weeks and months of transition. De Bonvoisin herself is all about trying new things: She's climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, lived on three continents, and worked as a ski instructor, in media, and as a life coach. Still, she admits change isn't easy for her. Rather than approaching new experiences with fear, however, she's learned to welcome them with enthusiasm — even joy. "Change is the one constant in all our lives," she says. "And learning to embrace it is the most valuable tool in helping you love your life more."

To help you get through any transition, de Bonvoisin has identified the following nine guiding truths. Make them your own, and let them lead you forward.

1. I have positive beliefs — about change, about life, and about myself.

An optimistic attitude is the first tool you need to tackle change, says de Bonvoisin — and yes, optimism is something you can choose. You may not have chosen the change that is happening to you, but you do get to choose your beliefs around it, says de Bonvoisin.

To shift to that positive mind-set, try asking what-if questions, such as, "What if I believe things are going to get better?" "What if life is working on my behalf?" and "What if this crisis is the best wake-up call I ever got?" Looking at change this way will make it seem less scary because you're focusing your mind on positive outcomes — and it's not that difficult to do. "By habitually emphasizing the positive," says de Bonvoisin, "you can actually rewire your mind to think more optimistically."

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