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30 Days to a Happier Life

6. I use empowering questions and words, I think better thoughts, and I allow my feelings to come up. continued...

One way Kionna got herself to ditch the gloomy talk was by looking into her son's big brown eyes every time she felt a wave of pessimism come over her (when she was at work, she would simply whip out a photo of him). "He's so full of life and love, and seeing him made me realize that my situation wasn't so bad," she says. "Focusing on the joy he gave me helped me change my negative words and thoughts."

Listen to the language you use in the midst of any change, says de Bonvoisin — and make a conscious effort to clean it up. "Depressed, tragic, disaster — those words carry tremendous weight," she says. "The next time you're tempted to say you had the worst day ever, stop and think — was it? Or was it merely a challenging day? Or even better — an interesting one?"

7. I know I am connected to something bigger — my soul, my spirit, my higher self.

In the midst of grieving for her father and adapting to life as a single mom in a city she hadn't lived in for years, Kionna turned to yoga and meditation. "They make me feel in tune with my soul and spirit — my higher power — which kept me calm and centered when I was losing focus," she explains.

Stay sane through any change by finding a deep spiritual place inside yourself, says de Bonvoisin. "It's the part you go to sleep with, the part you get up with," she says. "Whatever your personal belief — angels, your soul, a life force, God — we all crave something beyond ourselves, something that will never change." By getting in touch with your spiritual side, you locate an ever-present source of calm that you can draw on whenever you want — and that helps you feel peaceful no matter what life dishes out.

8. I surround myself with people who can help and who have an optimistic mind-set, and I create an environment that supports change.

When Jenny Evans was going through the breakup of her marriage, she was comforted immensely by talking to other sympathetic women who'd been through divorce. "It was such a relief knowing that I wasn't the only person ever to experience those overwhelming feelings of disappointment, regret, failure, and sadness as my marriage fell apart," she said. "It was encouraging to hear there was happiness on the other side, and it also led me to resources like counselors, support groups, and parenting coaches." Jenny's experience is typical, says de Bonvoisin. "In times of change, you tend to think you're alone," she points out. "There is always someone who can help, but often your ego gets in the way. Saying 'I need help' or 'I'm not perfect' is hard."

To assemble your change support team, think about the most positive, encouraging people you know. "Make a choice to spend time with people who are in a place of happiness, success, and strong self-esteem," says de Bonvoisin. "Those are the people you'll learn the most from." And chances are, they'll be eager to lend a hand. "People genuinely love to be asked for help," she says. "It's part of human nature." Think about it: What would you say if a friend asked for your specific advice with a problem? Chances are, you'd jump at the chance to help out; after all, it feels gratifying to be needed.

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