Self-development coach Jasmine Dawes shares her 6 steps to happiness
Life can be hard. Whether you’re feeling low, grieving, or simply just feel overwhelmed with life right now, these 6 simple steps may just be able to help you on your way to happiness and healing.
It can be tough to know where to start when life has become dark and difficult. The light and joy you once knew begin to feel like tiny dots in the distance, and reaching out to get it back can feel impossible – and often, exhausting.
I know because I’ve been there. I‘ve suffered from chronic depression from the age of 11, living with the absence of light within me for roughly 15 years of my life.
It was dark, depressing and I felt like there was no way out. I had no understanding of how my mind worked and no comprehension that I was in control of my thoughts. I was a slave to the negativity that lived in my brain and attracted years’ worth of trauma because of it.
Nowadays, however, because of the tools, the awareness and the understanding of how life and energy works, I can journey through some of the darkest days of my life while still feeling happy and whole. And I’m here to share these secrets with you too.
If you’ve been in a dark place or can feel yourself spiralling downwards, take a look at these following six steps to get yourself back on track to happiness and healing.
STEP ONE: AWARENESS AND ACCEPTANCE
‘The first step towards change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.’
– Nathaniel Branden
I always say that awareness is 80% of the work. So, if you have recognised that you’re suffering, then you’re already making progress. Take some time to give yourself credit for this step, because it’s huge and, ultimately, the most important.
After awareness comes acceptance.
Once we have experienced some level of trauma, pain is unavoidable. But that doesn’t mean we have to suffer. Accepting there is pain and that something needs to change is where the conveyor belt of healing starts to move.
Name your pain, plan to move through it, and set a date to begin your journey of transformation, because this will become the turning point you look back on – regardless of how smooth the ride was.
STEP 2: EXPLORE YOUR SELF – START FREE WRITING
The only way we can get to know what’s truly going on and what’s really holding us back is to spend some time with our ‘self’ and explore our inner world.
The best way to start this process is by free writing – putting pen to paper and simply allowing your hand to flow into a complete stream of consciousness. You’ll be surprised at what you uncover!
There doesn’t need to be a set time or a set process. Simply buy yourself a journal and start scribbling down your thoughts when you feel them taking up too much space inside your head. Not only does this uncover what’s really going on in your subconscious, but it quite literally releases pressure from your mind. Free writing can often lead to amazing breakthroughs that help you form new understandings about your life. Once these have been uncovered and things start to make sense, it’s like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders.
Thoughts hold energy and, if we don’t release them somewhere, they simply get stored in the body. Headaches, jaw pain, conditions like fibromyalgia, these can all occur from withheld emotions, so free writing can be really important. Once the words are out on the page, you can then return to them to address consciously when you’re ready, (rather than carrying them around with you 24/7).
STEP 3: SET A PERSONAL GOAL
Knowing what’s going on inside is great and developing self-awareness only ever leads to growth. But without an understanding of where you want to get to, you can easily get stuck in a loop.
Set a goal of where you want to be and determine what life looks like without this current suffering.
From this space, you can create specific steps to take and reflect on your progress, instead of just looping around a roundabout of pain. (I’ve been there). With a vision to work towards, you help yourself focus on the future which can feel a whole lot lighter than the past. The past can be used to enhance your future, but it’s not there to be lived in.
Remind yourself, continually, of where you’re going.
STEP 4: CREATE PERSONAL MANTRAS
Mantras and affirmations hold incredible power, because they send a certain frequency to our brain. Over time, this restructures the neural pathways and we change physiologically.
In the same way that if we consistently call ourselves negative names, we start to feel depressed and believe them, if we repeat positive mantras consistently, we start to see these realities unfold. Mantras take time, but they are powerful.
An example of a mantra for your healing journey could be: “I am free from suffering and live in joy.” (Try saying that until it sticks).
If this statement feels too difficult to believe straight away, you can always adjust your words. It’s important that you step into the feeling of the mantra, so something like this could suit better:
“I am healing and moving towards joy”. Or even just: “ I accept where I am and I’m ready to heal”.
Repeat your mantra morning, noon and night – when you’re making your coffee, cooking your breakfast or jumping in the car to work. Whenever it pops into your head, honour it and give it some energy!
The power is in feeling and repetition.
STEP 5: START BREATHING CONSCIOUSLY
We typically know this practice as meditation, but that label often brings an additional sense of ‘work’ with it, which is the last thing you need when you’re emotionally exhausted.
Instead of trying to perfect the art of meditation, just close your eyes once in a while and start ‘breathing consciously’. This activates the body’s relaxation response, reducing anxiety, blood pressure and stress.
In this space – be it five breaths or five minutes – you get to shut off from the rest of the world and just be.
No obligations, no screens, no distractions, just a space for you to relax into your inner world. If thoughts arise, you can choose to consciously observe them or let them pass by. The idea is that you start to gain a sense of control.
Over time, you will start to become familiar with this space and the more time you tend to your ‘mental garden’, the more tidy and beautiful it will become. If you neglect it and ignore it, there will only be a wilderness of weeds to deal with later, so try and spend some time in there every day.
Doing this will also transform your energy; the frequency at which your body vibrates at will alter over time when you consciously breathe often, and this is where you start to attract calmer and more positive situations.
“When things change inside you, things change around you.”
Try it and watch your life transform.
STEP 6: NOTE DOWN YOUR NON-NEGOTIABLES
This is the last step you need to move into your healing journey feeling safe and secure.
To stay on track and ensure that you remain as healthy, calm and in control as possible you need to get clear on your non-negotiables. These are the things that you personally need to keep up with in order for your life to stay as balanced as possible.
This could be getting outside every day, keeping up with regular therapy sessions, meal prepping your food, planning your week so that you don’t get overwhelmed, or waking up earlier to prioritise ‘me time’ so you move through your day with awareness.
Whatever those few ‘things’ are that you know you need to keep you in check, write them down and stick to them, as they are your anchors that keep you safe.
All this may feel like quite the list, but if you have these 6 steps covered, you will find it much easier to travel through your healing journey feeling protected and in control.
Accepting the pain and getting clear on a goal for transformation is key; you want to get real with yourself and know where you’re going so you don’t get lost in a downward spiral.
You want to gently start exploring yourself so you can start to shine light on the darkness – free writing, conscious breathing and repeating personal mantras is a powerful and transformative combination. Just try not to complicate things. Simply relax and enjoy.
Finally, get clear on what your non-negotiables are so that, again, you don’t start to spiral. It can be easy to slip and lose control fast, so anchor yourself with healthy habits.
If you feel you need extra support around your healing journey and would like to reach out to work with me, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will guide you through the 1:1 coaching packages I offer.
Alternatively, if you prefer to work alone but would benefit from having a framework to follow, you can purchase the ‘Into The Light’ program here.
Into The Light is a 10-step healing guide that provides you with the exact tools, exercises and guided meditations which will support your journey, one simple step at a time. It will help you take a step back from any overwhelming stress or feelings of being lost and confused, and help you reclaim your power over your life.
Good luck and remember: you’re never alone.