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Module 4

Self-Care and happiness.

Stuff to ponder

It’s hard to feel happy if your self is neglected. You’ve heard the one about putting your own oxygen mask on first…well, if you want more happiness in your life you must care for yourself. The self has two environments: an inner and an outer. A well-balanced you tends to both.

Your outer environment includes your physical body and its care, the food you eat, your living and work environments, and so forth.

Your inner environment includes things like your emotions, your sense of self and your spiritual life. We’ll be covering that in the next module.

The outer environment

Care of the body

Think of all those things your mother said about eating healthy food, having good friends, getting enough sleep and exercise. Now do them! You must care for the machine that carries you through life. Healthy living = happy living.

Humor and play

Laugh often. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Watch comedies. Humor strengthens the immune system (look it up), reduces stress, and increases intimacy and happiness. Laughter and humor make us more emotionally healthy. Think of it as a vitamin B-12 shot for your joy.

Play. Spend a few minutes on the Internet and you will see a myriad of videos showing adorable animals at play. Playfulness is wired into the mammalian species. The problem with humans is that most of us abandon play as soon as we hit adulthood.

According to Joe Robinson, author of Work to Live, ”When it comes to beefing up your happiness, it’s hard to do better than engaged play. Not only does it align you with your deepest needs and deliver fun in the moment, but the social component of play is a huge predictor of increased daily well-being.”

It turns out that when we’re stressed, the amygdala, that part of the brain responsible for our emotions, shuts off our positive mood, setting up a cycle of negativity. Play blows that cycle up, effectively resetting the brain.

Play can be everything from riding your bicycle around the park to goofing around with your kids; painting a canvas to shooting hoops. Play releases your spirit. And makes you happy.


A rested camper is a happy camper. Unfortunately, many people don’t get enough sleep. Chronic sleep deprivation is a problem for 50-70 million Americans. Lack of sleep doesn’t just make you cranky, it can also kill you. If you’re having trouble sleeping, see your health professional. In order to cultivate your happiness you must get enough rest.


Part of finding happiness is learning to relax. Stress reducing techniques like yoga, breath work, EFT, massage and body work are just a few techniques that can help you learn to relax. Scan your body to see if you’re holding onto stress. Don’t underestimate the stress-relieving power of a hot bath. What will you do to bring more relaxation into your life?

The energy of your space

The spaces in which we live and work have an effect on us. For thousands of years the eco-science of Feng Shui has guided people on how best to arrange their spaces. It’s important wisdom. The premise is that our lives are affected by the energy of our space. This is a fascinating discipline and I encourage you to learn more in the resources below. Or hire a Feng Shui consultant.

Here are a few Feng Shui principles to get you started:

Reduce clutter. Clutter comes from the Old English word, clodder, which means “to clot.” According to Feng Shui, this is exactly what clutter does to the energy that flows through your space (and your life). The best Feng Shui tool is a garbage bag. The everyday magic of tidy-up, a New York Times bestseller by Marie Kon-Mari, will walk you through the process of removing clutter and tidying up.

Everything works. Nothing in your home or office should be broken or inoperable. Fix the front doorknob that sticks, replace burned out light bulbs, call a plumber to stop the leaky faucet in your bathroom. Beyond the energetic meaning that Feng Shui assigns to these types of things, there’s a more practical meaning: what are you willing to tolerate? If you’re putting up with a dripping faucet, chances are that you are tolerating unacceptable things in other areas of your life.

Your front door. According to Feng Shui, the front door is the mouth of a building where energy (and people) enter. Energy, in Feng Shui, represents abundance of all kinds, like wealth, health, and happiness. So having a front door that is inviting (and fully functional) is important, and it welcomes abundance into your life. If your front door is lacking a little curb appeal, give it a makeover.

Mentoring challenge

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being “radical self-care,” rate your current level self-care. If you’ve given yourself anything less than an 8, what can you do starting NOW to take better care of you?


Top 100 Funniest Movies of All Time

The everyday magic of tidy-up, Marie Kon-Mari

The Art of Extreme Self-Care, Cheryl Richardson