How to Find Happiness Every Day

Happiness radiates like the fragrance from a flower and draws all good things toward you.

-Maharishi Mahesh Yogi-

How many times did you smile today? Think back. Is it too many to count or did you struggle to remember even one?

No matter your answer, everyone can bring more happiness into their life every day. It might even be easier than you think. Mindfulness, one of our 5 Strategies to Reclaim Hope, can be used every day in small ways. Below are ways for you to increase your Mindfulness and find small moments of happiness every day!

Exercise

Physical activity is not just an incredibly powerful mood lifter, but can also have long-lasting effects. Find a type of exercise that you enjoy (check with your doctor if you need to before you start) and see your happiness rise.

Find something to look forward to

Anticipating something can light up the pleasure centers of your brain. Sometimes the anticipation can be more of a reward than the actual thing you’re anticipating.

Commit a conscious act of kindness

Decide that sometime today you’re going to do something nice for someone, just because. It can be something as simple as leaving a kind note on your co-worker’s desk or as complex as throwing a surprise party for a friend. Whatever it is, do it with purpose.

Brighten your surroundings

You may not have full control over what your surroundings look like, but try to add something to brighten it. Add a personal picture to your car, a bright flower to your office, or buy a pair of red shoes so you can add to your happiness with every step you take.

Learn what makes you happy

Next time you smile or laugh or feel happy, pay attention. What made you feel that way? What can you do to bring more of it into your life?

Be grateful

If your happiness starts to slip think of ONE thing that you’re grateful for. Be as specific as you can. For instance, if bad weather is putting a damper on your mood, remind yourself, “I’m grateful for my boots that are warm and keep the wet off of my feet. I’m grateful that they’re bright yellow and that I was able to buy them for 50% off last year. I’m so glad I remembered to put them on before I left the house…” The more in-depth you go, the more grateful you’ll feel, and the happier you’ll be.

Happy people

Your mood is directly influenced by the people around you. Surround yourself with the happiest people you can find.

Do something for yourself

A little self-care can go a long way to raise your happiness quotient.

Spend time in nature

Put your phone on silent and reconnect with the natural world. Even if you’re not an outdoorsy person, go to the park and sit under a tree. Listen. Be quiet. Let yourself be fully present in the moment.

These are just a few ideas and you’ll need to find what works for you, but take a minute to find a little bit of happiness today, and every day. Mindfulness is all about living in the moment and you’ll find that you’re happier when you take the opportunity to be present in your life.

A Community of Soul Sisters Makes All the Difference

When I put in my application for The Haven Retreat, I really had no intention of attending. The idea of driving myself to the mountains of Utah and meeting a bunch of other women like me terrified me. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but I am thankful every single day I was given the opportunity.

Because of The Haven Retreat and The Younique Foundation, I no longer feel alone, guilty, or ashamed of what happened to me. I was given the tools I needed to help myself heal. Best of all, I met 6 beautiful soul sisters that will be with me for the rest of my life. Anytime I’m feeling alone, all I have to do is talk to them and I instantly feel better.

-Michelle, Survivor

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Meditation Made Easy

Where there is peace and meditation, there is neither anxiety nor doubt.

-St. Francis de Salos-

Meditation can be a powerful tool for Mindfulness. As a survivor of sexual abuse you may find that you have a need to find the peace that meditation can bring. Some people, when they hear the word meditation, imagine a man floating above a mat as he hums to himself. Real meditation can be a lot simpler though.

Below are five different ways to meditate that might help you feel grounded, centered, and present as you utilize the strategy of Mindfulness.

1. Walking Meditation

Take a 10-minute walk and meditate as you focus on different things. Spend a minute or two and focus on:

  • The feeling of your feet hitting the ground with each step.
  • The way your breath feels as you inhale and exhale.
  • The smells in the air around you.
  • The sounds you can pick out that you may not have noticed otherwise.
  • The way the air moves around you as you walk.

2. Wake-up Meditation

After you wake up in the morning, but before you get out of bed, you can do a short meditation to get your day started off right. Focus on a word or a feeling or a color that exemplifies the day you want to have. Do this for a few minutes before you begin your day.

3. Breathing Meditation

 Sit on a chair, or on the floor, wherever you’re most comfortable. Close your eyes and breathe through your nose. Focus on each inhale and exhale. When you get distracting, gently bring your attention back to your breathing. Do this for 3 to five minutes, but even if you can only do it for 1 minute, you’ll still benefit.

 4. Loving Meditation

 This can help if you are feeling annoyed or frustrated with an important person in your life – including yourself. Sit somewhere quiet and think of the person you’re upset with; imagine them sitting in front of you. As your feelings of irritation come over you, visualize rays of happiness and light coming from you and going into them. Then reverse it, visualize rays of happiness and light coming from them and going into you. Do this for a set amount of time or until you feel more peaceful toward that person (or yourself).

5. Smile Meditation

This one can be an instant mood lifter for a bad day. Look in the mirror and smile at yourself for 1 minute. Don’t stop, just keep smiling for the full minute. This will boost your mood and, hopefully, make you laugh.

When you’ve experienced trauma in your past, it can cause anxiety thinking about meditation. There may be thoughts or emotions that come to your mind that wouldn’t have otherwise. Meditation can actually help you move past those thoughts, let them be, and live in the present.

Meditation doesn’t have to be complicated or scary. It doesn’t require a mountaintop or formal training. Take a few minutes today to see if meditation works for you and if it can be another tool to use on your healing journey.

I Have a Voice and It’s Okay to Use It

“I wasn’t worth anything better than the worst. I left in a completely opposite state of mind; Knowing that I have worth, knowing that I am important, knowing that I have a voice and it’s ok to use it”

-Lisa, Survivor

The thought of going to spend most of the week with people I didn’t know was so unsettling. But, I had accepted the invitation to go and there was no turning back. All the negative things going on in my head and all the hurt in my heart were no match for what I was about to experience!

My life was changed the day I stepped into the room with 18 other women I had never met. We immediately had a bond without saying a word. No words were needed; we all shared something in common and we all had compassion for one another because of what we shared.

I learned so much more about myself in those few days than I ever knew in the 48 years I have lived. The education and information were so enlightening about so many things that never made sense before. I am not the same person since going there! Attending The Haven Retreat changed my life! It changed me!

I went there thinking the worst about myself because I wasn’t worth anything better than the worst. I left in a completely opposite state of mind; Knowing that I have worth, knowing that I am important, knowing that I have a voice and it’s okay to use it, knowing that I have a purpose in this life and most of all loving who I am!

-Lisa, Survivor

SaveSave

SaveSave

Don’t Compare Your Healing Journey to Anyone Else’s

Try not to get lost in comparing yourself to others.

Discover your gifts and let them shine.

-Jennie Finch-

When do we start comparing ourselves to others in a negative way? Whether it’s human nature or a product of the societies we live in, we all have a tendency to look at others and see how we match up. And, no matter the reality, we usually find ourselves wanting.

At The Younique Foundation, we don’t think you should compare yourself to anyone but yourself. As you work to heal yourself from the trauma of your past, it won’t serve you in any way to compare your struggles with someone else’s strength.

Instead, take the time to look at who you were yesterday, or last month, or last year. Are you a stronger and more empowered person now than you were then? It’s easier to compare yourself to someone else, of course. So here’s five ways to break that comparison habit and focus on YOU:

1. Look past the “perfection.”

If someone is doing something that gives you that twinge of jealousy, then go to the root of your feelings. Is it that you wish you had more time for that specific thing? More resources? Try to create a goal for YOURSELF when you answer probing questions about why you’re jealous.

 2. Don’t compare their highlight reel to your behind-the-scenes.

Don’t compare their best feature to your worst. It isn’t fair to anyone. Not only will it accomplish nothing, it will make you feel bad.

 3. Spend some time focusing inward.

What do YOU want? What’s one step you can take today to get you closer to that goal? Take time to really get to know yourself and see what you’re lacking in your current life or what you’re enjoying and want to do more with.

 4. A compliment to someone else is not an insult to you.

There are times when someone close to you will effusively compliment someone else. They may even compliment them on something that you feel is one of your strengths. Remind yourself that someone else being good at the same thing in no way diminishes your talent/beauty/ability. There’s enough room for all of us.

 5. Insulting someone doesn’t make you better.

The other side of this is when you see someone and judge them harshly. This may be unconscious, or it may be because you’re having a bad day, or any number of other reasons. No matter what, you need to pause and realize that tearing them down will not build you up. Try to temper those types of thoughts and give everyone the benefit of being a work in progress.

It can be common for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to compare themselves to others. It may be because they feel they’re lacking something, missed out on something, or need proof that they are of worth. This only hinders your growth and gets you stuck in a negative mindset. The trauma of your past doesn’t need to define your present or your future. Take time to be a better YOU and empower others to be a better THEM.

The Younique Foundation’s Top 10 Blogs of 2016

If you have a dream, don’t just sit there. Gather courage to believe that you can succeed and leave no stone unturned to make it a reality.

-Roopleen-

2016 was an amazing year for The Younique Foundation. We were able to connect with so many amazing survivors. One way we were able to do that was through these blogs. So here, in case you missed them, are our 10 most popular blogs from 2016.

1. 5 Stages to Finding Healing is a blog about how the five stages of grief are tied to the five stages of finding healing.

2. Relationship Between Addiction and Trauma is a blog about the tie between childhood trauma and the reason it can lead to addiction.

3. Win the Fight Through Mindfulness is a blog explaining Mindfulness a little more thoroughly and how it can help on your healing journey.

4. The Effect Trauma Has on Your Brain is a blog that explains how trauma can alter the way that your brain works.

5. Your Brain and Trauma is another look at how trauma can literally change the way that your brain functions.

6. The Forgotten Survivor is a guest blog written by The Younique Foundation’s Executive Director, Chris Yadon.

7. I Get Triggered and That is OK is a guest blog written by The Younique Foundation’s Image Coordinator/Beauty Creative, Annie Vandermyde.

8. 8 Books to Read on Your Healing Journey is a list of books that any survivor can benefit from reading.

9. Yoga: A Way to Find Healing for Trauma Survivors is an explanation of the great benefits that trauma-sensitive yoga can have on a survivor. It also includes a video that you can watch and try from home.

10. The 5 Strategies to Reclaim Hope After Trauma is a picture collage blog that gives a definition of each of our 5 Strategies to Reclaim Hope.

The Importance of Personal Goals on Your Healing Journey

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy,

not on fighting the old, but on building the new.

-Socrates-

As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, there are many obstacles on your healing journey. One way to overcome those is to set goals. “Setting goals” is one of those phrases that we throw around all the time (especially at the beginning of the year), but most of us don’t know concrete ways to actually put them into action and be successful.

Here are the five steps to setting successful personal goals:

1. Be realistic.

As you set your goal, start big and work backwards from there. If your ultimate goal is to be a body builder and you don’t currently work out, then your goal should be to work out one day a week.

2. Set yourself up to succeed.

A good rule of thumb is to be 90% sure you can accomplish your initial goal. Once you’ve accomplished that then you can set another goal that is a little bigger. Give yourself a streak of success and it will, mentally, make accomplishing your goals easier.

3. Visualize it.

Think it through, seeing yourself succeeding in your goal. But don’t stop there. It can also help to visualize things that might derail you and the positive ways you’ll deal with those setbacks. That way when they come up in real life you’ve already decided how to handle them.

 4. Write it down.

After visualizing your success, write it down. Write it in present tense, as if it’s already true, as specifically as you can. For example, “I am a body builder. I go to the gym every day. I eat well and take care of my body.”

5. Don’t berate yourself when you fail.

Because there will be failures. We all experience them. Don’t give up on all of your progress because of one setback and don’t be too hard on yourself. Change is hard and you’re doing your best as you grow into your new self.