Happiness 101: A Rousing Talk with a Wellness Guru

By , on April 7, 2013


challenge for happiness

WE’RE FACED with uncertainty each day. Today may be all well and good, but tomorrow—who knows. I ask myself, “In spite of life’s many trials, can we still be happy?”

Just recently, I attended a talk dubbed “Happy, Sexy, and Strong” by one Dr. James Rouse, a celebrated speaker in the field of wellness.

As I was on my way to the hall, a few things ran through my mind.

I asked myself, “Why am I here?”; “Is there a specific formula to happiness?”; and, lastly: “Would it help me be happier?”

I stepped into the hall and saw it packed to the rafters: there were journalists, healthcare professionals, and a wide variety of curious individuals. They were all here and eager to hear from our celebrity speaker.

When Dr. James Rouse entered the stage, all eyes and ears locked upon his figure, and a hush fell upon the hall. “Do you want to be happy, sexy and strong?” he began. Smiling, he said, “Wellness and happiness are contagious. We can inspire each other to be happier, and to attain wellness.”

And I said to myself: “Wow! How?”

What is happy, sexy and strong?

Dr. Rouse—also known as an Ironman triathlete—posed us this question: “What is happy, sexy and strong for you?” But before we could think of a response, he quipped: “You don’t need to know the answer.” He smiled, knowingly.

The audience, including me, reflected on that.

Dr. Rouse paused for a few seconds and watched us all widen our eyes in curiosity.

What we think

He gave us some trivia: we think some 60,000 thoughts every day. 80% of these thoughts are negative. He says that “we should change our thinking, so we can change our lives for the better.”

He urged the audience to be “students of life” to enjoy its benefits. “When you choose to be a student of life, you won’t be afraid to take certain challenges. You’ll be happier.” Based on statistics, happy people have lower rate of heart diseases, added the naturopathic physician.

Again, I asked myself: “Am I a student of life? Am I brave enough to face all of its trials?” And—“Oh, and is my heart okay?”

But I need not answer these questions right away. I knew there were still more to come from the wellness speaker.

Are there ways to be happy?

“What makes you happier?” he asked the audience. Dr. Rouse told us that we should practice kindness, make it known to others. We should express gratitude, he said. He asked some participants to give a massage to the person next to them. Dr. Rouse, himself, massaged an 80-year-old man on the shoulders, and asked him: “How did that gesture of kindness make you feel?” The participant simply gave him a beautiful smile.

I reflected on his earlier statements. “Wellness and happiness are contagious. We can inspire each other to be happier and to attain wellness.”

I realized, then, what he meant, and it felt great to ponder upon its truth.

Good nutrition

As the night went on, Dr. Rouse introduced us to the concept of “Eat, Think and Move.” According to the doctor, people who take time to eat breakfast before work or school are happier. Studies even show that women who eat breakfast have lower risk of heart diseases.

He emphasized the key role of nutrition in the path to a well-balanced and happier life. “When we eat the right kinds of food, we are more energized; thus, we can do everything we want to do. Wouldn’t that make you feel happier?”

I said to myself: “Yes, that does sound a lot happier than going to work on an empty stomach. How can you be happy if you don’t have the energy to do anything?”

Challenges and excellence

According to the wellness guru, there is happiness in leaving our comfort zone. “Change is indeed a challenge; nevertheless, growth is all about change,” he expressed.

I was once afraid to make changes, especially in myself. I always “played it safe.” I would admit that, at some point, I felt that something was missing. Then there came one incident that inspired me to come out of my shell and try new things.

Dr. Rouse said: “Another way to be happier is to do that one thing really well. You can simply cook dinner the best way that you can, sing your favorite song, and engage in any activity that would give you happiness and fulfillment.”

One study revealed that most chronic multitaskers are prone to depression. He emphasized the need to focus on one activity at a time. “Give yourself permission to be uncomfortable. Through it, you will be able to do that one thing exceptionally,” Dr Rouse said.

No bad news

“Have you tried media fasting?”

“Just for one day, turn off your radio or television. Listen, simply, to your heart, and make it your primary source of good news,” Dr. Rouse told us.

As the night came to an end, he enumerated a few more ways to be happy, sexy and strong. Try the following:

  1. Write down five things that you’re grateful of before going to bed.
  2. Exercise in the morning.
  3. Walk in the mall.
  4. Exercise your mind.
  5. Add one healthy new food to your diet.
  6. Breathe from your belly.
  7. Make self-care your top priority; and, lastly—
  8. Be a go-giver by taking all these tips and sharing them with passion and purpose.

And he capped it all off with this: “Our world is dying for inspiration. Your life should inspire you.”

I’ve been applying all these wellness tips to date, and I’m glad to say that they work wonders on me. Happiness is a choice. So choose happiness—even in the midst of life’s trials.