Is it possible to transform yourself into a happier person? Samantha Clarke, a happiness coach and founder of the Growth & Happiness School thinks so.
“I definitely believe so,” she says. “I think that it’s a mindset and it’s also a way of living and being. It’s like any muscle – the more you take it to the gym the more flexible and strengthened it becomes and I’ve definitely seen how I strengthen my practice daily. That’s taken me higher and I feel happier. And I’ve also learnt how to balance the lows a lot better as well.
“I think there’s a kind of bloated notion that happiness means we’re all smiling and clapping every day and actually it’s being able to take the rough with the smooth and know that when there are trials and tribulations that we can overcome them with time – and also learn from them. Think about what they’re trying to teach us.”
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So how can we become happier? Samantha believes that we can improve our wellbeing simply by taking small steps every day. “I really think we can get into the habit of something small and frequent every day – it doesn’t need to be something overblown and grand gestures, things like that, it’s just little nuggets of nourishment on a daily basis,” she says.
If you’re not sure where to get begin, Samantha has some tips to help you get started. “I’ve created a process called B.E H.A.P.P.Y FIRST and, for me, it’s a journey that I’ve taken myself through and it begins by looking inwards.
“It’s a seven-step process. B is for ‘be’ – literally being with yourself. Sitting with your own awareness, being present and thinking about how you can be kind to yourself,” she explains. “I think a lot of the time we want to help and empower others, but sometimes we’re doing that from an empty well, so we can take the time to look inwards and understand and appreciate what works for us.”
“E is about ‘exposing’, so thinking about vulnerability and how we can step into the fear of opening up and how it can help us flourish and be better versions of ourselves.
Samantha Clarke’s happiness planner with In The Moment magazine issue 24
“H is thinking about what we can hang up. Sometimes we can carry a lot of burdens with us,” Samantha says. She likes to refer to the Erykah Badu song ‘Bag Lady’ which contains the line: “You can’t get to where you’re going if you’re carrying so many bags.” She uses this song to help her clients understand what’s causing their stress and how to check in with themselves.
“A is around ‘appreciation’, so taking that step of appreciation and gratitude further and understanding what it is to give and receive gratitude. Where do you feel appreciated throughout the day? Where can you understand what it means to support someone else and nurture and lift them up too.
“P is about ‘picking up’. How can we pick up new skills and challenge ourselves daily? I think happiness comes from having a bit more of a growth mindset, so energising yourself and finding ways to lean into your strengths. And thinking about how you can overcome challenges and get creative with yourself. I think sometimes we get stuck in a rut. It’s about adopting that beginner’s mind.
“The other P is about ‘plugging the gaps’, so thinking about your relationships and where in your support system do you feel there might be some lack, or where do you feel you want to focus. Are there relationships that might be floundering? What can you do uplift that?
“The last one is Y – ‘your words’. So really thinking about how you talk about yourself, how you talk about yourself to other people and how you can educate other people on what you need too… sometimes when we need support or we’re feeling unhappy, a lot of people want to help but they don’t really know what it is that they can do. I think we can get better at articulating what we need so that everyone feels that they can play a part and uplift each other.”