7 Ways To Be Happier Now

7 Ways To Be Happier Now

Does it ever feel like you’re the only one who’s unhappy and stuck? Like everyone else’s life is Insta-perfect while you struggle? You’re not alone. In fact, most of us feel this at some point in life.

At 26, I had done everything I was supposed to do to be happy: I worked in corporate marketing making good money, I married a tall, good looking lawyer, we lived in a beautiful colonial on a tree-lined street, we had a beautiful fluffy golden retriever, and we cooked Thanksgiving dinner for our families. Life looked as I’d always imagined: Perfect.

Yet deep inside I felt empty. Lost. Lifeless. Lonely. I cried nearly every day and screamed at my husband for everything he did and everything he didn’t do. Then I beat myself up for acting like a crazy lunatic. Something was broken in my very perfect life: Me.

My husband couldn’t understand what was wrong with me, and neither could I. I only know that a hole burned in my soul aching to be filled with something –anything – that would ease the pain. My mind raced with ideas: get a different job, get a different husband, move to a different city. With each new fantasy, I felt a moment of ease, followed quickly by the terror of leaving my safe, cushy life.

I saw a therapist. I went on anti-depressants. I started journaling. One day after therapy, I sat at a Starbucks writing in my journal: “I thought all of this would make me happy, but I have no idea what will actually make me happy. I have no idea who I am.”

Now, as a women’s happiness coach and motivational speaker, I know how common this is. We work so hard our whole lives to be “good girls,” to “have it all,” and to make everyone else happy that we completely forget ourselves. One of my clients wanted to be a nurse, but her father told her there was more money in computers so she went into IT and hates it. Another client always felt like she had to be the best at everything she did, and she developed an eating disorder and self-harmed. Another client got married and had a baby because that’s what everyone else from her town did, but now she feels trapped.

Each of these women looks like they have it all and it’s making them miserable.

Sadly, we’re in the middle of a women’s depression epidemic right now and it has to end. Statistically, women are twice as depressed as men, and although we have more advantages and more choice than our mothers, a University of Pennsylvania research study shows that we’re less happy today than women were 30 years ago. Plus, the average onset of depression is getting younger, hovering around 14 years old, while the use of anti-depressants is on the rise. 

Of course it is. Society tells us every day that we’re not good enough. Advertisements say that we need to be skinnier, prettier, more sexual, less sexual, smarter. Social media makes us think that if we just get botox or a boob job, then maybe we’ll be worthy. Then maybe those girls will want to be friends with us. Then maybe we’ll make as much money as men do.

Then maybe we’ll be happy. It’s a lie. Trying to chase happiness in outside appearances will only make you more miserable. Rather, happiness needs to be found in an honest chat with your inner self. Fortunately, it’s possible. 

Research in positive psychology, the scientific study of human flourishing, shows that happiness is a choice. It may not seem like it on days when your boss is being a jerk, or your girlfriend breaks up with you, or your roommate leaves his dirty dishes in the sink (again). But, the fact is that we are in control of nearly everything in our lives. We control what we do for a living, who we hang out with, if we respond to a text, when we go to bed, what we eat, how much we work out, and if you keep letting that jerk back into your life. Even for those things over which we have no control, like a loved one’s illness, being abused, or growing up with an alcoholic mother, you still get to choose how you think about it. You get to choose if you do the personal work to heal and grow. You get to choose how you behave. Your attitude is 100% in your control. Yes, it’s scary to make choices that go against your parents’ wishes or society’s expectations, but it’s worth it.

And research shows that it matters. Happy people not only live longer, healthier lives, but they have more friends and better relationships, and they make more money. Your happiness matters and you deserve it.

The key to happiness is to take control of it by learning who you are and what you love, and then following your truth.

Here are 7 ways to be happier now, all based in science:

1. Be Honest with Yourself: Each of us is wonderfully different and when you live life according to someone else’s values, you’ll be unhappy. Get honest about the aspects of your life that are making you unhappy and why. Check in with what you’re doing because your parents or friends do it, and if you’re out of alignment, ask yourself what really matters and follow that. For instance, one of my clients found that she valued adventure, but was afraid to pursue it. Another valued faith and friendship over success, but she was spending all of her time at work. Get honest and, though it will be scary at first, you will be happier.


2. Know your Strengths: If you have no idea who you are or how to figure it out, begin with your strengths. Unfortunately, many of us focus on our weaknesses and it makes us unhappier. Rather, researchers find that when you focus on your strengths, you’re happier and more successful. So, decide that you’re a Superhero and get to know your own true powers . Do this by asking your friends what they love about you, or you can take an online assessment that I love called the “VIA Survey of Character Strengths.” It was developed by top psychologists at the University of Michigan and University of Pennsylvania and it diagnoses what’s right about you. Once you take your strengths assessment, post your strengths in the comments and make sure to intentionally use them every day.


3. Play: I find that women consistently don’t allow themselves to play. Like we forgot how much we loved mermaids, hopscotch, softball, and swings as a kid. Every woman has an inner child and she needs to laugh in order to be happy and fulfilled. Skip down the street no matter who’s watching. Invite friends over for an alcohol-free dance party where you let loose, take a French or painting class, or try something new like snowboarding. Go to the playground and swing! Most of us are so intense, trying so hard to be perfect, professional, successful women that we’ve lost our happiness. Get it back by finding something that makes you lose track of time in joy.

4. Accept your Body: Better yet, love it now (as is). Approximately 90% of all women dislike some aspect of their bodies and it’s making us miserable. Our bodies help us run, dance, skip, kiss, hug, paint, walk, eat, ski, play, laugh, and have a great orgasm. To hate your body because you have a belly or thighs or dark circles under your eyes is an insult to your own greatness. It’s a lie that you’re supposed to be a certain size and shape and color. Think about how you can walk into any art gallery and see hundreds of paintings of voluptuous curvy women. Hundreds of years ago, roundness was considered sexy. It’s only because our media changed the rules to sell us product that we feel horrible about ourselves. So decide that you won’t buy into their lies. Decide that your body is beautiful now. Have gratitude for what it does for you. Take a bath and begin rubbing your feet while thanking them for allowing you to walk. Move up to your ankles, then calves, then thighs until you’ve reached your forehead. Do this several times a week. Also, every time you pass a mirror, say “Hey Gorgeous!” Even if you don’t feel like it, fake it until you become it. Confidence is sexy, no matter your size!

5. Get it Out, Question, and Re-frame: Unfortunately, because of survival instincts, all humans have something called “negativity bias,” which means that we focus on what’s wrong more than right. It’s normal but not necessarily helpful. We have about 20,000 thoughts a day and because of our brain’s wiring, the majority of these thoughts are the same as we had yesterday. That means that most of our thoughts are inaccurate. Is it true that your boss is really out to get you, or that your friends really don’t like you? Probably not. If you don’t learn to control your mind, it will control you. You’re 100% allowed (and it’s healthy) to be sad, angry, afraid, and stressed at times. But if it’s running your life, like it does many women, then you need to get the emotion out in a healthy way so that you can then solve the issue. Close the bathroom door, turn on the water loudly, and have a temper tantrum like a 2 year old. Or go into the woods with a toy bat and beat some dead trees. Once the charge is out of your body, check your brain for accuracy. Ask yourself, “What else is true?” Yes, your boyfriend was a jerk, and what else is true is that you’re hot and there are lots of other men out there.


6. Increase Gratitude and Positivity: It’s easier said than done, but you can’t control the past or the future. All you can do is appreciate what is now. We need to balance out our negativity bias by also focusing on what’s right. Researchers have found that when you write down three good things every day for a month, it increases happiness for months to come. Take it a step further and even find gratitude for your challenges. Are they making you stronger? More courageous? Helping you see who your real friends are? Find the good. I like to expand on this exercise by meditating every morning to increase acceptance and then writing a page every day about what I’m proud of, what I’m grateful for, and what I’m excited about. Do this and watch your well-being expand!


7. Permit yourself to pursue a dream: As little girls, most of us had big dreams. Whether you remember them or not, inside of you are desires. Maybe the idea of writing a book sparks your eye and leaves you with butterflies in your stomach. Or maybe you’ve been thinking that you’d love to have your own business, but you’ve been too afraid. Every day that you don’t pursue the dream will dampen your heart and rob you of confidence even more. I waited 8 years until I followed my dream of being a women’s coach, speaker and author. If only I had known then what I know now I would have started sooner. Take one small step every day and let that step lead you to joy.

About The Author:

Carin Rockind

Carin Rockind

Carin Rockind is a leading happiness expert, media personality, and the creator of PurposeGirl, a movement to empower purpose-driven living. She has taught thousands of people real-life strategies to reclaim their happiness, and live to their fullest potential of success and well-being. Having survived domestic abuse, divorce, and armed robbery, she teaches others to be resilient through stress and grow from trauma. After fifteen years as a marketing executive, Carin pursued her great passion: teaching women to thrive. Carin was one of the first 250 people in the world to earn a Masters degree in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, where she has also served as adjunct faculty. Carin speaks at companies worldwide, including Morgan Stanley, AVON, BMW, and Progressive Insurance. She is a regular contributor to national media: She has appeared on NBC, CBS, PBS, NPR, the Huffington Post, and Carin’s Business, and served as the Happiness Guru on Sirius XM’s Stars Radio. She is currently launching World Global Happiness Day in over two dozen cities around the globe.

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Benefits of indulging in a Cacao Ceremony

Benefits of indulging in a Cacao Ceremony

Do you know that chocolate is actually medicine? How cool is that?!

You can discover how in raw cacao ceremonial doses becomes a powerful heart opener that paves the way to transformation through self-love…

The Origins of Cacao

With over 1200 chemical constituents, the beans from Theobroma Cacao (translating from the greek: theo = god and broma = food and cacao = the mayan name for the chocolate beans) – or the chocolate tree, appear to be the most pharmacologically complex food in nature. Cacao has been used for millennia as a food and antidote to a vast array of health issues. It has also been used ceremonially by the ancient Meso-americans in conjunction with other plants and rituals.Cacao was considered to be a divine ambrosia, spiritual elixir, sacred medicine healer and ritual aid, as well as a powerful sexual tonic and life-force elixir, which was regularly included as part of wedding rituals and life celebrations.

Cacao’s Biochemical Gifts

So what is cacao? Cacao is not cocoa. Cacao is the raw and naturally fermented, unheated form of chocolate, while cocoa is cacao that has been heated. Processed chocolate is made with roasted cocoa, sugar, milk, and other ingredients that turn it into a solid food and studies have found that by adding dairy this actually blocks the absorption of antioxidants in chocolate. The benefits of cacao are only found in the raw form, and organic raw cacao has an array of amazing benefits.

Cacao contains the neurotransmitters serotonin, tryptophan and dopamine that stimulate brain activity and are vital in regulating mood. Serotonin is the feelgood brain chemical responsible for feelings of wellbeing. This mood improving chemical is known as the bliss molecule and leaves us feeling blissful and euphoric, but also plays a vital role in moderating pain perception and the memory of pain, as well as assisting in regulating appetite and mood.

Health Benefits of Cacao:

  • Magnesium rich (relaxing mineral) for a Healthy Heart & Brain.
  • Rich in Sulfur (the ultimate beauty mineral, especially good for skin)
  • Lowers LDL cholesterol
  • Mild stimulant
  • Natural stress reliever
  • Mild pain reliever
  • Contains essential fatty acids
  • Improves micro circulation
  • Improves insulin sensitivity
  • 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries
  • Highest plant-based source of iron.
  • More calcium than cow’s milk

Is raw Cacao a psychedelic?

Chocolate wasn’t popular as a psychoactive in the 60s because it’s not actually psychedelic (although many experience visions and powerful journeys in my ceremonies). It is is gaining a lot of popularity now. Cacao ceremonies are a type of shamanic healing – which is one of the oldest holistic healing practices used by indigenous cultures all over the world. These types of healing ceremonies work with rebalancing energies in the body to regain health. However, unlike other shamanic experiences, drinking cacao will not make you hallucinate or give you some sort of ‘out-of-body’ psychedelic experience.

Cacao Ceremony benefits


Chocolate opens the heart and allows for a deeper, authentic love-based connection with yourself, others, the world and all of life.


Cacao enables you to connect with your inner spirit and wisdom, allowing for more profound meditation. It allows you to focus more on the present moment and its remedying properties can begin to work on your mind and soul.

Increased blood flow to the brain creates more mental sharpness, agility, awareness and focus. Cacao acts as a powerful natural anti-depressant by reducing physical and emotional stress and creating a positive chemistry in the brain. Its high Valeric Acid content blocks the stress hormones, while triggering the release of Dopamine and the endorphin Phenylethylamine, both of which are known as ‘bliss chemicals’. It also contains the essential amino acid Tryptophan, which increases production of Serotonin, an important brain chemical that helps us remain positive and happy.


Your practice improves on every level; physical, mental, spiritual, emotional.

This is probably the case with other practices too (chi kung, aikido, kick boxing etc.)


Drinking cacao for ceremonial purposes invites us to SLOW DOWN and to intentionally set time aside for ourselves. This means stepping OUT of the daily hustle and stepping IN to our inner-self. So often we rush from one experience to the next without even understanding why we’re doing what we’re doing.


Cacao can grant you the energy you need for your day and throughout your life. You’ll find yourself able to skip the coffee, your cravings will diminish, and you will be able to better accomplish your daily tasks.

Cacao alone doesn’t make the experience

As I’ve just mentioned, Cacao is an invaluable, heart opening ally, but the plant itself doesn’t make the ceremony so special. There are many that fused a wide range of state-shifting elements with Cacao that are the key to the experience:

  • Meditation
  • Singing
  • Ecstatic dance
  • Tribal drumming
  • A beautiful, candle-lit atmosphere
  • Yoga
  • Essential Oils

I like to use Cacao for specific intentions, like Couples Ceremony to depend their connection, Deep therapeutic trauma work and Full Moon sharing circles.

If you feel inspired to dance with the Spirit of Cacao and share her magic, I recommend finding a ceremony led by a shaman, mystic or experienced facilitator to explore the profound effects cacao has to offer. And if you want to simply begin using it for its many health benefits, or maybe for communing with the plant and bringing it into your meditation. There are a huge range of profound responses, learning and healings available for those willing to experience its gifts!

What you see before you, my friend, is the result of a lifetime of chocolate.

– Katharine Hepburn

Sacred Cacao was bypassed in the ‘60’s resurgence of medicine-plants because it does not act like a psychedelic – it does not take you on its trip, but facilitates your own.  There are Indigenous shamans in Central and South America who prefer cacao over psychedelics, but few have heard of them.  I am not here to speak for them.  I speak from my years of experience with cacao and cacao ceremonies since the Cacao Spirit began sharing and partnering with me in the metaphysical work that I do.  And I speak through sales of the cacao that She guides me to.

– Keith Wilson, the Chocolate Shaman

About Natasja Pelgrom

Natasja, with a Dutch mother and Portuguese father is born in Amsterdam. Since her childhood she has the ability of clairvoyance; clear knowing, feeling and hearing. Natasja is trained as a photographer but ended up a business woman in the hospitality, events and fashion industry. She owned multiple companies and had a very diverse and broad career. Within those years she did always study esoteric philosophy, Reiki, ThetaHealing®, ETF, NLP, nutrition and shamanism. In 2013, she made a major change in her life. She had enough of the fast-passed life style. She started her journey inwards, closed her business, and dedicating herself to the exploration of consciousness.

Today she is a Holistic Transformational Mentor with 10+ years of experience in counseling, life and business coaching. She assists people who are seeking cutting-edge transformational tools so that they can transform themselves from the inside out. Natasja travels extensively, studying and sharing inner wisdom. She embodies sacred medicine work and she brings aspects of ceremony into all of her offerings. An intuitive healer who creates a powerfully safe space of love and acceptance. She has a strong background in working with those suffering from habits and addiction, unresolved trauma, depression, relationship issues, anxiety and stress. She holds space as an educator of empowerment and facilitator of many workshops, retreats, sacred medicine journey’s, and has developed an awakening integration program. All she does is to support the Alignment between gut/mind/heart and the Creative Source of All That Is.

”Deep within the human heart lies the desire to awaken the medicine within.” Natasja Pelgrom

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