Get medication. Let’s face it, depression and sadness are real, and some people are biologically prone to need medication. There is a negative stigma to being on medication and there shouldn’t be. I am not a doctor, and I am not saying everyone should, but if you need help get it. Talk with a professional and if it makes to feel better, that is all that really matters (in my opinion, again I am not an expert in this field I just know what works for me.)
It sometimes feels like it is so hard to avoid feeling down or depressed these days. Between the sad news coming from world headlines, the impact of the ongoing raging pandemic, and the constant negative messages popping up on social and traditional media, it sometimes feels like the entire world is pulling you down. What do you do to feel happiness and joy during these troubled and turbulent times? In this interview series called “Finding Happiness and Joy During Turbulent Times” we are talking to experts, authors, and mental health professionals who share lessons from their research or experience about “How To Find Happiness and Joy During Troubled & Turbulent Times”.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Clara Capano.
Clara is an International Speaker, trainer, and best-selling author. She is the creator and Executive producer of the Working Woman’s Channel and Living Real TV. Her focus is on providing women in business with real tools and strategies that will help them take action and gain immediate traction in moving their personal and professional lives forward.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I am the youngest of 4 kids… I like to say my parents finally achieved perfection so they could stop, but my siblings may challenge that thought. But in all truth, I had a great childhood. I was supported and cared for. However even with all this support, there were times of darkness, times where I felt invisible and craved to learn my place in the world. I am fortunate that I was able to find help during these times, but it made me aware that happiness can look different to all people and that we all have our own challenges and obstacles, regardless of background.
What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.
I have had many mentors throughout my career path. I will say that for this chapter, my son was my inspiration. I can fall into the trend of being a workaholic because I love what I do, but my son reminds me of what is most important and helps me stay grounded.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?
Hands down, my parents. I grew up with 2 over achievers and that helped me develop my drive and strong work ethic. At the same time, I was always encouraged to follow my path. They never forced to me study a particular subject or discourage me when I wanted to pursue something crazy. In fact, during college I was ready to drop out and chase the dream of being a pop star and when I told them the response was — “great, tell us your plan’. Later in life, when I wanted to take the leap into entrepreneurship, both helped me game plan and provided continual support. To this day, my mom still sends me articles with tips to help me in my career.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?
Not sure it is funny but getting fired was awesome. I was working as a paralegal (because I was working to be an attorney because that was another check box on the list that would make me happy, right???) and I was miserable. One day my boss called me in and told me I was horrible at my job. At first it was hard to hear, but she was right. I hated it and therefore didn’t care so I was not giving my full attention to doing it well. This caused me to look deep and pivot in my career. It helped me to decide that this path was not making me happy so I needed to be open and find a career that would. It was from there that I connected with my first mentor and job in real estate that opened the door to other amazing opportunities.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people? I have several exciting projects in the works.
I am excited for the launch of my two television shows that stream on www.motivationandsuccess.com. Both shows focus on women and the daily issues we face. We have created an open dialogue to get real and allow women to feel safe and supported. My goal is to build a community where women can stand in their truth and authenticity and love themselves, scars and all.
For the benefit of our readers, can you briefly let us know why you are an authority about the topic of finding joy?
Sometimes expertise comes from experience. That is true for me. I was not a “happy” person growing up. I do not know why as I had all I needed — food, loving family, access to education. But I never felt “happy”. For years people just told me to be happy — what does that even mean??? The more I tried to be happy, the more I felt like a failure and became increasingly unhappy. It was through my journey to find this thing called happiness that I feel I can relate to others in this area.
Ok, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview about finding joy. Even before the pandemic hit, the United States was ranked at #19 in the World Happiness Report. Can you share a few reasons why you think the ranking is so low, despite all the privileges and opportunities that we have in the US?
I think we are ranked lower because we try too hard to be happy. We are taught that happiness stems from success, so we chase the titles, status, etc., but even when we hit the targets, we do not feel fulfilled. We need to redefine happiness and success.
What are the main myths or misconceptions you’d like to dispel about finding joy and happiness? Can you please share some stories or examples?
One of the main myths is that we just need to be happy; we need to “buck up”, exercise, get a hobby…. But the truth is some of us really struggle with understanding what makes us happy, and it is not so easy to just be happy. For me, I was searching for the answer. I desperately wanted to be happy — but I felt alone, lost, and confused. I felt like something was wrong with me. The truth is there is nothing wrong with us; we are who we are, and we need to support those that struggle.
In a related, but slightly different question, what are the main mistakes you have seen people make when they try to find happiness? Can you please share some stories or examples?
I think people try to “fix” themselves. I see people take a class, move to a new city, change their hairstyle… they are trying to find themselves so they can be happy when they just need to understand who they are and love themselves first. We need to stop labeling people as happy or depressed. It is not that black and white. For me, I did all of the above. I took the classes, applied for the jobs, hung out with different groups. I was trying to hard to fit in because I felt if I just found the right place, I would be happy. I had to start to accept myself for who I am, flaws and all. I had to stop chasing what others defined as happiness and just be me.
Fantastic. Here is the main question of our discussion. Can you please share with our readers your “5 things you need to live with more Joie De Vivre, more joy and happiness in life, particularly during turbulent times?” (Please share a story or an example for each.)
First it is important to know that there is no magic wand to happiness. We all need to find what works for us. Here are a few things I do to help me when I am feeling disconnected and not happy.
1) Live in gratitude. I have worked to learn about the brain and how it works. And we can re-wire it for happiness. For me, when I practice gratitude daily it allows me to look for positivity around me, even when I am feeling sad. Gratitude can come in big items like health and family, but also the small things like a good cup of coffee or kisses from my dog. I have learned that when I do this first thing in the morning and again before bed, my brain feels lighter, and I feel more content with life and may place in it.
2) Get Connected. People tend to isolate themselves when they are feeling sad. It is during these times that you must push yourself to connect with others. It is not always easy. I find that going to the dog park, meeting up with a friend or even calling someone and having a good talk can shock my system enough that it makes me feel better. We are social animals by nature and human connection is required for well-being.
3) Move your body. When we move, we get the endorphins going which allow us to feel better. Like the above, we cannot isolate ourselves during times of feeling blue; it is important that we move our bodies. For me I may go to yoga or the gym, walk along the beach or even just listen to my favorite music and have a dance party. But you have to move your body.
4) Ask for help. This is a hard one for many. We do not want to seem vulnerable to others, so we tend to hide and suffer in silence. For me, I didn’t want to bother others with my problems. I felt like a burden and like I should be able to handle it myself. But I couldn’t. Find people you trust, even if it is only 1 person and ask them to help you. Yes, this can be a professional, but I can also be a friend. Over the winter I was having a tough time. The weather was changing, holidays were closing in, and we were still in the midst of covid. I called my friend and I told her “you have to get me out of this house!” So, she did. She forced me to take a shower, put on real clothes and go outside. Do not be afraid to ask for help. You are not alone and there is strength in showing your truth.
5)Get medication. Let’s face it, depression and sadness are real, and some people are biologically prone to need medication. There is a negative stigma to being on medication and there shouldn’t be. I am not a doctor, and I am not saying everyone should, but if you need help get it. Talk with a professional and if it makes to feel better, that is all that really matters (in my opinion, again I am not an expert in this field I just know what works for me.)
What can friends, colleagues, and life partners do to effectively help support someone they care about who is feeling down or depressed?
It is hard because it is up to the individual person to make the change and also want the help. I think if you know of someone who is struggling, be there for them. Check in on them, ask them to do things with you but do not pressure them. They already feel bad and do not need to be made to feel worse or like there is something wrong with them. Just be there.
Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
In this area of happiness, I would want to educate others on the power of loving themselves and redefining happiness and success. I would start in the schools with teenagers teaching them about the power of mindset. I would encourage young people to identify their uniqueness and how those are strengths. I would encourage educators and adults to put less pressure on “accomplishments” and be more open to accepting kids for who they are and cultivating their beauty and individualism.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂
The two I would love to connect with would be Oprah and Gary Vee. I think both have amazing minds and hearts in creating real change. I could learn from them and work to bring my visions for reality.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
I love being a resource for others. Please visit my website www.claracapano.com and follow me on social media under my name, Clara Capano. Also, readers can watch my tv shows on Clara Capano’s Shows — Motivation And Success
Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!