Be the master of your own mind… We have 60.000–70.000 thoughts a day and 90% of them are exactly the same as the day before. These thoughts create the same emotion, this emotion makes us take the same action. So if you want to feel more joy and have more joyful experiences, you CHOOSE joyful thoughts.
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 Sahori Smitham.
Sahori is a life designer and manifestation specialist who personally went through depression. She transformed that difficult time through the power of the mind, self love and acceptance. Now she is passionately teaching her method YOUZen life https://sahorismitham.com/YOUZen/ to many people so they can create a life they truly desire.
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?
Thank you for having me. I am originally from Yokohama Japan and now living in a beautiful coastal town called the Gold Coast in Australia.
Japan is very “follow the rule” “ follow others” “ don’t be different “ and a very educational oriented culture. They have a mindset of if you don’t have a good education and go to a good university you will never be successful or if you don’t marry by 30 you are old and waisted…
Every parent wants the best for their kids, so my parents pushed me to study A LOT to “ Fit In”. This is the crazy thing I had to go through from the age of 9 until becoming a teenager…In the summer vacation, I had to wake up at 3 am and ride a bike for a half-hour to a very strict tutor. Then I had to ride home again for another half an hour to participate in basketball training for an hour and then ride back to the tutor again all day… It’s crazy, right?! This is just for me to enter a good private school…. but
I am not really an academic person so even though I studied that much and missed out on all the fun kids should experience, I never got much out of school and never had top grades in school.
Later in my life, I discovered this childhood experience caused me a deeply rooted belief of “ I am not good enough, I will never be successful” This belief took my joy and happiness away from me for many years of my life.
What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.
One morning I was driving the kids to school, it was a beautiful morning but nothing special or exciting was happening that day. All of a sudden I felt overwhelmed with happiness. Pure joy just washed over me.
This was the first time in many months I had felt happy. The strangest thing about this experience was that I was happy for NO particular REASON. I was just happy. Then even more amazingly (and a bit disturbingly) I had the realisation that what I thought was happiness in the past was actually really superficial and fleeting. The happiness I felt in this moment was TRUE AND UNCONDITIONAL happiness which I had never experienced before. This opened my eyes to how much I had relied on materialistic ‘stuff’ or gaining other people’s approval to make me happy. I realised the happiness in my past, while at times pleasant, was also temporary, conditional and sometimes felt really fake.
A few days later I was participating in a mindfulness practice circle and the instructor asked us to remember the last time we felt happy. It was easy for me to do this as I had already overcome my depression and I had started my journey of personal transformation some months before. After the activities, each of us had to share our joyful and happy experiences. To my surprise, more than half the people there said… “I don’t remember when the last time I felt happy was… “
This made me sad, really sad. I realized I wanted to reach out and help people. I believe happiness is our birthright but unfortunately most of us believe very differently. Seeing these people unhappy and knowing I could help them to live a better, happier life motivated me to keep believing in what I do now. I know I can teach people a new way of living to create a life they desire and to be truly HAPPY.
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?
I have a beautiful friend name Robyn, She is a very passionate sustainability expert and leader, she teaches the local community the importance of a sustainable lifestyle. Her passion is so contagious and we always inspire each other to make a difference in this world.
Building your own business alone is not easy. Especially for a mother who has many other commitments, house duties, kids activities, family commitments etc. Robyn is in the same boat so we understand each other well and help and encourage each other when we feel discouraged. My passion is so strong so I will never stop what I am doing but when it gets hard it is so good to have a cheerleader to support me and encourage me and kicking my butt with love. She is certainly a contributor to a lot of my success.
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?
Because I am not a native English speaker I make a lot of funny mistakes with my English!
Once I was giving the example using “pirates” but I kept saying “pilots”. I didn’t even realize I was saying the wrong word, and I started feeling really frustrated people couldn’t see my point! Fortunately, someone who was used to my accent pointed that out to me and fixed it for me.
These mistakes happen all the time and inside I am deeply embarrassed but now I take this as my uniqueness, including my accent. One of my biggest messages to my people is “ Be you and Do you”. Once you completely love and accept who you are, you can show up as who you are and life becomes flow and easy. People often say now they love how I speak. I love everything about me including my funny accent.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
My project came to me as a divine purpose. I know I am here in this world, at this time, as a life designer because my purpose is to help people start living life to the fullest.
We all have potential within us but a majority of people are not living with it.
Busy life, daily demand and stress, uncertainty, cause anxiety and worry in today’s world. Also our subconscious false beliefs most of us have such as “I am not good enough”, “fear of failure” keep us stuck instead of living with full potential and purpose.
Personal &Spiritual transformation doesn’t happen overnight. It is a “journey”. People need practical guidance, support and encouragement along the way. With my project that I am working on now, I can help people to start living their life with full potential by giving them a space to learn a new way of living, practice to become the master of their own minds, and heal their life.
You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
- Total service to others… Without giving value to others, I can not call it a success. More money, status, fame doesn’t mean anything to me unless I can contribute some way to help others.
- Be the change I want to see in the world… I am not just teaching knowledge to others. I walk the talk. I too experience difficult emotions every day. I am constantly learning, healing and expanding so I can keep giving more value to my people.
- Faith… I believe we all have the inner purpose to serve others when you ignite that you will be naturally successful. Having faith in this belief is a strong motivator for me.
For the benefit of our readers, can you briefly let us know why you are an authority about the topic of finding joy?
The reason why I am the authority on this topic is I have personally healed depression and found joy and happiness using the power of the mind. I was prescribed medication which I didn’t take because I knew I could heal myself in a more holistic way. I believe medication is okay, but we should never solely depend on it. I am living proof that you can turn your life around and find happiness and joy within.
On top of my own healing experience, I have done extensive study on the topics of human behavior, beliefs and mindset. My continued research and practice have resulted in developing my own successful method for creating change in people’s lives. My unique method gently guides my clients to discover joy and happiness within and to live their lives to the fullest.
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 of the privileges and opportunities that we have in the US?
Never-ending shiny objects…
If you are parents you have seen this with kids. When kids are given so many toys they are totally bored or don’t even know what to play with but then still wanting more toys every time exposed to tv ads and toy catalogues.
We have a constant stream of those shiny objects, new model cars, new fashion, a better career etc through media. These never-ending streams of “stuff”, blind us from what’s really important and what is true happiness.
This constantly chasing happiness reality people lost connection to what we already have… GRATITUDE.
We can not experience gratitude automatically with this busy life. We need to really live in the present moment and intentionally experience that. The problem we have in the busy countries, we lost connection to live in the present moment, therefore, they can not feel the happiness that people already have.
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?
The number 1 misconception is that we believe joy is outside of us. We live life with a mindset of “ When I have XYZ I am happy”. This way we are constantly CHASING happiness and never reach this “Happy Place” because as humans we always want more.
This outside happiness is never permanent. It’s easy to lose, lose fame, lose money, lose a relationship etc.…
When we lose that outside happiness we back again in the unhappy place.
When you find happiness within and you know and believe you have unlimited potential, now you have total control of your life. When life throws a tsunami at you, you can still find joy and happiness within.
Another myth I want to point out is that
“Only lucky people get a lucky life or find happiness.”
This belief comes from generations. But it’s a total lie. We can all create luck, people may seem lucky, but they work really hard to achieve what they have/ are.
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?
The main mistake people make is trying to change others. Don’t blame others for your joy and happiness.
When the government changes this country will be more joyful…..
When my family change I will enjoy more life…
I experience this again and again with my own experiences and my clients. When I see something in my life that I don’t like I always ask this question. “What part of me reflecting on this in the reality?” “What do I need to change?” “What do I need to learn?”
An individual has to be the driver of their own life. This means start changing inner thoughts, inner emotions and actions. We all know we can not change others but yet still keep blaming outside of us. When you change, your reality has to change. To me, this is true freedom.
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.)
1. Be the master of your own mind… We have 60.000–70.000 thoughts a day and 90% of them are exactly the same as the day before. These thoughts create the same emotion, this emotion makes us take the same action. So if you want to feel more joy and have more joyful experiences, you CHOOSE joyful thoughts.
2. Intentional living…Now to achieve #1 you need to intentionally change your thoughts. Initially, you feel like lying when you say “Today I will live my day full of joy.” so change to “ I want to see joy instead of pain…” Even this little shift create a miracle. Whenever your reality cause you negative emotion, just say this mantra, this helps you to live mindfully instead of on autopilot.
3. Live in the present moment… Practice mindfulness. As I explain #1 thoughts create emotion. You can not have positive and negative thoughts at the same time. Also if there is no thoughts, there is no emotion. This helps you keep in peace…
Here is the simple practice. Bring awareness to the breath. Breathe deep into your stomach and breathe out long and completely. When you focus on breathing you are not “thinking &” Feeling “ negative.
4. Find gratitude … You can always find Gratitude when you look for it. Be playful and say “ I spy with my little eyes I feel/see the gratitude in XYZ. “
5. Don’t judge the emotions good or bad….there are no such bad or good emotions. they are just indicators of telling you where you are at.
When you feel not so cool, just feel it in the body and ask to move away from the body, DO NOT EVER suppress with “positive thinking”. When you focus on your body you notice wherein the body you are feeling this yucky feeling. Close your eyes and imagine it is moving out from your body like a grey cloud.
What can concerned friends, colleagues, and life partners do to effectively help support someone they care about who is feeling down or depressed?
I love this question! I know this so well from my experience of depression.
First, LISTEN! We have two ears and one mouth for a reason. We are too busy giving the advice and not enough listening… Sometimes even just talking makes people feel better. But soon someone giving so much advice and suggestion, more doubts and shame pop in their head and keep them stuck. So please just listen, and ask if they want any advice, then speak.
Another one is REACH OUT! People who are depressed, often can not ask for help. Because people feel bad about talking about themselves or too embarrassed to admit that they are not coping etc…
Don’t just reach out once, keep asking “ What /how can I help you? “ and tell them you are there for them always. Don’t stop reaching out because you think you are “bugging them”. Trust me you are not. Asking them “ Are you ok” is not good enough ask “ How can I help you? “
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 Australia, we have a “Are you ok? “ day. As I explained in the previous question, someone who is going through a difficult time “Are you ok” question won’t help. They will answer you “ok” and then what? Instead of asking “ Are you OK?” start asking “How can I help you?”
Sincerely ask and offer help and listening ears.
I believe this movement will spread more kindness in this world.
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 🙂
She influenced my life most with my personal transformation. I want to personally thank her and want to pick her brain on what we can do together to change this world more.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
If you want to learn more about how to finding joy inside check out
If you are ready to learn a new way of living( I call this YOUZen life ) and start crafting life to the fullest https://www.sahorismitham.com/YOUZen/
Connect in Social media >>>https://www.instagram.com/sahori.smitham/
Free Community >>>https://www.facebook.com/groups/igniteinnerpotential
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!