Making my Happy Place podcast series brings me more joy than any other part of my career ever has. It’s also perhaps the most self-indulgent part. Let me explain. I started the series for a few reasons, but mostly because I often feel confused about life. I tie myself in knots worrying I’m doing it wrong or lose sleep over moments of supposed failure. Interviewing great minds gives me answers to questions, solace and guidance for the future.
I wanted to call the podcast ‘Happy Place’ because I think it’s quite a loaded statement. Is happiness a final destination? I think not. But I do think, with work and self-inventory, we can find a place of balance where we are better equipped to deal with what life throws our way.
Here are some powerful and unforgettable things I’ve learned from the guests on Happy Place. These are the lessons that leapt out and smacked me in the face, that left me able to think of little else for weeks afterwards.
Lesson 1 from Jada Pinkett Smith
Work on your emotional independence. Although I think I’ve been attempting this subconsciously for the last year or two, I had never known how to articulate it. Jada talked so eloquently about being able to deal with tough situations in life without having to call a friend, talk to her husband, Will, or reach for exterior help. Of course, we may all need to talk to others at times, but emotional independence is so empowering; knowing that you are okay within, intuitively and confidently. (Jada, I’m working on this one.)
Lesson 2 from Gerad Kite, Five-Element acupuncturist You are not your thoughts.
Now, this is a big one for us little humans to get our heads around. We have been incrementally brainwashed over the years to think that we are little more than a brain. Our thoughts are real and make up who we are, but that is not the full story. Gerad explained to me that to live peacefully and fully, we need to acknowledge that our thoughts are stories and moments, but not actually who we are. We create stories about ourselves, the people around us and how we fit into the world, but they are just thoughts. Once you get your head around this one, it brings massive relief.
Lesson 3 from Hillary and Chelsea Clinton
Take serious advice from serious people seriously and take unserious advice from unserious people unseriously. This nugget of advice from Chelsea actually landed just after the recording of the episode, but it has stuck like glue. I have applied it to my own life and it has lessened the stress I often feel being a very overly sensitive person in the public eye. It’s so simple but so potent if you can put it into practice. There will maybe be only a handful of people we know we should take real advice from, and the rest we can park! Lose the unserious stuff from unserious people, and lose the stress.
Lesson 4 from Billy Monger
Think about what you can do rather than the things you can’t. This was the advice Billy’s surgeon gave him after he woke up from a three-day induced coma. Three days before, Billy had been in an accident while racing in an F4 heat. He learned upon waking up that he had lost both legs; one just below the knee, one just above. Nevertheless, he remains one of the most positive people I’ve met. A year on, he was back on the track, racing and winning. His surgeon didn’t tell him what he wouldn’t be able to do post-accident. Instead, he told him the things he could, and that set Billy up to be the renegade he is today. We should all be focusing on the things we know we can achieve with hard work and tenacity, rather than things we know deep down are impossible or unchangeable.
‘I think, with work and self-inventory, we can find a place of balance’
Lesson 5 from Ludovico Einaudi
Look to nature to get the answers. As a huge Ludovico fan, I was in my element during this episode. I quizzed him on his Seven Days Walking albums, released in 2019, and how every composition was inspired by a simple walk. He talked about how each time you go on the same trip, it will be different. Nuances that can go unnoticed if you aren’t engaged with what is going on around you. The colours, the atmosphere, the temperature, the movement, the shadows; they will all be different. This attitude helps us to see the light and shade in even the most mundane activities. I love that the same thing can be so different, if only we open our eyes.
Lesson 6 from Niki Schilling, head of innovation and sustainability at Rituals
Dream of the feeling, not the result. This was a profound, game-changing moment for me. I understood the concept of the law of attraction, calling upon what you want in life, but I had misunderstood it, too. Niki explained the way to go about attracting into your life what you really want. So, rather than dreaming of and trying to manifest the exact new job you want, focus on the feeling you want to have instead. Is it respect? Excitement? Comfort? The need to be challenged? Once you’ve put that out into the universe, then you have to be open to what it throws at you. That is the true way to manifest what you want in life. Give it a go.
Listen to Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place podcast on iTunes, or wherever you get your podcasts ■