Is feeling excited about life and waking up each day inspired and happy something you value? If yes, this interview is a must-read!
If you’re yet to meet Carla Maree then it’s my pleasure to introduce you. Carla is an entrepreneur, author, motivational speaker and yoga instructor at Happy Hot Yoga on Australia’s Central Coast. Plus she owns the local Anytime Fitness – talk about wonder woman!
I also recently interviewed Carla for the CDK podcast series, on how to cultivate an epic, felt-sense of happiness – listen to it now, here.
However what inspires me most about Carla is her burning passion to make the world a happier place. In this interview she shares a little bit about her mission, what inspires her and how you can get happy too.
I hope you enjoy this interview and invite you to share any resonating thoughts or questions you may have, in the comment section below!
Now for the 5 minutes with Carla:
Carla, I’d love to open the conversation by diving straight into the juicy stuff and asking: What does happiness mean to you?
Happiness for me comes from my soul, it means feeling completely at peace, grateful and joyful no matter what the circumstances. It’s smiling from the inside out.
Can you tell us a little bit about your personal journey and what led you to focus on ‘authentic happiness’?
For a very long time, I thought that I was happy, however the reality was that I looked in the mirror and cringed at what I saw. I slogged myself at the gym to achieve that perfect body that all the girls talked about and desired to have. I went to work, did the same thing every day and I never really stopped to ask myself if I actually was happy. I was so caught up in the life of “I should do this”, “I should look like that” or “I should have a boyfriend like her”. I should, I should, I should. I honestly just thought it was normal to judge myself in every area of my life.
What was the turning point when you decide that a change was necessary and how did you do that?
I had these two most surreal awakenings. This is where my search for what happiness really is started. A bit about each distinct moment:
I was at my brother’s wedding dancing on the dance floor and I was crying and dancing by myself. I could see everyone was thinking “eek I think Carla has had too much to drink” (and yes they were probably right!) but the real reason I was crying was because I was so done with being that girl, I was so done with the same questions: “Carla have you got a boyfriend yet?” and “Carla are you on RSVP yet?”
The second awakening was not long after. I was in a yoga class as a student with no intention to become a teacher. The teacher said something about trying to quieten the mind let go of the voices – me thinking “yeah what voices is she talking about?” and then she said “and if you think you have no voices then guess what? That is a voice telling you that, so yes you do!”
Then I realised I did have voices in my head and if I did, well everyone else must too! That was it – with these two awakening experiences my life changed.
What inspires your passion to help others achieve ‘authentic happiness’?
I just hate so much how many people are living a life stressed out and unhappy by external “shoulds”. People think, “I should have this” and “I need this to be successful” and it just breaks my heart. I have discovered what happiness really is and I just want to share that with everyone. Everyone deserves to smile, laugh and have the wonderful free gift of happiness that we are born with and entitled to.
Did you know experts are saying that the leading cause of death in 2020 will be depression, anxiety and mental illness? Happiness is serious business. It’s not just sunshine, rainbows and group hugs. Without happiness, we will suffer.
Mental illness an epidemic that isn’t going anywhere. We are officially, as a society, more depressed and anxious than ever before. The depression rates are 10% higher than in 1960 with the average age of the sufferer being just 14.5 years old. In previous years, this age was 29. I feel like it’s my duty and purpose in life to share the gift that happiness is a choice.
What must we have, feel, be or do in order to achieve authentic happiness?
I believe the only thing we need is the knowledge and understanding that “happiness” is a choice – at any moment we can make the choice to change a negative thought into a positive one.
I get that life does happen and we get busy and stressed, but it’s how we react to the situations and thoughts that make all the difference.
Do you have your own go-to rituals to cultivate and maintain a felt-sense of happiness?
I certainly do. In the same way that we brush our teeth daily to maintain dental hygiene, I believe we need to be actively conscious of caring for our thoughts each day. So everyday I do my gratitude exercises which fills me with a sense of complete appreciation, rather than focusing on what’s not working. I do this by holding my hand on my heart and taking a moment to appreciate and thank my body for the gift of life, my breath and my heart beat.
I also love to practice yoga or workout, as it makes me feel alive.
Another ritual I enjoy is listening to meditation music or a podcast that allows me to slow down and be still
Lastly, during summer l love to jump into the ocean. It just makes me so happy. There’s nothing like fresh water on your skin.
Could you share a little bit about “GET HAPPY NOW: The toolkit to live the life you deserve”?
It’s a small book that offers my personal story and the tools and exercises that I utilise everyday to create a happy life. I guide the reader to understand and develop a sense of self-awareness, self-love and gratitude. Anyone who can read it will be able to understand and use its contents to make positive changes in there life.
I think we all want a little more happiness in our life no matter who we are.
What inspired you to create GET HAPPY NOW?
The inspiration came from a lot of books that have helped and inspired me. I love reading and am really grateful for these books. Now I have this deep desire within me to speak and share my message (about how to get happy) to as many people as I can. My vision is to reach as many people as possible – speaking to large audiences, school kids and businesses, along with running my current businesses to share my message and help as many people as I truly can. So GET HAPPY NOW really supports my mission and vision.
Can you share which books really inspired you?
- Happiness by Gretchan Ruban
- Thrive by Arianna Huffington
- All of Gabby Bernstein’s books!
It’s can be easy to feel happy when everything is going well in your life, however what do you recommend to those who may be going through a difficult time such as stress, overwhelm, grief or loss?
Yes it can be easy to be happy when everything is rosy, but true authentic happiness comes when faced with difficult times.
In difficult times, instead of stewing on things we can’t control or change, the best thing that we can do is to focus on what we can control. Our mind is one of the only things that we can control in life, so spending time rewiring our thoughts through activities such as writing a list of things that we are grateful for (it’s really hard to be grateful and depressed together).
There are so many little things we can do to lift our spirits that I share in the GET HAPPY NOW Toolkit, but for example:
- Surround yourself with people who lift you up. Your vibe attracts your tribe and vice versa.
- Try to smile. Even if you feel weird about it. It’s proven that just smiling even fake smiling makes us feel better, or just going for a little walk in nature.
- Exercise and care for yourself. Everyone knows the benefits of exercise and eating right but so many don’t do it. Force yourself to be active and like you force yourself to clean the house just do it, and over time you will start to enjoy it, or at least enjoy the feeling it gives you.
- Travel. Our country is amazing so get away, break the routine and go camping or get on a plane and experience something new. Life is full of opportunity we just have to jump on and take them.
Could GET HAPPY NOW (The Toolkit) be that nudge of inspiration and support you’ve been needing? If you feel it resonating and decide to grab a copy, we’d love to know what you think and how you find it helpful!
Want to find out more about Carla and her offerings?
And don’t forget to listen to the epic podcast where Carla shares her real life stories and tips for living your fullest life and getting happy now:
P.S. Who do you know that could do with an extra dose of happiness in their life? Share this inspiring interview with them now. Once they give one of the exercises listed above a go, they’ll be thanking you!