I have the incredible honor of working with Louise Hay several times a week and have for more than a decade. You could say I'm her personal health advocate and healer, although we do a variety of things — from yoga and Pilates to nutritional counseling and spiritual healing.
I've watched Louise gracefully traverse life with its magic carpet rides or tumultuous waves. She truly exemplifies what it's like to feel alive and thrive at every age. To me, Louise just grows more beautiful with time.
To celebrate Louise's 88th birthday, I've compiled eight of her easy and profound tips so we too can thrive. Even though this octogenarian who helped pioneer the self-help movement has been setting a shining example for decades, you can start using these tips at any time and in any circumstance. In fact, now is the best moment to begin.
Simply choose one or two of the steps that really resonate with you, and notice the benefits! Your body will thank you.
1. Be gentle with yourself.
I've watched Louise dance elegantly between the outer worlds of travel and public engagement and the inner experience of deep rest. Louise gives herself time to recharge, which has enabled her to participate in a full schedule of "I Can Do It!" conferences, book signings, and speaking events — as well as hobbies and playing with loved ones. She knows both when to engage and focus and when to relax and rejuvenate.
A few of Louise's strategies:
- When life feels hard, be extra soft with yourself.
- Kiss yourself sweetly on your hand (literally!).
- Practice forgiveness to yourself and others.
- Choose exercise that you love and that makes you feel GOOD!
- If you're feeling overwhelmed with life, take a media retreat and unplug from the often unpleasant news stream.
2. Choose positive thoughts.
I see Louise using affirmations throughout each day. They're written on her mirrors, and she leaves love notes for herself around the house. As she walks to our early morning appointments, Louise says hi to the plants and sets her tone for her day with nurturing thoughts.
Some of the ways she does it:
- Notice what you're thinking.
- Choose thoughts that bring love into your life.
- Be your own greatest fan.
- Remind yourself that you deserve goodness!
- Look for opportunities to practice friendliness — even with plants and animals.
3. Digest life!
Louise's affirmation, "life loves me" is always in her mind and, in turn, life offers her amazing adventures. She opens herself to good and when it is time to let go, she does that too. To stay in balance, Louise does yearly body cleanses and regularly allows objects or projects to move on if they're no longer working in her life.
Here are some ways to digest life on all levels
- Say YES to Life and the magic that it brings.
- Take in experiences and food that will nourish you.
- Let go of what doesn't serve your highest good.
- Poop every day! (Figuratively and literally).
4. Eat real food.
Louise has long known and lived the truth that what you put in your body is actually an affirmation! She often says, "Manufactured foods aren't food. If it doesn't grow, don't eat it!" Louise knows it's not just what you eat, but how you eat that affects your well-being.
She savors every bite, including her favorite treats. Desserts with good fats like coconut oil and natural sugars, such as dates or honey, are optimal.
- Remember that seasonal, organic food is a positive affirmation to your body.
- Choose foods that will support the activities of your day.
- Fully enjoy the food that you eat!
- Drink ample water throughout the day.
- Avoid these no-no's: sugar, dairy, and wheat.
5. Cultivate a beginner's mind.
In her 80s, Louise enrolled in a children's art class at the San Diego Zoo. Her fellow classmates ranged in age from four to seven! Each year I've seen her be a student of something entirely fresh. She's always learning and keeps her inner child alive:
- Look at life with awe and wonder.
- Let your inner child hold the reins sometimes.
- Learn something new.
- Take a different route to work.
6. Listen to your "inner ding."
Louise calls her inner guidance system her "inner ding" and tunes into it in small moments as well as significant ones. From deciding what to order at a restaurant to the timing of trips, she trusts her innate intuition. In a world saturated with technology and outside information bombarding us, it's vital to remind ourselves that our true wisdom resides inside.
You can learn to better listen using a pendulum, muscle testing, or with the meditations shared in our book.
- Attune to your inner GPS
- Watch for the green lights in life
- Ask what your body wants for lunch
- Listen to messages in your body, which may come as sensations, colors, or images
7. Build your life around your health.
I call Louise the "Queen of Systems." She begins her day with soft classical music, a fresh glass of water with minerals, a hot water bottle to warm her core, and later a green smoothie — all before checking her phone! Louise travels with her supplements bagged and ready for meals. This woman is a gorgeous example of how to start the day with self-love.
- Drink room temperature or warm water upon waking.
- Start your day with self-love, like a walk outdoors, mirror work, essential oils in the shower, or a centering meditation.
- Set limits with electronics and technology.
8. Focus on love.
Louise loves to laugh and surrounds herself with people who love to laugh. Even when we are digging into deep emotional issues, we laugh. She enjoys quirky people who open her up to a new way of thinking or enjoying life. Laughter is great for the abs and aids in digestion and I always know when she comes back from a trip that had lots of laughter by what I feel in her belly. Her message of self-love has touched millions and that offering has changed the world we live in. She lives by these guidelines:
- Spend time with life-loving people who laugh
- Being healthy means feeling good
- Love yourself and allow it to spill over to others
As Louise says in our new book, Loving Yourself to Great Health, when you don't know what else to do, focus on love. Loving yourself makes you feel good and good health is really about feeling good.
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