Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

A Simple 6-Part Prescription for Greater Happiness

One of the drawbacks of the internet is the way it exponentially increases the opportunity to compare yourself to others.

Instead of having a relatively small circle of friends, acquaintances, and co-workers, you may literally be exposed to hundreds of new people in any given week.

Have you ever noticed how it can seem like everyone in the blogosphere is so brilliant, leading an epic life, in touch with their true self, bold beyond belief, a fountain of unconditional love, and making loads of money to boot!

Whenever you suddenly feel like you are shrinking in the midst of all these bright lights, it’s time to put on the brakes.

A Simple Prescription for Happiness

Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, M. D. offers this prescription, especially for people who need to ease up on themselves.

  • No blame.
  • No fault.
  • No guilt.
  • No judgment.
  • No comparing yourself with other people.
  • No expectations.

The idea is to methodically apply the prescription to thoughts about ourselves and others.


When you notice one of these thoughts arising, you simply drop it. And repeat. Again and again.

You see the mind is just caught in a bad brain loop. It’s possible to overcome these deceptive brain messages that feed low self-esteem and make us unhappy, but it takes mindfulness – being aware of the thoughts that are arising in your mind – and repetition.

Sure, it can be hard.  In the beginning, it may seem impossible.  At first, you may just catch and release a few self-defeating thoughts each day.  The secret is to celebrate each small success and keep moving forward.  Some days it will be tougher than others, but then you’ll have days of exceptional success too.

If you keep with it, these patterns of negative self-talk will gradually diminish.

Just like each drop of water adds up to a great ocean, transforming one thought at a time is the way to create more space for true happiness and contentment to fill-up  your life.

Reference:  From Fatigued to Fantastic, Jacob Teitelbaum, M. D.

If you enjoyed this article please share the link.  Thank you!  And I would love to connect with you on Google+ or the Always Well Within Facebook Page.   With love, Sandra.


Clarity with Joy


Love or Attachment?


  1. This kind of negative self talk leads to so much unhappiness and suffering. It did for me. It really can be changed, with persistence over time, by changing your thinking which will actually change your brain and life for the better. It did mine! Herein is the magic wand we all have. I find it so empowering.

    Comparing oneself to others is never any good and only leads to pain. I know this. Still, I find myself doing it, sometimes. Then, I follow the thought with the realization that I am making an assumption and the recognition that I do not see their challenges. Then, I extend myself and them some grace. Works every time.

    • Debbie,

      it’s so heartening to hear from people like you who have successful at changing these patterns through dedication and persistence. It is so inspiring!

      Naturally, we do fall into these old ways like comparing ourselves to others from time to time. The way you handle is beautiful. Thanks for sharing your approach with us.

    • raquel

      Debbie, I agree. It does lead to so much unhappiness. Changing my thinking did help me too. I still fail it sometimes but I think that now we can realize what we are doing and change it. I love the word grace. Sometimes we forget to extend grace to ourselve.

  2. Hi Sandra,

    You’re absolutely right. It is so tempting to compare ourselves to others online. But in many cases what we see is not the whole picture. And people don’t usually present their worst sides to the public. Still, it can be hard to remember this through all the glitz and glamour.

    I like the simple prescription for happiness that you have shared with us. The main draw is its simplicity. I think the key here is to take it step by step and to realize that we cannot expect to change our thinking overnight. But through persistent effort and mindfulness, we can indeed bring about needed change that will make a great difference in our lives. Bit by bit our negative self-talk will diminish, if we keep on gently changing the way we think.

    Thank you for sharing this lovely article!

    Irving the Vizier

    • Hi Irving,

      I had to laugh at your point that most people do not present their worst sides in public!

      I agree with you fully that we cannot changes our thinking overnight. Even this “simple” prescription is not necessarily easy!

      Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

  3. Such a nice reminder! Thank you. It is so easy to compare ourselves to others in all aspects of our lives.

    As my kids have been moving toward late elementary and middle school, I’ve been trying to help them learn these lessons. Although I’ve been learning to meditate, I haven’t gotten too far with teaching meditation to my kids. However, exposing them to yoga and To-shin Do has begun to teach some of these messages. Also psychologist Martin Seligman writes about similar topics in his books on teaching optimism to ourselves and our kids.

    But I really do like the simplicity of Teitelbaum’s message to us. Thanks for posting about it.

    • Suzita,

      I’m happy this reminder resonates for you. This whole issue does start to come up so strongly children and becomes very intense for many teens and young adults. You seem to have a beautiful way of supporting your children through these challenges! I like your emphasis on optimism. I’m so glad you game by and shared the kids’ eye-view.

  4. Hi Sandra,

    This is a great post! I often think about how the internet has created so many amazing opportunities for us, but it has also made it even easier to compare yourself to others (and on a very superficial level because you can’t really fully know what a person is going through from a blog post or a tweet). I love this simple prescription for happiness. The more I understand about our minds and their ability to get into these nasty thought loops, the more I realize that mindfulness is the way!

    • Hi Nicole,

      I loved your article on Don’t Know Mind! That’s precisely my aspiration. You’re so right, there’s always so much more behind the scene! Mindfulness is such a strong component in many modern approaches to therapy and transforming destructive patterns. My vote is with mindfulness too! Thanks so much for coming by. Wishing you well.

  5. Wow, this is so on target. I compare myself all the time and it does me No Good. It can be absolutely overwhelming.
    I’m working on the Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron – working on those negative beliefs that come to us all too easily all too often.
    Thanks for this great post.

    • We all go there sometimes, don’t we! I’m glad you mentioned the Artist’s Way. I didn’t realize she focuses on these kinds of issues too. The book has been recommended to me so many times. I think it might be time to read it!

  6. The concept of celebrating our successes is, I believe, so important here. I’m so glad you mentioned it. Being willing to acknowledge our success actually makes for more success in our world. Thanks for this great post. Wonderful reminder for us all.

  7. Reblogged this on and commented:
    Sandra’s article on 6 phrases to repeat to yourself when you start to get down on yourself is very helpful. Self-talk is so helpful (when it’s positive)!

  8. Hi Sandra,

    Thanks so much for linking to my post. I wouldn’t say I’m making loads of money but I do count myself lucky that I make money from doing what I love: writing and traveling. In fact tomorrow I am off to the spa to be treated to a morning of massage and facial in exchange for writing about the experience!

    When I tell friends they roll their eyes and say how lucky I am. I agree even though I know that this kind of opportunity has come about from many long hours of work fueled by my passion for writing.

    Ive fallen into the trap of comparing myself to others online too – it’s so easy to do! But I do believe there’s a lot of spin around.

    Making money, whether by pulling pints in a London pub or by writing has never brought me happiness. But writing and blogging has:) Any income, free trips or other perks are added bonuses.

    Like you I have also spent a lot of time on personal development. I have overcome depression and now I focus daily on doing what makes me happy and striving to have the life I want. It is work but the benefits are huge.

    I love your tips for happiness and of course I’d add do what you love and surround yourself with people you love. I include you in those people:)

    When I read your list I feel proud because I can see that I really am making progress and when I see others succeed I am definitely feeling happy for them rather than comparing myself unfavorably to them. Just because one person is succeeding doesn’t mean you are failing. We can all be winners and feel happier by rejoicing in other people’s successes:)

    I love your ending analogy about changing one thought over time. That’s what I’ve been working on slowly for several decades. It’s been a long journey but I’m making good progress and it’s amazing to thing where we’ll be in another 20 years if we keep it up!

    • HI Annabel,

      Thank you for gracing us with this extraordinary comment. I know you don’t make loads of money (in comparison to your co-speaker on the panel, for example) and that you have high standards for your blog. I just like to link to you 🙂 and found this article very informative and unique; and it happens to be about money. Your blogging advice always has a unique flavor and that’s what makes it special.

      I’m very inspired by how you have overcome depression and have such clarity now about what matters in your life. “Do what you love and surround yourself with people you love” – those are two great additions to the prescription!

      It’s very exciting to have people like you respond who have really made progress against the tide of negative self-talk! Plus, rejoicing when other people succeed is such a great way to bring more joy into your life too. That’s another great happiness tip.

      I love your optimistic attitude about one thought at a time: considering where we’ll be in 20 years! That’s the way to look at it for sure.

      Thanks for this special infusion of inspiration. And don’t worry, I won’t be hitting you up for any donations!

  9. Like Annabel, I felt good when I read this because for the most part, I follow that prescription and indeed I’m happier because of it.

  10. Dearest Sandra,

    If I had a dollar for every time I’ve compared myself to others I’D be the one making loads of money 😉 Kidding aside, I think we all fall prey to the comparison game at some time, and the practice is to continually bring ourselves back to the present. Some days I do better with my own practice than others. But it’s always a practice.

    Thank you for this much appreciated reminder.

    • Now there’s a way to load up on some cash! Yes, we do all fall prey to the comparison came. We can forgive ourselves for it and just bring ourselves back to reality as you so wisely suggest. Another great practice!

  11. Terrific advice Sandra, thankyou
    be good to yourself

  12. One of the precepts of the spiritual tradition that I follow centers around the word enough. As in, there’s enough in this moment, right now, and that is all I need to focus on. But oh boy, is it hard to remember that sometimes! And I find that what I need to do is exactly what you say: remind myself over and over again. Rinse and repeat. It does get easier. And the cool thing that I see starting to happen is that this process allows joy to bubble up more often, too. Great post, Sandra.

    • Charlotte,

      I love this idea of embracing “there’s enough”. Thank you so much for telling us about it. It’s encouraging to hear how “rinse and repeat” works splendidly for you so that joy is bubbling up more and more often. It’s been such a delight to read the comments and see people’s success! Thank you.

  13. Great observations, Sandra. When I think back to a couple of years ago, it seemed, indeed, like everyone I was reading had their optimal act together, and it got worse over time–until, one day, I realized I was outlasting a lot of them–I was creating my own version of success online, just doing it the way I did it best. My mantra: trust in the process, trust in the process, trust in the process….

    • Meg,

      It’s funny how almost all of us fall into this trap for awhile. I feel so encouraged to hear that you have created your own version of success online, “doing it the way I did it best.” Now that’s an essential blogging secret! I appreciate this mantra! I think it’s important to tune in and actually realize that there’s a process of personal unfolding happening with blogging too. Thanks for this unique perspective.

  14. Sandra,
    This may be the best post I’ve read in 2012. I do not like the word epic…if we have to use it how about….
    epic kindness
    epic compassion
    epic listening
    epic gratitude…used this way epic comes from love the other way it’s our ego…and if we’re alive and breathing we have an epic life!!!
    I’m printing it out! xoxo

    • Tess,

      That makes my day! I’m glad you liked it. I would go for all those “epic” connections with goodness. I like this definition: “if we’re alive and breathing we have an epic life.”

  15. Sandra,
    I love this article…and I love all of the comments.
    In my life, I release the labels…I’m pretty unique, if I ‘compared’ I wouldn’t measure up; I’m good at some things, and not good at others. And, I second Irving’s comment, I agree with all that he shares in it.
    However, what if we take the other point of view–instead of release, we embrace..that we are all one, so we are all bold, brilliant, epic, full of unconditional love, etc…instead of compare, we may align with…pretty empowering!

  16. Joy,

    I love this “epic” idea of aligning and seeing we are are bold, brilliiant, epic..etc. Thanks for this new and fun spin!

  17. I have a love/hate relationship with the internet. It’s my livelihood, a piece of my community and where I spend a good chunk of time. It’s hard not to compare and judge when there are so many people who seem to do it all much better. Thank you for the ‘prescription’ which I have already begun using.

    • Lori,

      You really said it like it is! This is a challenge for almost all of us. You’re not in it alone. We can all apply the prescription together. I also love the idea of rejoicing at other people’s success. That’s a great way to undo envy, but again it’s a gradual practice. Thanks for your honestly!

  18. hi Sandra
    that’s right, communications has evolved in such a way that it increased our circle of friends to a great extent, i liked the solution you offered
    once we control our thoughts we will become happier

  19. Sorry I had been too busy to read this one until now, Sandra. It’s succinct and useful, similar to the way our friend at Positive Provocations writes, na?

    There’s an important difference between comparing your self to others, and comparing your work to the work others have produced. I try to keep that in mind when I am online.

    When comparing your work with the work of others, the first 3 of the list of 6 should be avoided, but the last 3 are okay if approached correctly. There’s judgment (right/wrong, good/bad, black/white), and there’s evaluation (discovering the value in a thing). We should look for the value in things. All selves are intrinsically equal in worth, but comparisons between works are useful, and it can be done non-judgmentally. You can categorize information such as “mine is shorter, the other’s is clearer, mine’s funnier, the other’s is more moving” etc. And expectation can be a good thing, when you expect that consistent practice will lead to an improvement in your ability to produce work of greater value.

    • This is such an excellent point, Mike. Actually, evaluation can help us grow as an individual and as a writer. It’s when we turn it against ourselves that it becomes problematic. I’ve heard experienced writers recommend emulate the voice of other writers as you work on evolving your own style. It’s an exercise not a self flagellation. You so often have such an interesting point of view. Thanks, I appreciate this so much.

  20. carolyn cynthia

    hi mam…it was wonderful…:)))))

  21. Hi Sandra,
    Good post. In particular I think one of the elements I have had to learn (the hard way) is to hold back on my expectations. Sometimes I get so ahead of myself that I am already planning if I am going to sign the big contract or not… before I even have a contract 🙂 . Which is not a good thing. For me, part of removing expectations is not worrying about the future. It is being present in the moment.

    Though, I want to give a little push back in regards to the concept of “no fault”. I think it is very important for me to recognize when I am at fault and then to change that behavior. If I refuse to take any fault for something that I am not identifying where I went wrong.

    Though, I think there is a very fine line here. I think I must identify where I have fault, but not feel guilty or ashamed for these. Rather it should be used to help correct my future behavior.

    Your thoughts?

    • Izzy,

      I agree with you completely! Regret is essential on the spiritual path. No guilt, not getting stuck in regret, but simple, honest, direct awareness and responsibility for our actions as a basis for changing our behavior. You said it beautifully: acknowledging fault but not getting stuck in guilt or shame.

      I enjoyed your welcome video on your blog. Good luck with accomplishing your dream.

  22. Sandra: I loved the simple perscription so much that I wrote it down so I can repeat it to myself everyday to go along with the short term goal plan I was talking about. I think that the most important part of the perscription is for me to stop comparing myself with others. I just want to totally one hundred percent stop focusing on others. I think that if I could do that then it would really help me be more at peace with myself and my life.

    Does that make sense?

    Best wishes,
    William Veasley

  23. I had a conversation with Dr. Teitelbaum during a luncheon at a conference, but not about this topic. I love the simplicity of his message here. And I love your introduction to it, Sandra. I nearly laughed out loud at how much I compare myself to others online even though I’ve become pretty good about not doing it offline. I wrote this as a manifesto of sorts to the idea of “No comparing yourself with other people.”

    • Hi Caren,

      We’re pretty funny aren’t we in our attempts to compare! Yikes! Your article is wonderful and I need a pose exactly like that. Here’s to rising above!

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