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Gabrielle Bernstein is one of those superinfluencers of the modern age ­— and she’s trying to use her influence for good. And for calm.

Her 1.1 million Instagram followers center themselves with the help of her wise words; thousands more tune in to her podcast, Dear Gabby. The best-selling author has written nine books, including her latest, Happy Days, a memoir of her journey from trauma-concealing Manhattan party girl to grounded spirit junkie.

Speaking to Experience Life from New York City, Bernstein discussed a problem we all face: balancing inner peace with real life, family, COVID-19, and people who need something from you right now.

“I wrote most of Happy Days in 2020,” she says. “I had a toddler at home, I was doing IVF, there was ­COVID, I was pregnant for five and a half months and lost the child. I stopped public speaking; I got a cat as part of my grief recovery — it was the year I really made a commitment to self-care.

“That question of how you face your trauma from the past so you can become free and at peace in the present — that’s what I was grappling with and why I wrote the book. I really think it’s one of the most important issues of our time.”

These regular practices are a few of Bernstein’s go-tos for handling life’s challenges in the day-to-day.

Feed Yourself Right

“I eat simply now. Between IVF, pregnancy, and loss — that’s hard on a body. So, I make intentional, specific choices with my food: light meals of vegetables and protein, mostly. My son, Oliver, is a soccer boy; he always has to have a ball of some kind at hand, and he’s taught me that a blueberry-strawberry smoothie is basically always a good idea.”

Take Time for Yourself

“I take a sauna almost every day, for about 20 minutes. I work hard, I put a lot of energy into the world, and now I’m unapologetic about putting energy back into myself.”

Put in the Work

“I’m a work in progress, but a few things feel like major accomplishments. My husband and I do Internal Family Systems therapy; we have a really beautiful commitment to therapy together, and therapy is hard. But if you stick around for the miracles, holy cow, it works. If you have some desire to feel better in your life, and you’re willing to do some work on yourself, open yourself to that concept and it will guide you. Life is a journey for everyone.”

Rage on the Page

Suffering from the jaw-clenching pain of TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder, Bernstein sought help from a therapist and describes in Happy Days how she modified the recommended coping techniques into what she calls Rage on the Page: 20 minutes of journaling on the difficult, impermissible topics that might be bottled up behind her clenched jaws, followed by 20 minutes of meditating on whatever emerged during the journaling process.

“It’s been game-changing for me,” she says. “Getting out whatever is bugging you, reprocessing it through meditation. It’s helped me to transform my boundaries, and now a lot of my codependent behavior is gone. It’s been great — I’ve become all about boundaries, and it’s awesome.”

This article originally appeared as “Happier Days Ahead” in the October 2022 issue of Experience Life.

Dara
Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl

Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl is a James Beard Award–winning food and wine writer based in Minneapolis, where she lives with her two children and buys only local honey.

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