Carly, London

Carly is a gym bunny, happiness coach, yogi and founder of Happy Human.

What makes you happy?
That second you see a flash in someone’s eyes when they finally accept themselves and realise that they can do anything. I love really honest conversations with people where you connect, share your worries, your experiences, and both float away feeling a little less alone, a little more content, a little more free, and a lot more grounded in your own skin.

Exercise also makes me incredibly happy. I’m an uncoordinated and asthmatic gym junkie and it takes me 45 minutes of moaning to start enjoying my sweat session, but when I’ve finished I am like an excited bouncy tigger. I’ve been told it’s infuriating which makes me happy too!

Having spent the past 30+ years as an anxious person, lately I’ve been trying to draw happiness from being present in the moment. That’s meant less scrolling through social media on the tube, more reading or just sitting and letting the experience of being , immerse me. It’s a nice practice but MAN is it difficult!

Is there something that you spent a long time believing you couldn’t do…. only to try it and realise that you can actually could do it? What made you try it?
Setting up my own business. I’ve always been dipping my toe in things on the side, usually hobbies that became something that took over my whole extra-curricular life. I feel like I’ve gotten to a place in my life where I believe in myself, my capabilities and my knowledge… and I also not believe that you’ve got to fail to try, which has kind of given me nothing to lose. My mind’s been freed up- I feel like I’m willing to to give anything a try if my instincts tell me it will work. I am ready to practice what I’ve spent so long preaching to others!

If you were taking yourself on a date, what would you arrange for yourself?
A gym class, brunch, a sunny walk, a picnic with a book, a snooze in the sun, and a massive bubbling macaroni cheese for dinner.

What’s one thing you do regularly in order to look after yourself?
Rest! A year ago I would have said exercise, but I find I flourish when I get a good balance between the two. And by rest I mean no phone, no tv, no emails, and no guilt. Just being in a room, and letting an album or a book wash over me for an hour or so. That full focus on relaxing makes me feel incredibly grounded.

Share one thing that used to make you really anxious, that you no longer worry about.
Literally everything! But mainly other’s opinions. It dawned on me recently that when someone expresses an opinion that’s different to mine, it doesn’t mean mine is automatically wrong. They’re just different opinions. It sounds so simple, but unbelievably, this has plagued me for my whole life.

I spent my childhood and my 20s being a people-pleaser, and it actually turned me into quite a resentful person. I feel like I got a bit downtrodden and had low self-esteem because of it. 

My 30s are teaching me the art of respectful disagreement. I have quiet conviction in my own opinions now.  It’s made me so much happier, and far less worried about what other people are thinking of me. I feel like I’ve become me. I feel free. 

Time is precious. What do you dedicate yours to?
Keeping my body healthy, my mind happy, showing myself respect and being kind to those who I love and who show me love.

Give your 18 year old self a piece of advice.
Your opinions are as valid as everyone else’s. You exist as much as everyone else exists. No one has more authority over your body or your opinions than you do over them. 

Will you grow old gracefully or disgracefully?
I’ve a funny feeling that the older I get, the more free I’ll feel. I think I’m in for an unashamedly disgraceful ageing process. It’ll be f*cking glorious and I can’t wait. I’ll probably spend a lot of my time naked, too.

What do you hope people say about you when you’ve left this mortal coil?
I’d like my death to inspire others to live theirs to the full, and appreciate the enormity of existence while acknowledging the fragility of it all. I’d like my death to make others celebrate both my life, and their own. 

How did answering these questions make you feel?
It only occured to me recently that I should probably answer these 10 questions, seeing as I’ve sent to so many others. On reflection, it made me feel vulnerable, but overall, it made me feel f*cking great, actually!

Check out more happiness including workshops, talks, podcasts and care packages at www.happyhumanbean.com