Life contains suffering. It’s a simple truth we can all confirm. Between the pleasure and the pain, change is the only constant. The question is how to deal with this reality and be reasonably happy most of the time.

I’ve been to both extremes myself. I’ve been a miserable suicidal drunk and I’ve been happy, joyous and free.

In my experience, the main difference between those two states had little correlation with the external life circumstances and everything to do with my internal mindset. The biggest driver of my happiness or lack thereof has always been my outlook–where I was focusing my attention.

Years ago I learned an axiom that has helped me tremendously:

Whenever I am disturbed, there is something wrong with me.

Now there may be something wrong with the people, places and things I find disturbing, but that’s not my business.

My business is to change my attitudes and behaviors to adapt to reality as it is, not as I wish it was.

Written self-inventory has been an indispensable tool for me. It brings my focus to the things I can change.

Five-Minute Journal

One of my favorite ways to implement this practice is The Five-Minute Journal. It’s available in a physical notebook form for about 23 U.S. Dollars or as a smart phone app for 5.

Each morning I list 3 things for which I am grateful and 3 things I will do to make that day great. I also write a positive affirmation by completing the ¬†following sentence: I am…

Each night I list 3 amazing things that happened that day and answer the following question:

How could I have made today even better?



Nick Ortego is a health coach specializing in biohacking for runners. He integrates modern methods with the ancient wisdom of yoga to help runners get the most out of every aspect of life. He is the owner of N 2 Action, a wellness studio in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, offering personal training, health coaching, yoga, and fascial stretch therapy.
Also find more on the Nick Ortego Fitness YouTube Channel

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