Chantal di Donato is the founder of Live Lean Health. She is a holistic nutritionist, a Health Coach and a yoga teacher.
What is happiness to you?
Happiness is such a big concept and so hard to pin point, so it can change all the time. But generally to me it became the wonderful gift of being in the present moment, doing what I love and knowing that I am making a positive impact on others. Just the thought that I may affect someone else positively makes me really happy.
How did you come to your current level of positivity and what did you have to overcome to achieve it?
During my personal growth I realized that in order to acquire a more positive outlook, I needed to let go of what held me back. Self-judgement and discontent were two of the big ones. As soon as I started loving myself, I started also loving my life and as consequence I started being grateful for what I have rather than resentful of what I don’t. This immediately allowed me to become more positive about life as I was looking at it through loving eyes.
What tools and techniques are you using daily to keep happy?
“Me Time” – I certainly don’t make as much as I wish I could, but even 10 minutes of meditation and 10 minutes of journaling make a huge impact on my happiness. I also made it an important point for myself to take 1 hour to do yoga daily; I teach a lot and I am giving a lot, so I need to restore my energy. I became good at creating a routine that allows me to be grounded. I also give credit for my happiness to my Golden Retriever Scooby who drags me out to the park everyday, and rain or sunshine, I can appreciate being in nature, which makes me so happy and grateful for the beauty nature alone offers!
Do you think one can stay content living in a big and busy city like London? If so, what’s the trick?
There is a difference between being content and happy but I do see happiness as the next step from being content. We can definitively be both content and happy in cities like London. The trick is to make the time to be still, to meditate, to take care of oneself and invest in mental and physical wellbeing. The biggest challenge that keeps people from being content in big cities is the appreciation of what really matters; most cities are mostly about consumerism and being fashionable, having the latest gadgets and almost competing on everything around us. Creating gratitude around what we have and placing importance and value on things that really matter can shift the relationship we have with happiness and are therefore able to be more content or happy about what we have in our lives.
Can specific diet make us happy? If so, how?
The food we eat changes our brain functions. Neuroplasticity has been a very big focus in neuroscience and it has been proven that practices like meditation and healthy diets do change the brain and the connections it makes. A diet rich in real, natural, life foods will create better chemistry in the brain! A diet that is full of processed, toxins and chemical leaden food will obstruct brain’s development; it will impact hormones, which again are extremely important on how the brain works. In my path as a vegan I also believe that a kind diet makes us happier too.