Carol Harper is no stranger to adversity.
When she was a young woman, a drunk driver hit her head-on. The impact crushed her facial bones to powder, and she suffered a traumatic brain injury. After six surgeries, doctors could not rebuild her face as it was before.
After the collision, her marriage ended in divorce, and her doctor told her she could never work again. For years Carol worked through pain and loneliness, trying to rebuild her life.
"I was so depressed. I lost my will to live," says Carol.
Over time, Carol's body began to heal, but her soul and spirit were much slower to mend. She started therapy and later joined a support group.
Her greatest emotional healing came from turning back to her Christian roots. She began praying and attending church again, crediting God for picking her up out of the ashes.
She joined Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and began sharing her story with convicted drunk drivers. After that, doors opened for other speaking opportunities, and she realized her true purpose was to share her story with the world. She became a professional speaker and wrote several books. Now she inspires many with her story, and she couldn't be happier.
Carol's journey has taught her that happiness is a choice, not just a feel-good emotion that arises when life is going well.
Learning how to choose happiness was a struggle at first. Over time, she realized that it wasn't her job, husband, or even her looks that defined her. It was how she saw herself and how she treated others that really mattered.
Her advice to others? Not to place their happiness on external things.
"So many people put their happiness in their career, outward appearance, and material possessions," she says. "The problem is that if they lose any of those, they become unhappy."
Another critical factor in finding happiness, according to Carol, is to have a purpose in life. Once she became a speaker, she could use her abilities for good, giving her a feeling of deep contentment and joy.
"We all have God-given gifts and talents. If we use those talents, it makes us happy," Carol says.
As far as how to find your purpose, Carol says to think about what you love to do.
"If you can't make a living from it, do it in your spare time," says Carol. "Take a class or find a mentor to help you develop your gifts."
When you see yourself as valuable, do what you love, give back, and are thankful, you are holding the keys to a happier life.
Carol's Tips For a Happier Life
Live in the Present
Too many people dwell on the past, holding on to personal failures or wrongs done to them. Others worry too much about the future and all the "what ifs." It is essential to plan for the future but live for today.
Invest in Relationships
We are a disconnected society, and to love and be loved is a basic human need for everyone. Fear of rejection and overscheduled lives led to this, but we can fix this by extending more love to one another.
Practice Gratitude and Giving
Looking at what you have rather than what you don't have is essential. Be thankful for the little things, and rather than just trying to get more, give some to those who really need it. I believe in giving 10% of your income to your church or another non-profit organization.
Take Care of Your Body
Serotonin is known as the "happy hormone" that regulates mood. Exercise, a healthy diet, sunlight, and sleep all affect serotonin levels. Studies have shown that smiling - even fake smiles can boost your mood and happiness levels.
To learn more about Carol, visit carolharperspeaks.com