Essential Steps to Designing a Beautiful Life

By Patricia Canole | Photography by Neil J Tandy | Hair by Glamsquad | Makeup by Jade Voight

With the arrival of 2022, we thought what better time to shed the old and bring on a new way of thinking. In other words: Design a new life of less—and more. More of what you love, less of what you don’t.

We recently caught up with Dr. Robi Ludwig, the renowned psychotherapist, at her New York office for some inspiration and encouragement on this fulfilling journey. Additionally, Dr. Ludwig is an award-winning reporter, TV contributor, and author. Her Your Best Age Is Now: Embrace an Ageless Mindset, Reenergize Your Dreams and Live a Soul-Satisfying Life continue to inspire those of us who are searching for a fulfilling life. She’s also been the host of Discovery ID’s Scorned for six seasons, a regular guest expert on CNN, FOX News, and appeared regularly on Today, The View, 20/20, World News Tonight, and Nighline. Here’s her story. 

Are our relationships the secret to a happy, fulfilling life? Why not money or fame?
his is a great question, especially in today’s world where too much emphasis is placed on fame and money as a symbol of success. Both fame and money, while excellent, are ephemeral. It can come or go at any time. Fame and money get relegated to the backdrop of life. Or worse, it is something which must be fought for to maintain. This is especially true of fame and might be true for money as well. There’s no escaping the self or the core issues we all must face.

What constitutes having a fulfilling and rewarding life? 
It’s having loving people around you who accept and support you. People who love you for who you are and who you are not. It’s having a connection to a purpose bigger than yourself. It’s striving for, achieving hard-won goals, and using your unique gifts in a purpose driven way. If money and fame are used to this end, that’s great! But the people who are happy find a method for living a meaningful life.

How can we maintain strong, healthy

To maintain strong and healthy relationships, you must nurture the people in your life. Show up during pivotal moments. Show the people you love that you love them. I would not be who I am today without the friends and family I have in my life. It’s important to root for your friends and your family. Think before you speak; this will increase the chance of your words landing constructively. Most importantly, listen. Active listening may be the ultimate way to show those we love and care about how important they are to us.

Like you, Dr. Ludwig, we also subscribe to self-care and the approach to focus on a work/life balance. So let us know how we can use meditation/mindfulness in our daily lives.
There is a fantastic book called Breath to Succeed. I recommend it to my patients all the time. In this book, author Sandy Abrams talks about breath as a free tool, available to everyone, wherever we go. The word meditation can intimidate some because it’s considered a time-consuming activity. However, Sandy Abrams reveals how three breaths used the right way can transform moments of momentary chaos into an energy shift: positively impacting our mood, our outlook, and our sense of internal empowerment.

Work/life balance is a cultural concept that may do more harm than good. Living a balanced life is nuanced and challenging to achieve. The work/life balance looks more like juggling than balancing. It’s essential to learn how to set boundaries, say no when needed, and do the best you can with what you’ve chosen to do. If you can pay attention to those you love while attending to your goals and aspirations, you’re winning. Feeling overwhelmed is an unavoidable reality in the modern-day work/life balance conundrum.

Are there other ways we can practice making life less stressful and more manageable?
The best way to make life less stressful and more manageable is to make intentions. Life is stressful and unmanageable at times. And that’s all right. One strategy I advise my patients to do is to first check in with themselves. If you’re feeling overburdened or stressed out, the first step is to be aware. That’s where mindfulness comes in. Then take a moment to plug into your experience. Ask yourself what you can take off your list now and what steps you need to take next? When life gets overwhelming, it’s essential to know your limits, prioritize, and then take things one step at a time. I find making a to-do list and crossing items off my list tremendously helpful. Success builds on success. Nothing feels better than crossing items off my list.

We also have noted that you advocate using color to help us feel more confident and attractive. Are there ways of using color to help soothe our minds and stay calm?
There is a lot of research supporting what happens when we see or connect with a color; our brains get stimulated. Color impacts us emotionally and sometimes physically.

There is a lot of research supporting what happens when we see or connect with a color; our brains get stimulated. Color impacts us emotionally and sometimes physically.

When you understand the impact colors have on our mood, you can harness this information to create the desired atmosphere in your homes or help you feel confident with your various color choices.

Color is everywhere and can affect us in many ways. How does it influence our decisions in choosing fashions, home décor, beauty products, etc.? Is there one color we should always have ready?
There are trendy colors out there influencing some of our choices. Specific colors are associated with inducing certain feelings and emotional states. For example, red is considered a high-energy, powerful color; it is also believed to signal courage, ambition, and strength. Women wearing red describe feeling powerful. Men view women wearing red as sexier, too. So, it may be an excellent color to always have in the closet for all these varying reasons.

Yellow is a color associated with optimism, having a positive attitude, and mental clarity. Some think it’s even helpful for easing depression and promoting laughter. When you want to feel brighter, dressing in yellow or having yellow accents in your environment couldn’t hurt. Blue is known to promote rest and calm. Some say it can even be used to ward off insomnia and promote deep sleep.

And the color black, a frequent go-to color for many of us New Yorkers, evokes a sense of power, elegance while also conveying a sense of professionalism and mystery.

The impact of color is very individualistic. Before choosing a color, do a personal assessment. Ask yourself how color impacts you and see what comes to mind. Write it down. The impact of color is both unique and subjective. Learn what each color means for you and have fun with the process.

For more information on Dr. Robi Ludwig, visit: drrobiludwig.com