'The path to true happiness': Tina Turner shares her secrets to creating joy in new book

Morgan Hines, USA TODAY
·5 min read
Happiness Becomes You is published by Atria, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. Copyright © 2020 by Tina Turner.
Happiness Becomes You is published by Atria, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. Copyright © 2020 by Tina Turner.

Rock icon Tina Turner, known for hits like "What's Love Got to Do with It" and "Proud Mary," is on a mission to help others find and create joy in their own lives.

The 81-year-old Grammy winner has published "Happiness Becomes You" (Atria Books, pp. 240) a "guide for changing your life for good," that hit shelves Tuesday. In the book, she shares her spiritual journey with Buddhism since the 1970s, and it features stories from her life and what she's learned about finding happiness and love.

"Happiness Becomes You" adds to Turner's ' list of published books, which include "I, Tina" (1986) and "My Love Story" (2018), which revealed harrowing ordeals she has overcome, including an abusive marriage, a suicide attempt and a stroke, during her decades in the spotlight.

"There were so many external circumstances and forces I couldn't change or control, but my life-altering revelation was that I could change my way of responding to these challenges," she writes in her new book's introduction. "The most valuable help comes from within, and peace comes when individuals work on becoming their better selves."

She goes on: "Here, I reveal my greatest untold life lessons, deepest realizations, and beloved ancient rituals to help you recharge your soul."

USA TODAY chatted with Turner via email about the book, and here's what she had to say:

Tina Turner speaks during the "Tina - The Tina Turner Musical" opening night at Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on Nov. 07, 2019, in New York City.
Tina Turner speaks during the "Tina - The Tina Turner Musical" opening night at Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on Nov. 07, 2019, in New York City.

Question: What inspired you to write 'Happiness Becomes You'?

Answer: This is a very personal book that I’ve wanted to write for a long time, focusing on the core themes of my life – hope, faith and happiness. My wish is to share the simple principles that brought me joy and fulfillment beyond my wildest dreams so that others can realize happiness in their own lives, too.

Q: Do you think this book will resonate more because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic?

A: Yes, I do. By sharing how I overcame every obstacle life threw at me, even the seemingly impossible circumstances I faced, I hope this book will be a lighthouse for anyone who’s feeling down and in need of a boost.

Q: You wrote in the book that you always wanted to be a teacher, but you were waiting for the right time. Why now?

A: Now more than ever, I believe we need uplifting messages of compassion, unity and resilience. Society today seems to be brimming with more uncertainty and instability than we’ve seen in many years. My desire to bring people hope and optimism motivates me to reveal how I made my own journey from adversity to positivity.

Q: What was the process of creating this book like?

A: Joyful, purposeful and gratifying.

Q: Can you briefly explain to me how you came to practice Buddhism?

A: In my late 20s, I was depressed and suffering from a litany of problems. Eventually, I became so hopeless that I attempted suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills. Fortunately, people found me and took me to the hospital, where I was revived. Not long after that, a number of people suggested I try chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and studying Buddhist principles. The more I learned about it, the more I found the philosophy helpful, and it made perfect sense to me. Buddhism literally saved my life, and I’ve been happily chanting every day for about 50 years now.

Q: What do you hope readers will take away from the book?

A: My wish is to inspire readers and give them tools to increase joy in their lives. I believe we all have the potential for indestructible happiness, and we already have within us everything we need to be joyful. We must simply tap into it. To me, a truly happy life means feeling optimistic and confident, no matter what circumstances we may face, because we know that our inner wisdom can guide us to make positive choices. We always have a choice, even if it is as seemingly small as choosing to think a more positive thought or being grateful for a cherished moment we’ve experienced. In this book, I share the ways I’ve created joy even during the hardest times of my life, including financial ruin and health problems, and how everyone who reads "Happiness Becomes You" can do the same.

Q: Can you give me your top five pointers on changing your life for good?

A: Yes, I wrote a whole book about it! If I had to boil it down to only five points, I’d say:

  1. Remember you are worthy of all the love and joy in the world.

  2. Let go of the past and focus on the present moment.

  3. Don’t compare yourself with others, just try to become a better version of yourself each day.

  4. Never seek lasting happiness in externals, because happiness is actually found within you.

  5. And do your best to spread kindness and compassion to all living beings – the goodness will come back to you.

Q: And finally, can you share some pointers on how to start finding happiness within?

A: Always keep growing and learning as long as you live. Develop even greater patience today than you had yesterday. Never give up on yourself or your dreams. And be open to expanding your heart and mind bigger than any problems you encounter. When you do these things, you’ll deepen your inner state of well-being, which will brighten every aspect of your life.

That’s the path to true happiness.

If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) any time day or night, or chat online.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tina Turner book: 'Happiness Becomes You' aims to help create joy