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"Happiness Doctor" Lia Bernardo Is Conducting An "Experience Your Wholeness" Retreat?—Here's Why You Shouldn't Miss It

Have you asked yourself lately, what makes you happy? Are you happy because your children have graduated? Is it because you ticked off another destination from your travel bucket list? Is it because you finally got your dream car or dream home? Or, is it because you have found The One?

Every single day, we come across various reasons to be happy—even in the simplest, most mundane things. But Lia Bernardo, PhD, a psychoneurologist and personal development training and behavioral specialist, says "all of these are perceived external definitions of happiness."

Now, ask yourself, "Am I really happy?" 

"One can only generate joy from within... it's so important to get the word out there that, really, self-love and self-acceptance are the solutions," Lia emphasizes.




The foundation of happiness

The lack of self-love and self-acceptance, Lia says, is often the underlying cause of unhappiness. “If you want to be happy, there’s no other way but to love yourself and turn that camera inwards to like who you are,” she declares.

If happiness always feels like a fleeting moment for you, an elusive concept that manages to escape you each and every time, take pause and look inside yourself.

One may argue that self-love and self-acceptance are easier said than done. That may be true, and that’s what Lia and her Atma Prema Wellbeing Group is here for (“atma prema” is self-love in Sanskrit). Through corporate programs, retreats, workshops, and private sessions, they send the message that you can direct yourself to your desired state of being. It is possible. You can make it possible.

When we let negativities take over us, triggered by several factors such as jealousy or self-doubt, we are falling into a vicious cycle. What Lia and her team do is change those patterns in order to develop a good and healthy relationship with yourself.     


"People like to blame social media for their negative thoughts... But it's a perception, it's not social media's fault. It's how we use social media and how we perceive ourselves vis-à-vis the post that you see. Why not use it as inspiration rather than envy?"—Lia


Lia Bernardo, psychoneurologist and personal development training and behavioral specialist?



Emotional and mental wellbeing

Recently, in a televised pre-pageant activity, Binibining Pilipinas 2019 candidate Joanna Rose Toledo, a 25-year-old guidance counselor, was criticized for her answer at a "free speak" competition. The candidates were to comment on various topics, and Joanna was asked to share her thoughts on depression. 

This was her answer: "I’m a psychology major and I studied depression when I was in college and I am a grade school guidance counselor as well and I have students who are experiencing depression. I am always telling them that if you believe in yourself and if you know yourself, who you are and who you want to be, then you will not experience depression." 

Netizens voiced out why they thought Joanna was insensitive and uninformed, pointing out that depression is simply "not a mindset." 

Lia, who also happened to have conducted a self-love retreat day for this year's Binibining Pilipinas candidates, pointed out that from a psychoneurologist's point of view, there is nothing wrong with Joanna's answer.

She respects those who believe otherwise. But with psychoneurology, what Lia is presenting is simply an alternative to those who do not want to take any medication for depression. “My perspective is that it’s because they really need to look inwards and like who they are and take charge of their emotional, physical wellbeing,” Lia tells Metro.Style.


"It's only when you see your magnificence that you will spot that in others. If you're so busy running 'I'm not good enough,' 'Oh, my clothes don't fit,' 'My nose is too big,' 'My skin is bad,' or 'My hair is frizzy,' that's what you're going to see in other people. And you end up judging. And what people need to understand is that when somebody is judging you, it has nothing to do with you"—Lia




Experience your wholeness

For those who wish to be happier, Lia has an upcoming retreat called “Experience Your Wholeness” on August 10-12, 2019 that will focus on self-love and self-acceptance as the keys to happiness and wellbeing.

The 2-night, 3-day retreat, which will be held at Anya Resort  in Tagaytay, will cover topics such as breathwork, developing harmonious relationships, movement and meditation, resolving the inner critic, creating healthy boundaries, generating joy, removing guilt and shame, tools for self-nurturing, and increasing vibrational frequency. It is open to men and women ages 17 and above.

Karamihan sa atin will go through that inner journey para ayusin natin ang sarili natin. May mga nagsasabi nu’n. ‘Aayusin ko muna ang sarili ko,’” Lia shares, elucidating the ultimate reason for why she is doing these retreats. “There’s nothing wrong with you. The problem with a lot of our thinking is that we feel there’s something wrong with us that needs to be fixed. What if we are just being human beings? You.Are.Not.Broken. You’re just not liking and accepting who you are.”

Unlike some retreats where sharing is an essential part of the lineup of activities, this one is mainly focused on self-nurturing. You may be in the presence of others who may be going through the same thing as you but this is about the individual's journey. All Lia and her team will do is guide you through your inward journey towards completeness and provide you with the skills and resources for it. For this to work, you need to have the willingness, determination, and commitment to acknowledge that everything that is happening in your life is simply the result of your thought patterns and, therefore, it is up to you to stop them and come and say, “Lia, I don’t want to think this way anymore. I don’t wanna behave this way anymore. Help!”

Dr. Colbey Forman, Chief Psychoneurologist and Founder of Psychoneurology, explains that the science behind this breakthrough in emotional and mental wellbeing lies in educating the patient either consciously or subconsciously “to be able to use their brain and nervous system much more effectively, so that they can create completely new results.”

Only you have the power to make yourself happy, so you need to condition yourself to reach that goal. Lia points out, “All you need to do is want it and get out of your own drama, and the rest is easy. That’s what I’m there for. I teach it, but you have to put in the work. I don’t have a magic wand and just say, ‘Okay, you’re happy!’”

Those who have attended this retreat can attest to how life-changing and transformative it is. By simply helping you change your thought patterns, you get to see yourself from a different lens and you get to generate joy for yourself. 

While there’s a general structure to this retreat, Lia modifies it every time. And because the experience is never the same, she would even get repeaters who are looking to explore a deeper part of themselves. And that’s exactly what self-love is about—it’s something you have to constantly work for, to unearth other aspects about you that you may be missing as you go through your day-to-day life. You can go deeper, to discover your different facets. As Atma Prema Wellbeing Group managing partner Tina Nakayama describes the retreat, it's the "deep-dive" into yourself, in order to appreciate and, ultimately, love who you truly are. 

“They say there’s always something in it for everyone, because it allows you to explore yourself and the parts of yourself that you have been negating, the parts of yourself that need acceptance, and the parts of yourself that just need a little loving," Lia tells Metro.Style. "You're going to love yourself more. You're already awesome, you're just not seeing it. This much I can guarantee you, you're not going to leave the retreat the same person when you came in."


Join Lia Bernardo's "Experience Your Wholeness" retreat on August 10-12, 2019 at Anya Resort, Tagaytay. Reservations can be made through Payments must be made on or before August 1, 2019. All payments are non-refundable. For more information, contact 0998-9767149, visit, dr.liabernardo on Facebook, and @dr.liabernardo and @atmapremawellbeing on Instagram.