Sandra Teschner (Photo: Reproduction/ Revista Marie Claire)
“After nearly drowning in my own blood, I realized my mission is to spread happiness”
Five years ago, entrepreneur Sandra Teschner was between life and death because of stress-induced condition. Still in hospital, she says everything changed when, in a coma, she saw a tunnel with pink light and people around her transmitting peace. One week later, when she recovered, Sandra decided she would “spread happiness”.
Five years ago, Sandra Teschner was between life and death because of a health problem caused by stress. Still in hospital, she says everything changed when, in a coma, she saw a tunnel with pink light and people around her transmitting peace. One week later, when she recovered, Sandra decided she would “spread happiness”. She studied factors that make people happy in their everyday life and went on giving lectures around the world. Such dedication earned her the Chief Happiness Officer Certificate from the University of Florida. For Sandra, speaking of and teaching how to be happy is a mission.
It all started in July 2014 when she lost her father and grandmother within six months. Sandra plunged into her work, at the time in corporate communication, until one day, under stress, she had a nosebleed. Rushed to the hospital, the entrepreneur says she went into a coma and was admitted to the ICU. Her chances of survival were slim. She says that her brother, a cardiologist, spoke to the doctors and the prognosis was that Sandra would not see the light of day.
“I was intubated and taken to the operating room. They could not diagnose my problem. When they tried to stop the nosebleed, I inhaled my own blood and nearly drowned. My lungs were filled with blood. I remember seeing doctors around me. And that’s when I spotted a huge wooden gate. When this gate opened, I saw a tunnel, like those usually found under an overpass. And there was a very strong pink light. I was being pushed on a gurney and people looked at me with pity,” she tells Marie Claire.
“I thought I was in a mental institution, but I saw that those people were in peace, but not me. I was very anxious on the gurney looking from one side to the other. I just wanted to know where my father and my grandmother were, and I couldn’t see them,” she continues.
Sandra regained consciousness two days after she had been admitted to the ICU. “When I regained consciousness I was trying to understand all that had happened in that experience and realized that if I had seen my father and my grandmother, I would not have wanted to come back. I only had one phrase in my mind: ‘Life’s wisdom consists in changing everything you can, accepting the things you cannot change and, mostly, knowing how to tell the difference.’ I asked the doctor for a pencil and paper so I could write it, but I couldn’t. I was hospitalized for one week,” she recalls
It was from this near-death experience that Sandra Teschner decided to study the science of happiness. She plunged into books and created a project called Planting Happiness that promises the “recipe for happiness,” combining scientifically accepted criteria for being happy with her own experiences.
“In my research, I came across a course about happiness at the University of Florida and went there to study, to discuss the subject with authors of great books, and to actively participate in study groups. At the university, I learned that scientifically happiness is a choice, that 50% of the ability of being happy is genetic, 10% is the result of external events and the other 40% can be learned,” she explains.
“It was clear that my mission would be to make other people understand that it is perfectly possible to learn how to be happy. Nowadays I practice everything I’ve learned in this specialization course and keep on learning about what makes one happy. After almost dying, I realized that I was born to spread happiness and that I could make a living out of it. I can say it’s a very rewarding job,” she observes.
Sandra has also dedicated herself to social projects with children with amputated limbs, cancer and rare syndromes.
“What changed for me since my near-death experience is I don’t want to eliminate problems and misfortunes. I know we cannot avoid obstacles. What matters is how we respond to them and that defines how we will feel. Giving is better than receiving; it’s not religion, it’s science. Being truly grateful gives you the opportunity to see the bright side of life and it reverberates more light. You can learn to be happy. And nobody needs to nearly die to learn that,” she declares.
Sandra Teschner is a publisher, businesswoman, author, speaker on topics such as self-esteem, sustainability and fashion, and happiness. Certified by FIU (Florida International university) & Wohasu, Miami.
Versão traduzida do artigo publicado na Revista Marie Claire. Para acessar a versão em português, clique aqui.