It's been over a decade since Trista Sutter met and fell in love with her now husband, firefighter Ryan Sutter, on the very first season of "The Bachelorette." As one of the few people who found lasting love through reality TV, people are constantly asking her what her secret is. In an attempt to share her words of wisdom with the masses, Sutter released the book "Happily Ever After: The Life-Changing Power of a Grateful Heart" (out in paperback Dec. 30). We got her to share a few here, too.
1. Appreciate the little things
"People think I have a fairytale life because of how I met my husband, our wedding and things like that. But it's really about the little things," Sutter tells us. She says that when she was in college, she started keeping a gratitude journal, listing five things she was thankful for each day, a practice she still continues. "It got me into the mentality of thinking of what I'm grateful for, not just having a husband and having a family, but being able to take a breath or the ability to move, see and hear," she says.
2. Spread social media goodness
Piggybacking off her gratitude journal idea, Sutter started posting her favorite part of the day on her social media channels five years ago, a nightly ritual she's still doing. "I've noticed a lot of other people taking on that [practice] too," Sutter says. Posting it online holds yourself accountable so you don't slack off and stop doing it; if you do, your followers will notice!
3. Outwardly express gratitude
Sutter says another key to personal happiness is actively saying thank you to the people around you for things they do that are often taken for granted. Recently, she teamed up with CoffeeMate to surprise night shift workers with coffee and she says doing something nice for others in turn made her feel good. "They were just so thankful for being recognized. ... [My husband] Ryan is a nightshift worker, so I know all to well what they sacrifice. Being able to sit down with the people we visited and have a conversation and be able to thank them was such a fun gift," she says.
4. Brush off the haters
Of course being a "Bachelor" and "Bachelorette" alum means Sutter still encounters haters. "Even today, I posted something and someone said a really mean comment like, 'Let's just call it what it is, The Sluterette.' Seriously? The show has been on the air for how long and how old are we? Just give me a break." But while the negativity is tough to ignore, Sutter is still proud of her time on the show. "I'm so grateful for it," she says. "I was truly there to meet Ryan and fall in love."
5. Keep an open mind
For those still looking to find love, Sutter says her best advice to finding a life-long relationship is being open. "You can find love in all kinds of different places," she says. "It doesn't have to be at church or on a blind date or at the bar. Keep an open mind and it will happen how it's supposed to."