Remember being a kid and waking up excited about the day to come? You had so much to look forward to – a day playing outside with friends, a trip to the library for story hour, a family vacation, or maybe it was your birthday! Have you had one of those mornings since you were a kid?
Wouldn’t it be great if that’s how we approached every day even as adults? So often the stress of our life circumstances can numb us and we don’t even know it. What has led to this in your life? Is it your job, a fruitless marriage, a painful divorce, the death of someone you cherish, or just our normal day-to-day routines? Regardless, it can lead to us just sleep-walking through life. Have you recently said “I can’t wait until this day is over?” Is this day really all that different from what tomorrow will be like? Are we wishing away our days?
I am going through a personal reawakening and realizing that life is full of amazing wonder and surprise but we have to be intentional about waking up and looking for it! I have wasted enough years just going through the motions, just sleepwalking. NO MORE!!!! I have decided I don’t want to waste another minute! Instead, I want to experience it all – the happy, the sad, the exciting, and maddening and the mysterious. They all remind me that I AM ALIVE. It takes all the experiences in my life to grow me, stretch me and help me appreciate all that is good in my life.
I am waking up from my sleep, and I encourage you to do the same! Where should you start? Intentionally taste that first sip of coffee tomorrow morning. Did you notice the daffodils are already popping up out of the ground? Try looking in your child’s eyes, not just at them but IN them. Don’t waste another day just wishing it were over. Live each moment!
Are you inadvertently pushing happiness away?
Why can’t I seem to follow through? As we begin a new year, I set out on a quest to learn more. And it seems there IS a reason why I seem to struggle.
And research shows it’s all in my head …. Literally.
Our brains aren’t intended to function with all the stress our culture throws at us. Stress…whether from a bear chasing us or 50 emails to answer, triggers the same response, the flight or flight response. When this happens, a part of our brain lights up that shuts down all executive functions – reasoning, creativity, focus – all the things I need to follow through!
So what do we do! Change our brain chemistry and lessen the effects of the fight or flight response.
There are some practical things we can do:
- Practice mindfulness. That’s just a fancy way of sting paying attention on purpose to what you are doing at this moment.
- Meditate. That’s just taking a few minutes everyday to unplug, take deep breaths, and reboot.
- Practice gratitude. Say it, write it, express it.
Changing our brain chemistry can make a big difference. The impact it makes is worth the effort so these are things I am going to focus on!
It seems somewhat reckless to begin a new year without resolutions! Will I accomplish anything this year? By rethinking resolutions, I think we can actually accomplish more!
The pressure that comes with a list of things things I want to “be better” at can actually sabotage the good in my life.
Think about when your child brings their report card home. What is the first thing we ask? Why did you get a C in that class? Where are the straight As? I admit that I have even been guilty of paying my children for their As … I admit those were not my best parenting decisions!
The better questions to ask are: What did you learn? What class were you most excited about? Where did you see the most growth?
Instead of looking at our Bs and Cs this new year, let’s reflect on the most exciting things about last year; the areas we saw some growth in ourselves; the things we were able to learn and accomplish!
Focusing on our strengths and areas of competence seems like a much better way to start. You might try that with your kids too!!
Let’s make this our best year yet by being gentler on ourselves!
Happy New Year! from Happy Matters on Vimeo.
I have thought more about why so many of us seem to struggle with our New Year’s Resolutions. Resolutions typically highlight all the ways we feel we aren’t measuring up, areas that need improvement and how we often don’t feel “good enough.” That is not exactly the way I want to start this new year!
I am going to start this new year with a new list – a list of things that are good enough in my life – the things I am truly grateful for. Of course there are always going to be some areas in my life that need some attention, but if that is all I focus on, I not only set myself up for disappointment and failure, I lose sight of all the good there is!!
So join me in starting off this new year with a new list that highlights all that is good – relationships in your life, work that is satisfying, great friends.
The enemy of good is often better … don’t miss out on all the good around you because you are so focused on being better.
Let’s be happy this new year and flourish together!!