Every spring I clean out my closet, get rid of the things I haven’t worn (to make room for new!) and struggle with getting rid of my favorite pair of old holey jeans. It’s the same every year. I can’t wear them anywhere but I can’t seem to let go of them. They serve no useful purpose in my closet anymore! So why can’t I get rid of them?
As I have thought about this, I realize there are things in my life that work the exact same way! Some things are comfortable but when I really look at them, they serve no useful purpose in my life – and may even be unhealthy for me.
Just like I sort out the clothes in my closet, I am sorting out the things in my life – taking stock of what contributes to my happiness and well-being. I realize there is some clutter that I want to get rid of to make room for the things that really matter to me!
I know the things that contribute to my well-being: time with family and friends; doing gratitude; journaling; meditation; listening to my favorite music. To ensure I have room for those things, I am going to face some things that fill space but don’t contribute in a useful way – that relationship that I hang on to but continues to be unhealthy; those mind-numbing habits that serve no purpose (surfing facebook, mindlessly watching tv – not that they are bad but they aren’t useful for me!).
I am realizing it takes courage to do spring cleaning! I am going to throw out those holey worn out jeans this year and I encourage you to do the same!
It’s that time again … if we made a New Year’s Resolution, statistically we have bailed on it! Since I knew that the odds were not in my favor, I didn’t make any resolutions!!
That doesn’t mean I haven’t resolved to make some changes in my life. In fact, the opposite is true. But removing the stress of a New Year’s Resolution has helped.
Life is often filled with difficulties we don’t see coming. It seems a bit cliche, but those difficulties can really be viewed as threats or opportunities. And when you are faced with several at once, it can be an opportunity to see what really matters. That has been the driving force behind my “resolutions”.
I want to be kind – no matter the circumstances!
I want to be grateful – and I want to DO gratitude.
The more we are exposed to something, the easier it becomes to think about. The more we have thought about something, the easier it is to think about!
So I am going to expose myself to the things that I want to do – kindness and gratitude – more! I am making a card for my bathroom mirror, my car and my office so I can think about it more. And the more I think about it, the easier it will become to do!
I encourage you to write down those things you resolve to do, post them where you can see them regularly, and see what happens! You will think more and do more!!
As I continue on this journey called life, I am often surprised to discover how much more there is to happiness than I realized. A game changer for me has been the ability to bounce back after a set back. I have been naive in thinking that “someday” things will settle down – when I get my kids’ college paid for; when I get through this divorce; when I make “enough” money … the list goes on and on.
The reality is that life is full of setbacks, curve balls, and even sucker punches! One of the greatest things about practicing the habits of happiness is the ability to bounce back. After two years of committing to finding a “better” way, I have seen the power of a few simple changes.
I encourage you to start today ….
DO gratitude. It is so easy when life is coming at you full steam to only see the negative.
I write down 3 things I am grateful for each day – no matter how I feel. I will be honest, some days it is a bit of a struggle. But I keep looking – a beautiful sunrise on the way to work, a text message from a friend, a great cup of coffee!
I say “Thank you” as often as I can, even for the small things!
I take 10-20 minutes each day to “shut down” and “re-boot.” Some would call this meditation; it doesn’t matter what you call it, just do it. Give your brain a chance to recover from the hundreds of stressors thrown at you each day!
Life will always hand us surprises, but we can control how we handle them. And increase our experience of happiness in the process!!
Join me in increasing your bounce back time!
I really believe life is a journey – and the most important aspect of it is to KEEP MOVING! As I reflect on my own journey, I realize that for the vast majority of my life I was stuck. Circumstances entangled me to the point I couldn’t see how to move. I believe I am not alone in this. I believe the loneliness, despair, isolation, hopelessness – you get the idea – are not unique to me.
I had no idea there was another way … that happiness wasn’t this elusive unicorn that only the chosen few could attain. There is hope … hope for more, that happiness is attainable and it is so much more than we really understand it to be, and our circumstances don’t have anything to do with it!!
We only have one amazing life … what are we going to do with it?! Waiting for more money, our kids to get out of the house, a better career, etc. wastes precious time. Making small but significant changes today can change not only tomorrow, but TODAY!! We have the power to be happy now!! And we can really LIVE this one amazing life.
Start today. Look for things to grateful for, express that gratitude and celebrate! Live your one amazing life!!
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!