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!
Choose happiness … it is something I hear a lot. And I really wish it were that easy – just make a choice to be happy and you will be. Believe me I have tried! And it didn’t work.
Although not as simple as wishing it to be true, I do believe that I am in control of my own happiness. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a magic formula to flip the switch on. What I have found is that I can control my experience of happiness, deliberately doing the things that I know contribute to my happiness.
- Feeling and expressing gratitude.
- Being kind.
- Taking time to unplug everyday.
- Rebooting my mind by meditating daily.
- Finding the good things and celebrating them – all of them – big or small!
Practicing these habits of happiness don’t happen automatically – that’s why they are called habits. And I have learned a couple of things about habits: 1) developing a habit just “takes as long as it takes” to really stick (don’t give up) and 2) habits are formed easier in my life when I am connected to people that are working to form the same habits (find a community of support)!
So let’s start this New Year together; deliberately choosing to practice the habits of happiness; let’s encourage each other, and be kind to ourselves along the journey! Join our Meet up group and Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/happymatters/) to be a part of the Happiness Revolution!
I have found that meditation is as important to my happiness (flourishing) as gratitude! Science even backs me up on this one! As I started by journey to experience more … of everything … I was skeptical of what research reported meditation would do. But I was willing to try. In my journey I have learned that meditation is not at all what I thought it was. I don’t sit crossed leg on the floor burning incense! I sit anywhere and anyhow I want. I breathe and focus, and it works!
Because the most important part of meditation is learning compassion towards ourselves. My mind is going to wander – that is a given. To be critical of myself for my mind losing focus would be like yelling at a toddler for coloring on the wall. They are crayons … they are meant to be used to add color.
When a child colors on the wall, we re-direct them to color in the coloring book. It’s the same with meditation. We redirect our minds back to breathing. We don’t judge ourselves; we show compassion and understanding!
Seems like gratitude and meditation have a lot in common … both ensure we will build compassion and understanding in our lives.
Have a peaceful day!