After a few weeks away from blogging, I am back sharing regular tips, perspectives and resources with you to enhance your well-being.
I start this year’s blog by reflecting on the year gone by, avoiding all the cliche's and slogans that have entered our vocabulary to describe and relate to the surreal events of last year.
Whilst traditionally December puts a full stop on each year it’s looking like the 2020 hangover might be seeping its way into the beginning of 2021 too. Perhaps making it harder for you to “turn over a new slate” or “start the year with a bang”.
Although I am not one for new year’s resolutions I do like to embrace the pause the end-of-year transition allows. Thoughts on what I learned, what I want to keep and what I want to let go.
This structure of reflection has served me well and is one that I often bring into workshops and individual sessions. Aimed to help you capture your understanding of the great, the bold and the less favourable aspects of your life so you can activate change, in any circumstance.
When it comes to well-being, we all have a vision in our head of what our ideal health & happiness would and can look like.
All too often that vision falls by the way-side amidst the flux of life, change and the unexpected.
If you started your year with a little disappointment that you didn’t delve into Life-Guru status from Jan the 1st have a go at mapping out the following considerations against the vision of life & well-being that you have in your mind’s eye.
Four simple considerations what will you…
If you had a vision but it’s far off in the distance, what does that feel like for you?
I often find that the feeling of this gap (between well-being guru) and real-life-human can cause its own issues for us.
How much time, thought and frustration do you put into the irritation or disappointment that you aren’t achieving the lifestyle you really want?
How much energy goes into feeling you let yourself down?
Those expectations, that enthusiasm of life as a “Zen-Hen” are pecking out you now.
Do you feel at the mercy of life and the direction or course that it sweeps you down the river?
A mindset of being “at affect from” often indicates to me that somewhere in you your resources for hope, determination and self-esteem are a little depleted.
When over-preoccupied by disappointment, it is easy to feel ill-resourced unable to get back focus, forgive and re-plan.
When we feel in control of our actions it’s like some sort of super-power. Our eyes are opened to possibility and the little irritations are a small spec of passing dust rather than a big boulder standing in our way.
Those weeks when you ticked off your exercise goals, when you made headway with a work project, when you spoke up about an issue and it led to a resolution. When you pre-make the lunches for at least 3 days and you finally cleared out That Drawer.
These are the weeks when no one is crying over spilled milk, when the leak in the drain-pipe is mildly amusing and the fact the snow has kept you inside, is just life’s way of singing an Alanis Morrisette and the universe heard you asking for “a little more time” putting a blanket of white in your way, to facilitate you standing still! (Isn’t that ironic!”)
When you fail to achieve your desired lifestyle habits, it’s easy to filter out the good and concetrate on the should haves, could be’s and a sense in your stomach of “whats the point in trying”?
These feelings sneak their way into your interactions with others, they sap the energy out of your focus to work, run, play and they make motivation harder.
You begin to look at your vision and see a huge canyon or vast desert, where once there had been a door or paved path to get you there.
The expectation shatters the dream.
There are many choices in this situation, it is easy to get lost in trying to make your habits happen. Disregarding that your state of mind (and body) isn’t recharged enough to believe that that vision is possible. This is where you can peel things back. Thinking less about the vision and much more about you, the vessel. Holding all this feeling inside (with some haphazard seeping no doubt!).
If you are full of frustration, sadness, fear, apprehension and sucked of energy. How are you supposed to get to that blue skies, yoga flexing, meal planning, seize the day lifestyle?
In our aims to make our life happier, and more hopeful. It is surprisingly easy to set yourself goals that take more happiness and hope out of your life, than put it in.
Life’s rewards of course have struggle and challenge and learning, outside of your comfort zone. And something can feel difficult and yet joyful at the same time.
When you feel like you are making progress.
But if you are constantly beating yourself up because you didn’t make your way on the joyful path today, then it’s time to stop and take stock of the goals and direction you are heading.
What is a life without a daily dose of joy?
So how do you stop giving yourself a hard time & achieve the change you want?
Firstly, press pause. Instead of thinking just about how far you are from that bigger picture lifestyle-guru vision. Go short term. Now. How do you get joy back in your life, how do you create joy within that makes all these bigger goals and dreams feel exciting, instead of treacherous?
With joy, we are super-heroes with superpowers. Joy helps connect neurotransmitters in our brain that have positive effects on body and mind and fuel us with energy. Joy also helps your heart to stay steady and strong, meaning all the good stuff is pumping round and keeping you energised, clearer-minded and happier.
Even in times of great struggle and hardship, finding joy can help you to strengthen emotional resilience.
The joy of knowing that when a task is done you feel freer then when you started, a simple but effective re-frame on a feeling of “ I hate this task”. – After all thoughts become things!
2020 shocked in many ways, shock makes us forget. Have you forgotten to simple power of joy in your life, making sure you prioritise a daily dose (even in the toughest of days)
The magical power of changing one feeling to another, gives you the opportunity to better equip yourself and makes tasks easier to achieve.
So instead of putting fuel on the fire of dissatisfaction ( when those goals seem far off) stoke up the flames on the purpose at the heart of it all. Happiness & Joy.
So start the year unleashing the playful, experimental side of you that is curious to notice a little bit of Joy in the everyday, every hour and maybe even every minute.
Here are five ways to create joy for yourself – do all five and find yourself looking at things from a wholesome perspective.
1) Joyful things: List 10 positive and joyful aspects of your life right now?
2) If joy were a person – if joy were a person, what would they look like, act like, be thinking – You have to know your version of joy to seek it out.
3) Do something fun – laughter helps us shift our inner world- whether you play, joke, dance or do something fun for just five minutes this helps you take Joy by the hand.
4) Flip it and reverse it – if you are feeling negative about something in life, have fun flipping the perspective on it to something positive.
5) Pave the way: Go back to that vision, the lifestyle aims you had. Ask yourself, have I put joy in this process? If not, pause and fine tune. There can be joy in giggling at ourselves for missing out this important ingredient recipe to acceptance!
Now with a calmer, clearer mind. Look back to that vision, with a bit more Joy
Set clear, meaningful and reasonable aims
Share your visions with others that can support and help you be resourceful.
Measure distance travelled with each and every step. ( If you focus too much on the destination you will miss the journey!)
Use " The Joy-Test" to ensure, that even when the goal is tricky or new, it still brings you joy somewhere along the way.
To explore more ways to make Joy an easy part of your life, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to explore how therapeutic coaching can help you achieve goals and make positive ripples in your life.
Photo Unsplash Preslie Hirsch