Life is hard. Life is messy. Life is challenging.
We wake up each day not knowing exactly what life is going to throw at us, even if we do our best to organize, plan, and orchestrate the chaos. We experience the unknown, often taking it in stride by shrugging our shoulders and saying to ourselves, “Well I wasn’t expecting that” and continuing about our day.
But some days are harder than others. Some days we want to throw in the towel, raise the white flag, and tell life, “Okay! I give up! You win!”
That hard day might turn into a hard week, a hard month, and continue on until we hardly recognize ourselves anymore. We vaguely remember what it felt like to have a positive, sunny outlook when life didn’t feel as challenging and overwhelming, yet it seems too far out of our grasp to take hold.
How do you find yourself again? Where do you begin?
This process will likely look different for each person and each technique or skill will likely take time and effort to learn and master, just like anything you try for the first time. It is important to know that not all of these strategies will work for you right now and some might. Please be patient with yourself throughout this process and try each skill more than once or just a few times. These things take practice.
Let’s start at the beginning of your day.
More often than not, when your alarm goes off in the morning, your first thought is usually something to the effect of “I just want to go back to sleep! I don’t want to get out of bed!” Even though, these thoughts may be entirely accurate, try switching those negative thoughts into more neutral or positive ones. For example, “I’m thankful that I woke up this morning”, or even listing two or three things that you are grateful for.
This is one of my favorite techniques for a few reasons: I can do this while I’m still laying in bed, and it does not take any additional time out of my day, which is often an underlying concern regarding self-care and wellness.
Next, instead of grabbing your cell phone first thing when you get out of bed (or while you’re still in bed), opt to use that time in a more productive manner. As a substitute of scrolling through social media, read a chapter of a book or purposefully sip that first cup of coffee or tea without multitasking. Or use those extra minutes to take a longer shower while listening to your favorite upbeat music.
This is another one of my favorite strategies because it actually gives us more time in the morning to do things that are most important to us as opposed to sitting in front of a screen.
As you continue on throughout the day, you will likely encounter problems or confrontations with negative thoughts to shortly follow. In these moments, encourage yourself to briefly pause, even if for just a few seconds! These extra moments will give the logical side of your brain to consider the situation before your emotional brain takes over.
When you first begin to use this technique, the pause may feel like hours as opposed to seconds, but your reaction to the situation will likely be more realistic and appropriate to the situation, which will assist everyone involved when it comes to effective communication.
As your busy day comes to an end and you make your way back home, I encourage you to limit the television time. One of the first things we often do when we walk into our home is turn on the television, sometimes if for nothing more than background noise. If that is the case, try turning on some music instead. If you are looking for a way to wind down and “turn off” your brain after having had a long day, opt for another activity, such as playing a board game with the family, reading a book or magazine, coloring, spending some time outside, or call or write a letter to a friend or family member.
Your bedtime routine could be similar to your wake up, in the sense of setting your phone off to the side or even in a different room! As you lay down, consider the things that you were thankful for throughout the day and then let the day go, as you can no longer change anything that happened. Tomorrow is a new day, full of new challenges and opportunities.
With the recent transition of the seasons from Summer into Autumn, we shift our mindsets more into the ideas of letting go and change, just as the leaves on the trees do.
I encourage you to let go of anything you have been carrying that no longer serves you a purpose. Let go of negative thoughts that cloud your mind and make room for a new perspective, a change.
Only you have the power to make these changes and to choose to live a life with more gratitude and thankfulness.
This will likely be a difficult and trying transition that may require many reminders as you stumble your way through this journey. But as I sit here considering my own trials and tribulations in comparison to where I am currently, I can tell you the journey is worth the time, effort, and frustration. And I am still learning every day!
You can do this.
As we close on the first week of transitioning to a new physical location for ZENlightenment, I am showered with gratitude. This week, and let’s face it, the last few months, have been difficult to say the least. I have felt overwhelmed, terrified, and unsure of myself. But I am confident that I am on the right path because of my attitude of gratitude.
I want to take a brief moment to thank all of those individuals in my life that have supported me in my dreams and helped me to get where I am today. I can only imagine where I would be without all of you.
With that being said, I encourage all of you to try at least one of the techniques mentioned above in attempts to change your perspective into a more positive one. You deserve the best, so why not give that to yourself?
As always have a wonderful, healthy day.