Life is all about perception, it all depends on how you choose to see it. There are two outlooks in life, one full of optimism, and the other full of pessimism. A negative mindset will help you manifest more challenging situations, while a positive one will help highlight all that is good assisting you in your journey everyday. The question is which do you choose and which would you rather live with? Looking back you may find that you have been living life looking at the difficult moments and you may ask, well if I’ve been living most of my life in a less positive mindset, how can I make a 180 and start to live in bliss and freedom? Easy. Lets look into it together and go through the steps as a team.
Stop worrying about things you cannot change
Ask yourself this, is this worry something that I’ve already put my all into and is now up to the universe to start moving it along? Or are there more tasks that can be done to alter the path ahead? If there’s nothing more to be done, then how does worrying help, all it does is add more stress to you life and halts you from obtaining the happiness you deserve. Instead of living in a dream, you’ve created your very own horror movie that you have distinguished as a priority, these thoughts are sticky and that’s why we tend to attach to them. By becoming aware of our thoughts allows us to be mindful on what you’re allowing in your mind and with more practice, the stronger your little security guard will get. Practice non-attachment by not resisting, attaching, reacting to or acting on the thoughts. Accept your thoughts as they pass through and just like fear, treat your thoughts as a friend and allow them to show you where your mind wanders to most. This will open a treasure trove of information about yourself and show you the state your mind is currently in. This is something to be practiced and something to be patient with just like going to the gym, the muscles wont appear all of a sudden with one workout. Each day write a list of worries you have and note which ones you can do something about and which ones you can’t. Those that you can’t do anything about cross off and don’t allow it to have the real estate within your mind. As the Dalai Lama said, “If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, there’s is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, there is no help in worrying whatsoever.”
Move your body
Moving your body allows the increase of hormones, which tend to help minimize the discomfort of exercise and blocks the feeling of pain; endorphins, serotonin, dopamine and testosterone are all released during physical activity leading to a more euphoric feeling. Not only does exercise increase positive feelings, but it helps to stimulate growth of new brain cells by increasing the flow of oxygen to your brain and it helps to get your lymphatic system moving and drains the toxins from your body. But exercise sucks, you say.. well I agree! But it doesn’t mean you have to move your body within a gym. Look at what makes you happy – dancing, yoga, qi-gong, zumba, walking or even water sports such as kayaking are all great, fun options. Think outside of the box and the more exercise you can commit to on a daily basis will help to propel you forward into positive thinking.
Make better dietary choices
Surprisingly, gut health greatly affects happiness and is seen as the second brain. It communicates with our autonomic nervous system (flight or fight responses) and our central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and certain bacterial strains in your gut tell your digestive tract to make serotonin (the happiness hormone) leading to an uplift in happiness. So food is a very important factor in your happiness! Changing gut flora can lead to better mental health so it’s best to focus more on healthy foods that impact it such as fermented foods (helps to nourish your micro biome) and fruits & vegetables (prime fuel for your micro biome). Try to avoid gluten and refined sugars as best as you can as these foods can actually work against your gut flora. Be patient and before you know it you will start to feel benefits of your dietary changes many times over!
Lets get out of our thoughts and focus on the world around you as these what-ifs aren’t real, but the people and environment around you are. Just like not worrying about the things you cannot change, this will take practice. Continually check in with yourself and ask, am I here in the moment or have I floated off somewhere deep within my mind? Shifting your attention is difficult to do, so be patient with yourself. Labeling can come in quite handy to shift attention, as you are not your thoughts, but what is labeling? Well it’s a way of disidentifying with the thoughts that come from your mind. To do this, watch your thoughts, a small meditation once a day may help you to get a head start on getting an idea of what kind of thoughts you create. During meditation, when a negative thought approaches, label the thought and not yourself. For instance, if you were to get in an accident and break a limb, you’d say, my leg is broken, not I am broken. So instead of saying, I am worried, say there are worries and then redirect your attention to the meditation. Once you have practiced this within the comforts of your home you can start by implementing this in your daily life so you can pull yourself back into the moment. Practice noticing the physical sensations as well, often we forget about our bodies and lose sight of how our body is feeling. You might notice muscle tightening, sweating, a quickened heart rate; identifying all these sensations will help you check in even deeper and be able to notice when your mind starts to dive into the depths of negativity.
Get rid of clutter
A cluttered outer world is a cluttered inner world and it often brings more negative energy to the space around you. Clearing up clutter will help clear up space within mind as well as the environment around you. You won’t have the burden of maintaining and cleaning all the items you had around you before, not only that but it could bring in some much needed money!
Start appreciating the little things in life
Mindfulness will help guide you here, to notice all the little moments in your life that went unnoticed and unappreciated. Turning your focus from focusing on what you don’t have, to look at what you do have can help bring in more positive thinking. The quality of life that we live today is wonderful, sometimes we get lost in an endless loop of more, more, more without realizing just how special everything we have already have is. This not only has to be materialistic items, but it’s also the people around you. Who do you cherish the most? Why? One of my favourite things to do is send out cards to my loved ones, telling them of how much I appreciate them, all they do and all that they are. I pick out a couple characteristics that I find really admirable and send the letters on their way! Not only does it remind me of how special these people are, but it helps to brighten their day and in turn sends out more happiness to those around them like a ripple in a pond. The best things in life are free so don’t let the illusions of society lead you astray on your path.
Volunteer your time helping others
Much of our own unhappiness comes from dwelling on our own problems. A quick fix is to start to give ourselves more to those around us. You may start small by giving a helping hand to a friend or neighbour or give your time to a charity where many more can be affected by your presence. Not only does giving your time help uplift others, but also it uplifts you. As you change your focus from your own problems to spreading joy, perceptions of ourselves and of our lives change, for it is in giving that we receive and we are creating purpose for ourselves.
Get lost and try new things
Most of our unhappiness comes from boredom, so how can we re-ignite ourselves with something we feel very passionate about? Ask yourself this, what is one thing you’ve always wanted to learn or what is one thing you’ve slowly removed from your life in order to make more time for work and other adult expectations? You can even begin by making a list and brainstorming as many activities that come to your mind, follow up by checking off the ones that appeal most to you. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and follow the pull of your inner-child, usually it knows best and can help you find that connection with self again! Finally schedule in time and make room for these activities, before you know it, you’ll develop a whole new sense of self-confidence and will be breaking the cycle of unhappiness.
Disconnect to reconnect
Always remember, the best way to uplift and reconnect to yourself, is to disconnect from social media platforms (I don’t mean you have to delete yourself from them, but take a step back even if for a couple of hours a day). Sometimes social media bombards us with partial views of other’s lives, leading us to only see the grand moments of another’s life without highlighting the less than beautiful moments. It is a distorted view of life, one that makes it difficult to live up to, resorting in a less than positive outlook on our own life and so the more, more, more state of mind begins to settle in even deeper. So what can we do? Decide how long you think it appropriate to take a break from media and schedule it in your planner and between these hours is the time to focus and become mindful of your surrounds and what your most thankful for.