As the year 2018 wraps up you may be reflecting on what was, and what will be. Pressured with goals for the New Year including weight loss, perhaps a change of career, passing an important test exam, an overdue divorce, a move, a creative endeavor, or the care taking of an elderly parent,your mind becomes overwhelmed. Holiday shopping is in full bloom, politics is on fire , (along with the real fires in California), your social media time has increased, your sleep reduced, and the parties have just begun. Whew, we are all busy!
How do you find happiness amidst all this? Shouldn’t this season be joyous? festive? happy? How do I feel happy with so much to do?
The three major blocks to happiness:
1. Living in the past or in the future
You got the first one- living in the past or in the future. Accepting “what is” brings us into the now. Eckhart Tolle in his book “Power of Now” describes this well. The book is intended to be a guide for day-to-day living and stresses the importance of living in the present moment and avoiding thoughts of the past or future. Self acceptance and acceptance of ” what is” brings our attention to the essence of our being ( whether we judge it or not) that then leads to inner calm and freedom. Seeing something in it’s true light means acceptance and that includes us- our bodies as they are, etc. etc. etc… (you may fill in the blanks.)
So for NOW I invite you to take a deep breath and Pause. You may ask yourself, what can I accept today that can reduce my suffering and anxiety? Acknowledge it and feel compassion as if your best friend just told you this story. Accept it into your being. Offer it to nature, or a body of water or to fire.
I’ve already clued you on the next one – comparison. Ah, you look at social media and someone else looks more glamorous, has a gorgeous partner, or appears to be living the perfect life. Social media can get one thinking this way. Reflecting inwardly on your innate gifts is probably not something we do enough of. Thanking ourselves, loving ourselves, even though…… we have limitations is the antidote to comparison. Just for today, take five minutes in silence and thank yourself for things you like about yourself. See how that feels. Are you smiling? Do you have good things to say about yourself? Are you feeling shy? Jot them down in a notebook or journal to look at when you’ve forgotten to love yourself.
When I retire, I will… When I lose weight, I will… When I get the right partner… when I pay off my debt, I will… when I get a face lift, I will… The third enemy, postponement. What did you postpone this year? One of the reasons we may postpone something could be connected to self doubt. “Someone else knows how to speak in public better than I can or on Facebook or Instagram” – ” I look too old to speak on the computer camera”… ” I started so many diets and failed”… The antidote- accountability and short term commitments. For example, I will walk three days this week. I will post one new Facebook live this week. Whatever you’ve been postponing aim to break it down in smaller steps.
As the next few weeks bring a close to the year 2018, here are three things that could increase your happiness:
- Spending a few minutes or even seconds each day focusing on your breath, being aware of your body, and entering a state of mental calmness has been linked to a wide variety of physical and emotional benefits.
- Exercise. 30 minutes of exercise, cardio, or yoga releases a surge of endorphins through your body, thus improving your mood and decreasing your stress levels.
- Spend time outside. Nature is a proven stress relief. Taking a stroll through a nature-rich environment can quickly lower blood pressure and reduce stress.
Allow yourself to experience the happiness you deserve!!…. NOW!
with warm wishes and love to all of you,