We have all heard how beneficial exercise is, some of us know it is true and some of us doubt it or just don’t have the energy to make it happen. How can you overcome toxic behaviour and thought patterns and shift into a healthier and happier way of life. Start small, pick one action item and do it every day to make it a habit. My action item is a 10 minute yoga workout in the morning. Yoga has multiple benefits – it stretches the body, releases endorphins and used in a spiritual manner helps to align body, mind and spirit.
I recently heard an audio interview during the ‘You can change your life’ webinar seminar series by Hay House in January 2014. I am pretty sure the interviewee was Cheryl Richardson, and in the audio she said something along the lines of that if you want to change your life, don’t try and change everything at once because this becomes overwhelming and is actually a foundation for failure. Cheryl went on to say just choose one small thing and do that every day for a month.
If you are struggling with being happy and you find it difficult to make changes, start small and start with exercise because it produces a chemical reaction in your body let’s call them happy hormones. If you have happy hormones, endorphins, being produced in your body then you have something to work with to shift out of negative thought and behaviour patterns. It’s a tool well worth trying. You don’t need to start with a gym membership if you know from past experience that you won’t use it. Start small: choose some form of exercise that you can do every day. If you struggle to leave the house, maybe you can walk around the house for 10 minutes for one month. This is one small change that might be the very thing you need to start your journey into a happier and healthier you.
Ever wondered what you can do to make your life feel more relaxed and content? Eckhart Tolle writes about being present in the now. It works because you just look at the immediate problem and ask yourself if you can do anything right now, are you doing it? It’s a simple philosophy but oh so hard to train your mind to live in the now. It takes practice just like anything. You have to spend the time training your mind.
Buddhist philosophy refers to the mind like an unruly child or one of my favourite analogies like a wild horse you are trying to ride. You have to put the bridle on and train the horse to go where you want and not allow the unruly mind to run wild. I firmly believe everybody can benefit from spending 5 minutes a day taming the unruly mind. You can do this through mediation or through being fully present in the moment. If the idea of mediation does not appeal or you find that difficult training grounds then use a different technique. Another one of my favourite methods is to go out into the natural world, by the ocean or a fresh running creek and sit with nature. Be present notice the colours but don’t label them just observe, hear the sounds, birds chirping, wind blowing, maybe there is the chit chat of nearby people or traffic, the point is not to get caught up in judging what you see, hear or smell it is just to be present and use your senses. I often tell people to set an alarm or timer and that way after 30 seconds they aren’t sitting there wondering how long it has been and become overwhelmed with the urge to check the time. Set a timer for 5 minutes and start the mind to be present right now.
I remember reading a book about making a happiness plan. It resonated with me and I found myself acknowledging that people don’t understand the importance of making happiness a priority and planning for it. We make plans to go on holidays, apply for jobs, to visit friends and family but often we lament about wanting to be happy and then we do not actively takes steps to make it happen.
One of the quickest routes to live a happy life is to be present in the moment and practice gratitude daily. However, we also need to be active in understanding what we consider to be happiness. If you are waiting for some point in the future then in all likelihood the happiness you may experience will be an illusion that quickly passes.
Actively pursue a life filled with happy moments. Work through the issues that steal your happiness from under your feet. Understand what subconscious processes you are operating with. For example do you believe happiness is fleeting and that is what you experience or do you believe happiness is a two edged sword and is coupled to pain? Get in touch with your underlying beliefs and start to unravel outmoded patterns and rewrite your program so that you can experience happiness more frequently.
Being respectful towards yourself is an ideal scenario to help cultivate happiness in your life. Ask yourself what am I doing in my life that I know cultivates self-respect? What am I doing that is cultivating disrespect in my life? Be honest and take some time to become aware of your actions, thoughts and feelings. Notice if you feel good or bad about yourself. I recommend taking at least a month to become self-aware. During the month just notice how you feel, don’t make any changes in your life, just become aware of how you feel and note the number of times you cultivate self-respect and note how many times you feel disjointed and disrespected.
Once you start noticing how you feel about yourself you can move into taking action that is in line with creating self-respect. Each day start to appreciate yourself more. To do this you start to acknowledge how you feel and think about your day. If life is a struggle and you find it hard to appreciate yourself, start with the small things. An example might be to appreciate how busy you are, or it might be the fact that you got out of bed and prepared a meal. Whatever your life situation is find something to value about your day. This cultivates and teaches you to notice what actions, thoughts or feelings that you can focus on to change and feel more at peace with who you are.
Positive affirmations can help change habitual negative self-talk, but you need to be aware of when the negative self-talk is occurring. That is why developing self-awareness is the key to unlocking your potential and finding the path of respecting and appreciating yourself daily.