“You can never be happy if you are stuck in the past and afraid of the future. Living in the present is the only way to be happy.” ~Unknown
Have you found that the local and world events of the last few years have taken their toll on you, your family and friends? With fires, floods, food, fuel and medicine shortages, disease, job losses and more all occurring in a short period of time, it can be difficult to find anyone who is not affected in some way.
Many people experience feelings of hopelessness and live in constant fear of the future. And unfortunately, if left unmanaged, these feelings can lead to depression, anxiety, and numerous other health problems over time.
We’ve all heard that a buildup of stress hormones in our bodies contributes to disease, but how can we possibly improve our health when we’re living in survival mode and feeling like the situation is hopeless?
I’ve lived like this for most of my life, wishing I could clone myself a million times so I could change the world, but I was sad and frustrated because I knew I couldn’t no matter how hard I tried.
I was also in my own little survival bubble, working way too many hours to prove to myself that I could be a mom and make a career and save the world while my health deteriorated.
From time to time I thought, why no matter how hard I try to make things better for myself and my family, does something else always come along and make things worse? I’ve always strived, not even for perfection, but for making things better.
I really wanted a different way of living a life free of stress, struggle, anxiety and health issues.
Luckily, a friend introduced me to the benefits of guided meditation and how to change your mindset, and when I understood how powerful these practices can be in helping me improve my quality of life, I haven’t looked back.
While it was a struggle for a while as I made the changes I needed to make – including restructuring my business, moving three times in 12 months, managing my chronic health issues and coming to terms with the trauma – I have now found one Place where I notice the little things and find joy in them and hope for the future.
I’ve learned that if we keep a positive attitude and focus on ourselves and how we react to any situation, we can change our attitude about anything. But how can we do that when we feel stuck?
The first thing to realize is that you cannot change others. The only thing you can change is yourself and the way you react or respond.
You can only change the choices you make in your life and how you can make the world a better place. And the good news is that you don’t have to do anything big to get it.
What if you could find small ways to improve:
Your relationships with family and friends. (For example, by being more present and listening to their interests and needs.) Your kindness and caring in dealing with people you meet. (For example, by challenging your judgments rather than reacting immediately.) Your attitude toward yourself. (For example, by expressing gratitude for everything you do right.)
What if you could change the way you take care of your environment at home and in your community?
What if those things had a flow-on effect on everyone else you meet?
What if you say or do something, even a seemingly small thing, that makes others feel more love and joy?
What if they then changed something about themselves that would bring them more joy and happiness in their lives?
What if everyone pays a little more up front?
We are so much more powerful than we think. Just by changing how we perceive and act, we have an exponential effect on those around us.
Did you know that your thoughts and memories are just perceptions of your reality based on your own life experiences, with some unconscious conditioning? Every single person in this world experiences life in different ways based on their past and behavior patterns that developed out of the need to feel loved, nurtured, or belonged as a young child.
Studies have even shown that people who witness an event, such as a crime, always interpret what happened differently than everyone else because we all have our own prejudices. Often our memories are wildly inaccurate when compared to actual video footage of the crime.
How does this relate to you and your stress and anxiety?
This means that in every moment you can choose how you perceive events in your life, in the community, and in the world around you.
You can choose to wallow in fear and frustration about things that are out of your control, or you can choose to empower yourself by focusing on the good and all things that are within your control . Like the things that make you feel better. Because when you feel better, you feel better, for everyone and everything around you.
Ask yourself what do I need to do to feel more joy, happiness and hope?
Be aware of your thoughts and notice what comes to you. What do you want to keep and what does not serve your own happiness and joy?
For me, I’ve decided not to spend as much time reading news feeds and social media anymore. Most of it isn’t positive or just made me feel inadequate so I cut it right back.
I actively tried to change fear-driven conversations with family and friends by changing the subject. Unless the person really wanted help or advice to help them move forward.
I’ve also made a decision to stop working so hard and enjoy whatever time I have left on this earth. I decided to focus on things that bring me health and happiness.
Here are some of the things I love to do to feel happier, healthier, and more hopeful. Feel free to take what works for you and leave the rest. If none of these resonate, take some time to sit down and ask yourself what you can do differently? What makes you feel good?
To take a bath. Call a friend. Play a musical instrument or create some art. Listen to music. Find a space for yourself, even for just a few minutes, and use soft background music to calm your mind and help you collect your thoughts. This can often help us release the tension, even if it’s just a little, and give us some space to explore what’s important to us. Spend some time creating a dream board, bucket list, or even a list of things you would love to have or do in your life. Even though some of these things may seem impossible to achieve, writing down our dreams and desires can lift our spirits and give us hope and something to look forward to. Plan something for yourself or your family. It can be as simple as you like. Go out for ice cream and sit by a river, lake or beach Find a recipe that you and your family would love and work on it together. Go for a bike ride Find a place to sit outside and observe nature and the world around you. Notice something you’ve never really looked at. Observe and appreciate its beauty. Look at it like a child, with wonder and curiosity. Don’t be afraid to ask someone for support or help, whether it’s for a conversation or physical help. Most of the time, people are more than willing and happy to help. You only have to ask.
Pick just one thing you can do differently to improve your mood and attitude, and work to make that happen. Trust that the ripple effect will happen and take pride in making a difference for yourself and others.
About Jenny Trezise
Jenny Trezise is a health and mindset coach who uses neuroplasticity techniques to help people with chronic health conditions improve their quality of life so they can relieve pain, improve their health and live confident and fulfilling lives. You can find more information about her at www.aurielminds.com.au or on Instagram.
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