Did you know humans naturally tend to obsess about negative experiences? According to research, positive and negative emotions use different memory systems in the brain and positive emotions do not transfer as easily to long-term memory.
It’s no wonder that we usually don’t get on our own side; we don’t take a stand in which we are for ourselves, and that’s fundamental. This realization is where re-training ourselves begins.
It can be very difficult to pull our attention away from the negative, which can take the form of rumination, self-criticism, obsession and anxiety. But one way to change this, and to create more lasting positive memories in the brain, is to make a concerted effort to notice those little, everyday pleasant encounters: A smile from a stranger, a small gesture of caring from a friend or a tiny personal victory.
Criticizing ourselves unnecessarily is not the answer to lasting change. It has the exact opposite effect. To love ourselves, unconditionally, begins with a focus on what we do want, not on what we don’t want. This adjustment can make an enormous difference.
We can only recognize without what we recognize within. When we transform our own inner conversation, we can do more to elevate others. To alter our thoughts and beliefs takes genuine effort. A ‘re-wiring’ of the brain, if you will, is required to shift our experiences.
Since I was little, I studied hard to get good grades. I was told to get good grades to graduate High School, so then I could get into college. I went to college to get a good job, so that I could buy a car, move out and create a life with my boyfriend. Over and over I was doing one thing in order to get to something else. I was always chasing the next thing.
It’s no wonder then, that I ended up burnt out and unfulfilled by the time I got married, bought a house, and had two dogs and two kids. This burnout though, was a blessing, as it finally led me on my personal path to clarity, ease and peace.
Now, I’m all about achieving results and reaching my goals.
It’s in my DNA to be this way. However, we can learn to enjoy the ride even during times of plateau (little or no change after massive action) through mindfulness practices and changing up our daily habits.
If we are to master anything, we must practice patient, dedicated effort without attachment to immediate results. This is difficult for most of us, as it’s not what we are taught. As parents, we are even doing this to our kids (without realizing it ) by asking them to go to school, get good grades, and so on and so forth.
We live in a world of instant gratification.
If someone said it would take at least 5 years to become a professional athlete, most of us would throw in the towel the moment it became ‘hard’ or we didn’t ‘see’ any progress. What we must remember, is that we can be making gains even though the results may be hidden from our view, or even invisible. Nowadays, we are trying to hack everything in order to see instant effects. We want to know the ending of the movie before it begins. We silently worry, “Am I on my way to becoming X?”
It sounds cliche’, but the JOY of life is in the journey.
All things become sweeter the longer we practice, right? For example, meditation, exercise, relationships – it’s when we are attached to a particular outcome that it gets complicated.
Creating new habits takes time. Commit to mastery and then be mindful of when you’re resisting versus allowing, doing versus being, and trying to intellectually ‘know’ versus trusting the process. These are the true attributes of detachment that make any trip worthwhile.
When you are aware of your beliefs and thoughts about success and happiness, you can begin to shift your experience from living as a reaction to life toward creating your own highly successful life. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.”
Take a moment to consider the possibility that success and happiness are not what happens to you, but what you get to choose in every moment of your life. You are unique, and the choices you make are infinite. This is why it’s important to have a clear vision of what happiness and success look like. Then, you must commit and hold yourself accountable to the required actions needed to create the life you really want.
One of the first actions you can take is to begin practicing impactful behaviors that will help guide you toward achieving your vision. Here are five practices that can be incorporated into a morning ritual or become part of a new daily practice. Try one or all of them, and see the difference it can make toward increasing happiness and success in your life.
1. Meditate You don’t practice meditation to get better at meditating, you practice meditation to get better at life. The opportunities that present themselves to you outside of meditation prove meditation is working. Meditation is the one way to access the Self, who you really are—the energetic being within you. By cultivating a relationship with the Self (your essence) through meditation, you stay connected to the attributes of the Spirit, which are peace, calm, and joy, to name a few.
The practice of meditation is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. Meditation is more than sitting down and closing your eyes. If you have never meditated or wish to deepen your practice, seek out a teacher in your area who can guide you. Thanks to technology, there are also meditation apps that can be downloaded to your computer or phone, which provide ways to learn from the comfort of your own home. Here are a few to check out:
The Ananda App The Mindfulness App Insight Timer Calm Muse
2. Detach from the Outcome It’s common to attach yourself to outcomes in an automatic and seemingly unconscious way. Notice where in life you are attached to the way something “should” be, whether that’s with people, circumstances, or yourself. By noticing when (not if) you are attached, you can consciously choose to detach, which frees you to:
Be your true self Say what you truly feel Allow others to be themselves Detachment is freedom. This freedom is the “not knowing” or the field of uncertainty marked by:
Magic Mystery Adventure It’s human nature to want to know how things will turn out. But, if you already know the ending, that’s no fun. Let go, detach, and enjoy the flow. Be surprised by what the Universe has in store, and delight in something even better than you could have imagined for yourself.
3. Move Energy from the Body Over time, the body can accumulate stress. This buildup can lead to experiences of “feeling stuck” or “dis-ease” in the body. Thus, it’s important to have a regular practice in place to eliminate trapped energy from the body, allowing layers of stress to be released and restoring your body to a healthy state.
There are many effective ways to move stale energies out of the body and create space for the new, including:
Yoga (asanas or postures) Pranayama (breath exercises) Running Toning (using sound to remove blockages in the body)
4. Seek Out Laughter The Laughing Buddha is a symbol of abundance and happiness. Having this statue in your home or place of business is said to bring prosperity and good wealth, while also reminding you to keep things light. When things get too serious, try laughing to bring levity to life overall. Choose to find the humor in everything—it’s there, you just need to look.
At least once a week, make it a point to watch a funny movie, TV show, or live comedian. This vibration of joy brings more joy to us—it’s the Law of Attraction!
5. Eat Natural Foods You eat for energy and for your body’s vitality. If you put low quality gasoline in your car, how well does it run? This same concept applies to your body. The more attention you give to the quality of foods you eat, the better you feel. When you feel good and have ample energy, you are happier and more successful in life.
Every day, you are bombarded with information about what to eat, when, and why. This can cause more confusion and lead to giving up on trying to eat well altogether. Keep it simple, and try to eat fresh foods, preferably from a local grower or farmers’ market.
According to Ayurvedic teachings, fresh foods carry more life force, or prana, that can improve your overall health. By eating this way, you will notice that the more natural the foods consumed, the better you will feel. Feeling good is your intrinsic nature. When you feel bad, you are out of balance with your true spirit. As a common rule when choosing what to eat, avoid FLUNC foods:
Frozen Leftovers Unnatural Nuked (microwaved) Canned While there is no catch-all recipe for success and happiness, by practicing these behaviors, you can begin to recognize how to create the life you want to live. All of your experiences are the result of your thoughts and beliefs. Be aware of the thoughts you are choosing every moment, and notice the beliefs about yourself which lead to the events in your life. Awareness of your beliefs (they can be subtle) gives you access to adopting new ways of being, or taking new courses of action.
You are a powerful Creator. Create happiness and success in your life by having clear intentions for the future, while having your attention on the present moment throughout your day. For it is in the present moment that the future is created.
Life is Good, AND You Have Areas You Wish Were Different
Most people believe that their life has to be all jacked up in order to need a Life Coach. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. Almost all people that are rocking it in life have coaches, and even coaches need coaches (I have TWO)! Most often, people either believe their life is ‘Fine” or “A Total Mess”, but seldom is their belief somewhere in between. The reality is, most of our lives are GOOD, we just have ‘areas’ that could be different. It’s important to first look at ALL areas of life – and connect to the ‘experience’ of each of these areas – before determining which areas need focus. Using a diagnostic tool is the best way to do this.
You’ve Hit a “Plateau” At Work or At Home
Just like at the gym, you can reach a point where you feel like no matter what you do, you’re just not seeing the changes you seek anymore. You’re about to give up, thinking “This working out thing must not be for me!” After a while, what you’ve been doing just no longer works to get you what you want. Stepping back, re-evaluating, and making a new plan is all that’s needed here. Start FRESH! We HUMANS can get comfy in our daily routines, and we also RESIST change. A Life Coach can get you out of your ‘stuck-ness’ by sharing tools to move from head to heart, help you create new empowering habits, and help you uncover limiting beliefs that are no longer serving you.
You’re Just Not “Fulfilled”
Do you have “Keeping up with the Joneses” syndrome? Are you constantly comparing and wishing you were someone or somewhere else other than honoring who and where you are? I remember feeling the same way. It’s common for our Ego (that part of our reptilian brain that is automatic and primitive, not who we REALLY are) to constantly compare. When we connect to the Self (through mindfulness or a meditation practice), we begin to see that most of what we really want, we already have. We already have people in our lives to acknowledge, many great moments of JOY and success, and our materials needs that are being met (for the most part). It is the MIND that constantly strives for ‘more’ or ‘better’. When we can tap into the true experience of our own lives, we spend more time in states of gratitude and appreciation, which is where true fulfillment resides. Having a full life is a CREATION, not something that happens to us and when we realize this, life begins to look very different.
You Don’t Really Know What “It” Is, But You’re Not Really Feelin’ “It”
Just as in lacking fulfillment in our lives (see above), constantly seeking the next thing to bring us happiness, or having the belief that when we finally find ‘it’, THEN we will be happy – this is an ILLUSION that will keep you miserable! The mind, again, is duping us into thinking that gratification lies somewhere “out there.” Most people spend their whole life attaining goals, buying things, jumping from relationship to relationship (and along the way having little to no satisfaction) believing that it’s the next thing that’s REALLY going to make them happy. When we CHOOSE happiness, moment by moment, then happiness becomes an experience we have all day long, every day, because we say so. This is the difference between living life deliberately and being at the AFFECT of life. Which will you choose?
I Don’t Have Money for the Things I Really Want
Money is energy. The amount of money in our bank account is a direct reflection of our own experiences (there’s that word again!). If we are walking around in a state of lack or negativity, then money will elude us, not be our friend, and we will not have the experience of being abundant. Shifting our awareness to the fact we are ALREADY whole and complete, money is attracted to our energetic outpouring of abundance. We have the realization that we CREATE our own abundance by the thoughts and beliefs we give our ATTENTION to – this draws our desires to us, just by who we are BEING. Being RICH is not what we DO or HAVE, but is a state of being that draws rich-ness into our experience.
You Are Focused on Any of the Following: “Finding the Perfect (Mate, Job, Body, etc.)”
In this age of technology and instant gratification, it has become the ‘norm’ to always strive for something BETTER – a better Job, the perfect spouse, and of course the ULTIMATE figure. You can’t get to where you want to go without first appreciating and accepting where you are right now. The thing to get is that there is NO SUCH THING. We can imagine what would be ‘ideal’, but we then must detach from the outcome and TRUST that all IS perfect just AS IT IS. “ALL Suffering comes from wishing things were different than they are.” (Said the Buddha). If we can hold an INTENTION for our ideal-whatever and then have our ATTENTION in the present moment, then our desires will manifest because it is is in the present that the future is created. We set the intention and then LET GO (detach) and trust the Universe will sort out the details AND may even surprise us by giving us something more AMAZING than we could have imagined for ourselves. This is the MAGIC of detachment. The intending, letting go, then trusting the Universe knows WHAT’S UP!!!!
Lastly, if you have resistance around what a Life Coach costs, ask yourself “What is living an EXCELLENT and REWARDING life worth to me?” Remember, money is energy, so when we invest in our OURSELVES in this way, the Universe rewards us by taking care of us. You may not notice it right away, but when you commit to YOURSELF, you begin to experience life as you want it. We are not meant to struggle, but to en-JOY Life on this planet and a Life Coach can guide and support you in CREATING real and lasting changes!
I’m guessing you already know the scientific benefits of meditation like sleeping better, feeling calmer, feeling more in control, and sparking creativity, right? But none of these have really motivated you to take up this practice.
Let’s face it: You’re too busy and you don’t have time to sit and do nothing. Besides, meditation is great for other people, just not for a driven, career-oriented person like you. I get it, and I felt the same way before I started meditating.
But do you struggle with finding time to do what you want? Are you so exhausted by the end of the day you hardly have time to enjoy family or do something for yourself? Do you feel like something is missing in your life despite having a successful career?
As a meditation and yoga teacher as well as a life coach, you may think I don’t know much about the demands of working in the corporate world, but it was exactly my years in corporate that led me to meditation.
I’m a very practical, type-A person, so the idea of meditating seemed absolutely ridiculous to me for many years. I thought meditation worked for some people, but it certainly wasn’t going to help a driven, hard-working professional like me. How would sitting still and doing nothing actually help me reach my life and career goals? I just didn’t see how meditation would give me what I really wanted and what I know most busy professionals want—more time, more energy, and more joy in life.
The stresses, demands, and deadlines at work were depleting me on all levels. I would have tried anything to calm my crazy brain five years ago! I was constantly on the go, trying to be who I thought I should be. I resisted this practice as long as I could, but when the angst of working in the corporate world, the demands of raising a family, and the overwhelming feeling of dissatisfaction in life got the best of me, I knew I had to try something new. So, I started meditating.
Fast-forward to today, and I have all the time and energy I could ever want. In fact, meditation changed my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined when I first started. What I realize now that I resisted years ago is that the busier you are and the more driven you are, the more you need a meditation practice. A simple meditation practice can boost your life in ways that go well beyond the scientifically proven benefits.
If you’re a busy professional and you really want to know how a meditation practice can support you at work and at home, read on.
Meditation provides an energy boost sans Red Bull.
If you feel utterly exhausted, frustrated, and worn out, it might be time to take note of where your energy is being spent. Before I started meditating, I had a vision of how things, people, and situations should be—my way! I resisted, fought against, and detached completely from people, situations, and things that did not appear as I thought they should.
I even started preparing for people NOT to do it my way so I could cut them off before they disappointed me. I missed some incredible opportunities by hyperfocusing on how things should be rather than accepting things as they were. This zapped a tremendous amount of energy from me and I didn’t even realize this until I started meditating.
So, how exactly do you waste energy wishing things were different? You know that coworker who really irritates the heck out of you? Or how about the unrealistic boss who creates more havoc than productivity? Ever have a fallout with a friend or coworker and you play the conversation in your mind over and over again? When you finally encountered this person, did you notice that you had missed some pieces of the conversation that completely changed your reaction to him or her?
Do you know how much energy you expend wishing people and situations were different? A LOT! Just imagine how much more energy you’d have if instead of focusing on that irritating coworker, the overly demanding boss or replaying conversations in your mind that will never take place, you accepted people and things as they are.
After just a few weeks of meditating, I noticed that the things that normally bothered me simply didn’t anymore. I could work the same amount of hours, but I got a lot more accomplished without feeling drained or depleted at the end of the day. I even had energy to enjoy time with my kids and husband after working a full day at the office.
Meditation helps you get what you really want.
Before I started meditating, I often went from one goal to another hoping that the next big accomplishment would make me happy. Every time I checked a goal off my list, I set out to achieve yet another one. It was all about doing, doing, doing. The problem was the doing wasn’t really working anymore. I was exhausted, frustrated, and felt like something was missing from my life.
The fascinating thing about sitting in silence and just being is that you begin to hear another voice inside. This voice could care less about material possessions, titles, roles, or accomplishments. This voice is the real you—the you that is calm, joyful, and unlimited.
As I tuned in to this voice through meditation, I began to realize that what I was seeking “out there” was already within me. I didn’t really want to hang more awards on the wall or to be recognized in the role I played at work or at home. What I really wanted was to love my life right now. I longed to have more time with my kids, who were spending way too many hours in day care. I wanted to focus on my health and well-being, and I wanted to do work that was really satisfying on a deeper level. Meditation helped me gain clarity about what it was I really wanted.
Meditation wasn’t easy at first. I thought the point of meditation was to “not think,” which only made the thoughts fire more rapidly. The first few weeks of meditation were filled with frustration as I tirelessly perused my to-do list, got distracted by sensations in my body, and old memories appeared randomly across the screen of my mind. It wasn’t until I sought the help of a meditation teacher that I began to understand why meditation is called a practice.
I learned to use a mantra to quiet my mind, to be patient with myself, and to release any expectation I had before going into meditation. Although I struggled in the beginning, the rewards I’ve experienced and still experience today are so worth the initial frustration! Because of this practice, I’m more productive, less reactive, happier, and a lot more successful today. In fact, because of my commitment to meditation, I have more energy, more time, and feel more joy than I ever thought possible. I’m still very driven, but now my drive is aligned with what I really want instead of what I should want.
I challenge you to try meditation for just 21 days, even if you don’t believe it will work for you or you’ve resisted meditation because you think meditation is for “other” people. You don’t need a Buddha statue, an orange robe, or to shave your head. All you need is a serious commitment to sit in silence for 20 minutes a day twice a day. Know that your mind will run amok, and that’s totally OK and a sign that you really do need this practice. Stick with it, and you will not recognize your life after committing to this practice for just 21 days.