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.
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
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:
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)
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:
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!
- Does Instagram count? My, how the MIND will justify…Addiction is addiction is addiction. It’s not Facebook I’m addicted to, it’s ANY distraction from what’s REALLY important – like growing my business (for instance).
- Multi-tasking has jacked me up. Did you know we are not meant to multi-task? FOCUS is my mantra for 2017 because I’m aware of just how hard it is to have my mind on one thing at a time. Like in meditation, I have to keep bringing it back and bringing it back. Who knew LIFE was a practice? #wow
- HABITS. Do you have any BAD HABITS? I do! Wasting time on social media, watching too much news, reality TV, to name a few. Putting limits on these things is essential. However, not invalidating myself for having bad habits, but having the awareness is Step 1. (Side Note: NOT being on Facebook = less ‘FAKE NEWS’ taking up space in my brain = Bonus!)
- When I’m on the phone, I’m used to surfing the web. What a BAD professional/friend/family member/neighbor (the list goes on) I AM! I am NOT present to people in my life and giving them my undivided attention when I’m on the phone with them. This is not OK with me.
- I am neurotic about researching things on Google. When not browsing the social media pages, I’m thinking about all the things I need to research on Google and I need to do it NOW because I might forget. OMG!! This is frickin’ NEUROTIC. The human brain is CRAY!
Bottom Line: Taking a break from social media was invaluable to me and I am now aware of the neurosis that has been my life and that of most people. The GOOD NEWS? I help people break their bad habits in my coaching so it’s time for some good old-fashioned Self Coaching 101. I’m already using my time differently from this little exercise so it was definitely worth it.
Be willing to stop and look at the areas of your life that are not IDEAL (def.: what is PERFECT, most suitable) and make the necessary changes NOW!