I began studying mental health, strength, and resilience over 10 years ago. I was suffering significantly as a result of my unbalanced emotions, thought patterns and behaviors that kept those negative loops spinning, me miserable and my life stagnant. I was a canoe in the body of water we call life, with every ripple big and small my boat rocked.
Changes start with you, how you experience life and how your life unfolds. Personal evolution or development can be guided consciously.
1. 'Cut the Cancer Off'- This phrase came to me from a dear friend at a difficult time. Recognizing that certain people in your life need to go, and it needs to be cut and dry. Then you monitor closely and often to ensure no new growth (meaning make sure that any new relationships or old are still serving you- if not- let it go.)
2. Stagnation- When you stop growing, training, learning, evolving, taking new moves or risks. It is in our nature to stay in a 'safe' bubble- for survival but that's the old brain thinking that the phone call you make that could positively change your life is while unnerving- necessary rather than a source of fear that inhibits your true thriving in life.
3. Negative Self Talk- Have you ever REALLY paid attention to the internal monologue that plays 24/7, the way you speak to yourself - is it as kind as the way you speak to your dearest friend? Step one notice- Step two STOP it Step three Replace with a more helpful thought. Thoughts lead to behaviors. That's Mindfulness for you too ;-)
4. Completion vs Perfection- Perfectionism can 'set in' as early as age 5. In certain people, and professions these habits can be enhanced. I have spent the majority of my career in the veterinary profession- where the culture is largely dependent on this very 'dangerous' way of life. Retraining your brain for completion can move someone with anxieties around perfectionism and 'control' into effectively operating and completing the many tasks in any given day, or even bigger- allowing you to take the leap into something LARGE for your life, rather than procrastinating or never pulling the trigger bc your thing isn't 'perfect, ideal, what you had in mind' just DO IT. I tell our interns and the people on our team when they get that itchy feeling before hitting send or calling someone just verbally out loud say FUCK IT and send. (bc all in all the likelihood any high performer is not going to mess something up nearly as bad as what we make it out in our head to potentially be. and IT WORKS!!! It's Liberating!!
5. Anger- is a hot coal in your hand and your hand only. There is likely another, a higher viewpoint that you can take away from interactions, relationships and life experiences if you shift your way of thinking into forgiveness, appreciation and even learn that lesson. Thank even yourself, forgive even yourself for things that previously served you. Consider forgiveness meditations, or researching the art of forgiveness. Let it set you free. Get away from the victim mentality and express that desire to release what holds you back.
6. Expectation- You cannot simultaneously be pissed and grateful at the same time. Move your expectations (especially those you haven't voiced and expect (once again) people to read your mind -- into an attitude of gratitude/appreciation. Gratitude can be broadly defined but my favorite definition is "Conceptualized as an emotion a virtue, a moral sentiment, a motive, a coping response, a skill and an attitude. It is all this and more. Minimally Gratitude is an emotional response to a gift." This my friends is a practice. A practice of Gratitude can be developed see my blog on Developing a Gratitude Practice. There are times when I will pop on the floor- HALTING all flow of things if I'm in a whirlwind of negativity or shit storm of crappy communication flying- and simply rattle off mentally, verbally, writing, back and forth w/ someone else things I am grateful for-immediately changing the tension in my body and then consciously shifting into my 'better or higher' self to proceed with the next few moments.
7. 'Keeping up with the Jones'- Stop comparing, stop trying to keep up with values that do not align with yours, often on a quest for material goods. Understand that often they will not bring you closer to your inner peace or state of bliss and enjoyment, contentment. Practice nonattachment and don't hoard what you do get- Let it go, Let it Flow.
8. Staying Down- 'Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face' Distinguish between resilience and strength and how you can close the gap when you get knocked down. By employing this and many other personal or mental training development skills you can begin to handle the toughest stuff with 'Grace'. Handling my divorce in my 30's was what people called graceful- by those who knew me in my 20's. Obstacles are no longer events that cause me to spiral the way I used to.
9. Lone-Wolf Mentality- In the darkest of times, people often think that they have to go it alone. Isolation creates the negative loop that doesn't help you move forward or close the gap. Hidden behind shame or vulnerability humans forget that if you speak up- you just might find out that the person has been through the same thing. Meditate, Pray, Phone a Friend, Sit next to a companion, Hug someone (including your animals-YES) for 60 seconds. Building a support system is key for thriving.
10. TOO MUCH logic- "You don't always have to know why at the time, but you have to listen." How many times does your logic, ego, and analytics talked you out of something to into something for that matter, and steered you in a direction away from your true values? Check in with yourself and your intuition. A friend said the above-mentioned quote to me and it felt like a touch to my soul- tears welled up and I just knew we struck a chord that needed to be heard.
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Much love and hugs