* Post originally created on June 6th, 2020
Life can often be tough and force us to face unpredictable outcomes, like what we are living in this present moment... a few words of encouragement can help you get back on your feet. It is during these times when our confidence and willpower is usually at its lowest. Thoughts of giving up may show up a bit too frequently. The days seem loooong, and the news may drag you on a vicious downward spiral of negative thoughts. I get it!
Things will get better and it starts with your thoughts.
Let’s begin by acknowledging we are creatures. Very sophisticated creatures. Our brains are incredibly complex evolved machines, but as creatures we do have needs: need to eat, to be heard, to connect.
But now, considering circumstances, these needs won’t be met.
That's where habits come in as valuable tools. Habits help us through our day. When we are doing something that is habitual, we may end up doing it effortlessly. Just as an example, consider brushing your teeth in the morning, combing your hair, checking your emails...EXERCISING! But now, the scenario has changed. We are told to be home. Nope, can’t go out, can’t socialize, have to cancel meetings, plans, trips, gatherings, work projects...
Oh my goodness, so complicated!
That's when the power of habit comes into play. And you don't have just one. You have dozens, maybe even hundreds. Thank goodness for habits! But, here's the problem: not all habits are created equal! In fact, some of them are decidedly displeasing or bad to yourself or others. You try to change, resolve those habits, and you meant it, to no avail.
You're failing because, simply put, habits are extremely hard to change. They become ingrained and automatic. Do not despair, though. There are ways to change your habits, and as a matter of fact, now may be just the perfect time… If you’re like me, trying to preserve your health, your family, and your community, you may find a little extra time to proactively become better at this, and create habits that will lead to a better, healthier, more fulfilled life.
Here are a few suggestions in helping you reinvent yourself during this process:
- Get informed - that’s right! Many outlets may suggest otherwise but being informed can be powerful. I have 4 steps I try to follow when watching the news: Read (or Listen), Think, Filter, Act. Along with these steps I question how my decisions can affect any outcome. I am not a mere spectator on what’s happening around me. We can do our part from our couches! Or from our MATS! Don’t want to get nervous, anxious, depressed?...habits play an essential part. Learning to decide how something will affect, and how much, requires practice. I know it’s not easy as I had all those emotions swirling through my head a few days back…try to accept there is absolutely nothing you can change, but playing your part is essential to society’s well being. Practice the habit of ACCEPTANCE.
- Exercise for Joseph Pilates’ sake!!! You know those slogans we love to hate? “Just do it”, “Dare to be great”, “No pain, no gain” (particularly hate this one!), “Move it or lose it”... blah blah blah… guess what? They work. Simple like that. They WORK. You NEED to keep telling your brain you just have to do it. First day will suck, second day will suck, third...maybe forever...but do it! Do it out of frustration if there is no motivation (haha..bad advice!) but do it! On average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic but this can vary widely depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances. It works okay. For that, practice the habit of PERSEVERANCE.
- Evaluate, Pray, Mediate - things might be different once playdates are back on schedule, ladies. Honestly, I don’t know what to expect. I’m certainly hoping for the best, but what if people start to being afraid of getting close, afraid of hugs, kisses? What if they get even busier than before in order to recover the time they were out of work? What if they get even more prejudice of other cultures and beliefs? Yes, my brain goes for daily trips into all those dark places...that’s when evaluation of your feelings, prayer and or meditation can help. The psychological benefits of prayer may help reduce stress and anxiety, promote a more positive outlook, and strengthen the will to live. A number of studies suggest that prayer is positively associated with well-being and physical health. For instance, a nationwide survey of older adults found that the negative effects of financial problems on health were significantly reduced among those who regularly prayed for others. Religious practices and meditation also contribute to perceptions of meaning in life, which promote psychological well-being. The goal is to be energized, not distracted, by positive thoughts and beliefs, acting upon it through the habit of INTROSPECTION.
Take this opportunity to be awake and aware of how you can make changes through your daily habits in that sense. Let’s all wait for the right moment to come out and shine, united, resilient, healthier and stronger than ever.
With so much love and hope,
“More things are wrought by prayer
Than this world dreams of.”
(Alfred, Lord Tennyson; from Morte d'Arthur)
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