It’s designed to kick your ass.
This is not revolutionary news by any stretch. And yet, still, we stand firmly under our own little raincloud of sadness, refusing to take a step just to the right, out of the overcast skies and into the sun.
But we don’t have to. We can create our own piece of sunshine, one conscious shift at a time.
Things You Do to Create Your Own Happy Reality:
1. Join the revolution, Baby.
Accept it and move forward. Recognize the magic that lies in the combination of “what you wanted,” “what happened” and “where you are now.” Open your arms, your heart, and your mind to novelty. Make new friends, take new routes, try new things, explore your world. Change things up, let the server order for you at the restaurant (my personal favorite, by the way), take a new running path, go a different way to work. Whatever comes, let it come, whatever goes, let it go, whatever returns, let it stay.
Be the former in this analogy- Water:Ice as Yogi:Body Builder
2. Get Your Head Out (of. . . uh, Arkansas, or you know, wherever…).
Acknowledge that which is weighing you down. It is manifesting itself in your life everywhere, despite your savvy hide-and-seek skills. So greet the elephant in the room and escort him out, along with the load he dropped while you were too preoccupied to entertain the thought of his presence. Step on the scale and be prepared to face the number you find there; chances are it’s a little bigger as it’s grown some since the 20th century when you last glanced at it.
3. Handle Your Sh*t, Taskmaster.
Seriously. Get off your ass and just do it. Do.It. No excuses. The day will move forward anyway, as will the week, the month, the year. The question isn’t will the time pass, but will you spend it well?
“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”
~ Benjamin Franklin
4. Chill and Let It Go.
Relax and chill out, already. For real. Stop taking everything personally, nothing others do is because of you. Try to see the good in as much as you can. The more anger you carry the harder your heart becomes and the more difficult it is for you to see the good in anything. It will literally make you sick. Let.it.go. Forgive, forget and move forward.
When you do get experience anger, simply observe how you feel. Close your eyes, feel your racing heartbeat, feel the heat in your body rise to your head. Be aware, but do not react. Then tell that primitive lizard brain (the amygdala) to bounce, turn that fabulous prefrontal cortex back on and use some logic instead.
5. Have Surgery (you know, to get that stick out …)
Body language is huge in determining your mood. Huge. Check out this cool TED talk on just that subject. Stand up straight, keep your head up, look where you want to go, not from where you came. Take deep cleansing breaths, not exasperated gaseous exchanges. Make eye contact with people. Drop your shoulders. Drop them. Betcha didn’t even realize they were up that high. Relax your neck. It uh, goes above your shoulders, which coincidentally, go above your hips, and those guys, they go above your feet.
Oh, and my dear, you’re gonna need a little injection of botulism here soon if you don’t get a grip on those anger lines you’re working so hard to create. For the love of all things holy would you just smile already?
6. Carpe F#*king Diem.
Name the last time worry helped you. Struggling? Yeah, me too. I could list a half dozen cheesy quotes about worry here but, really people, uncertainty sucks all the positive energy right out of us. Operating from a place of fear generates hormones in the body that keep feeding our anxieties, it’s a vicious cycle.
Stop worrying and enjoy your life. Try a “yes” on for size, see how that feels. Or, conversely, say “no” to something that no longer serves you. You only get today once, make the most of it.
Now don’t go throwing all caution to the wind here and be so carefree you put yourself or others in harm’s way, but damn—stop all the OCD behavior. Just stop. Hang up your safety officer vest and pour yourself a glass of wine. Dare you to even set it on the table, without a coaster, or a wine tag. Live a little. You might make a ring and someone else could mistake their glass for yours. Everything is gonna be alright. Bob Marley said so.
7. Think—Before you speak.
Speak kindly and with love. Be authentic, be clear, be well spoken without being pretentious. Use the power of the word for good, not ill. Be generous and quick with praise for yourself and others. Be slow to criticize. Be light in tone. Be witty, but be cautious. Sarcasm is both the lowest and highest form of humor depending on the situation in which you use it and in whose company—use it wisely. Speak less, listen more. Ask lots of questions. Listen for the intent of listening, not for the purpose of countering or reciprocating. Take pause before you reply and consider your response. This isn’t easy folks, it takes practice. Lots.
8. Wear Your Collar Proudly.
That’s right. Walk your talk. Practice what you preach. Be who you say you are. All those quotes you have pinned on your “inspiration” board—they are only inspiration if they motivate you to actually change your behavior. This is not a 100 percent accuracy kind of task, but rather a cumulative effort in that your actions speak louder than um, your words. Don’t say it if you don’t believe it. Don’t believe it if you don’t do it. Good intentions never got anyone anywhere, just ask a politician.
“Words reveal your beliefs and intentions. Actions reveal your character. When they are in alignment, they reveal your greatest life.”
~ Steve Maraboli
9. Check The Label (and Your Ego) At The Door.
Labeling is disabling. Be authentic, create your own reality. Goals are different than expectations. Your reactions to both, whether attained or not, are key. Keep a fluid, dynamic and open mindset rather than fixed. Be flexible when things don’t go as planned. Don’t panic, just pivot. Pivot!
Set a standard for your own behavior but don’t expect other adults to follow suit simply because you do. Keep careful watch of your own social networks. If you are unhappy with the behavior of others, rather than expecting them to change, change your company.
Shift your vocabulary—stop saying “have to,” “need to,” “should,” “ought to” and replace them with “get to,” or even just “it would be helpful if…” Simple shifts in vocabulary make an enormous difference in shaping your attitude about the action, and in turn, allow you to drop expectations for it.
10. Be A Scientist—Gather The Facts and Draw Conclusions.
First step—take a breath. Because B happened does not mean A caused it, or vice versa. There may be a whole lot of other letters involved, maybe even some numbers. Hell, this might be Algebra. Joy.
Do a little research or detective work. Consider the source. Clarify the context. Find out the details. Get a few opinions, if it helps. At least attempt to be open to other ideas and possibilities. Above all, stop seeing everything as meaning more than it does. Sometimes, it just is what it is, nothing more, nothing less.
“Whatever the mind can conceive it can achieve”
~ W. Clement Stone
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Michael Gil/Flickr