A year or so ago teens were using the phrase "YOLO!" as in...you only live once, so LIVE IT UP!
It was sometimes (often) seen as a way to excuse throwing caution to the wind and doing extreme things, risky things, things you wouldn't normally do. My lighter hearted spin on this is, you only live once, so don't wait for "some better time" to really fully participate and live. Get out there now. You have the capacity within you to be happy today. No really, you do. Your circumstances don't have to be perfect and you can still be happy. You can choose happiness. Today.
The first part of living fully is taking inventory so let's do that. Let's take a quick inventory of where you're at and in what direction you want to head. An inventory if you will. Do this quick exercise with me.
1) Ask yourself "What are two areas of my life that I'm very happy about right now?" This could mean they're going well, running smoothly, healthy habits, new skill recently developed, recent opportunity, just plain satisfied at the moment with where you are. Areas can be large or small. Consider some of the following:
*Weekly personal time
*Quality time spent with kids or friends
*Spirituality (church, meditation time)
2) Next ask yourself what is one area that I'd like to improve on or change? Consider some of the same areas as above.
3) Once you have an area that you'd like to improve on, ask yourself "How do I feel when I think about ________________ (fill in the blank with your selected area of improvement)
4) Take note of what you're feeling. Is it a positive or negative feeling? Keep your feeling to one word, for example: Happy, stressed, nervous, mad, frustrated, hopeful, excited, overwhelmed, confused.
5) Your feeling will either be positive or negative:
a) If the feeling is positive, embrace it. Stay aware of it. Decide on one small step that you can take to get you closer to where you want to be with this area and "pencil that step in" on your calendar as a reminder.
b) If the feeling is negative, realize that it is just a feeling and that you can alter feelings, by changing your thoughts! Ask yourself what you are thinking that is making you feel the way you're feeling. Once you figure that out, you can change your specific thought, so that you then feel better. Once you get to a place of feeling positive about where you're at (this can take an hour or a day or a month), THEN loop back up to "a) If the feeling is positive" and proceed with that step.
This process is something that can be taught in depth during coaching. With some practice, you can get really good at managing your thoughts. I use it on myself all of the time and am amazed at how straightforward the process really is. Whenever I feel swept away by the power of an emotion, I allow myself to name what it is that I'm feeling, feel it and then change my thoughts so that they serve me in a way that is most productive for me.
What do you think about using your thoughts to help manage how you feel? Let me know in the comments!