Most of us will have times when we feel down or defeated by life, but there are ways to live a more peaceful, happy, and joyful life.
I’ve often thought it’s strange that our location and surroundings have so little impact on how we truly feel. For example, if you’re in a 5-star hotel, you would think you’d feel happy, calm, and having a great time? But any stress, agitation or anxieties you’re carrying in your body and mind are just as likely to remain as they would in a far less glamorous location. This is why people say ‘money can’t buy you happiness’. No matter how much money you have, or which sunny location you go on holiday to, it doesn’t guarantee feelings of happiness, peace or joy. In fact, our external surroundings have much less to do with how we feel than we often imagine.
Neither does Christmas for that matter. With Christmas approaching and all the festivities, some people may not be looking forward to it as much as others. This might be because they know that the external changes are short-lived and won’t change how they feel internally. Then it’s back to ordinary life. Perhaps this New Year you could make your ordinary extraordinary!
Realizing this came as a great relief to me.
I had often questioned why I was unable to enjoy things and places that on paper should have been really enjoyable. I noticed that over time certain things that I did made me feel calm, peaceful and happy day to day. My inner state and sense of being had almost no bearing on my location or activity. If I’m working, socializing, cleaning or on holiday my base mood remains the same. After our basic needs are met, food, shelter, clothing, heating etc the external world isn’t what determines the quality of our life.
The things that affect each of us may differ slightly from person to person. Mine took a few years to really introduce, but now I know my happy and calm baseline I really notice if I let myself get out of balance.
Regular exercise, it may be a cliche but it is transformational. Anyone who regularly exercises will probably agree that if you skip one too many days you start to feel terrible! And not just physically but mentally. I find exercise is a fantastic way to balance my mind and help me keep stress and anxiety out of my general state of mind in my day to day activities.
It is still so often underestimated!!
A healthy diet, we all know good food makes you feel better, yet it is still so often underestimated!! The link between the brain and the gut is becoming an increasingly discussed topic and scientifically proven. If you feel low, have no energy, suffer from depression, etc then your diet is the first place you should look for relief.
Feeling totally different.
Sleep. Never compromise on sleep. If at all possible you need to get between 7-9 hours a night. The difference it makes to my mental well being is phenomenal. If I’ve had a few nights of less sleep I become irrational and emotional. Sometimes I have to tell myself “you’re not even allowed to think until you’ve slept!” And 100% of the time I wake up feeling totally different about whatever it was I was worrying about.
A mindfulness practice.
Personally, yoga works for me. It’s different from my other exercise in that it makes me slow down, tune in and be fully present. Other mindfulness practices are also effective and everyone may find different benefits in each. Meditation, journaling, breathwork and so on are all practices that might transform your constant state if practiced regularly.
This isn’t about living in a totally clean and stress-free life of green smoothies and 3 hours Yin Yoga a night. But it is about recognizing what is the minimum that you need to do in order to live with a balanced and healthy state of mind?
Work on your body and mind and your life will work on itself.
If you constantly worry about the future, overthink possible outcomes or feel anxious about just about everything, try shifting that energy and focus on to your body and mind practices and daily habits.
Know that if you look after yourself, create a balanced and positive baseline, you will manifest the life you want and you will feel good while you do it!
No matter where you go on holiday, how many drinks you have, how many clothes you buy, nothing external will shift your baseline state. It takes effort and continuous commitment but it is the most life-changing and rewarding thing you can realise. Suddenly you can be content and happy as you are, right now. And that is all you have.