Are you in a hurry?
When you go about your day, take a moment to look at the people around you. Do they look like they're in a hurry to get somewhere? Have you had the experience of asking friends or coworkers to meet for a gathering, only to be told, "Sorry, I'm super busy"? " Maybe you've been the one to have to put off get togethers or activities because your schedule simply doesn't have openings for those fun events. Busy seems to be the "new normal"...I noticed it can be embarrassing not to be busy these days!
It's easy to become chronically busy. It's easy to develop the compulsion to be successful as fast as possible. It can be tempting to feel like in order to achieve our goals, we have to compress five years of work into one, by moving five times faster! But what's the cost of this kind of fast-paced, high-pressured living?
Make time to pause and reflect.
If we push too hard and neglect rest and recreational time, despite all our earnest and wholehearted attempts to be successful, we run out of steam and lose our sense of direction. It's like focusing on the trees, but failing to notice the forest. We can end up running in circles because we've lost sight of what's really important: the things that bring us joy, like family, friends, and rewarding experiences.
Those joyful things serve as a compass, giving us direction and guiding us toward happiness. When you notice yourself slipping into busy-mode, try setting aside a few minutes to reflect on what's important. Ask yourself these simple questions:
· What do I value in life?
· What does success mean to me?
· Has what I've done today brought me closer to my life's goals?
· How do I get from where I am, to where I want to be?
Yes, these questions require you to think deep; do some soul-searching. But when you have the answers, your mind will be clear. It's like driving a car with a clean windscreen... you can see where you’re going! I suggest you clean your mental windscreen every morning by taking time to reflect. That way, your VISION will be as sharp as can be. Everyone needs a Vision – that vivid mental image of what you'd like to be, do, and have in life. Without it, we can't see which way we're headed. And the only way to develop it is to pause, think, decide then...go for it, one step at a time. Remember, life is not a race.
Live an intentional life.
We have a finite amount of time to spend here on earth. Don't you want to spend that time in a life that's happy and rewarding? I know I do! So take a little time to slow down, pause, and reflect. Figure out what's important to you in life. Then spend more time doing what's important, rather than being busy everyday or chasing an imaginary shopping list of what it takes to be successful. Remember… better to walk slowly in the right direction, than to dash madly all over the place.
In my book 21 Days to Happiness, I talk about how to clean your mental windscreen in Day 5 of the journey to greater happiness. In this chapter, I explore how intentions can direct us toward happier, more energetic and productive lives.
Are you a worrier?
"I know worry works because nothing I worry about ever happens." Have you heard of this quote? It sounds funny, but it's not far from the truth!
It's normal to worry from time to time, but more and more people seem to worry about the smallest stuff. They also worry about the big things, too, of course, like health, relationships, and finances.
Because worrying can be overwhelming and counterproductive, when writing my book 21 Days to Happiness, I decided to try to understand it through research and dedicated the chapter "Don't Worry Be Happy" to address how to decrease it. Maybe you'd like to know what to do about it.
3 Strategies for Peace of Mind:
1) Practice catching yourself. During a recent phone call with a friend, I caught the person worrying 5 times about 5 different things. I'm not kidding. "Hey, you're worrying again." What I've learned is that worry is a mental habit. You can change habits; but you have to catch yourself first in order to stop it.
2) Practice thought switching. Once you catch yourself worrying, decide to think about something else. By this I mean, think of something that is more positive, perhaps a project or passion that will take your mind off whatever you are worried about. Are you planing an event, a trip or have some work goals you could focus on? Remember, "worrying is like a rocking chair...it keeps you busy, but it doesn't get you anywhere."
3) Act, file, or throw it away. Decide to do one of three things: decide to address the issue right then by finding a solution; if you can't do anything about it at the moment, give yourself a time to address it later; or decide that it is not important and let it go. In other words, act on it, file it or throw it away.
Awareness and acknowledgment are the keys to changing our habits. If you tend to worry a lot, try to lighten up. 95% of what we worry about doesn't happen. What a waste of time and energy that can be. Of course, if there's a problem, find a solution...but let's not imagine and create problems that aren't there!
What strategies work for you? Leave a comment or post on my 21 Days to Happiness Facebook page to tell me about it.
My book, 21 Days to Happiness, describes additional strategies for setting aside worry for greater happiness.
Ms. Ingrid Kelada is an experienced psychologist and happiness expert in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She is a speaker and has facilitated over 1000 workshops all over the world.
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