Every once in a while I am reminded of the power of taking a walk in nature.
It is calming, refreshing, relaxing and simple.
If you haven’t done it for a while, I’d recommend it.
You’ll often find that some of the most helpful things are the cheapest, easiest and most accessible. But instead we end up looking to things that are expensive, difficult and challenging to obtain.
I think the reason for this is that we assume that big problems will require big solutions. Or if you’re not ready to work at something, you can use the excuse of the solution being out of reach, something you don’t have access to.
It can be difficult to comprehend that the very thing you need to help make things better, is something you can do right now.
If what you’re doing isn’t working, try something else. It really is that simple yet we often end up making things more complicated than they need to be.
We moan and complain about the way things are and daydream about the way we wish things could be. But we forget that actually things can change and things can be different if we choose another option. In moments it might seem like you’re stuck but there are always options available to you.
Choosing a different way may require patience and it might not be easy but trying something new is much better than sticking with what’s not working.
It’s easy to talk about the weather, your favourite TV show, what you had for dinner and what you got up to at the weekend.
But often when it comes to topics like mental health, fears and struggles suddenly talking becomes difficult.
Part of why it’s so difficult is because we don’t do it enough. What if having difficult conversations could be made easier with practice?
Talking when it’s difficult often requires you to venture out into new territory even if it is with someone you’re familiar with. But what you gain from having difficult conversations is what makes it worth doing.
It can be difficult to have conversations about things that feel uncomfortable. You might find it so difficult that you avoid it altogether and shut down whenever anyone tries to bring it up with you.
That might seem like the best option because why would anyone choose to feel uncomfortable.
However, when you avoid something it doesn’t go away and you don’t allow yourself room to grow.
So instead of avoiding a difficult conversation or holding back when you speak, try something different.
Be open, honest and know that the initial uncomfortable feeling will subside.
It’ll take a bit of practice but eventually you’ll get to a place where the difficult conversation is actually pretty easy.
When it comes to the things we do in our day to day life, I think it’s important to make it as easy as possible.
If you want to read more, have a book on your bedside table instead of tighly slotted into your bookshelf.
If you want to spend more time with friends, make plans in advance instead of getting frustrated that they aren’t available with short notice.
If you want to drink more water, fill up a water bottle and keep it with you wherever you go instead of waiting until you’re thirsty.
A big part of changing your habits and the way you live your life comes from making a conscious effort not simply wishing you could be different.
In the past couple of weeks you’ve probably seen things happen that you would have once considered bad. Yet the way these events have unfolded, these acts are almost worthy of praise.
When you look at an incident in isolation, it’s easy to make a judgement about what is wrong or right, what should or shouldn’t happen and if something is good or bad. It’s something we do quite often.
We go around making assumptions based on limited information ignoring the fact that we don’t know the full story because it’s fun to fill in the gaps. But also because sometimes the full story takes more time and effort than we are willing to give.
It’s much easier to assume that someone is wrong than it is to consider the why behind their actions. This may not have any real impact in the moment however, in the long run simply choosing the easiest thought path can have negative results.
So, it might be worth slowing down, looking at the bigger picture, getting informed and then making a judgment based on much more than surface level understanding.
It’s easy to talk about things that are easy.
But when it comes to comes to feelings, wants and needs, things often get a little more challenging.
Often problems will arise, simply because you didn’t speak up and let the other person know how you felt or what you needed. When you hold things in, they rarely go away, they just build up over time.
So, maybe 6 months later when you feel angry and frustrated towards someone you won’t even consider that maybe things could have turned out differently, if only you had said ‘I want you to make more of an effort’ instead of keeping quiet.
Granted people won’t always meet your needs, even if you desperately want them too.
But you’re better off speaking up and giving the other person a chance, than just holding things in and ending up disappointed that people can’t read your mind.
Right now is a difficult time for a lot of people.
One of the easiest things you can do is read every article, keep up with live news updates online or on TV, scroll social media and panic.
But the chances are those things aren’t actually helping. Knowing the ever’changing stats of cases in countries across the globe is probably not going to bring you comfort or put your mind at ease.
Most people use social media in excess on a normal day but it’s likely that things have been ramped up even further recently.
Seeing people tell you what they think you should think or how they think you should feel might only add to your frustrations, not soothe them.
And so right now it’s worth being a little more intentional about what you’re consuming.
You don’t need to keep up with everything.
A useful skill to acquire is to know what you need in your off moments. But then to go one step further and honour those needs.
So often we get a feeling for what we should do but we push it aside and trudge on. We tell ourselves it’s inconvenient, we don’t want to offend people or we feel stuck with where we are or previous decisions we’ve made.
But when you ignore the feeling of knowing, there will always be consequences. Things like feeling uncomfortable, regret or frustration.
And often we put those feelings on the person or people we were with at the time. In those cases, it might feel easier to blame others because it relinquishes you of your responsibility.
However, perhaps next time the feeling of knowing what you need comes around you could try following it. Of course be polite or respectful of who you’re with but don’t forget the importance of taking care of yourself.
I recently discovered a new podcast and listening to it brings me joy.
I find myself often relating to the conversations they have or smiling/laughing.
It’s so useful to fill your life with little things that bring you joy that you have easy access to.
Something extravagant like a week in the Maldives isn’t accessible to you on a regular basis.
You have to think small-scale.
A useful exercise is either throughout or at the end of the day write down all the things you did that brought you joy, then make a vow to do those things more.
It could be meditation, morning gratitude, getting a coffee in the kitchen with your work pal, listening to a particular song or podcast, reading a book, putting on a face mask, saying good morning to strangers on your way to the bus stop or train station or even going for a walk.
As humans we have a tendency to over complicate things but often it’s as simple as, whatever makes you feel good, do more of it.