All decisions about whether or not you should do something come down to yes or no questions.
Should I move to another city?
Should I cut my hair short?
Should I ask him out to dinner?
The questions on their own are simple but when we add in context, feelings and fears we make it much more complicated. Granted, context can be helpful because if the person you’re considering asking to dinner is in a relationship, it’s probably best not to bother.
However, the added information can also be unhelpful.
Take moving to another city, you might be super excited but also kind of scared because of the uncertainty, even though you feel like you need a change.
When you allow feelings related to fear to be at the forefront of your mind, it can often hinder your ability to make decisions.
So sometimes it’s best to remove all the details and ask yourself a simple question. Answer yes or no, stick with it and move forward.
Sometimes it’s good to have a statement that serves as guidance for the direction of your life.
When you feel stuck, stagnant and discontent wondering what to do next pick the best possible next step.
Close your eyes and ask yourself ‘What is the best possible next step I can take?’
Whatever answer comes up, do it.
It could be as small as turning off your phone or drinking a glass of water. It could be as big as resigning from your job or ending a relationship.
Once you take the first step if you still feel stuck ask yourself the question again, keep doing that until you no longer feel stuck, stagnant or discontent.
No matter how much you plan and prepare you always encounter unexpected situations.
In the moment it can be easy to end up feeling overwhelmed after all this is not what you wanted, it’s not what you planned for.
And so you have two choices. The first is to get caught up in the unexpected and the feeling of things being out of your control. The second is to take a moment to check in and ask yourself whether this unexpected situation poses any real risk. Most of the time the answer is no, in fact you have something to gain.
Unexpected situations can serve as an opportunity to learn how to be more adaptable which is a pretty valuable thing.
It’s all in how it feels.
When you find yourself with a choice to make between A and B, the main challenge will be wanting to make the right decision.
You don’t want to pick an option that you might later regret. But the truth is most of the time, you never really know how you’ll feel a month or a year down the line.
And as much as you can go back and forth, at the end of the day you have to choose.
I find that that it helps to put as little pressure on the decision as possible. Sometimes even make a game of it, put your options into an online hat that will pick for you or pick flower petals.
Whatever you end up choosing if you feel calm and at peace granted part of that will come from no longer having the burden of deciding on your shoulders but the feeling of peace will also be from having made the right choice for you.
When you feel low or sad about something it can be difficult to know what t do with the feeling. After all you don’t want to feel it, you’d much rather the sadness just left you alone.
But the thing with difficult feelings and feelings in general is that they don’t leave if you don’t allow yourself to feel them.
And then there is the question of how do you feel your feelings.
I don’t think there is a set answer of how but I’ll share what works for me.
Writing is incredibly therapeutic, I do it everyday.
Writing allows you to explore yourself freely and can be used as a tool to express how you feel. If you’re feeling hurt you can write about it. But you can also ask yourself questions like ‘why does this bother me?’ or ‘what would make me feel better right now?’ and then write until you have some kind of answer or at least until your mood has shifted.
When you experience a mood change from sad to happy it’s easy to find yourself looking back.
Perhaps you do so because you remember what it was like to feel sad and you remember that you didn’t think it would pass. But now all of a sudden here you are with a smile on your face, feeling like a whole new you.
Looking back is a reminder that the difficult times don’t last forever even if in the moment we sometimes forget.
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.
When someone comes to you, asking some thing of you, how do you respond?
Do you simply think about whether or not you want to do it?
Do you worry about how the other person will react if you say no?
So often we grow up inadvertently being taught to people please and unless we later unlearn it, it stays with us.
Then you find yourself saying yes to something you don’t want to do because you’re worried about hurting someones feelings, to the point where you place that above doing what feels right for you.
If that’s something you can relate to, you might want to start learning to say no.
It gets easier over time, practice makes perfect after all.
Instead of questioning whether or not you should be maximizing your productivity at this time, it might be more useful to check in with how you feel.
If you spend 3 weeks watching netflix, how will you feel?
If you spend 3 weeks working yourself to the bone, how will you feel?
Chances are you won’t feel great doing either.
As much as it is good to rest you’ll also feel good doing things. Whether that is one task a day like reading x chapters of a book, decluttering a room in your house or starting an online course.
But you don’t need to compete or try and milk this time for all it’s worth. It’s healthy to rest and it’s healthy to do things. You just need to figure out what works for you and go with it.
It’s easy to be grateful when things are going your way.
But when times are uncertain and life has thrown a spanner in the works gratitude often becomes a little more challenging.
Suddenly the most prominent things are the bad stuff and you’re not thankful for your life being turned upside down.
In these times it’s even more important to practice gratitude.
The real benefits of the practice come when you’re able to make it a part of your lifestyle, independent of your circumstances.
And so maybe it used to be I’m grateful for getting to be apart of this exciting project or some other major thing that you feel like shouting from the rooftops. But now it’s more like I’m grateful for these cosy socks, the flowers in my garden and running water.