Life changing habits: Practice gratitude

I’m grateful for so many things in my life.

One thing in particular is my right hand because I use it to write and writing is something that I attribute to so much of who I am as a person, like that’s how deep it goes.

I usually do a morning gratitude when I’m still in bed, when I’m brushing my teeth or when I’m walking to the bus stop.

I even do it when I’m in a bad mood. It never fails to lift my spirit because it reminds me that I have so much goodness that I can focus on and so much that I easily forget or look past because it’s always around.

I never thought something as simple as being grateful could actually have that much of an impact.

When it comes to things that are life changing we often fall into thinking it has to be big and dramatic “just like they do on the tv” but more often than not that’s not the case.

I’m grateful for my hope, curiosity, resilience, laughter, my job, my friends, my right hand, the park by my house, my grandparents…

The list goes on because my life is overflowing with things to be grateful for.

When I truly learned how to take that in, it changed my life.

Life changing habits: Transmute your feelings

Whenever I felt sad, jealous angry etc. my first instinct used to be to sit in it and wallow. I’d maybe play The Smiths, The Stone Roses or some other type of moody music and fall into some deep dark depression with thoughts like ‘there’s nothing in this life for me’.

This might sound dramatic or like an over exaggeration but it’s how I truly felt and it became this habit that I’d grown to almost find comfort in.

I’d also write as I was keen to document the woes in my life because sometimes it felt like nobody else saw what I was going through.

However, these days if I’m feeling jealous for example, I’m also aware of the fact that I often want things simply because I don’t have them and often once I get them, I get bored pretty quick.

I think it’s also important to remember that just because someone has things that you don’t have it doesn’t make your life any less good.

In my experience, most of the time if I start to feel jealous it’s because I’m focusing too much on other people instead of myself. It’s the perfect time to practice gratitude and once I do that my feelings change to joy, curiosity and excitement at the possibilities of life.

When I get sad or angry I turn it into a growth point and figure out what the takeaway is. I let myself know that it is okay to feel whatever I’m feeling, whilst reminding myself that I don’t need to sit in the feelings and wallow but I also remain patient with myself.

Most of the sadness or anger I’ve felt comes from not setting boundaries, not being open, trying to please others and sometimes it’s things that I have no control over.

In moments like these I transmute my feelings into joy by practising gratitude, remembering the joys of life and what it feels like to be me and love myself. But also just being present which is something I learnt from reading The Power of Now.

I’m learning to not wallow in my feelings but to feel them and move on. It’s fine to feel angry about something but you don’t have to hold onto it.

One of my favourite quotes I’m not sure who it’s by but it’s something like ‘Don’t let life make you hard’ and it has so much meaning to me because sometimes I fall into that.

But on the other hand, life can also be beautiful, wonderful and so full of joy.

Life changing habits: Daily mantras

A tool I use to sort of re-calibrate so that my intentions are focused on a specific thing.

When I was looking for a job in the past I did daily mantras for at least a month then I ended up getting 3 job offers within the space of a few weeks.

I get that some people don’t believe in the power of mantras but I’m not saying it’s a magic fix. It’s more a case of what you focus on grows, it sort of becomes in sociological terms a self fulfilling prophecy. I’m a big believer that if you don’t think it’ll work then it probably won’t.

And if you don’t trust me trust Henry Ford who said ‘Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.’

It’s been life changing for me because the things I’ve declared have come to pass. I try and focusing on bringing more of the good stuff in and letting the stuff no longer serving me fall away and mantras help with that.

Getting to know you

How exactly does one discover themselves?

Through exploration, experimentation and being open to the unknown.

If you live your life in the box of what you know, you may think that you know yourself. But actually, there is so much more of you to explore outside of that box.

As much as there is ‘the me I know’ inside of the box, there is also ‘the me I don’t know’ outside of it.

Granted you can’t experience every single thing in life but you can try things that are outside of your usual routine.

It can be big or it can be small.

Things like:

  • Journaling
  • Visiting a new city
  • Joining a group or class
  • Doing the thing you’ve always thought about doing but kept putting off
  • Volunteering
  • Meditation
  • Going for a walk

You might think you know yourself or that you’re content with your life. But when you do a journal prompt like ‘Describe your dream life’ you might find you’re nowhere near where you want to be. Maybe you settled for an unfulfilling ‘stable’ job and you never even took the time to figure out what you truly wanted to do for a living.

“And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself?”

– Rumi

More connected than ever

If you want to reach me you can call, text, WhatsApp, dm on Twitter or Instagram and even catch me on FB messenger.

We’re more connected than ever with regard to the countless channels that are available. So how ironic is it that it seems like as a society we’re more alone than ever.

I think it’s something to do with technology being used to replace actually having face to face conversations. As much as technology can imitate and replicate person to person interaction as Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell once sang ‘ain’t nothing like the real thing baby’.

You can go on Twitter and see people interacting all day long but then they’ll tweet about feeling lonely.

I think online connections are great as a supplement but not a replacement. Perhaps we actually need the eye contact, the sound of someone’s voice, the pauses between speech and the sight of another living being.

Difficult but necessary

For some people there are certain conversations they’d rather not have.

It’s the difficult ones that we avoid where we have to be vulnerable. And maybe you get that swirly feeling in your stomach that you take as a sign not to go through those conversations.

But when you avoid them all that stuff just builds up and eventually comes out in unideal ways. It’s like not repairing a crack in a wall and all of a sudden the wall caves in.

In these situations you have to be responsible and admit that you’re the one that avoided the very thing you needed to do.

And that’s okay at least you know for next time. The conversations you’re afraid to have  are difficult but necessary but like all life situations.

We can’t go over it.
We can’t go under it.
Oh no!
We’ve got to go through it!

From the 1989 children’s book We’re going on a bear hunt by Michael Rosen

When you’re not in-flow

Having a daily writing practice means that writers block isn’t an excuse I can use.

There are days when writing feels a little more rigid and I suppose I feel ‘blocked’ but I don’t feed it because whether I feel in-flow or totally out of flow I still have to write and share something.

I think one of the easiest ways to loosen up and allow the words to flow is to write and it’s ironic because we’d usually do the opposite.

Perhaps the first 100 or even 500 words might be what you think of as rubbish but once you get past that you get to the good stuff. All of sudden you’re scoffing at that supposed ‘writers block’ knowing that you should have listened to Seth when he said:

Writer’s block isn’t hard to cure.

Just write poorly. Continue to write poorly, in public, until you can write better.

Seths Blog: Talkers Block