You find yourself having a â€œbad day.â€ Things are just not going right. You feel frustrated, uneasy, and even miserable. Do you have to continue to spiral further into difficulty or can you shift your energy to feel better?
You have more power to think and feel well than you might yet understand.
Whether we realize it or not, we all use a set of daily practices to process life as it is happening. Many use the following: they worry from the moment they wake up until they fall in bed at night; they focus on all that is going wrong in their lives; they complain to others, recounting again and again all the reasons they are never going to be able to move beyond their hardships.
All of us know people who constantly gripe. They carry an aura of negativity everywhere they go. These folks are masters of negative thinking. Their mental habits keep them–and the people they interact with–feeling worn down, upset and overwhelmed. Ironically they often do not realize how pessimistic they are! I know I was shocked to discover how dark my thoughts were before I decided to take control of them.
You can begin to consciously form daily routines that help you feel well. By integrating these positive practices into your day, you will become aware of your own ability to walk through life with acceptance and peace even when times are hard. Here are a few to get you going.
1.Start and end the day by giving thanks. Before rising from bed, think of five things in your life right now for which you are thankful. From a friend to a bed to a beautiful sunrise to a pair of shoes begin to notice each simple gift of sustenance and comfort that is so much a part of your life that you can hardly see it. Draw these things out of invisibility into mental consciousness.
Focusing your heart and mind on gratitude will help you set an optimistic tone for your day. If you find yourself losing perspective midway through the day, stop and find something to be grateful for like a pleasant greeting from a stranger or a call from a friend. Gratitude can raise your spirits and boost your energy.
To really maximize the value of appreciating the good already in your life, put a small notebook and pen by your bed (you could even carry it with you during the day) to record your gratitude list. As you close your day, write down five things from the day for which you are grateful. Don’t worry if it takes you a few minute to think of something. Be patient and persistent. Don’t be afraid to use humor. If it was a tough day and you bruised your arm, you can be grateful that you didn’t break it!
2.Live life with mindfulness. We tend to live on auto-pilot moving from one activity to the next with very little thought. Using mindfulness is a powerful practice to bring our attention to the present moment.
Each day choose one specific activity and give it your full attention. It can be drinking a glass of water, walking up a set of stairs, washing your hands, looking into your child’s or spouse’s eyes.
Engage as many of your sense as possible. For example, look closely at the piece of plantain you are about to eat. Notice its shape and color. Smell it before you put it into your mouth. Slowly enjoy chewing it feeling the texture on your tongue, tasting the sweetness or saltiness. Listen quietly as you chew be aware of your muscles and teeth.
By giving yourself totally to one such activity each day you will begin to view seemingly small every-day happenings in new ways. Soon you will be finding pleasure in things you didn’t even notice. Slow down and enjoy each moment of your life.
3. Use the guiding question, â€œWhat will bring me joy today?â€ Most of us start the day saying, â€œWhat do I HAVE to do?â€ and forget that we can choose to do more
of what would make our heart sing.
Take time each day to create opportunities to do what you enjoy. Schedule time with a friend you haven’t been able to see. Watch your favorite football team’s next game. Play a game with your child. Passionately kiss your lover. Write a letter to someone you haven’t spoken to in years.
Don’t put everything you enjoy off for a better day. Today do something that brings a smile to your face or laughter to your soul.
4. Take time daily for silence. Learning to quiet the mind is an art. By taking 5 minutes a day or at least one to sit in complete silence, you will open the space for greater peace and self-awareness than you now realize.
Turn off all electronic devices (TV, pager, PDA, cell phone, radio, computer etc.) Sit quietly in a comfortable spot. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Feel yourself taking a deep breath in and then focus on exhaling. If your mind begins to chatter and your thoughts race in all directions, gently say to yourself, â€œJust thinking.â€ Then, turn your focus back to your breath. When your thoughts fight for your attention, notice in a humor-filled way how interesting it is that your mind is so active and continue to refocus on your breath. This practice brings great rewards.
Do not be discouraged if you find this practice challenging at first. Our minds are not used to being quiet. The mind may throw a temper tantrum as you try to quiet it down. With persistence, quieting your mind grows easier.
When you go regularly into the silence you will find an increasing sense of inner peace, connection to your Inner Voice of Guidance, and power over your mind. You can also begin to incorporate moments of silence throughout your day. If you find your mind racing towards fear and worry, stop. Take a deep breath. Release your thoughts. Create a space for new peace and energy to fill you.
5.Be present to life. If you notice yourself fighting the present moment, stop yourself. Take a few moments and breathe deeply. As you breathe deeply, repeat the phrase to yourself, â€œI am here Now. I live in the Now. I choose to enjoy my life NOW.â€ Take a deep breath and go back to the moment with new energy.
Post reminders all around you. Write BE HERE or NOW on a piece of paper and post it in locations where you will regularly see it. It’s easy to get lost in thoughts of the past or future, so constant reminders are helpful to pull back to the present.
6.Find the good in yourself (and others). Don’t criticize, judge or be-rate yourself in your thoughts. Don’t compare yourself with others. Focus your mind on the positive traits you have.
Remember, you are unique. You are an amazing creation of God. Nobody in the world can do a better job of being you than YOU!
7.Share your love. Remind yourself each morning that you are here on earth for an important purpose. Say a prayer, â€œThank you for the person you have made me to be. Help me to love and honor those I encounter. Guide me to people who need my love.â€ Open your eyes and heart as you walk through your day. There will be people along your path who you will be called to serve. In giving of your love you will feel a deep sense of encouragement and satisfaction.
These ideas work especially if you use them consistently.
Your assignment this week is to try out at least one of these practices each day. Experiment. Find the ones that work the best for you! By consciously choosing to incorporate empowering practices into your daily routine you will begin to feel better and enjoy life more fully.
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â€œJust for today, no matter where I am going, or what I am doing, or who I am doing it with, it is my intention to focus on the positive.â€ â€” Lucy MacDonald
Patricia G. Omoqui 2010, All Rights Reserved
Patricia Omoqui, The Thought Dr. â„¢, is an internationally recognized inspirational speaker, life coach and writer. Patricia’s mission in life is to inspire people to move beyond fear so they can reach their full potential.
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