Mental Health

Chasing Happiness

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I never thought I was one to chase happiness. I was always taught that happiness was just a by-product of your gratefulness towards life. When I think of where my life has taken me in this past year, I now realize that I was in fact one of the many people who chased goals and accomplishments down in an effort to  truly feel satisfied with my life. While the journey and all its ups and downs are what really help people to achieve a happy life, I like so many others, lost sight of the hours and days spent trying to achieve happiness and never allowed myself to just be. In my 28 years of life, I struggled to find happiness in all things. Whether it was in my academic career, my romantic relationships, or even my work life, my motivation was always to do great now so I can be even greater later. I never sat down to enjoy small success or minor victories. My actions were all a means to an end that in some respect were never later achieved. So what can we do when we realize we’ve been chasing happiness all along? I for one have decided to embrace choice and move forward. No longer worried about what will be, I look to embrace what is now. Like the quote states, “Happy people don’t have the best of everything; they made the best of everything.” Embrace each day for its limitless possibilities. Strive to be happy everyday and not “one day” soon. It is the moments we experience now that matter most. After 28 years of chasing my happy future, I have decided to allow happiness to finally catch up to me. It has been here all along just waiting to be acknowledged. I’m ready to embrace it and find it in all things around me. What will you decide?

Embrace Choice and Keep Moving Forward

10 Tips to Finding Happiness Now

1. Be Present

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Commit to living for the experience. It’s so easy to get caught up in our “future thinking” that we forget to embrace true moments of happiness as they happen. BE PRESENT! Commit to enjoy each day as it passes. Regardless if you are wondering what will come next embrace the now and allow its gifts to present themselves. There is so much learning and growth that can be experienced if we just permitted ourselves to be more present. “True happiness is… to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future.” Lucius Annaeus Seneca

2. Let Your Passions Be Your Guide

Regarding our daily activities or career meaningful is vital to living a happy life. As a tool for self exploration, I find it helpful to create a passion list. What are your passions? What have you always wanted to do but never went after? As children we change career ambitions like we change our underwear, but as we get older these early desires begin to fade for the more “realistic” path. Look to your inner child and ask them what they are still yearning to experience in life. As someone who once gave up my passion for writing, I have to tell you, its feel amazing to be back! I feel as though I have reconnected with an old friend and it’s as if we never skipped a beat. List your passions on paper and determine for yourself what it is you have been looking for all this time. It’s never too late to acknowledge that inner yearning. Cultivating your passion with commitment and enthusiastic curiosity will only bring you closer to experiencing true happiness. While it is hard to adopt this type of mindset, attention must be given to our passions. If your motivating factor is the paycheck, you may be depriving yourself of a chance to do your true life’s work. When you can attach purpose to your work, satisfaction and happiness are sure to follow. “Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart give yourself to it.” Buddha

3. Respect the Body

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The healthier you are, the more you exercise and eat right, the more likely you will lead a happy life. While it is so easy for us to take our bodies for granted, it is vital that we protect and preserve this beautiful shell we reside in. Take time to nourish the body. Be mindful of the things you put in it and be mindful of the messages our body regularly sends us. Only you can be responsible for the care of this fragile vessel. Be proactive and take the necessary preventive care measures. Your body will be so grateful to you and your mind will be all the more at peace. Adopting a healthy lifestyle helps to reduce ones stress level and has been known to increase ones overall energy towards life. If you intend on living a long life filled with wonder and exploration you must protect the vehicle that is vital in getting you where you want to go in life. “In yourself right now is all the place you’ve got.” Flannery O’Connor

4. Nurture Relationships That Matter 

When it comes to wanting happiness for yourself it’s vital that you surround yourself with positive people who exude happiness themselves. There is no better feeling then the one you get when you cultivate a circle of like-minded, loving individuals that share in life’s special moments beside you. These people are with you during good times and bad. They build you up and share in your accomplishments and significant life experiences. They are honest and dedicated to nurturing the relationship you represent for them. Take care of these relationships as they bring meaning and clarity to your life. Nurture those people who matter to you most. Never take these invaluable people for granted. “The quality of life is the quality of your relationships.” Anthony Robbins

5. Lend a Hand keep-calm-and-help-others-16

It feels so good when you can help your fellow-man/woman. I have often heard it said that when you lend a hand to others you are filled with feelings of joy, appreciation, and inner goodness. Seek opportunities to help others. Not only will you make someone’s day, week, or life, you will bring joy and happiness into your own heart and that’s a beautiful thing. “There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” John Holmes

6. Look to the World around You 

Whenever you come to a crossroads in your life look to those around you for strength and inspiration.  Happiness and the courage to change your situation can come when we see others around us who have overcome similar struggles. While no two people are the same we can pull valuable lessons from others stories of courage and perseverance. It is possible to change your course at a moments notice. We see people do it everyday. Why go through life on autopilot when you can take back that control and be the steward of your journey. Transformation occurs when we allow ourselves to be inspired. Listen to others stories of change and allow yourself to see that we too can be transformed when we are open to it. Look to these stories to awaken your inner curiosity and creativity. The possibilities for change and transformation are limitless if you open to uncovering them. I admire people who open themselves up to experience what I like to call an awakening. While once they would consider themselves unhappy and dissatisfied with life, they now have complete control and are happily moving forward on the course they were destined to travel all along. Look to others for inspiration and empowerment. You too can decide to make a change to be happy now. “Change is the end result of all true learning.” Leo Buscaglia

7. Keep Love Alive hands_in_shape_of_heart

A huge part of the journey to achieving true happiness consists of giving and receiving love. To have love in your life requires that you practice having both an open heart and an open mind. Love is an emotion when embraced can really help you to become the person you always knew you were meant to be. Love and happiness easily go hand in hand. Love can lift you up during the darkest times and can motivate you during the best of times. When we feel loved we feel secure in our lives and as a result are empowered to do and be better. Sky’s the limit when you have love in your life. Open your mind to accepting love and watch as your perception of the world shifts. You will be more likely to love and happier because of it. “When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” Paulo Coelho

8. Give Value to Experiences

I live for experiences! Memorable experiences make me feel alive and they make me feel connected to the people that matter most to me. Happiness is long-lasting when we take time to place value on the experiences we have and share with others. You can get so much more from an intimate dinner with friends or loved ones than you can from a new expensive purse that will probably go out of style in 6 months. When it comes to happiness create opportunities that will having meaning for you. Plan a romantic vacation with your significant other. Send a handmade heartfelt card to someone close to you that needs it. The emotions that emerge during these moments are powerful and everlasting. While the accumulation of possessions can be nice, these things only provide temporary happiness. “Life is about experience…You can’t hold on to everything.” Sarah Addison Allen It’s the experience and the moments you create that you remember the most. Allow yourself to experience these moments fully. A happy memory can be tapped into at anytime and can result in the recharging of your happiness levels. Live for the experience and keeping making memories. “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” Eleanor Roosevelt 

9. Get Out There! 

Building community is a vital component to achieving inner happiness.  Whether you are part of a religious community or a friendly reading group, being a part of a greater whole can bring joy and purpose to one’s life. Spend time reviewing your passion list and see if any of those interests you identified can connect you with like-minded people. Get out there and build relationships. Joining a group can not only help you to cultivate your interests but it can also aid you in your search for authenticity and true happiness. “Interest and enthusiasm are the wellspring of continually evolving community life: they create bonds which unite us whether we are young or old, nearby or far from each other; they allow human warmth and love to be the formative forces in personal and community life and striving.” Henning Hansmann

10. Know When to Ask for Help helping-hand

When times are tough and you feel stuck seek guidance without fear of judgment. Look to your close friends or family members with whom you can confide in. Listen to your inner voice as it tells you that you need more and that something needs to change. If family or friends just don’t seem to get it, you might come to realize that a coach or therapist is the more suitable person to hear you out. There is no shame in asking for help and there is definitely no shame in loving yourself enough to take charge of your own happiness. Seek out the help of someone who will empower you to see your true potential and inner strength.  Get to know yourself again by identifying those things you love and are passionate about. As your coach challenges you and champions your efforts you will begin to see that happiness, clarity, and a new outlook on life are sure to follow. “The less you open your heart to others, the more your heart suffers.” Deepak Chopra

“Happiness is the highest form of self-respect. A person who allows himself to be happy shows his self-respect.” Maery Rubin

Ambition In The City 

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Let It Go

As part of my 30 day Happiness Preservation Challenge I decided to practice the art of letting things go. This morning I was thinking about our tendency to attach to things. Whether we are attaching ourselves to an argument, to a physical object, a mistake we’ve made, or a topic we are passionate about, our tendency is to keep things with us for as long as possible. Why is it so hard for us to let things go? 32a993143874dfd8dd1d4a4649ea7520

This morning as I got dressed for work, I was met with the perfect opportunity to let things go. Feeling not so confident about my appearance, I found myself struggling to pick out an outfit to wear.
The all too familiar words “I can’t find anything to wear!” were coming out of my mouth as I tore through my closet trying outfit after outfit on. As I began to notice the state of my bedroom and took notice of the heat coming off of my face, I realized how frustrated this situation was making me. How can I preserve happiness in this moment, I asked myself. As I stood in front of my closet wearing the only thing I had for sure decided on wearing; my boots, I started to recognize how silly I was being. Was this situation something I needed to drive myself crazy over? Was I really going to let this moment impact the rest of my day?

As I stood there in my boots I decided to step back and regroup. I closed my eyes took a deep breath and searched for a mantra that would help me in this moment. My self-esteem was in question and the feelings associated needed to be acknowledged. I walked to my hallway mirror and took a few moments to look at myself. As I took all of me in I began to smile. I made room for forgiveness to settle in and eventually the mantra I was looking for emerged. “I am committed to loving me.” Much like the mirror exercise developed by Jack Canfield, co-author of The Chicken Soup for the Soul series, I needed acknowledgement in this moment. I repeated these words a few times over as I looked at myself in the mirror. Within minutes, I felt a release from any silly notion I had earlier about my appearance. I chose to let go of the negative and be content instead.

Needless to say, the perfect outfit emerged after I changed my attitude. I felt full of positive energy and was ready to tackle my day with a positive outlook. Once at the office, I offered compliments to a few co-workers as they passed me in the hallway. You never know, they might have been having a not so confident morning themselves.

Embrace choice and keep moving forward. Every second of every day is an opportunity to start anew. It is a chance to change your mind, change your behaviors, and ultimately change the world. When we learn to let things go we make room for what matters to us most. We focus on the good and we show up to the rest of the world in inspirational ways. Commit to letting at least 5 things go today. Below you will find some helpful mantras to assist you as you work to preserve happiness. Stay positive and choose those things that will bring you joy instead.

Mantras to Live By 

  1. I manifest the things that I want by believing in their existence.
  2. I have chosen to believe in me.
  3. I consciously commit to flexibility and detachment.
  4. I release the need to judge or criticize.
  5. I release! I let go! I will let things just be.
  6. I let go of the need to control others. I allow others to make their own way.
  7. I love the woman/man I’m becoming.
  8. I wont worry my life away.
  9. Possessions do not feed my spirit. I am liberated from the desire to hoard things.
  10. I am learning the art of self love.
  11. I let go of my regrets. I am grateful for lessons my past missteps taught me.
  12. I am calm, peaceful and relaxed in body, mind and soul.
  13. I am a survivor.
  14. I am in the process of positive changes.
  15. I am the only thing in my own way.
  16. The universe will provide what I need when I need it.
  17. I am a lovable person.
  18. I am proud of the woman/man I am.
  19. I believe I can be kinder to myself.
  20. I choose to let others opinions of me be their responsibility.
  21. I say goodbye to things in my life that are blocking my spiritual growth.
  22. I will conduct myself in such a way in which I can be proud.
  23. I have much to celebrate.
  24. I am actively becoming a better me.
  25. I am redefining what it means to trust.
  26. I am redefining what is important to me.
  27. I choose to stop apologizing for being me.
  28. I am committed to celebrating the person that I am.
  29. I am committed to loving me.
  30. I choose to highly value my thoughts, opinions, and ideas.
  31. I choose to consciously surround myself with positive influences.
  32. I am capable of making healthy choices.
  33. I am at peace with who I am.
  34. I am in full control of my thoughts and emotions.
  35. I know how to adequately fuel my body.
  36. I am solution minded. Any problem that comes up in life is solvable.
  37. Everything I do is an opportunity to be completely present.
  38. I choose to believe in me.
  39. I am whole, capable and resourceful.
  40. I commit to listening to my intuition.
  41. I know putting myself first is not about being selfish, it’s about self-care.
  42. I will be led by my dreams.
  43. I will be fueled by passion.
  44. I give myself permission to both fail and succeed.
  45. I have the ability to choose happiness.
  46. I have the ability to see the brighter side.
  47. I am a sexual being capable of extreme intimacy.
  48. I know I am braver that I can see.
  49. My pace is perfect.
  50. I am exactly where I need to be.
  51. Everything happens for a reason.
  52. I am the Divine.
  53. I am the only “sign” I need.
  54. I will surround myself with people who bring out the best in me.
  55. I deserve greatness.
  56. I deserve sublime happiness.
  57. I am deserving of abundance.
  58. I consciously choose love above all else.
  59. I am capable of great kindness.
  60. I believe in all of my abilities.
  61. Today, I choose me.
  62. I am in control of my thoughts.
  63. I choose to live in freedom over fear.
  64. I am motivated by peace.
  65. I recognize that my past does not have to define me.
  66. I define myself by my character not my circumstance.
  67. I have abundant courage.
  68. I have the ability to persevere.
  69. I am a confident communicator.
  70. I am a badass.

Rootsofshe.com are credited for the majority of the mantras listed above. If you haven’t visited this site before I suggest having a look. I love their mission.

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Promise Yourself

The Optimist Creed

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I came across these beautiful words last night as I was working on a new blog post. I decided to put that post on hold to share these powerful words with you all.  In his book Your Forces and How to Use Them Christian D. Larson challenges readers to use positive thinking to aid in their transformation to becoming greater, happier, and more fulfilled individuals.

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As a huge believer in the power of thought, I found these words to be quite inspirational. Each of us has the power to create the life we envision for ourselves. Step into your power and allow yourself to feel what life will be like when you fully embody an optimistic way of thinking. Accept that you have the power to impact positive change both within yourself as well as within others. Spread thoughts of love, joy, and optimism wherever you go. Open your heart, mind and spirit to receiving all the gifts that come when you step fully into your truth.  Share your gifts with the world, and challenge yourself to be the best version of you every day. Inspire others to see beauty and excellence in all aspects of themselves. Acknowledge and celebrate in others joys and accomplishments. For when they are at their best they can help bring out the very best in you.

Hold those lessons from your past that will push you forward close to your heart. The mistakes, the risks, the struggles have all brought you to this very spot. Challenge yourself to let go of whatever might hold you back. Pack light; take only those things that will help you to become better. There will always be more for you to overcome and even more for you to achieve. Transcend your limits by grabbing hold of new challenges and experiences. Make time for whatever will aid you to cultivate your passions and bring you joy. Leave little time for envy, judgment, fear or doubt to distract you from being great. Live these truths each and every day. They are within us all and can be tapped into at any point in time. We have all the power we need to become greater, happier and more fulfilled individuals. We just need to believe it.

“The energy of the mind is the essence of life.” Aristotle 

Ambition In The City

Turn Worry Into Action

“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose.” Eckhart Tolle 

Worry Defined worry-distress.jpg

1. To give way to anxiety or unease; allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles.

2. A state of anxiety and uncertainty over actual or potential problems.

When was the last time you allowed your worries to push you further and further away from your truth? When it comes to the topic of worry, I think we can all say we are guilty of giving into our own anxieties and uncertainty at one point or another. We dwell on issues and allow our minds to be inundated with limiting thoughts. Often times our worries can even take over our everyday functioning. Worries can cripple our ability to get on with our usual day. We find that we are distracted and highly unmotivated all because we can’t seem to let our worries go.

It is when we allow our worries to paralyze our ability to function that we permit our worries to have access to our power. The power that would usually drive us to take risks and have confidence in ourselves is silenced the moment we entertain our worries. While each of us innately has the power to push away our worries, effort must be given to change our perceptions from negative to positive. It is only when we learn to silence our worries and shift our thinking to motivate us into action, that we truly embrace our power and attract those positive outcomes we so greatly desire.

Turning Worry into Action

1. Be Inspired

Inspiration is everywhere. When you open your heart, mind, and body to what the world has to share with you, it is then that you allow yourself to truly be inspired by its wonders. Allow for your curiosity and creativity to emerge. Ask questions of those people and things around you and watch as moments of clarity and inspiration present themselves to you. “What if everything would just work out for the best?” “What can I do about this now?” Allow for the questions to flow naturally and watch as you’re inspired to see what is true and within your control.

2. Keep Moving Forward 574886_464987476906297_1849675769_n

Life will continue to move on even if you allow your mind to be clouded by your own limiting thoughts. Don’t allow yourself to be left behind. Adopt the mindset of wanting to move forward. Ask questions of yourself to determine the purpose of your worry. You will come to realize that worrying serves absolutely no purpose other than to pull you away from taking action. Seek a better understanding of the situation that is affecting you, and allow your questions to motivate you into taking steps towards action. Self reflection and curiosity will allow for greater self-awareness and a true connection to your inner power. Tap into your power and keep moving forward. “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorry. It empties today of its strength.” Corrie Ten Boom

3. Envision the Positive

What if you took the stand that you were going to get past this difficult moment in your life? Try envisioning the desired outcome as it if has already happened. Spend 5-10 minutes in silence and ask your mind to take you to a place of calm and relaxation. Call upon your creative power and envision your desired worry being resolved through action. Whenever I worry I won’t have enough time to get the things I need done, I envision myself completing all the tasks I give purpose and value to being completed efficiently and without stress. One cannot function effectively if they put unnecessary pressure on themselves to get everything done.  By doing so, you not only set yourself up for failure, but you also sacrifice some tasks that you really could have given 100% to.  More often than not, I find that doing this exercise helps to set the tone for my day. I am less concerned about getting everything done and more concerned about doing the things I give value to well. When you allow yourself to see the bigger picture you make room for your desired outcomes to be experienced.  “I never worry about action, but only inaction.” Winston Churchill 

4. Acknowledge Your Worries in Writing

When seeking clarity, it’s always helpful to get things in writing. Create a running worry list. As worries surface write them down and take some time to examine each ones true value in your life. Sometimes seeing a worry in writing helps the person to see how silly and unnecessary the worry truly is. What you are also able to uncover through logging your worries is that a fair majority of them are absolutely out of your control. Rather than waste your time ruminating on something that is out of your control, acknowledge your worry in writing and then let it go. Look to your worry log to determine patterns that may exist. Don’t allow your worries to become a broken record.  If you have experienced the same worry before you must have survived it. What’s the sense of getting all worked up again? It will all work out for the best.

5. Build Momentum by Being Present In the Moment 21392.original

Nothing feels better than when you attack a worry head on and face uncertainty. The moment immediately after you do so you feel liberated and powerful. When these types of moments present themselves allow your worry to build momentum inside you, not as a deterrent from action but as a motivator to be present in the moment and deal with matter as it presents its self.  An example that comes to mind in me is times where I am called upon suddenly to speak in a large group. While the initial fear and anxiety experienced has the power to immobilize me, I use it as fuel to be present and allow for my inner strength and confidence to emerge. It’s a wonderful feeling when you stand against your inner limiting thoughts of how others might receive you, or how foolish you might sound in the moment, and allow for the stirring of your own power and creativity to shine through. Take advantage of moments like these and commit yourself to being fully present. It is these moments that help to build your character and shift your perspective when a new worry emerges. You’ve done it before you can do it again!

6. Refine Your Power

As you continue to grow and learn from one experience to the next, fortify your inner power with images and memories of past victories. What may have worried you once before is no longer of concern to you now. You persevered and overcame many obstacles and you came out on the other side better for it. Refine this power by pulling it out when you need it the most. This can often be done alone or with the help of someone supportive. Ask yourself empowering questions that will help you to remember past success. Have a supportive friend or loved one champion your efforts by reminding you of past victories. Your journey in life has no fixed destination but holds great promise and rich rewards. There is no telling what is possible. “Do you remember the things you were worrying about a year ago? How did they work out? Didn’t you waste a lot of fruitless energy on account of most of them? Didn’t most of then turn out all right after all?” Dale Carnegie 

7. Learn To Say “NO” Just As Easily As You Say “YES”

Why is it so easy to say “Yes”? I think it just stems down to good old peer pressure. When we feel pressured to say yes it’s because we want others to like us. We take on more than we realistically can and sacrifice our mental stability in the process. We worry about having to do it all when no one has asked this of us in the first place.  We were the ones that accepted every request made of us and now we are alone to suffer the consequences. Learn to say “No” just as easily as you say “YES”. Save yourself from the unnecessary stress felt when you create problems for yourself by always saying “YES”. All that will result is you feeling overloaded and anxious that you ultimately end up letting someone down. Learn to be selective. This practice will not only help to keep your anxiety levels down, but it will help to showcase your natural strengths. When you can learn to say “No” people will begin to respect you for what they know you can bring to the table. You wouldn’t agree to volunteer to sing at a charity event when you know you can’t carry a tune for your life.  Why don’t you stick to collecting donations at the charity event? You are an excellent speaker and have been known to be quite the people person. If there’s anyone who can convince people to open their wallets for a good cause, it’s you!  When you are realistic with yourself people will not only respect you but they will learn to see you for your talents and dependability. Taking on tasks or responsibilities that you have time for and can do well is way more important than taking everything on and doing it poorly. Trust yourself and learn to say “No” when appropriate.

8. Striving to do Things Well 

Let’s face it sometimes we let our ego get the best of us. When you allow your worries to result in being overly critical of yourself, you diminish your true power and create a never ending cycle of insecurity and anxiety.  Remember the golden rule that anything worth doing is worth doing badly.  When you allow yourself time to do something you are passionate about badly you never know you might eventually become quite good at it.

tumblr_m4d8ehgpp11qajjdco1_500Don’t allow your desire to be perfect pull you to a place of comparison and competition. You will lose sight of your own uniqueness and will never be content. “Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order.” Anne Wilson Schaef  Strive to do things well and watch as your concern for perfection diminishes.

9. Don’t Allow Others to Push Your Panic Button 

It’s easy to feel pressure when you allow the opinions and expectations of others to get the best of you. Don’t allow others to push your panic button. When you concern yourself on how others perceive you, you push yourself further and further away from your truth. Seeking out the appreciation and admiration of others will only appease your ego temporarily.  When you don’t receive this type of attention from others you begin to doubt your strengths and talents. Slowly but surely panic and worry begins to settle in. While it may be difficult, one must find ways to muster the confidence necessary to strengthen their innate power. Worry less about the opinions of the world and more about the way you perceive yourself and in turn perceive the world. “I do not care so much what I am to others as I care what I am to myself.” Michel de Montaigne Our self-worth can not and should not be determined by others. When we can learn to detach ourselves from judgment then and only then can we believe in ourselves and the world around us. When it comes to this strategy I think the first step to diminishing this worry begins with you. When you can stop being judgmental of others you model how you want the world to respond to you. Be less critical of others and eventually others will follow suit. If we don’t want our panic button pushed then we surely shouldn’t be pushing others.

10. Be Consistent. Practice Makes Perfect

When it comes to making any shift in your life you need to be consistent in your efforts. Identify realistic strategies for yourself and stick to them. Accountability is huge! When you hold yourself accountable for the way in which you feel you will put more effort into creating your desired outcomes. If you want to worry less by placing less importance on how others perceive you then practice strategies that will build your inner power. “Accept who you are; and revel in it.” Mitch Albom Give yourself permission to try new things and fail forward. Stay in the present and continue to work towards doing things well instead of doing them perfectly.

“Let your advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.” Winston Churchill

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If Not Now Then When

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” I do not fear failure. I only fear the “slowing up” of the engine inside of me which is pounding saying “Keep going someone must be on top, why not you?”‘ George S. Patton

Living in the now can be very challenging for some. While we may aspire to enjoy each and everyday as if it were our last, putting this notion into practice is easier said then done. It can be a constant struggle to find balance between your joy and your daily priorities. What we can come to realize with time however is that ones joy should always be their biggest priority. So how can we make this our reality?

If we can focus our day on the things that matter most, those things that bring us joy, then and only then can we be truly living in the now. Identifying a regular mantra can sometimes help with this. “I have all the time I need to do the things I enjoy.” I have begun to practice this daily mantra to assist me in worrying less about the time I have to complete my daily tasks, and more about doing the things that bring me joy in the present. If I worry less about my daily to-do list and more about doing things that make me happy,  I will stop believing that there isn’t enough time in my day. It is only when you permit yourself to feel joy, that you worry less about the invisible clock hanging over your head. You will have learned to make time to live now. 74378_536143923070648_85208059_n

For many a to-do list can create a great deal of unnecessary stress. While we spend our time focusing on checking off those things we think need to get done, we push away the things we wish we could actually make time to do. We all have various interests and hobbies we wish we could give more time to, but these interests are usually trumped by our so-called responsibilities. While there is no doubt that there are some responsibilities we need to adhere to, the pressure to complete all  our daily tasks is one we create solely in our own minds.

The mind can convince a person that in order for them to attain the greatness they envision for themselves in the future, they need to push their present day interests and happiness to the side. I for one refuse to let this be my reality. In order to be happy in the future you must place value on feeling happiness now. Happiness is not something you chase. It is a feeling you create when you finally accept its significance into your life.

Once you can learn to shift your way of thinking to allow for the things you want now, you will slowly come to realize how backwards you were living your life all along. While we may aspire to have more things, make more money, to do more of what we want, we must first practice being who we really are in the moment. If you pause in your pursuit of happiness you come to find happiness is there all around you. Next time you find yourself asking “when will it be my turn to be happy?” stop and remind yourself if not now then when? You have all the time you need to do the things that bring you joy. Make it happen.

Ambition In The City

“Happiness is never stopping to think if you are.” Palmer Sondreal

“If you want to be happy, be.” Leo Tolstoy

Picking up the Pieces: Overcoming a Loss

“Write the  bad things that are done to you in the sand, but write the good things that happen to you on  a piece of marble.” – Arabic Saying

Overcoming a loss of any kind can be a long and arduous process. Whether you have recently lost your possessions, your sense of freedom, your livelihood, or someone very dear to you, it is challenging to think there is life after loss. Convincing yourself of this concept can prove to be quite difficult. Just think of the last time you tried to tell a friend or loved one that they would eventually be able to pick up the pieces, that it would just take time. This is obviously easier said then done when you are not the person that feels as though their world is slowly crumbling down upon them. While many at first try to deny what has happened to them by closing their eyes to the loss they have experienced,  they quickly realize they cannot turn their mind or heart off to the reality of their situation. They have experienced a loss and are just expected to watched the world go on before their very eyes. For many this brings about feelings of resentment and total abandonment. “How can the world not see what is happening to me?” “How can those around me not understand what I’m going through?” While those who see you suffer would probably give anything in their power to help you to see they too suffer in knowing you’re hurting, it will never be enough.  Picking up the pieces after a loss is in your hands alone. Support and love can help you in this process, but in the end the decision to overcome and to move on is yours and yours alone.

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Will your circumstances eventually get better? The answer to this is… yes!  In the moment, it is very hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. That glimmer of hope where you see yourself a few months or years down the road, living a life having fully recovered from the loss you have experienced. If we could somehow see our future selves happy and healthy after suffering a loss it would surely help us to speed up the process. While we cannot see this for ourselves in the moment it is something we need to learn to aspire to. Look to better days they are just around the corner. Think of past experiences you’ve had with loss. Whether they were a major or minor loss, you were able to pick yourself up and move forward. How did it all play out? Was there someone who helped you to move on? Did you wake up one morning and decide today was going to be different? Perhaps this is your first experience with loss. Is there anyone you can look to whom has experienced a similar pain? Whatever strength you discover to aid you in your journey to healing, try to find it in this moment.

“Beginning is easy; continuing is hard.” – Japanese Proverb

JUMP AHEAD TO THAT NEW DAY

You have allowed yourself time to go through the process of grieving. You have experienced the common steps associated with the grieving process and have found that you are closer and closer to healing. What has transpired in these last few months or years after your loss?  You have allowed for a healthy amount of denial to pass through your mind. In the beginning all you wanted to do was close your eyes to what happened. It was during this stage that you thought if you just go to bed and wake up this experience would all just have been a bad dream. When you were finally ready to accept reality, you allowed yourself the chance to yell at the top of your lungs and ask “Why!!!.” You permitted your feelings of anger to surface and present themselves for you to feel. By doing so, you were eventually able to see your feelings of anger dissipate. As time passed you began to negotiate with the universe.  These were the moments you would hear yourself bargaining for a different circumstance. “I would give anything for a chance to say…” “I would trade anything to get those moments back.” “I promise to do it right this time.” When you finally came to the realization that your cries for hope failed to result in any change in circumstance, depression settled in. You accepted these feelings and allowed them to have their moment in your life. You sought to isolate yourself from others and to deal with your pain head on.  “Don’t be afraid to cry. It will free your mind of sorrowful thoughts.” – Hopi Saying. When you finally processed your emotions you realized that the final stage of healing was upon you. You slowly began to accept your loss and slowly returned to the world. Did you have moments where you felt scared, guilty, or full of doubt? Absolutely! You took each of these moments in stride because you had finally begun to feel what it was to experience a sense of healing. You have once again rejoined the world and have grown from your experience with a better understanding of life. You have overcome a loss and are a better person because of it.

If there is anything I would like for readers to gain from this post is the inevitable truth that healing is a process that requires time and a great deal of mental strength. Healing will come when you allow yourself an opportunity to feel all the emotions one is expected to encounter when they experience loss. If you deny yourself the opportunity to feel what we all know is natural and common, then the process of healing will be made all the more difficult. One cannot deny themselves this opportunity for the sake of others or for the sake of not appearing weak or vulnerable. It is your happiness and ultimately your peace of mind that you are gambling with. We will all encounter loss in one form or another throughout our lifetime so it is important that we accept these moments as moments that will not only challenge us, but will help to shape us as human beings.

Ambition In The City

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