I had an idea of what m Sunday was going to be. I was excited to go the park, sit on a blanket under a tree, and relax with my books, and connect with a friend, but things did not turn out the way I planned. That is the thing about life. You can’t predict the future, or expect things to go the way you thought.
My car didn’t start on the way over there, so had to use my friends car to get to the park. Once we were there. I was still a bit upset about my car, so my excitement died down a bit. The lot where I wanted to go was full, so we had to go to a spot I didn’t like as much. We were also surrounded by cicada’s, and the noise was a bit distracting. We also couldn’t sit under a tree, so we had to stay under the sun, which was unpleasant. We were there for about 30 minutes, so the day didn’t go at all how I planned.
I could have called it a day, said the day was shot, and be miserable, but I recognized this is all part of life. Yes, I am a bit upset nothing went to plan, but not all is lost. I ended just hanging out on my friends porch, in the shade, and we ended up having a nice time. I got to read, listen to music, and connect with my friend. I realized being on her porch was pretty nice, and that we should do that again, instead of going to parks, and dealing with multiple bugs, and also having a bathroom.
So in the end, these bumps brought something new to my horizon. I was able to still enjoy my time, and find a new place to hang out. By the end of the day I felt much better. I was still a bit stressed about my car, but the stress wasn’t too strong. The thing is you will always feel the emotion, but acceptance of uncertainty will lesson the severity.
The day did not go how I planned it, but sometimes life doesn’t go the way you planned. What you envision for the future is not reality. Once reality hits. You got to be able to handle what life has to offer, good or bad, because life isn’t smooth or perfect. And in the end, you may find a silver lining like I did, something good can come out of all of it. I found a new spot to hang out, and I found some good writing material.
Regret is a feeling of sadness, repentance, or disappointment over something that has happened or been done. It is hard to live mindfully and peacefully when we have regrets. Regret can be helpful when you are able to learn from it, so that it can help shape your future actions. If you continue to live in the past, and ruminate over what went wrong, rather than trying to figure out how it can help you today, then that is when it can be a problem.
I don’t really like having regrets, and I don’t have any at the moment. Regret is living in the past, and not really coming to acceptance of what happened. Regret steers me away from being mindful and present, so I try not to focus on what went wrong, or didn’t go as well as I liked to. Ruminating over doesn’t help me. Learning and growing from it does.
Life isn’t perfect. Mistakes will happen. Life doesn’t always go the way you planned. What you thought was the right choice back then, may not see like it now. It is easier to judge in retrospect. There may be aspects of my life that didn’t go the way I wanted. I may have made choices that weren’t great, but there are aspects that are good learning experiences. A choice can either be good for you at the moment, or teach you a lesson for the future. There is no place for regret. We don’t know everything. Experience helps us learn.
You live. You learn. At that point in your life you thought it was the right decision. We grow. We change. Regret shows that you had a learning experience. Try not to wallow in self-pity or blame. You are here now. You can always make better choices in the present moment. Don’t allow your past to hold you hostage. Set yourself free by being present. Accept the past. Appreciate your ability to learn and evolve. Use regret as a tool to learn and gain strength. Not as a tool to punish yourself.
Just remember, people regret they didn’t do, rather than the things they did do. Life is an experience. There will be bumps, mistakes and failures. That shows you are truly living.
It is important to treat yourself with respect and compassion, like you would a good friend. We give others so much love, but forget to give it to ourselves. We also fear being alone with ourselves, but the only way to truly know yourself is by giving you some me time. You realize there is actually a lot of freedom spending time alone.
Having others to depend on is a wonderful thing, but the only person you can truly depend on is yourself. Having the ability to comfort oneself in times of need cultivates freedom and peace. You can’t control how others treat you, but you can control how you treat yourself, so why not treat yourself with love and respect?
You got to remember to treat yourself like you would a good friend by listening, empathizing, understanding and lifting oneself up. The things you do for others you care about needs to be practiced on ourselves.
If a friend states they are worthless, a horrible person, ugly, not good enough, or unlovable. You would do everything you can to help lift them up ,or try to convince them they are not those things, why not do that to yourself?
Being proud of yourself is important. Listening to yourself is important. Giving yourself priority is important. Spending quality time with yourself is important. Learning to accept the good, bad, and in between of who you are is important.
Give yourself a break. Don’t be too harsh on oneself. Your inner critic is there to protect you from getting hurt, or from making a mistake, or looking like a fool, but the majority of the time it hurts and pulls us down more than protecting us.
Be kind to yourself. Accept your flaws, like you would a good friend. I am sure you have no problem with the flaws of a good friend, why not accept yours? No one is perfect. If you can’t love yourself. It would be hard to appreciate the love of others.
How you feel is your choice. You may think it is predetermined, or out of your control, but from my experience with switching my emotional state. I believe we can be in control with how we feel. The reason I write this is because I had my own personal experience last week with switching my emotional state.
I had a bad day ay work, I was frustrated and annoyed. I felt the same way the next morning. I just didn’t want to go into work. I was in a bad mood. During my mindful routine. I decided I just didn’t want to go into work feeling upset and down. I decided to switch my thought pattern, and tried to figure out ways to make my day at work better, ways I wasn’t overworking myself.
I realized I put too much pressure on myself that day. I will prefer to go with the flow the following day. I know at the end of the day the work will get done, and if I stay a bit later, so be it, that is extra money for me. I realized I need to do things for myself to make things go more smoothly. It is all about putting things into your own hands. Only you as an individual know how and what to do to make things better for oneself. No one can do it for you. If you think that. Misery will continue to consume your life.
Once I did all of this. I felt much better. I felt more relaxed, at peace, and happier. I was able to be more calm and happier throughout the day. The work day went more smoothly, and I was able to have enjoyable encounters with my coworkers. It is all in how you think that helps shape your emotional path. I chose peace and contentment, rather than anger and frustration. Why be upset? That doesn’t help me. That doesn’t make me feel good. It doesn’t improve my life. I chose the path that makes my life better. This is something we can all tap into whenever we can.
We are all guilty of this. It is in our nature to want to belong and be liked as social creatures. The thing is taking things personally all the time can have a negative effect on our peace of mind and well-being. It is okay to feel this way at times. We are human. We feel emotions. If not, we would be a psychopath, but we should learn not to allow taking things personally to consume our lives that it creates a world of misery and stress. I like to discuss a couple of reason behind why we may take things personally. Being aware of these habits can help us learn why we may do this, and help us move forward, so that we don’t continue to fall into this trap.
Perfectionism-Not only do you want to be perfect for yourself. You want to appear perfect in front of others. This need to be perfect makes it hard for one to cope with criticism and judgment. It will hurt your pride when someone tells you that you made a mistake, or there is a flaw in your work. This criticism can be well intentioned, but your need to be perfect makes it hard for you to listen or reason. You think this is an attack on you.
The problem with being a perfectionist is that it is unrealistic. You are not perfect. No one is. Once you accept this. It becomes easier to handle criticism without taking it too personally. It will still sting at first, but you will realize that their criticism can help you grow. Now if the criticism isn’t helpful, or it comes from someone who doesn’t know you. There is nothing to be upset about. They don’t know you, and don’t care about your feelings and thoughts, so why care so much about them? The only opinion you should focus on is the ones that help you grow and evolve as a person, or on your skillset.
Putting others before oneself-Your thoughts and feelings don’t matter. Others matter more. I am happy if others are happy, so you can see why it would be easy to take things personally if others opinion are more important than your own. You will try your best to please others.
There is nothing wrong with trying to please others, but your opinion of yourself, and taking care of your needs should come first. People will say things that will hurt you, but if you value yourself and your opinions. Your self-confidence will deflect that hurtful language, especially coming from strangers.
Lack of confidence-Going along with the last habit. The lack of appreciation of yourself and your strengths can be a trigger for taking things personally.
If you have confidence, and truly believe in what you can do. If you focus on your strengths, rather your weaknesses. It makes it easier to not take things personally. You have flaws. You won’t do things perfectly. You will make mistakes, but I know I have plenty of great qualities that makes me an awesome person. Once you recognize this, taking things personally won’t be as much of an issue.
Storytelling-As I mentioned before, our thoughts are our stories. We create scenarios in our head of a situation. It isn’t always based on the facts. We may think this person is out to get us, or they hate us, or they just don’t like me. But it is all in how we think about the situation that creates anger and frustration, not the situation itself. We tend to create stories that make us the victim, and the other person the villain. It can be a good story, but it doesn’t mean it is true.
Cognitive mediation is the idea that things in the world don’t cause emotions. Instead, it’s our thoughts about things that affect how we feel(medium.com)
A person cuts you off, someone isn’t listening to you, someone doesn’t say hi back to you. Your thoughts about these situations trigger your response. Not the situation itself. There are plenty of responses you can take here. Get mad, or angry. Insult them. Get upset that they pissed you off, and ruined your day. You can also take a step back, breathe, recognize their mistake, or maybe the person didn’t hear you, maybe the person had an important place to go, maybe the person listening had other things on their mind. It isn’t always about you. Also recognize that you probably made these same mistakes as well. No one is perfect. You got to remember not everyone thinks the same, or has the same set of values. What may be offensive to you, may not be for another.
Your surrounded by negative people-If it is growing up in a toxic household, or in a toxic relationship, or friendship. These people can help define who you are and how you think. If they treat you like crap, and say harsh things about you. The belief in these thoughts will set in. It is much easier to break someone down, than lift them up. You become more sensitive to others input when all you heard about yourself were negative things. This can also go for toxic positivity as well. If you are constantly saying positive things. The person may not react to criticism very well. We need a balance to thrive as individuals.
It is important to be around people who make you feel good. Who help build you up. Who help you grow. No one has time for toxic relationships(negative or positive). The best bet is to remove yourself from the source. That isn’t always easy. I am not saying it is easy, but it needs to be done to live a life with less self-hatred and criticism.
Toxic positivity-There is such a thing as too much positivity. Being positive is great. Better that, than negative, but we also need negativity in our lives. Like is not perfect. People are not perfect. The inability to see flaws, mistakes, and the bad is a problem. Just focusing on the good can make things difficult for an individual when things don’t go smoothly, or their mistakes and flaws are mentioned. They will feel offended and take it too personally.
Life has its ups and downs. The good and the bad. People have their strengths and weaknesses. Acknowledging this makes it easier to cope with criticism and not take things too personally. If they recognize your flaws, so do you, nothing new, keep it moving.
Recognize the trolls/negative people-There are people, especially online that want to bring others down to their level. They want to hurt others. They want to upset others. Why give them that power? Don’t give them what they want. Remember the source. Don’t let a stranger/associate dictate how you feel about yourself. Everyone’s opinion doesn’t matter to you. Think, is this helping me?, no, then move on.
Always remember to think, is this benefiting me or not? Take in what can help you, and ignore the ones that do not. No need to stress over an opinion that doesn’t matter. That opinion doesn’t define you. The person that does is you.
You can never stop the sting of taking things personally. It will happen to all of us. You can just learn habits or tricks that can help reduce the intensity and duration of these feelings. There is no need to suffer over what others think of you. I am sure there are plenty of others who think you are awesome. Focus on what is important. Your opinion, and the opinion of others who build you up.
I realized how fast I want the week to go, so that the weekend would come, but the weekend comes, and that time flies by as well, then the cycle begins again. We are now already in April of the new year. Time flies. I am already anticipating my adventures for the summer. I keep looking forward, but not living mindfully, and in the moment.
The moment is precious, but I and many others take it for granted at times. We continue to look forward. Rushing through the days, and then realize how time flies. The years, the weeks, and the days go by fast. I can’t just look forward to the weekends, that is only a couple of days out of the year. I got to try to enjoy each day of the year. Trying to embrace the moment as much as I can. I need to step back, pause, and live in the moment.
Yes, work can be difficult at times, but that doesn’t define my whole day. There are moments connecting with coworkers that are enjoyable. There are also moments before work that can be enjoyable as well. Life is too precious to just focus on the weekends, or special adventures. Although I can look forward to my summer adventures. Those moments are far off. The future isn’t here yet. Life is unpredictable, and nothing is set in stone. I need to appreciate the moments now, rather than anticipate the future that doesn’t exist yet.
The moment is now. Your life is now. We are all guilty of rushing. It is part of our nature. It is good to anticipate something in the future. It brings us hope, joy, and excitement, but our focus should be in the moment. Trying to make the best of what is right in front of us.
I no longer want to rush through the week. These are 5 precious days you can’t get back, so I will try to make the best out of these days. We all should make the best out of all our days. Remember your work days are longer, than non work days. Those are a lot of days to rush over. It will be the end of the year sooner than you know it.
Just try to relax, step back, and live as mindfully as you can. Enjoy the little moments. Make moments to enjoy. Try to find little joys within these days. Lets try patience and going through the motions. There will be bad times, dull times, exciting times. Some days suck more than others, and there are days we will like to rush over, that is understandable. You can use those days as a learning experience. Not everyday will be exciting, fun and full of happiness. We should try not to make a habit of rushing through everyday, because time flies faster than you know it. The only time you are truly living is in the moment.
Mental Health is very important. The focus on mental health should be as strong as physical health. I like to list some habits that encourage a healthier mindset. A healthier mind leads to more happiness, peace with yourself, others, and life. It cultivates self-growth and confidence.
We as individuals should always strive to improve our mental state for our well-being. For our ability to live life fully. Here are some habits/routines that can be beneficial to our mental well-being. Reminders and awareness of these habits can help us work towards improvement and mindful living.
Set goals-Writing a list of goals and checking them off is a great way to boost your confidence. The feeling of accomplishment and achievement is a great feeling. If you can do one thing, than you are much more confident to do another. Make sure the goals are specific and manageable. I always feel better when I accomplish a goal, like finishing a blog post. It improves my mood, and my perception of the day improves.
Get movement-Exercise releases endorphins, which helps elevate your mood. You may not be a fan of exercise, but at least 20 minutes of walking can be helpful. Get up, and get moving in anyway you possibly can, even if it is walking around for a bit. Our bodies need movement, and so does our minds.
Commute with nature-Spending just 5 minutes in nature can help improve your mood. Something about being outdoors in nature just lifts my spirits. It calms me, and rejuvenates me. It shows you the beauty of the world, and it gives you a sense of appreciation. It gives you the space to think, and be free. It can bring you back to reality, and what truly matters.
Get sleep-Our mind needs rest. Getting enough sleep gives you clarity, allows you to be more productive. It gives you the energy to go on with your day, and get what you need to get done. Less sleep creates exhaustion, unproductiveness and anxiety. It can lead to one feeling low and down. Sleep helps heal our body and our minds, so it is important to get as much as we can. Most see sleep as a luxury, but it isn’t, it is a necessity. We all know what our mental state can be with lack of sleep. We can’t think, or function like we normally do with a sleepy mind and body.
Create a mindful routine-You can do this in the morning, at night, and during the day. This is the time to step away from distractions and just be in the moment. I think it is great to do this before bed, and after you wake up. It can help relax you before bed, and it can help recharge you before you head out for the day. This is the time to step away from digital devices, and live in the moment. Distractions can cultivate feelings of anxiety, frustration, anger, sadness etc,. Stepping away from that for a bit can help alleviate those feelings, and allow us to be in a more calmer and happier place.
Try something new- We all have routines, but would it be more fun to do it in a different way? This can help spice up your day, and bring a bit of excitement to your day. It would make your day a little less mundane, and a bit more enjoyable.
Less reactive mentality-Try to go with the flow of life. Remind yourself that life doesn’t always go to plan, or life isn’t always smooth. We should make some breathing room for the unexpected, so when the unexpected happens. We are able to cope better. Traffic jams, accidents, flat tires, lost keys happen etc, in these moments, take deep breaths, and accept what is. This can allow for a calmer state of mind.
Connect with others-I always feel uplifted after meeting up with a good friend, or family member. We are social beings, so connecting with another individual is important for our well-being. Remember that quality, over quantity is important. Being able to communicate our true thoughts with another can be a wonderful experience.
Express yourself-Similar to the one above. There are other formats to express your thoughts and feelings as well. Journaling, writing(lyrics, stories, poems), drawing, composing, can all be forms to communicate your thoughts that can be therapeutic for oneself. Letting your thoughts out brings relief.
Drink water-Our brains are made of 75% water. Loss of hydration can have serious effects on your mood, concentration and cognitive functioning. Studies have shown that decreased water intake cultivates higher levels of anxiety, depression, anger, tension and fatigue.
Reduce sugar/processed food intake-Eating added sugars and processed foods is linked to higher rates of depression and anxiety. It is also known to deplete the B vitamins we need to sustain good moods. Try to add a bit more nutrient dense foods to your diet. Balance is key.
Gratitude-Counting your blessings is a great way to see life in a more positive light, and lift your mood. Focusing your energy on the things you do have, and the things you do enjoy is a great way to boost your mood, and put you in a happier place.
As you can see there are plenty of ways to help improve your mental health. I just wanted to bring a bit of awareness to some things that can help improve your overall well-being. Our mental health should be a priority. Mental instability is prevalent, and there should be more focus on improving our wellness. There should be lessons and classes on this for everyone. Awareness is key. Below are some visuals of mood boosters. I thought it would be a nice addition.
Just a reminder that your struggles at the moment will pass. I had a day last week where I felt anxious and worried. The unpredictable experiences of life can get to us. Just remind yourself that it may suck, or be bad right now, but the worry and struggle will pass. Having this reminder helped me cope, and allowed me not to be as anxious as I used to be. Life is in constant motion. The feelings and experience at the moment will pass. You will get through this hiccup just like the many ones before. Our thoughts tend to exaggerate the situation. They tend to focus on the negative outcomes. Awareness of this can help us counter those thoughts in a more positive or realistic way. It may not flip our negative mindset entirely, but just a bit of awareness comes a long way.
I discussed Cognitive Distortions a couple of posts ago in Cognitive Distortions. I like to take this post to list some techniques that can help you change those distorted views. Dr. Burns listed plenty of help techniques. I will discuss a couple here. I recommend buying the book to get the full scope of techniques. It is important to remove these distortions from permeating our lives, so that we can move towards healing and living more peacefully.
Positive Reframing– Putting your focus on the negative thoughts and difficult emotions one is feeling. Ask yourself these two questions: (1) What are the advantages, or benefits to these type of emotions and thoughts? (2) What do these thoughts and emotions tell me about myself and my values that is wonderful?
Feelings of anxiety can show that an upcoming event is meaningful to you, or that you are doing something outside your comfort zone, which can be something beneficial to you in the long run. Looking at these emotions is a different light can help alleviate the negativity associated with these difficult emotions. You may start to feel better about an upsetting situation.
Straightforward Technique-This one is pretty straightforward as the name states, but as straightforward as it is, this can be difficult for most to do. Try to switch your perspective to a more positive, or realistic approach, rather than negative.
Ask yourself questions, Is this negative thought really true? Do I truly believe it? Is there another way to look at it? I absolutely love this technique, and use it all the time. Switching your perspective can make such a difference to your state of mind.
Double Standard Technique-Rather than putting yourself down. Try talking to yourself in a way you would talk to a good friend you care about.
It is so much easier to be cruel to ourselves, and lift other up when they are down, but we should learn to show the same kindness to ourselves. When you say negative things to yourself, remind yourself if this is something you would say to a friend who is going through the same thing, or who would say those negative things about themselves.
Examine the Evidence-Rather than looking at things in a negative light. Try to look into the facts of what you are saying.
Is what you are saying really true? What are the facts? What does it show? Telling yourself you are a failure. Look up the definition, does that truly describe you. In most cases this would not be the case.
Socratic Method-This is when you take a deeper look into what you are saying, and analyze if it is true or not.
If you think you are a failure, or a awful person, or suck at life. Look into what those words really mean. Do you truly fail all the time to be a failure, or have you had some achievements? Are you really awful?, or did you make a mistake, or make one bad decision out of all the great things you do? Does life truly suck, or are you having one bad moment? Is that really relative to you, or is this something that happens to everyone? This method allows you to look into what you are saying, and find insight to the truth of the matter. It showcases our faulty thought patterns.
Thinking in Shades of Gray-We usually face problems, because we tend to see things in black and white, but things in life aren’t normally that way.
There are good and bad things about oneself and life. Experiences in life aren’t always great or bad. You are not perfect, and one mistake doesn’t make you a horrible human being. Learning to look at both sides is important.
Semantic Method-This method is about looking at the language you use to define life experiences. Instead of saying, “I shouldn’t have made this mistake this,” you can say, “It would have been better if I have not made that mistake.” Instead of saying, I can’t do this, it is too hard” try saying, “It will be hard to do this, but I can try my best. Instead of saying, “I hate how I look,” try saying “I don’t look my best today.” Instead of thinking, “I hate my life,” try thinking, “this moment sucks, but it will pass.”
Finding better wording can allow one space to practice self-kindness and compassion. It is all in how you word things. Wording things in a more compassionate, and positive way can help you move through difficult situations much more smoothly.
Let’s Define Terms-This method allows you to actually look at the definition you are labeling yourself.
When you label yourself a loser, failure, foolish, ugly, horrible etc,. Once you look up the actual term for these things. You realize that doesn’t define you. When you actually look up these definitions. You realize how absurd it is to define oneself in those ways.
Be Specific-It is important to focus on the specific situation, problem, mistake flaw etc,. It is easy to globalize our problems, mistakes, flaws to other areas. It is just one bad day, one flaw, one mistake. There are plenty of good days, things to appreciate, and strengths to yourself and your life.
Self-Monitoring-This method is about keeping tracking of all your negative thoughts, either writing them down when you have them, or put the number of how many negative thoughts came to mind on a watch or phone. This can make you aware of how often you have negative thoughts. Having this awareness cultivates a diminishing of the negative thoughts.
I really like the self-monitoring technique. Awareness is very important to self-improvement and recovery. Having a visual really can open our eyes, and allow us to make changes.
I believe all these techniques above can be beneficial to changing our distorted ways of thinking. It can help cultivate a healthier mindset, and peace of mind. There are plenty more techniques in the book, but wanted to limit it to the ones I liked the best. I recommend the book if you like to know more, but I think these techniques suffice. It is important to be aware of our faulty thought patterns, so we can figure out ways to cope and manage them, so that our lives can be more fulfilled.
I needed a break from the information overload I was getting online. I found this lovely passage in my mi dullness book. I appreciate the awareness I have from mindfulness practice to take mental breaks and be mindful.
It does a great job of clearing my mind, and helps rejuvenate my spirit. I absolutely can’t wait for the nicer weather to be able to enjoy the freshness of the outdoors, and beauty of the natural scenery.
Mindfulness is a wonderful thing. It opens you up to opportunities, new adventures, shifts in thoughts and behavior, and creative power. I now feel refreshed and ready to start my shift.
I think it is important to be aware of when to take breaks. Your mind can only withstand so much. A break may be all you need, even if it is 5 minutes. Sit, take a walk, stretch, write etc,. Mindfulness practice isn’t a quick fix, but it can improve your well-being over time with continuous practice.