“Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling.” ~Margaret B Runbeck
It had been months since I’d gotten a good night's sleep.
I'd wake up gasping from bad dreams throughout the night, and I’d feel an immediate knot in my stomach as soon as it was time to get up and face the day.
When the morning beckoned, all I wanted to do was hide under the covers.
But even when hiding from the physical world, my thoughts could still find me, belaboring on in an incessant stream of “have-tos” and “should-bes.”
I'd wake up feeling guilty about all the things I hadn’t done the day before, and overwhelmed by the mounting goals that still loomed before me.
I'd roll out of bed and go straight to the computer, with a frazzled and weary mind, to start attempting to do all the work that all those thoughts kept reminding me about.
My work was stressing me out to the point where I felt depressed, always anxious, and completely unhappy with where I was in my life.
If you looked at it all on paper, you might have thought I was living a pretty awesome life: married to my best friend, living in a town I adore in a great little house that we own, successfully self-employed for more than five years, with the freedom to decide how I want to spend my time each day.
Problem was, I wasn't present enough to truly enjoy any of it. Instead, I was stuck in my head, wrapped up in a big ball of expectation.
Caught in a spiral of all the things I had to do so I could be who I should have been, I forgot about the things I wanted to do so I can be who I am.
I felt jealous of where others were in comparison, weighed down by self-doubt that I wasn't good enough to accomplish all the things I wanted, and so scrambled, with my energy dispersed into too many things at once.
Then, I went and saw Ms. Renee, an empath who could see right through me.
She could see the anxiety, overwhelm, and self-imposed burdens that I had created. She reminded me that I needed to take care of myself in order to have the energy to do this work, and that all I had to do to get out of my head was to get into my body.
I came home with a whole new attitude and belief in myself, and got dedicated to making some real shifts in my life.
I made it a priority to meditate regularly, exercise, and get my veggies. I changed course with my business to escape the stressful elements and get closer to what my heart really wanted all along.
I detached from critical, judgmental people in my life and paid more attention to who I really wanted to spend time with. And I felt a weight off my shoulders, allowing me to go easier on myself and not always expect so darn much.
As soon as I committed to this new journey, doors started opening immediately, including an invite to coffee from a friend of a friend to talk about a project idea she had.
We connected instantly and about five chats over coffee later, realized that we had both recently reached our own sort of rock bottoms and were ready to make a change to live happier, more fulfilling lives.
We joined forces, became business partners and fast friends, and have been helping each other face our fears, battle mind gremlins, and pursue our true passions ever since. We're happier then ever being able to help others do the same, each day!
Now, I wake up with a smile on my face, feeling grateful for the life I have, excited for what the day might bring, and happy to be right where I am.
These simple steps may help you love where you are too:
1. Celebrate your accomplishments.
When we're in a negative mindset, we can get stuck thinking we're not quite “enough” to have the life we want. Celebrating your accomplishments—the things you've already created, manifested, changed, and are proud of—helps you shift your mindset and remember all that you're capable of, and all that you already are!
When you're on a long path toward your dreams, celebrating those small victories will help keep you motivated along the way.
2. Practice gratitude.
A sure and quick way to start loving right where you are is to think of all that you have to be grateful for. You can keep a journal, say it in a prayer, or shout it to the sun. When you make a practice of giving thanks, it gets you back in touch with just how amazing right here and now is.
3. Eliminate your tolerations.
What are the little minor frustrations that you've been putting up with, which detract from your experience of day-to-day joy? The tail light that's been out for a week? Your dresser that's way too full so your clothes take over the bedroom chair? An inbox full of unread emails and newsletters you never open?
Make a list of all those little things you encounter during a typical day that suck your energy, then make a plan to take them down, one by one.
4. Create a self-care routine.
When we're run down, stressed out, and in a negative spiral, we convince ourselves that the last thing we have time for is to take care of ourselves. But when we're feeling healthy, energetic, and like we have a “full tank,” not only does it shift our mindset into a more positive, proactive state; it brings that awesome energy into all we do.
If you're feeling like you don't have time to take care of yourself, that's exactly when you need it the most.
5. Move yo' boday.
Often when we're stuck in our heads, getting in touch with our bodies is a great way to break the thought cycle and reconnect with here and now.
Once you realize you're caught up in anxious thinking, get up and move around. Stretch. Dance. Take a walk. Go play fetch with the dog. Do some jumping jacks. Shifting your physical energy will immediately help you shift your mental energy as well.
6. Know who supports you.
Make a list of the people in your life who you know you can count on, relationships you consider mutual that add joy to your life. Who are the people who lift you up? Inspire you? Encourage you to be your best self?
By the same token, begin to distance yourself from relationships that feel one-sided, that leave you feeling drained, with people who are critical or judgmental of you. It's been said we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, so take this into consideration. Who do you want to be surrounded by in your life?
7. Recognize your mind gremlins.
That's what we call those sneaky, little critical voices in our minds—you know, the ones that try to keep us stuck repeating the same patterns, that don't want us to do anything scary, and that try to talk us out of becoming the people we know we truly are?
Just remember, your mind gremlins are liars. If you can start recognizing them as such, then you can start recognizing that those critical thoughts are just thoughts—not the truth.
You get to decide who you are and how you want to live your life!
Smiling woman relaxing image via Shutterstock