How to Create Lasting Change
So, I woke up with pretty bad anxiety this morning. I'm not sure if it's from all the wine from yesterday's Mother's Day celebrations, some personal things going on in my life or if it's just the start of another busy work week. Nonetheless, I didn't really do much to get myself out of the funk before stepping out of bed this morning.
I think for those of you who sometimes wake up with anxiety, stress or just that hollow pit in your stomach, it's so important to remember that, one, it's okay to feel that way sometimes, and two, it's within your power to take steps to alleviate those uncomfortable feelings.
Something that I've found to be very helpful is waiting until some of the anxiety has subsided before getting out of bed. That could mean laying in bed taking intentional, slow, deep breaths and envisioning any stresses or negative thoughts to be released with each exhale. It could be plugging in my headphones and listening to a meditation on the Insight Timer app. It could be grabbing my journal from my nightstand and writing a list of things I'm grateful for and really feeling connected to a space of gratitude for all that I have in my life right now.
The most important thing to remember is that you can choose to do things to start your day off on a positive foot, rather than just hitting snooze on your alarm, sleeping for an extra fifteen minutes and then rushing through your morning routine. Those fifteen minutes could be the space to help you create your energy for the day.
I've recently gotten into a habit of waking up about a half hour to an hour earlier which means I'm going to bed an hour earlier so that I can have time for myself in the morning. This time is for me - my writing, a long run, meditation - anything that makes me feel good and not so caught up in the normal schedule of things.
When you don't leave time for yourself in the mornings and you find yourself rushing out the door until you're sitting at your desk at work, it 100% affects the pace for the rest of your day. This is when life can begin to feel repetitive and mundane.
Another habit I'm trying to kick is looking at social media after my alarm goes off as a way to help me fully wake up. More times than none, I find myself getting annoyed when I view social media so early, because I don't have control over what I'm going to see when I'm scrolling. The first images, sounds and messages that we absorb in the morning definitely affect our mentality and emotional state throughout the rest of the day.
I also stare at a screen in my office for most of my day, I'd rather take time in the morning to meditate, breath, go for a run outside, enjoy a cup of coffee or write in my journal.
So many of the habits that we're currently living are the reasons why we feel the way we do every day. If we choose to alter some of the habitual patterns that we perceive as just who we are, we could learn more about who we truly are, and in turn, create the life we really want to lead.
For example, if I were to cut back on having a glass of wine some weeknights to eliminating alcohol all together, I would be waking up earlier, less anxious, and more motivated to do the things I've always wanted to do. Quitting alcohol for X amount of time would also lead me to healthier decisions with my food choices, my sleeping patterns, the people I choose to surround myself with, and the small, yet essential decisions that I make every day.
You could swap out eliminating alcohol with anything you feel is preventing you from living a more full and happy life. Maybe it's not working so late so you can go to the gym and exercise more frequently. Maybe it's watching less TV so you can get to bed earlier and wake up even earlier. Maybe it's cutting back on technology use so you can have more time to read a book, talk face to face with your friends and family, or simply just to take in your surroundings without needing or wanting constant distractions and noise.
We always have a choice in every second of every day. We choose the thoughts we want to think and those thoughts create the actions we play out. We make thousands upon thousands of choices every single day, and I truly believe the ones that we start and end our days with become the ultimate catalyst for positive change.
If we can remember that we create everything we are thinking and feeling, then we're more likely to choose thoughts and habits that are beneficial to our well being.
Where can you start today, right this moment, with making choices that are healthier for you now and in the long run? What can you stop doing to create time for more things you should be doing?
Choose one thing today. Choose another one tomorrow. Keep up this habit for the next month and watch as your life begins to change as you choose to direct it.
I promise if you do the inner work, your outer world will change right along with you.
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