Life Has to Change

Pretty obvious eh? Our lives have already in few short weeks changed dramatically. Following on from yesterday’s blog we are in a better head and heart space having accepted ‘our lot.’ 

Like Pavlov’s dog we practice social distancing, our hands are hopefully and constantly hot-water-soaped lickety-split clean and we are staying home. And as we settle into our lockdown we have time to reflect on life.

Like I did half a century ago, you may determine there are changes you need to make to live a more productive and happier lifestyle. Or simply, living with your foot off the pedal, go with the flow and allow things to happen organically.

This COVID 19 event has set the world asunder. No one can forecast what the future holds. Hopefully the world will rebel against the pace of life and greed that was ours over the past few decades. Employers may find that people working from home are more efficient, happier and healthier. We may find ‘looking out,’ for each other is a preferable way to live. Even come to the conclusion that less is the new more. 

One of the main drivers for me in changing my life was ‘finding the silver lining’ in a situation. It was difficult at first as my circumstances were pretty wretched and the nubs of thankfulness had to be dug out past anger and powerlessness. But it became a habit over time. 

In today’s lingo it is ‘the practice of gratitude.’ 

Robert Emmons is the professor of psychology at UC Davis, University of California and for over a decade, he has been contributing to the scientific literature on the study of gratitude and well-being. His studies show ‘the practice of gratitude’ improves physical and psychological health, and it allows people to form stronger relationships and become more resilient. 

The practice of gratitude I found kept me in the moment. I did not make, and have never made a list of things I was grateful about. As the habit grew it was more about appreciating the little moments in daily life that bring contentment or delight Maybe it was watching my children play, maybe a scudding cloud in a blue sky or a new shoot on a plant in the garden.

I enjoyed these smiley moments so much that I focused on encouraging the moments of pleasure to blossom to stretch in my mind. 

My mind of course was releasing endorphins, happy chappy hormones – not that I knew that at that time – practicing mindfulness or indeed living consciously was not yet in the dictionary.

Yes I know your life needs planning, priortising and setting goals or targets but now with our enforced isolation isn’t it an opportunity to live as mindfully as possible, that is deliberately being aware of the little good moments that life gives us? The practice of gratitude take us immediately into the present moment. In the present moment there is no looking over our shoulder no worrying about the future, just simply the now. 

Eckhart Toll, the spiritual teacher and author of The Power of Now said ‘The power for creating a better future is contained in the present moment. You create a good future by creating a good present. ‘

Eckhart Tolle

Tomorrow – Not Buying into the Fear

How to be HAPPY

I watched the great documentary HAPPY the other evening.  It gave glimpses of real life stories from around the world and interviews with the leading scientists in happiness research.

It showed that no matter whether you are living in a slum in India, a mosquito infested swamp in Louisiana or having a major accident that knocks your life sideways –  happiness can be yours.

Research by scientists in this field have found that people with extrinsic values that is fame, money or beauty are found to be more anxious, depressed and narcissistic whereas those with  intrinsic values –  developing meaningful relationships, personal growth and community involvement have a profound sense of well-being and self-esteem.

The jam and cream on the cake of a quest for happiness is attributed to being in the zone, in the flow or present in the moment.  Writing does it for me.

HAPPY by Wadi Rum Films