These days we have an abundance of luxuries, but I’ve found that excess actually decreases my enjoyment of life. I’ve witness first hand that some who have millions in terms of their finance, are absolutely miserable in their personal and family life.
Luxury is kind of like a drug; it’s addicting and the more you have it, the more you want it. Personally, it inspires this ‘I want’ attitude, when in reality the real question I should be asking is: “Do I need this?”
That simple question puts things in perspective for me and shifts my thinking.
Have you ever been on social media and notice a friend’s pictures of her exotic vacation? The new car someone bought? The job they love? The new things they can’t wait to brag about to the world?
As a friend, you’re supposed to be happy for them…although often times we get trapped in the scarcity mentality; which says that there is only a fixed amount of reward so someone else’s gain is your loss. Instead what we need to practice is focusing on the abundant mentality.
Abundant mentality says that there is enough for everyone, so someone else’s gain is not your loss. By having abundance mentality, you won’t feel envy when someone else succeeds. You know that you can have your own success.
The scarcity mentality is rooted by fear. Often times, the way we try to hide fear is by trying to take back control. I believe that can be incredibly healthy if you’re able to focus on things that you can control.
Often times though, people try to control every aspect of their life: They want to control how people will judge them, control how traffic has to be for them, control the country’s political issues, how they should be more respected.
This can lead to an overwhelming and stressful life.
Instead, what if we refocused on the things that are under our control. How would life improve? This includes
- Everything that you eat
- How much exercise you get done daily
- How much time you spend with family
- The words you use when speaking
- The smiles you give to strangers
- Reading books
- Listening to positive audio
- Feeding the brain positive things
- The attitude you bring to everything you do in life.
Getting back to things that are under your control also welcomes a sense of calmness. All stress comes from rejecting the present moment and when we worry (form of attempting to control) about the future, it only serves to rev us up creating a bottomless pit of unhealthy rumination.
What if we could learn to sit in the moment and truly absorb it? Harder said than done, I know. It doesn’t happen overnight and it does take practice.
It’s easy to go from task to task during your day without much thought of the present moment. Most of us are either living in the past or worried about the future. This is a life guided by fear and will only lead to more stress.
Instead, what if we focused on the here and now? Practicing mindfulness has been heavily studied in the past decade and the research shows the amazing effects it has on releasing tension, easing anxiety, reducing stress, and further allowing you to handle to the thoughts that come your way every day.
As a fitness professional, I’ve spend almost half of my life teaching people how to be physically healthy. Along the way, I also realized how crucial your emotional and psychological well-being are in terms of your overall health. Meditation and practicing mindfulness is just one of two ways to strengthen your emotional well being.
Just like exercise, you don’t improve your emotional well being just being sitting there complaining about life. Instead of running straight to the therapist, be honest with yourself: “Am I actually doing anything on a daily basis to help improve my life?”
In a world of 24 hours news and endless choices of social media outlets, it’s easy to react to what the world wants from you… and the truth is they don’t care about your physical, emotional or psychological health.
The news is designed to bring you the worst of the worst. The statement ‘if it bleeds, it leads’ is very true in the world of journalism.
They know very well that humans are designed to look for fear and avoid it at all costs. Have you ever seen something in the news that was so shocking and disturbing that you couldn’t wait to share with someone. We tend to gravitate towards fear far more often than hope.
This creates a sense of losing control…and nobody likes that!
I gave up watching the news a couple years ago and it’s been incredibly liberating. This is not to say my attention doesn’t occasionally get sucked into a catchy headline (usually online) that takes my focus away. The key thing is becoming aware of how much you’re consuming. I now try to limit my usage of social media and avoid those people that are constantly nagging about things.
Working on the well-being of your mental and emotional state is equally as important to help put things in perspective and help you focus on things you can control, rather than living miserably trying to solve the things you cannot.
Here are 5 Winning Attitudes To Help You Regain Control of Things That Matter:
1.) Stop blaming problems on others
Our ego often wants to be right, and we try to cover up our mistakes (mistakenly thinking it will makes use feel better) by pointing fingers and placing blame on other people and things. Don’t overschedule your day, take responsibility more often and make time for things that truly matter in your life.
2.) Look for the good in everyone
This is one I’m always working on. It’s a toughie, but here’s a trick I learned from author Richard Carlson who wrote ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and It’s All Small Stuff’. What if everyone you run into on a daily basis were put on this earth to teach you lessons?
What if the obnoxious driver or the disrespectful teenager were there to teach you about patience? What if they homeless person was there to teach you about compassion? This automatically shifts your anger state into a beautiful state–a much healthier way to live and deal with life’s difficulties.
3.) Be a value adder, not an energy vampire
Everytime you walk into a room, you have the choice to come in with a smile and being the first to say hello, or you come in thinking about your life’s problems, ignore everyone and just wait for someone to be nice to you.
Practice proactive kindness and you’ll experience a two way winning streak, you’ll make the person on the receiving end feel good and you’ll feel even better by extending that love.
4.) Always be in a state of gratitude
It’s impossible to feel angry and be grateful at the same time. Shifting to a state of gratitude allows us to put things in perspective. There is always something to be grateful for, no matter how bad you think your life is at the moment. Phases come and go. Trade your expectations with appreciation.
5.) Train your emotional well-being on a daily basis
We can only improve on things if we practice. Remember when you were a child trying to memorize the multiplication table? It didn’t happen in one day. It took severals days, weeks, and for some of us like myself months to get better and memorize the problems.
This is also true of our emotional well being. Aim to do something daily that can improve your state.
Whether it’s reading a book on the topic, listening to a podcast during your drive, sitting in silence, meditating for 5 minutes, or simply practicing kindness to those around you. Be proactive and notice the shift slowly happen in your life.
Everyone focuses on something. Where focus goes, energy flows. Learn to refocus on the things that truly matter to you aiming to control things that are under your control and learn to let go of those you cannot. As mentioned in the serenity prayer by author Reinhold Niebuhr: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”