They say it can take Trauma to sometimes make us re-evaluate our lives and look at what’s important to us. A tragic accident, the loss of a loved one, being told we have a disease. All too often it is bad news that makes us retreat into ourselves, our minds and think about where we are, what we have or have not achieved and what we still want to do.
COVID-19 just caused the whole world to experience trauma. For many of us, we have been forced into social distancing or isolation. Suddenly we are not able to go to work or leave our homes. Emotions are running high, we are seeing panic and fear, followed by frustration and even some anger and then a sense of acceptance as we realize that we need to embrace this new way of living for a while.
As a Mindfulness Practitioner and Mindset Coach I am always expressing the importance of making time for reflection, for prioritising taking care of your mind. We live in a world of busy. A world where multi-tasking has become the new norm. We spend time, money and energy on keeping our bodies healthy, but often neglect our minds. Now, when we have been forced to socially distance ourselves, self isolate, we suddenly find ourselves alone with our thoughts more than we normally would.
In talking with friends, colleagues and clients, I have seen a pattern emerge. People are re-examining their lives, re-evaluating what is important to them.
The Dad, temporarily laid off, staying home with his wife and two kids, realized how much he missed being with his family. How much he loved being with his children and perhaps he needed to look at a different job, closer to home or with less time away from home.
The woman, forced to go to work for a big corporation, while her bosses stayed home, shared how unvalued she felt at work, how unhappy she was and had been for some time, decided she needed to reconsider her career choice.
The young couple who took a huge mortgage to get the huge house and now both are laid off. They wonder now, why they ever thought they needed such a big house. They went into thinking it was what they should do, that it meant they would be seen as successful. Now it didn’t seem that important anymore.
A big part of being mindful is understanding what is important to you and what makes you happy and fulfilled. The only things that are important in life are things you give importance too. You get to choose those. So many people find themselves just trying to get through the day rather than living and being happy. What would you rather be doing?
Life is about the journey, not the destination, so we should be living happily every day. To do that we must prioritize our happiness and for many, that means making changes. Change can be scary; it may mean taking a risk but the one thing COVID-19 has shown us is that our lives can change in a day. The world can change in a day. If you keep waiting to be happy, you may miss your chance.
If COVID-19 was your wake-up call, then don’t let another day go by without taking action. It all starts with your thoughts. Happiness is a choice. Choose now. Choose Happy. It’s never too late to take back control of your mind, control of your life and live the life you were meant for. It all starts with your thoughts.
Here are 5 ways to help you on your way to a healthier, happier mind:
1. Practice Gratitude - For at least a few minutes every day, focus your mind on everything you are grateful for that you already have on your life.
2. Set Boundaries: Whether you work for a company, or for yourself, set boundaries. Finish work at a certain time, take a lunch break and make sure you actually switch off. Spend the time doing something else. A lunch break could be spent taking a quick walk in fresh air or reading a book. But the key is to make the time count. Taking quality time away from work can actually make us more productive at work.
3. Meditate: Meditation allows us to slow down, relax and be present. When practiced regularly, it can help with depression and anxiety. Meditating can bring clarity and focus, increase happiness by instilling a sense of peace.
4. Journaling: Writing your thoughts in a journal can be very powerful. Releasing both good and bad thoughts onto paper can also release the emotions you are feeling. If you have had a bad day, writing it down can get the negative feelings out so you can move on. Had a great day, feel that great positive energy and enjoy it.
5. Be Honest: If you are finding yourself re-evaluating your life, feeling unhappy, unfulfilled, then be honest with yourself and your loved ones. Often sharing with the people we care about the most can be the first step to a more happy and fulfilled life.
Don’t wait for another trauma before choosing happiness. You are never trapped by your current circumstances, however much it might seem so. Decide what is important to you in your life and then start working towards creating a life that incorporates those things. Remember, something is only as important as the importance you give it.
Be Mindful. Be Happy.