This time of year always prompts calls to make resolutions, define your ‘word’ for the year, create a vision board, give-up a bad habit, or pursue work-life balance. Regardless of what time of year you decide to make a change to improve your health, wealth, relationships or career, there are specific steps you’ll need to take to ensure success. This week, I’ll be sharing with you just that: 12 steps you can take for positive change in your life; developed through decades of experience as a clinical hypnotherapist and profiler.
In Part 1, I introduced the value of leveraging your mindset, personality, and energy inputs for positive change in your life. In Part 2, we delved deeper into energy by exploring energy outputs, charges, and modes and how these affect the quality of your life and the lives of those around you. Today, we’re focussing on mindfulness, self-reflection, and the power of releasing yourself from old ways of thinking for greater peace and purpose in life.
Tip Seven: Mindfulness
Mindfulness is about bringing more presence and awareness to our life. It involves peaceful reflection, a curiousness for our experience and the world around us, and a compassionate response to suffering. Being more mindful of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, and whether they are in alignment with our values, enables us to make more conscious choices and more value-aligned actions in our life. This involves bringing acceptance and love to the parts of ourselves that are in pain, that let us down, so that we can support ourselves in becoming who we really want to be.
Listening deeply to ourselves and learning who we really are and what we really want is something that takes time and practice. It can feel uncomfortable at first, especially if we aren’t used to relating to ourselves in this way. One way to bring more presence and purpose to your life is to ask yourself thought-provoking questions and observing what they evoke for you, emotionally and mentally. What feelings are stirred, what thoughts come to mind?
Have a go at answering these questions, and see what comes up for you…
Ideas Into Action:
- When do I behave like my true self?
- What do I want to spend my time doing? What excites me?
- If I only had a short time to live, what would I do with the time left to me?
- What kind of people do I want to spend my time with?
- What legacy do I want to leave for the next generation?
- What’s the bigger purpose of my life? Am I true to it?
- If not, what do I have to change so that I can be?
- If I am true to it, what are my non-negotiable principles?
If you don’t have the answers yet, that’s okay. Hold yourself in this space, with openness and patience. Allow ideas to come and go, ever curious for what emerges for you. And when you feel something that makes your heart sing, or your being feel peace, or your belly fill with fire, follow it.
Tip Eight: Self-Reflection
Getting to know ourselves in the present often involves reflecting on our past. Reflecting on milestones in our life, and what they mean to us, can reveal deep-seated attitudes, beliefs, and biases held by us that subconsciously colour how we experience the world around us and make sense of the things that happen to us.
Complete the following exercise:
Ideas Into Action:
- Draw a horizontal line across the centre of a page, with the far left representing your birth and the far right representing where you are now.
- Divide the line into chunks that represent decades, marking out any important milestones or events in each decade on the line.
- Below each event, briefly describe ‘what happened.’
- Above each event, describe what it meant to you, ‘what you made it mean’.
- Look for any patterns or themes in your interpretations of the events. If you find any, write these down above the linked events.
- Looking over your timeline, can you find a common meaning that represents an over-arching theme in your life, or epochs of your life, so far. What does this say about you?
Are your patterns of interpretation, your themes, suggestive of any cognitive biases? For example, do you tend to perceive yourself as a victim in life, or do your perceptions vary according to the circumstances? Do you bring nuance and compassion to your understanding of the things that happened to you, and a desire to learn from them?
Tip Nine: Release
Having developed greater self-awareness and insight into the patterns in your life, consider whether you’d like these to continue… Do they serve you in leading a life of purpose and growth, or do they hold you back and make life harder? Are your themes empowering and compassionate, or do they bring you down and make you feel helpless? If the latter, it is time to release what no longer serves you to make way for that which does…
Ideas Into Action:
- After identifying the over-arching themes of your life using Tip 8: Self-Reflection, consider whether they support your growth or whether continued use of them in interpreting your life will only serve to disempower you.
- If you believe that they no longer serve you, hold yourself in loving kindness and release yourself from these ways of thinking. Use Tip 7: Mindfulness to recognise when you are applying these themes to events in the present, and gently remind yourself to let these old patterns go.
- Replace unhelpful attitudes and self-limiting beliefs with more compassionate and empowering ones that will ultimately serve you in living a life of purpose in accordance with your values. Use Tip 7: Mindfulness to determine what this is for you, and Tip 1: Mindsets to retire old habits and beliefs and install new and improved ones.
- Practice patience and self-compassion throughout this journey. Learning new ways of being in and seeing the world are transformational, non-linear processes. It takes time to unlearn old ways of doing things, and often times we will slip back into our old habits and belief patterns. Hold yourself gently, and know that each ‘slip up’ offers an opportunity to reaffirm your new way of being purely through your conscious choice to return to it and persevere.
In the final instalment of this series, we’ll explore openness, focus, and flow and what they mean for leading a positive and fulfilling life.
Yours in wellness,
Elisabetta Faenza | Leafcann CEO