This year I’ve been doing a lot of work to try and improve myself. As you may have read in some of this year’s previous blogs, I’ve started journaling, meditating, practising box breathing, established a morning and evening routine and have been trying to read or listen to at least a chapter of a book each day. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve started introducing exercise back into the mix by going for a walk and doing some intervals on the punchbag which I’ve found useful for either starting the day on a high or having completed something at the end of the day. I’ve had to be flexible of where I could fit it in but have been making a conscious effort to make sure I get it done each day no matter what.
As part of my learning process, I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflection and giving a lot of thought to things that have happened in my life. This wouldn’t normally be a good thing as when I spend time thinking it doesn’t necessarily lead to good things. I’ve always had a problem with negative self-talk so pondering on things in the past has meant more opportunities for self-criticism. Any opportunity to put myself down would have been taken and would often result in another slump and a period of recovery to get over it. I feel like I’m in a different place now though due to the processes that I’ve put in place, so it seemed like a good time to try again and resolve some of my outstanding issues.
One of the things that I’ve been working on is letting go of the past and not continually dwelling on things that have happened. I often find myself thinking about situations that I’ve been through or times when I’ve felt let down by other people which has led to feelings of resentment. There have been several times when I have trusted people or though they had my back only to find that my trust was misplaced. I’m not going to change who I am and stop trusting people as I like to look for the good in people, so I’ve had to try and get rid of the negative feelings that I hold towards some people. Holding on to negative feelings about things that you can’t change isn’t particularly healthy for me, so I’ve been trying to resolve them so that I can get some mental clarity. As part of this I have been working through each of the situations and forgiven the people that I have felt aggrieved by. If I take ownership of the situation, I can control how I react to it and can then get rid of the negative emotions that have been holding me back. As the quote from Charles R. Swindoll says “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”. I can’t go back and change any of these events but if I look at how I react to it I can then let go of that negativity.
I’ve also found that one of the Headspace mediations that I’ve been doing, includes a process called ‘noting’, has helped with this. Noting is where you acknowledge a thought as it appears and note it but can remain present and keep your focus rather than getting caught up in that thought. In the past when a thought about a situation from the past has popped into my mind, I’ve ended up getting immersed in that thought which can lead to negative emotions.
The final area that has helped has been journaling. It has helped getting my thoughts down on paper and out of my head. It is a good way of expressing how you are feeling and releasing any negativity that you may have. Journaling has also helped me focus on the positives in life as each morning and evening I write down 3 things that I am grateful for. Starting and ending the day on a positive note helps keep a healthy outlook and it also makes you reflect on the many good things that you have in life as the natural thing to do is focus on the negative things that have happened.
I don’t think I have mastered any of this yet, but this year is all about progress rather than perfection. Every step that I make takes me a step further away from where I was and a step closer to where I want to be. If I keep learning this year and develop my self-care then I’ll end the year happy. It’s likely to be a long journey as you never stop learning but it’s one that I’m glad I’m now on.
Onwards and upwards