After everything that happened to me I knew that I didn’t want to just survive anymore.
I wanted to thrive.
I wanted to change my daily habits, my emotions, and my ability to handle stressful situations. I wanted to stop regretting bad interactions where I lost my temper or got too upset. I wanted to be able to listen better and get a better grasp on my thoughts.
So it started a journey – and that’s how I found what was a key for me to live a better life. Being mindful.
“Mindfulness is simply,
being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different.
Enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes. (which it will)
Being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way. (which it wont)”
– James Baraz
Mindfulness for me, is putting space between your thoughts and your actions. After dealing with grief, I realized that if I took the time and the effort to realize not only the content of my thoughts but then started to question those thoughts. I could start to have more control over my emotional state. It changed my personality and my life. Some people, of course are naturally good at this. I definitely wasn’t born with the ability to do this. It’s practice.
The reason I’m bringing this up and why I thought it was important enough to share is because it can help you maintain better relationships, build better habits and ultimately give you a better quality of life. A lot of people think self-help is silly or arbitrary but in my opinion it should be one of the most celebrated tools in our culture. There are so many options and so many ways you can take easy steps to feeling happy.
I can honestly say, while being completely cliché that I learned to love myself. It’s not constant and I’ve had some lows, but in the last 2 years 90% of my days end with me being proud of the progress I’m making into the person I ultimately want to be. That means a better wife for David, a better mother to my children one day, and especially a better daughter, sister, friend, and human. The lower you feel, the higher the climb.
I had a fear of death so bad after everything happened that I couldn’t breathe or function at the idea of anyone else dying around me. I was killing myself with food and I couldn’t walk 20 feet without feeling winded. I didn’t want to live. I didn’t see a way out. Those feelings of grief, anger, and self-hatred were painful and constant. They would crush me and consume my thoughts. But I beat it, I learned that I could change and that if I hadn’t experienced such grief, I wouldn’t appreciate everyone and everything I do today.
I do not have control over losing anyone around me or losing my own life.
All I can do is love with everything I have and do my best to be kind.
Every action I have has ripples, it sets things in motion.
One quick unkind, unthinking, act can have powerful consequences.
Your kind acts have even more power.
You can create change. That’s a great power and we all wield it.
I have to be present and account for how fleeting my life can be and I still have to
choose to be grateful.
I have to turn the negative things that have happened to me into knowledge and strength.
Learn to pay attention to your moods. I highly suggest journaling feelings, events AND food together because you start to see patterns. When I have a day where I’m eating a large amount of carbs, meats, and sodium I usually feel not only sluggish and bloated the next day but depressed as well. Bettering yourself isn’t selfish and seeking professional help or guidance through books, videos, medications or friends is NOT crazy or “weak”.
This world is stressful, hard, and messy. You should give yourself the tools to live the best life possible and have healthy relationships with the people around you. Figuring out that there were consequences to my eating habits made it easier for me to change my diet and my life all together. If you take the time to pray every day I suggest adding in some mindfulness exercises and take time to analyze your thoughts and feelings and think about your expectations for your day, yourself, and the situations you’re dealing with.
I don’t want this to come off preachy and I’m not trying to tell someone how to live a perfect life. I just want to get it out there that it’s entirely possible to have more control of your thoughts, emotions, and actions then you do right now. It helped me to better set up boundaries and I learned to have normal expectations for the people around me. It’s easy to be selfish because what you’re thinking and feeling is YOURS but every person on this planet has their own problems, agenda, thoughts and emotions to contend with. You can learn to be a better version of yourself simply by having healthy boundaries, expectations and understanding for everyone around you.
Imagine the next time you’re arguing with your spouse/friend/family member that instead of falling into the same repetitive negative patterns of screaming or losing your temper, you instead start to see things you didn’t see before. You start having revelations about people you’ve known your whole life because you start to realize why they are the way they are. You start to feel empathy and understanding for the other person and as a result your responses are not only said with confidence and kindness but you’re capable of clearly communicating how you’re thinking and feeling. Your mental health shows in your ability to cope with stressful situations. You have the ability to change how you deal with tough situations. I think one of the greatest quotes to emphasize this is:
“My mind begins to seem like a video game. I can either play it intelligently learning more in each round, or I can be killed in the same spot by the same monster, again and again.”
That quote brought together everything I’ve been learning not only about myself but other human beings in the last few years. You can be better. You can learn from the things happening to you and create change. Hitting the lows I hit and being able to fill my mind and soul back up with positive and empowering messages have changed my personality and the way I interact with others. Every human being on this planet is struggling not to feel alone, angry, and scared. It is our duty while we are on this earth to minimize the damage we do to others and especially, ourselves. If you’re suffering from a short temper, harmful thoughts, angry and sad feelings. I just want you to know that you can feel better.
Enjoying your thoughts is an incredible thing.
Being happy with your own company is crucial.
Since educating myself through books like the ones below. I have a new respect for myself and every life around me. A lot of people say that it’s amazing how happy I am considering the grief I’ve endured. I didn’t just have the ability to be a more cheerful person. It takes practice. I learned the coping skills I needed through therapy, knowledge, and healthy relationships. No matter what trial is going on in your life I have full confidence that you can not only handle it – but you can learn from it and it can help you be a healthier and more fulfilled person.
It doesn’t matter what kind of childhood you had, how old you are, what religion you practice or who you voted for. We could all strive to be stronger, wiser, more empathetic people. If you can learn to enjoy your own company and be proud of not only the decisions you made, but the words you spoke at the end of the day – Why wouldn’t you?
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”