Everyone wants to live on a mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it – Andy Rooney.
2020 has been a challenging year for almost everyone with the coronavirus pandemic. This time of year leading up to Christmas can often bring about its own demands and anxiety. For some it might be wrapping up work for the year, and for others it might be thinking about the bigger life questions – whether one’s goals were achieved this year, or new year resolutions for 2021.
Whilst challenging circumstances and emotions can make it harder to find positivity and happiness in one’s life, the good news is that there are many things we can do to increase the joy in our lives.
Wellbeing is a process, it’s not something that we arrive at overnight without putting in time and effort. Taking small steps and connecting with different parts of ourselves and our lives is a key way to start enjoying (or enjoying more) the small or big moments in present-day experience.
Here are some ways for finding more joy in your life.
1. Engaging with your senses. Using one or more of your senses can be very comforting, nurturing, and therapeutic. For example: Cooking or baking ; Lighting a scented candle; Indulging in a hot drink and Lying outside or walking barefoot on the grass or the sand
2. Adding some colour and cosiness to your home. Our home environment plays a crucial role in our wellbeing. What fills up our home, whether it be objects, paint colour, feelings or energy… is essentially the first thing you are waking up too every day and the first thing you are coming home too. Research shows that colour can make us feel significantly happier.
Some ideas include:
Add some colour to your bedroom or living room – paint a wall, add colourful and fluffy throw cushions, hang a fun print or painting on the wall.
Get house plants – not only are leafy green plants aesthetically pleasing on the eye and make an empty corner in a room look alive… but studies show that touching, smelling, and even merely seeing an indoor plant can reduce stress.
3. Exercise for the body (and mind). It’s a well-known fact that exercise is significantly related to overall physical, emotional, and mental health. Nowadays, studies show that exercising for as little as 10 minutes per day significantly increases the odds of being happy.
1. Go for a walk on the beach – not only does this get your steps in for the day, but walking barefoot on the sand with the sound of the ocean makes our mind relax and generates endorphins, the “happiness” hormone.
2. Take yourself to a boxing class – if you’re feeling like you have lots of pent up energy or just need a release, go box it away!
3. Do a High-Intensity-Interval-Training class with a friend
4. Go to a yoga flow or yin-yoga class
5. Sound-healing – this is pure healing for the mind and body. Something you have to experience to truly understand.
Recommendations for exercise studiosv BodyMindLife yoga –Bondi Beachv This is Yoga – Bondi Junction, Clovelly, Randwickv Hustle Boxing – Potts Pointv Lean Bean Fitness female-only group exercise classes – Bondi Beachv Soul Flow Yoga sound healing – Bondi Junction
Claire Hurwitz Psychologist. The Good Mood Clinic
Due to current circumstances with COVID-19, we are faced having to fill plenty more hours in the day due to the restrictions placed on us.
For many people this has been an anxiety-provoking experience.
Because a key element that serves as a source of satisfaction, abundance, distraction, or perhaps a time-filler for many of us, has been taken away – the external world (such as going to the office, to the gym, socialising or travel).
You may find yourself feeling pressured to continue to DO and achieve, yet feeling like you’re not making progress. If you find that these feelings are leading you to be self-critical…then this article is for you.
I recently listened to a Ted Talk by Elizabeth Gilbert “It’s OK to feel overwhelmed” which really struck a chord with myself and led me into a reflective process.
During this unprecedented time with COVID-19, a general message that seems to be circulating social media, blogs, articles, and so forth is to view this as an opportunity rather than a hindrance. To follow your passion and get creative, or to find your true purpose in life.
Typically, reframing one’s mindset from something more negative (i.e. a limitation) to something more open and positive (i.e. an opportunity) is helpful and proactive. However, where it might become more problematic for some people is when we start to think about what the counter-message to ‘finding your purpose’ might be for some people.
We may be feeling that:
- we’re not doing enough,
- that we’re not doing life right
- that we’re supposed to be uncovering some particular talent that we have but aren’t yet aware of.
What these string of thoughts do is firstly place significant pressure on ourselves to keep doing and achieving. Then, by default, we turn to our external world with the hope to experience feelings of happiness, value, and wholeness.
However, the focus on the external world can often lead to an increase in self-critical and self-defeating thoughts, which in turn exacerbates anxiety, low mood, and a sense of general dissatisfaction.
Stop and be curious
Whilst this is a fantastic time to work towards achieving goals or ticking off those tasks that one has been procrastinating, this is also a beautiful moment in time to stop and be curious.
To find some distance from our default mode which is to do do do, and instead, connect with our being.
When your internal voice next perks up and instructs you to continue with that work project, exercise goal, or whatever else it may be, I wonder if you can try and put those thoughts to the side. Instead, become curious about what it is that’s in front of you and that you have access to in that present moment…which is you.
See this as an opportunity to connect with your internal world. How are you feeling? What are you needing?
It’s likely that what you’re needing in that very moment, is not to go back to your busy schedule and goal list. Rather it’s a basic human fundamental need such as:
- a nourishing meal; or
- some form of exercise or movement.
You might even find that turning inwards rather than choosing to do and achieve leaves you feeling more nourished, satisfied, and calm.
Avoid unrealistic expectations
However, for those of you who are working towards specific goals or picking up on some of those tasks that have been put to the side, often it’s the mindset we have and our underlying beliefs that can be unhelpful.
We tend to place high and at times unrealistic expectations on ourselves and can dip into an all-or-nothing mindset.
A more helpful way to achieve goals during this time and all-round is to set a goal and slowly work towards achieving it.
Unpack the goal into small, realistic and achievable steps.