I confess…. I didn’t exactly think of three things to explore about myself in the next 12 months like I had intended on the International Day of Happiness, and that’s ok, #self-compassion. I’m not sure if I thought of more, or less than 3, because some things seemed to overlap and honestly – my mind wandered, and I thought about a lot of things.
I had one reoccurring thought on feelings and emotions. If there is anything at the top of a list for my own self-improvement it would be improving upon my ability to express feelings and emotions with words.
Over the years when anyone would ask how I felt about something, I would think to myself “what are my choices? Am I hot, cold, wet, dry, tired, etc.” When I think of a feeling, I think of a physical feeling. Maybe my emotional feeler is broken, or maybe it’s blown a fuse? In the past my typical response to a question on how I was feeling was “fine”. I’ve gotten better over the years, but emotional feelings and how to express them is still hard.
My latest thought is “what emotions and feelings are really mine”? What if your feelings are being impacted by how you think others will respond? What if your feelings are altered depending on how you think you will be judged? What if you are denying or ignoring feelings in an attempt to avoid criticism or conflict? Have you ever thought about this?
I’m not working right now because I had a plan to take some time off, travel, and work on my mental well-being. My days are not exactly hectic and usually consist of the following:
I wake around 8:00a and get out of bed around 9:00a. I fill the next few hours with having coffee, making breakfast, eating, cleaning the breakfast mess, checking the current events, and then taking a rest. By now it’s early afternoon, so I go for a run/walk or bike ride. I’m trying to get in shape for an upcoming trip, so this takes 2-3 hours. I get home, have a snack, take a shower, and sit on the couch watching TV – or I work on a few random things on my computer until dinner. The dinner routine is much like the breakfast routine consisting of making, eating, cleaning, and then TV. It’s a pretty fantastic life, not dissimilar from a house-cat or a well-loved dog.
How do I feel about my current life? I don’t know – I think I feel good about it, but then again, maybe not. Is it ok for me to have this life knowing that other people are struggling? Are other people judging me and thinking I’m wasting my life? I feel good and I’m happy with my choice, but suddenly I’ll feel bad because I feel good.
I can usually find some research or at least a podcast to help answer my questions, but I haven’t seen anything helpful on this subject. I’ve found information on how to deal with other people’s negative responses to my feelings, but nothing on how my feelings may actually be affected by their potential response. Is it possible we have been conditioned to only allow certain feelings, or is it something some of us are born with – nature vs. nurture? This is a tough one and it’s lucky it’s on my 12-month list and not something I feel like I need to figure out today.
I’m curious if anyone else took time for self-reflection and had thoughts on how to increase their happiness or mental well-being? I’m curious if anyone reads these blogs, but I’ll keep writing them either way.
Because it’s super hard for me to think of things that I might improve upon without a few choices, I’ll offer a few suggestions for your consideration.
First, I would suggest listening to (2) podcasts. The first is from the Happiness Lab podcast, Episode #4: Sleep Right from the New Year 2020 Mini Season.
The second is from the Ten Percent Happier podcast, Episode #216: How to Strive Under Stress.
It might take a little effort to get these podcasts, I’m not sure I know how to copy the links correctly, but both of these are definitely worth a listen.
Here a list of few things that seem to make us happier and improve our mental well-being.
These are all broad topics and not specific enough to help guide someone like me that needs some specific instruction. I would suggest finding a broad area that you would like to explore for improvement and then narrow down your action items to one or two very specific, tangible, improvements.
For example, if I were to pick sleep as my area of improvement. I would identify a few actions to improve my sleep. I will no longer browse the internet or drink any caffeine within 1 hour of the time I want to go to sleep. Once I have created a habit with these two actions, I can add additional actions to further improve my sleep. Self-improvement isn’t easy, it’s like anything else, it takes some dedication and time to see improvements.
Have enough self-compassion to try, reassess, and try again.#behappy
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