If you’re reading this, take some time right now to ask yourself these questions:
How are you feeling?
Are you overwhelmed?
Are you bored?
How tired are you?
How motivated are you?
Why do you feel this way?
What bothers you in this present moment?
What do you wish you could be doing now?
These are just a few questions that can help you be more self-aware of your current mental state.
Because questions lead to answers.
Answers lead to insights.
And insights help you make better decisions to keep your mental health in check.
“Self-care is how you take your power back.”
— Lalah Delia
For a lot of us, we live pretty mundane, routine lives.
We wake up, go to work, get home, tend to things before going to bed and repeating this process all over again.
So it’s not surprising that life can get awfully dry and possibly even downright dreadful sometimes.
Although it’s important to be in the present moment, recognize that there is value in looking forward to upcoming activities/events in your life.
You could be looking forward to your favourite band’s upcoming concert.
Or going to the gym later this evening.
Or even something as simple as the weekend.
Picture how it feels to partake in these activities you look forward too.
Let those feelings and emotions carry you throughout your days.
Always have something to look forward to.
Speak, move and live gently.
Anxious behaviour breeds more anxiety and stress.
Likewise, gentleness breeds more calm and peace.
And others can pick up on this too.
As you go about your day, try to incorporate more gentleness in your actions and interactions with others.
Soften your gaze.
Place things gently.
Speak with a gentler tone.
Take softer bites when you eat.
Type on the keyboard softer.
And the list goes on.
Be softer, be gentler.
“Your energy is contagious, so think about what you want people to catch from you.”
For some of us, our lives are filled with routines and habits that it almost feels like our days are automated.
So ask yourself this question right now,
“What do I feel like doing in this moment?”
You might feel like doing something restful like taking a nap.
You might feel like doing something sociable like talking to a close friend.
You might feel like doing something fun like playing with your pet.
Whatever your answer may be, go and do it.
But if you can’t do it at the current moment due to work or other commitments, do it at the closest opportunity you can.
We need to live on autopilot less and live with intention more.
Routines and habits are great to have, but only if there’s wiggle room for some spontaneity and deviation to occur.
When you stop to think that you’ll be living life this same way for the remaining years of your life, it can sound a bit depressing for some of us.
So take each day as it comes.
Notice the textures and flavours from the food you eat.
Notice how your feet feel when you walk.
Notice how the breeze feels when you’re outdoors.
Live and bask in the present moment as much as you can by practicing awareness as often as possible.
“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath”
– Amit Ray
What inspires you?
We look up to different people for different reasons.
You might be inspired by Tim Ferris to create a successful business.
You might be inspired by Gordon Ramsay to be better at cooking.
You might look up to your parents to become better human beings.
Whoever or whatever your inspirations are, constantly keep them in your thoughts.
Spend time every now and then to be reminded of them.
We could all use a little motivation to continue living our best lives.
“We all need someone who inspires us to do better than we know how”.
Meditation has a ton of awesome benefits.
But if you’re finding it hard to sit and meditate for a certain period of time, all hope is not lost.
You might want to try and practise informal meditation instead.
To do this, simply remember to pay attention to the breath, any bodily sensations you experience, or sounds you hear throughout the day.
Although this means doing very short bouts of mindfulness, you’ll be doing it many times throughout the day.
“Short time, many times.”
And it’s a technique recommended by tibetan monk, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche.
“If you have time to breathe, you have time to meditate. You breathe when you walk. You breathe when you stand. You breathe when you lie down.”
– Ajahn Amaro
Life consists of a ton of things we have to do.
We have to pay the bills.
We have to go to work.
We have to do chores.
Yet, we neglect the things we WANT to do.
We want to spend more time with friends and family.
We want to spend more time doing leisurely activities.
We want to spend more time resting.
The more we get to spend time doing the things we want, the happier we’ll be.
Let this be a reminder for us to prioritize time to do more of what we want to do.
Balance your have-tos with want-tos.
“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.”
– Zig Ziglar
If you have the power of choice, choose to do less at any given day.
Choose to take on fewer tasks.
Choose to work at 70% than 100%.
This might seem like controversial advice.
But this actually makes you more productive, happier and healthier in the long run.
Let’s take the example of a sprinter and marathon runner.
Sprinters can only run at maximal effort for a very brief period before being exhausted.
Marathon runners though, can run very long distances for long periods of time by not exerting maximum effort.
You can be like a sprinter and choose to work super hard but be burnt out frequently.
Or you can be like a marathon runner and work at a more relaxed pace without risking burnout.
For your mental health’s sake, consider adopting the latter.
Be a marathon runner in life.
“Life is not a sprint but a long, arduous ordeal, a marathon. If you don’t pace yourself you will burn out. So keep a steady pace and keep your focus on the road ahead.”
– Mufti Menk
When we say we don’t have time to do certain things, we actually do.
We just don’t place enough priority for them to be worthy of our time.
Imagine having a plate of food.
There’s only so much we can fit on the plate before it becomes full.
To make room for a certain type of food, we’d have to remove some of the existing ones.
The same goes with our time.
So the next time you catch yourself thinking, “I don’t have time to do that”, think of how you can make time by cutting back on other activities.
You always have time.
“Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time,’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.’”
– Lao Tzu