Being spontaneous and letting go of my plans made me realize that it's a lot easier to get thins done. Sometimes we need a break from the seriousness, and being silly can remind us of the fun in life.
There's nothing like being totally silly and letting loose. I used to worry about whether I looked weird, if I used the "right" words, the list continues...
Peers used to mock me because I was nerdy. I'm not saying this to receive pity or sympathy, but rather to show that it's possible to feel good about who we are, without caring about what others think of us!
What helps you be silly?
Sometimes, with silliness, it means letting go of what's expected of us as adults. Who says that we can't act like a kid every once in awhile?!
My boyfriend had dropped off his car to get fixed and there was a downpour. So what did we do?! We skipped in the rain and slid into the mud. The hills turned golden as the sun parted through the clouds.
Some tips to get silly:
1. Watch an old cartoon and embrace all of it.
2. Grab a friend and make silly faces at each other until you start laughing.
3. Go to a comedy show.
4. Start telling jokes and laugh at yourself.
5. Look at something and make up a nonsensical story about it. Laugh at yourself!
Life can be overwhelming. Maybe you're stuck and think that finding joy means adding one more task to your to-do list. I'm here to assuage your fears.
Where do you start?
Here's some food for thought:
1. Shift your approach
Let's say that you're swamped. There's no more time left to spare.
Bring in elements of joy throughout your day.
Focus on the aspects you appreciate at work. Maybe this means allowing yourself to pause every few hours and reflect for two minutes about which parts are gratifying. This could be a conversation with one of those favorite co-workers. Or maybe your office overlooks a beautiful tree. Take a second to relish in all of its beauty.
2. Find an activity where there is no outcome, but to enjoy the process
Our seriousness has its place, but sometimes it can take away from experiencing fun in the moment. I want to challenge you to think of something you can savor without the confinements of "doing it right" or "performing". When we expect ourselves to be perfect, it can be difficult to revel in the activity itself because we are so focused on the outcome.
3. Rekindle childhood memories
I used to enjoy going on the jungle gym. I've always craved that sense of freedom. This translates to my enjoyment into being outside surrounded by trees. As an adult, I love driving to vista points and being surrounded by the mountains.
For you, this might have been putting on your favorite pair of jeans, and from that day on, you feel in love with fashion. Or maybe you used to go to museums and now you find a sense of peace when you make collages from magazines.
Practicing meditation has been a process. There are some days where I get in 5 minutes, and others where I get in a longer session.
What I found in the beginning was that I felt frustrated with how I couldn't stop my thoughts. Now when I'm practicing, it's about recognizing it and noticing, "Huh, there are a lot of thoughts on my mind. I feel anxious ".
That's what I used to feel 5 years ago before I started meditating.
I felt as though I had to prove myself to others all the time. I sought external validation throuqgh productivity. No matter what I accomplished, I felt like I couldn't stop.
Meditation is one of the techniques that pulled me out of this endless cycle of "performing", performing for others instead of for myself. Meditation instilled in me this quiet attitude, and an ability to perceive my thoughts from a distance without judgment.
These stress management techniques have released me from performing for others. With meditation and these other tools, I now feel free. I get to be present and enjoy what's in front of me, instead of worrying endlessly about the future. I get to be gentle with myself so that I can be there for others. I get to be fully alive and do what is only satisfying to me.
SO ARE YOU READY TO GET OFF THAT TREADMILL?!
Sometimes we're feeling uncomfortable and that's okay.
I used to push away my feelings because I didn't want to feel. I was searching for happiness. What I didn't realize was that I could only feel joy if felt all the other feelings along the spectrum.
Uncomfortable (and all other) feelings come and go. When I'm feeling irritable or tired, I acknowledge it, and ask myself what I need.
WHAT FEELINGS ARE UNCOMFORTABLE FOR YOU?!
Let's face it: we can't be in the present moment all the time.
I make time to meditate before I go to bed and make sure that I put away my phone so that I can enjoy what's in front of me.
THE BODY SIGNALS TO US WHEN WE'RE STRESSED
Whenever I'm anxious, I feel my heart racing. I used to ignore my body's signals. Now I've learned that my body's signals let me know how to take care of myself. When I'm feeling anxious, I get to recognize it and what's triggering it.
I know what it feels like. I used to be worried all the time, to the point where I couldn't enjoy what was in front of me.
I know...you might not want to hear it, but meditation helped lessen my anxiety.
I never used to like meditating. I didn't want to add one more thing to my to-do list.
I would get frustrated because I never felt like I was doing it "right".
I never felt as though I were attending to my breath. Before I'd try to push my feelings away and think, "Ahhh I can't stand being anxious."
What I did notice was that meditating has allowed me to identify thoughts and feelings that arise. I am now better at recognizing when I'm anxious. Now, I no longer try to push away the anxiety. Now I'm better at sitting with the discomfort and I feel the anxiety pass more quickly.
In this workbook, you will access a series of exercises...
So that you will CHERISH every moment.
You will learn what YOU NEED.
You will FLOURISH no matter what emotions come your way.
I'M READY TO FEEL!
After practicing regularly, I have noticed a shift in my thinking. What I've found is that I'm able to gain some distance from my thoughts. Instead of being consumed by my emotions, I am able to notice these emotions with more openness.
When I practice mindfulness, I am more likely to sit with the sensations and discomfort, rather than try to change them.
When practicing the body scan, I notice my ability to monitor particular muscular contractions and relaxation when I note how my mind tracks this voluntary muscle movement. Instead, I am able to note the amount of charge that comes with these thoughts and acknowledge them rather than try to push them away from my mind. I have noticed that by practicing mindfulness, I am more able to honor each thought and acknowledge when I am in the present moment. At times, I have difficulty letting go those more negatively-charged thoughts, but the awareness makes it easier for me to separate myself from them without being drawn into the whirlwind of negativity.
Hold it. Now stop. What's your thought at this moment?
My experience with mindfulness
I get it. I used to feel like my head was spinning with lists and what I had to do next.
I'm not perfect, but now, it's definitely a lot less busy in my head. Now I get to notice when I'm focusing on my lists when I need to be doing what's in front of me. Meditation isn't easy. Sometimes it's too overwhelmimg to sit quietly and listen to the noise in our heads.
We can extend our meditation to our daily lives. Instead of what we imagine "formal" meditation to be-- we might imagine "formal" meditation as a practice where we're on a yoga mat, sitting with our legs crossed and in silence. Meditation can take that form but it is not limited to it.
Start with everyday Actions
Maybe this means a 5-minute guided meditation and 5 minutes sitting quietly. It increases our chances to continue the practice if we start small and continue regularly, rather than set ourselves up with too many expectations that we stop altogether.
Start with a short amount of time
If you're a beginner to meditation or want to incorporate more mindfulness into your life, mindfulness may start as a way of noticing. We can start by being more aware and during mundane activities.
What does this mean? It might mean slowing down while you walk and noticing the physical sensations you experience as your foot plants itself on the ground. What are the sounds and the smells around you? Other times that you could practice this "informal" mindfulness practice might include washing the dishes, taking your dog put for a walk, eating a delicious meal. The key is to notice aspects of these activities that you might not normally pay attention to, such as the sensations in your body or the textures that you feel.
Find an app
Because of the structure it provides, liseteninging a guided meditation makes it a little easier to cope with the thoughts arising in our heads.