Thursday, 11 August 2016
Image: what can we do right now?
We change over time
Image is not just about the way we look. No, no, that's too superficial. It's also about our life. For me, it's also about having our life how we image-ine it to be, how we would like it to be. And this varies from time to time in our life. How I want my life to be right now is totally different from what I wanted for my life, two years ago, because circumstances have changed, financial and personal priorities have changed, and life itself is now different for me, it will be so for you, too.
But let's look at now
So, what can we do right now, to have the sort of life that we would like to have? I used to feel horrendously guilty about even thinking like this when there are so many suffering people in the world. For years! But now I think about how fortunate I am to have the space and opportunity in this lifetime, to create a nice life, no matter what is happening in my own life. Creating a nice life is a brain-happy state, too.
When we approach looking at our own life, we can get the positive attitudes going by first noticing what we do have in our life that is good. This is not necessarily to do with material possessions, and also by being grateful for what we do have. Whether it's money, somewhere to live, friends, time, space, work. The list is endless.
Stress makes it all harder
When we start with a negative outlook, we create stress hormones in our brain. Stress in turn has been found to lead to fear and doubt responses. And when we are looking to have a better life, or even just to feel better about our life, a wee turn of perception goes a long way. It's hard to create anything nice when fear is the over riding factor, or when we a riddled with doubt. And, it seems to me, that when we are in this space, we start to expect and notice obstacles, real or imagined. So, to recap, the first step is to look at our life to find out what to be grateful for. Not to fool ourselves that things are good when they are not. But to give ourselves a heads-up so that we have the emotional tools for change. And sometimes in our life, the changes do have to be big and dramatic. I have had a few of those times too. And I survived.
So, to get past the fear factor, and self doubt, it helps to get into the positive habit. Then we have an easier time of making change. When we want the changes to be big, start with something that you can easily achieve, so that you can create the feeling of accomplishment. It honestly helps to have those feelings! It sets the stage for us to do more. Because we then feel that we can do more, we feel that we can do things, we have that success feeling, whether big or small.
"The ability to take risks is based on previous accomplishments": Gail Sheehy: Passages.
A few years ago, I was looking for employment, after a dramatic life change (!). I realised that I loved flowers. So I worked at a plant nursery, packing flowers for a wee while. All those beautiful flowers quite naturally created happiness in my brain. So now, I think, what little steps can I do in my life, to create those lovely feelings? Each of us has little things that we can do to get happiness hormones going. Some people just want to live in a tidy home, others want flowers and plants around them, still others like things to be cosy. Other ways for me are being at the ocean's edge, watching sunrise, having friends. What we do in our life counts too: work, recreation. It's helpful to make a list of what makes you happy, then look at little ways you can incorporate those things into your life.
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