What does it mean to be happy? It’s a loaded question, right? For centuries psychologists and philosophers alike have argued the topic. Really, happiness is something we all strive for but rarely feel content in our ability to achieve. But, what if I told you I’ve stumbled upon a solution? It’s mindfulness! By becoming more self-aware, you can transform into the best version of yourself and improve every aspect of your life.
Often, when we’re unhappy, we don’t put our best foot forward. We become self-destructive, lashing out and making impulsive, poorly thought out decisions that reflect badly on us. Really, we end up adding fuel to the collective fire, spreading around negative energy that harms our relationships and ability to be successful in getting our goals met.
Personally, I haven’t always been the happiest person. Really, I’m uncomfortably discontent. For most of my life, I’ve carried around the weight of anxiety and heavy sadness, something that’s led to ongoing self-destructive behaviors, setbacks, and isolation. More so, it’s fostered a lack of self-awareness, making me, at times, appear selfish, unintelligent, and lack a basic sense of compassion.
Truthfully, I went through the first 30 years of my life, blissfully unaware of my shortcomings. It wasn’t until I moved into a management role that I realized how self-handicapping my actions were. I didn’t slow down to think things through, and while I exceeded every goal set, it happened at the expense of the people involved.
Oh, you could say I engaged my team! Everything I did, every communication I carried out was a crisis. Without hesitation, I burned my people out. In the end, I received ongoing criticism from supervisors and couldn’t retain employees. My anxiety led to constant conflict with others, a lack of personal or professional relationships, and stress levels that significantly impacted my health. There’s no other way to put it; I was miserable.
But then something spectacular happened. After falling flat on my face, in came the art of mindfulness. And with that? A shocking yet painfully slow transition to a happier, more effective, healthier me. Everything from my professional performance to personal relationships improved.
So, what’s the secret sauce to this mystic magic? No need to ponder! I’ve got the recipe on how you can become more self-aware and grow into a mindful, happier version of yourself!
Slow Down & Make Space for Others
Did you know that by doing less, you can accomplish more? It’s true! When we move fast, we often do it at others’ expense, negatively impacting our relationships. When we feel overwhelmed or pressured to perform, we skip critical steps in our communications. We cut the fluffy parts of our interactions that are essential to building rapport with others. Moreover, we sloppy up our messaging and misread critical ques from our environment.
But when we slow down? That’s when we start to build healthy relationships that take us places in life! So, how does one lower the pace when we live in such a busy world? First, resist the urge to multitask so you can give others your full attention. Once you’ve done this, engage the person you’re with by asking meaningful questions, listening, and taking the time to show them your appreciation.
Is it Urgent? Most Things in Life Aren’t a Crisis
Do you fall into the trap of feeling like everything is urgent? If so, you’re not alone. It’s a common pitfall! But, few things in life need to be done immediately. In fact, pressured decisions often aren’t good ones. More so, when we’re in a rush, we create tension in ourselves and stress in others.
So, how do you avoid a false sense of urgency? Make the time to prioritize your daily, weekly, and monthly activities regularly. For those who have a tough time with this, Inc.com suggests slowing down to gain some objectivity by asking yourself the following three questions before engaging in a task:
Does this absolutely need to be done today?
Does this need to be done by me?
Does this need to be done at all?
Empathy? Take the Time to Walk in Another’s Shoes
Before reacting, slow down and walk in another’s shoes. By taking the time to take on other people’s perspectives, we foster connection, appreciation, and lay the foundation for meaningful relationships. But more so, we grow as individuals. Each of us has something to learn from someone else, even if we disagree with their viewpoints.
Is empathy a difficult one for you? If so, you can build it by taking the time to understand other people’s experiences. Look for the pieces of commonality you share, and create relationships from there. Doing so will not only help you build stronger connections but also foster a more profound sense of appreciation for those around you.
Self-Care is Not an Indulgence- It’s a Discipline.
A healthy mindset starts with doing what’s needed to take care of yourself. Carve out time daily to engage in what centers you, whether that’s taking a walk at lunch or snuggling up with a book before bed. Whatever is needed to be a calmer, more peaceful person, make sure you do it regularly.
That said, there’s always going to be an excuse for not having time for self-care. But, it’s critical to set boundaries with yourself and others to ensure you’re able to stay at your best. When we burnout, we become less efficient and stomp on ourselves and others. Growth starts when we start taking care of ourselves.