5 Simple Ways to Bring More Ease and Joy Into Your Life
What goes through your mind, what happens in your body when you feel challenged in life? Deciding whether you can make that jump, or that presentation, that job, that promotion, or allow yourself to be vulnerable with another person?
The other day I watched my just-turned-two year old jump from the top of this box and land safely on the ground. And I was proud. Not because it was high for someone his age or because he’d landed the jump, but because he’d been capable of deciding for himself to jump. He doesn’t always jump – he’ll often reach out a hand for help or tell me he’s scared. I’m equally proud in these moments too, for the same reasons.
When my kids find themselves in a position like this my aim is not to control them – “get down from there, it’s too high, you’ll fall!” but encourage them to explore their limits by ask themselves questions – “Does this feel safe for me?” “What are the potential hazards?” “What do I need to be aware of?” “What is the next step?” I’m right there with them. If there’s a chance they could fall I’ll be ready to catch them. But I’m not going to stop them falling, because that’s how they learn about themselves, their strengths and weaknesses, their ever-changing upper limits.
As we grow up we develop a sense of what is the “right” way to conduct ourselves. Through family, school, friends, religion, and the wider society we learn certain beliefs about ourselves, others and the world. These become ingrained in us and create a running commentary in our heads.
Unhealthy self-talk can lead to;
- lack of self worth
- pushing yourself too hard
- lacking confidence and motivation
- not feeling like you’re good enough
- not believing you are worthy
- feeling like the world owes you something
- a deep lack of satisfaction with your life
- focusing on the negatives and not seeing the positives
- being manipulated by others
- always giving to others rather than yourself
Do any of these ring a bell?
The good news is, it’s not too late. Everyone deserves and is capable of bringing more ease, joy and connection into their lives by reclaiming a clearer sense of self and strengthening emotional resilience. Here are five simple ways to get started;
1 Be kind and gentle with yourself
Above all else this is so so important to hold onto. Change takes time, give yourself permission to go slow, take baby steps. You’ll soon see the benefits. Remember you are exactly where you’re supposed to be.
2 Carve out time and space that is just for you
I know that a lot of people reading this will be mothers so this one probably seems like a cruel joke. I hear you! But I promise you it’s possible. Start small – five minutes a day is enough. The biggest trick here (and often the hardest) is to believe you deserve this time, believe that you are worthy of space that is just for you. And don’t hide from your feelings. I know one of the biggest challenges for me was the gnawing guilt I felt at abandoning my kids – they need me! But once I’d acknowledged this feeling I was able to move past it (slowly…) by reminding myself that making time for myself served my kids too. I am a calmer, more playful mum when I look after myself, and less of my crap ends up doing the rounds in their heads… When we create space for ourselves we are able to reflect on the things we do, feel and say. We start to see patterns and we can begin to change them. Subscribe to my newsletter to receive your free The Making Space Guide PDF.
3 Change your mind with affirmations
I’m not good enough, I’m so stupid, why did I do that? Nothing ever works out for me, everyone thinks I’m boring, I should have done that report by now, why can’t I be more clever/pretty/creative. You get the idea. We wouldn’t speak to others like that so why ourselves? When we start to notice the pattern of negative thoughts that berate us daily, we can turn them around. For example you could turn “I’m not good enough” into “I’m doing my best in every moment”. “I’m so stupid” could be “I am learning” or (this one really helped me when learning to drive last year) “I give myself permission to learn”.
Just this one thing has the potential to bring about so much positive change. It encapsulates numbers 1-3 quite nicely too depending on how you choose to do it. Having one space for all your musings and reflections makes it feel more contained and special. Some journaling ideas include;
- Gratitudes: did you know that gratitude creates more neural pathways in your brain, making you more sensitive to positivity? That means the more you practice gratitude, the more you default to positivity instead of negativity. Use your journal time to write/draw/collage the people and things you are grateful for. Make sure you include yourself in there, as icky as it might feel! Remember Step 1 – be gentle with yourself.
- Free-writing: this is a favourite of mine! It’s so simple to do, just write what comes into your head, even if it’s what you had for breakfast or “I don’t know what to write”, more will flow from there, or it might not. I find it so permission giving because you can’t get it wrong – whatever comes is what is right for you in that moment. (Btw my Free-Writing for a Free Soul e-course is now open for enrollment).
- Affirmations: rooting out those negative thought patterns by counteracting them. Free-writing is a great way to acknowledge the offending thoughts. Write them down as you notice them and turn them into affirmations.
- Get creative: you can read more about the benefits of creativity here but generally speaking it’s pretty awesome. Free-writing is one example of creative journaling. You can also, draw, paint, collage, write poetry. The important thing to remember is that everything that comes is the right thing. Don’t listen to that negative voice in your head that says “I’m no creative”. We are all creative. Our society has just confused things by putting a price on it. Creative journaling is all about expressing yourself.
5 Find your people
This is really important. We need to surround ourselves with people who support and understand what we are doing otherwise we are likely to lose momentum. Are the people close to you on board? Do they understand why you need to make space for yourself? Even if they are, you may want to cast the net wider to give yourself the best chances of success. Is there a group you can join? A course you can do with others? This might be face-to-face or online. If you are really ready to invest in yourself you may want to look for a therapist or coach to walk the journey with you.
I hope you’ve found this helpful. For a more detailed guide to making space for yourself subscribe to my mailing list and get a free PDF download.
Click here to find out how you can work with me – e-courses, 1-1 therapy, one off workshops.
And remember the Free Writing for a Free Soul e-course is open now!