The dawn of a new decade, a fresh era, daunting dreams and prodigious plans—2020 forecasted a favorable year. Jump to July and 2020 has been a whirlwind of woeful world events. Did anyone else feel like they were concurrently downward spiraling with the world’s events? I had, too, until I realized I couldn’t live like that anymore.
To me, finding the courage to be positive felt disingenuous—and quite frankly, tone deaf—considering the current state of the world. My empathy for people suffering around the world became so intertwined with my own well-being that I struggled to find daily motivation. I knew what was wrong, but I didn’t know how to fix it.
The first step towards change is to increase your awareness and self-reflection. I was familiar with this psychological conundrum I had found myself in, but I still couldn’t snap out of it. Something I heard which hit a chord with me recently states how merely knowing is not enough. Simply knowing or “self-diagnosing” what you’re going through isn’t enough. A change must be on the horizon.
When I recognized this wasn’t something I could just ride out until it disappeared (great coping mechanism, I know), I concluded I had to proactively change the way I was living and thinking about my life. I realized I became too focused on not being able to control external factors that I overlooked things I could control. I was experiencing sorrow for the world and letting this negatively impact my life due to my empathy—notoriously one of my signature character strengths. I was subliminally upset with myself for not taking advantage of the things I could control, such as a healthy mind and body. Although I knew I wasn’t taking the best care of myself in the moment, I didn’t realize how much it was impacting me. I was living in an internal chaos. Merely knowing is not enough; you must change your habits to make a difference in your life. Nothing changes if nothing changes. I knew I needed to shift my focus.
Let’s zoom out.
Look at the big picture. What we put into our mind and body, we get out. It’s not a surprise I wasn’t feeling motivated or like my best self. Where you direct your attention or let your attention fall to is where your energy goes; where your energy goes influences your thoughts which influences your actions and thus, shapes your life.
There are two aspects of happiness, in my opinion, and I will hopefully help you decipher how to solve one of them. Spoiler alert: there’s only one aspect that needs to be solved.
So what’s the solution?
Step 1 of 1: Start small
Good choices lead to making more good choices. Similarly, bad choices lead to more bad choices; don’t let yourself fall prey to the downward spiral effect. Garbage in = Garbage out. Start by looking inwardly and write down what intrinsically motivates you. What does the best version of yourself look like in terms of your mental, physical, and emotional health? Recognize which factors you can control to be at peace internally and take small steps towards achieving them every day.
For me, the secret, yet not-so-secret, key to happiness is being able to govern the internal factors you possess that cultivate happiness. When you are at peace with yourself you can achieve peace with the world. You will be able to handle anything life throws at you. We don’t get upset with ourselves over things we can’t control, we get upset with ourselves over things we know we can control yet fail to do so.
Everything is related; how you do anything is how you do everything.
There are no short cuts to well-being and happiness, it all starts, and ends, internally.
While keeping up with current events has its value, it’s also important to consider how it’s affecting your mental health. It can be hard to separate ourselves from the events of the world, especially if we feel so connected to it. However, letting yourself hurt for the world isn’t a solution; take care of yourself so you can impact your community, your circle and your “little world” positively. 🙂
Some things that have helped me shift my focus and enhance my well-being have been reading about good news around the world—I seriously felt a huge sensation and rush of energy after reading this site! https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/category/news/world/
Also, I enrolled in “The Science of Well-Being” hosted by Yale University in a free 8 week online course. I’m on week 5 so far and highly recommend! It’s taught me a lot about why the things we think will make us happy don’t, and what actually will make us happy. Click here for the link.
What small choices do you make every day in order to be your best self? How have you found courage through the chaos?
As always, thanks for reading & namaste!
If you liked this post and want to read more of my writings you can visit https://ellieejay.travel.blog/.
For a similar article on learning how to enjoy the repetition of life, read https://pointlessoverthinking.com/2020/01/10/how-to-love-the-repetition-of-life/