These strategies are what I use to achieve peace in my life. I’ve used at least four of these every day, and ALL of them on those days when I just feel overwhelmed, fed up and stressed out! If this sounds like you, these will help!
Realize when things are out of your control: Teaching this past year has been SO many things–a bit difficult to unpack all at once. But I can say it’s been a very intriguing, frustrating, magical, uplifting AND annoying lesson in the ways of kids.
Gotta be honest. There’s times when I’ve felt irritation bubbling up inside me because we have to get through the lesson before the clock runs out and 5 out of my 10 kids won’t stop turning around. GAHHH.
BUT, that doesn’t happen anymore.
Instead, I would have an internal monologue that involved putting myself in their position, realizing the hardships they go through as Taiwanese students (it’s really ridiculous), and also understanding that I don’t know what’s truly going on in their day.
This thought process really helped me to get through my classes and my day with love and respect, and it can be used in so many different situations! It always helps to take the time to understand there’s more going on than what you perceive. Try it out if you feel this could be beneficial for you!
Take the time to check in with your “now”: It’s so easy to get caught up in the race for success, money, and what’s next, but it is more important, maybe even most important, to look at your “now.” Are you healthy, happy, and living in the moment? Are you taking the time to feel gratitude for what life has given you, and the people who have helped you to get here? This is so important!
I’ve had so many distinct moments of gratitude while living abroad, experiencing the beauty of differing cultures and realizing the amazing support I have. Before I moved to Taiwan, I felt stuck and nervous about my future. Which is totally normal. But, you can’t live your life nervously, and you shouldn’t. I’ve learned checking in and appreciating where you are right now, is so important.
But if you don’t like where you are now, you have to do something about it…so you need to set small goals.
Set small goals (they’ll eventually add up to your larger ones!): I’ve been reading a book one of my wonderful friends let me borrow about the power of decisions. Big decisions, little decisions. Any and all decisions.
It’s a stupidly simple concept, but every time I read a few pages, I always have this “Oh yeah, I can do that!” revelation.
Basically, the decisions you make today (big and little ones) can have a really profound impact in the long run. Meaning, you won’t see the result immediately, which can make it easy to ignore the eventual effects of a simple decision, like the choice to Netflix (are we using that as a verb yet??) instead of doing a moderate workout for half-an-hour, or choosing a burger and fries over a nutrient-full fueling salad. It won’t get to you right now, but it will catch up to you.
So you have to set small goals: put some time aside, even if it’s just half an hour or 10 minutes a day. Take the time for yourself to improve in the aspect or aspects you want to focus on–relationships, health (mentally and physically), skill-building, confidence. Just commit to a certain amount each day, and it will add up to success!
Check out The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson if this sounds like what you need to hear.
Talk to yourself (everyone does it): When I used to sing in my family’s Funk band (that’s a story for another day), right before my song would start, I’d tell myself: “You have one chance to do this. You can either have fun and make it a great time, or not. But what outcome do you want? You have one shot to do this, do it right.”
In a potentially nerve-wracking situation, I found peace through this internal pep-talk.
I think everyone needs one at some point in their life, and it can really apply to any situation. It’s ok to sort things through in your head, to take the time to think carefully, and to give yourself a nudge when you know you can do it.
It can be whatever you need it to be: “It’s okay,” “You are wonderful,” or “get your ass out of bed, girl!” So yeah, really whatever works for you.
Practice Mindfulness: I’ve just started doing this, but it’s worked really well for me. Mindfulness can be a meditation, or just something you practice throughout your day. It’s all about dedicating yourself to being in the moment. Thoughts about things outside of the moment may arise, and that’s ok.
Acknowledge, without judgement, that you are thinking about other things, and then make the decision to focus on what you are doing right now. Breathing, listening and being in the moment.
Get out: Being outside your comfort zone breeds creativity, thoughtfulness, and appreciation for just about everything. I took this advice to heart and moved almost 7 thousand miles away from home in search of an entirely different life experience and perspective. I won’t ever be able to put into words how beneficial this has been for me, but I must stress how important it is to get out and experience new things, different viewpoints (figuratively and literally), and different cultures. Obviously, I gotta say that travel is one of the most fantastic ways to do this, but you don’t have to move 7 thousand miles away like me.
Feeling bored, stuck or frustrated? Go somewhere you haven’t been before, do something new. Go hiking, volunteer in your community, take a road trip, hop on a plane, or try a new activity.
This will help you to gain peace and appreciation of your life and the possibilities in it, and to discover new things about yourself. BUT, it’s not just about you! Doing these things will help you feel appreciation for your community, and for the world as a whole. I hope that doesn’t sound overwhelming, because we all live on this planet and each of us has a responsibility to nurture and elevate it!
It’s a really wonderful experience when you start to gain a worldly view of things. So when something small happens in your day that bums you out, realize there is so much more to life than just this instance of irritation. It’s in your best interest, and the world’s, for you to get out and see what you can do.
❤ Yours truly
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