by Kim Childs, CPPC
A few days ago I woke up on a cloudy morning with worries on my mind. Some journaling helped me to see that there was sadness beneath the anxiety. As I finished writing, the sun poked through and I decided to go for a walk in my favorite park. There were just a few of us out there, which inspired me to greet every person I passed. My mood improved a bit with each friendly exchange and, on the way home, I had another inspiration…
This playful act lightened my heart and made me smile, thinking of those who’d come upon my angel later on, perhaps at the very moment they needed a boost…or a blessing.
From then on, it was an awesome day.
Whether or not we have someone special beside us this Valentine’s Day, we can each take responsibility for romancing our lives – and ourselves – whenever we like. After all, how do we really want to treat the person we spend the most time with? Here are some ways to be your own valentine:
Create rituals – Each day, the demands of modern life and electronic communications are relentless. If we don’t deliberately take time for what we truly value, we’re always at the mercy of other people’s agendas. Daily rituals can include journaling, prayer, exercise, meditation, writing a gratitude list, setting positive intentions for the day, writing about what we’re looking forward to or what went well each day, or simply sipping coffee or tea in sweet silence. Rituals are about intentionally and consistently unplugging from the busyness of life to honor what is personally meaningful. Candles, incense and music can enhance your rituals, if that feels inviting.
Go play – Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, advises those who want to recover their creativity to take an Artist Date each week. Its sole purpose is to “refill the well” of inspiration and sensory pleasures. These self-directed play dates can include museum trips, concerts, dance and art classes, neighborhood strolls, walks in nature, visits to unusual shops, finger painting in the kitchen and dancing in the living room. Invite your inner kid to set the agenda, and show up with enthusiasm.
Fluff your nest – Do you live in a space that feels good and reflects what you love and value? Do you surround yourself with colors, fabrics, pictures or objects that delight and comfort? If not, begin to “fluff your nest.” It may begin with clearing clutter, which fosters calm and a sense of spaciousness, while making room for new things and energies. Start small, keep it manageable and appreciate yourself each time you let go of what no longer serves you.
Savor the good – The field of Positive Psychology recommends this practice as a way to improve mood and prime the brain for more positivity. It simply involves focusing on what’s good in our lives and saturating the mind with appreciation for 20 to 30 seconds at a time. Throughout the day, pause to savor what’s good, including creature comforts, special people, simple joys and natural beauty. Pay attention to what life is constantly offering, even – and especially – during stressful times.
Pause to pat yourself on the back – It’s easy to go through life moving from one activity or achievement to the next and striving for new opportunities without pausing to acknowledge what we’ve done. While self-improvement is a worthy pursuit, it’s important to periodically note all that you’ve already done and accomplished in life. Try saying, “I am enough, I have enough, I do enough,” and remember to honor your strengths and talents, especially the ones that you take for granted.
Give thanks, often – Cultivating gratitude, another fundamental Positive Psychology practice, nurtures a lasting romance with life. Whether it’s noting and savoring things you are thankful for, or giving thanks for misfortune that did not happen and problems that have disappeared, there is always something for which to be grateful. An “attitude of gratitude” can create immediate feelings of abundance, and sweetness that lasts longer than a box of fancy chocolates.
Kim Childs is a Certified Positive Psychology Life, Career and Wellness Coach. Click here to learn more and schedule a free initial consultation in person or via phone or Skype.