It’s time to let how we feel be self-directed instead of dictated by the media, current events, or social media. It’s time to go within.
Nelson Mandela famously said, “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” How do we practice this when it seems that fear surrounds us? When it seems that we are “supposed” to feel fear? It is actually not so complicated. We shift our focus to our hopes, our dreams, and to an entirely possible better future. We imagine the feeling of our dreams realized and we live and choose from that place, from those wildly powerful feelings. That is how we allow our choices to reflect our hopes rather than our fears.
It is not complicated, but it doesn’t mean it’s easy. At least not at first. At first it is sometimes easier to be in a constant stage of outrage, anger, or to feel sad and depressed. It is easier to turn to eating or drinking too much, or reacting too much as a way of coping with the cycle of emotions.
How do we make it easier to live from a place of hope? We practice.
I’ve written before about the power of a daily practice. But when things get harder, I've always found solace in re-evaluating and deepening that practice.
Review all the good, positive things that you do that make you feel good. Now find ways to deepen those practices and habits further, reaching for tools (perhaps new tools) that will support you. Recommit to and prioritize them in your day to day.
Below I touch on 8 areas where we can build and deepen a practice:
Move - Forget about what burns the most calories or working on your arms or glutes or whatever you think your imaginary problem area is. Do any movement that makes you feel good. My new favourite is The Class, by Taryn Toomey. I haven’t looked forward to a workout so much or felt so good afterwards in a very long time.
Meditate - Meditation is life changing when you do it consistently over time. Use your favourite app, or explore the thousands of free meditations on youtube. My go-to meditations are currently these morning and evening ones by Dr. Joe Dispenza that include powerful visualization exercises.
Practice Mindfulness - When things get tough, I’ve found slowing way down can help you to continue taking on all that you need to. Don’t worry about taking on the day or tomorrow. Just take one thing at a time. Your to-do list, each conversation, each thought. Slow down and just allow yourself to be present and flow from one thing to the next.
Set Goals or a Vision for the Future - We are naturally goal seeking beings. We thrive on forward movement. So allow yourself to dream about the future and set goals that you can work towards now. Your goals will provide you with inspiration and motivation which are both high-vibe feelings.
Write - Share your thoughts and feelings through writing. Whether you keep a journal or just spend a little time jotting down your thoughts and then throwing it away, writing allows your feelings to move through you and on to that paper. It allows you to process and release emotions that might otherwise be suppressed.
Read - Read books that inspire and move you. Books that take you out of your current environment and give you a spark of joy, enthusiasm, resonance, excitement. I'm currently reading Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss.
Nourish - Nourish your mind and body. Take the time to listen to your body instead of forcing it to perform in a certain way. When you're feeling in a negative state, choose a nourishing next step. Maybe that's a walk, or taking a break to make a hot drink, or putting on a favourite song or calling a friend.
- Sleep - Above all else prioritize a good night’s sleep. My alarm is set for 5:45am every morning so I can meditate and have a few quiet moments before my daughter Nova wakes up, but if I don’t sleep well, I turn my alarm off. When we sleep well our mood, productivity and energy are all naturally better. Try going to bed at least thirty minutes before you want to fall asleep. Avoid looking at your phone at least an hour before turning off the light.
Let's go deeper. Let's focus on feeling good no matter what. Because that's the most powerful and creative state we can be in. From that state we can create our hopes instead of our fears.