Expert Column: The five As for positive change
Elizabeth Gilbert recently said that she hadn't seen any life transformation that didn't begin with the person finally getting sick of their own bullshit. It definitely hit a nerve. Hundreds of clients aside, it has certainly been
Elizabeth Gilbert recently said that she hadn’t seen any life transformation that didn’t begin with the person finally getting sick of their own bullshit.
It definitely hit a nerve. Hundreds of clients aside, it has certainly been the case for my own journey to better health. As a therapist and teacher, I know that real shifts only happen when a deep longing for change outweighs the safety and false comfort of the status quo. With this in mind I am offering five steps to activate a shift in any area of your wellbeing.
Although this sounds reasonable simple, it is often the hardest thing to do. As well as telling yourself honestly where you are at, it is also very important to share your desire for change with a close friend or partner. By voicing the pattern or feeling you want to let go of the ball of transformation starts rolling!
When we are looking for an improvement in our wellbeing – whether physical, mental or emotional – a regular awareness practice is extremely helpful. What that means is throughout your day you will need to take moments to pause and check in.
- Body scan: This can be practiced in any posture throughout the day. The key is to note areas of tension with focus and breath, then bring softness to those parts of your body.
- Mind watching: Begin to cultivate a process of watching your thoughts and the given moments in your daily routine. Note the chatter that goes on in your head and try to focus on the space between the thoughts. Don’t push anything away, just change the attention you give to the monkey mind.
- Emotional intelligence: Very often we need to be kinder to ourselves in order to believe things can be different. Practice reflecting on your positive qualities. Be as generous to yourself as you would your best friend.
The step from knowing where you are at to creating a new healthy experience requires energy. Many of us struggle at this stage of the process because we either overestimate or underestimate the effort required. Like the tortoise and the hare, both have their place but the key is making our initial steps achievable. When we do this we lessen the possibility to burn out before we get going or lack the ignition to get going.
- 4. ACCOUNTABILITY
By asking for support you already have an invaluable resource for staying on track. However, it can be very useful to give yourself realistic deadlines to reach, even writing them in the diary helps your commitment. The positive feedback you will experience when you make those milestones will multiply your dedication to the shifting process.
The Dalai Lama says that in his culture it is simply a given that each living thing is worthy of love and acceptance. That includes us! So often we sabotage our wellbeing by letting our inner critic run wild when we don’t meet our goals. In my experience it is by cultivating greater self-acceptance when we fall short that enables the healing process to stay on track.
In fact, to improve your wellbeing you are inevitably looking for a shift back to being more yourself. This won’t happen if you are fighting yourself! I truly hope these 5 As can help kickstart any shift you are wanting to make.
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