Life is filled with meaningful occurrences, every day, every minute and even every second. Unfortunately, we often miss the signs of meaningful activities around us because we are caught up in stress and anxiety. We may find ourselves complaining about a job, getting annoyed by family members, or just sitting there with a feeling of dissatisfaction.
We may attempt to find a common negative patterns to overcome, but often we give up and fall back into the same daily patterns that keep us stuck in a life without meaning. They key to getting out of this funk is to notice patterns that are keeping us stuck. This isn’t easy.
These patterns are not handed to us on a silver platter. Most of the time they are not accessible to our conscious minds, because they may cause pain and suffering. If only we had a manual titled the “Quickstart to a successful life”! While life can’t hand us shortcuts, I have figured out a way to share 5 different approaches you can apply to your life immediately to start feeling more joy and discovering meaning in your life.
1. Awareness is key, here’s how to become aware: The simple act of being aware puts you leap years ahead in finding meaning. Even if you’re still partaking in negative patterns, the state of awareness helps you notice the beauty of what you’re doing. Next time you find yourself dwelling in negative thoughts, take a second and acknowledge those thoughts. The acknowledgement is your awareness. Once you’re aware, find one positive thing related to your thoughts. Here are some examples:
Negative Thought 1– “I feel stuck in my job”
Find 1 positive thing about your situation– I have a full time job that pays me well and allows me to feed my family.
Negative Thought 2– “My mother in law gets on my last nerve”
Find 1 positive thing about your situation– Having a mother in law means I’m married to a great partner, she’s the reason my partner is in this world.
Negative Thought 3– “I don’t have any free time to enjoy my hobbies”
Find 1 positive thing about your situation– I will make my hobbies a priority and start by scheduling 1 hour a week on my calendar to enjoy them.
Now it’s your turn. Take a moment to be aware of your self-sabotaging negative thoughts. Then take action to find one positive thing about it! You will soon find that there are no coincidences and realize that purpose and meaning lie behind all of your negative thoughts. You just need to be aware that they’re there.
2. Resistance will keep you stuck, here’s how to stop resisting: Whenever we feel negatively toward a situation, it’s due to resistance. We are wishing that the situation wasn’t happening, when in reality, it is happening. We must take action to stop resisting. Instead of wishing that the situation were different, think of one action you can take to move forward and get past the negative situation. Once you take the first action step, the resistance will subside because you’re making forward motion.
Here is an example:
Resistance– “I don’t want to go to work today because I hate my job”.
Next Step– Schedule 30 minutes a day before or after work to look for a new job. This can be writing your resume, researching companies to apply for and actually submitting resumes.
Taking action keeps you from denying and resisting the situation while, also moving forward.
3. Follow your heart and make it thrive– The heart is the organ where our emotions originate. The heart also keeps us alive and thriving in life. Follow your heart means “follow your emotions”. Since many of us haven’t really learned to live with our emotions, this statement isn’t very helpful. Most of the time we enjoy our positive emotions and try to avoid negative emotions. Instead of avoiding our negative emotions we can understand them and see them as alerts that are pointing us in the right direction with our heart. These alerts are what make you thrive!
4. Turn the coin– In my blog post “Ask yourself, ‘What can I learn from this?’” I explained how to turn the coin to look at the other side of things. Always remember that there is another side to the story. Knowing this will help you to find meaning in your current situation, especially if it’s negative.
5. Get a coach– We can’t always do it on our own. Even if we can, having the unbiased and positive support of a coach can make all the difference in turning your life around. All of the action items I’ve shared require you to be really open and self aware. You need to spend a lot of time with yourself and your thoughts. Most people in today’s day and age struggle and feel overwhelmed about the changes that are on the horizon so taking action and even knowing what to do can be challenging. There is no blame or shame in this, it is probably your soul letting you know not to conquer this step on your own. If you’re in this situation, I invite you to make yourself aware and look for a coach. I personally offer a variety of coaching programs but there are also other coaches out there that you may resonate with. I recommend you interview several coaches as an important action item to find the right one for you.