Whether you’re trying to change a bad habit, attract a new relationship, strengthen the one you have, persuade your boss of your ideas or just deal with the question of why you live in such a god-forsaken cold tundra (!), well-being seems to come as much from how you approach your experiences as it does from what is actually going on around you and the actions you take. How you choose to see and work with these experiences is paramount. I am referring to your attitudes.
Attitudes to Cultivate
When you cultivate a good attitude around a subject you have a better experience. But sometimes that is challenging. Here are a few attitudes that I have found the more I cultivate them, the better I respond.
How engaged or committed are you to your experience? If you have one foot in and one foot out, the only experience you’ll have will be one of feeling “split” and there will be no momentum. Remember that it takes practice to learn a new skill and the rewards do not necessarily come straight away.
A mindful approach is to slow down and look at your thoughts about the subject matter. You might find anger, disappointment, pain or doubt. Maybe you want to give up? Whatever comes up is workable, but unless you make a steady commitment, you risk losing heart before the change has a chance to occur.
An attitude of full engagement in life takes patient effort.
Life can be bumpy. It takes endurance and courage to stay with what’s going on, especially when you don’t like it. I remember reading an insight from a Mindfulness teacher that people who move toward challenges with interest, instead of pushing away from the difficulty, seem to experience better results. I live in Montreal, Quebec and right now this reminds me of how to drive on ice. It may seem counter-intuitive, but it’s best to steer into a skid than go in the other direction. When you can embrace the anger, pain, doubt or disappointment, you can develop a resilience that helps you live fully.
If you don’t practice endurance, you tend to live in avoidance which means fleeing from fears. Should you continue to avoid, you are actually restricting your range of responses. Life might feel safer, but if you think about it, you won’t be training yourself to meet the next challenge or new possibilities.
When I want to enhance my endurance or courage, I stand upright and walk consciously, feet planted firmly on the ground, shoulders back, chest open, walking with purpose. Try it out and notice what happens to your thoughts.
I’m not talking about forcing yourself to be happy about something here. I’m talking about facing things more wholeheartedly and with appreciation. Enthusiasm comes with a level of acceptance first and the capacity to not lose sight of all the good in life as well. Of course that is difficult when you are angry, fearful and events are challenging but can you feel how the possibility of movement is available to be in the direction of reducing your stress? Otherwise you compound a difficult situation with an attitude of misery.
Within enthusiasm is a belief that life is working for you. When you stand in that belief, you are open to your challenges in a different way; a way where your strengths are more available and solutions can reach you sooner.
Cultivate the 3 attitudes of engagement, endurance and enthusiasm in your life and experience a breakthrough in your overall well-being.
Let me know if this helps you on your journey.