This month we celebrate the 4th of July. This month symbolizes our freedom. We celebrate our freedom that came at a great cost. Many have sacrificed and given their lives so that we may enjoy this precious freedom, but are you really free? Do you experience the freedom our forefathers and foremothers meant for you to live? Or are you living a life of bondage each day struggling with your life mired in depression, anxiety, and stress?
Can you experience true freedom when you feel overbooked, overworked and overwhelmed with your life? Most people these days believe their lives are more stressed than ever before. You can be in bondage to your lifestyle as well as those around you.
The good news is you can learn how to create a life of freedom right now, today. Freedom means learning how to make mindful choices.
Remember this simple acronym ACE and experience the freedom to be your authentic self.
Your power and freedom begins by developing your Awareness (A) of your daily experiences. Become aware of what ignites your passion, energy, and love. What drains you, distracts you, and irritates you? These are clues to becoming more aware of what you love and what stresses you. Write down what you are becoming aware of in your life. When you write things down it gives you a greater focus on your goals.
- Write it down. Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the center with a plus sign on the left and a minus sign on the right.
- Credit. (+Plus) Every day, under the plus sign, write the things that give you energy and bring joy to your life like your job, dog, spouse or your garden. Think back to your day and recall moments that made you happy.
- Debit. (-Minus) On the minus side of the paper ask yourself, “what drains your energy in your life?” Write things that sap your energy and make you irritable. These are your stress triggers. Learn stress reduction practices to become resilient to these stressors.
- For at least a week. Become aware of what you love, what is important to you, and also what is draining your energy and the stressors affecting your life.
Put each of these on credit and debit sides of the line.
- Persons that affect your life such as family members, friends, and coworkers.
- Tasks that affect your life such as meetings, work, carpool, meals, and family time.
- Emotions that affect your life such as guilt, shame, worry, expectations, excuses, fear, anger, self-image, or complaining.
- Money affects your life. Your financial status, wage earners, problems, challenges, and blessings.
- Time is the holy grail in life. Time has a purpose. What are the positive or happiness ways you spend your time? What are the negative or draining ways you spend your time?
Now that you have become more aware of your energy zappers and energy sources it is time to realize the power of Choice (C) in your life. Your current life is a result of the choices you have made and your responses to the challenging events in your life. Victim mentality ends when you understand the power of your choices. You may not control many of the circumstances in your life, but you can choose your attitude, responses, and mindfulness in response to these circumstances.
- Triggers. Choose something from the energy draining side of your list, your stress triggers, to begin to create a more mindful life. Choose something simple with you personally, at home or work. Focus your attention on this trigger.
- Stress management. When you know you will be in this situation, make a conscious effort to practice stress-reducing practices such as taking deep breaths, doing a type of meditation you like or repeating a positive affirmation; “I am calm,” or “I am relaxed.” Choose a practice you enjoy doing and feel it works for you.
- Follow your joy. Take a look at the positive side of your list, too. Choose one or two things that nourish you and bring you joy. Commit to doing those things more often. Is it playing a sport with friends, returning to a hobby or visiting a place you have always enjoyed?
Energy from this experience.
Developing your awareness and living more mindfully creates new Energy (E) power and freedom in your life. When you begin practicing awareness and listening to your life, you become more mindful of what you are eating, who you are living with, and where you go to work each day. You will begin to notice an energy swelling within you as you become more aware.
If you choose to stay in a challenging job or relationship, you can choose to change your attitude. You can make new and different choices because you now know that the situations in life are your choice, and you are the hero of your life, not the victim. You will radiate confidence and a new sense of your own power.
The more you become aware of this life-giving energy, you can begin to plant and nourish mindfulness in your life. Your energy fuels your passion and as a result, you experience the joy of Mindful Living.
Happy July. Let your freedom and happiness ring!!!