Blogging about life enhancement and how to smile more is a funny thing. Sometimes the universe uses my good intentions to test my theories. About the same time I decided to make life satisfaction and contentment the focus of this month’s blog I caught the cold circulating through the office. When we do not feel good it is easy to lose our focus on the blessings around us because we are not functioning anywhere near our optimal level.
So yesterday, as I was home with my runny nose and increasingly chapped lips I could have let my cold get me down. Instead I allowed my cold to let me refocus on me and get things done I needed to get done, like study and take a test for my Six Sigma class, like catch up a the laundry and a favorite tv show while I clipped last Sunday’s coupons. Granted I was functioning at a slower pace, but I enjoyed the day. It was a great day to slow down and take care of me. I could have been upset about not spending time in the yard (it was a beautiful winter day here and my alternate work schedule day off this week) or not seeing my sweetie last night (he doesn’t like to hang out when I’m sick, can you blame him?). In spite of my cold and not feeling as well as usual I savored the small pleasures of the day, I found the positives in the moments, and I passed on worry and reminiscing, I was present.
Today is a holiday…National Create a Vacuum Day. This holiday and yesterday has me thinking about how we can create a vacuum in our own lives. How can we create a powerful force that pulls us towards what we want in life? When we have a vacuum in place we do not need to force what we want because we already have something drawing us in.
This month as we explore contentment I have three tips for creating a vacuum that will create a force that draws us to satisfaction:
Savor the small pleasures of every day. As we all know even with the best made plans, life does not flow exactly as we prefer. In spite of that every day is filled with blessings. Our assignment as smile creators is to savor the small pleasures of each day. To embrace the good we are given and give in to the enjoyment of it.
If savoring the small pleasures of everyday is a challenge for you, start with a simple gratitude practice. Each day find three things to be thankful for, as you do this your ability to see the small pleasures of each moment will increase. As your awareness of the small pleasures increase allow yourself to give into their enjoyment. When you commit to embracing the blessings of your life you savor your life.
Find the positives of the present moment. The task is not to PollyAnna your way through life, but to see the positive. Finding the positive is to not dwell on the negative and make the situation worse, but to embrace the good and make the most of it. We all have been around those who call out the flaw in every situation then make the entire situation miserable. You know the pre-dinner drink in the bar takes too long to arrive so the entire night out is ruined. That would be my definition of a first and last date.
If finding the positives of the present moment is a challenge for you, start by turning each negative statement around as it is flowing from your lips. “What is taking that waiter so long with my drink…well at least it gives me more time to spend with you.” Sure it will sound cheesy at first, but as you start changing the way you speak you will change the way you think. As you change the way you think you will change your focus. You will increase your ability to focus on the positive and less on the negative, even when the negative is annoying.
No reminiscing or worry – stay present. When we stay present in the current happenings of our lives we have the opportunity to fully savor the moment. When we are reminiscing about the past or worrying about the future we are not open to receive the gift of the present. One of my most read blog posts is about this very topic and how my daughter called me out on not being present, give it a read, have you been in a similar situation?
If staying present in the moment is a challenge for you, one common way to break the chains from the past and the future is to capture the thoughts in your head in written form. If you are worried about something you need to do in the future and do not want to forget, jot it down on a capture list. This says to your mind that you have it and will take care of it later; you do not need to be reminded of it anymore. If reminiscing about the past is preventing you from being present it might be because you were not fully present then and are regretting that. Break the cycle and be present today.
When we savor the small pleasures of every day, find the positives in the present moment, and stop reminiscing and worrying we create a vacuum that pulls us to the life we most desire. We create a natural tendency to love our lives.
Today’s Simple Smile Igniter is to create a vacuum. If one of the above areas holds an opportunity for improvement for you focus on it this week or this month. You will be amazed at how just a little bit of consistent focused energy will transform your life. I will be sharing about creating habits over the next few days and will create the opportunity for us all to focus our energy on a new habit that supports us as we embrace this life we love.