Since today is Ash Wednesday and the start of the Lenten season, the Catholic student inside me told me to incorporate it into today’s blog post.
Lent is about giving something up for 40 days in order to more adequately understand what we really need in life, and to understand the act of sacrifice.
I’d like to combine this with the divine art of living in the moment.
The greatest challenge that comes with living in the moment, and being present in our daily lives, is the part about STAYING THERE. We all love the moments when we are truly happy; the trick is creating these more often. In order to make this shift permanent, it requires practice.
So for the next 40 days, whether Catholic or not, I’d like you to challenge yourself to live in the moment and enjoy life more often. PRACTICE IT and set up a solid REMINDER SYSTEM!
It takes our bodies AT LEAST 21 days to adjust to a new equilibrium and to effectively change our habits. (This is why fad diets that make you lose 10 lbs. in 10 days don’t work. These diets don’t allow for your body to adjust; the change is too sudden to last).
We don’t want this to happen to our new sense of happiness and self-worth.
Since our new shift in perspective is HUGE, we want to give ourselves enough time to adjust properly, so the 40 days of Lent should do the trick (and for those of you who are Catholic, you know Lent actually lasts 46 calendar days, so HA!) 46 days of NEW PERSPECTIVE! (And then your whole life after that! This is not something we should stop doing once we reach Easter Sunday)
So what we need to do is find good reminders, ways to keep us living in the moment throughout the day.
There are numerous studies that have shown that in order to be happier, you put yourself into happier environment.
It’s as simple as that… we need a happier environment.
The Happy Environment Challenge
Since media can have a PROFOUND effect on our mood throughout the day, my challenge to you is to change the media environment around you. Change what you’ve got coming into your body through your eyes and ears.
Have you ever noticed that after watching a news story about drugs, war or violence, you feel CRAPPY! I know I have… I’ll see a story online about a child who was abducted and tortured, or some other horrible event and it will stick with me for a few hours. It bogs me down for a while.
So my challenge to you is to find 15 media channels that fill you up, that make you feel INCREDIBLE!!! (books, websites, blogs, speeches, songs, podcasts, webcasts, videos, friends, family members, ANYTHING)
This can be in any genre. If you love art, and art fills you up emotionally, find websites that honor art or listen to a podcast about art. Whatever it is that you love, find those channels and write them down. (NO CHEATING, I WANT 15!) And once you’ve got those, pick 3 times per day- once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and once in the evening to spend 5 minutes with a channel. Pick exact times (8:30am, 2:30pm, and 6:30pm). At each of these exact times (set alarms if you start to forget) go to one of those websites, open one of those books, listen to one of those songs, call one of those friends, and let it FILL YOU UP! Spend at least 5 minutes with these outlets. Sacrifice 15 minutes of work per day this Lenten season to remind yourself of why life is so wonderful.
Here are a few to get you started:
1. Ted.com- Ideas Worth Spreading
- Videos of amazingly inspirational speakers and performances
2. Ali Brown- Alibrown.com
- Speaker, leader and mentor for women entrepreneurs
3. Marie Forleo- marieforleo.com
- Another speaker, leader, and mentor for women entrepreneurs
4. Sean Stephenson- timetostand.com
- Inspirational leader and expert in helping people overcome personal obstacles
5. Secret Millionaire- television show on ABC (Sunday evenings)
- Each week watch a millionaire experience a life of poverty for 5 days, after which they will reveal themselves and donate a share of their fortune to the underprivileged.
(Those are just things I like to watch and people I enjoy listening to, DON’T USE THESE IF YOU FIND YOU DON’T LIKE THEM!!!! This is about finding things that are inspiring for YOU)
I have only one caveat: don’t let this activity become a time-waster. Put these 15 channels into an RSS feed, or set alarms to stop yourself from creating hours of surfing the Internet or watching TV rather than being productive. The goal is to reduce stress and find inspiration throughout the day, not to create more overwhelm by procrastinating.
So have fun! When we constantly remind ourselves throughout the day of how wonderful life is, we condition ourselves to think that way ALWAYS! It will become an amazing habit that will transform your life.