Life Coach Magazine

Inspired Life: The Tipping Point

By Linsibrownson @CleverSpark

Do you secretly snarl when you see people jogging by your window early on Sunday morning as you sit eating a chocolate croissant and coffee for breakfast (it is a weekend, after all…)?

“Oh yeah, you’re so perfect because you run on weekends…whatever lady. Come back to the real world.”

jogging past the coffee shop in winter

Or when you’re picking up groceries next to the yoga studio, watching people file into class. Must be nice to have time to do yoga in the middle of the afternoon

I have lots of examples but the point I’m making is that we are generally on one side or the other – the yogi or the snarling person – and if you’re a snarler I’m willing to bet that you don’t take enough time to do things for yourself.

First let me just say that I’m a snarler (obviously, or I wouldn’t have thought of the topic) and no I do not take enough time for myself.  I have a friend who heads to the gym when she’s had a rough day, and another friend who swears pedicures are the best medicine.  But me, I’m partial to wrapping myself in a blanket and watching stupid tv shows until my butt hurts.

That’s not to say that I don’t go to the gym and I give myself pedicures from time to time.  It’s just that when things aren’t going so well I turn to less healthy, coddling behavior rather than doing something beneficial for myself.  So my question is, what is the Tipping Point in our decision making?  When do we decide which path to take, and how can we redirect ourselves to choose a happy trail over the rocky road?

I think it goes deeper than simply choosing ice cream instead of a treadmill – I think it’s about self worth.  Since this is my blog and not a self-help book I think I’ll skip the rest of that tangent and focus on a couple things that could maybe save us from our ‘darker side’ next time.

1. Awareness.  Always the first step right?  Take a few moments to examine your mood and why you’re compelled to do what you usually do about it.  Call that emotion out, not literally yell it (unless you want to) but recognize it for what it is.  If your frustration or loneliness triggers ice cream cravings we may be onto something here.

2. Give yourself a moment.  You need to interrupt that feeling and not try and solve problems right this second.  Stand up, sit down or step outside for a sec and take a few breaths.

3. Now give yourself an option.  Ask the question “what do I want to do?”  The first answer may be your standby, but challenge it.  “No, what do I really want to do?  What would make me feel better right now?”  I’m going to guess that the true answer is something along the lines of getting support, getting distracted or getting out some anxious energy.  That’s a lot more specific.

4. Pick your path.  If what you want is to vent  or to seek advice, think of who you can call or meet for tea.  Pick your support wisely – calling someone who likes to give advice is only good when you want advice.  Otherwise choose a friend who listens well.  You can distract yourself by reading  book you’ve been putting off, or pick a movie that inspires you (Julie & Julia if you’re ever feeling like you just can’t make it in this world).  Obviously, if you’ve got built up tension your best bet is to work it out.  You don’t have to be the Sunday morning runner but you could head out for a walk to clear your head.  I always wish I had a punching bag in the house for those moments – I know that would work!

5. Reflect.  Once you’ve ‘tipped’ the right way, think about how you feel.  Most likely you will feel better just from doing whatever you did.  But the real benefit is that you’ve done something huge for yourself.  You’ve veered toward becoming the yogi and not the snarling person.  And when you realize how great this feels you’ll be a lot more compelled to do it next time.

And as the yogis’ say, yoga and life are about the practice not the mastery.  So practice this often – in daily life reflect on where you are and what you want and make your next move from there.  You may one day see someone jogging and jump alongside to make a friend.

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