Do you ever find yourself mindlessly scrolling through social media? Hours pass by and you don't know where all that time went?
This was a habit I wanted to break a few weeks ago. Don’t get me wrong, I love social media! When used intentionally, social media can lead to genuine connection. In fact, I’ve met some of my best friends and business partners through social media! At the same time, it’s easy to fall into the rhythm of mindless scrolling. Not really cultivating genuine connection, but scrolling to pass the time. Well, with Covid quarantine, I realized that I was going through a phase of aimless scrolling. I knew that I wanted to spend less time scrolling and more time doing something else that nourished my soul. But, it had become such a habit to touch those little icons on my phone and check in! That's when I realized that in order to change my habit, I had to change my focus...
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You see, I kept saying to myself, "I need to spend less time scrolling." This wasn’t very motivating. If anything, it made me feel more guilty about my scrolling habit than anything else! I realized that I needed to focus on what I want, instead of what I don't want. Instead of repeating the mantra, "I need to spend less time scrolling," I sat down and made a list of all the things I wanted to do instead:
Let me give you another example:
I love coffee! At the same time, I know I get anxious if I drink too much coffee and it affects my sleep. So, a few months ago, I decided I wanted to cut back on my brew. Instead of saying, "I need to cut back on coffee," I started writing in my weekly planner "Drink more herbal teas." I decided to focus on what I wanted (the warmth and comfort of herbal tea), not on what I want less of (the jitters of drinking too much coffee!).
So, here's the life hack: Focus on what you want, not on what you don't want.
Start with the habit you're trying to break. Why are you trying to break that habit? What's the "pain" it's causing you? Is it draining you? Does it make you upset, irritable, anxious, or frustrated? Get clear on why you want to make the change in the first place.
Then, think about the opposite. How do you want to feel instead, and what can get you there? For me, aimlessly scrolling on my phone left me feeling drained. I wanted to feel nourished and energized. I know that reading, playing music, and dancing all make me feel energized and happy. So, I decided to focus on those activities instead. I wrote those down so I can see it everyday. I know that too much coffee makes me anxious. I also know that herbal teas help me feel balanced. So, I wrote down "drink herbal tea" on my weekly planner, focusing on what I want, not on what I don't want.
So, make a list now of 1-3 things that you can do instead. What are those 1-3 things you want to do more of in your life? That make you feel good, happy, strong, and energetic. Write those on a sheet of paper or index card and put it somewhere that you'll see it daily. And then, practice self-compassion. As you begin to integrate some of these new activities into your life, you may have some setbacks and that's ok. The fact is if you're doing more of these new activities, even for a few minutes a day, that's progress and you'll notice a change in how you feel. Celebrate it! And, come back here to leave a comment with your wins, so I can help you celebrate too!!
A few weeks ago, I hosted the Healthy And Happy Lifestyle Summit. It was my first virtual summit, and I had a blast organizing it! The summit brought together 17 physician experts who shared their top wellness tips. There was a community of over 800 of us together learning, healing, and connecting. It was a beautiful experience, and you can still catch all the sessions for free! They're all on my Youtube channel here. Tune in for cooking demo's, sleep hacks, mindfulness tools, and more!
Someone asked me this question recently:
Can you make a video or meditation about fears and anxieties surrounding missing out on things and life experiences? I feel like there's so much I want to do in my life and whether I'll be able to accomplish my goals, not knowing how long this will last?
What a great question! We're in a time of such uncertainty. What about all those goals, dreams, and desires you had for the year? What do you do with those now? How can you shift from FOMO (fear of missing out) into a sense of fulfillment?
I made an audio recording to answer this question. In it, I give you 3 steps to go from FOMO to fulfillment. You can listen to it here. Or, if you prefer to read my response, keep reading below.
I'm going to answer this question in 3 parts:
1. Getting comfortable with the uncertainty
2. Understanding your why
3. Building affirmation
First, I want to address the uncertainty about how long this will last. This is, by far, one of the hardest parts of this whole situation. We have no idea how long it's going to last. That uncertainty can be hard to wrap your mind around. The world looks a lot different now than we knew it even a few months ago. And, the fact is we don't know how long this is going to last. We don't have a clear end point.
What we do know is that when things assume some version of normalcy, the world will be a different place. Whenever faced with a crisis, either individually or globally as we are now, it leaves lasting change. Things can't go back to exactly how they were before this crisis hit. All situations in life come to show us something. To encourage us to dive deeper and learn more about ourselves and the world we live in. And so, the first step in addressing your question is acknowledging the uncertainty. And, finding acceptance with the world looking different from now on. So, this is the first step.
Then, coming from this foundation of knowing that the world is changing. We don't know which parts of our lives are going to remain the same, and which will parts will change forever. So, from that starting point, I want you to examine your goals. So, go ahead and jot some of those goals on a sheet of paper.
Now, look at your list of goals. And, I want you to think about your why behind those goals. Why do you want to achieve those specific outcomes? What do you hope to achieve in doing so? How will it make you feel? How will it impact your life and the lives of others? Go ahead and take a few moments to jot your thoughts down.
Understanding your why, as you did in this exercise, will help you achieve your goals. Tony Robbins talks a lot about your why in his RPM method. RPM stands for Rapid Planning Method. Simon Sinek also gave a great Ted Talk about understanding your why, and also wrote a book on the same topic. The idea behind getting clear on your why is that it allows space for your how to unfold. What I mean is you might have a clear idea on action steps you think you need to take to achieve your goals. But, in this changing world, those action steps that you thought of a few months ago may not be relevant anymore. And so, if you're looking just at the action steps or the goal without understanding your why, then that can feel very discouraging.
But, if you know your why, then your mind will search for different ways to fulfill it. Your mind will start to search for creative solutions and opportunities. This happens automatically. When you get clear on your why, you send a message to a part of your brain called the reticular activating system. This is the part of your brain that filters out sensory messages. It only lets the important messages get through to your conscious mind. So, in this way, your mind starts to look out for any resources or information to help you achieve your why.
So, what I'm saying is your action steps and outcome might end up looking different than what you expected a few months ago. Allow yourself to be open to that. And, know that you can find fulfillment by making progress on your why.
Yoga talks about it this way. Yoga says perform your karmas, spiritually-aligned actions, and let go of the results. In other words, perform actions that are aligned with your highest purpose. Let go of your attachment to a specific outcome.
So far I've talked about getting comfortable with uncertainty and understanding your why. Next, I want you to build positive affirmations.
In other words, change your vocabulary from "I don't know if this will ever happen" to "I am resilient and creative solutions are all around me." In other words, change your vocabulary from uncertainty and worry to affirmation and resilience.
The words you use are powerful. There's an entire field in modern psychology dedicated to this. It's called Neuro-linguistic programming, or NLP. From the Ayurvedic perspective, the words you use carry specific energetic vibrations. Energy attracts energy, and your thoughts create your perception of reality. And, like I mentioned earlier, from the Western science perspective, affirmative statements tell your reticular activating system what to look for. It also builds positive emotion that activates your dopamine reward pathway. This makes you feel good, and so you end up wanting to seek out even more creative solutions.
So, you can see that positive affirmations are more than just a woo-woo, new age practice. There's actual science, both from the Western and Eastern perspectives, that back it up.
So, to recap and to answer your question, follow these 3 steps:
1. Acknowledge and accept the uncertainty
2. Get clear on your why
3. Build positive affirmations
So, I hope that answered the question and that you found it helpful. Leave a comment below to let me know.
If you have any other questions or other topics you want me to address, let me know that too!
Stay well. Stay safe.
"Where shall I focus my thoughts right now?"
I set this as a reminder to go off every 3 hours on my phone yesterday. It was such a great reminder! No matter what I was doing at the time, I paused and asked myself this question. It helped me focus more constructively and intentionally. For a bunch of the reminders, I was at work. So, I was pretty focused on my work anyways. But, the reminder brought greater intentionality to my focus. It's a little hard to describe, but it was a subtle internal shift. Each time, it brought me back to the bigger picture of what I was doing in the moment. Each time, I broadened my perspective to consider, "Does this fit in with my priorities and goals?"
I got the idea from an interview I heard of Brendon Burchard on Marie Forleo's podcast. Buchard and Forleo are both amazing entrepreneurs, speakers, coaches, and authors. In the interview, Burchard stated an interesting stat. That the average person watches 4 hours of tv/day. Adding that up, it comes out to 13 years over a person's lifetime spent watching tv! Wow!
Now, you may not be a tv watcher, but it could be youtube or the social media flavor of the day. The point is that we all spend quite a bit of time in "distraction." Now, I'm not talking about rest, spending quality time with loved ones or on self-care. Those are vital activities that allow you to be the best that you can be.
But, I'm talking about true distraction. For me, I'll click on my Insta app, Facebook app, and then the Gmail app on my phone. One right after the other. Even if I just checked it less than an hour ago! I don't even think about it! I do it on auto-pilot when I have a free moment. We all have our thing. Whether it's going down the Youtube rabbit hole, or into the voids of the Internet world.
Setting a reminder to ask yourself this question,"Where shall I focus my thoughts right now?" is so helpful in redirecting your focus and energy onto what really matters most to you. Now, it could be that you ask yourself that question, and you're like,"I shall focus on Instagram!" And, that's totally ok! At least you gave it thought and awareness. Shifting away from doing things just out of habit. Instead, moving into intentional action with awareness.
So, give it a try if it speaks to you! And then, let me know what you find! Any new insights gained from this practice? I'd love to hear all about it! Leave a comment below and let me know!