by Jenn Bodnar | March 3, 2021 4:32 am
After experiencing a recent bout of anxiety, and perhaps even a minor panic attack; overcome with worry about one of my loved ones, I started to ponder the theory of what it truly takes to move toward a positive mindset and make change. You can’t wish for it or merely think about it, at some point it takes work: deliberate and conscious action.
We have all been drawn in by influential people and messages, at one time or another, with tips for improving our lives, getting what we want and overcoming our obstacles and fears.
“Journal, create a mantra or affirmation, make a vision board, read self-help books, meditate, pray, manifest…the list goes on.”
I will start by saying these are all great practices and they can be very powerful steps towards self discovery. There is certainly a time in our circadian rhythm to quiet down, be still, practice patience, sit back and reap what we have sown. Visualization and mindfulness can set the framework for establishing and organizing what needs to be done. But in order for real change to occur, we must take intentional action!
While it seemed the shift happened in a single moment during my recent pitfall down the rabbit hole of fear and doubt, I realized there was a lot more to it. The thoughts and feelings that were coming up created an intense physical reaction. It triggered an emotion from the past that quickly rose to the surface. Though I did come to my breath and slow down my thoughts, it wasn’t a light bulb moment that happened overnight. It was the collaboration of a lot of work that I have done for a very long time, including some journaling, vision boards, self-help books, prayer, meditation, manifestation and so on. But more importantly, the breakthrough included some major steps I have taken towards getting uncomfortable, making sacrifices, being vulnerable, creating necessary boundaries and doing more than I thought I was capable of. It took help from others, feedback, criticism, blood, sweat and tears.
” Nothing Changes If Nothing Changes.”
The reason visualization and silence won’t fully get the job done is because there is no accountability. We are left to our own level of discipline. In order to experience true transformation there has to be consistency and a big desire to dig deep beyond the surface layers, and that is our need to connect with others. It’s important to do the inner, more quiet work mentioned above to learn what we want and make sure it’s not coming from expectations and comparison. But at some point we have to do the uncomfortable physical work too.
4 Actionable Items To Create Big Change
Maybe it’s a trusted friend, family member or mentor, but it could be a support group, counselor or doctor. Joining a coaching group, attending a workshop or signing up for a course that asks you to be an active and vocal participant is a great way to uncover triggers that can catapult us toward making great changes in our lives.
Sticking to routines is somewhat of an Olympic sport in our 24/7/365 lifestyle. But if you really want to change a behavior, you have to create a new pattern. You have heard the saying that on average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact. From sleeping, fueling, exercise, social time, downtime and self-care – make a plan. Start small and make it achievable. The S.M.A.R.T. goal process can be helpful for bigger tasks.
This could be more challenging for some than adding new positive behaviors to our rituals. Toxins include not only what we consume physically, such as food/drink, beauty and grooming products and medicine but also relationships, environment and information. Like anything, it is a process that can bring on a whole gamut of emotions. Enlist professional help for serious issues like addiction or abusive relationships. But again, start with what is realistic, observe and be compassionate with yourself. You cannot put a price tag on inner peace. Social media, the news, and negative people can rob you of your prana/energy. Listen to this short message on increasing your vitality and how to tame energy vampires.
Movement is medicine. Again, this can be a trigger for some and come more naturally for some than others. This is another great place to enlist a professional; hire a trainer, take classes, join a gym or find an accountability partner. Even the most disciplined fitness enthusiasts fall off the wagon to some degree occasionally. Make it part of your ritual! Bringing some healthy stress to your body: cardiovascular, muscular and agility/flexibility helps you maintain what you have and is a great stress relief which boosts your mood.
“Vision without action is a daydream, Action without vision is a nightmare.” – Japanese proverb.
In yoga, we teach that breath physically shifts stagnancy in the body. Yoga is a connection; an action of equal opposites that allow transformation to occur. The key is finding balance between ease and effort. In light of recent shifts regarding social injustice, we have learned that it’s not enough to wish it away and not endorse it, but to use our voices, power and take responsible action to make change. It is important to connect with others, join like-minded people and groups and raise our vibration.
Our limits will be tested and thoughts will try to get the best of us.
Do the work, feel the feels, process where it’s truly stemming from and move through it.
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