September 25, 2012
The Best of Andy Puddicombe
Top Tips for Lightening Up
Ever feel like its all getting a little heavy? Here are top tips for lightening up...
Get some headspace:
When the mind is very busy and constantly lost in thought, it’s difficult to feel at ease and see things clearly. In these situations life can often feel confusing and stressful. So why not kick off spring by learning a new skill like meditation to give yourself a little more headspace each day?
Reassess your perspective:
It’s surprisingly easy to develop an unhealthy attitude towards life. But it’s important to acknowledge that this is simply a habit, built up over time. You’re not obliged to continue feeling this way, and by simply acknowledging how you view life, the habit will begin to unwind. In fact, it’s often possible to realign your perspective altogether.
Let go of old baggage:
How much of the past are you carrying around on your shoulders? Wouldn’t it be nice to put it all down and move on in life? Living life in the present, being more mindful, means that rather than dwelling on the past or projecting into the future, you are better able to enjoy the here-and-now. Try putting that old baggage down and see how it feels.
Take time to smell the roses:
Appreciating the little things in life really can make all the difference. Life gets heavy when we spend too much time thinking about what we want and what we haven’t got, rather than being grateful for all the things we have got. So commit to appreciating at least 3 small things each day. Write them down in a diary each evening if it helps.
Find a sense of play:
When did life get so serious? Responsibilities, commitments and an over-full datebook can easily leave you feeling despondent and in need of a lift. So find a way to inject some fun in to your life. Maybe it’s a new hobby, spending time with friends, or even just watching a great comedy. Whatever it is, there’s nothing like laughter to bring some lightness to life.
Relinquish some control:
Does it sometimes feel like you’re banging your head against a brick wall? Do you worry you might be turning in to a control freak? Sure, there are some things which we need to apply a healthy dose of will power to in life, but life has a momentum of its own and often the best approach is to step back and watch things unfold rather than trying to force an issue or result.
Notice life changing in and around you:
When you repeat things over and over in the mind they create what’s known as "a habitual pattern of thought." This can feel very solid, very heavy. In fact if you do it for long enough, then it can be tempting to think that this is a permanent state of affairs. But if you look a little more closely you’ll see that everything and everyone (including yourself) is always changing. This simple observation can bring about a renewed sense of freedom.
Share the love:
How kind are you to others? What about to yourself? Most people report experiencing a lot of critical and judgmental thoughts throughout the day aimed at themselves or those around them. But science has shown that when we inject a little more kindness or compassion into our lives, the part of the brain which is responsible for feelings of happiness becomes far more active. So it’s not just the people around you who benefit from this approach—you will as well.
Find a middle way:
Extremes can be a lot of fun when applied in small doses, but when life is a never-ending roller coaster it’s almost impossible to find a genuine sense of lightness. Applying a sense of balance in life doesn’t mean giving up doing the things you love to do, but instead finding a way to live with enough balance and emotional stability that you no longer feel at the mercy of your mind.
Don’t take yourself too seriously:
The very best of way of finding some lightness this spring is to simply take yourself a little less seriously. This is a tricky one. It doesn’t mean negating responsibilities or commitments, nor does it mean forgetting your unique, inherent value. What it means is to let things come and go a bit more, and finding some ease in life, some laughter. You know what it’s like to see someone taking themselves too seriously, right? Need I say more?