It’s about simplifying – distilling things down to the essentials – and making it really easy to act upon.
I’m continuing on the topic of ‘Feel Good’ – the first action step of my mantra. Ultimately that is the goal, right? Feeling good can mean different things to all of us, can mean different things to me at different times, but that’s a topic for another time.
Right now I’m using it as a mantra to remind myself that this is my goal, that I can and need to take ownership and responsibility for that goal, and that I have control – I can impact that goal, both short and long term. But it takes intentional action (not reaction), and intentional action requires a decision, and that decision requires thought and deliberation. But to start all that, we need awareness.
But awareness of what? Mindfulness is a hot topic and I believe very important – it encourages ongoing awareness at a deeper level, expanding to different aspects of ourselves and our environment. What I’ve struggled with is the ‘so what’. What exactly do I need to be aware of and why, what will I do with that? I can’t be aware of everything – there needs to be a purpose behind it.
This ‘Feel Good’ mantra assumes you are feeling bad and we want to change this. Three options:
- Ignore the cause and do something unrelated that makes you feel better (good for short term, but not long term)
- Pay attention the cause, start working on that AND do something unrelated that makes you feel better in the moment (good for short and long term)
- Ignore the cause and just keep beating yourself for feeling bad (no good short or long term)
Another discussion for another time are the options for short term ‘feel good’ actions – there are good ones and not so good ones. Where this is headed is that we can make good short terms decisions easier to do and more effective (and make the bad ones easier to disregard). But this needs a strong set-up to help recognize what are the causes, what feelings should be ignored, what feelings can we do something about, and what is the best course of action.
There is no one thing that causes that state of feeling really shitty. Or rather, if there is only one thing, that’s great – it’s usually easier to work with. Normally, it’s a number of things – and some causes are single events, others have a history, some are simple and easy to identify, others are more complex, some are easier to do something about, others just aren’t.
But the number one thing to realize is, there is usually no one cause, and more importantly, there is no one fix. The only one fix I know of for sure is to ignore the feeling and numb yourself to where you just don’t feel it anymore, whether food, drugs, drink, sleep, sex, whatever. But unfortunately, that only makes things worse – well, sleep doesn’t, but the other stuff does.
To get at the nuggets of how to FEEL GOOD, whether in the moment or long term, I see three critical components:
- Build resilience
- Become aware of the triggers
- Develop a game plan
All three steps need ongoing awareness of what is happening, why it’s happening, and what to do about it – but this can be done in a gentle way. And with this I come to understand and appreciate mindfulness. I now know what to be more aware of and why.
I will dig into each of these because they have short and long term components, as well as easy and difficult steps. The goal is to make it much easier to avoid feeling bad, recognize signals sooner if it is happening anyway, and make taking the right action much easier to ultimately FEEL GOOD more of the time.
Gotta make this FEELING GOOD thing really simple for all of us.