It’s amazing what you can learn about others and more importantly about ourselves when we slow down and ‘observe’!! It’s a simple 1st step towards caring for ourselves. Remember that if we don’t take care of ourselves, we can’t show up completely to live our best lives, offer our best in our work and play, or be there for others. It’s a piece of being a healthy human to ‘care for others.’ ‘Caring for others’ can span from sharing love, affection or fulfilling your ‘role’ within your family unit; to caring for an aging or disabled loved one; to managing a work team or department; to your role as a volunteer in your community or church; to serving on the board that guides your HOA; to your profession as a professional caregiver (nurse, doctor, social worker, aide, teacher).
Steps to take to implement Life Lesson 1:
- Stop at least 3 times a day to ‘observe’ yourself. That literally means, put your ‘technology’ aside (yes, I dared to say it), stand still and consciously ‘feel’ what’s happening in your body and your mind. Recall the last ‘thought’ you had before you stopped to ‘observe.’
- Observe your body and mind: Are your hands or jaws clenched, does your back hurt, is your neck tight, is your belly grumbling? If you ‘choose’ to stop the same 3 times each day, a lot can be revealed. If your belly is grumbling at 10 a.m. every day…is it because you’ve had 5 cups of coffee or is it because you interacted with someone (a neighbor, a relative, a co-worker) who might be considered a ‘Negative Nellie or Ned?’ Ummmm, interesting…there’s a pattern that’s developing that might reveal that that interaction might not be serving you well…
- Make a mental note of ‘isn’t that interesting’; don’t ponder it. I love the word ‘interesting.’ It’s a wonderful word that isn’t negative or positive, nor is it a judgement…it just ‘is’; don’t give it ‘energy.’ It’s simply an observation that provides data as we explore our body’s reactions to our day’s activities. Think of this exercise as a ‘treasure hunt for personal information.’ We’ll use these data points/information as we approach Lesson 2 in the next article.
Keep in mind that ‘consistency’ is a key towards getting the most out of this exercise; we know the more we repeat an action, the closer that action becomes a habit. Yes, you read that right…I’m recommending that you start creating a habit of ‘observing yourself and noting what you’re feeling/sensing/thinking.’ Trust me, it’s going to be invaluable.
One way to create this habit is, at the beginning of each day, put 3 elastic bands on one wrist. Each time you ‘stop to observe,’ you move an elastic band to the other wrist. At the end of the day the 3 elastic bands will be on the other wrist and you’ll have 3 data points of observation available to prepare for Life Lesson 2: Decide what you can control and what you can’t, know the difference and act accordingly.
Have fun on your personal treasure hunt to learn more about your inner and outer workings and together we’re working to develop a plan of action to create your best life.
Until next time…