5 Ways to Spend more Time Being Grateful.

5 Ways to Spend more Time Being Grateful.

Being grateful has amazing benefits. But you better believe that it can also be a struggle to maintain this state of being.

Let’s look at some reasons for we should work towards being grateful more often. As well as some ways to get there.

To be Grateful.

Being grateful is about maintaining a state of gratitude. It is about developing the art of appreciating life, as it is, as it was, and as it may become.

Gratitude as I know it is multiple things. It is a feeling, it is actions we can take, as well as a state of mind.

The feeling of gratitude generally comes when a certain range of actions are taken and our beliefs allow us to be. But it is also a choice that has to be made. We have to choose to be grateful, without a decision for staying grateful it is much more unlikely that we will hit that target.

Not only must staying grateful be chosen though, but it also takes great effort to maintain. It isn’t enough to just say I appreciate the blue sky today. I have to truly feel it! Emotion needs to be invested in the gratitude, the more sincere emotion the greater the feeling.

A state of gratitude is a desirable place to stay as much as possible. Why you ask? Let’s take a look at some of its benefits.

Benefits of Being Grateful.

The benefits of maintaining a state of gratitude are many which make it an entirely practical thing to do.

In my estimation, the benefits far outweigh the effort. Here are a few of those benefits!

1. Better Mental Health.

In many research studies about the effects of practicing gratitude, researchers have sought information on how gratitude affects individuals mental health. But for the most part, these studies focus on individuals that aren’t dealing with troubled mental worlds.

In this study, college students that are set to receive mental health counseling are the subjects of the test. The results of the study found that from the practice of writing letters of gratitude for others, without even sending them, helped these individuals experience better mental health both 4 weeks and 12 weeks after the studies completion.

The results of the study suggest something of high importance. It suggests that not only does gratitude help people with rather stable minds, but also can help some individuals with habitually stressed and anxious minds find better mental spaces.

2. Enhanced Mood.

Emotion and mood are different, though closely related concepts. In one analogy a mood state is thought to be the overall emotional climate an individual is experiencing. While on the other hand, emotions are like the individual instances of weather activity within the current climate.

Therefore mood is thought to determine the types of emotions that will be experienced. So if a person is experiencing a particularly good mood, the emotions they experience will generally follow suit.

There is evidence that making an effort to practice gratitude regularly for about a month will have positive effects on mood states.

They say that around a month is a good amount of time because less than that didn’t have the same effects on our upcoming mood climate. So the longer gratitude has become a habit, the more likely it will affect our emotional worlds positively.

This, of course, isn’t to suggest that mood states that don’t feel good will be eradicated. But it can definitely shorten the amount of time we reside in them, and they probably won’t come around as often.

3. Increase in Emotional Resilience.

To be resilient is to have the ability to bounce back and recover from difficulties. It is being able to have difficult events roll through our lives, and getting through them with a little grace.

We don’t usually get to choose when difficult events or emotions come into our lives. But having a consistent gratitude practice around when trouble does come, is a blessing.

It will help us stay in touch with the aspects of reality that are working in our favor. Which allows our already amped up bodily impulses, to relax. Relaxed bodies are fluid bodies, meaning that our emotions are much better able to show up, teach us what we need, and move on.

4. Sleeping Better.

Practicing gratitude also seems to help individuals catch a better nights sleep. In a research study, it is suggested that 15 minutes of gratitude writing every night before bed can help reduce the amount of worry students experienced. It also helped them sleep better.

The more stress that is present when trying to go to sleep makes it more likely that we will ruminate over whatever is troubling us. Being able to reduce that stress by focusing on aspects of life we are grateful for is a beautiful thing. It will bring us down to reality, settle our troubled minds, and allow us to connect with ourselves and the present moment.

Ideas for Creating a Staying Grateful Routine.

1. In the Morning.

Mornings can be a difficult time to deal with. There is a reason people joke about not being human until they have some coffee in them. As well as for why many of us have trouble not pressing the snooze button multiple times before finally waking up. When waking up our resistances to change are working in full force.

But making gratitude a priority as early as possible in the day is a way to set our attitudes and ourselves up for more enjoyable experiences.

Want to start tomorrow off in a better mood than usual. Set the alarm a half-hour earlier than normal. Then and as you roll out of bed and set your feet on the floor, sincerely say thank you for another day alive. Then do your best to extend the mental effort to stay grateful as the morning goes on.

2. Staying Mindful to Stay Grateful.

Probably the most difficult aspect of staying grateful is remembering to do so. With all the internal and external distractions we face, it is easy to get lost in the chaos.

To stay out of the chaos and in a state of gratitude, we must stay mindful. We must stay aware of our goal to remain in a state where we are appreciating life. This may take many reminders a day.

Pay attention. When that thought comes that has you feeling like life this moment isn’t good enough, let it pass. Just breathe and let all the nonsense pass. Even though some “idiot” did something you can’t stand, look at some aspect of the world you enjoy. There are, of course, many to be found in any given moment.

This isn’t to say that we don’t need to stand up for ourselves when we can do something productive with our situation. When remaining mindful and practicing gratitude, we are very capable of seeking out productive solutions to our problems.

 

Being Grateful

Photo by Hian Oliveira on Unsplash

3. Share it With Others Throughout the Day.

In the recovery community, I frequent, there is a saying. It states “My gratitude speaks when I care and when I share.” Meaning that when I show that I give a damn about other people I see throughout my day, I am going to feel better. The same goes for when I share with those people what I am grateful for.

Sharing gratitude with others can come in many forms. It could be letting them know we appreciate them by saying it. As well as letting them know by simply showing up with a good attitude and showing respect.

Another form of sharing gratitude doesn’t even have to be done in the other person’s presence. By bringing the person we are grateful for into our minds and offering them sincere gratitude, we reap benefits from this too!

This can actually be a way to learn to be grateful for people our personal boundaries won’t allow us to be around. Helping to get over resentments that we may wind up poisoning ourselves over with anger that feels insurmountable.

4. Writing them down.

Having a gratitude writing practice is a great item to have in our toolbox, for feeling better on a daily basis. Remember above when I said that 15 minutes of gratitude writing over time can help a person sleep better? Well, it can be done anytime throughout the day that permits it. And there are benefits to be found whenever we give ourselves the pleasure of writing 5 to 10 things we are grateful for.

Just going over a list of gratitudes in our heads is beneficial. But writing them brings even more life to them!

Feeling gratitude does take effort. The more effort we put into getting into staying grateful, without being obsessive of course, will bring about more blessings, and more good feelings.

5. Before Going to Sleep.

When going to sleep we are going into a suggestive state that allows processing of the day’s thoughts and activities. What we do before going to sleep has an effect on how our sleep benefits us. Filling our minds with a feeling of appreciation for what has happened and what is coming helps drop the need to problem solve on our way to sleep.

Who enjoys that feeling of trying to work out the issues of the day when it is time to drift off into slumber?

Just thinking about what we have to be grateful for, can take our minds off of this problem-solving. It can ease some of the stress of the day, allowing a nice surrender into the void of sleep.

Being Grateful

Photo by Eli DeFaria on Unsplash

A Call to Gratitude.

Life is not an easy thing much of the time. But practicing gratitude can make life a little more enjoyable, maybe even a lot more. Life will still be life though, hitting us with unexpected troubles and problems to solve.

If we aren’t able to adapt to these problems, even greater trouble is bound to manifest. Striving to be grateful, can keep us closer to the reality of things, focused on solutions instead of creating excess stress from focusing on our problems.

With life being life, and us being human, with all the ambitious bodily impulses, needs, and desires we have, it isn’t easy to remain satisfied all the time. It is easy to become dissatisfied and resentful. And even though these states are bound to happen, to stay there is toxic to healthy living.

Look, none of us are going to be grateful all the time. Though isn’t being grateful as much as possible still something to shoot for? We don’t have to beat ourselves up if we don’t always hit that target. But to leave our gratitude completely up to chance seems like a waste of opportunity.

To wrap this up I will send you off with a mission. Take what you have read here today, please apply it to your life in the upcoming week. Use these ways and please experiment with your own ways to stay grateful as much as possible.

That is all we have for today and thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth. We sincerely wish you amazing success in spending more of your life being in a state of gratitude.
We truly believe that if you take today’s lessons to heart and apply them, that you will greatly benefit. If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us.
  1. If you would like to help support this website by offsetting some of the costs of running it. There is a PayPal button below or in the right sidebar, depending on if you are viewing with mobile or by computer.
  2. Join our email list to Enroll in our Free 7 Day Impulse Negotiation Email Course! The course will help you stop pesky unwanted behaviors, as well as develop a healthier relationship with your bodily impulses.

My Life Experiment

Welcome! We are Travis and Casey Hagen, the writer's and owner's of My Life Experiment. As recovering Individuals, we are no strangers to leaving behind dysfunctional ways of living. Over the years we have become adept at managing our intense mental and emotional worlds. Finding healing from the past, peace in the present and new ways to bring about success for our futures. We promote Healthy Life Experimentation Principles for connecting with ourselves, our relationships, and finding healthier ways of bringing about success in our lives. Stick around and pick up what we have learned. You will not be disappointed.

To see our Terms and Conditions click here

 

To Support My Life Experiment.
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Developing Connection to the Present Moment.

Developing Connection to the Present Moment.

Developing a strong connection to the present moment is one of the most rewarding undertakings to be done.

What is it? How do we keep ourselves from it? How can we wake up and maintain a connection to the present moment? These are the questions that will be addressed throughout this article.

Connection to Present Moment

Photo by Christopher Sardegna on Unsplash

Connection to the Present is Connection to Self.

Without a connection to the moment, there is no connection with ourselves. And not maintaining a connection to self is most certainly an unintended cause of self-harm. But how you may ask.

It’s easy, without a conscious connection to self, we will likely find ourselves feeling lost. Wandering through life, trying this thing and that thing, searching for something that feels “right.” Hardly ever finding that person, that experience, that thing that will create the lasting feeling of wholeness. Maybe finding that feeling momentarily, but losing it as it drifts off in the wind. It is a sad fact of life that many individuals wander their entire lives vigorously chasing lives that aren’t theirs.

This being lost is not from lack of effort though. But it is most definitely from lacking understanding of who we are and what we are connected to at our cores.

It is through having a conscious connection with the present, that the magic of life truly awakens. Likewise, this is where the magic of ourselves wakes up as well. Things begin to make sense. Our minds begin to make sense, our emotions, our desires, everything about us that is real begin to make sense. And all of those aspects that are just figments of our imaginations, get seen for what they are, unintentional self-deception.

Unintentional Self-deception.

There is much that may stand in the way of our conscious connection to the present moment. All of them being our own job to become aware of and cope with.

A critical part of establishing and maintaining our own connection to the present is claiming personal responsibility for the connections absentness. Not necessarily blame, just responsibility.

Self-awareness is key to understanding how we deceive ourselves out of a connection to the present moment. Without awareness of our ways, changing them is happenstance. We deceive ourselves with sneaky methods. Which are sneaky because we probably don’t even know how or why we are being self-deceptive. We do them behind our own backs but in front of our very eyes.

Waking up to the Disconnection.

We all deceive ourselves, that is a fact of life. What some people have learned to do, more than others is wake up to this process.

To wake up to the ways we are ensuring our disconnection to the moment requires picking up on the clues to our disconnection. When we are lacking connection, the clues are right inside of our bodies.

  • Extra anxiety is a clue.
  • Acting in ways we know we shouldn’t be is a clue.
  • Being generally dissatisfied with life is a clue.
  • Anger and its close emotional relatives are a clue.
  • Sadness and its close emotional relatives are a clue.
  • Blaming others for the way we feel is a clue.
  • Thoughts that seem sticky and more negative than usual are a clue.

When we are noticing any of these signs, our conscious connection to the beauty of the moment is compromised.

We all run into these clues at some point. Not all of us recognize them, realize what they are telling us and take responsibility for negotiating the energies they contain.

It, of course, isn’t enough just to wake up to the ways that we are holding ourselves from this beautiful connection to the present. But without first waking up, relaxing into the present and maintaining our connection is pretty much an impossibility.

Maintaining our Connection to the Present Moment.

Living a good life comes only through understanding and application of principles that will make that way of life possible.

Here we want you to understand how to wake up to present disconnection, and how to maintain a conscious connection to the brilliance of the reality right here. The one that is both inside and around us.

Noticing and Attending to the clues of our Disconnection.

Above we listed some clues to our being disconnected from the moment. We can neglect to take responsibility for these clues and stay asleep, or accept responsibility and have the chance to wake up.

If you notice them, label them for what they are, bodily impulses that are looking for attention. Impulses that if not given our attention constructively, will take us farther away from the moment the longer they are not attended to.

Nobody wants their own energies blocking their connection to the creative nature of the present. But if these impulses are blocking us, they are not doing it without reason. They need attention.

Not all bodily impulses need to the same type of attention. For some, attending to them could be simply taking prompt action to allow them to do what they are meant to do. The impulses we are dealing with may also not require any kind of outward action at all and need to be felt, processed and healed.

Now let’s look into some ways that we can attend to these impulses to ensure that we take proper care of them. As well as allow ourselves to live well in the process.

1. Get Grounded.

Waking up means that we first need to get grounded. We need to come back down to our bodies and back down to reality.

Mindful breathing is a great way to clear away excess stress so that we can settle body and mind back into the moment. It is from this place that we can find more clarity on what we should be doing next.

2. Feel What Needs to be Felt.

Once feeling grounded we will have a better grasp at what emotions are moving through us. These emotions, if not kept in awareness can keep us out of the moment. To the degree that they are painful, the more difficult it usually is to stay in the moment with them.

Feeling our emotions has the added benefit of keeping us in the moment. But resisting them will rip us out of this healing place.

3. Take Mindful Actions.

If we find that there are actions we have been neglecting to take, the impulses connected to these responsibilities will also take us out of the moment. After getting grounded and in our feelings, no matter what the flavor, we will be in the best place to take these actions.

In this state, we can take these actions mindfully, giving full attention to the current activity.

This attention we give brings high quality to the activity. Much more comforting and energizing, than if we allowed our thoughts to think about all other activities we need to do. When acting in this way, we will maintain a connection to the moment, as well as ourselves.

4. Use Mentorship to Maintain Connection.

Helping others allows us to find a connection as well. When connecting with other individuals, we find a connection to the moment and connection with ourselves.

Some people are masters at connection, while others haven’t a clue what a connection to the moment even is.

I believe we need both of these types of people in our lives. Throughout my years in recovery from addiction, I have learned a great deal from mentor types. Though I have learned just as much from being a mentor to others.

By allowing ourselves to be helped, and helping others, while letting ourselves be vulnerable we plant ourselves in the moment, in a powerful way.

 

Closing Thoughts on our Connection to the Present.

The present moment is all there really is. It is the only place we can think, feel, or do anything. Maintaining a close connection with it is our connection to the best the world has for us.

Sure the future may bring amazing things as well, and spending some time imagining it is healthy. But giving the vast majority of our time to loving this moment, will bring gifts beyond measure.

Pay attention to this moment, bring those thoughts down to reality, because this is where we are. The more time we plant ourselves in what is here right now, the more fruits our futures will bare.

That is all we have for today and thank you so much for stopping into My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth. We sincerely wish you amazing success in learning how to wake up and maintain your personal connection to the present moment.
We truly believe that if you take today’s lessons to heart and apply them, that you will greatly benefit. If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us.
  1. If you would like to help support this website by offsetting some of the costs of running it. There is a PayPal button below or in the right sidebar, depending on if you are viewing with mobile or by computer.
  2. Join our email list to Enroll in our Free 7 Day Impulse Negotiation Email Course! The course will help you stop pesky unwanted behaviors, as well as develop a healthier relationship with your bodily impulses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Life Experiment

Welcome! We are Travis and Casey Hagen, the writer's and owner's of My Life Experiment. As recovering Individuals, we are no strangers to leaving behind dysfunctional ways of living. Over the years we have become adept at managing our intense mental and emotional worlds. Finding healing from the past, peace in the present and new ways to bring about success for our futures. We promote Healthy Life Experimentation Principles for connecting with ourselves, our relationships, and finding healthier ways of bringing about success in our lives. Stick around and pick up what we have learned. You will not be disappointed.

To see our Terms and Conditions click here

 

To Support My Life Experiment.
How to Prepare for Making Effective Snap Decisions.

How to Prepare for Making Effective Snap Decisions.

Making snap decisions is something that we are all going to have to do at some point.

So what do we do at that moment, when this decision, that we wish we had time to mull over, doesn’t have time to be thought out?

What we do is rely on what we have learned about making snap decisions. Let’s take a deeper look and see if we can get ourselves prepared for when these times come.

Time for Decisions.

Responsible living requires that we make the best decisions we can in the time we are allowed. It requires that we do our due diligence to make sense of what we are facing, then make a decision.

These decisions that we make can be unforgiving. Once we make them and put them into action, there is generally no turning back.

Sometimes we have time to prepare for these decisions we have to face. But there are going to be many times in life wherein a moments notice, we will have to make an unexpected decision, that we were not prepared for.

Decision-Making Vs Impulsivity.

Our bodily impulses are energies that pulse throughout bodies and nudge us to take actions.

There is a similarity between making a snap decision, and acting on impulsivity. They are similar in the quickness in which they are deployed, which is, in a moments notice.

But there is also a glaring difference between the two. That difference being that one involves us making an active decision, while the other tends to be a quick habitual reaction.

Much of the time Impulsivity can get us into trouble, because of the lack of a conscious decision. But sometimes it is all that we have to work with. Sometimes there simply is not enough time to formulate a decision we intellectually know to be sound.

What we need to do is learn to meld the two together. Allowing our decision-making game to be on point in pressured moments, not allowing our impulses to entirely take control, but allowing them to act quickly with our conscious consent.

Making the Best Snap Decisions in Pressured Situations.

It is pressured situations that are most likely going to test our impulses and decision-making capabilities.

In situations that bring pressure to act, it is our hopefully informed impulses that we must rely on. If our impulses are not informed about the best possible decisions and actions to take, then we are in a bad place.

Here are some skills you may want to add to your routine so that when the time comes for snap decisions, you will be mentally and emotionally ready.

Snap Decision Routine

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

1. Stay on Top of Everyday Routine Decisions.

The logic is simple, the more we neglect to take care of all the little decisions we need to make on a daily basis, the less good decision capability we will have in pressured moments.

Staying on top of our everyday routine decisions sets us up for success in moments where we need to think quickly.

To keep on top of these decisions we need to be aware of them. It is easy to forget all of the little decisions we need to make. This isn’t a complicated concept, get your schedule written down, in a book or on your phone. This way it will be easier for our brains to be focused on the present moment, and more agile to make snap decisions.

2. Be Aware of what is coming.

Having a keen awareness of what is coming up in life is a beautiful thing. But it isn’t a skill that is developed without effort. It also isn’t necessarily a difficult thing to practice.

The most difficult part about developing awareness for what is coming up in our lives is paying attention. With all the distractions we face, simply remembering to write upcoming events down in our schedules can be tough. Not complicated, but tough.

Making sure that we have these events written down gives us the opportunity to remember them. And if we can remember them, then we can give a little thought and imagination into envisioning how to be prepared.

Most of these upcoming events don’t require much thought, but giving a little thought, even to our routine events can shed light on how we can be best prepared. Being prepared makes it easier to make snap decisions when those situations arise. This goes for what could go wrong, but don’t forget to do this for being more productive as well.

3. Prepare for what is coming.

There is a reason that coaches and drill instructors have their people practice as rigorously as they do. It is because those small movements that need to be made to be successful in pressured moments, need to become a habit. They need to be able to be done without thinking about them. That is because in sports and in armed conflict, events unfold quickly, and having to think about each little action is a recipe for poor performance.

For our average daily lives, most of us aren’t purposely repeating behaviors over and over to perfect the movements. Outside the realm of public speaking, I have never really set up mock sessions so I could perfect the average movements I will need to make to not make a fool of myself. That could be a helpful thing to do I guess, but that seems a bit obsessive, and not at all up my alley.

I will often use imagination to practice future scenarios though. Doing this with a mind that isn’t overly stressed out and plenty stable can give a decently clear picture of what may come. In imagining the future event, we can think of certain ways the scene might turn out. And with thinking those circumstances out we can think of ways of counteracting what might unexpectedly happen.

This advice certainly must come with a warning though. We must remember that our imaginations are not reality. Just because our imagination leads us to expectations for certain outcomes, of course, doesn’t mean that is what is going to happen. We must remain mentally and emotionally flexible, don’t get trapped in rigid expectations.

4. Respect Upcoming Deadlines.

For as big of pains deadlines can be, they have a great deal of importance in bringing about positive results. Without deadlines, it can be much more difficult to spark action to get what needs to be done, done.

Deadlines create internal pressure for us, and this pressure of internal impulses is a great way to bring about creative results. Studies have shown that too little pressure, as well as too much pressure, are not good for creativity. Right in the middle though, there is a sweet spot of internal pressure that will help us churn out amazing solutions for any problem we may face. This phenomenon is called the Yerkes/Dodson Law.

If we don’t respect upcoming deadlines, we are irresponsibly setting ourselves up for trouble. There is a reason we feel the pressure when deadlines are fast approaching. That reason is that there is preparing left to do, we don’t feel ready, so our impulses push us to get informed.

When going into a situation we care about unprepared, the pressure can be immense. But sometimes even if we are well-prepared, the pressure will still be palpable.

Snap Decision Pressure

Photo by Christian Erfurt on Unsplash

5. Just Breathe and Focus on the Moment.

Too much pressure is not a good breeding ground for desired results. But there will definitely be times in our lives when the snap decisions we have to make will be highly pressurized.

We need to make sure we aren’t feeling like victims to the pressure. This internal pressure is not here to harm us, it is here to transform us.

If unprepared, intense moments may rattle our brains with too much stress. And as some of you may have heard we actually lose IQ points when in states of high stress.

In the process of preparing for events that are coming and while engaged with them, relaxing, breathing, and focusing on the moment are always helpful. When relaxed in the moment, we need not worry about screwing up, and what may harm us. Stress is able to fade or be used to fuel our prompt actions to handle the situation in front of us.

Closing Thoughts.

We are all going to find ourselves in situations where we will need to make a snap decision. And the habits written above will add to the likelihood of positive snap decision results. But no matter how prepared we are there will always be aspects that are unaccounted for.

We can only prep as much as we can. There is no need to overly obsess about what is coming up next. Room also needs to be made for our natural intelligences to flexibly take care of business in the moment!

Well, that is all we have for today and thank you so much for stopping into My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth.
We sincerely wish you amazing success in learning how to make effective snap decisions.
We truly believe that if you take today’s lessons to heart and apply them, that you will greatly benefit. If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us.
  1. If you would like to help support this website by offsetting some of the costs of running it. There is a PayPal button below or in the right sidebar, depending on if you are viewing with mobile or by computer.
  2. Join our email list to Enroll in our Free 7 Day Impulse Negotiation Email Course! The course will help you stop pesky unwanted behaviors, as well as develop a healthier relationship with your bodily impulses.

For more information about Decision Making from My Life Experiment, check out these articles.

-Practicing Discernment for Guiding our Lives Well.

-Importance of Proactive Decision Making.

To Support My Life Experiment.
Guide for Living with Healthy Expectations.

Guide for Living with Healthy Expectations.

A crucial part of living a healthy life is living with healthy expectations. We cannot escape having expectations. We have them for ourselves, for others and essentially every aspect of life that affects us.

These expectations we carry are both an unavoidable part of life, a potential pain inducing one, and one with important benefits. Let’s find some ways to make these expectations as healthy as possible.

Having Expectations.

Developing expectations is an unavoidable part of our existence. These expectations are grown as we and our brains get busy putting a life together.

Our brains formulate plans naturally and when we start wanting such and such they get concocting. They say, “okay if we do X+Y then I am pretty sure we will get Z.” The more convinced we become that this equation is correct, the more we expect it to happen.

The only ones that can build our lives the way we can live with, is ourselves. But there are many more aspects of life that we will have to rely on others or sometimes sheer luck to bring about the best lives we can. So with the way our brains formulate, it also may have to say that X is the spouse, the colleague, the child, the parent, or our understanding of how an aspect of life works.

Inevitable Disappointment.

Just as expectations are unavoidable, as are the inevitable disappointment we will experience as many of these expectations are unmet. Being disappointed generally doesn’t feel good. But does that mean that all expectations should be avoided so we can avoid that feeling altogether? Absolutely not.

Some would actually say that the way to a healthy life is to have no expectations at all. That this state of not expecting anything would be the ultimate peaceful way. But sorry, there is going to be a lot of disappointment while learning to not expect. Even anticipation of peace from not expecting anything becomes an expectation we will likely be disappointed by.

A Life without Expectation.

What would life be like without expectation? If you didn’t expect to get in trouble for not showing up to work on time, would you? If your spouse or friends didn’t require good treatment to build a healthy relationship, would you treat them the same or more poorly? When you were a child if you hadn’t come to expect that the hot stove will burn you, would you have stopped messing with it?

Of course, the list goes on and on about how our expectations are useful. When we come to learn about the world and how it works, we anticipate at least to a certain degree that it will continue as such. Our expectations can save us from pain, help us predict future becoming’s, and allow us to develop healthy relationships.

Expectations are of course not created equal and we don’t have to live in a consistent state of disappointment because we have them. A big part of this is learning how to lessen the amount of unhealthy expectation in our routine, and developing more of the healthy variety.

Healthy and Unhealthy Expectations.

These ways that we expect, affect all aspects of our lives. They affect our relationship with ourselves, our relationship to life, and relationships with other people. There is tremendous value in taking great care in the way we create these expectations. Our healthy connection to all of these relationships depends on this.

I hope you are getting my point that there are healthy and unhealthy expectations. We could call them necessary or unnecessary expectations. Sometimes they are referred to as reasonable and unreasonable, sometimes realistic and unrealistic. Learning to differentiate between the two is critical for our ability to have an enjoyable life.

So how do we? How do we expect in healthy ways and avoid expecting in ways that could be self and relationship damaging?

Guidance for Creating Healthy Expectations.

1. Set Personal Standards and Purpose for how We Expect.

You have probably heard the old adage that “If we stand for nothing, we will fall for anything.”  This is the statement that rings true when we do not have purpose and standards, guiding our bodily impulses.

To have healthy relationships we have to set personal standards and purpose for how we expect. We need to formulate a go-to way that we will allow ourselves to expect, and for how we do it. Otherwise, we leave our expectations up to chance, maybe it will come out healthy, or maybe a little crazy.

The remaining points here are suggested standards to be placed on how we expect, with the purpose of creating trusting healthy relationships, and reducing personal pain.

2. Communicate Expectations.

Communication is a vital part of developing healthy relationships. That goes for ourselves and our relationships with others.

We need to make sure that we stay informed about what we are expecting. Reminding ourselves of those expectations in some manner. The same goes for our relationships with others, uncommunicated expectations can put great strain on our relations with others.

Without communicating what is expected we will likely be disappointed that those around us or even ourselves are not respecting our wishes. Well, they aren’t respecting our wishes because they probably don’t know our wishes!

We have every right in the world, and even obligation to communicate what and why we expect something. Communicating these expectations may be uncomfortable at first but in the long run, it can save a great deal of unnecessary disappointment and sore feelings.

3. Experience and Knowledge are Key.

The knowledge and experience that we have is the key to developing healthy expectations. A well-informed mind will have a much more keen sense for what to expect than one that is misinformed or uninformed.

As we learn that certain ways of behaving will lead to pain, we learn to expect that pain. So we can have the opportunity to avoid it. On the flipside, when we come to expect positive results by learning what brings those results, then we can engage in more of those behaviors to help our lives out.

Studied experience teaches us reasonable expectations. No there is no substitute for personal experience. But, learning from the experiences of others is very important as well.

4. Practice Intellectual Humility.

Experience and knowledge are essential in living with healthy expectations, but even with these, we can’t always expect them to be accurate. To expect that is foolhardy as all hell.

Life is going to surprise us with curveballs. None of us have all the information, or time to study all the aspects that can affect us. We need to leave ourselves open to be surprised. Being in the habit of closed-mindedness and overconfidence in our personal knowledge is not a good use of our mental and emotional life.

Expectations that are left open to change are expectations that will hurt less when they are not met.

5. Learn a Healthy Level of Emotional Detachment.

Emotional detachment as I am calling it isn’t about separating ourselves from our emotions. That is actually a recipe for losing touch with ourselves when maintaining connection with self is ideal. Instead, it is about separating our emotions from expected outcomes.

The more emotionally attached we are to an expectation, the more disappointment is likely when it is not met. This is not a message to try and get you to rid yourself of excitement for hopes and dreams coming true. But I do recommend being careful.

Life is an ever-changing thing, that being said, our expectations need to be flexible. Our thoughts and emotions also need to remain as agile as possible to deal with the onslaught of life changes in a healthy way. The more attached we are to a certain expectation needing to come true, in a certain way, the harder it will be to let go of when it is no longer useful.

But the more we are able to allow our expectations to adapt and flow, our lives will be filled with the benefits of being grateful.

Expectation

Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

Closing Thoughts.

With as difficult as the realm of expectations can be, with some work, anyone with the capacity for rational thought can learn to have healthy ones.

The guidelines in this article are intentionally held vague, use the ideas in it to fill in the blanks with the specific ways you will put these ideas into action.

If you have any ideas and would like to share them, please share them in the comment section below.

Well, that is all we have for today and thank you so much for stopping into My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth.
We sincerely wish you amazing success in living with healthy expectations.
We truly believe that if you take today’s lessons to heart and apply them, that you will greatly benefit. If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us.
  1. If you would like to help support this website by offsetting some of the costs of running it. There is a PayPal button below or in the right sidebar, depending on if you are viewing with mobile or by computer.
  2. Join our email list to Enroll in our Free 7 Day Impulse Negotiation Email Course! The course will help you stop pesky unwanted behaviors, as well as develop a healthier relationship with your bodily impulses.

My Life Experiment

Welcome! We are Travis and Casey Hagen, the writer's and owner's of My Life Experiment. As recovering Individuals, we are no strangers to leaving behind dysfunctional ways of living. Over the years we have become adept at managing our intense mental and emotional worlds. Finding healing from the past, peace in the present and new ways to bring about success for our futures. We promote Healthy Life Experimentation Principles for connecting with ourselves, our relationships, and finding healthier ways of bringing about success in our lives. Stick around and pick up what we have learned. You will not be disappointed.

To see our Terms and Conditions click here

 

To Support My Life Experiment.
Establishing a Close Connection to Our Self.

Establishing a Close Connection to Our Self.

To have an intimate connection with our self is a crazy rewarding thing. But maintaining a close connection with our self can be difficult, and finding our way back can seem elusive.

In this article, we are discussing the path of losing the connection to self. As well as giving insights into finding a path back to the true self that works for you.

Connection to Self.

First off, we all have a self. Of all of the world around us, we have our own seemingly minuscule perspective in a gigantic picture. In this perspective, we have thoughts, emotions, bodily impulses, ambitions, personality traits, and many other aspects that make us, us.

All of these aspects, though they may change, make up the current state of who we are. Though we should not confuse ourselves with any one of these aspects of ourselves. Getting too caught up in any of these, creates a too limited view of ourselves.

We are the totality of all these pieces of ourselves, each of them hopefully working well for us.

Having a connection with self comes from unconditional acceptance of all these little pieces. Meaning that we accept them when they show up, and experience them for what they are without being over judgmental about their nature.

For example, if anger is triggered inside me for some reason, I am now having the experience of anger. I am not this anger, but it is a piece of my current experience. There is no need to be dissatisfied with myself because this is my experience, I just need to feel it. The same goes for any emotion or any other impulses I am feeling whether they feel good or bad.

To Lose Our Connection.

To have a connection with self is to accept and feel our current experiences. Therefore to lose connection is to deny and neglect to feel our current experience.

We may lose our connection because we are too harshly judging our current state. It could also be because we are caught in resentment of ourselves or someone else. As well, it may entirely be because we don’t know ourselves very well.

Losing connection with ourselves is not a difficult thing to do. In fact, it is incredibly easy to lose ourselves, both momentarily, and for an extended period of time. In some cases, we may entirely forget what it is to have a connection with our self.

The Discomfort of Lost Self-connection.

Connection Lost

Photo by Raj Eiamworakul on Unsplash

To lose connection with self comes with varying degrees of discomfort. That discomfort may be noticeable, and maybe it will seem that nothing is at all wrong with our worlds. It generally shows up in our thoughts becoming negative and in our emotions feeling unpleasant.

If we don’t understand the purpose of that discomfort we may disregard coming back home. In these cases, we may mindlessly wander through life thinking we are meant to be nervous wrecks or have to be hopelessly depressed forever.

It is also the case that if we don’t understand that we have lost our self-connection we may mistake others for being the cause of our discomfort. Bringing discomfort to the lives of others because we don’t realize our lack of self-connection is the problem.

We, of course, don’t have to be in prolonged states of distress because of lack of self-connection. The discomfort of not being connected to ourselves if understood may warn us to come back home to our current experience and get our connection back.

How we can Connect with Self.

Getting back our connection to self is immensely important to our having mental and emotional contentment. But if we don’t know how to get there then getting there is a shot in the dark.

Here are some ideas we can use for getting back to a connection with self. Which can no doubt help us maintain this connection as well.

1. Think in Ways that Supports Connection to Self.

There are thoughts that can aid our having a connection with self and those that make it pretty much impossible.

Thoughts that are overly judgmental do not support self-connection. Because these types of thoughts are, at least the vast majority of the time, not reality.

The types of thinking that best aids in self-connection are those that are laced with self-respect and self-honesty. We need to see reality, but we don’t need to treat ourselves poorly through the process.

When we find that our thoughts are turning overly negative and judgmental we can be sure we are at least a little disconnected. Taking some steps to return them to a more self-loving state is more than beneficial at this stage.

Here is a related article on returning our thoughts to a more self-loving state.

2. Develop Emotional Intelligence.

With emotional intelligence comes the ability to understand our emotions, identify them, and express them in healthy ways. We are emotional beings, these impulses serve an important purpose in our lives.

They let us know when we are on a healthy path to getting what we desire, or not. They let us know if we are currently in a state of connection with ourselves, as well as when there is a disconnect.

By knowing how to decipher what we are feeling, we can tell what our state of self-connection is. We can learn what needs are being neglected and take care of them. The main tools that I go to for learning about my emotions are therapeutic writing, chatting with trusted people and through reading books.

Another great tool a friend showed me is a needs worksheet. One part of the worksheet is an inventory of our needs. The second part is to educate us on what emotions arise when our needs are satisfied and when too many are being neglected.

These lists have been quite helpful over the years.

3. Spend Time Feeling the Sensations in our Bodies.

A door that is always present for entering into a connection with self is through the sensations in our bodies.

If there are feelings of pent up stress or other unpleasant feelings, giving our bodily impulses some non-judgmental attention works wonders.

Simply put attention on the area of our bodies that are feeling stress and gently breathe into them. If it feels uncomfortable, just work at not judging that sensation as being a nuisance. The impulses are just expressing themselves. Often times, unless there is a serious medical problem, the stress being stored in that area will relax away.

Through this process, we are slowing ourselves down enough to experience a deep sense of self-connection. This self-connection happens as we allow ourselves to be in the moment without judgment.

 

4. Practice Self-acceptance.

Without self-acceptance, there is no self-connection. Through self-acceptance, our bodies are given permission to be exactly what they are.

You may have a couple of questions now. Such as. “Hey, what if my current state is unacceptable? If I accept something about myself that is unacceptable, will that piece of me ever change?”

The answer is this. Acceptance of this current moment as it is a requirement for healthy change. Through acceptance, connection to self allows clarity into what needs attention, and what is best left alone.

Accepting ourselves as is, is an act of self-love, of self-respect. When feeling loved and respected we grow and change naturally. The unhealthy eventually vanishes, and the healthy flourishes.

Through acceptance of ourselves, the sane self within is able to work it’s magic.

 

Connection

Photo by Cerys Lowe on Unsplash

5. Relax on Comparing Ourselves to Others.

Getting trapped in comparing ourselves can be a terribly painful experience. But we all compare ourselves to others, in fact, it is a natural thing for our brains to do. These comparisons help us learn about ourselves. They help us come to terms with what we desire and don’t desire for our lives.

There may be something to learn from comparing ourselves to others, but it can be a slippery slope. We are adequate exactly how we are. The treatment of our current experience as good enough is peace and gratitude-inducing. It settles us into a beautiful state of connection to self.

Maybe we will go get what those people have in a healthy way, maybe we won’t. Either way, we can treat ourselves as the intelligent, resourceful, ambitious and sufficient people we truly are. When we treat ourselves as such, we will likely gain an incredible amount of motivation to obtain all the healthy experiences we desire.

 

Well, that is all we have for today and thank you so much for stopping into My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth.
We sincerely wish you amazing success on finding a maintaining a healthy connection with Self. We truly believe that if you take today’s lessons to heart and apply them, that you will greatly benefit.
If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us.
  1. If you would like to help support this website by offsetting some of the costs of running it. There is a PayPal button below or in the right sidebar, depending on if you are viewing with mobile or by computer.
  2. Join our email list to Enroll in our Free 7 Day Impulse Negotiation Email Course! The course will help you stop pesky unwanted behaviors, as well as develop a healthier relationship with your bodily impulses.

My Life Experiment

Welcome! We are Travis and Casey Hagen, the writer's and owner's of My Life Experiment. As recovering Individuals, we are no strangers to leaving behind dysfunctional ways of living. Over the years we have become adept at managing our intense mental and emotional worlds. Finding healing from the past, peace in the present and new ways to bring about success for our futures. We promote Healthy Life Experimentation Principles for connecting with ourselves, our relationships, and finding healthier ways of bringing about success in our lives. Stick around and pick up what we have learned. You will not be disappointed.

To see our Terms and Conditions click here

 

To Support My Life Experiment.
5 Essentials for Balanced and Responsible Daydreaming.

5 Essentials for Balanced and Responsible Daydreaming.

Daydreaming is something that we all do. Although some individuals do so more than others.

So is there anything wrong with day-dreaming? And maybe even more importantly, is there anything good about it?

Daydreaming.

I don’t know about you but throughout my life, daydreaming has been a consistent partner. Sometimes for the better, but even more often, not so much.

To daydream is to have our minds wander. It is not to be confused with active visualization of events and problem-solving. No, to daydream our minds lead the way. Most of the time it is difficult to notice that we have even slipped into this mental activity.

Our daydreaming is driven by both our natural drive for making sense of our lives, as well as for plotting a path for accomplishing what we desire. In a sense, much of daydreaming comes from our desire to have life be different from what it is. This could be because we are having trouble dealing with stress, we’re highly ambitious people or both.

Mind Wandering can be Bad for Our Happiness.

Another problem that comes with daydreaming is from doing it too often. Even when it is about thoughts that elicit initially positive feelings, according to research out of Harvard.

A researcher developed an iPhone application for participants that randomly pinged them throughout the day. Doing so to ask them brief questions that had to do with their state of happiness, what they were currently engaged in, and if they were paying attention to what was happening.

What they found was that the more the participants of the study daydreamed, the more unhappy they were. The study also makes another point. That is that the more unhappy the participants were, the more their minds wandered.

A vicious cycle of daydreaming and unhappiness can develop if we are not careful. But the research does make the point that it is because of our current unhappiness that our minds wander, not the other way around.

When we find ourselves in a present moment in which we are struggling, sliding into daydreams will likely be more frequent.

Unpleasant Emotion and Daydreaming.

The state of our daydreaming is deeply affected by the state of our emotions. When in a rather pleasant state of emotion we may not feel the need to daydream. We may feel contented to stay in the moment, staying connected with the world around us.

Though as was written above, sliding into daydreams may happen more frequently when the present moment isn’t to our liking.

Life is obviously not always a pleasant thing. The more unpleasant it feels, the more difficult it is to desire to be where we are. Our minds do have the ability to at least mentally take us to another, more likable place. But of course, our bodies are left to hang out here in “reality.”

There is an obvious downside to daydreaming too much. Maladaptive daydreaming is an actual mental health disorder to show that it can get in the way of living a healthy life.

But even though daydreaming comes with some difficulties, there is at least one positive aspect of daydreaming worth understanding.

Creative Nature of Daydreaming.

The daydreaming that we do, isn’t disconnected from our lives. Whether it is about the past, the future, or even the present, our brains are working things out. They are seeking healing from the past and best path to take to what we desire for the future.

Too much daydreaming may have negative effects on the amount of happiness we feel. But daydreaming is also highly creative, meaning that it helps develop and recognize new ways to get things done. Neglecting to reap benefit from this natural process in our brains is just silly.

Our brains are going to daydream, there is no escaping this fact. Daydreaming is going to happen and with the benefits this process can give, we should want it to. What we need is to find a balanced approach to help get the benefit from this natural brain process. As well as for limiting the possible negative effects.

Daydreaming

Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

 

 

How to Be Responsible Daydreamers.

Being a responsible daydreamer also means being a balanced daydreamer. In other words, a daydreamer that doesn’t allow the activity to get out of control. But also doesn’t completely reject and stay away from its creative potential.

We have a few tips for you to help you find this daydream balance. This will help guide you to the realm of the responsible.

1. Take Care of Priorities.

Often times when we fall behind on taking care of our priorities, stress builds. The more we allow that stress to build up the more we are likely to allow our minds to wander too much.

By taking care of our priorities, we can help ensure that the daydreaming we do is healthy. So when we sit back to relax and allow our mind to wander, there isn’t a backlog of tasks that our minds have to obsess about. This frees our minds creative abilities, making it more likely that we can have a pleasant experience rather than a troubled one.

2. Stay Connected with the Present Moment as much as Possible.

There are plenty of reasons to not want to be awake in the present moment. Maybe the way things are don’t meet our standards. Possibly our jobs or our families are expecting more than we care to deal with.

But by staying connected to the moment throughout our day, when it is time to allow our minds to wander, it will be much more enjoyable.

3. Set Aside Time to let the Mind Wander.

Setting aside time tells the our brains that we are making a commitment. It allows us to know what to expect. There are several physiological benefits from daydreaming. If the areas of the brain that trigger daydreaming know they will get what they need later this evening, they may be less forceful in triggering daydreaming when it is inappropriate.

The same goes for ourselves. Knowing that we have time set aside for letting our minds wander later, will make it easier to stay focused throughout the rest of the day.

4. Being of Guidance to Daydreaming but not Controlling.

To daydream is to allow our minds to wander. Though our minds aren’t wandering if we are trying to make it wander where we want it to.

But if our minds continually wander to places that are overly negative or stress-inducing, it’s okay to gently guide it back on track. For me, I actually say “I love you” to my mind, then give my mind another option. That or I just do my best to ignore what it is trying to show me and allow it to pass.

If it won’t pass we may have to find other avenues to take.

5. If Content is Compulsively Negative, Find Something Else to do.

Sometimes when sitting down to allow the mind to wander, it can my be stuck on rather unpleasant events. In this case it may be best to find something else to do. Maybe this is happening because we aren’t taking care of our needs and priorities, or spending too much time daydreaming outside of our set time. It could also be because our emotional energies are too busy trying to figure something out.

As far as what to do instead, it should probably be something to wear off some energy like exercising or having some laughs with a friend. That or an act that helps make sense of our emotional state, like therapeutic writing, or doing some mindful breathing.

Well, that is all we have for today and thank you so much for stopping into My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth. We sincerely wish you amazing success in daydreaming in ways that are balanced and responsible. We truly believe that if you take today’s lessons to heart and apply them, that you will greatly benefit. If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us.
  1. If you would like to help support this website by offsetting some of the costs of running it. There is a PayPal button below or in the right sidebar, depending on if you are viewing with mobile or by computer.
  2. Join our email list to Enroll in our Free 7 Day Impulse Negotiation Email Course! The course will help you stop pesky unwanted behaviors, as well as develop better relationship with your bodily impulses.

 

My Life Experiment

Welcome! We are Travis and Casey Hagen, the writer's and owner's of My Life Experiment. As recovering Individuals, we are no strangers to leaving behind dysfunctional ways of living. Over the years we have become adept at managing our intense mental and emotional worlds. Finding healing from the past, peace in the present and new ways to bring about success for our futures. We promote Healthy Life Experimentation Principles for connecting with ourselves, our relationships, and finding healthier ways of bringing about success in our lives. Stick around and pick up what we have learned. You will not be disappointed.

To see our Terms and Conditions click here

 

To Support My Life Experiment.
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