Get a Life – Part II

There is a major distinction between a life and a lifestyle?

Life is the essence of who you are. It is based totally on inner self, radiating from within. It is your choice how you live your life – happy or depressed, inspired or discouraged, experiencing enjoyment and seizing moments of opportunities or constantly striving to portray a fallacy.

Lifestyle is based on externals – those possessions accumulated to impress others and fill a void.  Things do not necessarily make you happy. In fact, ownership most often complicates life.  Happiness comes from within, not from belongings.

 

Experts say that the majority of stress is centered on how we spend our time and money. Take a look at these two aspects -- time and money -- in your life:

I.  Sit down with your calendar and review your activities for the past three to six months. Was it mostly for work in order to pay the bills? You know that cycle – work more, earn more, spend more, work more, earn more, spend more and continue to work more and more. And, when you come home you collapse in front of the TV for mindless entertainment.

If your energy level were higher and stress level lower,

what exactly would you do with your time? 

II.  Now take a close look at your checkbook. What are your biggest expenses – home, car, food, entertainment and clothes? Do you need to work overtime in order to make ends meet? How would your life be affected if your home were smaller or in a different area? Would you need to continue to work those extra hours? Would your commute time be less therefore less expense on car and gas? What about the food bill? Do you find that eating out is easier and less stressful than preparing a meal at home? Is that because you do not have the time or energy to shop and cook? Is the convenience of having someone else cook meals worth working longer hours to pay for it? Would the expense of dining out be less if you did not work such long hours? Would you eat healthier if you spent a little time cooking your own meals? Would you feel more like exercising if you were not drained of energy after work? Is your stress level worth the price you pay with the extended working hours?

How are you doing with your TIME and MONEY and ENERGY?  Check out the reading material on the Learning Center page.  Then, leave a comment below.

 

Get a Life!

"The trappings of lifestyle are often that -- traps." 

~ Thomas Leonard, Coach

Americans spend over $4 billion a year on over-the-counter pain relieves for headaches. Prevention costs nothing. Stress management skills help you maintain an upbeat level of energy and increased vitality. You can learn to identify and control stress triggers.

Over-stressed Rx = Get a life!

This cliche is usually said with sarcasm. However, it is actually very good advice. Are you among the multitude that invests in an overly abundant lifestyle? Do you think you need that new car, boat or expensive vacation to feel important and successful? Would life be perfect if you had that new suit, a diamond ring, a bigger TV?

Our homes have become a warehouse for possessions that enhance our lifestyle but fall short of enhancing our life. Americans are good consumers. The Madison Avenue philosophy ensnares us every day.

What would happen if you turned your resources -- time, energy and money -- toward investing in your life instead of a hectic lifestyle?

  • Imagine how much better you would feel if eight hours of sleep became more important than the new sitcom on TV or time spent surfing the web?
  • How much would you enhance your life if you spent time reading a book rather than wandering through the mall with credit card in hand?
  • Have you ever stopped to realize how much your time is really worth? Do you want to continue spending time to work and earn money so you can acquire more stuff which necessitates more money and time just to maintain, store, repair, clean... ?
  • What about the effects that clutter (the excess in your life) has on your physical and mental health?
  • Have you ever thought about how clutter invades your happiness and peacefulness?

Rather than acquiring stuff, start feeding your life. A constant flow of money earned/money spent increases stress in all aspects of life. However, a well-nourished life keeps the stress level down. Reducing stress means making choices that are important to you. There are always choices, so choose wisely.

I am not suggesting that you abandon work, throw out everything you own and run away to the mountains. Just take some time and consider what you need to feel alive. Start making the shift from acquiring more stuff to acquiring more peaceful moments. Be mindful of the tasks you undertake. Concentrate on your health, your family, your friends. You are the only person responsible for reducing your stress level.

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Stress happens when you continually compare yourself and your life to others. There will always be people who have more and people who have less than you do. If you continually play the comparison game you face too many opponents you cannot defeat and your stress level increases exponentially.  Decide what is truly important to you and say NO to those things that do not add value to your life.

In who or what do your core values lie – family, friends, work, solitude, knowledge, community service, writing, exercise, financial independence, spiritual awareness, gardening, travel, saving the rainforest, dusting, cleaning, making money, buying insurance… ? Each individual’s life has personal significance, a special purpose as unique as fingerprints. Have you ever thought about your purpose in life? Take time to write down your personal purpose or mission statement. It will become your beacon when making choices. There will be times when you will need to choose between two valid core wants. When you are fully aware of your mission and the purpose of your life, then you can choose wisely. Choice is power. A truly memorable moment is when you can say “No” to something very good in order to say “Yes” to something even better.

Think about an attitude change and start to count your blessings. Complaining only bogs you down and drains your energy while you drag others down with you. Grumbling about the mess you are in, or the disorganization around you, or all the things you do not have and cannot afford, will do nothing to change the situation. Moaning and groaning bring forth more moaning and groaning. The resultant stress is negative energy that creates a downward spiral.

Begin to develop a mental state of gratitude and try to appreciate all the talents and gifts you have. When you begin to feel and express gratitude, your energy will soar. Daily tasks will roll off your back and creative ideas will flow naturally. Accepting your life with a thankful heart, rather than craving for more, is a natural de-stressor.

Start your attitude change by opening your eyes and becoming more aware of your surroundings.  Be observant to the abundance around you and be cognizant of the amount of time wasted thinking about stuff you do not have. The desire to have more and do more cripples your ability to live a creative, joyful existence. It squelches the opportunities waiting for your awareness.

Stop bemoaning the past.

Stop projecting into the future.

Live in the present moment.

 

CLICK HERE to read more on A is for Attitude.

Life is only a comparison of where we are

with where we would rather be.

~~ Dennis Howe, PhD,Research Professor of Optical Sciences,University of Arizona