Time to Take Stock
Closing out 2019 and the 2010-decade provides us with a great opportunity to engage in a healthy dose of self-reflection.
Being transparent with ourselves regarding our life situations can be very difficult. It is also entirely necessary to our wellbeing.
You can’t advance yourself by simply looking at where you want to go - you also need to be sure of where you are.
Oftentimes, our situation can look far better or far worse than it actually is. Depending on our personalities, we may become fixated on the good in our lives, and then become complacent - or can start obsessing over the negatives, becoming hopeless and sedentary.
If you are going to take stock, you need to look at the entire inventory.
Read on to understand how you can start accurately reflecting on all aspects of yourself.
The body is typically the easiest part of ourselves to self-analyze as it is the most clearly indicative when it is not being satiated. Aches and pains abound when we aren’t feeding our body both literally and metaphorically.
Getting older doesn’t mean that we HAVE to navigate through daily pain. While our bodies do get more fragile as we age, there is a misconception about all pain being “naturally-occurring.” Allow me to explain.
Do you have lower back pain? Many of us do.
While ageing may make us more susceptible to lower back pain… it is not the CAUSE of lower back pain. Causes can be as innocuous as:
- Sleeping in an uncomfortable position
- Working out too much
- Wearing a poorly-fitting backpack
If aches and pains aren’t actually DUE to the ageing process… why do so many of us write off these pains as just “part of getting older?”
It’s totally fine to want to feel better than you do. Horrible aches and pains are not an inevitable part of life. If not completely solved, the pains can be mitigated and managed.
Some simple questions to ask yourself regarding your bodily health:
- Do you drink enough water?
- Do you get enough sleep?
- Do you exercise regularly?
Take some time to analyse how your body feels. Not just new pain, but pain that you have learned to function with. It doesn’t matter how big or small it is. If it is something you would rather live without, write it down.
The mind is a trickier beast to tame. Reflecting on how our mind feels takes a great deal of self-awareness - something that may not always come easily.
What affects the health of the mind is our life experience. Much of that experience can be especially painful and even traumatic.
We invite you to find a meditative state. Set a timer for yourself - even for just 10 minutes - and find a quiet place to yourself. Sit comfortably and relax your mind. Don’t try and force your mind blank - just let it go wherever it wants to go.
Finding a level of relaxation can be difficult. Stay with it.
Once you start becoming comfortable with finding a state of meditation, we want you to become mindful of the challenging life experiences or trauma that have occurred in your life. Don’t close yourself off to any event, no matter how recently or how long ago it happened.
Put yourself back into your own shoes before the event. Look at how you lived then, and compare it to how you live now.
Don’t place any judgment on what is better or worse. Just be mindful of the differences.
We cannot change what has happened in our lives. We cannot undo trauma. But we can change our relationship to that pain. We can be in charge of our own outlook on life.
Take some time now to record your impressions of your own outlook. Do you find yourself looking to the future in eager anticipation? Or do you find it hard to be anything other than cynical about the fate of the world? Could these perspectives be informed unfairly by your traumatic events?
What do you do for YOURSELF on a day-to-day basis? We’re not talking about the necessities of eating and sleeping - what time do you take to make life more joyful for yourself?
Arguably the most underrated dimension of our health is taking care of the spirit. Many of us work a full-time job with familial obligations on top of it. It becomes easy to write off time for ourselves as “time wasted” or “lazy behavior.”
This is such a dangerous notion.
Taking care of the spirit is imperative to making sure we are living a fruitful and purposeful life. When we feel we are doing this, pain plays a far less dominant and controlling role in our lives.
So how do you tell if you are taking a healthy amount of time for yourself?
What are your hobbies? So many people look at us blankly when we ask this. It’s such a shame we live in a time where hobbies are seen as a luxury! Which activity do you do regularly that yields no capital benefit - that you simply do because it brings you joy?
How are your interpersonal relationships with others? Not just in your family, but at work? Do you have a good deal of transparency with your coworkers? Do conversations with others feel like a chore?
Do you feel comfortable expressing your opinions? Do you feel welcome to contribute your ideas? Do you keep thoughts to yourself for fear of confrontation with someone else?
Take a few moments to note answers to these prompts. When you see your answers written out in front of you, do they surprise you? How does seeing them make you feel?