Do you ever feel stuck?
You know, like life isn't moving in the direction you want it to, and things aren't evolving, but you're not sure why.
Perhaps, you're eating foods that nourish you, moving your body, progressing in your career, and connecting in with loved ones. And yet, it feels like you're not truly happy or moving forward.
Can you relate?
I was there last year.
And so, I set out on an intentional ever-evolving self-development journey. It's taken time, but I can now say that I'm committed to shifting how I process my thoughts and emotions and how I perceive the world around me.
In saying that, it has taken time and work. Evolving is a conscious choice I make every day. At its core, this evolution has allowed me to see that I am an active participant in my life; things happen for me, not to me. Do you understand the difference?
This radical shift in thinking takes time and means you have to change some thinking modes, priorities and habits. I know that sounds tough, but the rewards are worth it.
I'm going to show you how you, too, can live your best life. Yes, even in the middle of a global pandemic where the sands are constantly shifting.
Here are the ten top things that have helped me and I hope that if this resonates with you, they will help you too 🙂
1. Know Your Values
What matters most to you?
While society has told us for so long that certain things matter, like cars, shoes and big houses, we all know the fulfilling stuff in life isn't stuff at all; it's the connection to self and love.
So, ask yourself, what matters most to you?
Is it your family? Friendships? Kindness? Love? Changing the world? Laughter? Meditation?
And now ask yourself: are you living life in a way that serves that purpose?
If family matters most to you, but you're constantly spending time on your phone or doing overtime at the office, are you living in a way that serves that purpose?
While we can't always control things (and hey, I'm not going to tell you that work's unimportant), perhaps commit to one thing a day that helps you move towards that purpose.
If you do have to spend a long time at the office, but family matters most to you, why not call a relative on the way home from work? Do something each day to help you move closer to living your life aligned with what you care most about.
2. Deal with any Unresolved Trauma
It's so common to regret or feel shame about your past. No matter how traumatic your past was, you can learn so much about yourself and the world around you if you can process the complex emotions that you attach to past experiences.
Teaching your brain to learn from the past can help you think more clearly in the present. Sometimes our feelings and behaviours can interfere with everyday life, work and our relationships with others.
If you feel you may have some unresolved trauma in your life some of the symptoms to look out for are:
- Flashbacks of the traumatic happenings
- Nightmares or intrusive thoughts about past events
- Feeling angry, or agitated or having outbursts for no apparent reason
- Blaming yourself or others
- Not sleeping well and feeling jumpy or impatient
- Health anxiety and putting your body under a microscope
- Going into flight or flight mode
- Avoiding people or places that trigger you
- Feeling detached from the world and dissociated and not wanting to be around people
- Avoiding the issue and using drugs, alcohol, food to numb you
- Heightened vigilance and anticipating danger
One way that you can help heal trauma yourself is remind yourself that you are safe every day, and practice creating safety in the body. Tell yourself you are not afraid or fearful. Commit to regulating your nervous system through psychology, meditation, journaling and yoga.
3. Do More of What you Love
As a kid, did you do things that you loved for the pure joy of it?
Sport? You were there.
Dance lessons? Of course.
Art classes? You're totally in.
Drama? Sure, why not?
But, as an adult, do you do things you love for the pure joy of it? Hobbies are linked to improved wellbeing and reduced stress.1
So, what do you love to do for pure joy?
If you can't think of something that you do now, is there something you used to love doing as a kid?
Perhaps it's painting, reading or writing stories?
Or maybe it's your love of animals? Have you ever played with your dog or groomed your cute puppy? As you progress through the process, you become more aware of details, such as the fact that 100% cotton papers are excellent for painting with watercolors, or that special biodegradable dog wipes are used exclusively for your dog.
By the way, my dog Cashew gets jealous when I eat these fritters.
I've always loved gardening and find time to do it weekly. And I just started knitting a chunky blanket.
For you, it may be time to pick up a pen and write poems or book in for dance lessons again.
Whatever it is, commit to doing it at least once a fortnight. I promise once you start, you'll want to do it more.
4. Be Present
After one of the most challenging years of my life, I committed to a daily Vedic meditation practice, and I can honestly say it's been life-changing. You can read more about my meditation practice here.
Research has revealed that a simple way to be happier and live your best life comes from the ability to enjoy and be mindful in every moment.2
Mindfulness provides a plethora of benefits, including improved physical and mental health.
You can start right now.
Close your eyes and take five deep breaths in and out of your nose.
Then, observe five things you can hear, five you can see, and five you can feel without judgment.
It really can be as easy as that.
5. Be Kind to You
How kind are you to you?
I know, I know, it can sound incredibly cheesy, but many of us have learned to be self-critical in the face of challenges, and we're wired to look for things that we dislike about ourselves. However, the research shows that self-criticism can have a considerable impact on the quality of our lives and our health.
On the flip side of that coin, self-compassion and the ability to reassure ourselves can help lower our risk of depression, anxiety and stress.
Next time stress creeps in, and you find yourself being self-critical, visualise comforting images.
Other ways to be kind to yourself are:
- Take time out for yourself
- Learn the art of forgiveness
- Practice daily self care
- Give up trying to be perfect
- Follow your passions and dreams
- Tell yourself you are enough
- Recognise your achievements and give yourself a pat on the back
- Be your biggest cheerleader
- Learn how to self soothe
- Trust yourself and set solid boundaries
- Just be you!
Sometimes, life sends us curveballs that we're not prepared for (shoutout to 2020 and 2021), so it's essential to know how to realign ourselves and connect to our goals. If you find yourself talking negatively to yourself, re-focus through deep breaths, journaling or meditation.
6. Nervous System Food
There's a sophisticated system between the gut and the brain called the gut-brain-axis, which you can read about here. If the gut is thriving, likely, the nervous system is too. Unfortunately, that does mean if the digestive system is imbalanced, you're more likely to experience feelings of worry, stress and anxiety.
To support the gut-brain axis, cleanse your gut with Love Your Gut powder and Love Your Gut capsules. As many gut issues can be traced back to an unclean and inefficient digestive tract, Love Your Gut helps clean out the accumulated build-up of waste toxins, metals and mucous in the digestive tract. It's also anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic. You can try it in powder form here or, for easy on-the-go use, get it in capsule form here.
Then follow up with a prebiotic, probiotic, fibre and digestive enzyme formula like our Love Your Gut Synbiotic. It populates your gut microbiome with quality probiotics, feeds the microflora with prebiotics, and supports the digestive system with dietary fibre and digestive enzymes to facilitate a postbiotic environment. A healthy gut means a healthy, active brain environment!
Be sure you're consuming enough B vitamins. B vitamins help maintain a healthy nervous system and can help fight stress.3 In one clinical trial, 60 participants took either a placebo or vitamin B complex for three months. The group that took the B complex experienced lower personal strain, reduced confusion and an improved mood than the placebo group. Find Vitamin B in whole grains, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, vegetables and legumes.
Steer clear of caffeine and refined sugar, as these can elevate cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and lead to prolonged adverse effects on your physical and mental wellbeing.4
7. Social Connections
If we've learned anything from a certain disease (not mentioning any names) taking over the world, it's the importance of social connections. Having a sense of community is essential in making us feel happy and like we belong, plus it's integral to wellbeing and health.5
However, if you're on a healing or personal development journey, it's common to feel disconnected from your old friendships. If you feel like your current friends aren't supporting you, you're not alone. It's important to remember that hurt people hurt people, and healed people heal people. It's okay to let go and create healthy boundaries with people who don't support you or drain your energy.
If you feel disconnected or like you want to strengthen different connections, consider calling a friend each day, joining a group or book club or exploring community events where you'll meet people with shared interests.
8. Find Your Flow
I touched on flow a little earlier, but I want to focus on it. Finding flow is a powerful way to connect with yourself and experience positive emotions.6
If you've never heard of flow, allow me to explain. Flow is when you are so engrossed in what you're doing and get in the zone that you stop thinking about anything else, including that negative inner-critic. Flow is mindfulness in action. You may experience flow when reading a book, writing, playing an instrument, running, doing yoga or cooking.
Being in flow increases happiness, boosts creativity and will help you reach optimal performance. Find things that transfer your mind to a flow state to start living your best life today.
9. Develop Routines and Positive Habits
Do you sweat the small stuff?
I know I have.
One of the reasons we let the small stuff get in the way is because we haven't taken the chance to establish routines and habits. Routines can help us reduce distraction and accomplish what we need to do, including reading our emails, cooking and even cleaning.
Commit to a tiny ritual and stay committed to it for thirty days. After thirty days, a ritual will become a habit. It doesn't need to be significant. It can be anything from a ten-minute walk before work to five deep breaths upon waking. When you've mastered that ritual, add in another. Be patient and commit every day. Rituals take a lot of time but are the key to daily evolution.
If you struggle to stick to a ritual, try habit stacking. Habit stacking is when you put one habit in between two practices that you already do.
For example, when I first started meditating in the morning, my morning routine used to look like this: wake up, feed my pets, go to the bathroom, brush my teeth, go for a walk and have breakfast. So, I simply slotted a meditation practice in between two habits that I already did: brushing my teeth and going for a walk. It worked like a charm.
10. Move Your Body
Exercise is essential for a happy and healthy life, with the research indicating it can prevent long-term illness, improve mood and even increase longevity.7
So, what exercise will you do? I like to do a mix of walking, yoga and Pilates, but find what works best for you and commit to moving at least three times a week. You'll notice the difference.
It's Time for You to Live Your Best Life
Living your best life requires knowing what matters the most to you and reflecting this in the way you live each day. With intention, the small changes you make can have a life-altering difference.
I'd love to know: which of the ten pieces for living your best life resonates the most? Let me know in the comments below.