By Dr. Tracy Thomas
It happens to all of us — sometimes, we just fall into a rut and life feels flat, or worse, painful. We start to wonder why things feel like they’re harder than they should be.
You have the power to change your circumstances by simply changing your mind. The mind is an incredibly powerful thing and it ultimately determines our happiness. The good news is we can train our mind to experience life in a different way with just a key set of seven mindset shifts. Are you ready for a new outlook?
1. Ditch the happiness formula you learned.
The beauty of being human is that each one of us is unique. How could anyone be happy following the same formula as everyone else when we are all so very different? If you change the numbers in a math problem, the answer comes out differently. We all have different equations and answers to the question — what will make me happy as an individual? Find your own formula and follow it.
2. Take inventory and define YOUR priorities.
Getting to know yourself will be the first step in uncovering your own happiness guide. Look at what you do and how you do it with fascination and curiosity, not judgment. Setting your priorities and being mindful of the time you spend with others is incredibly important of a self-loving life. Priorities are dynamic and will shift over time, so it’s important to continually assess your motivations and where you are choosing to give your energy.
3. Redefine how purpose shows up inside your career.
Your purpose is an expression of the person you’ve always been. It may result in various types of jobs, functions, and roles in both your personal and professional life. This isn’t about having to find your dream job or dream company (although that can be involved), it’s about connecting to who you are effortlessly and offering that value to the marketplace.
Apply your natural abilities and talents in your personal and professional life. I want you to be propelled by purpose, passion, intuition and intention.
4. It’s time to look at the expectations we have in our relationships.
We have all types of relationships in our lives. Relationships are never static: they’re a dynamic dance based on the lives of each individual. Everybody is STARVING for connection. From family ties to love affairs, people are unhappy in all types of relationships because we operate and define them by someone’s ability to meet our internal expectations instead of approaching them based on individual understanding, humanity and compassion.
No one can give you anything that you have not yet accessed alone. It’s really about connecting to yourself and the beliefs that you operate under.
5. Put your anxiety in perspective.
Even though humans have come a long way, our brains still aren’t very good at telling the difference between life-threatening danger and, well, any other kind of danger (ahem, your boss).
When you’re feeling anxious, step outside of your life and look at it objectively — what is your anxiety trying to tell you? What are the experiences that are painful for you? When you understand your anxiety and understand that the end result usually isn’t that severe, you can change the way we experience it.
6. Explore your depression.
Depression has become a story of defectiveness rather than about discovery. Depression is a symptom trying to show you something within yourself. It should catalyst self-discovery into what someone must be feeling to have such profound depressive symptoms. The key to getting out of depression is understanding that you aren’t alone and that it is an expression of your body telling you that something is off. So become an explorer and find out what’s causing it.
7. Recognize your small and big addictions and get them under control!
We all have guilty pleasures that distracts us from life when things get a little too real. When you have a bad day and don’t want to think about or deal with it anymore, your mind redirects you to the pleasure of your choice.
But pleasures turn into addictions when the habit is continued even after adverse consequences in daily life. Addiction occurs when someone can no longer make rational decisions in regard to a substance or action and continue to act without regard to the consequences.
Understanding your mindset and how to shift it is the first and biggest step to getting yourself completely out of a rut. Understanding yourself, the way you show up in the world, and what you can do to change it is the best way to start a new path to health and happiness.