So many times in my life I can remember feeling completely out of control about what was going on around me. Times when I felt completely overwhelmed and powerless, a victim to life circumstances, events and other people. My emotions sat just waiting to be triggered like a box of fireworks waiting to be lit on bonfire night, that once unleashed would continue to explode uncontrollably, igniting emotion after emotion, unresolved hurt or annoyance one after the other until finally exhausted the last burst of emotion had finally fizzled itself out and I would spend a couple of days feeling numb before the next match was lit. This process honestly could last days… all it took was one spark and I was off!
At this time in my life, I had very little understanding about the immensely powerful gift that I had available to me. A gift that we all share, the gift of choice.
As human beings, we have been created with free will, the ability to choose between different possible courses of action. We get up in the morning and instantly switch on our decision-making abilities… to snooze or not to snooze, the mighty morning alarm choice! It’s instantaneous and something which we do pretty much on auto-pilot day after day, decision after decision…
What work out do I fancy this morning?
What shall I wear?
How am I going to wear my hair?
Eyeliner or eyeshadow or both?
Ooh, pink or red lipstick?
What do I fancy for breakfast?
Oh no, I’ve forgotten my scarf, have I got time to pop back home and get it?
That stranger is smiling at me, do I look at the floor or shall I smile back?
… choice after choice we live our days from morning to night. But where do our emotions fit in?
How many of you get up every day and think to yourself as you choose your outfit and brush your hair, how do I want to feel today?
Think about it, what’s the difference between asking yourself this and asking yourself what you want to wear? Happy or sad, sluggish or energetic, excited or bored… it’s a matter of choice!
So what’s stopping you?
As I sat and contemplated this very question I was reminded of a few reasons, well excuses that I used to tell myself based on my own past personal experience
1. I don’t have control over my emotions
2. I can’t choose them they just happen
3. I don’t know how to
4. It’s too hard
5. I don’t believe that it will work
6. Choosing to feel one way when I feel something else is just kidding myself
7. I am naturally negative, life is shit and so I may as well just accept it
Any of those sound familiar?
Whatever one it is that you choose, I mean after all it is just a matter of choice, each of these is just an excuse that allows us to justify the action which we choose to take. Whether that be exploding like an emotional firework or laughing out loud looking at the complete mess after you’ve dropped the washing detergent whilst the lid was open and now have approximately half a packet of detergent dusted across the kitchen floor (Yes this has happened to me and never again will I attempt to balance the box between the kitchen worktop and my body as I open the drum to put the clothes in, and yet it seemed like a good choice at the time!), it is always a matter a choice.
Do you want to change your life? Then decide to. All you need to make a choice is to know what it is that you want to achieve. If you get clear on your outcome, you can then make the choice to take decisive action towards it.
For me when I became aware that just like choosing my clothes I was able to choose how I felt I started using a simple exercise in the morning to set me up for my day. It’s also an exercise that has proved useful in helping me to manage my emotional reactions to challenges that may unexpectedly pop up throughout the course of the day.
I like to call it my 4 simple steps to smile
1. Wake up and acknowledge how you feel. Whatever the emotion is acknowledge and accept it.
2. Decide how you want to feel. After acknowledging how you have woken up feeling make a conscious decision on how you would like to spend the day feeling. What emotion would you like to bring to today?
3. Visualise yourself going through your day and all the day’s activities feeling how you want to feel. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you say? How do others interact with you? What do you look like? Get super clear on the picture of you going through your day feeling how you have chosen to feel.
4. Have a midday check-in, do you feel how you set your intention to feel this morning? If not then go back to Step 1 and repeat the process visualising the remainder of the day.
You can spend as long as you like on each step, but I would recommend spending 1 minute for steps 1-2 and up to 5 minutes on step 3, although it could be done in as little as 5 minutes if you are pressed for time. 5 minutes to see your day going the way you want it to go, feeling how you want to feel. 5 minutes to get clear on what you want, and then go out and live it.
You make decisions every day, some important, some meaningless. How about just for today, the weekend, next week you use your power of choice to set your intention for how you want to feel? What difference could it make to your life if you start to make a conscious decision on the attitude you want to bring to every day and the way in which you want to experience the world?
Try it for 7 days, 5 minutes every morning and lunchtime, to use your gift of choice to change your life… what’s it going to be...
What do you choose?
To download your very own copy of the 4 simple steps to smile contained above click here and you will be taken to a downloadable version that you can keep on your phone or print and have available to you whenever you want it.
To inquire about my 1:1 coaching packages email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Make the choice today to start living your dreams x