Now's the time: Pause your pursuit of happiness and...

June 8, 2017

just be happy.

 

 

This quote resonated with me this week. I have been pursuing my goals, expanding my social network and reaching out to new clients for a few years now. Now and again, we do need to give it a rest. For today, don’t chase happiness. Be happy with what you have!

We have wrapped up our key elements in Champion Choices, so it seemed natural to take a moment and ground ourselves. I have just done that personally as I saw U2 in concert in LA and Chicago. After taking time to enjoy the music, message and summer weather I have even more energy and new ideas for the travel thriller I am writing.

 

How do you unwind?

I recently read an article that mentioned that millennials are spending a lot of time and money on self-care. So, this topic came up with friends of all ages.

Whether the conflict comes from constant newsfeeds, or it’s in your mind, we can all use some downtime. Let’s take a look at self-care based on definitions from Psychology Today: While an enhanced regimen of self-care may sound like a good idea, most people are fuzzy on what self-care is and how to practice it. 

 

Medical and mental health professionals pioneered the concept of self-care by prescribing healthy lifestyle changes and stress management behaviors.  Unfortunately, these prescriptions are often ignored because they require hard work and perseverance.

The term self-care became popular in the 1980s. It is now common to hear talk about needing to take better care of oneself. Consequently, it became irresistibly profitable for advertisers to perpetuate the fantasy that self-care can be easy. As a result of the self-care marketing blitz, many of us think that getting pedicures, choosing hand-dipped dark chocolates, and buying 10,000-thread count bed linens equal self-care.  

 

What self-care is not

Self-care is not self-pampering - not that there's anything wrong with self-pampering - pedicures, dark chocolates, and other luxuries. That is, as long as you can afford luxuries.  Spending money that you don't have is self-indulgence.     

Self-care is not self-indulgence.  Popularly, the terms self-care and self-indulgence are used interchangeably, as in "Oh, go ahead, indulge. You deserve it."  We tell ourselves that we are practicing self-care when, in fact, we are engaging in self-indulgence. Self-indulgence is characterized by avoidance of the effortful and substitution of quick and easy antidotes. We tell ourselves that the stresses of the day have drained our energy and that vegging on the sofa with a quart of ice cream or a six-pack of beer is all we can expect of ourselves. Rather than shouldering the hard work of self-care, we settle for temporary and largely symbolic fixes - some of which actually stress our systems further.

 

Practicing self-care

Self-care means choosing behaviors that balance the effects of emotional and physical stressors: exercising, eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, practicing yoga or meditation or relaxation techniques, abstaining from substance abuse, pursuing creative outlets, engaging in psychotherapy. Also essential to self-care is learning to self-soothe or calm our physical and emotional distress. Remember your mother teaching you to blow on the scrape on your knee? This was an early lesson in self-soothing but the majority of adults haven't the foggiest notion how to constructively soothe themselves.

Sure, there’s a mindfulness element: What makes you feel better? Do you feel better after eating the pint of ice cream? Or is one scoop enough?

And gratitude: Be happy with what you have now. Somethings have worked out for you! Remember what that feels like and let the smile back in.

 

I will close this week with a poetic quote from Bono, at the end U2’s show in Chicago:

“Tonight, in your city by the lake,

This is for the furious, and the faithful

To those holding on

And those letting go

to the American dream…”

 

We’ll be back next week to continue the journey as Future Entrepreneurs.

 

Cheers & fair winds,

 

Akasha Garnier

Author, Branding Expert, Producer

Originally written for The Wishwall Foundation, Future Entrepreneurs          

 

[Photo by Akasha Garnier: Bono and Adam Clayton of U2, at Soldier Field, Chicago.]

 

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