The biggest challenge I have found since becoming a health coach has been getting people to take a step back. Mental, physical, and emotional change come only after we learn to take care of ourselves. Learning to take care of ourselves comes only after we can break down our everyday lives and how actions we take without even thinking about them shape how happy we are.
So let’s take a few steps back, shall we? There are many ways to begin, but here are three ways I have personally found to be game-changers when it comes to simply building awareness about yourself and what’s driving your mindfulness, focus, and mindset.
1. Focus on one aspect of your life at a time
When you wake up, decide what you would like to focus your mind on for the day. But pick just one thing. For instance, if you find yourself fixating on negativity in your interactions with people throughout your days, spend the day becoming aware of how often you find yourself complaining. Every time you find yourself complaining to someone, notice. I’m not here to say stop just yet, that comes with time. I just ask that you notice how often you are complaining in your day.
Try to spend a few weeks on this one aspect. This exercise can be done with anything. The difference between this exercise and just answering the question is simple. When someone asks you about your wellbeing, you will most likely sugarcoat your true thoughts. Not on purpose, but you tell people what you want to believe, not what is really happening...which brings me to point two.
2. Write things down or talk with a friend or a coach
Like I said in my first point, you will probably sugarcoat your thoughts. Everyone does. It’s so much easier to gloss over things that make you uncomfortable than it is to openly confront them. One way to stay honest with yourself is to follow your observation of the one aspect for the day with writing things down that happen or verbally expressing it to a friend or coach. How they make you feel, and how you respond to them.
Again, I don’t ask that you change your actions, simple express how you mind and body feel and react. Take complaining again, at some point in the day, take a few minutes to write down or talk with someone about all of the things you remember complaining about. Or talk with a friend or coach about everything that bothered you through out the day, and have them repeat it back.
Make sure if you talk with a friend, they are not agreeing or disagreeing, they are simply reflecting your thoughts back to you. Seeing or hearing what is going on inside your head gives you a more realistic viewpoint of how much you may be over or underestimating things. Over time, this exercise will help tremendously with your awareness on how you go about your day, from eating habits, to emotional feelings, to social surroundings, to physical training.
3. Ask yourself why?
After you focus on something and write it down or talk it out, then begin to ask yourself why it’s happening. To me, why can be broken down into many forms. So let’s go back to complaining. Why are you complaining? This is such a broad question, which you may think comes with a simple answer. Something annoys you, that’s why. But think deeper.
Who are you around when you find yourself complaining more? Is that person fueling the conversation or just providing confirmation on what you want to hear? Where are you when you find your thoughts wandering this way? What time of day do you find yourself becoming more irritated? By breaking down the why, you really begin to become aware of patterns. You will find patterns in every aspect of your life. From physical movement to eating habits to productivity. Once you begin to break down these patterns, that is when change can begin to occur.
Once you focus on becoming aware of your actions, change will happen. Both organically and by effort. For example, I have noticed over the course of a few weeks that I am mentally happier when I am outside.
The more time I had outside the kinder I was to myself and others around me, the more I was laughing and smiling, the more craving I had to move my body. Becoming aware of this over time, I began spending more time outside. This example was one that required almost no effort. My body craved it, I listened. But this understanding only began when my decision to simply be more aware of my mind and body became a priority.
So take a breath, and start small. Become aware, one day at a time.
About Sarah Sutin
Sarah Sutin, circus artist, health coach, and founder of Lighthouse Wellness Retreats. After a long personal journey with wellness, I went back to school at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a health coach, and Lighthouse Wellness Retreats [LWR] was born. LWR aims to guide others on all aspects of their well-beings. LWR provides workshops, personal coaching, and retreats. Becoming the happiest version of yourself is not easy, and it has been a long journey for me, which is why I am deeply passionate about what I do, coaching, and helping others find their way. Learn more about Lighthouse Wellness Retreats and how we can help you!
Instagram: @lighthousewellnessretreats and @sarahsutin
Inspired? Register for the Race for Wellness to start your fitness journey! The Race can be done from anywhere in the world and lasts September 15th to October 15th. Set your own goals and contribute to a great cause!