You Can’t Complain Your Way to a Happier Life
By: Alysia Lyons
(3 min read)
Yesterday morning, I was in talking to my boyfriend about a conversation I had with someone close to me. She was complaining about a person in her life that loves to brag. You know that type: If you tell them you went for a two-mile walk today, they tell you that they walked ten. And if you went rock climbing in Yosemite, they tell you they climbed Mount Everest barefoot.
The funny thing about the conversation was that my friend was doing the exact thing; she was complaining about what her friend does. After listening to my story, my boyfriend says, “You can’t complain your way into a happier life.” We both reveled in the brilliance of that statement. And I knew it had to be my next blog title.
I’ve been consciously making an effort to improve my life, and the people in my life have started taking notice, which feels amazing, and I’ve been struggling to remember exactly what I’ve been doing so I can help others do it, too.
This morning I woke up at 5 AM like I usually do, I listened to a guided meditation from YouTube, like I usually do, and I saw a video on my suggested watch list that was titled: Do this first thing in the morning. It was only 17 minutes long, so I thought, why not?
And just like that, I got the answer to my question: What exactly was I doing to improve my life?
In his 17-minute video broke down, he explained how this particular routine sets him up for having a good day, and although I don’t do one of the things he suggests, I understood and appreciated the reason behind his suggestions. I also enjoyed the breakdown of why he does each of the things. I also liked that when you break it down, there are really only two steps.
The first thing is to get two small wins: Get up when your alarm clock goes off and make your bed.
I would say that I get up when my alarm goes off 95% of the time these days. I do allow myself the flexibility of going back to sleep if my body is telling me it needs it, but most of the time, I get up when the alarm goes off.
I don’t make my bed when I wake up because I get up so much earlier than my boyfriend, and making my side of the bed would disrupt his sleep. But I do like the idea of having a made bed every day, so I will make it a point to ensure that it gets done after he gets up.
The second thing he suggests for your morning is to go to a designated spot in your house which is your meditation or gratitude spot. Pick a set amount of time (you can start small with a minute or two and build up to more time). Focus on your breathing and everything you’re grateful for.
When you focus on your breathing, it forces your mind to stay in the present moment. Our minds love to live in the past or in the future. Our past can be very painful, and most of the time, when we think of the future, we think of all the things that can go wrong. But when you stay in the present moment, it helps quiet those fears.
When you focus on gratitude, you are actually training your brain to look for the good in situations. It’s like when you buy a new car, and before you did, you never saw that car, and now you see it everywhere. When you train your brain to look for things to be grateful for, you will find more things to be grateful for. Even when something bad happens, you will see the good in the situation.
I’ve seen this happen in my life as I started focusing on gratitude, but it wasn’t really anything I could articulate until I heard the breakdown on this podcast.
Improving your life doesn’t have to take dramatic changes. It can be two very small shifts, done with intention. Don’t believe me? Give it a try for a week and see if you don’t notice a positive change.
All Things Wellness, LLC
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