Living Your Best Life
This has come up in 2 conversations in the last week, and so I thought, why not explore this!
“Living Your Best Life” … it’s a phrase that gets said in various ways, but essentially boils down to a philosophy of focusing on the positive aspects and leaving behind the negative or less desirable aspects.
But how do you actually do that? Here are 3 ways I have used and seen work with others that might help you think about it …
Compartmentalism. There is often a tendency to think about “everything” in one big lump, especially to think about your work (i.e. paid employment) as needing to be All Fulfilling. If you are very lucky, it can be, I certainly have had periods of my life where the joy, energy and self satisfaction came from in and around my workplace. But there are also periods where my “job” was just that … a job. I showed up, I did my work to the best of my ability, I got paid for that effort, there is nothing wrong with that! But then I had other outlets where I gained that personal fulfillment because I could not or didn’t want to have that singularity where they were the same thing. Part of the reason this site exists is because it is the place where I feel energized to help others and offer a level of philanthropic behavior.
Overthinking. I am a terrible overthinker. I suspect it’s a byproduct of my panic disorder and anxiety. Overthinking is when you continue to ponder a subject or matter beyond what it deserves or is healthy for your brain. A good example is when someone says something or has not responded to you, or inadvertently leaves you out of a discussion or meeting. You start to think about why … did I do something wrong, am I being excluded deliberately, do people not know I exist or what my role is … so many debilitating thoughts, none of which are helpful in the slightest. But you will have them. And you need to find a way to leave them behind, because otherwise they will eat you alive. If you have a supportive workplace, tell them that you do this and ask for assistance by ensuring you’re included, or know that if you ask or exhibit odd behaviors that’s the reason. In a workplace that provides accommodations and is truly inclusive, this will not be a problem. If you can not, or do not feel comfortable doing that, the best recommendations I have are to either talk to someone you trust about it and see if you’re overreacting or not, or leverage some meditation or other calming artifact to reduce your brain activity.
Write it down. I have a practice of writing down things that I make decisions on or arrive at an intent on something. Things like “I’ve decided that work is just a job, and I’m going to find my outlet for joy elsewhere”, write that down. Then when you have that moment, when you feel that anxiety, you overthink things, read that note and remember, you made that decision, let it go, move on. It’s a hard routine to get into, and I still sometimes forget. Then I look at it again, and have that relaxing feeling of … oh yeah, this is by design. Take that moment to pause, reset, maybe close your eyes for a minute, and look at things afresh. If you’re not making a change to the model, you’re done. If you want to make a change, do so with intent and then tackle the problem at hand.
No matter how you do it, enjoy life, we only get one and it’s too damn short.