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Numbing. The number one thing we as Americans do to ease the anxiety, perfectionism, fear and frustration of life. We numb through alcohol, food, TV, video games, reading mindless fiction, gossip and exercise. Is all numbing bad? No, I enjoy a nice glass of wine. I had a fabulous cupcake for dessert today and my nearest and dearest and I love zoning out in front of the TV on occasion. BUT when numbing becomes a way of life, then we have a problem. I am not talking about indulging in mindless behavior from time to time. I am talking about: CHECKING OUT OF YOUR LIFE, going through the motions and not engaging.
- When my nearest and dearest and I spend 3 nights in a row watching bad TV and playing Words with Friends (with each other on our iPads) we have a problem!!
- When you can’t remember the last time you really had a conversation with your kids that didn’t involve a phone or a computer, then we have a problem.
- When 1 cupcake becomes 5 on a regular basis, then we have a problem.
- When you can’t remember the last time you really engaged in an activity that made you joyous, then we have a problem.
- When every day looks like the last, then we have a problem.
Numbing has become a way of life. Checking out is easier then having the tough conversations, facing the “OMG how did I get here?!?!” moment, or realizing the job/relationship/house that was suppose to be temporary has been around for over 5 years. Bottom line if checking out is easier—why would I want to check in???
Because once you get over the initial hump of re-engaging checking in means you are living YOUR life. You are doing work YOU enjoy, in a relationship that is loving and supportive and living a life YOU want to be living. Checking in means you have a life you designed and you are able to tweak and change it as you grow and change. Checking in means technicolor, connections, engagement, passion and love. Ready to re-engage?
- FIRST you have to build awareness of when you check out and why. So start noticing your favorite mode of checking out–is it watching TV, over eating, over exercising, or drinking too much?
- Start noticing when you are engaging in your checking out behaviors–what happened right before or through out the day to trigger the need to check out? Be gentle here and give yourself A LOT of room. Sometimes something that appears small may have caused us to check out, but in reality it is just the tip of the iceberg.
- Ask yourself what am I FEELING? What am I AVOIDING? What am I AFRAID of? And most importantly where do I need some COMPASSION? Then take action, take a baby step. Express the feeling, reach out to someone, start journaling, cry, scream, be sad. Just DO something where you are engaging in your life.
- Start having regular conversations with yourself and other people about what really matters to you. What do you want out of your life? What small steps can you take to implement these passions interests? What big steps do you need to take to implement these passions? How can you break down the big steps?
Checking in to life and stopping the constant numbing is the first step to Living Happier. I guarantee taking back control of your life is amazing!!