Modern day resources and technology make self-help knowledge abundantly available. Jump on Google and submit a search. Amidst the vast availability of spiritual/self-help knowledge, the cultivation of happiness and productivity seem to boil down to one simple thing: feeling good. Feeling good takes precedence over ‘what I know.’ Imagine the days when you feel good. Happiness radiates without effort, the day has a flow to it, and things get done. Conversely, when we feel like crap, happiness becomes a chore. Action comes from obligation rather than inspiration. I can accumulate tons of intellectual knowledge, but if I’m not investing myself into the sustainable habits that leave me feeling good, that knowledge loses its significance, its relevance. Knowledge is for action. It is wonderful in and of itself, but if we have not found the means to a consistent state of feeling good, there is much work to be done.
Our daily existence is our research lab. When we make a choice, take an action, develop a relationship, start a job, eat a meal, or move across the country…. We get feedback. Personal experiences are the feedback. This is an opportunity to shift and adjust according to the feedback we receive.
Some examples: ‘When I eat this, I tend to feel energized and lively.’ ‘When I don’t exercise, I tend to feel lazy.’ ‘When I meditate regularly, I notice that my mind is clear and sharp.’ ‘When I spend time with this person I am left feeling heavy and uninspired.’ ‘When I sleep in, I notice that it takes me several hours to create momentum in my day.’ ‘When I listen to that podcast, I tend to take massive, positive action.’ ‘When I watch the news, I catch myself becoming more negative.’
An Exercise: Log your activities and choices for the day. As each one occurs, write down the ways in which it makes you feel. Words like light, heavy, anxious, connected, centered, joyful, isolated, depressed, inspired, silly, bored, angry, and peaceful, are good ones to use. Be descriptive and learn from this new awareness.
Personally, I have discovered a handful of choices that either greatly support or greatly hinder me showing up as my current best. In looking at the major wellness categories of my life, I notice these practices personally serve me well:
- Eating: Lighter portions, fresh foods, less meat, more water, lots of fruits and veggies, warm/hot/spicy foods, not eating late at night.
- Sleeping: Going to bed earlier and waking up early, with the sun.
- Exercise: Regular exercise and alternating the types of exercise I engage in. Group and competitive physical fitness.
- Meditation: Regularity is everything for me. Organizing and facilitating group meditations. Building community.
- Relationships: Those people that acknowledge my potential, predominantly embody positivity, and inspire me to grow every day.
An Invitation: Explore how things feel. Discover what makes you feel good, what cultivates sustainable joy, what inspires you, and what motivates you to be of service. Make conscious choices to implement these on a regular basis. From this foundation of feeling good, the world is our oyster and we can actually enjoy the ride of fulfilling our desires. Happiness is the fragrance of feeling good, and productivity naturally flows.
Prioritize this and reap the benefits!
All original material copyright © 2016 Matthew Spangler