A number of my coaching conversations recently have centered around creating a better quality of life despite one's current state or circumstances. Rather than waiting until full recovery to engage in life, how do we start to engage more now? How can we bring in more of our values into everyday living in a way that brings more meaning and enjoyment? How do we bring living life to the forefront, rather than recovery, while still going through the process of recovery?
These questions remind me of the research outcomes taught in Positive Psychology. One of differences between people who are happy and thriving in their lives, and those who are not, is how they relate to their present circumstances. People who are typically unhappy or are not doing as well are always waiting for the next thing, thinking that is what will bring them happiness. "Once I get that job, or have that house, or get more financial stability, then I'll be happy." The sad truth is that while the introduction of those things may bring temporary feelings of happiness it doesn't last because, once very basic needs are met, lasting happiness does not come from external circumstances or conditions, it comes from within. It comes from making peace with where we are at. This is not the same as resigning to our current circumstances but rather a reorientation toward what is going well and what we can engage in and enjoy, and how we can be in the world despite the challenges that are present. What strengths do we have in the present that we can bring to the forefront today? What values do we hold as important to us and how can we enact those values as we live our day to day lives?
Take the focus off of what we want to change and put it toward not only what we want to create, but how we want to be in the world. Remember, where our focus goes our energy flows. Energy affects matter and influences our state of being on many different levels. And even in the darkest times where there may be a lot going on, we still can choose how we show up, embrace and enact our values, and find quality in the little things available to us in everyday life. One of the silver linings of having a limbic system impairment is that it gives us an opportunity to have a new lease on life. The things that most people take for granted, we learn to appreciate and savour. We can find meaning and value in the seemingly mundane. We can train ourselves to "take in the good,"as Rick Hanson likes to call it. When our focus shifts from away from what we do toward who we are, how we show up in the world, and what we choose to create from this place, there is incredible potential to have a high quality of life despite the physical challenges or limitations we may experience.
If you are interested in connecting more deeply with the values that matter in your life, there is a free Values in Action (VIA) character survey you can take that will tell you your top values. It can be found at here.
Until next time!
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Candy Widdifield is Registered Clinical Counsellor, Wellness Coach, and Registered Reiki Master Teacher in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. She works with people all over the world, helping them to optimize their wellbeing and thrive in their lives. Her modalities include coaching, therapy, Reiki and the Safe & Sound Protocol. More information about Candy can be found at www.candywiddifield.com