Making Your 3 Homes Nicer Places to Live
To start making our 3 Homes nicer places to live, let's take a look at how to identify problems that can cause them to need some changes
Making our Three Homes - our Minds, our Bodies and our World - nicer places to live involves change. If everything were perfect, there would be no need for any improvements. You can make choices and changes that improve and maintain your Body, Mind and World.
To make changes, we need to make choices, but how do we know what will really make things better for our health, wellbeing and environment?
First things first, we’ve got to figure out what the root of the problem is - otherwise we’ll come up with lots of short-term relief, without long-term improvement.
Getting Trapped in a Negative Cycle
It may seem simple to think about what are things that cause you problems - we’re awfully good at identifying negative things that are impacting our lives. We can spend hours talking about them, stressing about them and distracting ourselves from them. But often we don’t seem to get much further than that. It’s a rinse-and-repeat cycle that keeps us trapped in focusing on the negative - negative feelings, negative situations, negative relationships - negativity all around. But nothing changes, because we don't enact change - thinking and talking about problems is only half of the solution.
In Control, Not In Control
One reason we can get trapped in this negative cycle is not being able to identify which problems are in our control to fix and which ones are not. You always have control over your reaction and the amount of energy you put into any given situation, but you’re not always in control of the situation or solution. For example, I live in a building that has two systems that control the temperature - a boiler and a chiller. Since these systems are mutually exclusive, each unit in the building cannot switch between A/C and heat themselves based on what would make them and their family comfortable - the building controls when the switch is made, so it's all or nothing. In March, April and May this year, it has been hot and the building did not changed over the systems so we could have air conditioning. I cannot control when the A/C comes on - no matter how much I talk about it, stress about it or try to distract myself from it. I can try to be proactive and speak to the building manager about my concerns and I can do what I can to keep the apartment cool, but ultimately, I cannot flip the switch. I have to wait. It's out of my control.
In this instance, I am not in control. And there are lots of circumstances that arise in life where I have not and will not be in control. I can control how much and who I speak to about it - being able to talk through unsolvable issues can be a great way to gain perspective and release emotions. Though, I can and should control how much mental energy I decide to put toward worrying about the problem - is this easy? Ha, no. But stressing about things I can’t control means I suffer twice - I’m suffering the problem and I’m suffering mentally by swirling the problem around and around. I can distract myself from the problem, but this is really only a good strategy after I’ve taken the steps that are within my control - otherwise, I’ve done nothing to help alleviate the problem.
Other times, I am in control of the problem. There are lots of opportunities for me every day to make choices that will improve an issue or benefit me. For example, diet can play a big role in my chronic illness. I can’t control that I have the illness, but I can control what I eat. I am also in control of what I do in my free time - there are so many things I can choose to do in the evenings. I’m in control of the clothes I wear - I have chosen to upsize my wardrobe instead of stuffing myself into my pre-pandemic clothes and feeling bad that they don’t really fit, because:
We don't exist to fit into our clothes - clothes exist to fit our bodies
Breaking the Cycle
It’s easy to get caught up in swirling around and focusing on the negative things in our lives. Our brains are all about trying to find ways to avoid pain and move toward pleasure. So it can be difficult to put down the issues that are not in our control.
If you find yourself dealing with a problem, the first question to ask is:
Is this something I can control or not?
If you can, you have the opportunity to make choices - you can make your Homes nicer places to live just by taking the chance to take action (instead of just talk, worry or distract yourself). If the problem is not in your control, decide how much energy you are willing to invest in non-productive efforts - it can be productive to talk about the problem but you can control how much time you spend talking about it, you can worry about it but only if you’re trying to determine how you can be proactive in the situation, and you can distract yourself from it once you’ve been able to take any measures that are within your control to make things better.
With love, Jess
A Thought for Your Thoughts:
Take 2 Minutes - Reflect
Another question I like to ask myself when something is really bothering me, but isn’t in my control is: Will this matter in five years? 99% of my problems aren’t going to impact my life long-term. Getting a little perspective - that this problem is not going to last forever and that it is not going to have extended consequences - allows me put down some of the emphasis I’m giving the issue and reframe how big or small the problem really is now and for the future.
Take 5 Minutes - Reflect
If you have a gratitude journal or other practice, or if you’ve been meaning to start one, do it now! Even if you’ve already dedicated some time today to being grateful for the good things in your life, there’s no harm in revisiting the list or adding to it. It’s especially helpful before you go to sleep to focus your mind on good things - if you can make this a practice, you’ll probably find that your nights and dreams become more pleasant :) We've got some lovely Hustle Darling notebooks - here - if you need a place to jot your thoughts.
Take Some Time - Book Recommendation
If you have noticed that you are getting really stuck in negative loops, a book that can help you unpack this is “Emotional Agility” by Susan David (you can get a copy here - affiliate link). Emotions and our relationship with them are key to being able to move past reacting to problems, being able to get to the root of the issue, and deal with the changes and uncertainties of life.
Note: “A thought for your thoughts” is going to be a section added to the end of each blog to give you some ideas on how to bring these words/thoughts to life for yourself. You know yourself better than anyone, so not every suggestion will be for you - that’s ok, it might give you some inspiration though, or help you to try something new.
And because we all have different time pressures, I’ll try to give you something that will take 2 minutes, 5 minutes or some more time. Everyone has two minutes to give a little action and intention to improving their Three Homes. You probably will have five minutes most days too. And, for a deeper dive, I’ll give some additional resources, like a book recommendation or activity that will allow you to dedicate yourself to moving forward, if you are so inspired.
(Also, the title of the section is fun nod to one of my favorite shows - Parks & Rec)