The new year is upon us and you may be thinking you would like to change things up in your life, add more excitement or move closer toward being who you really were meant to be. Just as important as work, fitness and health goals are what I call Enhancement Goals. This means adding things to your life that enhance your day to day life, bring you pleasure, stave off negative emotions such as anxiety and depression and help define who you are. They are actually part of your core identity.
If you feel stuck in a pattern of life that is no longer stimulating or is just plain dull this exercise is for you. It is also for you if you are spending time with people who are not interesting or fun to be with and who don’t share your passions. It is fine to have friends with different interests but it is also fun to have some with whom you can share common ground.
This exercise in transformation is also for you if you feel lost or afloat in life with no direction or with no knowledge of who you are or who you were meant to be. This will kickstart you in the right direction. It can actually provide you with massive life creation and design if you want to take it that far. It takes just a bit of energy and a mind ready to make some additions to your repertoire.
As impossible as it might sound, this exercise can also help you with depression and anxiety. When you aren’t challenged or when you are bored and feel like there is nothing to look forward to you can find yourself in a slump or in a mood spiraling downward. Our brains like to have things to focus on and when not given something to occupy their time they can run amok with anxieties and fears. If you don’t make a conscious choice of what to focus on your brain will do it for you.
You may have been taught to believe that you should just settle for whatever you have and be grateful. You may be limited by beliefs that you can’t do different things or that you are foolish for wanting or thinking that you could have a more interesting life of your own design. Often these thoughts sneak in from others who fear any changes in you. You may have been raised in a family that didn’t understand, have time for or value enrichment. This doesn’t mean you cant do it now.
So here is the exercise:
Go to a bookstore or library and look over the magazine racks, then the book racks on different topics. Pretty much anything in the world that you may be interested in is just a rack away. Yes, it’s easy to go to the Internet for instant answers, but not for this exercise. Why I want you to go to a physical location is for the immediate visual tied with the ability to touch and feel. There is a different experience when you can hold your dream in your hands.
Pick up a magazine or book of a hobby or topic that you think may interest you, and read a few pages. If it’s a magazine, look at the ads also, what types of businesses are related to the topic, what kind of people are engaging?
Does it excite you and make you want to look more or does it bore you? If it bores you, put it down and move to the next topic. There are hobbies galore, spiritual, travel and sports magazines. Pick a hobby, a religion, a new career path and an intellectual pursuit. Choose ones that you haven’t really considered before, you never know whats hiding out there.
Go all out and redesign yourself right there in the bookstore. You don’t have to buy all the books, just sit down with them and look at the topics you have chosen. Buy those that seem the most interesting. Write down all the topics you decided were interesting to you, even if they seem farfetched. When you return home, study them further on the Internet.
Now you’re on the way to being the real you. For example, you may come out interested in becoming a Buddhist who knits, cooks ethnic foods and likes to study the stars. You may decide that you’re interested in converting to Judaism, going deep-sea diving and becoming a photographer in your spare time. How about taking up an interest in fitness and the cinema or opera? Joining a wildlife or environmental group? The possibilities are endless. Your imagination becomes your guiding light and force.
The Next Move
Now decide how you can incorporate these things into your life, given your time and finances. It can be done. Maybe all you can do right now is learn about the new hobby and take part in online discussions and blogs. You’ll start to make friends who do what you want to do; just begin to immerse yourself and you’ll see things start to happen. Remember to focus on it with all you’ve got! You can add one thing right now to get the idea. If you’re a depressed or anxious person, you should feel something “click” almost immediately; studies show that novelty stimulates the “feel good” chemicals of the brain.
It’s important not to get bogged down in adding too much at once; this is not designed to be a chore. Don’t go buy expensive equipment you can’t afford. Find a doable, affordable thing and start right now. The time you’re not researching depression or some other mental health issue can be spent researching something fun.
This also opens up the doors to meeting like-minded people with whom you have something in common. Chances are, you would like to replace or put in place some rewarding relationships. This is a good time and place to start looking.
If you feel like you need a little extra help, come to DysfunctionInterrupted.com and get our free resources on ridding yourself of the limiting and dysfunctional thought patterns that keep you stuck and suffering from anxiety and/or depression.
I hope you have fun with this and that it gives you a goal and some hope for a great new year!
Feel Good For Life!