Move Your Life Forward with a Sentence
I don't believe that listicles are actually all that helpful (Five ways to be less depressed! Top three things you can do to have a happy marriage!) because they tend to oversimplify what is often a very complex and painful situation. I do appreciate simple statements and sayings that can trigger positive changes in behavior. When I think about psychological health, I think about flexibility - the flexibility to try something different this time or persist in a new positive behavior, even in the presence of difficult thoughts, feelings, and urges.
I recently came across a simple statement that covers this succinctly and which can be a helpful reminder as you go through your day. It was coined by DJ Moran, a psychologist and consultant.
I am here now, accepting the way I feel, and allowing my thoughts, while committing to what I care about.
This is a really powerful sentence and in a simple and elegant way encompasses a psychologically healthy way to live your life.
I am here now...
This is about being present to the current moment, rather than being lost in the past or the future. We miss so much beauty of what is going on around us because we are trapped in our heads. Can you notice your experience in this moment with your five senses? What do you notice?
...accepting the way I feel...
Accepting doesn't mean you have to like it. In fact, accepting means a willingness to have whatever feelings are coming up for you, even the painful ones. Often we get stuck because making positive changes means having to face difficult emotions. Can you create a little more space for these?
...and allowing my thoughts...
Similar to accepting your feelings, allowing your thoughts is being able to recognize that you are having thoughts that can be negative, positive, or neutral; helpful or problematic. It is about realizing that you aren't your thoughts but that you have them. Sometimes they are a running stream of noise and sometimes they are more slow and quiet, but regardless, allowing your thoughts is a way of holding them as something separate from you.
...while committing to what I care about.
What do you really care about in your life? Who and what is truly important to you? And what can you do to move yourself in the direction that you want to go? These don't have to be giant changes, but are more likely small and incremental shifts. And they happen in the context of the thoughts and feelings that come up for you.