I wasn’t having a great day today. I was feeling stressed and overwhelmed and well outside of my comfort zone. I was stretched, grumpy and wanted to go back to bed. But I knew that I couldn’t – I knew I had to do something that would act like a “reset button” – something that would help me become calmer and more balanced.
The whole family went for a beautiful walk along Cardinia Reservoir – I was so inspired that I took the picture attached to this article. The scenery was beautiful, appealing to my signature strength of Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence, and more importantly, the sunshine and fresh air immediately began to improve my mood. By the time we turned back towards the car, I observed I was much more cheerful and laughing and making the odd joke.
I started to consider how often a lovely walk helps me when I am feeling less than my best – how much the sun re-awakens me and the time with my dog, or an audio book or to be lost amongst my thoughts starts to balance me out. I thought it might be a great idea to think about making a list of things I know make a positive difference and reset my mindset on difficult days. Sometimes thirty minutes with a book will do it for me too. A few days ago I sought refuge in a craft project – jewellery making. This quietened my mind and helped me focus and also assisted the two young people I was in charge of to do the same. Or a laugh or a coffee with a friend, which takes me out of one way of thinking and into another.
As I pondered my list, I realized that each thing I was thinking of was one of the daily habits we encourage people to adopt on this site. The walk was exercise – balance between mind and body. Often a good exercise class will have the same impact – as does bopping to a favorite song.
Reading is my main form of mindfulness – although I do often appreciate a meditation app. These definitely are powerful ways to slow the mind down and feel more centred. But reading itself is a terrific tool for entering a state of “flow” – those moments where you lose yourself in a task and become totally immersed. That is what reading is like for me. I often use it to de-stress or slow down.
And craft – well that is the habit of creating. I’m constantly surprised by how much better I feel when I pick up my tools, or go to the kitchen and whip something up (I never stick to recipes – I’m notoriously bad at that. The brownies I made today had mixed nuts and Nutella that were definitely NOT in the recipe, but definitely DID make for a tasty final product). I like the challenge of personalizing a recipe – and I accept as I do with all creative endeavours, including writing articles like these – that sometimes I will get it wrong. I accept that as a part of the spirit being creative – being open to making mistakes.
How lucky I felt when I sat to think of these things, not only to have so many things consciously at my disposal to use when I need to, but also to be aware that the daily habits of the Hive are such powerful tools for supporting wellbeing.
So – here is my challenge to you, inspired by my own need to take charge of my mood today.
Being conscious of these things may just make us more in control of day-today wellbeing and happiness. I’ll let you know how it helps me as I move forward.