Maybe it’s the life lessons I was forced to learn the hard way, or the toll of loss and failure I had recently endured, but a decade ago, in the midst of a panic attack on my 27th birthday, I had to admit to myself right then and there that the cheerful world of possibility I once felt in my youth now seemed dead inside me. I wanted to feel light and free and ambitious and passionate again, but I didn’t know how. Luckily, I had a wise mom nearby who gave me some good advice. She told me that she could still see a positive, passionate young man inside of me, but that I needed to do some soul searching to reconnect myself to him.
As I attempted to follow my mother’s advice, I remembered that I used to have several daily reminders written on post-it notes hanging on my bedroom wall when I was a teenager. I called them my “10-second reminders.” I would pause for 10 seconds and recite one to myself whenever I felt a wave of anxiety coming over me.
So, I wrote down a few of those same 10-second reminders again, just as I remembered them, and I added several new ones as well. Then I posted them up on the wall in my home office in clear sight. I’ve literally been surrounded by these daily reminders for a decade now. And yes, I still pause for 10 seconds at least a couple times a day, as needed, to recite them to myself. This life-changing daily ritual helps keep me centered even on the hardest days.
For anyone else who’s been feeling emotionally drained and without a real sense of how to take the next step forward, I challenge you to follow my lead. It’s all about keeping the right reminders in an easily accessible location, so they’re readily available during those inevitable moments when you need them most.
To get started, steal some of my 10-second reminders below (most of which are now excerpts from our NEW BOOK), and post them up somewhere you can see them. Then, whenever you catch yourself in one of those draining, anxiety-filled moments, pause for 10 seconds and quietly read one to yourself. See how doing so gradually changes the way you feel, think and live…
Perspective & Acceptance
Note that none of these 10-second reminders immediately force you to do anything different. They simply represent a shift in perspective. And perspective is where peace and happiness begins. From there, you can change your posture from one of anxiety and resistance to one of acceptance and opportunity.
The goal isn’t to get rid of all your negative thoughts, feelings or life situations. That’s impossible. The goal is to change your response to them.
And this means gradually embracing life’s full range of experiences—even the draining, anxiety-filled ones.
Because, too often we yearn for a very small and selective range of life experiences—the fun times, the happy days, the things that make us feel comfortable. And yet, the full range of our reality is often quite different. Life gives us an extensive array of experiences that evoke feelings ranging from sadness to regret to pride to anger to love to loneliness… to happiness to excitement and more. These feelings are all part of being a living, breathing human being.
So we can revolt against the unfairness of life—the unfairness of having to deal with loss, having to go through adversity, having to feel lonely and uncomfortable and upset. Or we can embrace every experience life gives us, including all our highs and lows—all the blissful moments and painful ones and everything in between. Life is not just happy and comfortable 24/7. It’s well-rounded, it’s full-featured, and it’s real.
Embracing the full range of life’s experiences today means embracing every moment with our full presence, being open and vulnerable to reality, being gentle with ourselves when times are tough, and practicing sincere gratitude no matter what happens.
It means accepting life as it is, and accepting ourselves as we are.
It means not expecting the best to happen every time, but instead accepting whatever happens every time, and making the very best of it.
This isn’t easy, of course, but it’s worth working on.
YOU are worth working on, 10 seconds at a time.
I sincerely hope you leverage the reminders above (excerpts from our new book) to do just that. And if you’d like more reminders and life-changing daily rituals to work with, check out our new book, Getting Back to Happy: Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Reality, and Turn Your Trials into Triumphs.
Also, if you haven’t done so already, watch what happened when Angel and I stepped into Megyn Kelly’s TODAY Show studio a few days ago to discuss the painful personal journey that inspired us to write Getting Back to Happy:
If you’re feeling up to it, we would love to hear from YOU.
Which reminder mentioned above resonates with you the most today, and why?
Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
Finally, if you haven’t done so already, be sure to sign-up for our free newsletter to receive new articles like this in your inbox each week.