Recently, a client of mine asked me, “You are seeing a lot of people with a lot of problems. What are you doing to keep yourself centered, grounded and sane?” I have to admit, her question caught me off guard. Besides the fact that I also have my fair share of emotional roller-coaster rides, which I believe is a part of being alive (we just need to learn how to exit them, before we get dizzy) there isn’t any particular thing I do that makes me feel more whole and at peace. Of course, I could have said that I meditate or that I spend time in nature, which I do. But the truth is, the reason why I am gradually able to live up to my name, Friedemann, which means literally “man of peace,” is that I have the privilege to continue learning from each of my clients.
I am a firm believer that one of the most important purposes of life is to learn and grow into the best version of ourselves, which is why we are all meant to be students and teachers for each other. My clients continue to amaze and inspire me with their unique and creative ways to overcome obstacles and make their lives more fulfilling and balanced. Laura, for example, communicates with her inner child through writing, using her left hand to let her subconscious younger self speak to her, and her right hand to answer with her conscious adult mind. This method has helped her make decisions with greater clarity and ease. Matt and his best friend became gratitude partners. They call each other weekly not to talk about business, football or politics, but to share what they appreciate about their lives and themselves. Sue shared with me, that in order to make her life more exciting and fun, she assumes every morning that something or someone will pleasantly surprise her, which of course 9 out 10 times happens, because her mind is primed to detect those little daily highlights.
You probably know the saying, ‘Little hinges swing big doors.’ In my experience, small, self-affirming habits can open up our lives to greater joy, peace, and purpose. Here are a few examples of the habits I use to keep grounded, centered and positive:
- Rephrase negative thoughts as questions: “I can’t do this, this is too hard.” “My colleagues don’t like me.” “I am stupid.” You may be familiar with similar, self-bashing thoughts that jump at you from out of nowhere. Unfortunately, more often than not we are falling for them by assuming that they are factual statements. As a result, we feel anxious, insecure or frustrated with ourselves. But how do you feel if you hear, “Can I do this? Isn’t this too hard?”, “Do my colleagues like me?” or “Am I stupid?”? By re-framing a negative thought into a question, you put yourself automatically into a position of power and choice, because you are the one who can decide what answer you want to give yourself.
- Employ your inner cheerleader: This one truly changed my life. When I grew up, I was told that I shouldn’t feel too confident or good about myself, because this would appear arrogant to others. Therefore, no matter how hard I had worked or how much I had achieved, in my mind I was never good enough. Yet, my lack of self-worth turned around once I embraced the concept of the inner cheer-leader. It is a positive, upbeat voice in my head that showers me with praise and positive feedback even for the most mundane activities such as emptying our cats’ litterboxes or ironing my shirts. Having shared this concept with many of my clients, I have found that the inner cheerleader doesn’t make you feel better than others, but it makes you value yourself more, and thus provides you with the positive energy and motivation to continue to give your best.
- Be present with your senses: Meditation sometimes is a very effective way to come back into the present moment. However, while I enjoy closing my eyes and shifting my focus inwards, I find it equally important to be able to live in the now while eating a sandwich or doing the dishes. I have learned that by simply paying attention to my senses – what I hear, see, smell, taste and feel – I can more easily bring my often too busy mind back into the present moment and become quickly grounded and centered again. Plus, being aware of my senses makes everyday life more enjoyable and fulfilling.
Join me for my upcoming Empowerment Radio Show, Wednesday September 5th, which also streams live on my Facebook page, and learn more positive and uplifting habits that can bring more joy, harmony and purpose in your life.
Please feel free to also leave a comment or email me if you would like to share one of the empowerment habits that made all the difference for you.