As part of Well-being Week Sarah Lane gives some sound advice on attitude and personal well-being
Personal well-being is about more than the individual. As human beings we are social creatures and we affect each other at a conscious and subconscious level simply by being in each other’s lives, even if it’s a fleeting moment sat next to each other on the train!
Every morning you have a choice to make as to which side of the bed you get out of (metaphorically speaking if not literally). That decision not only affects your day but impacts on your contact with those you meet during your day.
There are of course moments in life where the idea of bouncing out of bed with a smile seems impossible or even inappropriate. For instance I cannot imagine smiling as I got up on the day of my father-in-law’s funeral.
My family would not have been impressed if I’d bounced around in an energetic, happy, upbeat way and it wouldn’t have reflected how I was really feeling. Being true to your emotions and authentic is at the core of any choice – of feeling congruent as a person.
Well-being cannot exist without a sense of congruence or feeling that your actions are aligned with your sense of self, who you are as a person.
So if choosing your attitude to affect your well-being isn’t about being ‘happy’ constantly, what is it about? It is about focussing on your outcome and choosing the route to get there. Making sure that you are in the driving seat whichever direction you choose to go.
Live your life in the driving seat
You will have met people who live their lives seemingly as the effect of other people actions or maybe you have even spent time there yourself? Those moments where you hear or say things like “You make me angry” or “When they do X, it makes me feel Y”.
In these moments you will have been a passenger in your own life, not in the driving seat. Taking the wheel and living your life ‘at cause’ means that you can choose which direction you are going to head rather than being the victim of circumstance that comes with living ‘at effect.’
Being ‘at cause’ means that you choose to place yourself in the driving seat, that you cause things to happen rather than being as one who is ‘done to’. You believe that you create things in your life and that means that you can change them no matter what the circumstance.
Being at effect means that you believe and accept that others have the control over your world, your feelings and you can do nothing to change it.
Now both of these things may be true. I’m not selling you the idea that others have no impact on us and yet, if you were to allow yourself to imagine that you do create your own universe what might then be true?
If you create your own universe then everything in it you have brought about. If you created it then it does mean that you are more likely to come at problems looking to change them rather than just sitting back and taking it. You have the power to make the change.
I find that individuals can often be stuck at the point where they’ve given others the power in the situation by feeling like they have no choice to change things. The impact of this on their health, well-being and relationships can be intense.
Many times, I have had someone come and complain to me “I have told him in so many different ways but he won’t understand”. As long as you have this attitude, you can’t improve on your communication. As you are not even acknowledging the fact that you are part of the issue. You have simply moved the problem to the recipient. This may make you feel good in the moment but it won’t solve the matter.
What I notice makes a massive difference to your effectiveness is if you shift your response to “I have told him in so many different ways but he won’t understand. I have to learn how to communicate in a way that he will get it”. With this approach, you are taking responsibility for the communication and you can start looking for new ways to communicate to get the result you want.
“The moment you take responsibility in your life, is the moment that you can change anything in your life.” Hal Elrod
If as you read this article you are realising that there may be moments in your life that you want to get back in the driving seat then asking yourself some questions can be a great first step to making a change:
- Consider for a moment where you spend most of your time?
- Are you living at cause and truly taking responsibility for what happens in your life? Or are you more at the effect of the world and feeling ‘done to’?
- Is your current way of living working for you?
- What would be different for you if you were to live more at cause?
If you do want to make the change then begin by breaking things down for yourself and by asking yourself – What do I want? What do I really want? If I could have one thing what would it be? How would I like to progress? What is my next step?
Now go act. Nothing changes without action. And know that the action you take as well as the attitude you bring can be the difference that makes the difference for you and your well-being.