Posts

What affects your zest for life?

zestDo you feel out of sorts, lacking in energy and motivation, stressed or depressed?   Have you lost your zest for life?   We often look for personal reasons such as our age, size, appearance, personality, intelligence etc.

Do these things make it difficult for us to love our life?

My gut instinct is to say no!  However, I would temper this by saying we all have a natural tendency to measure and compare.  However stereotypical thinking does not help.  There is no perfect size, age or look.  We may be persuaded by the media to believe there is but in reality we all know people who do not fit stereo types who are rich in experience, character and warmth that out-shine the glossy models a thousand times over. Perception is personal and what one person thinks is wonderful another does not.  The reality is that variety, imperfection and difference can actually add zest to life.  How banal would life be if we were all the same!

Do you recognise your perfect life state when you are experiencing it?

Often we are so absorbed in our lives that we are oblivious of it until we are not absorbed!  So I think absorption in life is an important factor! Mihaly Csikaentmihalyi describes an optimal experience state when we are in a state of ‘flow’.

How absorbed we are in living our lives to the full is not reliant of age, size, wealth etc.   A 90 year old who loves her life, be it actively or through memory and familiarity is equally alive as the 15 year old who is just developing his/her life.  It’s the experience of life that matters.

Zest for life is important.  I would say this is the fundamental thing that keeps us really alive and interested in the world!

What is zest?

Well I believe zest is the energy of life that gives excitement, vigour and a certain enjoyable drive.  It seems similar to motivation but somehow different.  Zest is more zappy!  So semantics come into it – and your own personal choice and meaning!  It may well be intrinsic motivation  – that inner driver as opposed to extrinsic motivation – the outer rewards.  It is certainly a spark that fires us up and may dry up at times.

How to rekindle your zest for life!

Accept that life and you change, sit with it for a while and then celebrate your past and look forward to your future.  Treat life as an adventure, a journey, or a book with chapters:  whatever metaphor works for you and try to make the negative experiences more positive by seeking out the elements in them that you can use or learn from.  Even death or illness can strengthen our characters, our recognition of what is really important, our experience of being alive and in touch with the great joy of being given a life.  An opportunity to be part of this world and connected to others.  Look for meaning in your life; change your habits if you feel jaded and uninspired.  Seek to understand other perspectives.

It is not set in stone that you are  ……..…. and you believe…………. and do ……..……     The only thing stopping you is you.  You have the power to chose who you are, what you do, what you believe and how you feel.

When your energy is low, rest and recuperate.  Allow your energy to grow gently and then your zest for life will flourish and you will soon be bursting into life again.

 

Some questions to have a think about:

 

What brings a smile to your face? or what used to bring a smile to your face?

 

What brings a glint to your eye? or what used to?

 

What brings a spring to your step? or what used to or could in the future?

 

How can you freshen up your life?  What new experience can you try?

 

What special place/person/experience feeds your energy?

 

Take one step and the journey will begin…..

 

I would love to help and support you on your journey.  If you feel this would be good for you give me a call on 01803 847674 or send me an enquiry via my website contact form or through mentaline.com.  I offer a free 20 minute consultation.

Ref: Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly (1990). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York: Harper and Row. ISBN 0-06-092043-2

Insight from Experience

Welcome to my new Blog! A new experience for me on my sparkling new website! Firstly thanks for deciding to read. I am happy to have you along and hope that the information I share will help you in your journey to happiness.

 

Why insight from experience?

Firstly as you may have guessed – I have lived a fair while now, and obviously have had lots of life experiences some good, some bad but mostly great.! I have a very optimistic view on life, even when I am in a difficult place I try to see the best in others.  That said sometimes you have to recognise that you are doing yourself no favours by persevering too long with a situation where you are losing your identity and ability to be yourself.  If you feel really stuck, having given it your best, then the best thing is to recognise that and move on.  There may be other factors influencing your perseverance but you must listen to your wise self for when it’s time for change.  You will know deep inside yourself that something needs to happen. Trust yourself and you will find the way forward.

The second reason is the same as the first that we all experience times in our lives when everything isn’t rosy.  We feel desperate, alone, out of control, overwhelmed.  When we are in the midst of this we are stressed and need support to cope.  If you have the support of friends and family this is a great help, if not, seek professional help before it’s a crisis.  People can be amazingly helpful when you really need them, showing the love inherent in humankind.  At this time you would probably not view it a useful experience.  But, after some time has elapsed and in retrospect you will be able to understand why things happened the way they did and learn so many valuable lessons yourself.  Hence you will have insight from your experiences.

My insight has matured over the last 25 years through a journey of self-development.

Early Influences

As a teenager I had no ultimate career goal and fell into training as a nurse.  My heart wasn’t in it and after a bout of glandular fever I left the course.  I knew then I wanted to help people and had worked alongside an occupational therapist who went on home visits.  This inspired me as the OT really saw people in the context of their homes – that made such a difference!  A truly holistic approach and for many years this ambition to be an OT was put on the back boiler only to be free to come to fruition about 12 years later.   I gained a place on a course locally and saw this as fulfilling my dreams.  I so enjoyed being an OT, the autonomy of creating my own appointments and sessions, the joy of seeing people recover after severe illnesses and resume their activities despite enormous challenges.  It was an enlightening and inspiring career.

My Inspiration

I had insight of the depression people felt after struck by disability from my own mother who had a stroke when I was 15.  She was a brave, strong woman but felt keenly the loss of mobility, dignity and freedom.  She was a great inspiration to me in all my ventures.  As an OT I worked alongside, encouraging and listening to people of all ages and walks of life.  One thing I always remember is the need to remember who they were. By that I mean particularly for the older clients: what they did and what they had experienced in their lives.  To not just see an elderly patient, sat in a chair but to get to know them personally and know their story.  This enabled me to respect them and treat them with the respect they deserved.  My insight from my mother’s experiences helped me to understand how difficult it is when people make assumptions about you without knowing you.

The importance of people’s story

This is another reason why I love life coaching and cognitive behaviour therapy both of which I combine in my current role.  Life coaching is so much about the person – it couldn’t be more client centred.  It is the one place I have found where you can spend an hour talking about your life story, your dreams and your goals and feel totally heard. The coach is there for you, focuses on you and her mission is to assist and support you in achieving your dreams.  What an amazing experience!

How to change the negative effects of the past

Coginitive Behavioural therapy is brilliant because it is also forward looking, positive and works!  CBT is a talking therapy that focuses on cycles created by past experiences impacting on the way you think, feel and act.  CBT breaks the vicious downward cycles and challenges negative thinking in order to give you the chance to experiment with new behaviour and see and feel the results of being just a little bit kinder to yourself.  I found myself as a mother in the position of using cbt for my child to lower her anxiety and give her back her confidence.  Through using the process myself I can talk with experience about the benefits of this approach.

I will be writing regular blog articles on subjects related to developing your self-esteem, managing stress and embracing change.