Rediscover Your Bliss

These six simple steps can help you reconnect with yourself today

In today’s fast, hot-wired, technology-driven, “what have you done for me lately?” world, it’s a wonder that any of us ever feels fully developed and satisfied with our lives. Moreover, attempts to find our own personal “bliss” are often short-circuited by work deadlines, family demands, strained relationships and everything else life seems to heap on us. But there is no single road to feeling “centered” or “connected” with oneself. Each person must find it in their own unique way, and on their own timetable. But here are a few possible approaches:

glorious_sunsetExperience life’s beauty: Get up early and watch a sunrise, or stay up late and gaze at the night constellations. Venture outside to experience nature’s daily gifts. Focus on the natural sights, sounds and fragrances while blocking out the unnatural distractions as best you can. There’s no need to travel great distances; you can enjoy nature from your porch or patio, a nearby park bench, or even on a short walk. Enjoying nature is a great way to restore your perspective after a long, hard day.

Schedule a fun activity: Can’t remember the last time you had fun? Then visit a neighborhood schoolyard and watch the kids playing. They are not worried about the declining stock market, the crisis in the Middle East, or the war in Afghanistan. They’re just having fun. There’s a message here for all of us: If you have a hobby, commit to it. If you don’t, consider cultivating one. If you have to, schedule a personal activity time. Consider reviving an activity you enjoyed when you were younger. Hopscotch, anyone?

Meditate: Forget the robed Tibetan monk sitting atop a desolate mountain for hours at a time. I don’t have that kind of time, and I’m sure you don’t, either. The good news is that there are more than a thousand ways to meditate. Here’s a quick and easy meditation you can do practically anywhere: Sit or lay down in a clear, clean and comfortable spot. Close your eyes and breathe deeply, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Do this three or four times; then you can resume normal breathing. The goal is to focus all your attention on your breathing. Whenever thoughts pop into you head — and they will — observe the thought without giving it any extra attention; then refocus on your breathing. Dedicate at least five minutes to meditation each day. The benefits are cumulative, and if you stick with it, you will likely experience an improved sense of well-being.

Read for pleasure: Set aside the work-related literature and dedicate 15 minutes a day to reading something uplifting, motivational or inspirational. I recently picked up Yogi Berra’s When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It! and literally laughed out loud. The book is delightfully down-to-earth and chock full of common sense — something we all need when life feels overwhelming and entirely too complicated.

Keep a journal: Take a few minutes each day to jot down your thoughts and emotions. Journaling is an excellent way to release anger, face fears, confront personal expectations, and record the better moments of the day. Then revisit you entries after a couple of days. If you still feel bothered by something you wrote about earlier, vow to take action. If you’re not still bothered, then they weren’t worth fretting about in the first place. Remember, 80 percent of the things we worry about never happen!

Reach out: Reconnect with friends, family and social organizations to form high-quality, supportive relationships. Developing and maintaining social interactions is one of the best ways to reconnect with yourself.

While these approaches have each been around for ages, most people simply don’t try them. We all have a myriad of reasons, many of them related to how we prioritize our activities. Instead, when life seems like one big disconnect, try reconnecting with yourself on a daily basis. Do it today!

————————————————————

Joe Wegmann is a licensed clinical social worker and a clinical pharmacist with over 30 years of experience in counseling and medication treatment of depression and anxiety. Joe’s new book, Psychopharmacology: Straight Talk on Mental Health Medications is available at www.pesi.com. To learn more about Joe’s programs or to contribute a question for Joe to answer in a future article, visit his website at www.thepharmatherapist.com, or e-mail him at joe@thepharmatherapist.com.