A Happy You

“Fun, Fit and Fabulous” was structured sort of like The Healthy Living Summit where throughout the day there were three breakout sessions, featuring about 5 or 6 different presentations at each time. Initially, since I am so indecisive, I had a lot of trouble mapping out my day, but then after re-reading the titles, one in particular caught my attention.

“Change Your Brain, To Get More Champaign”

What? An alcohol reference at a medical insurance company sponsored wellness conference? This just didn’t make any sense to me. I absolutely had to check it out, and was SO glad I did.

Of course, Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo was not referring to actual Champaign, but more to celebrating life through passion and positive energy.

So how does one get a little more Champaign in their lives?

The first step, as suggested in the title, is to CHANGE YOUR BRAIN.

Now this sounded like common sense to me. Of course you need to change your mindset in order to make changes in life. But what intrigued me the most was that she had a few little action mantras (shout out to Dr. Dawn Jackson-Blatner!) to help in the difficult process of “changing our brains.”

1. Get a smaller BUT.

Before you judge, because I’ll admit, I thought this was a little silly at first, you should notice that there is only ONE T in BUT. She was not referring to weight loss or ANYTHING of that nature. She told the group that if there was one word she could eliminate in the English language it would be BUT because that is the word that signals an excuse.

“I am working on getting healthy BUT I just don’t want any butter.”

“I am doing really well in recovery, BUT my weight isn’t going up at all”

After thinking for a while, I had to agree with her, because I have definitely made statements like these, or maybe even these exact ones, plenty of times before. It is a way of justifying my behavior, or the reason there are no positive results. I really need to work on eliminating BUT from my present vocabulary

Perhaps I should also remove the word CAN’T?…

2. A.G.E…Embrace your AGE

A-Apply your values and strengths

G- Find Gratitude

E- Energy (ok, she said exercise, but in my case, I feel like energy is a way better fit!)

By applying personal strengths, you are giving yourself a much better chance at being successful. Many times we listen to what others think we should be doing, rather than what truly is in our hearts. Immediately I thought of my first job at the VA. I am certainly not blaming my ex-occupation for my ED downward spiral, but the unhappiness and stress it brought, really fed into the negative-self talk and feelings of worthlessness.

Deep down in my core I knew I did not want that job. A desk job, is simply not for me. I need to be around people, engaging my mind and stimulating the thought process, but the salary, perks, multiple congratulations by the people that meant the most to me, and the fact that it was a serious “big girl job,” made me take it anyway. I should have listened to my intuition and done something that made me excited to go to work, at least sometimes anyway, but I didn’t trust myself or give myself enough credit to follow through with what I KNEW was the right thing.

Gratitude is exactly the idea behind PTG. Often we are worried about what’s going to happen next, or the terrible circumstances of our currents lives, that we fail to acknowledge anything positive going on in the present. It’s easy to get trapped into being a downer, but I can guarantee there is at least one thing that you could consider a blessing in life.

Obviously I expressed how bummed I was about the comment I received a few evenings ago, but after I got to thinking about it, I am very glad it happened. Do I want my feelings to be hurt? No. Of course not! But it really made me evaluate myself and where I am currently in my recovery journey.

As I stated in my follow-up post Friday, I am nowhere near being recovered, nor have I ever claimed to be weight restored, or “cured” of this horrible eating disorder, but maybe the string of “good” days I was having, deluded me to think I was doing better than what I am in reality. I admit I have my struggles…In fact, I try to describe the down points to you all in the moments I have them. I am very proud of the strides I have made, just opening up on a blog and being honest is a tremendous leap for me, but perhaps there is way more I need to work on, than what I have been doing.

The situation actually showed me both sides of the coin; things I need to get better with, like challenging myself and my addiction to exercise, but it also demonstrated that I am not longer a total people pleaser. Six months ago I might have changed my blog to an entirely different direction just because of one piece of negative feedback, but today I am not going to. I thank my commenter because she helped me see the truth, and for that I have gratitude.

Oh, energy…like I said, Dr Lombardo suggested exercising because it can make a person feel good, and I am certainly not denying that. What I took away from this segment of her presentation, however, was not running on a treadmill. I believed her to mean that it requires pro-activity to reach your ultimate happiness. You cannot sit around and wait for some miracle to occur. No, no, no. If that is what you are looking for then its only setting up for disappointment. Celebration usually comes after a milestone that requires work, and to get the Champaign she was speaking of, takes an immense desire, and changes that are undeniably difficult. I personally need to get better at this…taking initiative and pushing beyond what is comfortable, which is kind of what I was describing in my paragraphs above. So when I did this mornings PTG I really considered a goal for the week and have a few in mind that are going to be VERY tough for me to accomplish. Hopefully sometime later I can share!

I enjoyed her presentation because she was very well spoken and obviously had a passion for the topic. She left us with a statement about how although changing your brain is definitely the first step, in order to even begin the process YOU have to believe YOU are worth the effort. Happiness is not just a gift you are given at birth that will stay with you for the rest of your life. In a dream world that would definitely be the case, but her point, which most of you already know, but don’t often practice, is that in life “some assembly is required.” It takes a lot of building, trial and error, and super hard work to get to where you want to be, and of course, there is no better time than the present to get that started. What else do you have to do on this dreary Sunday morning??? Why not make some life changes 🙂

Please stay safe today! And have a great end to the weekend.

If you are interested in any more information, check out Dr. Lombardo’s website, www.ahappyyou.com  I found her to be super helpful and appreciated her outlook on life.

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