As we all prepare to acknowledge the amazing accomplishments of Her Majesty the Queen for her Platinum Jubilee in June, now might also be a good time for us to consider our own major achievements. And remember, sometimes just getting out of bed could be considered a major achievement! Don’t diminish your own successes by comparing them to someone else. Instead, take in YOUR good!
Sometimes the idea of “self-development” needs to go out the window and we just need to BE. Not to “improve” or “develop” but to just “take in the good” as Dr Rick Hanson tells us. And there is SO much good for us to take in! It is hard sometimes as we listen to the news of innocent civilians caught up in someone else’s madness to maintain our thoughts of goodness as we try to make our way forward in our own lives.
Yet the science says that remembering the positives in our emotional lives, means we will be helping ourselves as well as others. Research by Barbara Fredrickson, a psychologist at the University of North Carolina, has shown that giving our attention to the incontrovertible excellence that has been in our lives helps us not just now, but also in our future. When we recall some of our amazing accomplishments we are reinforcing the positive neural pathways in our brains that will ultimately stand us in good stead. The more we concentrate on the positive aspects of our lives, the stronger we become emotionally. This doesn’t mean we should ignore the fact that there have been challenges we’ve faced, but dwelling on those is not a recipe that will ultimately help us to feel better about ourselves. Quite the reverse.
Focus on the good bits
We have all made it through so many ups and downs of life, and now is as good a time as any to pay attention and focus on those good bits. We have all pushed forward in one way or another. Many of us have begun new relationships, or landed a dream job, or travelled further and farther than we’d ever imagined. Some of us have figured out how to deal with a spouse’s, or our own, illness, or physical struggle. Many of us have dealt admirably with the challenges and gifts our children have brought to us. What are some of your good memories? What comes to mind and helps you to relax and feel content? Grab a cuppa and have a think about those moments again. Better still, write them down as you sip your favourite brew. Find some time just for you and let the words pour out. I promise you’ll notice a smile spread across your face.
If your cuppa is tea, you may be interested to know that you are also reducing stress! Professor Louise Dye, from the University of Leeds has explored the connections between stress and tea and concluded that tea does indeed reduce stress levels. In addition, Professor Taylor Wallace of George Mason University says that “When you look at all the different biomarkers and mechanisms that tea is affecting, this bountiful beverage is one which consumers can easily add to better their diet and create a healthier and longer life for themselves”.
And just in case you were wondering, the Queen does drink tea! According to Grant Harrold, the Queen’s head butler, Her Majesty drinks both Earl Grey and Assam. “On the question of the correct pouring sequence – whether to add milk to tea, or tea to milk – the Queen is unequivocal: tea first, then milk!”
Perhaps all that tea over the years has helped Her Majesty to deal with so many challenges so masterfully!
Acknowledging our own goodness helps us to recognise that whatever is going on around us, we can cope. We have in the past and we will again. Enjoy your achievements, relish the successes and after you’ve stopped for a moment or two of positive reflection, get on with whatever it is that you really want to do. There’s no better time to be who you are than right now. This is YOUR time to shine!
If you feel a bit stuck on what it is that you’d like to do next in your life, watch out for the next Inner Strength session that Joy Club will be hosting. Join me, and other Joy Club women as we navigate the next steps on our path. In the meantime, enjoy the good bits of your life now. What are you waiting for?
Kathy Feest has a wealth of experience with writing, leadership and personal development mentoring. Kathy fulfilled her dream at the age of forty-one and earned her first University degree; she went on to complete a PhD in Medical Education. She regularly runs self-development workshops at The Joy Club so keep your eyes peeled on our events calendar for one of her next live sessions for members.