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How to Appreciate Life and Not Just Exist in It

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Do you sometimes stare off into space and wonder “Why am I here?” “What am I doing?” or “There has to be more to life than just this.” We get caught in the everyday routine of sleep, work, home, sleep, work, home, and…you get the point. 

Since when do we become conditioned to settle for this way of life? Was it from our parents and their parents before them? Or is it from our environment that we have to accommodate in order to comply with the rules in place? I believe this way of life is called ‘existing.’ When we go through the motions of everyday life and fall into the routine, we don’t realize that there is another way of life, which is called ‘living.’

Few people understand the difference and very few people make the leap from existing to living. We don’t realize that there’s another way until we choose to recognize that there is. Usually, it’s shown to us by a mentor, teacher, elder, or a friend. When you choose to ‘live’ rather than ‘exist,’ you start to view your life on earth in a completely different perspective. It’s as if your mind opened and you are seeing your life with a new pair of glasses, never wanting to take them off.

I understood the power of ‘living’ when I saw a mentor in a webinar. The things discussed made sense to me and I wanted to learn more. This mentor was talking about creating experiences to enjoy life, surrounding yourself with rich and loving relationships, and being purposeful and intentional in everyday actions. I wondered “How do you start to live life that way? I want to do that.” I got to work and read anything I could about how to live life, not just exist in it. 

“Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

I came across three helpful tips that I use today to guide me in living life. Below, you can read about them:

1. Become mindful and present in every situation

This is a skill that is continuously worked on all the time! What does that exactly entail? It involves becoming aware of your own thoughts and what you say to yourself. We generate thousands of thoughts everyday and it’s impossible to be mindful of each and every one. You can be mindful over most of them though. Becoming mindful requires mental discipline and focus. It’s just like a muscle, it gets stronger with more practice.

Being present is also a challenge that requires mental discipline and focus. It’s being able to appreciate and acknowledge your surroundings, whether it’s eating a meal or sitting at a park or even being stuck in gridlock traffic. 

Reminding yourself to be present in the moment brings to light the ‘living’ part of life. It’s the fall colors in the tree you saw in the park or it’s relishing each bite of your meal and the delicious flavors you’re tasting. It’s paying attention to the here and now.

2. Create experiences

I feel that a majority of people don’t take advantage of creating experiences in their lives. Sure, you take the annual family vacation 2 weeks out of the year but what about the other 50 weeks? What kinds of experiences do you create in the remaining 50? 

Recently, I was listening to a mentor of mine and he shared that given a pool of money, it is best to use the money into creating experiences and adventures than to use it towards objects. The rationale behind this is because with objects, we create momentary happiness with that object. Happiness doesn’t last long. 

When we use money towards creating experiences and adventures, we are left with the memories and the physical response to that adventure or experience. You can relive it again and again. It will continue to provide happiness. When was the last time you created an experience? Was it camping in the back yard with your kids? Or taking a cooking class with your friend? Or how about that weekend getaway with your partner and did everything spontaneously? Inject experiences into your life so that you can ‘live’ and see what’s out there. Create memories!

“The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.” – Louis E. Boone

3. Do more of what makes you happy

I’ll be honest. This is a really tough question for a lot of people to answer. “What makes you happy?” It’s as if there’s some unwritten rule or law about being happy. Like it’s forbidden or something. 

It seems that once you become an adult, you’re not supposed to be happy or happiness is only meant for children. Or worse yet, happiness is temporary. Yes, there are times where we are facing unfortunate circumstances such as a divorce or perhaps you have just been given bad news regarding your health. There can be some bad things in the world. I don’t deny that. But the choice is how you want to feel regarding these circumstances. Even if you are in a horrible situation, there is absolutely something that can brighten your mood, even for a moment. Whether it’s reading a book or going for a walk or even talking to a friend. 

When we become conscious and choose to do more things that bring us joy and happiness, we start to look at life a bit better. When we realize and notice what makes us happy, it’s up to us to make the intentional purpose of doing it often so that we can enjoy being happy. Regardless of if you’re 8 or 80, make sure to allow yourself to feel the emotion of joy and happiness.

I frequently utilize these three tips in my life, and it’s helped me see life in a new way. I’m more mindful of the people I’m interacting with, appreciate and express gratitude in everything I experience, and spoil myself with happiness because there’s nothing wrong with that. Isn’t it time you start ‘living’ and not ‘existing?’

What makes you the happiest in life? Share your thoughts and stories with us below!

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Life

The Imbalanced Problem with Work/Life Balance

Balancing is for your checkbook, gymnastics, and nutrition; not for your people’s work/life ratio.

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Balance…it requires an equal distribution of value between two or more subjects to maintain steady composure and equitable proportionality. (more…)

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Life

How to Find the Courage to Start New

Change is scary, but it’s a normal part of life.

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It’s 2023, a new year, new you, right? But how do we start over? How do we make the changes in our lives that we crave so much to see?  (more…)

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Life

Failing is More Important Than Succeeding

Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures.

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People often consider failure a stigma.  Society often doesn’t respect the people who failed and avoids and criticizes their actions. Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures. Not to have endeavored is worse than failing in life as at some stage of your life you regret not having tried in your life.  (more…)

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Life

5 Indicators of Unresolved Attachment Trauma

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Emotional Attachment Trauma

Trauma caused during specific stages of a child’s development, known as attachment trauma, can have lasting effects on a person’s sense of safety, security, predictability, and trust. This type of trauma is often the result of abuse, neglect, or inconsistent care from a primary caregiver.

Individuals who have not fully processed attachment trauma may display similar patterns of behavior and physical or psychological symptoms that negatively impact their adult lives, including the choices they make in relationships and business.

Unfortunately, many people may not even be aware that they are struggling with trauma. Research estimates that 6% of the population will experience PTSD in their lifetime, with a majority of males and females having experienced significant trauma.

Unresolved attachment trauma can significantly impair the overall quality of a person’s life, including their ability to form healthy relationships and make positive choices for themselves. One well-known effect of unhealed attachment trauma is the compulsion to repeat past wounds by unconsciously selecting romantic partners who trigger their developmental trauma.

However, there are other less recognized but equally detrimental signs of unprocessed developmental trauma.

 

Five possible indications of unresolved attachment trauma are:

 

1.  Unconscious Sabotage

Self-sabotage is a common pattern among individuals with unprocessed attachment trauma. This cycle often begins with hurting others, which is then followed by hurting oneself. It is also common for those with attachment trauma to have heightened emotional sensitivity, which can trigger this cycle.

This pattern can manifest in lashing out, shutting down, or impulsive behavior that leads to feelings of guilt, shame, and self-loathing.

Many people with attachment trauma are not aware of their wounds and operate on survival mode, unconsciously testing or challenging the emotional investment of those around them, and pushing them away out of self-preservation and fear of abandonment.

This can lead to a pattern of making poor choices for themselves based on impulsivity.

 

2. Persistent Pain

 
Chronic pain is a common symptom that can stem from early trauma. Studies have shown a connection between physical conditions such as fibromyalgia, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, muscle aches, back pain, chest pain, and chronic fatigue with the aftermath of chronic developmental trauma, particularly physical abuse.
 
Research has found that individuals with insecure attachment styles, such as anxious, avoidant, or disorganized, have a higher incidence of somatic symptoms and a history of physical and emotional abuse in childhood compared to those with a secure attachment style.
 
 

3. Behaviors That Block Out Trauma

 
Trauma blocking practises are used to avoid the pain and memories connected with traumatic events.
 
Emotional numbing, avoidance, and escape via briefly pleasurable activities that distract from terrible memories or suffering are common examples. Unfortunately, this escape habit stops people from successfully processing and recovering from their trauma.
 
Furthermore, when the pain resurfaces, more and more diversions are necessary to continue ignoring it. This can be seen in compulsive behaviours such as drug or alcohol addiction, emotional eating, numbing oneself through relationships, workaholism, excessive or dangerous exercise routines, compulsive internet or technology use, or any other compulsive behaviour used to distract yoursef from intrusive thoughts and emotions.
 
These actions have the potential to prolong a cycle of avoidance and repression, preventing persons from healing and progressing.
 

4. A strong need for control

 
It’s understandable that some people may struggle with control issues in their adult lives, especially if they felt helpless or vulnerable during their childhood.
 
This can happen if someone had an overbearing caregiver who didn’t let them make their own choices, expected too much from them, or didn’t take care of them properly. As adults, they might try to control everything in their life to feel more in control and less anxious or scared. This might be because they didn’t feel like they had control over their life when they were a child.
 
It’s important to remember that everyone’s experiences are different and it’s okay to seek help if you’re struggling with control issues.
 
 

5. Psychological Symptoms That Are Not Explained

 
Individuals with a history of developmental trauma may experience a range of psychological symptoms, including obsessive-compulsive behavior, intense mood swings, irritability, anger, depression, emotional numbing, or severe anxiety.
 
These symptoms can vary in intensity and may occur intermittently throughout the day. People with this type of trauma may attempt to “distract” themselves from these symptoms by denying or rationalizing them, or may resort to substance abuse or behavioral addictions as coping mechanisms. This can be a maladaptive way of trying to numb their symptoms.
 
 

What to do next if you’re suffering from emotional attachment trauma?

 
Everyone’s experience of healing from trauma is unique. It’s important to be aware of whether you have experienced childhood developmental trauma and how it may be affecting your relationships as an adult. Sometimes, the effects of trauma can be overwhelming and we may try to push them away or avoid them.
 
If you notice that you’re engaging in these behaviors, it’s important to seek help from a trauma therapist who can support you on your healing journey. Remember, you’re not alone and it’s never too late to start healing.
 

There are several ways that people can work to overcome emotional attachment trauma:

  1. Therapy: One of the most effective ways to overcome emotional attachment trauma is through therapy. A therapist can help you process your experiences, understand the impact of your trauma on your life, and develop coping strategies to manage symptoms.
  2. Support groups: Joining a support group of people who have had similar experiences can be a great way to find validation, empathy, and a sense of community.
  3. Mindfulness practices: Mindfulness practices such as meditation, pilates, prayer time with God or journaling can help you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, and develop a sense of spiritual connection and self-regulation.
  4. Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT): This is a type of therapy that is specifically designed to help individuals process and recover from traumatic events.
  5. Building a safety net: Building a support system of people you trust, who are there for you when you need them, can help you feel more secure and safe in your life.

It’s important to remember that healing from emotional attachment trauma is a process and it may take time. It’s also important to find a therapist who is experienced in treating trauma, who you feel comfortable talking with, and who can help you develop a personalized treatment plan.

 
 
If you desire to work with me on healing your wounds and unlocking the aspects of you that were never realized so you can achieve more success in your life then head over to awebliss.com and join my weekly LIVE online mentorship calls.
 
 
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