As we age, it’s a good idea to do a “self-check-in” from time to time about which direction your life is going. Upstream or downstream?
For this, you need to go “inside.” A self-introspection. Ask yourself, “How am I rowing my boat at this time?” Are you going with the effortless downstream flow of life? Or are you constantly paddling upstream against the current when life seems so difficult… with lots of frustration, disappointment, and stress? Maybe it’s a mix of both.
Naturally, we all want to stay in that easy and enjoyable downstream flow where life is good. But how do we do this?
We’ll help you with this by sharing eight actionable ideas and reminders that will help get your boat going in the right direction.
#1: Look for Joy in All You Do
Make choices and do things that make you happy, lift your spirits, and cause you to feel good about yourself and your life.
#2: Abandon Harmful Behaviors
Your decisions should do you no harm and do no harm to others. Avoid any unwholesome or hurtful behavior… in words or in actions.
#3: Engage in Acts of Kindness
Be the light to others by reaching out and helping those who are feeling scared, helpless and in need of support and love. Your actions will take your mind off of yourself and help reduce stressors in your life. These acts of kindness benefit you as much as the people you are helping.
#4: Show Your Appreciation
It is beneficial to continually be aware of things for which you are grateful. Appreciate them and give thanks for their coming into your life. A couple of good habits to reinforce your gratitude awareness are to recite, or list, or think about all that you are grateful for every morning. And before bedtime, do the same with all that inspired you during your day.
#5: Avoid Negative Reactions
In all situations and experiences you encounter, you should accept what is happening with calmness and steadfastness while avoiding negative knee-jerk reactions. Make space between what you see, hear, or feel and how you respond or react to it. Make “acceptance” a priority.
#6: Eliminate Destructive Thoughts
Deal with adversity and challenges in a constructive manner by eliminating self-pity and drowning in destructive thoughts. Do your best to “right” your boat to row downstream and go with the natural flow of life. Keep this idea front-of-mind and “catch yourself” when negative thinking arises. Remember, “what you resist will continue to persist.”
#7: Accept Reality as It Is
Do away with the attitude of wanting things to be a specific way or expecting certain outcomes. Understand that it is important to process life as it is, and not as you want it to be, or think it should be. To minimize stress, tension, disappoinment, anger, and worry, simply accept the truth and reality of all you experience.
#8: Meditate Daily
Start or re-start a daily meditation practice. This will train your mind to stay in the present moment. When your mind wanders into thoughts in your past, it can lead to anger. And if your thoughts are into the future, worry and fear can arise. Being in the now can help greatly to minimize your stress levels.
Just reserve a time in a quiet place to sit comfortably and focus on your breath. Whenever your mind wanders away, gently re-focus on your breath. Start with just 5 minutes once or twice a day and extend this to 20 minutes over time as you improve your concentration.
Paddling downstream is the way to go! It makes life fun and meaningful and fosters an exhilarating feel to every day, regardless of your age or background.
These ideas are adapted from our book, 101 Ways to Be Young at Any Age. Study them and heighten your awareness of them throughout your day. And most important, put these words into action. It will forever change the “third-third” of your life for the better.
What does ‘going with the flow of life’ mean to you? Have you been rowing against the flow or with it? What has this brought to your life to date? Do you think it’s time to switch gears?