Charles Benayon

Founder & CEO of Aspiria

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Getting Out of a Rut

stuck-in-a-rutAlthough we move along in our lives at a frenetic pace, we don’t often stop to take time to reflect. When things change in our environment, like the sun setting earlier or tragedies like the Ottawa shooting just last week, or the Ebola world crisis, we can wear down. Days of feeling lost, confused and less hopeful can turn into weeks, and before you know it, you’re in a rut and can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Sometimes in life we find ourselves feeling lost, confused, unmotivated, and simply “blah”. Things feel like they may not be going your way, and each day you feel less hopeful about that changing. Before you know it, you’re in a full-on rut, and unsure of how to get out of it.

External factors can contribute to your rut, like feeling the effects of cooling temperatures and less sunshine each day. We turn on the news and are bombarded with tragic and disheartening events of terror and fear, like the previously mentioned Ottawa terror of last week. It should come as no surprise that the world definitely has a hand in how motivated and inspired you are in getting out of your rut.

So with all that is happening around us, how do we manage to self-motivate and return to a place of peace and happiness? I’ve provided some tips designed to help you turn things around quickly:

  1. Rediscover what you love doing.

Make a list of the activities you love most, and choose one to do each week. If it’s something big, work on setting small goals/taking small steps towards making it happen.

  1. Actively change your thinking.

Think of a few areas of your life where you’re feeling “stuck”, and write down exactly what is making you feel that way. Then, think about the same area in a different way, this time shedding a positive light on it. Contrast your first statement with a new, optimistic one!

  1. Do something different.

Being in a rut means you are in a negative pattern of thinking. They always say you can’t expect different results with the same actions, so do something different, something you may not otherwise think of doing, like booking that massage, going for a brisk walk, or savouring that orange, one piece at a time. You don’t have to make major changes, think about your behaviour and what you can change to produce better results for you!

  1. Say “yes” more!

If we all said “yes” to the many opportunities, big or small, that we have presented to us each day, we’d open ourselves up to so many exciting experiences and be able to learn and understand so much about ourselves. Make the most of your time each day.

  1. Embrace change.

Accept change as a good factor in life, not one that causes discomfort or disarray. Routines are not always your friend! Taking the fear out of change will help you feel calmer and more prepared for curveballs in life.

It is important to remember that being in a rut is not necessarily a bad thing – it signifies a chance for growth and positive adjustment. We will all go through periods where we must realign ourselves to our surroundings in an effort to settle back into a place of peace and comfort. It is much like a spaceship that has veered off course. If it is not corrected, it could lead to disastrous results. Use these tips to help you find your happy place!

Do you have any personal techniques you use to get yourself out of a rut? Share with us in the comments!

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Gratitude is an Attitude

GratitudeJournal-esollaAs many Canadians celebrated Thanksgiving this past weekend, it gave me pause to reflect on how merely expressing appreciation and sharing positivity for life can have profound effects on our well being, health and relationships. People who practice gratitude consistently report a multitude of benefits, including:

  • Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure;
  • Higher levels of positive emotions;
  • More joy, optimism, and happiness;
  • Acting with more generosity and compassion;
  • Feeling less lonely and isolated

Unfortunately, in our busy and chaotic lives, it can be hard to find time to give gratitude. There are many moments when we may feel stuck and fed up, but taking time to appreciate the good things, and what we are grateful for, can be life-altering.

Life coaches remind us that “gratitude is an attitude”, and the number one predictor of success is gratitude. Research suggests that gratitude boosts morale and productivity in organizations. We spend so much of our time at work, yet people are less likely to feel or express gratitude at work than anyplace else.

If being grateful will increase happiness by 25%, then depression, stress, and anxiety can be decreased. This makes for happier employees, but employers who remember to also thank their customers as well as their staff watch their sales increase.

If gratitude improves stress levels, relationships and overall mood, then here are some ways it can be cultivated in the workplace:

  • Organizations need to devote time at meetings or provide other opportunities to explicitly thank other members for their work
  • Managers in your organization should not wait until there is extraordinary performance from staff to say thank you, but also for doing a good job daily
  • Saying “thank you” for your work should come from peers as well as managers
  • Dish out compliments on a daily basis
  • Make a contribution or volunteer time with your company’s charity of choice, to help people less fortunate than yourself
  • Avoid complaining and criticizing – take notice of how your energy is wasted on negative thoughts and feelings and divert it to focusing on better things. You can also share your appreciation of things, such as how nice the journey to work was.

Life coaching is valuable for helping you to see the positives rather than the negatives, and to become more productive and successful in all aspects of life. Coaches can help us to realize what we have, which takes the focus off what we don’t. This can lessen our need for wanting more all the time.

Oprah once said, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more.  If you focus on what you don’t have, you will never, ever, have enough”. It’s a choice, and one that could determine the quality of your life.

“What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.” Colette, French novelist

Do you take time every day to appreciate your coworkers or boss? What do you do to show them appreciation? I look forward to reading your experiences in the comments below.