After being introduced to books like Range by David Epstein and Think Again by Adam Grant (Those are affiliate links, by the way. If you decide to buy with the link, you will not only support me, but also independent bookstores.), I couldn’t stop reading about the brain and how it works, the human condition, and how we interact with ourselves and each other.
Of course, these concepts are familiar to me since I’ve been studying them for years in the world of fiction. But these non-fiction books, these “self-help” books as a lot of people call them, helped me contextualize what I already knew and highlight things I overlooked.
I’ve learned so much that I wish I had known sooner. But here are five things for now.
The highlight reel
1. The magic of journaling. I have long called journaling my messy magic because it is magic. It is where I can process emotions and events, observe my inner dialogue, capture ideas, document my dreams, and so much more!
Now, when I say it is magic, that doesn’t mean things happen immediately. It usually doesn’t. But the practice of noticing thoughts and rewriting stories you hold is nothing short of magic in my opinion. Yes, I know there are scientific studies that prove the neuropathway changes that occur when you journal, but I don’t need to know all the bits of technical information to know that it works. And I will always call it magic. I want everyone to experience the magic of journaling, so I created a mini-course that explores barriers you might be putting up that is keeping you from this practice.
2. The power of self-compassion. I’ve started calling myself an accidental self-compassion advocate because I would have never thought I would be talking about it, let alone guiding others toward it! I believed the only way to motivate me to do things was to be hard on myself. It turns out the opposite is much more motivating.
I was introduced to self-compassion through my journaling practice, but I still didn’t fully understand the concept. Compassion was for others, not for me. The full idea of self-compassion almost slapped me in the face when I was writing about goals. And because this was my true entry point into studying self-compassion, and because I believe it is easier to understand and practice self-compassion alongside working toward goals, I created Goals, but Different. It’s a new way to approach goals by being compassionate to ourselves.
3. The value of movement. Maybe I knew this early on since I have always loved to dance, but I didn’t understand all its value until recently. Movement allows the body to process things at a deeper level. It also feels free and lovely.
Because movement is so valuable, I’ve began incorporating it into my days more. Sitting at my desk writing, I take stretch breaks. I dance in the seat of my car at red lights. I run or take walks. Whatever fits in the moment.
4. The art of rest. This one is another one I knew, but not really until recently. Even in school, when I was working on a paper and couldn’t quite figure out how to approach it, I would take a short nap, and almost always, it would come to me. It still holds today, and now I see it as part of my art.
Though, actual sleep is not the only type of rest. Reading a book, watching a movie or series, or chopping veggies (if you like that kind of thing like I do), can all be forms of rest. It allows your body and brain to restore energy.
5. The genius of play. Play permits exploration and experimentation. Both of which are vital for growth.
I’ve been looking for ways to invite pleasure and joy in my life. And what I found was that I already had a lot of joyful moments throughout the day. My brain labeled them as something other than play, like work, so I didn’t notice it as a pleasurable moment. But once I saw that my brain was hiding these moments from me, I started being on the lookout. Like now. My brain labels this writing as work, but it is also pleasurable. It can be both.
What would be on your highlight reel of things you wish you knew sooner?