We spend a lot of time looking backward at what we’ve done, focusing on past mistakes or decisions. When we’re not looking backward, we’re stressing about the future and what we have yet to accomplish. But embracing the now and finding ways to make peace with yourself today can help center you and help you live a happier, simpler & more balanced life. Dr. Jenni Bruning Brown shares her 4 simple rules for a better life.
- Only control what you can. Do you spend your days re-writing your to-do list rather than tackling it or going to bed but lying awake, stressed and anxious about what you have to do the following day? Do you ruminate on how a situation will turn out or how people might react? Jenni says that we all deal with stress differently. Life can make us feel anxious, out of control or overwhelmed and paralyze us. If we remind ourselves that all we can control is our response to what life throws at us, we can respond with calmness, knowing that we are ultimately going to be okay. This allows us to change our emotional outcome.
- Accept change from your body and life: It’s the only constant. Life is a process, and change is the only thing that is constant. We are constantly evolving, learning as we go. The best thing you can do is to try to accept who you are in that moment and know that there isn’t anything inherently good or bad about who you are today. Our bodies are no exception. Observe and admire your personal evolution and know that you won’t be perfectly neutral at all times. But gently reminding ourselves that we are in the next stage of change and we will see another season helps to get you back on the right mental track.
- Focus on you to focus on them. If you don’t put yourself first, everything else suffers. You may think you need to sacrifice your workouts or your time to yourself to get the laundry done, take your kids to piano or make that noon meeting. But Jenni suggests that in reality, when you put your “appointment” with yourself first, you’ll be much better equipped to be a better parent, coworker, friend & partner.
- Enjoy yourself. Always eating healthy isn’t worth being miserable. Jenni’s policy is to encourage clients to indulge themselves when there are occasions that have special treats, or when they’ve been craving amazing food and drink. “If you want to go out with friends, or celebrate with a glass of wine and some carrot cake, don’t sweat it!” She recommends that you treat yourself, rather than constantly depriving yourself of things you enjoy so that you don’t end up bingeing on it later. Her philosophy is “eat healthy, and enjoy yourself—don’t deprive yourself of things you love, just make sure you do it in moderation.”
These “rules” act more as gentle guidance, helping you to let go of things that don’t serve you and focus on enjoying life and the moment you’re in.