Living a Life You Love
Susan Bialy, MD, author of the new book Live a Life You Love: 7 Steps to a Healthier, Happier, More Passionate You, joined us to share the life lessons she learned that can help you lead a more fullfilling life.
She says when life is falling down around you, or if it just feels blah, lifeless or even hopeless, the quickest way to add hope and life back in is to re-connect with the real you. Here are five ways to do this:
1) Look back and think of when you were happiest:
When did you thrive the most in your life? Looking back, there were key joyous moments for me: practicing my "Solid Gold" dance moves in the basement when I was 8; traveling to visit European relatives in a jumbo jet with my parents; dancing all night in the disco during a Mexican trip with other students in 3rd year medical school; dancing and singing as a "Spice Nurse" in 4th year medical school's "Skits Night"...notice a couple of themes here? Dance, and travel. Small wonder that when I moved my base to Mexico and started a flamenco dance company in Cabo, my whole life changed. I laughed more, loved more, and felt filled with energy. I felt like I was finally truly alive. That's not selfish, or silly - I was simply being who I was meant to be, all along. Who are you meant to be?
2) Open your eyes and pay attention to what goes by:
Instead of automatically just moving through each day, be on the lookout for things that light you up, or spark an interest. What movies capture your interest or move you the most? Do you never miss an episode of Dancing with the Stars? What activities do you observe someone else doing - whether in life, or in a book, or on TV - that you would love to try?
3) Notice what makes you mad or upset:
What do you resent the most frequently in your life? If you're having a particularly grumpy day, what set you off? What's most likely to put you in a bad mood? If I don't have enough time to write or dance, I can get really irritable. If you find yourself feeling annoyed or jealous of something that someone else is doing, ask yourself why. Are they doing something you want to do? Are they preventing you from doing something you need to do? Emotions are great signposts, if you're willing to do the digging to find out what they're really about.
4) Write in a journal every day:
For years I sensed that the real me was supposed to be doing something unrelated to my traditional job as a doctor. It showed itself through a deep frustration and even grief that set in after I finished a day's work or got back from vacation. At the time, I didn't really know who I was and wasn't sure how to figure that out. By journaling, day after day, surprises and clues began to show up on the page. I wanted to dance more. I wanted to perform professionally. I wanted to move to another country. I wanted to become a writer, and then a speaker. Through my journal, the real me found her voice and told the day-to-day me who she was and what she dreamed of doing. She turned my life upside down and I've never been happier since she finally had the guts to show up!
5) Listen to your body:
Your body will tell you what resonates most with the real you, and when you've gone off your path or are betraying yourself. What makes you feel lighter and full of energy? What leaves you feeling drained? What makes you laugh? What makes you cry? (in a good way, and in a bad way) When do your neck and back ache? When do you get headaches? What makes your stomach churn with dread or unease? Pay attention to these physical clues - they will let you know when you're getting closer to, or farther away from, yourself.
As you pay attention to each of these areas, you'll discover more and more about the real you. Next, begin to act in ways that honor who you really are. Start doing more of those things that you've noticed move you, bring you alive, or give you more energy. Begin to avoid or change things that drain you, tense you up, or deaden your spirit. Over time, you'll be more and more yourself, and you'll be amazed by the experiences and circumstances that life will start to send your way.
For more information, visit Susan's website.