Life is fleeting. Moments are there for an instant and then they are gone. Do you enjoy these moments or do you merely use them as a means to an end? Are these moments springboards to reach the next checkpoint, or are you relishing each one? It is very easy to allow the busyness of everyday to impede your enjoyment of each moment and each day. Your job keeps you busy. Your family keeps you busy. Your social life keeps you busy. It is okay to be busy when you are in tune with what is keeping you busy. But is it okay to be busy and unfulfilled, or dare I say, unhappy?
Shift the manner in which you go about your day by simply observing your thoughts and your actions. Throughout your day ask yourself questions to ensure you are engaged in what you are doing. This change will require an enormous amount of awareness on your part. You need to ask yourself these questions frequently throughout your day. Some of the questions need to be asked more often than others but asking yourself these questions, and responding with honest answers, will help you assess how content you are during your days.
I don’t intend to have you walking around asking yourself questions aloud and then answering them as well, but with the constant flow of thoughts that you experience throughout your day, it is necessary to have a gauge of which thoughts are rational and which are irrational. It will help you decipher what is true reality and what is imagined reality. You can begin to sift through the drama of the mind, and live the life you desire, not the life your mind desires. Here are six important questions to ask yourself without judgment everyday:
1. Am I present?
It is number one for a reason. You need to ask yourself this question continuously as you go about your day. Are you living in the given moment right now, which is the only moment you can do anything about, or are you focused on something from the past or something that has yet to occur in the future? What is your attention on right now? So much of your worry, fear, stress, and emotional pain is due to your inability to live in the present moment. If you are truly living in the present and enjoying everything you have in that moment you would not experience any of these negative emotions. It is the constant chatter of your mind that causes you to become upset, angry, depressed, and sad. This chatter is rarely targets the present moment. It is concerned with something that happened in your past or something that is going to happen in the future. When you notice your mind beginning its dialogue simply ask yourself, am I present? Bring yourself back to neutral and be in the moment. It is the only moment you can control right now.
2. Am I serving others?
Have you helped someone else today? So much of your satisfaction and joy in life stems from serving other people. Life is not solely about you receiving all that you want and need. No! It is essential for you to find ways to help other people throughout your day. It doesn’t need to be an extensive act of servitude. A simple gesture such as nice compliment to a coworker or assisting an elderly person as they cross the street can do wonders. As your day gets busy and your thoughts become self-serving, ask yourself, am I serving others or how can I serve others today? And serve others for the joy of serving, not because you expect something in return.
3. Am I being genuine and authentic?
You know who you really are. You know when you are acting genuine rather than pretending to be someone you are not. Maybe you have acted in a certain way in order to impress someone else or you desired someone else’s approval so much that you were willing to change who you were, even if it was only for a moment. Especially in social situations ask yourself, am I being genuine and authentic right now? It will serve as a friendly reminder to be the authentic you. You don’t have to change for anyone. No matter what happens throughout your day you can always celebrate the person you see in the mirror because that person is genuine and authentic.
4. Am I doing my best?
Perhaps you are quick to judge yourself when you make mistakes but before you do that ask yourself did you do your best? The Judge in your mind might not think you did your best, but your opinion is the only one that matters. It is important to ask yourself this throughout your day because you can certainly test the rationality of your mind with this question. Your ego feeds of your emotional instability. When you fail at something or you are having a rough day, the first reaction is to get upset and display a negative emotion. Before you sabotage yourself in this way, ask yourself again, am I doing my best? If you can honestly assess that you are doing your best than why abdicate your emotional control? I believe most people do the best they can but when they experience failure, they assume the toxic thoughts about them are true. Ask yourself this a lot because it will keep you focused throughout your day.
5. Am I loving?
You can show love or you can show hate. Maybe these are two extremes but you can certainly be loving or unloving. What kind of emotional state do you want to experience throughout your day? Ask yourself if you are loving in this moment. Are you loving yourself? Are you loving those around you? This is vitally important because if you want to get the most out your day, if you want to enjoy all the moments that make up your day, you have to learn to love. You have to let go of the built up resentment you have for the guy who cut you off in traffic. You have to release the stress and tension you have when you are in the office. If you are feeling anything but contentment, happiness, joy, or any other positive emotion you first need to figure out why. Then you need to figure out how you can shift from this unloving state to a loving one. Am I loving in this moment? You and only you are in control of your loving state of mind.
6. Am I happy?
Ultimately you want happiness. Everyone does. In order to attain genuine happiness, you must ask if you are happy. Am I happy in this moment? Am I happy today? Why or why not? Take ownership of your happiness. Create happiness for yourself. An artist creates her masterpiece on a blank canvas. Each day is a blank canvas for which you can create genuine happiness because that is your masterpiece! Periodically check to make sure you are happy. With the help of the other five questions, your answer should almost always be a resounding yes.