Often, our perceptions of stress come when things don’t quite flow the way we had hoped or planned for them to. Our desire to control can often increase our sense of stressful situations, heightening emotions such as frustration, anxiety and even anger. Today’s article explores the concept of going with the flow and next week’s article will continue with some simple strategies for helping you to let go and go more with the flow.
What do I specifically mean by the term go with the flow? Going with the flow means practicing acceptance to bring us peace, happiness and a deeper sense of harmony. Practicing acceptance is an art form unto itself. And I often focus on it in my workshops and in coaching my clients because it is indeed so challenging for all of us!
There are essentially two ways to experience joy: Getting what you want, or through wanting what you have. Accepting and wanting what you have is probably the most reliable and consistent method of the two. This doesn’t mean that we give up or settle for less in our lives; acceptance means practicing contentment moment to moment with what we have (whether that moment is one to be fully savored or one you choose to change down the road). Neither savoring nor making conscious change in our lives is truly possible without first accepting the experience for what it is. Without acceptance, we are like children pressing our faces on the glass windows of a candy shop, at the edges of our existence and not fully living.
Below are some suggested areas for practicing acceptance (adapted from author Victoria Morgan).
1. Ourselves – height, age, marital status, disposition, health, overall appearance.
2. Our Past – family history, hurts, disappointments, regrets, nostalgia about the good ol’ days and how much better things were years ago.
3. Our Present – where we live, our occupation, our income, who is sharing (or isn’t sharing) our present with us.
4. Other People – those who may or may not accept us for who we are, those who know us best and those whom we know the most about.
5. Uncontrollable Circumstances- death, taxes, the weather, traffic patterns, the antics and salaries of celebrities.
6. Whatever comes, in each moment – joy, sorrow, anger, fatigue, wonderment, surprise, just to name a few.
My suggestion is for you to review this list and choose just one thing this week you would like to bring your awareness of acceptance toward. If you benefit from journaling, this is the perfect topic to explore through some writing time. I’d love to hear what you choose – please email me with your acceptance growth-edges and any questions you may have.
The bottom line in regard to acceptance is this: The more you accept, the greater your energy and clarity for living grows. When you accept, you are free to change some things, probably more than you believed possible. In the process, you are bound to experience more contentment and – who knows, even more happiness along the way!