Sometimes I think personal development has become a little too serious. (Hands up if you still crack a little smirk when someone signs off an email to you with "love and light" to sign off emails).
But I like to laugh, and be silly, and connect with people! Not just sit on a rock, gravely contemplating life. So I just want to make (gentle) fun of people who hashtag self-love and Sunday surrender. You know, just enough fun to make them laugh at themselves a little bit.
Yes, self love is important, and yes it's a good idea to take some time to rest, but do we need to be so solemn about it all? Hell no!
So I have tried to change it up. Here are my top tips for personal development with a giggle.
1. Laughter cures all ills.
Whatever's going on, if you can laugh at it, it will be better. If you can't laugh at it, laugh at yourself. If you can't laugh at yourself, draw some eyebrows on your dog or baby and laugh at that instead. If you don't have an animal or a child, look up Jimmy Fallon on youtube, or watch something else quick and funny. But laughter lightens the load, and lets you come back at whatever the problem is from another angle.
2. Spend some time moving outside.
You don't need to do anything hard core, in fact, if you're stressed that will be counterproductive. But go for a walk, swim in the ocean, hug a tree on your way past. Exercising releases endorphins (which make you feel happy) and being outdoors has been shown to boost your mood. Double whammy! And all you need is five minutes of moment in the great outdoors.
3. Let yourself feel your negative emotions.
I don't think personal development needs to be serious. But I also think the only way to grow past negative emotions is to actually feel them.
From my own experience, I did a very good job of pushing all the sadness and grief of my father's death in 2000 down, down, down inside me. I wanted to not feel sad, so pushed the sadness aside, not realizing the impact. Then in early in 2014 I had an alignment session with my amazing coach and the blackness I'd carried around for almost a decade and a half came up. I truly experienced it, and afterwards I felt spent, but lighter. Free-er.
So if there's something dark that you need to go through, really own it, and feel it, and then let it go.
4. Find your way of being silent.
I used to really resist meditating. In fact, I couldn't even see any point to it, and laughed at my friends who were early adopters. I couldn't fathom any reason at all to meditate. But then one day I started doing some yoga. And I found a bit of stillness in me. And I liked it, so I kept doing a bit more yoga, and realized I use it as a moving meditation.
I have also always loved to hike. Amongst the trees, silent (not the whole time, obviously! I'm a talker!), moving my feet right... left... right... left. Listening to the leaves underfoot, the birds above. It's a place I can allow the silence, which leaves me with a calmness I can't always find.
I do meditate now, but I still often find it difficult and use a lot of guided meditations. But now that I know the benefit I work harder to stay on the mat.
Find your silence. Don't force it, just allow it. The mirror will be held up.
5. And from the shadow puppeteer at the Adelaide festival years ago... "There is always, always time to play."
If you want to live a joyful life, then you need to do joyful things! These can be different for everyone, there's no fixed format for living happily, but you need to let yourself play in a way that makes you come alive!
I love adventures, and love traveling and exploring the world. I love connecting with people (probably another reason I like traveling so much) and host parties and gatherings as often as I can. Instead of a honeymoon we had a buddy moon, and I organized for 25 friends to travel up the East Coast of Australia for two weeks with me and the hub. Fun!!
So find what you love, and play at it. After all, to paraphrase the Dali Lama "all you need to do to be happy is more of the things that make you happy and less of the things that don't."
Let yourself play.
What do you think? Can personal development be taken a little less seriously? What do you do when you need to get back to yourself for a while?
Sam knows all too well how hard it can be to fit happiness in around a busy life, as she's a corporate refugee and married mother of one. She takes women on everyday adventures, runs workshops and does limited 1:1 sessions to look at where you're not living your best life and how to go about making some changes. You can also take charge of your happiness and your life in her Everyday Evolution.