Do you need ‘updating’ or ‘doing up’? Are you a renovator’s delight? This week’s blog treats our inner selves as we would treat our houses. This blog is about DIY happiness.
You look around the house. You fold your arms. You narrow your eyes. You tilt your head to the left.
I really think the couch would look better over there… I wonder what the dining table would look like against that wall? Imagine if we knocked out that wall… Should we paint that wall or do wall paper? I think we need a new splashback. Do you think grass or paving is better? Let’s go shopping!
Most of us spend a lot of time thinking about how to improve the places we live in. In fact, retail activity at Australian D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself) retailers in hardware, building and gardening is up almost 11 per cent since 2013. Even if it is as simple as buying a bunch of flowers, we love to beautify our surroundings.
And of course we want to improve our home- it’s where we live! It can increase our property value. It can make us want to stay there for longer. It will enhance our quality of life. But how many of us have the same attitude to the more immediate home we inhabit: our inner world?
I think it’s amazing that many people don’t think twice about spending hours each week improving their house, but the same people would claim that they don’t have time to meditate, practice yoga, or speak to a coach/counsellor/therapist about their state of mind. And what’s the fundamental difference between our inner self and our house? We can’t move! We’re in our mind for life. So it’s worth making our mind a beautiful place to live.
We need to see our mind as being our inner house. Every once in awhile, it’s good to update the way we think. It’s good to introduce some colour, or to move things around. Some people need to knock down a few walls and renew some rooms. Others need to knock the whole thing down and rebuild from scratch.
Here are some tips for DIY happiness:
– DAILY & WEEKLY CLEANING: Just as we do a daily tidy of the house and a big weekly clean, we need to have a daily practice of tidying our mind as well as a weekly renewal. On a daily basis, commit to a mindfulness practice that you love, whether it is a guided meditation, focused breathing, body dialogue or journalling. On a weekly basis, do something for over an hour to renew your mind, whether it is attending a yoga/pilates etc. class, going for a reflective walk alone, having a bath with candles or doing a long meditation. This renewal needs to involve solitude in the present moment for as long as you can spare.
– REGULAR DECORATING: This is all about making your inner home beautiful. Get in touch with whatever deeply inspires you. Only you know this. If you love art, make a regular time to visit local exhibitions, or if you love food, make time to eat out at inspiring restaurants or learn to cook different and delicious meals. I always need to be learning and expanding my mind, so I am constantly reading fiction and non-fiction. Holidays, short courses and retreats are other great ways of decorating your inner home. These are always on our list of ‘things I really want to do but don’t get around to’!
– STRUCTURAL WORK: We also need to ensure that our mental habits are supporting the life we want to live. Sometimes the architecture of our house can work against us, for example, you may have to go downstairs to get outside, so it makes for difficult access. In the same way, we often have mental obstacles that get in the way of our thriving. How do you know if your mental habits prevent from living the life you want? There’s an easy way of finding out. It’s how you feel. It’s as simple as that. If you feel good pretty much all the time, your mental habits are supporting you. If you feel anxious, or negative, or apprehensive most of the time, you need to either change structural aspects of your lifestyle (i.e. get more sleep, give up addictions, change your diet etc.) or you need to adapt your mental habits. This could involve approaching an expert in the field, just as you would approach a builder if you need to do structural work on your property. This is when DIY becomes an inner renovation!
These are some of my tips for DIY happiness. I’d love to hear any of yours! What do you do on a regular basis that cleans, updates, renews or re-decorates your mind?