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How 2015 taught me to live in the present

Katie Carlson

2015 has brought many changes to my life: some good, some bad and some unexpected, but all necessary. There’s nothing I would change because it’s made me who I am today.

I now understand the saying, “The only thing constant in life is change,” but most importantly, I no longer fear it. One of the most drastic changes I’ve made in my life this past year is making more time to quiet my mind and reflect daily. That’s why this blog post is so fitting, there’s no better time than now to reflect back about what I’ve learned in 2015 and take these lessons with me to a bigger and better 2016.

Who I am

I realize that learning about yourself is an ongoing process. We’re always evolving as people, but this year was different. I began to accept myself for who I am and get comfortable in my own skin. I learned that being proud of myself is not selfish — it’s self-love.

Seeking out inspiration from inside myself and getting to know what motivates me has brought me to new levels of vulnerability. I’m able to better express my thoughts and emotions to others without apologizing for what I’m feeling. I accept the highs and lows of life for what they are, as waves of challenges and triumphs that come and go.

To live in the present moment

I’ve taken up the practice of mindfulness over the past year and am grateful for this new way of life because of the many valuable lessons it has brought me. Living in the present moment has taught me how to exist in a state of non-judgment, non-striving, trust, attention and awareness, a beginner’s mind, letting go and patience. These are skills that have helped me grow and mature in my personal and professional existence. The more I’m able to understand how the mind, body, spirit and nature intersect, the better I’m able to see the bigger picture in life and appreciate that there’s so much more than just ourselves to consider in our daily decisions and behaviors.

The importance of self-care and compassion

In the past, I prided myself on how busy I was and how good I was at multi-tasking. Now, I value the time I take to clear and nourish my mind, exercise my body, listen with my full attention and take in new information. It’s true that you can’t take care of others and let in other people until you take care of yourself. We often talk about having compassion for others, but what about having compassion for ourselves? This was a new concept to me and one I chose to tackle this year. I have to say, it’s quite rewarding and a necessary component of a healthy lifestyle.

How to better deal with stress

Practicing gratitude for the ordinary and living for the extraordinary has allowed me to create a peace within myself that keeps me grounded when I’m faced with obstacles and roadblocks. I’ve implemented mindfulness into my daily routine as a way to better manage my health and deal with my stress. Instead of hiding from it, I face it, and instead of trying to handle everything on my own, I ask for help and support from those around me. Let me tell you, when you’re able to manage your stress, your health improves, your relationships improve and your quality of life is enhanced. In my opinion, there’s no better gift.

Second chances do exist

I used to think there was only one answer, one path and one solution. Through my changes in 2015, I’ve learned and accepted that this isn’t true, and this type of thinking only hinders you from reaching your dreams and full potential. Second chances do exist, you just have to be still enough to recognize them, open-minded enough to dabble in them and brave enough to use them.

Life isn’t perfect

Perfection is the enemy of the realistic, the possible and the fun. It causes you to second guess yourself and assume that what you have isn’t good enough. However, I’ve learned that perfectionism is a mindset that can be changed, altered and challenged. Reframing my thought patterns and assumptions has opened my mind up to new possibilities and a real acceptance of myself, even if I make a mistake or two along the way.

You can find more uplifting content on my blog.

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