Being single can be a bit like marmite – you either love or loathe it. March 11th marks National Singles Day in the UK and September 21 in the US, a day to reflect on your single status, and in our busy lives we sometimes need a prompt to stop and think. Well ‘NSD’ is that day.
With that in mind, I’d like to invite you to think about your life, your hopes and dreams. I want you to take stock, regroup and take off again with more purpose and intent.
For this I’m going to delve into the world of positive psychology. Here the literature talks about what we might employ in order to thrive and flourish, moving us beyond the absence of depression and despair (where we may just be getting along).
You might think finding a partner is the solution, and it is true that one can flourish in a good meaningful relationship, but in order to achieve that you sort of need to be in ‘that space’ already. The old adage: you can’t expect someone to love you, if you don’t love yourself.
So what better plan than to sit down and think about self-love and creating a space for yourself that will enable you to flourish.
I present 3 things you can do:
- Goal setting: sometimes when you set yourself a goal you are more likely to achieve it and gain a sense of satisfaction. Many people feel a little lost in their lives, and a great place to start is to work out what your ‘ikigai’ is or how you man achieve it. Ikigai is your essence, the ‘thing’ that gets you up in the morning, your purpose as it were. It’s a Japanese term, and they believe it takes time to curate. It is made up of 4 elements: what you are passionate about, what you are good at, what you can earn from and what contributes to the world. It looks like this: [insert diagram, see attachment] So for the purposes of this blog, set yourself down, list your answers under each of the 4 questions…see which ones overlap, which one can fit into each section. THAT would be your ikiagi – work towards it and cultivate!
- Practice positivity: It is said that you are born with about half of your happiness level, about 10 % of your happiness is due to circumstance and the remaining 40% is down to your actions and attitude. These are some of the things you can do to influence that 40%:
- Do random act of kindness a couple of times a week. Give to charity, hug a strangers, give compliments to people you don’t normally talk to, send flowers to your friends -something random but kind.
- Write a list of things you are grateful for once a week for a few weeks – list anything as beginning as, I love my morning coffee to bigger gestures, I’m grateful for being alive.
- Engage with people who cross your path. Connect with people, greet the bus driver, the check-out person or service clerk, acknowledge the homeless person or child that you pass in the street. A nod and smile will do.
- Tap into your zen: We have 3 ’emotion regulation’ systems in the body, all relating to behaviour and accompanying neurotransmitters and hormones. One is the fight, flight, freeze mechanism and is driven by cortisol (or ‘stress hormone’). This system kicks in when we are worried about mortgages, deadlines, job security, not having a partner, health issues etc. It’s the most sensitive system and overrides the others. The next is the motivational, action based mechanism, driven by dopamine. It’s the one that propels us to earn more money, gain recognition, crave sex etc. It moves us forward. The last and more difficult to active, is the ‘zen’ calming mechanism, driven by oxytocin and vasopressin. This counteracts on the stressors of the fight/flight mechanism, which is constantly reacting to the worlds dilemmas and dangers. Yet, we seldom employ it because we are too busy with work or too bogged down by our to do list. When was the last time you truly did something purely for your souls pleasure (and not out of obligation). Simply hanging out with friends or family over a Sunday roast doesn’t count, nor does your mean gym routine either.
I suggest you mindfully take time out of your weekly schedule and do something purely for you. Whether it’s 5 minutes in the sun on a park bench, going to the movies by yourself, booking a massage, drawing a bath and turning your phone off, walk barefooted on a bit of grass…the key thing, is that they are activities that have no strings attached in the sense that they have secondary ‘list ticking’ benefits. For example, the retail therapy looses it’s therapeutic appeal if you needed to get something for work anyway. You do the activity simple for the sake of it.
Try any one or all of these and reap the benefits. As a single person, you are the most likely to pull it off. And if you are a single parent, this is your time to be creative with your time, carve something out just for you. It’s important to our mental health and a better mental health, leads to a more attractive you…
happy national singles day.
If you are seeing someone and you feel unsure whether you are dating someone genuine, perhaps see me for some date coaching – you don’t have to be a Maclynn client. Email me here – firstname.lastname@example.org