Spring Cleaning - An Inside Job

 

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Each month I happily publish a healthy living column in my neighborhood's magazine, Kingsbury Living.

We have a fabulous community and I am grateful to share my experiences and expertise with dear neighbors and fellow friends. Take a peak below to view April's article, "Spring Cleaning - An Inside Job."

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I love, love, LOVE spring time. Wrapping up from a gray, Northeast Ohio winter inspires gratitude, renewed energy, and so much more. I know I am not alone in this. Although spring officially began March 20, it’s usually in April that we start seeing the effects. From the buds on the trees, to the tulips peeking through the earth, to hearing the songbirds singing, signs of possibility and growth are all around us.

Longer days and warmer temperatures not only trigger a response that we see in nature, but we also start feeling the hope and promise within ourselves. Moods are brighter and layers start to peel away—and I’m not just talking about wool sweaters and heavy coats. I’m talking about the buildup of grime around our mental and emotional spaces.

Here are 3 ways to add more energy to this type of spring cleaning:

1. Shine Light on Your Negative Thoughts
Awareness is the first step to sustainable change. As soon you have a thought that feels negative, replace it with a positive one. For example, "I can't figure this out. I'm not very smart," becomes, "I have other strengths. This just isn't one of them and that's okay." If it's difficult for you to recognize a negative thought versus what you believe is reality, pay more attention to your body. Tense shoulders, mild headaches, discomfort in the stomach are just a few of the indicators that some toxic thinking is going on. It's most likely not your truth and just an old pattern.
 
2. Choose Your Friends Wisely
Motivational Speaker, Jim Rohn said that we are the average of the five people that we spend the most time with. I have totally “up-leveled” my life by consciously choosing who I spend time with. This is an easy way to clean up your mental clutter.  Simply, begin to surround yourself with people who support and encourage you, make you laugh, and believe in you.  

3. Start Focusing on the Future
If you live in the past, you will never create a better future. I recognized a profound change in a friend of mine. When I asked what was different, she shared that she participated in “The Dream Manager” program at work. Of course being in Human Resources and a self-improvement junkie, I had to check this out. The program is based on a book of the same title by Matthew Kelly, and outlines how organizations can achieve results by helping their employees fulfill their dreams. It can also apply to individuals, and will definitely get you focused forward.  

This type of cleaning is hard work and will take time, tenacity, and patience. Small, consistent steps are the key. As the April showers cleanse the earth preparing for the vibrancy of May, allow some new thoughts and practices to wash over you so you can live your life to its fullest.