The Life Boost Principles
I frequently used to wish that I could just escape from my brain.
I was exhausted - from a job that made me feel empty by the end of the day, from trying to keep up with a never-ending to-do list, from being anxious even when I didn’t know what was making me anxious which made me even more anxious, and from trying so hard and yet always feeling behind.
Yet the moment I would try to relax, my brain would get louder with thoughts like:
- "You don't have time for this"
- "Oh, you never scheduled that appointment! You better do that right now.."
- "The weekend is going by so quickly, let me remind you of everything that's going to suck about Monday"
- "Yes, you totally need a break. And it's going to feel SO good. But in order for it to feel good, just do this one more thing - it'll be quick - then you'll really be able to relax"
Staying busy helped to keep the judgmental voices happy - for a moment. Checking things off a to-do list was how I got a momentary high (thanks dopamine) and fleeting moment of satisfaction.
I wanted to escape my brain, because I was tired of feeling responsible for everything and I was afraid the moment I stopped I would fail or something would fall apart. When my husband told me to “take a break” it just frustrated me more, because how could he not see all the things that needed to get done?
Deep down I knew that I needed a break, and yet I couldn’t. I didn’t just want to escape from my job, I wanted an off switch for my brain.
While I never found the off-switch, I found what I needed. I learned how to partner with my brain. As I learned how to tame the voices that led me to burnout, I started reconnecting with who I was at the core - body, mind, and heart. For the first time, I started really getting to know the real Amelia underneath all the “shoulds”.
There are 6 key concepts that helped to shift my mindset so that I experience life with so much more energy, resilience, confidence, and freedom - even when life gets hard. They have also helped my clients to release and let go of the things that were weighing them down and holding them back from what they wanted in life. I call these the Life Boost principles.
Any time you’re feeling stuck or overwhelmed, check in with the 6 Life Boost Principles. They will always help you to move forward in a way that feels good - inside and out.
The Life Boost Principles
1. Be Kind
Have you been treating yourself and your body with kindness and empathy? Your body’s one mission in life is to keep you safe, healthy, and protected. Have you given it the basic necessities it needs (real food, water, rest, sunlight, movement) and had empathy for what you and your body have been through?
2. Inner critics aren’t invited
Have you instituted a zero tolerance for bullies policy and made sure your inner critic isn’t running the show? When things are feeling hard or overwhelming, there’s a good chance the negative, judgmental voice in your head has taken over. When you become aware of those voices, you start to take away their power. I recommend naming your inner critic. For example, I named mine “BK” for Buzz Kill because that’s exactly what she does when she shows up.
I highly recommend taking this assessment from Positive Intelligence to identify what type of inner critic is loudest for you! Some of them are sneaky and will try to convince you they're in your best interest - this will make it easier to recognize when they're showing up.
3. Ditch judgment and embrace curiosity.
Have you released judgment and embraced curiosity? Judgment stalls progress and smothers joy. Any time you feel pressure rising, curiosity is a powerful pop-off valve. It will take away your inner critic's power so you can move forward.
4. Embrace your inner researcher.
Have you embraced your inner researcher and collected data on what might be contributing to feeling this way? Researchers observe and collect data without emotion or judgment tied to it. They use the data to look for trends in order to learn and problem-solve. When you embrace your inner researcher, everything you do is really valuable data to learn more about yourself and what you need to feel good. There’s no bandwagon to fall off when you embrace your inner researcher.
5. Listen to your body, mind, and heart.
Have you checked in with your body, mind, and heart and listened to what they need or have you treated them as an inconvenience? Your body and heart have so much wisdom, but our society has taught you to ignore them and push through with pills, alcohol, caffeine, screens, willpower, and discipline. Remember that your body is always trying to protect you and keep you safe. What is it trying to tell you?
6. Break the norm
Have you reminded yourself that in order to feel your best you can’t do what most people are doing and what's "normal"? How is worrying about what others expect or will think getting in the way of doing what you know will help you to feel your best inside and out?
When you break the norm and treat yourself with kindness, you help to create a new norm. People will notice your energy and confidence and they will want to know what you're doing. Be the change you want to see around you.
Which of these Life Boost principles could use a little more attention in your life?