To New Beginnings

Insights and musings on health and happiness

To New Beginnings

I had no idea when I moved back to Richmond for a job with a fine wine import company, that fast forward two years I would no longer be swirling wine, but own True North Yoga and Wellness AND work for a tech start-up in Boston with regular travel up to Beantown – [two fulltime jobs] which in no way shape or form was the original intent when I made the journey back to my hometown of RVA [when Richmond called]…

Sitting in Stir Crazy, as I do regularly to work, I overheard a conversation of two young women in their early 20’s, who are in PA school talking about not wanting to go to medical school because that would get in the way of meeting their future husbands and having kids. One even made an astute comment about the “imaginary timeline” she has put on herself on to achieve her goals.

Although goals are important, I caution to be kind to yourself at the time of year that New Year’s resolutions are set. [The path or goals you intended may not come into fruition or the way you expect, but that is more than ok. You evolve and change and as you do, your goals and dreams will too. The early 20-year-old of your past wanted very different things than you do now (unless of course you are currently in your early 20s:)).] If you stay on the same path with your head down based on a goal, you may find that what you thought you wanted, when achieved, doesn’t make you happy.

If you are always perseverating on the past or looking at your next move, onto the next thing, then you lose sight of enjoying the present

If you are always perseverating on the past or looking at your next move, onto the next thing, then you lose sight of enjoying the present, the here and now – psychologies dub this present-thinking behavior as savoring. “This could be while you’re eating a pastry, taking a shower, or basking in the sun. You could be savoring a success or savoring music,” explains Sonja Lyubomirsky, a psychologist at the University of California at Riverside and author of The How of Happiness. “Usually it involves your senses.”

“Being present-minded takes away some of that self-evaluation and getting lost in your mind—and in the mind is where we make the evaluations that beat us up,” says Stephen Schueller, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania. When subjects of a study took time to savor something they usually hurried through – as simple as walking to a bus, savoring a meal, or enjoying a cup of tea, they began experiencing more positive emotions such as joy and happiness, and fewer depressive symptoms. If you’re too set on your goals (that you believe to make you happy) and not enjoying the present, this may have the reverse effect.

This is why apps like Happify, Calm, and Shine – Self-Care & Meditation, books like Art of Happiness, 10% Happier, and The How of Happiness, and studies about why Yoga, Meditation and Massage Therapy can help you be present and happier exist.

So, if I find myself making resolutions like losing 15 pounds or eating healthier thinking it will make me happier, I’ll need to change my thought process. Happiness may be as easy as sitting down and savoring a cup of tea.


Aliza Sterling

Influenced by teachers, peers, students, 200YTT in Integral Yoga in Rishikesh, India, and other travels, Aliza creates a supportive environment with a focus on individual empowerment in the classroom. She started True North Yoga and Wellness with the desire to bring the Northside community together.

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