How Many Times Did You Laugh Today?
How many steps did you take today? How many reps did you do at the gym? How many calories did you consume? How big is your house? What year is your car? How many FB friends do you have? Have you achieved all your goals yet?
The list goes on and on….. We seem to be constantly calculating and comparing. No matter what you do, someone will have done more, and you will feel guilty? Stressed? Unworthy? All of the above?
For some people, counting and comparing is a good motivator. But for many others it can be a source of feeling bad, possibly even depression. By now many of us have read the headlines warning that Facebook leads to depression. But maybe it is not just Facebook.
Our obsession with giving a numerical value to every activity also leads to comparisons with others. What, you only took 5,000 steps today?? But maybe your immune system is fighting off a cold or flu, or maybe your “to do” list really was too long, or maybe you had a great conversation with someone, so you missed your gym class. Stop feeling guilty!
First of all, the guilt or stress reaction is actually worse for your body than not exercising or over-eating. Elevated cortisol levels from stress are related to high blood pressure, diabetes, cardio-vascular disease, lowered immunity and basically a shorter life span.
Instead of counting and comparing, just ask yourself “did I do my best today?” The emphasis is on today. Your best today may not be the same as yesterday or tomorrow. Try to accept and be grateful for the differences each day brings. Some days I feel strong and energetic. Some days I don’t, but then I remember that my daughter was texting me till way too late and I am grateful that she shares and communicates with me. Another time I ate way too much while out having a fun dinner with friends. I am grateful for real friendships and remember, laughter lowers stress and improves the immune system.
Each day, I will do my best. I accept that my best varies, and I am grateful for the life experiences which make each day different. If you really need to count and calculate, try counting laughs and hugs.