We love to bandy the word "empowered" about, don’t we? We see it in on the cover of self-help books, our yoga teacher breathes it in our ear during Sukhasana, and it fills the taglines of one million life coaches, the world over.
But what does it even mean?
When we peel back the layers, what are we talking about when we talk about empowerment?
We’re saying we want control over our lives.
That we can give ourselves permission to do just about anything.
We’re the ones driving this car.
And when we’re really, truly empowered, we feel alive; connected; at peace.
Well, that certainly sounds nice, doesn’t it? Here are seven ways you can feel more peaceful and empowered — starting today.
1. Use visualization to release your painful thoughts.
In your mind’s eye, place negative thoughts on leaves and watch them gently float away downstream, or place the troubling words on cars of a freight train and watch them zoom into the distance. When I do these exercises, I place distance between myself and what’s bothering me; I feel lighter and brighter almost immediately.
2. Ask someone else (or the universe) for what you need most.
Maybe you need someone to listen to you or to help you problem-solve. Maybe you need a favor, a massage, a date with your partner or friend. I regularly ask the universe for a message, and I always get what’s perfect for me at the time.
3. Be productive
Nothing cures anxiety like action, and the effort we put into avoiding things is usually about triple the effort required to actually do that thing. Productivity makes you feel clever and driven and accomplished — it elevates your mood significantly. Once I get one thing done, I feel a (sometimes disproportionate) sense of accomplishment, and I’m usually motivated to get other things done. So look around you and start something.
4. Focus on the thought “I trust that what is in my and the world’s highest interest will manifest,” or “I know I can afford to relax.”
I surrender my attachment to outcome. Release the need to have all the answers upfront. Get out of your own way. Stop interrupting the flow of what is on its way to you — don’t try to manipulate and manage every moment of your life.
5. Marvel in collaboration.
The world is one gigantic partnership of human beings. Whether you’re a people person or an introvert, have the courage to see people as teammates rather than competition. There are so many things we simply cannot do without the help of others.
Look around. Outside of the natural world, everything you see has been thought of by a human, designed by a human, or made by a human. Spectacular, no? We never meet the majority of people who touch our lives, but knowing that almost every part of our day is possible because of what another human dreamed up is totally breathtaking.
6. Let love in.
Surround yourself with loving and supportive relationships. Filling your life with people who lift you up changes everything — your health, your energy levels, how you feel about your career, who you date.
We all deserve to be in rich, nourishing relationships; you also have the right to give yourself space and distance in certain relationships, and to release others all together. Practice forgiving those who have let you down or hurt you. They were only doing the best they could with what they have and if they could do better, they would. If they don’t love themselves, it’s hard to know how to love someone else.
7. Practice adaptability.
Change is one of the only certain things in life, so we might as well try to accept it and view it as a positive. You might not be able to control life events, but you can control how you respond to them. So bend a little, look around the corner to see what’s coming, inspect that cloud for its silver lining, and have faith that this, too, is a learning experience.
We often view personal peace and empowerment as nearly impossible goals — something reserved for monks on far-flung mountaintops. But the truth is, even the most stressed of us can create a space for inner peace and personal power.
It’s yours for the taking.