The Happiness Connection  

Let August challenge you

The summer is only half over, and yet back-to-school ads are everywhere.

I’m not sure if it’s from my years as a teacher, or because I went to nine different schools from kindergarten to Grade 12 ,but I am sensitive to every mention of school during August.

Some students will be eagerly awaiting the new year. Others will be dreading it.

Usually, I advise students to do their best to ignore these advertisements, especially if they are apprehensive about the coming school year. There is no need to suffer by worrying about something that is still a month away.

But this year, I have a new suggestion to add to that advice.

Although you may not think about it very often, you are a survivor. That is your primary drive. Remind yourself how resilient you are by stepping into the unknown as many times as possible this month.

This advice is good for everyone, regardless of how you feel about September. It is easy to sink into the familiar and comfortable.

Consciously trying something new has another advantage. It gives you the perfect opportunity for self-discovery. If you want to build your confidence, the first step is to know who you are — really.

It’s easy to become the person you think your parents, partner, or society wants you to be. Is that the same person as the authentic you?

With survival and self-discovery in mind, I have challenged myself to do something every day in August that is new, or that I haven’t done in a long time.

If you read my column from July 21, you might remember that I discovered I don’t hate milk products as much as I thought I did. I have gone decades refusing lattes, only to discover how tasty they are.

One of my challenges this month is going to involve drinking milk. It doesn’t matter whether I still hate the taste of it when it is served in a tall, frosty glass. It is trying something new, or unfamiliar that is the important step.

If you or anyone in your family is feeling apprehensive about September, or you want to build your confidence, why not start your own challenge?

It doesn’t have to be something new every day. You could choose to do six things in total, or two things every week.

Create a something that will take energy, but that doesn’t overwhelm you. The secret is to find the balance between challenge and completion. Both are necessary.

The activities you choose depend on what you find challenging, or the beliefs you have about yourself.

Try foods and beverages that are new, or that you haven’t tasted in decades because you believe you don’t like them.

  • Go to a new activity such as dancing or kickboxing.
  • Change your look with a new hair style, or fashion.
  • Hang your car keys up for a few days and take the bus, your bicycle, or walk.
  • Go to dinner or a movie by yourself.

I am on day three and I have already had some self-realization. Many of the activities I am considering for this month are helping me learn about myself, but they aren’t really supporting my survival ability.

The thing that is challenging me, is the challenge itself.

Thirty-one days of finding something new or revisiting an old belief and then sharing it on social media, is a big undertaking for me. The little devil in my head has already suggested that I could change my mind and let the whole thing die.

No harm, no foul.

But that would do nothing to show me I can do anything I set my mind to. The challenge is on.

If you want to see how I am making out, like my Facebook page or go to my website to sign up for my newsletter.

Rather than spending this month, dreading next month, do something to build your self-confidence. New experiences will give you new wisdom and new confidence.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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