As a therapist and Executive Coach, I work with people dealing with a variety of issues: Family problems, difficult work relationships, leadership challenges, depression, and stress. No matter the specific client’s situation, everyone wants a happier, calmer, more satisfying life: Wellbeing.
Here are 5 simple things you can do at work and (or) in your personal life to enhance your wellbeing:
- Be Mindful: Mindfulness is defined as being fully aware and present in the moment. Staying in the present, stops us from worrying about the future, or being self-critical about the past. When we are “here in this moment“, we can observe our thoughts and emotions, and take a breath when we are starting to feel overwhelmed. Taking a breath allows us to pause. Then, we can effectively respond to what is really happening-rather than reacting to the “Story in our head”.
Here’s the best way to train the mind: Practice this 1-20 minutes everyday:
Sit quietly and follow the breath with your attention as it flows in and out. When your mind wanders, simply notice it (without self-criticism) and come back to the breath.
Research shows that 8 weeks of regular mindfulness mediation reduces anxiety, focuses attention and expands creative thinking in challenging situations. It’s good for both work and home!
- Tweak your communication skills to improve your relationships. What makes work and family life difficult is often communication problems! There are a few simple things we can do to improve communication and build trust. A good place to start is reflective listening. When you are caught off guard or aren’t sure what someone means, simply say: ” I think I heard you say”…and then, “Did I hear you correctly?” When we reflect back what we heard, it signals to the other person that we are listening for both meaning and content. This simple step can help to avoid conflicts and lead to a better understanding. Secondly, try approaching a difference of opinion with mutual problem solving rather than defending your position. When we collaborate together we turn off stress chemicals in the body that signals our brain to release oxytocin (a hormone that makes us feel connected to others) and endorphins (a feel good chemical in the brain). That’s a pretty big payoff for open hearted listening!
- Prioritize You! Your are the resource or “machine”. Take care of your machine! Just like you do with your automobile, give yourself regular tune ups, put gas(nutrition) in your tank. Take time off for relaxation, exercise most days and enjoy nature! Twenty minutes of sunlight exposure turns off the physical stress response and lifts the mood.
•Look for Joy! In every day, there is some small (or big) moment of pleasure. Often we miss pleasure because we are thinking about the past or the future. Look and really see the faces, sky and trees around you. Really listen to the music that’s playing in the car on your drive to work. Beyond simple daily pleasures, joy is an inside job.
Consider what makes you feel content and satisfied, rather than the big lottery win.
•Be “Planful”. Be intentional about your big and little goals and create, reasonable, specific, action steps to bring your goals to reality. Write them down, consider obstacles and devise strategies to work around them and you will achieve your dreams.