Work, family, money, health, relaxation, food, weight, right brain, left brain… Whoa. There are so many different types of balance to juggle that balance itself can become another thing to do!
Over the next few weeks I am going to give you some tips to help you start to find balance for living a healthier life. A key aspect of leadership is finding balance: In order to have long term sustainable leadership we have to be at our optimum. This doesn’t just mean at work, it means in our whole life so that we become our best selves at home, in the office, with friends, with family, with colleagues – we literally live and operate at an optimum state, also known as a state of flow. You don’t want to spend every weekend recovering from your work week, nor do you want to spend your work week recovering from your weekends!
1. themostfavorablepoint,degree, or amount of something forobtaining agivenresult
2. mostfavorable or desirable;best.
The practices will be simple, I promise! I will give you a variety of ways to bring these new practices into your life, pick which you like so that it doesn’t become overwhelming.
The first and arguably the most important is Gratitude. If I reflect back on my life where things started to change for the better, I pinpoint being 22 years old and my older sister giving me ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda Byrne. ‘The Secret’ essentially is about laws of attraction, but what I really fell in love with was ‘The Secret Gratitude Book’. This was full of inspiring quotes and it pointed my attention to all the many blessings I had right now, in this very moment. Up until that point I spent a lot of energy thinking about what I wanted, what I needed, where I was going, comparing myself to other and generally feeling badly about myself. By focusing on what I already had my attention turned inwards and I felt grateful for many things that on a daily basis I had taken for granted.
Ways to Practice Gratitude:
Keep a Gratitude Journal. Each day take 5-10 minutes to reflect on your day and write about things that you are grateful for. Some helpful questions are, Who inspired me today? Who was kind? What did I do which I am proud of? What brought me happiness? What brought me peace?
Really feel thankful. Gratitude is not an empty thank you, it is a deep expression of thanks. Take your time, close your eyes and really feel the gratitude inside you. TIP: It will most likely be in your heart region!
Start Small. Often when we start a gratitude practice it can feel false or challenging, especially when we don’t like our job, or we have had a fight with someone or we are feeling unwell. You are not looking to move mountains here so start small: I am grateful that I am educated to read this blog, I am grateful I have a meal to eat, I am grateful my hands work so I can write in my journal! These are the many daily miracles we often take absolutely for granted.
Practice in the presence. Gratitude is a great way to manifest what you want so imagine things as if you already have them for example, instead of ‘I am grateful I will be promoted’ write as if you already are, ‘I am grateful I am a director’ or ‘I am so grateful I ran 10K’.
Write a thank you letter. Think of 5 or so people that have had a deep impact on your life and write them a thank you letter. Not only will they love receiving it, you will feel deep joy whilst writing it.
Keep a gratitude jar. Everyday write down one thing that happened that you are grateful for and at the end of the year have a celebration where you read back on all the wonderful stuff that happened to you that year.
Be thankful for the tough stuff. Gratitude here is a game changer on the type of person you will become. Many people spend so much time complaining about their tough life experiences that they end up re-living them year after year. Look at those times with a deep sense of appreciation and answer the following: What did I learn? How has this shaped me for the better? What am I thankful for from this experience? In some casese this may be really hard so dig deep. It might only be 2% of the whole experience but search for that silver lining.
Say thank you to people throughout the day. Include all the people that serve you food and drinks, your boss, your colleagues, the person who makes you dinner and your loved ones. Once you start looking you will notice there are opportunities everywhere.
Have a gratitude conversation. If keeping a journal isn’t your thing you can practice gratitude literally anywhere. It might be in the shower, on your walk to work, before a meeting, over a meal. You don’t have to take forever over it. However if this is a new practice I strongly advise setting a set time in the day until the habit is formed- 30-60 days.
If the only prayer you said in your whole life was ‘Thank You,’ that would suffice. ~Meister Eckhart
There is a lot of science behind the benefits of gratitude as well so if you are interested please see here for more information.