Finding your inner peace and well-being for 2020
Jan 28, 2020
It is that time of year where New Year’s resolutions may or may not have been fulfilled and guilt starts to creep in. It is crucial to take stock, think of ways to be kinder to yourself and nurture your well-being. It is easy to be drawn back into worries about family, job security, stress in general and everything that comes from modern living.
Here are my top 6 tips to help you re-wind, take stock and be kinder to yourself:
1. Take time for you
I find that making a little time for myself and building small rituals before the rest of my day takes over helps me connect with myself. Being a busy, working mum of two young children means mornings are super busy! There is the dash for the school run and then the long commute to the office. Morning rituals help give you the space for clarity. In my case, five minutes stretching and another five meditating and clearing my mind, help me to re-energise. Something which works well for me, and it sounds obvious, is making the beds. It really works! It is a must for a calmer mind. Tidy bedrooms create a feeling of control, productivity and order, and this one little thing can provide such a fresh start to the day. I feel more in control and better able to deal with life’s challenges, and by making the beds each morning, it also sets off a chain reaction for other productive habits.
2. Live in the moment
This means being conscience, accepting and enjoying the present, using all the senses. For example, I have learnt to really value and enjoy tasks with my children. I was not a natural at taking the time for crafts, baking or school projects; these tasks normally being assigned to the children’s nanny or their creative auntie. I decided to embrace fun activities, allow myself to be in the moment and not think about the myriad of tasks that I had to complete on my to do list. Once I trained myself to immerse myself in the here and now, I started to really enjoy myself. Whilst once I felt stressed, I now find myself relishing the joy and connection shared with my kids. The bond grew stronger and they opened to me more than ever. We had real fun, giggled and laughed and ultimately connected. I realised I will not have the chance of re-living this moment once they grow older and there is nothing lovelier than a five-year-old cuddling up to you, as you help them with their masterpiece!
3. Make the most of casual, social connections
For me these include exchanging pleasantries with a few of my neighbours in the morning, to the postman, teachers at my children’s schools and other parents as they queue to drop off their little ones. Every small conversation is a connection to another human being. The same principle can be applied with your co-workers in the office. It builds into a chain reaction of bonds, no matter how insignificant they may seem at the time. Collectively, that smile, the wave hello and small talk reminds us of our essence and being part of humanity. It helps shock absorb us, aids and protects against the less pleasant side of life. It creates the perfect balance. My advice is to embrace each interaction and see it for the positive it can bring you. On the surface, these human interactions may seem to be superficial and non-lasting. In fact, they are extremely healthy and beneficial.
4. Give out and accept compliments
Acknowledge and reward your achievements – it does not matter if they are big or small. Create your inner advocate, or your ideal self. Listen to this person and follow their dreams. This will help draw you away from your negative inner voice. Your ideal self will help you overcome feelings of weakness, loss of confidence. Whether you're admiring your partner's cooking skills or complimenting a co-worker on a job well done. Compliments might be more important than you think.
Research shows receiving a compliment can enhance performance and productivity. It can also impact relationships positivity and increase general happiness. Not bad for something that's completely free and takes seconds to do!
Professor Nick Haslam, School of Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne told HuffPost Australia "Compliments can lift moods, improve engagement with tasks, enhance learning and increase persistence, "Giving compliments is arguably better than receiving them, just as giving gifts or contributing to charity has benefits to the giver. By giving compliments, you can make interactions more enjoyable, bring out reciprocating warmth from others, and create a favourable impression in their eyes" says professor Haslam.
Research has provided evidence that people who receive compliments on their achievement of a task from someone else, tend to improve on their performance, more than people who don’t receive any compliments. We can all relate to the fact that receiving a compliment can boost our mood.
5. Work on being focused on the small steps and building specific skills
This tip is about creating seemingly small steps that lead to positive habits. Researchers at Duke University, have found that habits account for about 40% of our behaviours on any given day. Understanding how to build new habits is important for improvements to your health, your happiness, and your life in general. The key is to work on creating positive habits and making them simple and attainable. Take will-power out of it and make it achievable. Make it about the accumulative power of tiny gains. Rather than trying to do something amazing from the get-go, start with small habits and gradually improve. Along the way, your willpower and motivation will increase, which will make it easier to stick to your habit for the long-term.
6. Be your own best friend and connect with yourself
The one person who will be consistently there with you for your lifetime is you. Learn to trust yourself and showing self-compassion. Kristin Neff, an associate Professor at the University of Texas in Austin’s Educational Psychology Department says ‘Self-compassion is a way of relating to ourselves kindly, of embracing ourselves as we are, flaws and all,’ she says. Professor Neff’s TedX talk, The Space Between Self-Esteem & Self-Compassion, has been viewed over a million times. A lecture she gave in China last year was live-streamed to half-a-million people. The reason being is that the results have been repeatedly measured, proving the technique works. ‘Last I counted, there were just over 1,700 papers with self-compassion in the title– half of them in the last two years,’ she says.
If you want the simplest definition of self-compassion, this is how Professor Neff explains it to a group of children: ‘be a good friend to yourself as well as to others.’
Her research further explores the concept in three parts,
i) Be mindful of how you feel right now, so you can see you are suffering, or in pain. This is showing understanding and kindness to yourself.
ii) Recognise our common, connected humanity, that we are all imperfect and doing the best we can. Failure and hard emotions are inevitable. ‘It’s so psychologically damaging to feel we’re isolated in our suffering.,’ says Kristen Neff. In fact, that’s what connects us to other people!
iii) Self kindness - treat yourself with encouragement, patience and empathy.
At LSPR we are passionate about self-improvement and helping others develop the best of themselves. Whether it is through personal influence skills, personal branding or leadership training, the common link is always about self-improvement. Positive thinking, well-being in the work place and increasing self -esteem are areas we are exploring in the new range of courses coming soon. Watch this space!
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