In the world where objectives, targets and outcomes are king, we may have a tendency to neglect that one asset essential to achieving our personal or business goals. That asset is YOU and specifically your personal creativity, resilience and well being.
Looking ahead to a new year here are some things to consider in keeping your spirit alive, your mind relaxed and feel good about yourself.
1. Be mindful – Meditation has powerful effects on the anatomy of the brain – we learn to engage areas of the brain that don’t get used on a day to day basis, and quieting the mind helps you focus on the now without distortions from your past experiences, worries or aspirations. But this doesn’t need to be the crossed-legged, chanting variety. Simply taking a few moments a day to stop what you are doing, be 100% mindful of your inward and outward breath, can have a cathartic effect.
2. Stimulate your mind – There are lots of opportunities to stimulate the intellectual part of yourself. Listen to or read an inspirational book, attend a talk at your local college. Check out courses in philosophy, ethics and social sciences which will give you a different perspective.
3. Get Outdoors – Go for a long walk somewhere beautiful. Go to a park, walk along a canal or go to a vibrant market. The idea is to simply wander along, no rushing. Take in all the sights, smells and sounds. Absorb yourself in the activity and allow your subconscious to do the processing that it needs to.
4. Clear out clutter - When we are busy simply doing we can often forget to stop and clear stuff away. The physical act of clearing out unwanted stuff from your home or work environment also enables the brain to de-clutter and focus.
5. Stretch! Whether you’re sitting at your desk, standing or lying down stretching increases energy levels, improves circulation, posture and flexibility, all of which leave you with a greater sense of well being. Stretch for at least 17 seconds to get the full effect of any one movement.
6. Smile as much and as often as you can. The act of smiling can physically transform your inner state as it is impossible to really smile and not affect your mind at a subconscious level. Research at the University of California-Berkeley showed that practicing the smiles of enthusiasm – the genuine smile, the loving smile, and the synchronized smile – on a regular basis will positively impact how you feel and perform in life.
7. Spot colours - We all respond to colours, each colour sends a different message to our brain which affects our mood. Whilst there is some research behind the mood effects of different colours your own response to colour is based on personal and cultural experiences. Try spending the day spotting your favourite colour (especially in the natural world) and see how you feel.
8. Be grateful - Research on gratitude from the University of California revealed that daily gratitude exercises resulted in higher reported levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism, and energy. So take a couple of minutes a day to think about who and what you are grateful for.