There are few things in life that are more important than our emotional and physical health. Once these items are neglected and begin to deteriorate, it’s only a matter of time until we begin to lose control of everything else. Our ability to interact and engage with others in a positive manner and being able to remain positive and balanced during uncertainties and upheavals is very much dependent on how we’re managing our emotional wellbeing. The strength and stamina that is required to deal with the various stressors in life is determined by our physical health. Both are equally important and require study maintenance.
A key component that impacts both is our mind. Our mind has a tendency to dwell on and replay negative situations from our past. This behavior increases our stress and anxiety and affects our overall wellbeing. Just as we close out the apps on our smart device so it can function better, we need to train the mind to close the apps that are no longer relevant and are slowing us down and draining our battery. Learning to close the apps is one of the key skills we pick up when we begin incorporating mindfulness into our routine.
Mindfulness can help raise our self-awareness so we get in touch with our thoughts and emotions and stay more in the focused in the present moment. The past is unchangeable and the future is unpredictable. It’s not to say that we can’t learn from the past. We definitely can. However, living in the past prevents us from making forward progress. The present moment is what we have to work with right now and it is setting the stage for our immediate and long-term future so this is the moment that requires the most attention. Practicing mindfulness isn’t limited to sitting down, closing your eyes and meditating. It’s how we integrate the different aspects of our professional and personal responsibilities. There are several components that are very relevant and enable us to manage stress and achieve work-life integration.
Here are a few tips that we can implement to maintain control of our physical and mental health, which can improve the overall quality of our life. I am a firm believer in taking small incremental steps and implementing them into our life as those are more sustainable than a gung-ho attitude, which can often be short-lived.
This doesn’t have to involve rigorous, sweat dripping cardio. It could be as simple as going for walks every day during lunch break or in the evenings. Since no two bodies are alike, everyone would need to decide what is the right fit for them. For some, it may be an intense cardio workout while for others it maybe a lighter yoga practice.
Maintaining Healthy Relationships
When things are difficult and we need emotional support, it is vital to have positive relationships in our life. Although there is nothing wrong with ambition and wanting to achieve success, sometimes we let this drive prevent us from having deep relationships with people in our place of work and in our personal life. When we have positive relationships, we are happier, healthier and more productive. Developing deep roots in our relationship requires an investment of time and energy but it’s the most important investment we can make. If there are broken relationships in our life, whether personal or professional, and if there is any possibility of repairing those, we should do everything we can to reconcile because damaged relationships will continue to cause us pain for many years to come.
Food is the fuel for our body and what we put in is what we’re going to get out. There’s plenty of research that suggests a plant-based diet can lower the chances of developing heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer. While making a sudden shift into a strictly vegetarian diet can be difficult, it is better to take small steps and increase one’s consumption of fruits, vegetables, grains and beans. Once should also be conscious of the amount of sugary foods and drinks that are going into one’s body and see if it’s possible to replace such items with a greater intake of fruits.
While many meditate for spiritual purposes, there is ample research that suggests a secular practice can help individuals lower stress, anxiety and depression and boost one’s mood, memory and productivity. One doesn’t have to sit for hours a day to achieve some of these benefits. I personally recommend starting with just three minutes a day for a couple of weeks and then increase the practice by one minute. If one follows this regiment, one will gradually get up to 15 minutes a day within six months. It’s not a race and we don’t need to get to 15 minutes in a hurry. Some try but discontinue very quickly. For some, it can work. Since it’s something new for the mind and our daily routine, it’s better to go slow and remain steady so we can begin to feel the impact of this very important practice that can help us close the apps and clear the traffic jam in our mind. We can then have a clear perspective on what’s happening in the moment. Start by simply closing your eyes, sitting in a relaxed position and taking 10 deep breaths while trying to focus on nothing other than the breath itself.
Achieving good physical, mental and emotional health doesn’t have to be overwhelming as long as we take things at a healthy pace and set small achievable goals for ourselves. We need to be realistic in our expectations and not expect overnight results as that will only lead to disappointment. Take the first step by writing down what improvements you can make and begin your journey to a more mindful life.
Pandit Dasa is a mindful leadership expert, motivational keynote speaker and author who has spoken at Fortune 500 companies and helps organizations improve employee engagement, retention and workplace happiness. He helps individuals develop positive leadership qualities, lower stress and anxiety, increase focus and productivity and boost emotional intelligence.