When last did you hear somebody tell you that they are feeling great, they have it all together, and they are just steadily cruising through their life? If this is you – awesome! You need to tell us how you got there! If this is not you, read on…
- Do you want to feel calm and in control of your thoughts?
- Do you want to respond to others, and to situations, thoughtfully?
- Do you want to appreciate moments, people, experiences at a deeper level?
There are a few small daily tactics that you can deploy which will make all the difference, and I urge you to try them – starting this week.
- Breath. Take time every morning when you wake-up, and at several intervals during the day, to breathe deeply and slowly. ‘Box breathing’ works well for me. (In for 4, hold for 4, out for 4, hold for 4.) See how quickly you are able to calm your mind, and affect how your body feels. I do this in the morning, whilst doing some stretches. I do this in the car just before I arrive at the office. I do this before an important meeting or presentation. I even do it during meetings, when things are getting tense. I find that it helps me to be able to serve others better, and to contribute in a meaningful way.
- Focus. Take a moment to focus on one thing. Appreciate that moment. Don’t multi-task. Don’t get distracted. See how long you can focus for. You may be surprised that your brain has become wired to multi-task. Never thinking about one thing for very long. Never quite appreciating anything. Just rushing through what is in front of you. If you can focus on one thing at a time, for a period of time; you will come to notice things that you would not have appreciated before. Your garden if you have one. A bird with all its delicate detail. The ocean, the trees, the sky. The colours, the motion, the temperature, the sounds, the smells. Can you experience it all for just a moment?
- Appreciate. In these moments which need only take a moment or two, you can deliberately choose to see the beauty that is in front of you. You can appreciate the fact that you are here, now, able to enjoy this moment. What a blessing!
I’ve found that by doing these things, I’m able to set positive intentions for my day, and for my life. With practice, I’ve been able to wake up on a Monday morning feeling excited for the day and week ahead. Knowing that my contribution is needed. That I can positively impact somebody else’s day. With practice, you can even change anxiety to excitement. You can convince yourself that you are excited for a meeting, a trip, a presentation, an exam. And by so doing, you unlock a whole set of skills and tactics which are guaranteed to make your meeting, exam, or presentation brilliant.
Whatever your week has in store for you, I hope that you’ll find the time to breath, focus and appreciate what is in front of you.
Luzerne, Switzerland, July 2015. Photo taken by Alison Meyer.