All you have to do is REACH for it and it is yours!
Well- being is not a difficult concept. We can all relate to it, the ability to be calm, healthy, creative, happy, fulfilled within ourselves but also in how this relates with the people we love and are important to us. Most people may believe that it is not possible to be in this state most of our lives but by REACHING out for it using these five simple steps, well- being will be yours for keeps. The five steps are:
- Asking for Help
- Confidence in self
- Healthy Eating
RELAXATION – The benefits of regular relaxation practice have a sound empirical base with both long and short-term positive benefits. These strategies can be used to relax, to pause, to improve blood flow, to increase body temperature and to increase our energy level. The long-term effects include creating a general state of calm and relaxation in the our muscles, creating a state of biological self- regulation (body heals itself), increasing blood flow to body organs, improving the depth and evenness of breathing (better oxygenation of blood), and increasing availability of energy for work.
You will probably say and I hear this all the time, that you have no time to incorporate regular relaxation in your busy schedule, so let’s make some time first in your day. Make a list of everything you have to do starting from when you get up to when you go to bed. Now apply these 4 Ds to your list.
Do it now (most important tasks)
Do it later (not important)
Delegate (what others can and should do for you)
Dump it (will make no difference if you do not do it) Dumping the amount of time watching television always comes up!
The latter 3 will create the time for you which you can use to rest and replenish your body by relaxation techniques. There is nothing complex or mystical about these techniques, they are very simple and can be integrated into your routine with ease. You can do the following for 10 to 30 minutes twice a day or for a few minutes in between regular tasks.
- Sit comfortably and take the attention inside your body for a few minutes. Focus on your lower abdomen and breath as softly as you can, almost as if you are not breathing at all.
- Take the attention to your breathing and simply observe the movement that your breadth is making in your body for several minutes.
- Now choose a positive word e.g. calm, relax, peace, love, bliss etc and simply repeat this word in your mind for several minutes. Your mind will wonder, but as soon you notice that you have been distracted, gently bring your attention back to your positive word and continue. You can do this up to 30 minutes.
Before you start work again, give your body time to adjust so do not rush into anything very energetic straight after relaxation.
Action Point – Get a notebook and pen. Make time in your day by applying the 4 Ds. Now practice some relaxation to rest and replenish your body. You can do one or all of the techniques in sequence and make a note of all the times you can do this in your day.
EXERCISE – It is a myth that the only way to increase exercise is to join a gym. There is no doubt that this contributes enormously to your well being, but if this is not practical or affordable than the gym is not the only way to build in physical exercise in your day. Some other simple ways are:
Use steps instead of taking the lift. Most of us have steps at home, go up and down as many times as you like.
Get off several bus stops before your destination and walk the rest of the way.
Go for walks at any given opportunity, lunch times, after dinner, when socialising with your friends and family
Action Point – now note down all the times and ways you can incorporate more physical activity in your day. Talk to the people around you for ideas(also consult your doctor ) then get up and do it. . I have interesting things that people share with me when I am training groups. One person said she was going to buy a skipping rope and skip in her living room while watching television!
ASK FOR HELP – it is unrealistic to think that we will go through all our life without needing the help and support of others .We are not created to exist in isolation but as an interdependent group so asking for help is a real strength and not a sign of weakness.
Action Point– Make 3 lists of all the people who give you practical, emotional and moral support at work and at home. Reflect on the areas where you need to develop your support network. You should have at least 3 people in all areas that you can rely on. Having one or two is not bad but it is very likely that they will not be available at all times. Now pick up that phone or write that email to the people who you need to strengthen you social support. Make sure it is a give and take relationship where you both support each other and not a one way one.
CONFIDENCE IN SELF – Inherently we are all good people, we all have talents and can be leaders in our area of creativity. The only thing that stops us is our lack of belief in ourselves. Do not wait for another person to believe in you, first begin to believe in yourself and strengthen that by the belief other people have in you. It’s easy to do this.
Action Point– Start a list of all your talents, interests, abilities, qualifications. Now add on all the things you can do better than five years ago through your life, so from the age of 0 to 5, 5to 10. 10 to 15 and so on. Then add on all the good things people have said to you in these five year periods. Keep this list by your bedside and read it every night before sleep. Keep adding to it every day as you do more good things and hear good things from others. Do not forget to give genuine compliments to others as well. People see the good in us when we see the good in others.
HEALTHY EATING – A simple principle to what you put in your bodies is to put goodness in and keep the badness out. I will not repeat the speel about eating a balanced diet including proteins vitamins and carbohydrates as you have all heard that before and probably know it. The important bit is about how you transfer the knowing to the action and doing. How do you eat more fruit and vegetables, drink more water, cut down on sugary and processed foods and keep this up?
Action Point – Make a list of everything that you ate and drank last week in as much detail as possible, so if you had a sandwich write what was in it. Now highlight in red the badness you have been putting in your body that has been draining your energy and building up toxins and illness in your body. This is sugary foods, readymade processed and takeaway food which have high levels of salt and preservatives. Include caffeine and alcohol in excess. Now replace these in green with the goodness which are fresh fruit and vegetables especially green leafy ones, water, nuts in moderation, seeds, whole grains and non sugary cereals. Each time you go shopping experiment with the good foods and gradually integrate more and more into your daily diet.
Finally keep the notebook with your action points with you all the time and keep building on your well -being every day. Remember, only you can do this for yourself, nobody else can REACH out to well-being for you . Another person cannot relax, exercise, ask for help , build your confidence or eat healthily for your body, only you can make a start for your body then others will support you. Talk to the people around you and share your success and pass on what has worked for you. Keep this going…………….
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Hansa Pankhania is a Corporate Well- Being Consultant/Trainer and Executive Coach. To date she has worked with over a 100 companies nationally helping them to reduce stress and build resilience.
She is a Fellow of the International Stress Management Association and Author of ‘from Stress to Success’ .