2018 has just finished and it is good to take some time for reflection. We normally think about last year’s highlights as well was times of difficult and when we were challenged. Which are our goals for the New Year and what it takes to get us there.
Some will feel reassured that they are on the right track. Many may be challenged, trying to recover from a loss or a health problem, or even, just trying to cope with a demanding lifestyle, often catching up and juggling between career, work demands and family time.
Having more awareness of my senses and feelings through mindfulness, had a huge positive impact in 2018. I cannot believe that it has taken me such a long time to realise that I needed to look after my inner balance to be able to be a better father and husband, and still have time for everything else.
Looking after the mind, body and soul, is what I like to call “Stay in Balance”. If you are working on your New Year’s resolutions, please have some time for yourself.
By observing my two sons, a 5 years-old and a 2 years-old, I noticed how incontrollable they become if they are tired or hungry. Pretty obvious, right? Not for me, my busy work routine can easily put me off track of my basic needs, even toileting at times. Get those two basic needs right and you mind clarity baseline jumps a notch.
I also have the feeling the that there is so much anger going around. Pretty minor things can make people upset and how easy it is to get caught in it? There are so many videos on social media where a chain of kindness goes a long way and I believe that. Yes, we have an influence on those around us, probably much more than what we expect. Being kind will make you and those around you feel much happier.
On a slightly different note, the mind needs to be active and challenged to perform well. In addition, emotions can also play a big role in how your mind works. So, be alert and acknowledge when your feelings take over and cloud your judgement, pretty much like when you are tired and hungry…
Feeling overwhelmed and there is so much more to do? Stop and listen to your body when it is crying for rest. Switch of the TV, give social media a break and acknowledge your limits. Your brain will work a lot better in the morning when you are rested, and it will make a huge difference if there are important meetings or important business to do.
I recently read an article on the Sydney Morning Herald from Mark Mclaughlin, about making a perfect start to your day and there were a couple strategies that I found very useful.
Having a filing system for the minor tasks that pile up and make your to do list overflow. Schedule one or two of them for another day. Another good tip is to plan your day in the morning, before it all starts and put together a to do list. It is no guarantee that it will all go according to plan, but it may help you stay on course on busy days.
Next step, is to eat well. I know, it is not that easy for some of us and I can, quickly, put together a long list of excuses. Try to make a small change to start with and stick to it, slowly, it will become routine and, you know… soon it becomes habit.
The body also needs to be active and challenged, like our minds. It was designed to fight for survival, hunt for food and run from predators. Stick to the same strategy and just get started, make it consistent and it will become an enjoyable part of your day. There are activities for any level of fitness and for any limitations you may have. Check your health with your GP and seek professional help with your activities, especially at the beginning.
That’s when mind and body connect to those around us, bringing meaning to the equation. Human beings need to have a sense of purpose to thrive and mindfulness can help you find your way. It has come on by leaps and bounds and I have found mindful.org very helpful and instructive. “The goal of mindfulness is to wake up to inner workings of our mental, emotional, and physical processes”, in other words, wake up your soul!
It was not a straight forward process for me to grab and I have tried a few different things to train my brain to bring awareness to what I am directly experiencing via my senses, or to my state of mind via my thoughts and emotions.
Meditation and Savasana Yoga work for me and are great methods to achieve deep relaxation and connect to your senses. There are also some physical activities that have a meditation component built in, such as long runs or cycling. The latter can have another benefit in developing mental strength that will help you stay cool and overcome hurdles in challenging circumstances. Try different routines until you find one that works for you.
Finally, cultivating your soul and feeding it with gratitude and peace will really bring your energy levels up! For some, including myself, spirituality is also important and connecting to God really helps soothing the soul.
by Rodrigo Teixeira