Does your leadership need a boost in the area of Health and Wellness? Are you ready to make a deeper commitment to your full potential? Here are five touchstones to help you assess, envision, adapt and implement that commitment.
1. Meaning: Connect to something that is meaningful to you each day.
The importance of “meaning” is derived from large bodies of clinical research in the field of psychology. It’s proven that people who connect to meaning each day are happier, have a greater ability to adapt to challenge, and use stress as a positive factor in the midst of change. Author Eric Maisel says this is most effective if done first thing in the morning.
What does meaning or a meaning practice look like to you? Is it taking a few minutes each day to name something you are grateful for? Spending time in nature, volunteering, or committing time to creative projects like writing, painting, photography, collaborating or research? The key here is getting clear on what is meaningful for you and visiting that each day, even if it is for as little as five minutes.
2. Exercise: Move your body.
The evidence of modern neurobiology research is undeniable. Numerous studies are published and the Mayo Clinic cites seven benefits of regular physical activity: 1. Exercise controls weight; 2. Exercise combats health conditions and diseases; 3. Exercise improves mood; 4. Exercise boosts energy; 5. Exercise promotes better sleep; 6. Exercise puts the spark back in your sex life; 7. Exercise can be fun.
What physical activities do you enjoy? How many times a week do you engage in these? It is suggested that a minimum of 30 minutes of activity a day can begin to promote and sustain these benefits. This does not have to be overwhelming; by planning carefully and pacing yourself, you can make physical activity a healthy habit that lasts a lifetime.
3. Positive Thinking: Approach your life and your work with a positive attitude.
We do not always have control over our circumstances; however, the way in which we respond, see and frame them is directly within our control.
Ongoing studies by colleges such as Harvard, Duke, and the University of California, among others, have been conclusively showing a direct relationship between having a positive attitude, towards life and work, and experiencing improved health, extended life and an overall sense of wellbeing.
In particular, cultivating a sense of focused awareness coupled with creativity or passion has been proven to be beneficial. Any form of meditation appears to have one of the more sustained effects on changing brain states to this more positive outlook.
Where do you bring a positive attitude to your life and your job? What is challenging? What can you let go of to move you towards greater satisfaction? Often times happiness is right under your nose, if you make just a slight adjustment or two in how you are showing up and working with what is present.
4. Play: Laughter is the best medicine.
Play is important at every age, and laughter is said to be one of the best medicines. When we allow ourselves the freedom to completely be our childlike selves we access a part of our brains that is otherwise asleep, all the while allowing another part of the brain to continue its “work,” oftentimes leading us to new solutions. So I say seek out more conditions that produce laughter, whatever they are! Playing with my two “big” kids is the surest way for me to seek out laughter— as I did recently — having an elegant dinner, casual style, with a long-time friend on a Thursday night.
When is the last time you played? With no agendas regarding the outcome?
What does playing look like to you? It may be very different for different people. With whom and what were you doing when laughter was present effortlessly and in volume? Go with that!
5. Nourishment: Feed your body well.
This is where we get to look at this equation: nutrition + awareness = greater possibilities of sustainable health and wellness.
Let’s detour for a minute and theorize what might happen if you never changed the oil in your car? Or never replaced the brake fluid? Or never turned the engine off? Pretty simple answers, right? Eventually the car would run out of gas or things would begin to break down. Different parts would begin to be overstressed.
Guess what? The same thing happens in the body and with the mind.
Some of you may be familiar with basic body nutrition, including the need for fresh fruits, vegetables, fiber and water, to name a few. If not we definitely need to have a conversation. Take this to the next level and remove processed food from your diet — for a bonus, add in some of the top 10 superfoods — and now your body has the capacity to detox, perform better and even make improvements on itself. It’s not new news that, given the right environment, the body can heal and the brain can form new nueropathways in service to better health and wellness. Cleansing is a proven health practice to be beneficial as well.
So there you have it, and now the invitation: Where can you more deeply connect to greater health and wellness through these five touchstones? And where does that have a direct impact on your leadership at work, in life and with your relationships?
Good luck and all the best!