By Dr. Bryan Robinson –
We all know good health and happiness depends on having proper balance between our professional and private lives. It is completely within our power to let go of anxiety and achieve and maintain a healthy work/life balance. When wereframe our priorities and cultivate mindfulness in daily life, we realign and relearn what truly matters so that we can still excel at our jobs without sacrificing our joy.
Here are six ways to #chill in 2019.
- Gimme Five
When work or daily tasks are the most important priorities, you miss out on the amazing moments of life. Is this really the way you want to continue to live? Whooshing through life wearing blinders, tied to out- comes?
What would it be like if you nudged a few agenda items out of the way temporarily and savored a few present moments? I’m not talking about long periods of time, just five minutes out of the 1,440 minutes in a day to get a taste of what’s around you. You can’t use the excuse that somewhere between sunrise and sun- set you don’t have five precious minutes to chill. That still leaves 1,435 minutes a day to get business done. Isn’t it worth five present minutes to connect with the way the morning dew glimmers on a spider web, the smell of chimney smoke swirling across a winter moon, or the sounds of chirping birds on your windowsill and let life replenish you?
The acronym H-A-L-T stands for “hungry, angry, lonely, or tired.” When work addiction overtakes you and pulls you out of your life, this alert signal can bring you back into balance. If one or a combination of the four states is present, HALT is a gentle reminder for you to stop or slow down.
It’s a memory device for when you’re drowning in work woes, and reminds you to take a few breaths and chill. First, take a deep abdominal breath through your nose. Hold it while you count to six. Then purse your lips and exhale slowly through them. Act intentionally to take care of yourself: eat when hungry, let out your anger in a constructive way, call someone if you’re lonely, and rest when you’re tired.
3. Avoid Making Assumptions
Suppose your boss walks by your desk. You smile and nod. She doesn’t acknowledge you, so you wonder what you’ve done wrong to get on her bad side. Later you discover she had a lot on her mind and wasn’t even aware of your presence.
Automatically accepting negative thoughts and fears as fact creates unnecessary problems. You can save yourself a lot of needless suffering by questioning automatic thoughts and waiting to see if the evidence supports them. As you practice this approach, you learn not to trust your assumptions. It’s better to suspend your conclusions and wait to connect the dots once you have asked questions or confirmed the facts.
4. Don’t Be Scared of Being Vulnerable
Excessive working seems to cocoon you and keep you safe, but it also disconnects you from people. Making yourself vulnerable requires sticking your neck out and taking emotional risks: sharing your honest feelings, speaking your truth, and apologizing when you’ve done wrong.
The longest journey you will make is the eighteen inches between your head and heart. It’s risky opening up on the inside—pulling back the curtain and allowing a friend, family member, or coworker to see your heart. But, the healing that “heart-speak” gives you can be worth the risk.
5. Forego Gobble, Gulp and Go
Did you know that the average American spends only 11 minutes eating lunch at a fast-food restaurant? What about you? Are you a mindless eater, someone who grabs a pastry and gobbles it down with gulps of coffee as you rush out the door?
A well-nourished body has a stronger stress resistance shield and fosters sustainability in the workplace. Whatever you put into your mouth and your frame of mind when you eat influence the quality of what comes out of your brain. It’s time to balance your busy schedule and treat eating as a singular activity to enjoy for its own sake, just as you would an important work project.
6. Express Gratitude
The problem with constant wanting is that desire expands, and wanting increases discontentment. It fuels your work addiction so you can obtain things that help you feel better inside. Perhaps you overspend, overindulge, and overdo, but sooner or later there will be something you want but can’t have, no matter how hard you work.
You can change this pattern with a more reliable approach to contentment: to feel grateful for what you already possess. Start by making a list of the many things that make life worth living, and visualize things you have taken for granted that, if you didn’t have them, would leave your life empty and unfulfilling.
Dr. Bryan Robinson is a licensed psychotherapist and Professor Emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He currently has a blog on Psychology Today called “The Right Mindset.” He has been interviewed by Forbes, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, among countless other magazines. Robinson’s prior books have been published into thirteen different languages including Arabic, Korean, French, Italian and Japanese. Learn more at https://bryanrobinsonbooks.com/.
These six tips come from the book #CHILL: Turn Off Your Job and Turn On Your Life by Bryan Robinson, published by William Morrow & Dey Street of HarperCollins, release date Dec. 31, 2018. Used with permission.