I attended the Mindfulness in America conference in New York last week and it was inspiring to hear about all of the organizations and leaders who are making mindfulness practices a priority. From regular meditation classes to more accessible flexibility and work/life balance policies, more and more leaders understand that adopting better work policies around self-care will pay off in happier employees, more welcoming workplaces, and stronger results.
Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post and now the head of Thrive Global, an organization whose mission is “to end the stress and burnout epidemic by offering companies and individuals sustainable, science-based solutions to enhance well-being,” has spent the last ten years focusing on practices that can help you thrive, not merely survive. Her core belief is that prioritizing your well-being makes you more effective. That seems obvious, yet so many of us put our well-being way down at the bottom of our list as we power through work, sacrifice sleep, neglect the things in our lives that bring us joy, and wear our long work hours as a badge of honor. Huffington’s journey toward her self-care mission began ten years ago when she collapsed from exhaustion and came to, bloodied with a broken cheekbone. She credits this horrible experience, something she calls “the best thing that could have happened to me,” with opening the door to a better way to work and live.
Here are four important steps that experts shared during the conference so that you can get started on your road to better working and living:
- Figure out what is important to you – Answer the question, “What is sacred to you?” This will help you to discern the things that you are not willing to give up, the things that you must allow space for – whether it’s bedtime with your children, your weekly sports league, a quiet hour to start each day, or other sacred activities.
- Take time to refuel – Every day refreshing and renewing your energy gives you the stamina and focus to be productive and at your best. Stepping away to eat lunch, taking brief breaks every 90 minutes or so, standing and stretching, breathing and, yes, meditating during the day are actions you can take to refuel.
- Determine your priorities – At the conference, one speaker shared a challenge given to employees at one company: Choose one area to commit to – Sleep, Gratitude, Mindfulness, or Disconnection from technology – and set a goal related to it. That type of challenge helps us to clarify priorities and take action on those priorities. Is it getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night? Keeping a daily gratitude journal? Establishing a morning meditation practice? Shutting off your phone after 8pm every night? It all depends on your pain point and priorities.
- Start today – One of the best comments from the conference was “We can change the future by changing our relationship to the present.” Today is the day that you can begin to change your relationship to the present and adopt better ways of living and working. There ‘s nothing stopping you, no special information or data you need. Just do it!
These steps are just the beginning to achieving greater fulfillment and satisfaction. If you need a little motivation, tap into resources like Wisdom 2.0’s summits, Thrive Global’s website, and the myriad of apps like Headspace that help you in becoming more mindful.
What steps will you take to improve your life?
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