They say that to a carpenter, at times, everything is a nail. I recently completed a certification in Applied Positive Psychology, which may be why I now see how much we all need a bit more self-care, positivity, and resilience in our lives. We need these to lead better lives and to simply lead better.

More and more research is showing the amazing benefits we get from intentionally caring for ourselves physically, emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually. It stands to reason that if we’re feeling better, we can lead better. If our lives are more fulfilling, we have more to give to our work and our leadership. If we’ve gone out of our way to increase our stamina and personal resources, we’ll have more to give to others.

So, if it’s so important, how do we go about it? It’s simple but maybe not always easy, as a client said to us years ago. It requires taking – or making – the time to establish practices and habits, and then doing them over (and over and over).

In Sonja Lyubomirsky’s book, The How of Happiness, she details Twelve Intentional Activities for Increasing Life Satisfaction, and they are:

  • Savoring life
  • Nurturing social relationships
  • Expressing gratitude
  • Committing to goals
  • Creating coping strategies
  • Practicing acts of kindness
  • Engaging in flow experiences
  • Cultivating optimism
  • Practicing spirituality
  • Taking care of your mind and body
  • Learning to forgive
  • Avoiding overthinking

Each of these has been shown, through research, to enhance life satisfaction in various ways such as creating better health, increasing creativity and happiness, developing resilience, and relieving stress, to name a few. Click here to read more about the Twelve Activities, and here for a diagnostic that helps you figure out which of these you’re most likely to do and to get the most benefit from.

As you read through the list, I’m sure you’re thinking, at least for most of them, that it’s no surprise that these things are good for your general outlook and wellbeing. As one Positive Psychology expert says, “If we know these things are so good for us, why don’t we do them?”

We know that getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising are good for us. And yet… We know that making time to be close to others, or to forgive, or to set and achieve meaningful goals are good for us. And yet…

Research has shown that we live better – and lead better – when we’ve made a commitment to ourselves to enhance our lives. We invite you – and strongly encourage you – to pick one or two intentional activities you will commit to so that you can lead – and live – better.

How have you helped yourself and others to thrive? How has it helped your leadership?
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If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

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