Tip #1: Practice Mindfulness
Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D, founder of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, summed up mindfulness when he said, "Wherever you go, there you are."
Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment and not thinking about what someone said to you this morning, talking on the phone while replying to an email, or worrying about the future.
Once a day from now on, I want you to put sincere effort into being fully present. Give your undivided attention to what you're doing. If you have a lunch date, enjoy being with that person, rather than thinking about that client meeting you had in the morning or stressing about the pile of work sitting on your desk. Even the most mundane tasks, like making dinner, can come alive. Notice the smells, tastes, textures.
Here is a description of what mindfulness is, adapted from Full Catastrophe Living, by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Mindfulness is...
- Being yourself.
- Not judging yourself, over-analyzing what you're going to say, or getting caught up in your thoughts.
- Accepting and appreciating what each moment offers.
- Allowing things to be the way they are, without getting caught up in expectations, hopes, wishes, and experiences.
- Being patient with yourself and other people. Not being impatient or anxious for certain things, pleasant and unpleasant, to happen.
- Trusting yourself and your feelings.
Tip #2: Read Books That Inspire You
What are you interested in? What inspires you, motivates you, moves you? For example, you may dream of having a life coach to keep you on track with your goals. If you can't afford the $300 to $500 per month fee, go to the bookstore. There are plenty of helpful books to help you assess where you are now, where you want to be, and learn from people who have done it. These are some books I've read and enjoyed:
- The Best Year of Your Life: Dream It, Live It, Plan It, by Debbie Ford
- The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, by Eckhart Tolle
- The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, by Don Miguel Ruiz
- Anatomy of the Spirit, by Carolyn Myss
Tip #3: Give Thanks at Meals
See if this scenario is familiar - you'd love to go for lunch but you have too much to do, so you grab a sandwich to go and bring it back to your desk. Within minutes, your sandwich is gone, you're still hunched over at the computer, and you can barely remember how it tasted.
Instead, start each meal with a pause - take a deep breath and give thanks for the food your about to eat. Or, say a prayer, whatever has meaning for you. Buy a beautiful plate, placemat, mug, or food container to use.
Tip #4: Book a Monthly Massage
Once a month, treat yourself to a relaxation massage. If it is out of your budget, consider going to a massage school student clinic in your area. Treatments by massage therapists-in-training are often 1/4 of the regular cost.
Tip #5: Forgive
Forgiving yourself and others can be liberating. Many people carry past hurts inside them and are unable to let them go. Start by forgiving yourself - if something you say or do causes misunderstanding or may be interpreted as hurtful, don't let it sit and don't beat yourself up over it.
Give a sincere apology and then do something to psychologically cleanse, such as taking that thought and imagining yourself throwing it in the garbage can or taking a warm shower when you get home. You can also try these affirmations:
- "Life is too short to beat myself up over what's done in the past. I choose to forgive myself and forgive others."
- "I know how much it hurts me when other people are mad or hold grudges at me. I don't want to be the one who makes other people feel that way."