As the founder of Thrive Professional Women's Group, I felt compelled to read Arianna Huffington's book, Thrive: The Third Metric to redefining Success and Creating a Life Of Well Being, Wisdom and Wonder.
At first, it seemed Arianna was simply combining what we already know we should be doing to lead a more balanced life: Get more sleep! Unplug our devices! Meditate! Do yoga! Give back! It seemed she simply packaged it in a book, gave it an interesting title, then took it live and on the road with Mika Brzezinski to espouse her message.
Then I found myself getting stressed at the thought of trying to fit all that mindfulness into my routine. Exactly where was I going to find time to get more sleep, mediate, do yoga and exercise and turn off digitally on a daily basis? There already wasn't enough time in the day to keep up with everything and what about all the emails, text, tweets and work I'd find after my daily digital detox and mindful meditation?
But as I kept reading, I realized there were not only little pearls of wisdom, quotes and anecdotes sprinkled throughout (see some below), but that it didn't have to be overwhelming or even take up a significant amount of time. The trick was to incorporate the concepts a few minutes at a time throughout my day.
So I gave it a try. Before I got out of bed, I set my intentions for the day and stretched. When I walked to the train, I took notice of things around me. In the subway station I walk through everyday, there is a large mosaic tile mural. I made a point of really looking at all the different details in it. When I entered my office building, I smiled and said hello to the guards.
Throughout the day, I took "breath-breaks" simply stopping several times to breath deeply. In the evening, I'd unplug and leave my devices out of the bedroom. And right before going to sleep, I'd remind myself of all I have to be grateful for. Most importantly, I took Arianna's advice to, "Evict the obnoxious roommate in your head!" As she notes, "even our worst enemies don't talk about us the way we talk to ourselves."
I have to admit that while initially skeptical, a few minutes spent throughout the day to focus on being more mindful of my surroundings, connecting with other people, breathing deeply and positive thoughts, as cheesy as it sounds, has helped me feel more centered and calmer. Who knows, maybe I will be able to fully master the art of really slowing down, which as Arianna notes, doesn't happen quickly!
- "There are only so many withdrawals you can make from your health bank account. You could go bankrupt if you don't make some deposits."
- "We may not be able to witness our own eulogy, but we're actually writing it all the time."
- "There is no work-life balance. We have one life. What's most important is that you be awake for it."
- "Forgive yourself for any judgments you are holding against yourself."
- "We are not on earth to accumulate victories or trophies... but to be sandpapered down until what's left is who we truly are."
- "Gratitude is like white blood cells for the soul, protecting us from cynicism, entitlement and anger."
- "Our generation is bloated with information and starved for wisdom."
- "Like airlines we overbook ourselves fearful of any unused capacity."
- "If our intuitive voice had the same strength of signal bars our phones do, we'd see that we're out of range of our wisdom."
- "So much of the time, what is standing between us and satisfaction is... us."
Steps you can take:
- When you wake up, breathe deeply and set your intention for the day.
- Adopt a pet. Pets a furry version of our best selves.
- There are many problems for which walking is the solution.
- Let go of something draining your energy.
- Pick an image that ignites the joy in you. Any time you feel contracted, go to it.
- Make a personal connection with people you normally pass by and take for granted.
- Use a skill or talent to help someone.
- Introduce five minutes of meditation into your day.
- Once a day, list 10 things your are grateful for.
- Consciously focus on your breathing.
- Set a time each night to turn off your devices and don't keep them in the bedroom.
- Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier than usual to go to sleep.