If you're here long enough you probably know I’m all about consciously creating your own life. A life that feels good and aligned with your values and priorities.
Also, you’ll know I'm passionate about the power of our mindsets.
Often, on the journey to create the life we want, we’ll go through some rough patches. We’ll go through phases where we have to juggle or work a little harder till we get to the point where we have more freedom and authority on our life.
Challenging periods are an inevitable part of our human experience, whether we like it or not.
If you are in a situation where you don’t have much control over your day and you can’t change your circumstances at the moment, I’d like to help you understand what is in your power...
First and most important, this might surprise you... stress in and of itself isn't wrong. Stress on its own doesn't ruin our health or wellbeing, it’s how we perceive stress. Health psychologist Dr Kelly McGonigal, in her book The Upside Of Stress, argues that it is actually the way we perceive stress that harms us most. I highly recommend watching her Ted Talk.
Second, leverage the power of mindset: understand the endgame. Ask yourself the following questions: What is your why? How is it serving you? Where is it going to get you to? What is the upside?
Here are a few examples: “for the next year I am committed to having a bigger voice so I have an impact on the culture in the company”
“for the next year I am committed to establishing myself in the company so I can change to a more flexible role or add this creative role”
“I’m gaining more experience in my profession so in a year or so I’ll be at a better position to find a job that is more aligned with my own personal values”
“I’m hustling now, so one day I can start my own thing”
This is the power of mindset. We can’t always change our circumstances but we can change our attitude around them. Understand + Reframe so you don’t add extra stress on yourself. It’s about truly understanding your values, aligning with them and talking to yourself positively about how you are going to withstand these demands.
Third, carve out time for recovery. Dr. Tal Ben Shahar, a Positive Psychology lecturer and author, argues that - it’s not stress that harms us but the lack of recovery from stress. Honor your body’s daily recovery window, aka - SLEEP. Despite how busy or stressed you might be, do the best you can to make sleep a priority and fiercely protect this priority. If for some reason this isn’t possible, say you have a baby, reframe it. Acknowledge that it’s temporary.
Make sure you’re fuelling yourself up with nutrient dense foods, because we know that during busy periods we tend to seek for fast fuel (coffee + sugar), but that’s when our bodies most need sustainable fuel that will help us recover. Nurture yourself to the best of your ability.
Carve out time for weekly recovery (even if it’s “only” a couple of hours) to do something that is highly rejuvenative, recovery oriented.
Fourth, another concept of positive psychology - find and create flow states. When you’re in a flow state your skills and talents are in conjunction with a level of challenge. If the challenge is too easy, you lapse into boredom. You're in deep concentration and so engaged in the doing that time is suspended. In a state of flow, your body and mind know what needs to be done without having to think about it, the draining thoughts that generally occupy your mind take a back seat and you experience a general sense of wellbeing. It’s a form of recovery in itself! So if you can leverage flow states when you’re at work you’ll enhance your recovery. If you are new to this concept and want to learn more about it, this short video is a great introduction.
When you reframe your mindset around the way you perceive stress, when you connect with your why (understand your endgame) and align with your core values you can shift from operating from pressure to operating from pleasure.
I would love to invite you to take a moment now and ask yourself:
Am I operating from pressure or pleasure?
If the answer is pressure, ask yourself:
What would I be doing differently if I made pleasure my driving force?
You might find that there are certain aspects in your life that you do have control over and you can change starting today. Make a list and start putting things into plan.
You might also find that a lot in your life would be exactly the same, but it’s the driving force behind it that could change in an instant.
What can you do to shift from pressure to pleasure?