We are all busy. We have daily tasks to get the job done. We go about our business with our heads down. Often we are hired for our technical skills. However, whatever career choice we make, we are required on a daily basis to be engaged, perform and be the best version of ourselves. Taking a proactive approach to your health and well-being is the best way to ensure your success at work and home.
Are you truly living to your true potential? The human body is in a constant state of regeneration and growth, from the cells in our muscles, neural pathways in our brain to the emotional intelligence we develop. Every single physical, mental and emotional choice we make will impact upon the person we will be in the future.
According to Corporate Health and Performance Coach Christine Boucher from Natural Health Balance expanding YOUR potential and living the best version of YOU comes down to four simple lifestyle considerations:
1. Physical Exercise
2. Mental Stimulation
3. Emotional Intelligence
4. Life Balance.
Physical Exercise: Just a few short weeks after commencing an exercise program you will begin to see measurable improvements in your strength and fitness. If weight loss is the goal and your exercise program is being complemented by healthy eating then you may start to see desirable changes in your weight.
The benefits of regular exercise are so profound and often personal that it would be impossible to identify all the effects. People can expect to see improvements in their physical health, mental health and emotional health. Exercise has been shown to improve productivity, reduce sick days, reduce stress and improve communication, relationships and overall happiness.
Regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory, thinking skills and focus. There are plenty of good reasons to be physically active. Big ones include reducing the odds of developing heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Chronic diseases are becoming more prevalent with our ageing population and impacting upon the cost for business, community and families.
Maybe you want to lose weight, lower your blood pressure, prevent depression, or just look better. We all know exercise makes us feel good, it stimulates those healthy, happy hormones that promote good moods and happy hearts. The physiological health benefits of exercise increase our potential to have the capacity to be more productive and efficient, getting more done in our day. We have the clarity of focus and the physical energy that lasts, avoiding those afternoon slumps and desire for a sugary pick me up or caffeine laden beverage.
Mental Stimulation: Just like the body we need to exercise our brain. Intelligence is fluid and can be increased with the right stimulus. The gains are dependent on the amount of training, the more you train, the more you gain. Anyone can increase their cognitive abilities, no matter their starting point. Cognitive enhancement made in one area could improve totally unrelated skills.
Mental Stimulation and cognitive potential can be incorporated into your life in a number of simple ways. Read a book, study a language, play Sudoku. Do things you’ve never done before. Travel somewhere you’ve never been. Check out an unfamiliar ethnic cuisine. Try a hobby that is totally out of character for you.
When you participate in activities that increase feelings of happiness, you increase activity in your brain. As you continue to feel happy, you strengthen this activity and solidify brain pathways that make it easier to replicate feelings of happiness. Think of it like walking through the bush and clearing a path. Each time you take this path it’s easier and clearer, now becoming a walking track. Forging healthy, happy neural pathways are the same and we ignite a healthy mindset loop. Where thoughts are positive, feelings are happy, actions are effective and results are healthy.
Our brains are pliable, this plasticity appears to be the physiological basis for the possibility of transforming our minds. By being mindful of our thoughts and practicing new ways of thinking, we can reshape our nerve cells and change the way our brains work. We can break old patterns and unhealthy habits and replace them with healthy lifestyle choices that become our new norm. We can forge new paths and teach our brains to ignite and expand our full potential.
Emotional Intelligence: We are emotional and social creatures. So much of our success depends on our capacity to perceive, understand, use and manage emotions in ourselves and others. You could even say that our emotional intelligence is almost more important than our intellectual intelligence as it helps us to integrate our emotions and our thinking and make intelligent choices.
Our emotions play a critical role in influencing and guiding our thinking and behaviour. When our intellectual and emotional brains are not communicating effectively, we may behave emotionally rather than intelligently, we may lose focus or make logical decisions without considering the emotional implications. The two need to be utilised in balance, what is the most logical decision with the right equation of emotional intelligence to achieve optimum results.
Emotional intelligence is about harnessing these two aspects to ensure we are managing our own emotions rather than allowing our emotions to manage us. Learning how to use emotions intelligently empowers us to respond proactively, rather than reactively. By increasing our range of strategies we can achieve more positive outcomes and improve our performance.
Proactive emotional intelligence strategies may include getting regular exercise to keep our brain and body healthy and increase the amount of positive emotions we experience. Simple breathing techniques can also help to mitigate a stressful situation bring the body back into a homeostatic balance and reduce negative emotional reactions in a moment. Shifting your posture can shift your mood, if going into a meeting not feeling confident. A few deep breaths shoulders back, head held high can promote a healthy and confident attitude which in turn will be expressed in your actions and the results you achieve.
Life Balance: I like to think of it as work life integration as we are not living separate lives but as one. Our thoughts and energies and activities cross over from our personal into our professional lives and back. We are ourselves at work and we are also professional at home, to me as a small business owner it’s one and the same.
So work life integration is thinking from the perspective of how can I achieve more by doing less. How can I work smarter instead of harder How can I be the best version of myself when I am pulled from so many angles, mother to two red heads daughter to ageing parents, business owner to many corporate clients friend to many. What about ME?
There are so many hacks I’ve learnt to work efficiency, productively giving myself to those I love and keeping time space and energy for myself. No 1 priority is simply looking after health. If health fails you are no good to anyone else. Batching is another trick I’ve learnt, this article for example can be utilized as video content, social media content, workshops. One job many platforms and uses. Why reinvent the wheel?
Another strategy that I have implemented into my life is social pruning, letting go of the nay Sayers the people who only drain time and energy. Saying “No” is healthy, I don’t need to do everything for everyone every time.
Expand YOUR potential, create a vision of the future YOU. Who do you want to be? Physically, Mentally, Emotionally. Where are the gaps? What do you need to let go of? Reverse engineer from that vision the activities that serve your purpose, align with your values, utilize your strengths and encourage YOUR best self.
The best version of YOU is waiting….