Here are 7 activities recommended to help you take care of your mental wellbeing.
Focus Time. When we closely focus on tasks in a goal-oriented way, taking on challenges that make deep connections in the brain.
Play Time. When we allow ourselves to be spontaneous or creative, playfully enjoying novel experiences, which helps make new connections in the brain.
Connecting Time. When we connect with other people, ideally in person, richly activating the brain's social circuitry.
Physical Time. When we move our bodies, aerobically if possible, which strengthens the brain in many ways.
Time In. When we quietly reflect internally, focusing on sensations, images, feelings and thoughts, helping to better integrate the brain.
Down Time. When we are non-focused, without any specific goal, and let our mind wander or simply relax, which helps our brain recharge.
Sleep Time. When we give the brain the rest it needs to consolidate learning and recover from the experience of the day.
From an article in The Harvard Business Review by David Rock sent to me through Lloyd Princeton of Design Management Company.
Here's an exercise to try:
Reconstruct a recent day. Consider the types of time listed above. How did that day measure up?
Construct your ideal day incorporating all types of time. (make sure you include enough, uninterrupted sleep)
When I first did this exercise, I had a hard time separating play time from connecting time.
If you need help with this exercise, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is a notion out there that if you follow your passion you will be happier. Career counselors and motivational speakers ascribe to this.
But what if you don't have a particular passion for anything?
Here's one way to find your passion.
Write down at least 3 things you are proud of. They could be accomplishments in your work, in school, or even things you did as a kid. Expand on them with a story. You don't need to be a good writer to do this. You are doing this for yourself and you don't need to show anyone, so go ahead and enjoy the process. After you complete the stories, go back and read them over. Look closely and highlight the action in the stories, that is look at the verbs and look at what you were doing. Were you developing, negotiating, inventing, supervising others, singing your heart out, or playing detective? There are hints in these stories that illustrate bits of your passion before life stripped them down and hid them from your view.
Here is one of my stories. See how the exercise works.
I was in first grade when I discovered that two of my classmates went to dancing school. They showed me a routine they were working on. I was so impressed, I asked the nun if we could set aside a time when the girls could show the rest of the class their dance number. The nun agreed and the day came for the girls to put on their show. I cleared out the desks in the front of the room and went out to the hallway where the girls were waiting in the wings. When I got there, I could see that they were frightened. I told them they had nothing to be afraid of. I told them how talented they were and it was only our class in there. The kids would love it because they didn't have to do schoolwork. That didn't work. Then I told them that they had to go on since it was a promise. That didn't work either. Finally, I told them that they were cowards and that they had to go in there or I would. Well, they didn't budge and I had to go on. I jumped around and around making up stuff as I went along. The class loved it.
From this story, we can see that I have a passion to showcase other's abilities. I like to produce, develop, and organize. I am encouraging and not afraid to be in front of a group. Did you notice how many times, "I told" appears in the story. Speaking is the most dominant means of communicating.
Not so coincidental that I am an event director, a coach, and group facilitator.
There was a story on NPR Talk of the Nation about the storytelling skill of Ernest Hemingway. When asked if he could write a story in six words, he came back to his challenger the next day with these lines. "For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn." I challenge you to write your life story in ten words or less. Send an email message to email@example.com,comment here or contact me on facebook. I also added a ShiftShapers Group on linkedin.com.
I was coming up the escalator at Penn Station when I thought about how my father used to say that I had peanuts in my head. I was beginning to think he was right since none of my new ideas for my coaching practice seemed to be working. One of my ideas was to start a blog which would definitely fit into my father's idea of peanuts. I was sad. I know my clients benefit from coaching and I get excited about my future plans to do the work and make it into a viable business. When I reached the top of the escalator a young man reached into a big blue bag and handed me a free Planters Peanut Big Nut Bar. There was a promotion going on for their new chewy triple nut granola snack. Just as I was about to give up, there were the peanuts and here is my blog. Maybe it's a good thing to follow something my father would ridicule. The traditional stuff doesn't seem to be working anyway. I took it as a sign to continue believing in my ideas. I opened the candy bar and took a big bite. Boy, was it good!
I recently sent an eletter to the shiftshapers from www.shiftshapecoaching.com on the topic of focus. Any comments on the issue can be posted here on the blog. If you are not signed up to receive the shiftshape eletter, you may view archived eletters on the site itself or sign up to begin receiving them. They are periodic eletters that will be sent to your inbox email accounts.