Is There A Link Between Healthy Productivity And Well-being?
A few years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Suddenly, my world was catapulted in ALL directions. WHAT(!) how, why — questions tap-danced around my head. I had no idea what side was up or down!
At work, I performed like a new hire — not knowing what to do, much less how to do it — despite my being in the job for over six years! My health care seemed to be on a rollercoaster — tests, biopsies, surgery, and recovery all happened at what seemed like lightning speed. The days seemed to meld into one, so much so, that I couldn’t even remember the day much less the date!
Then, I was introduced to meditation by a wonderful, caring doctor.
At first, I thought, “…it was ‘airy fairy’ and esoteric stuff, definitely not for me.”
What a misconception!
Not only was I hooked from my first session, but, lo and behold, I took to it like a duck to water!
My attention span improved immensely. By practicing to focus and calming my mind, I found I could concentrate for longer periods uninterrupted.
Meditation is the actual focusing and quietening of the mind. Every self-help guru, every highly successful individual, and even many athletes trumpet its many benefits, and research too seems to back up its value.
So why don’t more people practice it?
The main problem for most of us is that it’s really rather daunting, obtuse, and complicated. Meditation is ultimately about reaching enlightenment and inner peace right? Sounds a bit heavy!
The real question for many people then is where to start. Let me share you with a good starting point to help you with your first meditative experience. After your first attempt, you should feel a little more confident to try it again and again
Tips to Begin
The first tip is to set yourself a timer for 5 minutes. Five minutes is a short enough amount of time that most of us will be able to fit it into our busy schedules and by setting an alarm you prevent yourself from having to keep checking the clock to see how much longer you have — this is not conducive to meditation as you might imagine.
You can meditate inside, outside, on the beach, through exercise… however you like! When I’m running late, I find myself focusing on my breath while waiting for the traffic light to turn green!
The next tip is to sit relaxed and comfortable in a chair or cross-legged, or you may prefer to lie on the floor or on your bed.
The next thing you’re going to do is to focus. Try focusing on your breath — breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. This will be your ‘anchor’ and you will come back to this whenever your mind starts to wander.
Now just ‘be’ for five minutes. The mistake many people make here is to try and force themselves to have a ‘still mind’ devoid of thoughts. This is almost impossible for anyone as we all have thoughts floating in and out of our minds all day, and this will lead to nothing but stress.
Instead, we’ll take the mindfulness approach of simply letting the mind wander. When it does, make a note of it and simply focus back on your breath. This removes the stress and gives you a safe environment in which to practice directing your attention inwards. The same goes for itching and coughing — just let it happen and then return to your breath.
Try to repeat this three times a week for a couple of months and see what happens… You’ll be glad you did!
The WHO constitution states: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and can contribute to his or her community.
Mental health is fundamental to our collective and individual ability as humans to think, emote, interact with each other, earn a living, and enjoy life.
There are specific psychological and personality factors that make people vulnerable to mental health problems.
Poor mental health is associated with rapid social change, stressful work conditions, social exclusion, unhealthy lifestyle, physical ill-health, gender discrimination, and more.
Meditation helped me to develop positivity, mindfulness, and gratitude.
All traits that contribute to healthy productivity.
Increase Healthy Productivity By Becoming Aware Of Your Energy Levels
I’m sure you’ve noticed that there are times during the day when you feel more alert and productive than others. Similarly, you notice that you feel mentally drained and exhausted after completing certain tasks at work or home (filing taxes for example). Those are all indications of natural fluctuations in your mental energy levels.
By paying attention to them and taking advantage of your high-energy times, you can not only give yourself an instant productivity boost, but you’ll also get things done more quickly, do a better job, and enjoy doing them more. It’s never fun having to work through a tough task when you’re not feeling well or are tired. It seems to take forever, and the more you dread it, the more the energy zaps right out of you. Compare that to when you encounter a challenge when you are feeling alert and energized. You dive right in, embrace the challenge, and feel good about getting it done. This is why it’s important to pay attention to how you feel and work on tasks that demand high energy when you have enough to keep up with them. Some find it easiest to tackle involved projects that require a lot of concentration early in the morning, while others prefer to do those things in the afternoon, or even at night.
Once you discover your own patterns, start to make adjustments to your daily schedule and what you do when. Start by determining when your highest energy periods are. For some of us, it’s one good chunk of 3 to 4 hours at a particular time of the day (for example from 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon). For others, it’s two shorter periods (for example from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m, to 4:00 p.m.).
Once you know what those time slots are, you can start to protect those hours. Don’t “waste” them on social media, vegging out in front of the TV, doing busy work, or if possible unproductive meetings. Set them aside for quiet, dedicated, and highly productive work as much as you can.
After a few weeks, you should have a pretty good idea of how you spent your time and how your energy levels affect you. This allows you to make much better use of your time overall. When you time tasks and the hours you do them, work will seem much more effortless and you will get it done much more quickly. That in turn leaves you with more free time to meditate, indulge in some much-needed self-care, get some extra sleep, or spend more time with your loved ones.
That is what it’s all about, isn’t it? We want to become better at managing our time so we have more of it left to do with as we choose. We do it to improve our quality of life.
I am living proof that healthy productivity and well-being go hand-in-hand.
Time is short — make the most of it!
“The way we measure productivity is flawed. People checking their BlackBerry over dinner is not the measure of productivity.” — Tim Ferriss
This article was originally published on my site at https://donnapresents.com/healthy-productivity-well-being/.
Meditation is a habit that may come easily to some. I have been meditating for over five years, but there were many days I found myself slipping. These days, not so much, not since I completed the no-cost Action Habits Challenge by Connie Ragen Green, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author, independent publisher, and serial entrepreneur. You can check it out here.
If you’re interested in revitalizing your life through meditation and would like to learn a virtually risk-free, and cost-effective practice, that people of all ages can do with a little patience and guidance and that will serve you for the rest of your life, I would love to connect with you. You can connect with me here.
I’m Donna SLam, who loves to blog about how meditation brings self-compassion, peace of mind, and clarity to my life and others by sharing tips and strategies on how to live a fulling and purposeful life. I enjoy championing others to lead a healthy and happy life through meditation, walking, self-development, and spending time with loved ones.