Article by: SALLY STANLEIGH
Sally Stanleigh is a senior partner in Business Improvement Architects and the Chief Operating Officer. Sally manages the operation and develops and implements communications, marketing and promotion programs. She is also responsible for spearheading and managing the company’s corporate research projects. Sally has a background in marketing and communications and previously worked as a senior product manager with multi-national corporations such as Colgate-Palmolive and Phillip Morris before founding Business Improvement Architects with her husband and partner, Michael Stanleigh. On occasion, Sally is asked by clients for help with business planning. She facilitates the planning process as a consultant and helps clients with the development of their marketing plans and programs. She has also presented to professional groups on such topics as: customer feedback systems, employee motivation, development of incentive programs and trends. You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AIM for Life Balance
Scientists are warning us that our busy lives are making us sick and costing our employers and health care systems billions of dollars. Achieving life balance is a worthy goal to AIM for; it requires us to apply positive attitude, involvement and meaning into our busy lives. More and more studies are confirming what we already know: that our “overstuffed” and unbalanced lives are creating high levels of stress that is making us sick. What we may not realize, however, and what recent studies are showing, is that stress hurts our bodies at a cellular level. It can modify our brains, our chromosomes and even how babies develop in utero.
The physical and psychological ailments brought on by stress are believed to be a major reason why absentee rates for full-time employers have shot up 21 percent in the past 10 years. And governments are realizing that stress is costing our health-care tens of billions of dollars every year. So scientists are warning us to get serious about stress. They are sending us an imperative to change; to concentrate on altering our “overstuffed” unbalanced lives and to give ourselves a better life balance. That’s all well and good, but how do we do this? Here’s a formula that may help you to AIM for better balance in your life.
“AIM” involves 3 important components:
You have to remember, problems can be solved. There is something you can do. It seems that if you want to go anywhere really interesting, you usually have to travel through chaos to get there.
– Jim Henson and Jim Lewis
Transform problems into goals
Negative thinking habits play a very important role in depression. When you stay positive, it’s harder for other people to be negative.and that’s a good thing. So try to keep a positive attitude by gracefully accepting sadness and suffering as normal parts of life, while doing what you can about the problems. Transform problems into goals. Consider that the personal challenges we face in our lives help us to learn about ourselves. They often change us for the better and make us wiser human beings.
Reframe the way you are looking at the world into positive terms
If you tend to blame circumstances or other people for your state, try to combat these thoughts of helplessness by reframing your situation into positive terms. Every once in a while stop and look around. It doesn’t matter where you are; there’s usually something right there in front of you that will surprise and inspire you.
Identify yourself as a happy person
Try not to feel preoccupied with loss or personal problems, perhaps wallowing in thoughts about self-pity, inability to cope, or escaping problems. Apply appreciative, complimentary thoughts to your life situations and express appreciation for the things and the people in your life. A sense of wonder is the most incredible gift you can share.
The fastest way to change an emotion is often simply to act the way you want to feel. Act happy, smile regularly, act friendly toward other people and participate in plenty of interests and activities, including fun things. Try to instigate silliness once in a while. Silly is good. It’s worth pursuing. As Dr. Phil says, “Behave your way to change.”
Express gratitude whenever possible
We too often take our lives for granted. Learn to appreciate and savour the wonderful things in life, from people to food, from nature to a smile. A sense of wonder is the most incredible gift you can share. Showing genuine appreciation to co-workers, family and friends regularly can help you transform resistance into assistance when you need their help.
Beginning is the hardest thing.
– Jim Henson and Jim Lewis
As the song goes, “no man is an island.” A good network of friendships, ranging from casual to intimate ones, provides a supportive network when times get tough. While making time for friends can be difficult at times, remember, “You have to be a friend to have a friend.” Therefore, making regular “deposits” into your friendship bank account is important. They are necessary if you ever need to make a withdrawal. So foster friendships as much as you can.
Pursue your work and passions
We are generally too busy trying to squeeze in more and more activities into less and less time. Quantity influences quality, and so we compromise on our happiness by not doing the things that can really lead to our happiness. Consider for the moment the idea of reassessing your focus-how can you get to the things you really want to do in life? If your daily work doesn’t feed your passion consider volunteering as another possible way to pursue what you love to do. Doing what you enjoy, even part of the time, can be medicine for your soul.
Stay open to everything
An open mind is a good place to start. The more you see, hear, and experience, the more connections you’ll make.
Offer your help
It’s our duty to encourage those who come after us to appreciate and understand the past and teach them what we’ve learned. It’s a great way to give back and inspire others.
It’s good to have big goals that seem impossible and huge-like saving the world and helping mankind. Even if you don’t reach those goals, it’s great to start our day headed in that general direction.
– Jim Henson and Jim Lewis
Find fidelity to a worthwhile purpose
Interests and activities are very important to mental health and contribute to a sense of self-esteem and happiness. But sometimes we overlook the obvious purpose in our lives-like being there for our family or supporting our friends through rough times. These efforts are worthwhile and purposeful because they have a huge impact on the world and produce ripple effects for future generations that we may not be able to predict. Remember, that, while it’s great to have a “cause,” we mustn’t under-estimate those “day to day” parts of our life that generate meaning and purpose for us. They truly are transforming and can change the world to come.
Practicing compassion helps us to accept and give permission to ourselves for being human. When we accept emotions-such as fear, sadness or anxiety-as natural, we are more likely to overcome them. Rejecting our emotions, positive or negative, leads to frustration and unhappiness.
Use your signature strengths
Each individual has unique traits and core strengths. You may be great at organizing, writing, singing, designing, drawing or other things. Build your character by uncovering your personal abilities and skills and then try to apply them to the pursuit of activities that you enjoy and try to do your best with it. If you profession does not engage your signature strengths on a daily basis, consider volunteering or pursuing hobbies. These are great venues for applying your signature strengths and can add to your overall feeling of happiness.
When life gets you down try not to let it “stress you out.” Pause to enjoy music, people, or just gazing at the stars. This is the opposite of ambition but just as important. It gives life balance.
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