Gratitude is a powerful action that can have a profound impact on an individual’s life.
Let’s face it - we’re busy. Between work, family, community responsibilities and more, it can be difficult to carve out time to recharge, much less to be grateful. Studies have shown, however, that taking time to refuel is essential for your mental and physical health.
How can you be grateful while recharging for the tasks ahead?
Get Enough Sleep
“Burning the midnight oil” is the commonly used phrase for people who try to steal a few more hours of productivity out of their day. By cutting back on sleep, they assume, they’re getting more done. While it may be true in the short term, even the smallest amounts of sleep deprivation can impact your ability to think analytically, focus effectively and use problem solving strategies. Add to that, every little thing that goes wrong feels much bigger than it is, potentially leaving you feeling negatively without capacity to be grateful for anything. Most people need at least seven hours of sleep every night to be at top performance. How much sleep are you getting?
Recharge Breaks During the Day
Many people think that more hours working means more getting done. In reality, the quality of the hours you work are more important than the quantity of hours. By giving yourself a break throughout the day, you allow your brain a chance to reset and renew for the tasks ahead.
To take a quick recharge break, here is one method to try: the Pomodoro Technique, recommends working for 25 minutes and then taking a break for five. During those five rest minutes, practice being grateful. Spend those moments meditating or reviewing the things you have to be grateful for, While recharging, pick one thing you are grateful for. Start small – did your coffee taste amazing this morning? Was a parking spot near the door available when you pulled into work?
Make a To Do List
As David Allen has taught us, the brain is not a holding area for your tasks. By making a list of all the things you have to get done, your brain can relax and do what it is intended to do, help you solve problems. Instead of worrying about if you’re missing anything, your brain will have more energy to focus on what you’re doing. This positive cycle will allow you to accomplish more in less time because you’re able to be fully engaged in the task at hand.
Get Physical Exercise
Even moderate physical movement can help clear your mind, give you an energy boost and lower anxiety. During your lunch break, take a walk around a nearby park. Find a workout buddy and play tennis once a week. Whatever form of physical activity you enjoy, be sure to schedule regular opportunities for it.
Savour Your Life
Focus on gratitude in every aspect of your life. When you spend time and energy on negative emotions, not only does it reduce productivity, it can have an adverse effect on your health. By savouring the things in your life you already have, you prepare yourself to appreciate future blessings. Be grateful for the friends and coworkers in your circle. Instead of grumbling about having to park in the farthest spot in the parking lot, be appreciative of your capable legs who can walk you to the office.
Look for small opportunities to practice gratitude - even during your downtime - and your productivity will soar.
Michele Bailey is president and CEO of Blazing Agency and My Big Idea®. These two lines of business work congruently to support her clients’ success.