In Part 3 of the ‘becoming great’ series I am focusing on things that we all know about , but maybe sometimes take for granted, not realising the huge impact. I’ll call these your ‘book cover signs’ – people read you by them, and judge you for them.
- Body Language
- Work Ethic
- Energy Levels
- Attitude & Passion
These all marry perfectly for me when I think of harmony and balance. A long time ago I met an awesome Naturopath/Osteopath ‘Derek’. He was one of those people you meet in your life that makes a massive impact, and not only helped me with some physical issues he also helped me to better understand about stress, how to manage this and how important finding balance was to us all. When we are out of balance we will tip over and it usually means we spend time sick at home or turning into the person no one wants to be around.
In terms of balance I learnt to respect the four pillars that needed to be taken care of and although I can confess I still get ‘out of whack’ by neglecting one of the pillars from time to time, when push comes to shove I know it is important to work on all of these, all of the time.
- Mental health
- Physical health
- Spiritual health
- Emotional health
So lets take a closer look at the pillars and later on we will talk about how they relate to how others will perceive us. The key to stop getting out of balance is to keep working on all the pillars, all of the time. By taking control on these and consciously working on them we can achieve balance and ensure we have all the ‘book cover signs’ sorted.
I must confess from time to time I fall out of sync and find myself playing catch up (usually on the physical things I should be working on) but sometimes on it may be any one of the pillars I have neglected – life has a way of throwing correction ‘signals’ when we do this and they often are seen by our loved ones, friends and work colleagues before we realise we need to stop and ‘take stock’.
Mental Health – We all need to nourish our brains and understand that learning is a part of life, and you will never stop. So for me mental health is about nourishing my brain by reading, spending time with people I can learn from and looking each week at things that are going to help keep my mind sharp and provide ‘new nourishment’ for my mental health.
I admire those people who play instruments or have fantastic hobbies that constantly provide the mental nourishment they require. When we learn something new there is a real sense of accomplishment and re enforcement of our self-worth, you will find you carry yourself a little taller, work a little harder, feel good about yourself and have renewed energy and have a much more positive outlook and passion for life.
So work on your mental health if not daily every week.
Physical Health – Many of us understand the importance of physical health and put a lot of time into working out, eating the right food and watching our weight – and yes we should do this work but it is just as important for us to find time to work on our other pillars.
The great thing about Physical Health I find it is actually the easiest to correct and get back on track when needed. A simple 30-60 minute walk a day will make all the difference, and if you are eating right you will find you will be feeling good, looking good and have the right attitude. For me walking is does wonders for me, it allows me to work on my physical and emotional state (For me walking is a wonderful form of meditation that helps also work on reducing daily stress) thus also working on my emotional state.
Spiritual Health– You maybe religious or you may be like me, someone who needs to spend time with nature, whether that is walking on the beach or in the bush, or just taking time to sit for a while and take in the beauty of nature that surrounds me. Visiting my spiritual home (Hongoeka Marae) or just catching up with friends that share my passion for life, does help me. Looking back on my family history, not dwelling on it but just understanding where I have come from has also been a big help to me spiritually.
Understanding my values is important to me and having a set of values that positively affects me, the people I come into contact with and the universe I find very helpful with my spiritual outlook.
This is a harder one for me to explain because I feel it can be very different for everyone but that is OK, find what relaxes you, brings you back to a calm state, makes you a better person, and makes you a great person to be around, this is what you need to work on.
Learn about meditation, mindfulness or being at peace with yourself and you should find a positive spiritual state. There are many forms of meditation, walking, practicing the art of meditation, fishing, just sitting somewhere with nature …
Be mindful of others and how we treat everyone and everything we interact with, because if we were all positive, forgiving and caring of everyone we meet, what would the world really look like?
Emotional Health – For me this is all about being mindful of my own actions and reactions to events and others around me as well as being mindful of those I come into contact with and how they maybe feeling. Making the decision to be happy everyday regardless of what is going on and understanding that when we acheive this we truly acheive living a fulfilling and happy life.
For me the approach that works is to appreciate life everyday and spend time just thinking about and enjoying what I have. Sitting thinking about what I don’t have, or what others may have I think is destructive and poisonous to your emotional state.
Do not let others actions and emotions dictate your outlook for the day. In fact if you take the approach of giving and helping others when you can, you will notice that the positive effect on the people around you help will not only improve their day this will give your emotional state a massive positive boost.
Life is not a destination, it is all about the journey so why not work hard to be happy everyday, and help those around us to be happy as well. Just try and let go of the stress others put upon you (takes practice) e.g. the guy that cut you off when you were driving to work, the argument you had with your partner this morning, forgive them and just move on and get your emotions back on track. Be the bigger person and first to forgive and forget, don;t fool yourself with mind games that are really just self destructive and frankly a waste of time – yes I am talking from experience.
If it does not kill you it will only make you stronger, but this only occurs if we approach things positively and we learn from the event. Let’s allow ourselves the time during the day no matter what is happening around us, to look at the positive things in our life and appreciate them.
I know this is hard somedays, but believe me if you can work on being happy everyday, then you will find that emotionally you will be in a great place and all of your ‘book cover signs’ will say ‘I have got it together’ ‘I am great, thanks’.
Lets face it, for many of us it is our emotions that blow things out of perspective, that cause’s us the most stress and effect those around us the most, but know we also have the ability to control these and choose to be happy or not. Yes there are things that make us unhappy, mad, sad, frustrated but if we can bring ourselves back to appreciating what is positive in our lives and let emotions that ‘bring us down’ past quickly or at least be interupted we can have happiness everyday.
You will find people that are experienced at meditation and practice mindfulness manage their emotional health the best. This is definately a pillar you work on everyday and some days events will make this hard on you, so what I recommend is go for a walk (especially if you find yourself in a heated situation at work or home) take in the surroundings, clear you head and be happy. Master this skill and become truly great.
So there is a lot to take in here. Because to get all four ‘Book Cover Signs in order’ we need to actually focus on the ’cause and effect’ by first of all getting our balance right. You see I believe when you are out of balance, then it will show and without you knowing others will pickup that things are not quite right with you.
Other than buddist monks who have trained for long periods of time, things affect us and events will throw us. We can bring ourselves back into balance by making a daily effort to think about how we can keep our balance, live happy, healthy lives that make a contribution to our world.