Just For Today … “Get a Life” ~ by Anna Quindlen

There are thousands of people out there with the same degree you have; when you get a job, there will be thousands of people doing what you want to do for a living. But you are the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on the bus, or in the car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank account, but your soul.

People don’t talk about the soul very much anymore. It’s so much easier to write a résumé than to craft a spirit. But a résumé is cold comfort on a winter night, or when you’re sad, or broke, or lonely, or when you’ve gotten back the chest X ray and it doesn’t look so good, or when the doctor writes “prognosis, poor.”

You cannot be really first-rate at your work if your work is all you are.

So I suppose the best piece of advice I could give anyone is pretty simple: get a life. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger paycheck, the larger house. Do you think you’d care so very much about those things if you developed an aneurysm one afternoon, or found a lump in your breast while in the shower?

Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze over the dunes, a life in which you stop and watch how a red-tailed hawk circles over a pond and a stand of pines. Get a life in which you pay attention to the baby as she scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a Cheerio with her thumb and first finger.

Turn off your cell phone. Turn off your regular phone, for that matter. Keep still. Be present.

Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love is not leisure, it is work.

Get a life in which you are generous. Look around at the azaleas making fuchsia star bursts in spring; look at a full moon hanging silver in a black sky on a cold night. And realize that life is glorious, and that you have no business taking it for granted. Care so deeply about its goodness that you want to spread it around. Take the money you would have spent on beers in a bar and give it to charity. Work in a soup kitchen. Tutor a seventh-grader.

All of us want to do well. But if we do not do good, too, then doing well will never be enough.


Paradigm Shift ~ Make Your Workplace A Happy Place

office yoga
Happiness is more than just a bubble-gum outlook on life, but instead revolves around finding meaning in whatever we are doing, and bringing the intention with us everyday to do what we do well. Using mindfulness and meditation time helps bring those intentions to the foreground of your mind, and can significantly improve your ability to stay calm and communicate better with your co-workers, improving your relationships and your overall feeling about your job.

When you prioritize happiness in the present moment, you see this incredible ripple effect in the future in terms of your levels of success and connectedness to others. The bottom line, using mindful actions and the intention to be happy at work, can improve your performance and help you enjoy your job and be more successful too!

“There are five key researched habits we recommend people try practicing to improve their happiness at work,” explained Michelle Gielan of Good Think Inc., in an interview (http://youtu.be/JbywKN0wrko?list=UUAP3YnM3zDBh3fi8jUJZQCQ). She recommends:

Counting Gratitude – Write down three new and unique things your grateful for each day. This will help train your brain to constantly scan your environment looking for new and good things.

Journaling – Each day spend two minutes writing down everything you can remember about the most meaningful moment you’ve had in the last 24 hours. Relive this moment in detail noting down what you saw, heard and felt. By really savoring this experience you can essentially double the number of meaningful moments in your day.

Mindful Activity – Spend 15 minutes each day exercising. Studies suggest this can be the equivalent of taking an anti-depressant. (http://www.unc.edu/peplab/publications/Fredrickson%201998.pdf)

Commit A Conscious Act Of Kindness – Reach out to someone new and different each day in your social circle by taking two-minutes to praise or thank them by email or phone. This activates your social network and reminds your brain of the support you have around you. This is particularly helpful on more stressful days at work.

Attention Training – Practice taking your hands off your keyboard and for two minutes just watch your breath go in and out. This trains your brain to have laser-like focus on one activity when you return to your work, rather than slipping into a multi-tasking mindset that wears you out and slows you down.

“Try each of these brain training approaches for positivity for at least 21 days to get started, but persist with whatever works best for you to build the neural wiring that supports these behaviors through both the good and challenging times at work,” suggests Michelle. “Have patience it does take time.”