Work plays an essential role in our lives. As adults, we tend to spend the majority of our time at our jobs. And not just time, but our precious mind space too. Some of us get so caught up in our work that we miss out on cherishing the little things in our sphere.
How can we ensure that we use our time, energy, and attention in a balanced and effective manner? What is the best way to support ourselves in creating a sufficient work-life balance?
Mindfulness and meditation are known to provide the most sustainable support for balancing work and the other things in our life. Try these strategies to use mindfulness and meditation to help you achieve a healthy work-life balance:
Cultivate Calmness And Tranquility
It’s essential to be calm and compose to make wiser decisions and work smarter instead of harder. You can cultivate this quality through a simple practice of meditation.
At least 15 minutes of this practice, if performed consistently, can make a significant difference in the way we do things at our homes and offices. Being calm enables us to obtain confidence and to develop trust within ourselves, others, and the world in general.
This powerful resource serves us in making better choices about how we spend our time, energy, and attention, leading to better work-life balance.
Ask yourself what makes you lose your calm? What kind of consequences are you facing when you make decisions that are rushed and made under the influence of stress? What can you do to cultivate more inner peace at work? And at your home?
Become A Master Of Your Mind
We tend to pay more attention to taking care of our bodies than our minds. We often take our consciousness for granted. We end up living a life where the mind is in control of our lives instead of the other way around.
What we experience as life is just a creation of our minds. Even though it may seem that our destiny depends on external circumstances, the truth is that the way we perceive those circumstances determines our experience.
Being a master of your mind allows you to create your desirable circumstances and to place them into a balance that works for you. You can achieve mind mastery through a daily mindfulness and meditation practice, which costs nothing except some time and dedication.
Observe And Express Your Needs
A significant part of our frustration, stress, and suffering in life comes from our unmet needs. When we work too much, or too little, we can end up neglecting our wellbeing. Greater awareness of our needs brings a better balance and more satisfaction in our lives.
A 2007 brain imaging study by UCLA psychologists revealed why verbalizing our feelings makes our sadness, anger and pain less intense.
When people see a photograph of an angry or fearful face, they have increased activity in a region of the brain called the amygdala, which serves as an alarm to activate a cascade of biological systems to protect the body in times of danger. Scientists see a robust amygdala response even when they show such emotional photographs subliminally, so fast a person can’t even see them.
But does seeing an angry face and simply calling it an angry face change our brain response? The answer is yes, according to Matthew D. Lieberman, UCLA associate professor of psychology and a founder of social cognitive neuroscience.
“When you attach the word ‘angry,’ you see a decreased response in the amygdala,"
said Lieberman, lead author of the study.
The study showed that while the amygdala was less active when an individual labeled the feeling, another region of the brain was more active: the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. This region is located behind the forehead and eyes and has been associated with thinking in words about emotional experiences. It has also been implicated in inhibiting behavior and processing emotions, but exactly what it contributes has not been known.
“What we’re suggesting is when you start thinking in words about your emotions -labeling emotions - that might be part of what the right ventrolateral region is responsible for,"
Combine this emotional expression with your mindfulness practice for a one-two punch. Meditation has been shown to lower amygdala activation.
Respond Instead Of Reacting
The highest level of mastery over the mind can be seen as an ability to respond instead of reacting.
There’s a vast difference between the two. Reacting is like being on autopilot, letting your emotions control what you say or do next. Responding, on the other hand, presents a conscious and constructive action that promotes resolutions of conflicts.
To respond means to be in control of your thoughts and behaviors. It helps you to be in charge of your life and supports you to set and stick to your priorities, such as a healthy work-life balance.
An ability to respond requires you to be present at the moment as much as possible. There are many online resources on mindfulness and meditation that can support you in embracing the power of now.
Save Some Time For Self-care
Our work, friends, partners, and kids all need our care, energy, and attention. But where does this energy come from? How can we keep on giving?
If you want to be there for others healthily and sustainably, you must save some time for self-care. Slow down, relax, and engage in pleasurable activities that renew your energy and restore your spirit.
“Self-care is never a selfish act - it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give the care it requires we do it not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.” ― Parker J. Palmer
Caring about your wellbeing and incorporating a few of these mindful ideas can support you in achieving higher levels of harmony in your personal and professional life.