Mind Power – Happy new you
Boost happiness and health in just a few minutes a day.
Worn out? Burnt out? Stressed out? If you’ve tried every trick in the stressrelieving book and still feel wired, don’t give up just yet. The key to a harmonious and happy life could be at your fingertips. Wellness expert Jan Bruce, psychologist Dr Andrew Shatté and Dr Adam Perlman all believe this could change in just a fortnight. It sounds ambitious, but they’ve pooled their expertise to create a personalised system that’ll boost your stress resilience and get you from tired to blissed in just 14 days. This plan gives you 14 days to develop essential stress-management skills. It sounds good, right? Then what are you waiting for?
DAY1 CALM EMOTIONS
Payoff: You’ll feel freedom from debilitating emotions and a deeper reserve of composure and clarity. The idea is to help you ‘neutralise’ powerful emotions when they’re not warranted – if you get angry when someone bumps into you or you get easily frustrated, sad, guilty or embarrassed when it isn’t necessary. We all have a go-to negative emotion in times of stress, and these are picked up on your emotional radar. Of course, it’s fine to feel any one of these emotions, but they can pop out when you least expect it, and this exacerbates stress. Solution: Work out what exactly you’re feeling, why you’re feeling it, and then ask yourself: “Is this feeling really warranted?”
DAY2 SLEEP SMART
Payoff: You’ll restore energy to do the things that allow you to relieve stress. Tiredness leaves you poorly equipped to deal with stress. In fact, studies show the worst sleepers were shown to be one-and-a-half times as stressed as the best sleepers. Solution: Stick religiously to goodsleep techniques. Set regular bedtimes, make your bedroom a sleep-only and sleep-friendly zone, and create a relaxing bedtime routine.
DAY3 UNLOCK YOUR POWER
Payoff: Be able to clear thinking and an ability to solve everyday problems. Sometimes we’re guilty of allowing our problems to become more
overwhelming. This can cause you to fall into ‘thinking traps’, where you look to blame others for the problem. Solution: The secret here is to be prepared. Know the trap you fall into, identify when this happens and be ready with your escape route.
DAY 4 ACCESS INSTANT CALM
Payoff: Get immediate relief from high stress in pressured situations. While this process is all about long-term solutions, having a few speedy chill-out tools for stressful scenarios will keep you on track. Solution: Think deep breathing, muscle relaxation and positive imagery. Master these, and you’ll ace that next big presentation or event.
DAY 5 FUEL THE RIGHT WAY
Payoff: Improve stamina, better health and immunity. A nutritious and healthy diet leaves you better prepared to tackle stress. Solution: Mindful eating – in other words, knowing why you’re eating what you’re eating – is the key. Eat slowly.
DAY 6 NAVIGATE OLD BELIEFS
Payoff: Over-emotional outbursts will be controlled. This is all about addressing the ‘big beliefs’ we have about ourselves. They’re referred to as icebergs, because it’s only usually the tip of these that shows up in our conscious mind – “If I can’t do something my way, I won’t do it at all.” Solution: Spot iceberg beliefs by keeping an eye out for ‘should’ and ‘must’ in your thinking. Embrace the iceberg – allow it to exist, but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t always live by it. Melt the iceberg – have a mantra that contradicts your iceberg. For icebergs that show up in specific circumstances, steer the iceberg – develop specific ‘icebreakers’ to address particular problems.
DAY 7 BANISH BURNOUT
Payoff: You’ll feel greater fulfilment in your everyday life This is all about addressing the balance of ‘bad’ events versus ‘good’ events in your daily life. The theory is that the more good you stock in your favour, the better you will be able to manage your stress. Solution: Think about what sort of activities and experiences nourish you, and plan ways to include more of these in your daily life.
DAY 8 TUNE POSITIVITY
Payoff: There will be a deeper abundance of positive emotions to sustain you through challenges. Be aware of and seek out positive emotions, and take advantage of them. Many people manage to see the negative in even the happiest of situations. Solution: At the end of the day, write down three good things that happened to you. Read them back to yourself first thing the next morning. Then the next evening add three more things, and read those back to yourself the next morning. Do this for 10 days, and you’ll have 30 good things written down.
DAY 9 FIND FITNESS FAULTS
Payoff: Be motivated and have energy to stick with a fitness regime. Struggling to fit your fitness in around the rest of your life, especially when things go wrong? Sticking at it is essential to boost your energy, stamina and strength. Solution: Day nine looks at putting together a fitness plan you can stick to. The first element of this is addressing any underlying ‘iceberg ’ emotions that may have thwarted your progress in the past.
DAY 10 STRIKE A BALANCE
Payoff: Get a smoother handling of the competing demands in your life. Your emotional ‘icebergs’ make yet another appearance here. When it comes to balancing work and family or personal time, we tend to feel big emotions that reflect our deepest beliefs. Solution: Identify the iceberg beliefs that keep you at your desk for hours on end, and remind yourself of the following mantra when you bump up against one: “I’m human and can only do what is humanly possible.” And try to think about the other goals you have. Is work your only goal?
DAY 11 GET UNSTUCK
Payoff: Release yourself from the problems that confound you. Day 11 looks at solving that one problem that seems truly unsolvable. One of the problems with seemingly ‘unsolvable’ issues is the way we explain them to ourselves. Solution: Try opting for the ‘Not me, not always, not everything’ approach: “It’s not my fault, this is a one-time occurrence, and it doesn’t affect anything but this one thing.”
DAY 12 LIVE YOUR LIFE GOALS
Payoff: Have a sense of purpose and passion in your everyday life. If life seems too busy to achieve any of the big things you really want to, this is the day to make that change. Solution: Decide where you want to be in 20 years’ time, then define your goals. Choose one thing you want most, take one small step and use the positive momentum to keep going.
DAY 13 ENERGISE WORK
Payoff: Feel deeper job satisfaction. Day 13 is about finding contentment and fulfilment at work. This is the place you spend most of your time so it has to be worth it. Solution: The key is establishing what your contribution is – why this job is meaningful.
DAY 14 CONNECT TO SOMETHING MORE
Payoff: Re-infuse your life with meaning and joy. To effectively manage stress in the long term, connect to something bigger than yourself. Solution: Look beyond your own goals and involve yourself in your community. Already doing this? The next step is finding your own spirituality. This could be a set of values that’s very important to you. It’s about a commitment to something that connects you to the world and brings you pure joy.