Tag Archives: wellbeing

If Arianna Huffington Can Burn Out, Anyone Can

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“I wish I could go back and tell myself that not only is there no trade-off between living a well-rounded life and high performance, performance is actually improved when our lives include time for renewal, wisdom, wonder and giving. That would have saved me a lot of unnecessary stress, burnout and exhaustion.”

Arianna Huffington, the Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post

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Whether you yourself, a work colleague, sibling or friend, we all know someone who’s been close to burn-out at some time or another. I certainly was after long hours in law and some personal strife on the side!

Whether:

1. Too many hours in the office;
2. High levels of stress in your 9-5; or
3. A complete lack of down-time which can leave you with no time to even wash your hair, let alone deal with personal problems, burn-out is one of the silent psychological killers.

And something of a taboo.

Well I’m here to tell you – it shouldn’t be.

What The Experts Say

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As explained by Dr. Travis Bradberry, Co-author of Emotional Intelligence & President at TalentSmart burn-out is much more common that we realise – and summit we really need to be aware of to avoid the hidden horrors that it causes.

So whether you’re on the spectrum or simply want to learn what Arianna Huffington wishes she’d known before she burnt-out, check out this excellent article:

 SIGNS YOU’RE BURNING OUT (AND HOW TO STOP IT) 

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You won’t regret it ☼

Are You On The Right Track?

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“Your path is beautiful and crooked and just as it should be.”

Free yourself from following other people’s path or worrying you are not “on track.” You feel real freedom in direct proportion to how connected you are to living your truth – embrace the beautifully crooked path right beneath your own two feet. There is no where else you “should” be, step fully into the space you are standing at this moment. It is your own, and where true freedom lies. 

@Project Happiness

The 3 As of Awesome: Appreciating Life’s Little Things

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“When I was five years old, my dad used to take me grocery shopping, and he would stare in wonder at the little stickers that are on the fruits and vegetables. He would say, “Look, can you believe they have a mango here from Mexico? They’ve got an apple here from South Africa. Can you believe they’ve got a date from Morocco?” He’s like, “Do you know where Morocco even is?” And I’d say, “I’m five. I don’t even know where I am. Is this A&P?” And he’d say, “I don’t know where Morocco is either, but let’s find out.” And so we’d buy the date, and we’d go home. And we’d actually take an atlas off the shelf, and we’d flip through until we found this mysterious country. And when we did, my dad would say, “Can you believe someone climbed a tree over there, picked this thing off it, put it in a truck, drove it all the way to the docks and then sailed it all the way across the Atlantic Ocean and then put it in another truck and drove that all the way to a tiny grocery store just outside our house, so they could sell it to us for 25 cents?” And I’d say, “I don’t believe that.” And he’s like, “I don’t believe it either. Things are amazing. There’s just so many things to be happy about.”

Neil Pasricha

Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining…

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Neil Pasricha’s Ted Talk, The 3 As of Awesome, gives inspiring insight into the power of gratitude and positive thinking. Having lost his wife and best friend in the space of a year, Neil knew he had to find something constructive to focus on. So he set up a blog, 1000awesomethings.com in an attempt to try to remind himself of the simple, universal, little pleasures that we all love, but we just don’t talk about enough…

What Kind Of Little Things Is He Talking About?

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“Things like waiters and waitresses who bring you free refills without asking, being the first table to get called up to the dinner buffet at a wedding, wearing warm underwear from just out of the dryer, or when cashiers open up a new check-out lane at the grocery store and you get to be first in line — even if you were last at the other line, swoop right in there”.

Does It Really Work?

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Once upon a time, a wonderful ex-boyfriend gave me the same advice when I was feeling run down. I’ve never forgotten it. Firstly, because it struck me as such a pure thing to say and secondly, because it really works. It’s so obvious when you think about it, but in an increasingly aspirational world, a world caught up chasing consumerism and power, it’s easy to focus on everything bar the present moment, overlooking the beauty in life’s little pleasures - day to day.

How Can You Apply This Day To Day?

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Keep it simple. When you have a hot chocolate, really take the time to breathe in the chocolatey aroma. Savour the warmth of the hot milk radiating through the mug. When you run yourself a bath, pour in an extra generous dollop of bubbles and savour the magical, rainbowy hues of the watery baubles and the way the warm water makes you feel. When it’s cold outside, treat yourself to a really warm scarf and gloves. Savour the contrast of the warmth against the cold. Look after yourself.

How Does Focusing On The Little Things Help?

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Forget focusing on life’s big questions when you feel exhausted – exhausted thinking rarely got anyone anywhere fast. One step nearer to a breakdown, maybe. Instead, learn to focus on the beautiful little things that you come across daily, whether a kindly check-out lady or the sound of the wind in the trees on your walk to work. As you learn to savour life’s little moments, you’ll notice a sense of peace and happiness developing which might just surprise you.

How Did Neil’s Story End?

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Neil’s small step towards focusing on life’s little things ended up attracting millions of followers to his website, leading to a bestselling book deal to boot! If that’s not testament to the power of positive thinking, I’m not sure what is.

The Angry Therapist: A Tale Of Career Change

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“I spent 11 years working in finance and consulting after university, experiencing bouts of debilitating depression, addicted to the money-spending-drinking-shopping- working-money cycle that is so endemic in our society. I believed this was normal life, I found my job reasonably interesting, but something never seemed quite right. I watched my friends endure the same cycle…mortgage themselves up to the hilt to build a house of cards based on a life we are expected to want. And I still thought this was normal. I had absolutely no idea who I was… Three years ago I woke up. I woke up to the fact that I was stuck believing that life had to be like this, that this was who I was and all I was worth. I gradually began to unstick myself…

Lucy Lucas

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Ever wondered whether there’s more to life than your well-paid, high pressure job? Ever questioned why the ‘dream’ that you were sold feels more like a nightmare at times? Ever felt a sense of emptiness that your career doesn’t bring you the fulfilment you’ve been driving yourself into the ground for? Ever had that horrible sick feeling in the pit of your stomach which tells you that you’ll never find true happiness pursuing that lifestyle, yet you have no clue what other options you have? If any of these are you, read this great article via #escapethecity by Lucy Lucas aka. ‘The Angry Therapist‘, on her career change from finance to yoga and mindfulness.

Connie Chapman: Caught Up In Comparison?

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Shall I Compare Thee to A Summer’s Day?

“I want to begin this post by saying that if you have ever struggled with comparison (or are caught up in it at the moment) you are most definitely not alone. With our lives and businesses being so highly visible these days, and with so many people creating and doing incredible things in the world, it is easy to fall into the habit of measuring ourselves against them.

How To Shake The Habit

Now rather than beating yourself up for falling into the comparison trap you can simply witness the pattern, forgive yourself and then let it go. That is the first step to breaking free.

Every time these old patterns arise, we are provided with a powerful opportunity to shift our perspective and take a more loving and empowering viewpoint…”

The Reality

Comparison to others is something friends and clients mention frequently. With the dawn of social media, it’s not surprising that this can become a daily reality, making us question ourselves, our decisions and our statuses, technological or otherwise.

To learn how to turn this reflex reaction on its head, watch Connie Chapman’s thought-provoking video here.

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14 Soul Shaking Quotes From Dr Maya Angelou

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Who Was She?

Maya Angelou’s early life was tarred by rape and prostitution. So disturbing was the abuse that she endured aged seven, she stopped talking for five years.

Despite this, she developed a love of language which saw her become a world-famous poet, civil rights activist (working with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X) and award-winning author known for her acclaimed memoir “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”.

Awards She Won?

Her achievements don’t stop there. In 2000, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Bill Clinton. In 2010, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour in the U.S., by President Barack Obama, not to mention being awarded over 50 honorary degrees and three Grammys. She was also the second poet in history to recite a poem at a presidential inauguration.

Tributes To Her?

Michelle Obama described the African-American poet as: “One of the greatest spirits the world has ever known”, Barack Obama lauded her as: “One of the brightest lights of our time – a brilliant writer, a fierce friend, and a truly phenomenal woman” and Bill Clinton called her: “A national treasure”.

Why Does She Remain So Popular?

A truly indomitable spirit, the power of her work stems from her remarkable approach to suffering. Her poetry has been lauded for its depictions of black beauty, the strength of women and the human spirit, combining humanity, passion and dignity to stunning effect. Never losing the strength, defiance and humour which underlines her work, she rises above adversity with wit, wisdom, courage and grace. The power of her work is rooted in incongruity; despite her deep understanding of suffering and pain, she became known ultimately as a figurehead for strength, hope and survival.

Where Can You Read Her Work?

I’ve referred to two of her most loved poems below, including a personal recital of “Still I Rise”. With a commanding voice full of humour and gravitas, her poetry comes alive with her performance of it – so if you’re feeling a little run down or tired, watch, listen and be uplifted. It’s magical.

1. Legacy

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My favourite quote. It bears the test of time and is manifest in public reaction to the deaths of much loved figures such as Robin Williams, Princess Diana and Maya Angelou, herself. It was their human kindness, warmth and ability to make others laugh which people remembered, not their jobs or how much money they made.

2. Kindness 

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Corny but true. In line with Buddhist thinking, the greatest achievement and fulfilment is found in selflessness. A poignant message of internal beauty in an age which is increasingly obsessed with the external.

3. Strength 

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While her brilliant poem, Phenomenal Woman, celebrates female sensuality, she focuses predominantly on the beauty of the human spirit. Defiant and poised under attack, like a tree rooted to Earth, her ability to capture what it is to be grounded brings tremendous inspiration to her readers.

Not dissimilar to Einstein’s words: “Try not to become a man of success, but a man of value”, her words are all the more humbling given her achievements.

4. Faith 

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A woman who survived many trials herself, with teenage pregnancy and marital breakdown being at the minor end of the scale, Maya Angelou is a compelling example of hope.

Marianne Williamson builds on this, praising the benefits of intention: “Magic happens when you tell the universe what you want it to do for you”. I’ve also found this to be very true. 

5. Challenges 

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In the words of Freud, another great mind: “One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful”.

Listen to Maya Angelou’s personal recital of one of her most powerful poems on adversity at the end of this article. The determination, defiance and positivity in “Still I Rise” is infectious.

6. Self-Expression 

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A woman who created swathes of beautiful literature, Maya Angelou is a great example of the self-generating nature of creativity. If you want to create something, whether a blog, a business or an online pin board, just do it. The rest will follow.

7. Reality 

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I’m probably one of many who have learnt this the hard way. The idea that you can change someone is one of the most idealistic going. It’s easier said than done, but truly listening to what someone tells you about themselves is emotionally economical and can save much pain. In the words of Freud: “Being entirely honest with yourself is a good exercise”.

8. Suffering

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Suffering and isolation often go hand in hand but remembering that we all experience this at different points in our lives can be very comforting. Focusing our attention outwards shifts consciousness away from our inner turmoil, creating space for hope and regeneration.

So avoid becoming too entrenched in your emotions by taking a peek at others’ adversity. The likes of Stephen Sutton who raised more than £5 million for The Teenage Cancer Trust after being diagnosed with terminal cancer at 17 years old puts things into perspective, reminding us of the positives that can come from adversity.

9. Happiness 

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There’s no shame in taking a break from life if your body and mind are screaming for time out. Whether rooted in relationship breakdown, job overload or general life confusion, we’re all human – the only difference is not everybody admits it.

10. Change

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Simple. Nobody will change your life for you. “You are the master of your destiny” – Napoleon Hill.

11. Love 

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Those of us born in Generation Y are very fortunate in educational, professional and travel opportunities but this freedom can confuse as well as enhance us. But however muddled we become on the journey, the fundamentals rarely change.

In the words of Mandy Hale: “True love is crystal clear” – so don’t make too many excuses for a partner who doesn’t make you feel valued.

It can take a while to learn, but love is really quite simple. Your best friends don’t let you down and – corny as it sounds – love is just friendship set on fire.

12. Self-Love 

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If you’re a reasonably settled soul, you’ll sometimes attract people who are lost. If you find yourself with this type of person and you’re unable to help them, you may start feeling pretty disorientated trying.

You then have a choice.

Be careful staying in a partnership which may erode your self-esteem. If you spend too much time with someone with no self-worth, this will likely manifest itself in your relationship and may start to decay your own sense of self. Instead, hang onto who you are and remember Barbara Marciniak’s words: “The quality of love you receive mirrors the value you place on yourself”.

13. Laughter 

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Life’s stressful enough without laughter. Put simply by Charlie Chaplain: “A day without laughter is a day wasted”.

14. Survival 

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What have you done for yourself today for feel good factor? If the answer is: “Not much”, watch the below. Maya Angelou’s energy is contagious.