You may have heard how good nutrition and physical activity are good for your health. Did you know that nurturing a positive state-of-mind is just as important? A poor mindset has the potential to offset all the good you do eating delicious and nutritious foods and exercising.
Focus on the Good
A simple step you can apply today is quite simply (and sometimes not so simply), whether your glass half full or half empty? Did you know that people with a positive outlook outlive their counterparts?1 Where you choose to put your focus in each moment can affect not only your daily experience, but how long you live. It can influence your success or failure, and be the difference between a good day, or a bad day. The beauty of it is that this powerful choice is yours.
How To Cultivate a Well Mind
Look at the illustration at the bottom of this post, and count the number of suns in the sky. How many did you count? If you said five, you’re right. Now, without looking back, name the items on the beach. Were you able to name them all? Don’t worry, most people aren’t. It wasn’t what you were focusing on, so you didn’t see them. You chose to look for the suns, so that’s what you saw. Are there experiences in your life that would change if you tweaked your focus? If you were to pause, and take in the whole picture would your perspective change? Could you create a whole new experience for yourself?
Last year I ran my first marathon. At mile 15 there was a hill, a steep, long hill. What got me up that hill was not focusing on the challenging grade of the hill or how endless it looked under the river of runners, willing themselves up like a waterfall running slowly in reverse. Instead, I put my attention on the amazing number of spectators cheering us on and the beat of the Taiko drummers that filled us up and renewed our depleting energy. That’s how I got up the hill, and that’s how I got across the finish line feeling strong.
While everyday is not a marathon, we constantly make choices that affect our experience. When you go for a walk, do you see the trash on the ground or the beautiful blue sky? If you make a mistake, do you dwell on it, or focus on what you learned and all the other successes in your life. Is your house dirty or are you grateful for a full life that sometimes leaves the house a little unkempt? Where we choose to put our focus becomes our reality. It’s our choice, and we have the power to change it.
Reduce Financial Worry and Stress
A sometimes over-looked aspect of a healthy mind is how satisfied we are with our finances. Do you worry about dying too soon and leaving your family in a financially dire situation? Or, what if you became ill and could no longer work? Would your family be able to pay the bills? These are common concerns that can create stress and worry – not only contributing to an unhealthy mindset, but the energy spent on worry and stress is energy not spent on the things we enjoy in life. So while intentional focus is important, sometimes action can eliminate the root causes of our stress. Did you know that there are life insurance products that not only provide a benefit to the surviving family, but can also be customized with optional protection called riders, that can help if you are sick or injured? It’s called life insurance with living benefits.2 Check in with your financial advisor to learn more.
According to Wellbeing The Five Essential Elements, another way to lessen daily worry about money is to establish default systems (automated payments and savings). This could include automatic contributions to a 401k (especially if your employer has a match program), or to a savings account that can serve as an emergency fund. Setting up your bills to be automatically paid means less time you need to spend worrying about making payments. What’s most important is that your strategies fit your comfort level and don’t create stress. For example, if your investments are tied to the stock market and this stresses you out, you may need to examine your risk tolerance and your portfolio with your financial advisor. Or, if you’re not comfortable with the debt associated with a major purchase such as a home or car, consider that the purchase may do more damage than good for your overall wellbeing. In short, managing your finances well allows you to do what you want to do when you want to do it.3
Healthy Mind Essentials
In summary, we have the power to create our own experiences and to make intentional choices that serve our own personal comfort level–ultimately creating a high level of personal wellbeing. So, eat your veggies, move your body and nurture your mind.
1 To Flourish or Not: Positive Mental Health and All-Cause Mortality. American Journal of Public Health: November 2012, Vol. 102, No. 11, pp. 2164-2172.
2. Riders are supplemental benefits that can be added to a life insurance policy and are not suitable unless you also have a need for life insurance. Riders are optional, may require additional premium and may not be available in all states or on all products.
3 Wellbeing The 5 Essential Elements, Tom Rath & Jim Harter
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