This is the first proper holiday I have had for 7 years, and I am absolutely loving it. The last holiday Julie and I had was our honeymoon in 2015 and it’s so good to be away and to have real rest. I have forgotten how nice it is to have time to relax, read, sunbathe, swim, sightsee, chat, eat, snooze, drink, and relax some more.
I don’t feel guilty not working and I am really enjoying the relaxed feel to this break which has been provided by my wonderful brother Richard and his wife Adele. They have a fabulous apartment on the coast with stunning views and we are getting on so well. Each day drifts into the next with great conversation and fabulous food.
Am I really resting and recovering?
One of my great loves is speaking abroad and I really enjoy the whole process of travelling, staying in hotels and then delivering my keynote talk or Masterclass. But there is an underlying tension before delivery to make sure everything is prepared and checked. Then the delivery itself which I love but does come with some tension.
So, these trips are very enjoyable but are not a complete rest and I can be fooled into thinking that I have had holidays because I have been abroad.
Because of this I have made a mental note to myself to have at least one proper holiday each year – maybe more. I noticed a comment to my LinkedIn post from Gibraltar from a Chair of a Vistage Group Peter Hills who said this. ‘
Work is only there to enable holidays. Enjoy! Personally, I’m terrified that I won’t get all the holidays I want in whatever time we have left in this world (hopefully plenty).
None of us is guaranteed tomorrow
This made me think of my thoughts which mirror Peter’s. None of us have a guarantee that we will wake up tomorrow or pass away earlier than expected. We don’t know if we will be diagnosed with something very serious or be fatally wounded in an accident of some sort. I have mentioned before but it’s worth mentioning again.
Recently I read about a 16-year-old boy dying on the football field and of a loving husband with two lovely children dying in his sleep aged 46 leaving a devastated family grieving.
This may seem to be an extremely negative view for a motivational speaker, but in reality, this is the truth, and it doesn’t help to pretend life will be perfect, burying our heads in the sand.
I live every day as if it’s my last, expecting it not to be! This way I am making the most of each day just in case the worst happens. I aim to be happy each day through mindful observation and mindful breathing. I also use the gratitude technique to make me feel better.
When I feel negative, I immediately focus on the good things in my life and when I feel better within a minute or two, I take action on something immediately to take my mind off the thought which was making me feel bad. The action could be making a cup of tea, going for a quick walk or sending an email. Then I don’t go back to that thought but get on with the day. I repeat this throughout the day.
What we think is what we feel
Our feelings are directly affected by our thinking. If our thoughts are negative, we feel bad, if they are positive, we feel good. I know that I keep repeating these messages in my blogs but it’s because these principles are so powerful and life changing.
Once you establish these techniques into your daily routines you will see the difference with reduced stress and higher energy. Please don’t just read this blog and do nothing – spend a bit of time practicing them and watch what happens.
You don’t need to see a coach or a counsellor to improve the way you feel unless you have severe or clinical depression. You can start right now and every time you find yourself in a negative state think of all the good things in your life and visualise them in your mind.
Application and Consistency is the key
It is practice and consistency which make all the difference. I will talk more about consistency in future blogs as I believe that this could be the fundamental characteristic shared by all successful people. We can all join the gym and have great enthusiasm at the beginning but then 90% of us give up within a couple of months.
Establishing these techniques into a daily routine is hard but with practice and consistency you can make the change. Once you do this you will find yourself automatically switching your thoughts to the good things in your life whenever you experience a negative event.
I have had many times in my life where things have gone seriously wrong. I remember that if I dwelled on these negative thoughts I would feel down, be lethargic and have low energy. By switching to thinking about the great things in my life I found that I immediately felt better.
Your conscious mind can only think of one thing at a time
Remember your conscious mind can only think of one thing at a time so while you are thinking about all the good things in your life you cannot be thinking about that thing which is making you feel bad.
I am now in a position where I don’t need to think of the good things in my life, I just automatically stop thinking about whatever has gone wrong in my life within a few seconds until I need to deal with it. It is practice and consistency. This is the same with mindful observation where I will look at something like a leaf on a tree or a bird and just observe it without judgement.
Pockets of Peace
By concentrating on this object, I am in a completely relaxed state where there is no stress. You only experience stress when you think about the past or the future, when you are in the moment you are in a pocket of peace. You can’t do this for longer than 20-30 seconds, but these are lovely moments I pepper throughout my day.
Doing this means that whatever is happening in my life at least I have some short moments of peace and happiness. This same principle applies with deep breathing where you focus all of your attention on your breathing and the sound you are making.
I aim to stay calm and relaxed
I love what I do, and I work hard on staying calm and relaxed all day but when I am in work mode there is a certain underlying tension which over time can be detrimental to my health.
Rest and recovery are key to living a healthy life and over the past year I have increased my daily rest time. I have a lunch break and another break mid-afternoon, and I don’t work at weekends or in the evening. I have seen an enormous improvement to my productivity and mental health.
I have discovered the critical importance of proper rest
Here in Gibraltar, I feel deeply relaxed and these feelings are different to anything I experience back home. I thought that I was relaxed back home but now I know the difference between the two.
So, the message to myself is to continue to use the mindfulness and gratitude techniques plus the breaks I have during the day. But above all is to schedule at least one proper holiday every year to ensure that I have the best opportunity to live a long, healthy, and happy life.
Thoughts for the day
- Do you have at least one holiday a year without work?
- If you do great, if you don’t schedule one in.
- This week work on the mindful and gratitude techniques.
- See if you can incorporate these into your daily routine.
- As you do this observe how your feelings and energy improve.
Well that’s if for this week have a wonderful weekend and keep believing.