Gifted. High Achiever. Type "A" Personality. Workaholic. Intense. Driven. You know who you are, and if this isn’t you, you likely are close to someone these words describe.
Typically, these types of labels are given to people who put significant time and effort into succeeding, and who are good at reaching their goals. Sounds great. You have a good work ethic, are likely talented in some way and are successful in your efforts. What’s wrong with that? In a nutshell, nothing, except quality of life is often compromised in the pursuit of achievement. While striving toward what we believe makes us “happy” we sacrifice the things that actually bring us deep satisfaction in life, only to work more to avoid feeling the negative feelings that come up.
Have you found yourself feeling dissatisfied with life? Ever ask yourself, “Is this all there is?”, or say to yourself, “I thought it would be different when I finally made it in life?” Maybe you have put so much effort into succeeding it is destroying your relationships, or keeping you from connecting in a meaningful way with anyone at all. It doesn’t have to be lonely at the top, or on the way there.
What’s a person to do? Creating balance in your life is important. Here are some ways you can create space for yourself to start living the life you want:
1.Engage in some healthy self reflection. Over the next few days, take time journaling, in meditation or thinking during long walks about what you would like your life to look like, and what a balanced life would look like to you. As part of this exercise prioritize what you value in life, and your relationships. This will help to guide you toward what will bring you the most satisfaction, and will help you to recognize what balance looks like for you, as it is different for everyone.
2.Make time to engage in at least one healthy and enjoyable activity, once a day. Participating in a pleasant activity can reduce stress, and reduce the intensity of negative emotions. It is important to be completely present during the activity, and aware of what pleasure feels like in your body at that moment. This activity can be something as simple as taking a bath, or going for a nature walk. This activity should not be something that allows you to numb your emotions like watching t.v., using substances, watching porn or gambling.
3.Spend time with another living being. It is important to connect with others, in a meaningful and present way even if it is only for 20 minutes a day. Your connection can be made with other humans, and/or animals.
4.Connect with nature. Going outside and engaging with plants and wildlife is optimal, but not always possible. If you can, go outside at least once a day, that is in addition to walking from your car to your place of work. Breathe. Walk. Notice what’s around you, and how you feel in these moments. Allow yourself to connect with the world around you. If you can’t go outside, look out a window, look in a book or online at nature pictures, and or surround yourself with pleasant things that remind you of the parts of nature you enjoy.
5.Put yourself on the list. This not only means eating healthy food, getting enough sleep and some exercise, it means taking care of yourself in other ways. Some of these ways are setting appropriate boundaries with others, like saying no instead of overloading; delegating tasks; honoring your own ethical code; and avoid being self critical.
6.Address issues you may be using work or activities to avoid. Sometimes we keep ourselves busy to avoid feeling lonely, afraid, angry, thinking about the past, or living in the present. Tap into your inner bravery and ask for help to sort things out. You don’t have to do it alone.
7.Be kind to others, and help when you can. Showing and feeling empathy toward others will help you to connect, will improve relationships and will enrich your experience in life. Additionally, if you put some of your time and energy into a worthy cause and/or relationship, you care deeply about you will likely gain some satisfaction from the experience while making the world a better place.
This list is a healthy start to enriching the life you have worked so hard to build. I often work with high achieving people to reduce stress, obtain balance, build and improve relationships and increase life satisfaction. If you are interested in moving forward in a healthy way, call me to explore your options.
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