Only 56 percent of Americans and 24 percent of adults throughout the world consider themselves to be thriving. The rest of those surveyed see themselves either as “struggling” or “suffering.” These statistics are alarming because they show how much human potential is being squandered, that if unleashed could change the lives and fortunes of so many. If you’re one who feels they are struggling to thrive, here are five tips to help transform your life.
Tip No. 1: Cultivate Gratitude in Your Life
The positive effects of maintaining a sense of gratitude are proven. Maintaining a sense of gratitude helps you stay healthier, sleep better, be less anxious, express kindness, feel more connected to others and be happier and more optimistic than people who don’t. Cultivating gratitude in your life can be something as simple as starting your day by thinking about 3 things you’re grateful for before your feet ever touch the ground in the morning. Maybe it’s your snoring dog that’s sleeping at your feet, or the joyous noise of your three year old waking up and ready to seize the day without a care in the world.
Tip No. 2 Ground Yourself Throughout the Day
Of the many tools I give my coaching clients, learning how to stay centered and grounded is the single most important practical takeaway people I’ve worked with say helped them the most. This is because, throughout the day, your attention is literally seized by multiple demands from numerous people, tasks and deadlines. Learning how to bounce back quickly when you’re thrown off center is the best gift you can give to yourself and others. Remembering to focus on your breathing and centering yourself before a meeting or a crucial conversation helps create positive outcomes.
Tip No. 3: Be Good to Yourself
Establishing a regular self-care practice is critical, and it’s even more important to be able to sustain it. In my Executive Coaching practice, I work with a lot of women, as well as men. What makes women such effective leaders is we’re almost genetically encoded to take care of others. We give a lot of ourselves to the people around us-to our families, our communities, and to those we lead and manage. And often the thing that gets sacrificed in the process is remembering to take care of ourselves. You know the drill on the airplane. Put your mask on first, then help your kids? Doing one thing every day that helps you feel nourished, more deeply connected to life, and especially to yourself, actually helps you be able to give more to others.
Tip No. 4: Be Generous and Give Back
People who thrive pay it forward. You get more from giving than anything else in life-that’s the paradox—when we give, we get. Research shows that almost any act of kindness boosts happiness. A lot of people think you have to do something really big to make a difference, but that’s just not true. Mother Teresa said it beautifully, “Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”
Giving back doesn’t have to be monetary. It can be as simple as offering to cook and do the dishes at night for your spouse. It can be taking flowers from your yard to a neighbor for no particular reason. It can be as simple as sitting down with your little boy to color for ten minutes when you get home from work. Giving back makes us feel good and helps us feel more deeply connected to others.
Tip No. 5: Silence Your Inner Critic
We each have an inner critic and an inner champion that live inside our heads. Think of these two voices as the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other. One holds us back and one moves us forward. In order to thrive, we have to learn how to manage our inner critic so we’re in control of it, rather than it being in control of us. We also have to focus on tuning into the voice of our inner champion-that voice within us that sees and acknowledges our greatness and wants to help us express it in the world.
Photo by Zack Minor