I am a bit of puzzle to some of my friends. I have an MBA. I’ve held senior roles in the corporate world. I am a skeptic when something sounds too good to be true. And, I believe that success comes from getting down to business. Given that practical, business side, I don’t always come across as having a big mind, body, spirit focus. It can come as a bit of a surprise that I have a deeply spiritual side. I contend that what you put out into the universe comes back to you. I believe in the power of positivity, visualizing your desired future, mindfully living in the moment and much more.
These two traits are not as much as a contradiction as you might think. As an example, take a look at elite athletes. Many, such as race-oriented athletes, are in sports where the measurement of success is unambiguous. Despite the pragmatic requirements, top athletes seek every spiritual advantage they can. The most often cited of these is guided visualization, where the athletes repeatedly imagine success including picturing themselves crossing the finish line first and standing on the top of the podium. It’s a technique with a growing body of evidence behind it.
There’s Science, but Fit Matters
Science is actually increasingly backing up a wide range of mind, body, spirit techniques. Even cancer outcomes are being improved with meditation, massage, guided imagery and other ‘new-age’ tools. Despite the proof, not everyone is going to be open to a spiritual approach to self-improvement. That’s fine. There is much to be done to improve one’s life and career that is not all ‘woo-woo’ as a friend of mine would describe it. All I can do as a coach is encourage you to examine the various techniques that exist and consider those that make sense to you.
When you focus on being more centred and connected, you are addressing your entire well-being — mind, body, spirit. Neglect one and the other two suffer. Likewise, each one you care for, nourishes the other two. The challenge is you must care for all three, but the reward of doing so is that you have a tremendous advantage to succeed beyond all of those who do not.
Six Techniques for Being Centred and Connected
Here are six tools that could help you be more centred and connected to your mind, body, spirit, along with some of the rationale behind the techniques — to appeal to your, and my own, skeptical side. They are Mindfulness, Positive Thinking, Flow States, Visualization, Manifesting and Meditation.
Mindfulness is a technique in which you focus your full attention only on the present, experiencing thoughts, sensations and feelings (mind, body, spirit), but not judging them. The current appeal of mindfulness is not hard to understand when you consider how distracted we all feel from our pinging devices, media overload and pace of change. Nonetheless, at first glance, mindfulness, can seem like just another trendy concept to be quickly forgotten. However, university, peer-reviewed studies show that people who practice regular mindfulness routines have less mind wandering and distractability. These people have better concentration, even when multitasking. The business implications are clear — mindfulness leads to higher productivity and conceptual ability.
If you are interested in mindfulness, I can help. In the meantime, it’s important to know that achieving a ‘being fully present’ state relies on both daily routines and techniques employed moment-to-moment. Mindfulness starts with being in touch with yourself, and expands to being aware of what is going on around you. The good news for skeptics and new-agers alike is that there are many techniques for achieving greater mindfulness. So, it’s relatively easy to get started with approaches to mindfulness that work for you.
Positive Thinking / Gratitude
Imagine if you always had someone you really care about criticizing everything you do. Imagine always being told that you are too fat, or too lazy, or not successful enough or not smart enough. Well, that is what most of us have to endure on a constant basis and the one doing the criticizing is our own selves. Science shows us the critical self-talk and negative thoughts affect our self-esteem and our performance. Indeed, our thoughts, beliefs and even our actions are closely linked. (There’s that mind, body, spirit connection again.) Successful thought patterns or positive thinking leads to successful results.
Positive thinking techniques include consuming positive messages, re-framing daily events, breaking free from self-limiting beliefs and avoiding giving others power over us. Gratitude is related to positive thinking — learning to appreciate the positive things in your life. Gratitude techniques include donating cheer, catching people doing something right, engaging in random acts of kindness and celebrating success. I started by saying, imagine being criticized all day, now imagine celebrating every daily achievement like athletes celebrate a goal. I expect, as it does for me, the latter sounds like a much more appealing world in which to live.
You know those wonderful times when you are performing a challenging task and everything just goes perfectly? Chances are it wasn’t just luck. We often describe it as ‘being in the zone’. Another way to think of it is mind, body, spirit being in perfect sync. Whether you are challenging a video game, climbing a mountain, playing an instrument or taking an exam, you probably felt hyper focused with a real confidence and coordination at the time. You likely performed the task smoothly without really thinking about. You may have even found that time past very quickly. Such moments are well documented and known as flow state.
For many, being in the groove is its own reward. (I don’t know about you, but anytime I can feel coordinated is a good thing.) However, such times are also highly productive. So, how can you get in the flow state more often? As a coach, I can help you with this, but here are three quick tips. First, make sure you have a clear goal for the task. Next, make sure you will have a clear understanding of when you are doing the task well. Finally, focus on tasks or elements of a larger task that are challenging, but doable. To stay in a flow state, remember to remove distractions that will interfere with completing the task. Also, focus on your overall progress and not minor setbacks. Practice these five steps and you will find tasks more rewarding and completed more successfully. So remember, to get ahead, just go with the flow.
Guided Imagery / Visualization
Guided Imagery or Visualization is a meditative technique used for stress management, emotional therapy and performance enhancement. It is a process of vividly imagining positive situations such as being on a beach or succeeding at a task. Despite the visual reference, guided imagery involves imagining stimulation of all senses such as touch and taste. Visualizations can be aided with actual stimulation of the senses such as with music. The goal is to tie in your entire mind, body, spirit. As I mentioned, visualization techniques are an important tool for elite athletes. In this context, it is sometimes referred to as mental rehearsal which helps explain its significance. Guided imagery is also an important tool in clinical psychotherapy.
While there is more detail to it, here is a quick getting-started overview of the guided imagery process. First, determine if you want to use it for relaxation or goal attainment. Then, make a few notes of what either a highly relaxing place would be or the process of achieving or having achieved your goal would be like. Take note of how all your senses would be engaged. Consider what you would be thinking and feeling. Find some quiet time. Gather anything, such as music, that will aid your thinking. Quiet your mind and imagine every aspect of your desired situation. Despite my vivid imagination, I am not yet a pro golfer, piano virtuoso or master chef, but these simple steps can help you be happier and more successful.
Manifesting Your Future
Manifesting is a process of positively internalizing and externalizing your goals. When you pro-actively engage in your goals, you are more likely to achieve them. For those spiritually inclined, manifesting relates closely to the Law of Attraction which forwards that the energy you put out into the universe is returned to you times over. For those that require a more tangible explanation, when you are in a positive frame of mind, you are more open to the possibilities around you. You are more likely to find and seize new opportunities. In a way, it’s like when someone goes through an extended period of being single, starts dating someone significant and then, is surrounded with new dating opportunities. When we are putting out the positive energy that a new romance generates, it attracts people to us.
The first step to making your desired future manifest is to be clear on the specifics of your dream life. Then, you have to make your goals and the steps to achieve them more tangible. For example, you can write your goals down, regularly say them aloud and keep a journal of your progress. You can use a vision board that shows your desired life through visual depictions and written affirmations. Bring in your entire mind, body, spirit. In keeping with the Law of Attraction, ask for help — both in a higher power / asking the universe way and of the people around you. Often, help comes from unexpected places, and the act of asking makes us more likely to help ourselves. Finally, remember the power of positive thinking and avoiding self-limiting thoughts and feelings. Of course, there is much more to achieving everything you want, and I can help. The key is to start the journey.
Meditation / Centering Techniques
Where do you do best thinking? Chances are it’s a time when you have some enforced alone time — like in the shower or while going for a jog. Of course, it shouldn’t be surprising that some of your best thinking comes when you are free from distraction. While I think it will be sometime before we start paying our bills in the shower, such quiet times are increasingly rare in today’s world. Meditation can help you carve out more time for quiet reflection. While meditation is a mind, body, spirit technique, it is also important as a means for taking time to centre yourself.
Meditation has a variety of techniques and goals. However, a commonality is a clearing of the mind and a calming of the body. While meditation has a connection to eastern religions and spiritual enlightenment, it is also a fairly basic relaxation technique. For example, when you deliberately focus on long, slow breathing, you bring your heart rate and blood pressure down and electrical activity in your brain changes.
Related to meditation are centering techniques. You may have seen one of these, chest thumping, used by Matthew McConaughey’s character in the movie ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ and in real life by the actor. In case you haven’t noticed, chest thumping is not ‘a thing’ because it is one way among many to centre yourself. McConaughey uses it as a visceral reminder to relax and get ‘out of his head’. Centering techniques can involve chanting, stretching, praying, yelling, cheering to name a few. The key is to use a physical manifestation to create a mental break and reset.
You don’t have to become a Hindu yogi to benefit from meditation and centering. You just have to take time out to connect your mind and body and let both relax.
Connecting Mind, Body, Spirit is a Journey
At the time of writing this post, I recently re-arranged my services to offer a special one-on-one coaching program for getting more connected and centred with your mind, body, spirit. When I re-read what we had put together, I literally said to a colleague of mine, that I would like to take that program and achieve its outcomes. That’s because the path to self-fulfillment is more of an ongoing journey rather than a destination. Whether you are all-in for these techniques or you feel you wouldn’t know where to begin, I can help you start the journey or continue along the way. You obviously care to have made it this far. So, take the next step.
Your journey awaits.