As one of UK’s Top 10 Most Engaged Women on LinkedIn, I was invited to a Twitter chat organised by @LinkedInUK to discuss LinkedIn’s survey on work/life balance and whether “Women can have it all?”. It was good to see 74% of women saying “Yes” to that question in LinkedIn’s survey.
In our search for happiness we tend to think that “having it all” is the panacea for all of life’s challenges and will magically bring us eternal happiness. This places our focus on external factors that can bring us happiness when happiness is a state of mind and internal.
It turns out that the “secret” to happiness and “having it all” lies in effective management of emotions and expectations. So here are some tips for establishing and maintaining emotional balance:
Establish and maintain internal congruence
A lot of our frustrations and stress are the result of conflict between our emotions, expressions, and actions. So, realign what you say and do with what you feel. It may sound difficult at first, but you can begin at home and extend this to your social relationships and work. This doesn’t mean being confrontational or abrupt, it simply means recognising your ‘self’, individual needs, and emotions and expressing them in a gentle non-offensive manner.
Realign your goals and objectives
Aiming for the impossible is not an act of courage, it simply sets you up for failure and frustration. So re-examine your goals and restate them so they are compatible with your personality and individual needs and preferences as well as your circumstances and resources. Remember you can get to the top of the ladder by climbing one step at a time.
Good and bad mood are contagious and self-reinforcing so you can influence your environment and your workgroup. Therefore, establish positive patterns of behaviour to generate positive emotions. You can easily develop many simple habits to surround yourself with positivity and to lighten up your day/mood. For instance, take 2 minutes a day to send an email to share a positive thought or to praise a colleague or someone in your team/organisation, and make it a habit to smile, it is contagious.
Practice mindfulness and meditate
In the rush of everyday life, we often juggle multiple demands and have to adapt and multitask. However, research suggests that a multitasking brain has a harder time falling asleep, and has less energy, and experiences more stress. So take time to relax your mind as often as you can, by refocusing on a single thing. For instance, take 2 minutes to practice deep breathing and focus on your breathing as you inhale and exhale. This slows your heartbeat, relaxes your brain, and reduces anxiety.
Expand your social capital and healthy relationships
Social capital and healthy relationships are a source of happiness and longevity. Therefore, strengthen your social network and build positive relationships. Networks such as LinkedIn can help develop and maintain your professional relationships and help enhance your social capital and career success.
Although, a focus on “success” may not bring us happiness, happiness can lead to success via positive emotions.
Here are some more suggestions from the chat: