The follow is an excerpt from “Aha Moments,” a free financial marketing ebook. I really felt it was needed THIS week, more than most.
While speaking at conferences and traveling to see clients, I’m on a lot of planes. So much so that, like many frequent travelers, I’ve learned to tune out the “safety dance” performed by the flight crew as we taxi to our designated launching-off point.
But, it was recently called to my attention that one verse of the safety dance has immeasurable importance that reaches far beyond the jet way of the flying tin can …
“Secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others.”
If you want to be a better parent, spouse, employee or manager, you have to first take care of yourself.
If you want to be a better marketer, you must understand what makes people tick. That’s why I love psychology, and that is the motivation to this article: to help make you a better parent, spouse, employee, manager, marketer, whatever.
An article written by Roger Walsh and published in American Psychologist in January, 2011, titled, “Lifestyle and Mental Health,” focuses on how certain lifestyle changes can have a great, therapeutic, impact on your health. These are Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLCs).
Aside from the obvious physical benefits of lower blood pressure, managed weight, and even a reduced risk of diabetes and cancer, exercise offers therapeutic mental benefits. It lowers depression, helps with addiction and can decrease age-related cognitive decline. In short, exercise is the Fountain of Youth.
Nutrition & Diet
You know the phrase, “garbage in, garbage out?” Well, it relates to your body too. The TLC’s here include eating a “rainbow diet” of colorful fruits and veggies; include fish in your diet and manage calories. Studies show that this has an effect on mental and academic performance … it makes you smarter! It also helps fight certain diseases.
We need sunlight as much as plants do. Yet, we spend much of our time trapped inside artificial environments under florescent light.
This experiment will cost you nothing. Go for a walk in the woods. You’ll find you feel better, sleep better, are more at peace and likely will have some amazing ideas that would have never made it past the clutter of cell phone buzzing, phone ringing, light humming and traffic squealing. I find my best ideas (for family, work, whatever) come from long runs in the woods.
I can’t say it better than the article, “Good relationships are associated with enhanced happiness, quality of life, resilience, cognitive capacity, and perhaps even wisdom.”
We are pack animals. We hold each other up and make each other stronger. The phrase, “There’s strength in numbers,” is not just physical, but emotional strength too.
No, this DOES NOT mean you need a lot of Facebook “friends.” You need tight, dependable, caring REAL friends.
“Social media is to being social what reality TV is to reality.”
Recreation & Enjoyable Activities
“All work and no play…” You gotta have fun! Having fun makes you happy, and being happy is healthy. It’s common sense and proven in studies. Take time for yourself and “smell the roses.”
Relaxation & Stress Management
Stress kills. It affects us physiologically, chemically and psychologically. There’s enough everyday stress in our lives. What we need to manage is the undue stress we put on ourselves.
“I have to look like that model in the magazine or I’m not good enough.”
“I have to meet this irrelevant deadline.”
“I need a better car.”
“If I don’t get that new iPhone, I’ll just die!”
Some meditate, or use yoga or go running. All of which are great, but realigning your priorities and being realistic, to me, is the best first step.
Religion & Spiritual Involvement
Roughly 90% of the world’s population engages in a spiritual practice. It helps relieve stress and certainly helps with adding meaningful relationships (see above). But the cool thing is a study shows that people who attend religious services at least weekly tend to live about seven years longer than those who don’t.
Put in my terms: Those who have the most faith in a positive afterlife are those who take the longest to get to it!
Contribution & Service
Again, straight from the article: “The world’s major spiritual traditions emphasize that, when viewed correctly, service is not necessarily a sacrifice but rather can foster qualities that serve the giver – such as happiness, mental health, and spiritual maturity. Altruism is said to reduce unhealthy mental qualities such as greed, jealousy, and egocentricity while enhancing healthy qualities such as love, joy, and generosity (Hopkins, 2001; Walsh, 1999).”
When you do something nice for others you, in turn, feel better. Take time to volunteer, or just remember to do random acts of kindness from day to day. At the very least, be civil to each other!
Do you offer incentives for your staff to volunteer in the community on your bank or credit union’s behalf?
Put your own oxygen mask on first:
How can these Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes help you?
Then assist others:
I write every article with the intent that you’ll find it soooo enlightening, you’ll want to share it with others. But, this article is different; it’s not just meaningful for marketing or helping your institution grow … it’s meaningful for life. I hope that you’ll share this – not simply with your professional network, but your personal one too. I hope you’ll use this information in newsletters and emails to your customers and share it with your employees and Board.
By focusing on small TLCs we can live happier lives, become more optimistic, live healthier, and potentially live longer.
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