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Clinical psychologist Dr Sarah Anticich has some advice for getting off life's treadmill one step at a time.
In our fast-paced lives filled with constant demands, many of us find ourselves overwhelmed. Clinical psychologist Dr Sarah Anticich offers a refreshing perspective, advocating for the power of taking small, intentional steps that can momentarily lift us off the treadmill of daily life.
Rooted in the principles of wellbeing science, positive psychology and growth mindset, this approach forms the foundation of Grow Daily, a Christchurch practice dedicated to the transformative potential of these "intentional daily habits" – small, manageable actions that can be seamlessly integrated into our routines to cultivate healthy practices that significantly improve overall wellbeing.
At the heart of this behaviour change system are microsteps, which have the potential to help individuals and organisations build resilience, strengthen connections and enhance performance. These microsteps align with Grow Daily's four pillars of wellbeing: Action (eat, sleep, move), Attention (focus, mindfulness), Reflection (think, feel) and Connection.
The beauty of daily microsteps lies in the simplicity and minimal time commitment. Yet the rewards are vast and far-reaching. By consistently practising these small actions, you can experience improvements in various aspects of your life, including wellbeing, resilience, focus, relationships, and a heightened sense of purpose.
Let's delve into some of these 30-second microsteps:
Start your day with 30 seconds of sunshine bliss. Upon waking, dedicate 30 seconds to basking in natural sunlight. This simple act signals your body's internal clock and boosts mood-regulating hormones.
Relax and recharge in 30 seconds
Spend half a minute focusing your eyes on distant objects to relax your gaze and activate your body's rest and digest system. This act can reduce stress and enhance focus.
Take 30 seconds to immerse yourself fully in a sensory experience, such as feeling the texture of an object or savouring the taste of a small piece of dark chocolate.
Break up sedentary periods by taking a 30-second walk around your workspace or home. It's a quick energy boost.
Pay attention to your breath and intentionally make your out-breath longer than your in-breath. This practice can slow your heart rate and promote relaxation.
These microsteps extend to various areas of life, each offering a simple but effective strategy for improvement: Sleep smart
30 minutes to better rest – set a specific time to turn off devices at night and keep them out of your bedroom. Set an alarm 30 minutes before bedtime to remind you to start winding down. Turn off overhead lights and turn on lamps to cue your visual system that it is time to wind down.
Block into your day periods of 2 – 5 minutes of nothing. Allow your mind to wander and rest.
You might wonder why these habits seem so straightforward. That's precisely the point. Each tiny actionable step serves as a building block for greater confidence and optimism, acting as a motivating force for the next step in your journey. Scientific research tells us that it's precisely these incremental mindset and behavioural shifts, when repeated consistently, that enable us to form habits.
Over time, these habits can lead to significant and meaningful improvements in individual wellbeing. Incorporating these 30-second microsteps and other intentional habits from Grow Daily can lead to significant positive changes in your daily life, promoting a holistic sense of wellbeing and productivity.
Embrace the power of microsteps, and watch as these small actions accumulate into substantial transformations in your life.