Well-being Part 5 – What are you grateful for?

In part 5 of our well-being series, we are going to look at another one of Stephen Covey’s habits; sharpening the saw.

What do we mean by sharpening the saw?
Sharpening the saw is habit 7 from Stephen Covey‘s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Covey begins his chapter on habit 7 with a story:
Suppose you were to come upon someone in the woods working feverishly to saw down a tree.
“What are you doing?” you ask.
“Can’t you see?” comes the impatient reply. “I’m sawing down this tree.”
“You look exhausted!” you exclaim. “How long have you been at it?”
“Over five hours,” he returns, “and I’m beat! This is hard work.”
“Well, why don’t you take a break for a few minutes and sharpen that saw?” you inquire. “I’m sure it would go a lot faster.”
“I don’t have time to sharpen the saw,” the man says emphatically. “I’m too busy sawing!”

Sharpening the Saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have… you. It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual.

“We must never become too busy sawing, to take time to sharpen the saw.” Dr. Stephen R. Covey

There are a number of activities you do to help you sharpen the saw in the four areas of your life:

  • Physical – Eating healthily, exercising and resting.
  • Social/Emotional – Making social and meaningful connections with others, finding your meaning or purpose, making a difference and being part of something.
  • Spiritual – Spending time in nature, expanding your spiritual self through meditation and mindfulness, practising your core values/beliefs and finding a sense of self.
  • Mental – Reading, learning, writing, listening to podcasts, reflection and journaling.

This week’s well-being top tip… What are you grateful for?
Gratitude can change your life because it makes you appreciate what you have, rather than focus on what you don’t have. Here are some gratitude exercises you can try:

  1. As soon as you wake up create a mental list of 10 things you are grateful for. Starting the day with gratitude as you wake up sets a positive tone for the rest of the day.
  2. Keep a daily gratitude journal. Journaling allows you to take more time to think, so try to be more specific about what you are grateful for.
  3. Practice the What-Went-Well exercise. At the end of every day reflect on 3 things that went well and think about why.
  4. Write a gratitude letter. Think of someone who did something for you which you are extremely grateful for, describe in specific terms what they did, why you are grateful to them and what impact this had on your life.

Benefits of this activity:
The key idea is to celebrate and be grateful for the good that is already in our life. In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps you feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve your health, deal with adversity, and build stronger and more meaningful relationships.

Let us know if you try this tip and what benefits it had on you!

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