If you’re like me, you need to live in a city with a pulse. Unfortunately, that pulse too often comes at the cost of high blood pressure. I’m sometimes overwhelmed by New York City’s seemingly endless options of love, careers, and even Thai take out. Many of my friends exist on a permanent adrenaline rush. They run around, make connections, and check off to-do lists without any sense of fulfillment. The harried “I’m on the go” look isn’t so cute, either.
We all want to be successful, but true success can’t happen without inner peace and focus. Try out the following techniques to jump-start some mental and emotional togetherness. If you master these techniques, blissed-out energy flows are sure to reach you through even through cemented sidewalks and stiletto heels.
1. Put You First
If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be an ounce of good to anyone else. In the big picture, therefore, it’s not selfish to put yourself first: It’s mandatory. Fill your cup so it can spill over by incorporating an hour of “You Time” every day. It doesn’t matter if you spend that hour reading, writing, people-watching out the window of a café, or getting a manicure. And try putting your own well-being before your boss, partner or family member. Remember: When you’re happy, they will be happier.
2. Start Your Day with Stillness
Sit still for a 10- to 20-minute meditation every day before leaving your home. It sounds tougher to schedule than it is! When the dust settles in your head, everything you do will seem clearer and smart decisions will come more easily. I get a natural high after 20 minutes of meditation that beats any martini or tag sale. Stillness tunes you into who you really are-not who you think you are. If you absolutely can’t sit still, throw on a soothing meditation CD or join a class to lead you to silent mental bliss.
3. Go Inward
You can find satisfaction in things, places or activities for all of three minutes before you find yourself chasing the next thing for another fix. I used to run around thinking if I focused on certain hobbies or went to the right events, I would be happier. Find that high or satisfaction with yourself first: It’s more lasting and genuine. Doing yoga and mediation helps me with this daily.
4. Check Your Community
We all have friends, but some may cause more chaos than peace in your already-busy days. Make a list of the people in your life and determine who drains your good vibes, and who adds to your well-being. The saying “You are the company you keep” is right on. Cool it with your unsupportive friends and those erring toward the dramatic. You’ll see a major shift toward peace in the city.
5. Do One Thing at a Time
This might be the toughest task to tackle. Each morning, I force myself to make a list of my three biggest goals. I work on each individually throughout the day. The key is to be conscious and focus on each goal separately before checking it off your list and moving on.
6. Let Go
Get the “shoulds” out of your vocabulary and accept and love where you are in life now. Fretting over how much harder you should be working, or how much more you should be going out, or how long you should have already been married is unproductive and damaging. Pressure, worry and negativity only keep you stuck. Be patient and accepting of where you are in life-you’re there for a reason, if not a lesson.
7. Stop Complaining
Many city-goers are cynics who proudly complain about everything. It may have been funny on Seinfeld, but it’s not so helpful in your life. Whatever you pay attention to, grows. So if you’re bemoaning crowded trains, a lack of dates, and an annoying boss, you’ll just get more that in your life. Try putting together a “gratitude list” each morning of 10 things you love about your life. E-mail it to friends, or keep the list in a notebook. You’ll notice it grows quickly.
It’s not easy living in a city’s hussle-and-bustle; but don’t let that dictate the world you live in. Relax and enjoy your time in the city. It’s fast, fleeting, and worth every skip, hop and breathe.