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Are You Thriving Or Merely Surviving?

Life Balance

MJ Ryan 200x250
M.J. Ryan, Author




By M.J. Ryan

Are you ending each evening just happy to have made it through another day? It doesn't have to be that way. In the last decade, there has been an explosion of research on what helps people thrive, even in difficult times.  This quiz gives you a chance to gauge how well you are supporting your own wellbeing – and what you can do to feel (and live) even better. Tell yourself the truth!

1. I do 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day
1 Rarely
2 Sometimes
3 Frequently

2. I stop and notice what’s right in my life
1 Rarely
2 Sometimes
3 Frequently

3. I make mistakes and acknowledge them freely
1 Rarely
2 Sometimes
3 Frequently

4. I meditate 8-10 minutes per day
1 Rarely
2 Sometimes
3 Frequently

5. When things don’t go my way, I search for what I can control in the situation

1 Rarely
2 Sometimes
3 Frequently

6. When I encounter a personal or professional challenge, I see it as an opportunity to grow

1 Rarely
2 Sometimes
3 Frequently

7. I have friends who I spend time with that I truly enjoy
1 Rarely
2 Sometimes
3 Frequently

8. I feel like my life has a higher purpose

1 Rarely
2 Sometimes
3 Frequently

9. I have the chance to use my gifts and talents daily
1 Rarely
2 Sometimes
3 Frequently

10. I engage in passionate interests and time disappears
1 Rarely
2 Sometimes
3 Frequently

Scoring
Ideally you have answered "frequently" to each of these statements. Read below to discover the importance of each factor to living a vibrant, happy life.  (I’ve even included references if you want to work on those that you scored as “rarely” or “sometimes.”)

1. Aerobics has been shown to promote brain health as well as keep our bodies healthy.  And brand-new research shows that 30 minutes is an extremely effective antidepressant. For more on brain health and discoveries, look at Daniel Amen’s website www.amenclinics.com

2. Gratitude research is hot! It’s been shown to increase life satisfaction and energy, and improve health and sleep. Check out Robert Emmons' book Thanks.

3. People who admit mistakes are more likely to fulfill their potential and experience greater success. Stanford researcher Carol Dweck’s book Mindset describes this.

4. UCLA Mindfulness Institute and others has discovered that in as little as 8-10 minutes a day, meditation can increase focus and concentration, and improve sleep and mood. If you want a deep dive in what meditation can do for you, read Daniel Siegel’s book The Mindful Brain.

5-8. After analyzing over 400 studies, resiliency experts Suzanne Kobasa and Salvatore Maddi found that those who thrive in difficulty display 3 Cs:

  • Challenge: They saw whatever change befell them as a chance to grow and learn, and expressed optimism about the future.
  • Control: They believed they could influence their lives and the events around them for the better, and took actions to make that true. They embodied the Serenity Prayer used at AA and other 12-step programs: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
  • Commitment: They were passionate about life and saw it as having a deeper meaning than just survival. They stayed connected to people and events even when times got hard.

9. Research on two million people by the Gallup organization has revealed that when we have a chance to use our strengths every day, we create excellence and feel fulfilled. Gallup’s bestseller Now Discover Your Strengths is focused on business, but you can use your talents in any circumstance.

10. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's research has revealed that what makes an experience truly satisfying is a state called flow in which time disappears and you have a sense that all of yourself is involved. His book Flow describes this state in detail -- why it helps us thrive and how to achieve it more often.

MJ Ryan is the author of THIS YEAR I WILL, How to Finally Change a Habit, Keep a Resolution or Make a Dream Come True and ADAPTABILITY: How to Survive Change You Didn’t Ask For and many other books. A member of Professional Thinking Partners, she works with individuals and teams around the world. Visit her website at www.mj-ryan.com.


More from M.J. Ryan:

Learn to Be a Master of Change

Make Resolutions That Stick

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