Lately I have been thinking about the extent to which our mental and physical wellbeing impacts on our ability to communicate effectively.
By examining our behaviours and making positive changes we could unlock our hidden potential to become better communicators in both our personal and professional lives.
To illustrate the point; if someones asks me about the European Elections at 7 am in the morning my response is likely to be something along the lines of “I don’t know, it’s too early”. Where as if you were to ask me at 4 pm I am much more likely to be keen to have a discussion and communicate why we should be voting for the Greens or the Animal Welfare Party and making sure we keep UKIP out of power.
The act of making sure we are physically and mentally at our best during the day is difficult. We are constantly faced with challenges which test our ability to maintain composure and articulate our thoughts in the clearest way possible.
The enemies of clarity of communication in our daily lives are primarily; stress, hunger, tiredness and lack of interest in the task at hand.
So how do we go about tackling these problems to ensure we present our ideas in the best way possible throughout the day?
Below I have outlined some tactics that I employ to give myself the best possible chance of maintaining clarity of thought to communicate effectively.
1) Sleep: I try to ensure I sleep for between 7 and 8 hours a night. As someone who hasn’t always found sleeping the easiest thing this was challenging at first. Tactics I employ to help me sleep include regular exercise, reading for 30 minutes before trying to sleep, consuming very little caffeine throughout the day and stopping work by 9 pm.
2) Regular exercise: 14 months ago I started running on consistent basis. I can honestly say it has changed my life for the better. Running gives me time to reflect on what’s going on in my life professional and personally. It has enabled me to make loads of new amazing friends and it definitely helps with getting that 7 to 8 hours sleep a night my body craves.
3) Eating a healthy vegan diet: I really believe the saying; “You are what you eat”. Eating a healthy low-fat, high carbohydrate vegan diet rich in fruits and vegetables has had a transformational impact on me. I have the best energy levels of my life and love the fact that my diet reflects my personal values.
4) Reducing caffeine: Since November I haven’t had a cup of full strength coffee, I may have the occasional decaf when in social situations. I prefer to just stick to herbal teas nowadays. Since dramatically reducing my consumption of caffeine I have found to have more energy and mental clarity. I know this sounds counter intuitive but if we think about it. Caffeine is a stimulant which perks us up once the high has worn off brings us down, we are like yo-yo’s battling highs and lows throughout the day. Ditching a caffeine addiction for more consistent mood without the highs and lows for me enabled a much greater participation in the world around me.
5) Water: Most of us walk around chronically dehydrated. When decided to ditch my coffee habit I started to up my consumption of water. This has transformed my life, I have improved concentration, digestion and energy levels. Before breakfast I like to drink 750ml of water. This is a habit I repeat before most meals during the day. Sure this means I have to take a few extra toilet breaks but I am much better equipped to function with clarity and purpose.
6) Stress: Now this one is tricky. I admit as someone who is self employed and socially conscious I have a tendency to take a lot on my shoulders. Running, swimming and cycling, help me work through stress issues. Another tactic I like to employ is to reflect on whether what I am stressing over is something that is in my control. Most of the time the answer is no or not today, reflecting on that helps me to stop dwelling and live in the present.
7) Do something you love: Life is too short to do something you don’t enjoy. Listening to the Rich Roll podcast today, I heard a great quote my Rich’s wife Julie. She said something along the lines of “It’s no good doing something you don’t enjoy today thinking well thats ok because I will be doing something I enjoy in 5 years time; because you never know what is going to happen a lot can change and you may not even be here in 5 years time.” I was running when I heard this and thought yeah that is so true, live in the now try and create the best possible experiences for yourself.
8) Never go hungry: I eat over 3000 calories a day. I run between 15-40 miles a week depending on what I am training for. I swim now a few times a week (not very well) and I cycle mainly as a commute. I ensure I never go hungry, I don’t skip meals, I never calorie restrict. I just eat plant based non processed foods. Since going vegan 11 months ago from vegetarian before I have lost 8kg in weight and I am the fittest version of myself possibly ever. Your body wants natural sugars to enable it to function to the best of its ability. By eating healthy foods in abundance I feel it enables me to fully participate in life and be a better friend and communicator.
I would love to hear what habits you integrate into your daily practice. I am by no means a nutrition or health care professional but these are things that work for me in my life. What works for you may well be different but its good to share our personal successes to attempt to enable us all to become the best version of ourselves.
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