Heartfulness is a concept that I talk about in the context of recovery, the fourth stage in the Agile Business Athlete™ methodology. The idea is that as part of our recovery schedule, which may include sleep, eating well, staying hydrated, thinning out our schedule, playing, laughing and so forth, we make time for things we love to do or for causes that are bigger than us.
What is Heartfulness
For many busy professionals, the convergent pressures of work and home can often mean that you have little (if any) time to do things you love or enjoy. This might include sport, exercise, hobbies, interests and so on. One aspect of Heartfulness is about reconnecting with those things and finding 5 or 10 minutes in your day to pick up that guitar, practice a language, read a book or be in the garden. It doesn’t need to be a long time, but it will make you feel better, more balanced and just a little bit more connected if you can make time for this.
For me, deciding to get seriously back into guitar has made a huge difference to my daily life. I have a guitar in the office as well as at home, and I’ll regularly take 5 minute breaks during my working day to play a bit. Not only is this relaxing, takes me away from my laptop and is a good use of a mini-break, but the practice also adds up – 5 mins every few hours can equate to 15-20 minutes every day. I’ve recently bought a banjo and am learning to play that – literally a childhood dream! – and that’s a great example of Heartfulness.
Being part of something bigger than you
Another aspect of Heartfulness is almost the exact opposite; it’s about getting ‘out of self’ and being part of something that’s bigger than you. Examples of this for me are twofold: I volunteer my time for a charity called Diversity Role Models. We go into schools to run workshops aimed at combatting homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying. It’s quite intense, but very rewarding and energising, especially when we read the feedback and see the impact our work has had.
I also fundraise for the Alzheimer’s Research and Alzheimer’s Society charities because my late father-in-law passed away of Alzheimer’s-related causes. We take on big challenges (like the world’s toughest ski race, the Arctic Circle Race in 2019) and have raised over £11,000 for the charities so far.
What does this mean for you?
Doing things like this can take you out of your own head; in other words, they are distracting, and divert your attention to something else, which can be a comfort and provide you with some escapism from your own problems. You might not share my love of guitar, but I’m sure there will be something that you used to love doing that you can reprise, even for just a few minutes a day. What is that thing? Perhaps those charities don’t mean as much to you, but there may be community events or causes you could get involved in.
The main thing is to take action. Find something easy to get involved in and dedicate a few minutes a day to it. I strongly suspect you won’t regret it!