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Brain Circuits

Three simple exercises to help create the conditions to thrive

IbyIMD+ Published 4 January 2022 in Brain Circuits • 2 min read

As we strive to become better managers, better leaders, and better people in increasingly uncertain circumstances, we may overlook some of the simplest things that we can do to improve our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

Stop working

That’s it. Take a break, take a nap, get enough sleep, make sure there is time in each day for the things you enjoy that don’t involve work. Leaders must set this example for everyone else in the company. Getting enough sleep is one of the healthiest habits you can establish.

Elite athletes are not constantly training. They understand the necessity of rest and recovery for high performance. It’s time for business leaders to recognize this is vital for their people and companies to thrive as well.

Connect with your body

Stand up (do it now). Take four deep breaths. Spend just a few minutes stretching then take a few more deep breaths. This is a small thing that can make a massive difference. Try this several times a day at work and at home.

Reflect on what you eat and drink. Attune to what your body needs; you would never dream of putting the wrong fuel into your car, yet our bodies have to last much longer than any automobile. Break unhealthy dietary habits by substituting healthy ones instead.

Share everyday passions

Capture things that make you happy. Reflect on your everyday passions – what gives you energy? This can be enjoying a cup of tea or coffee, walking your dog, cooking a meal, hiking, playing with your kids, communing with nature, reading a book, watching a movie… Whatever it is you enjoy, write it down.

Share this with your team and encourage them to share their everyday passions too. Seek out, appreciate, and share the magic in the mundane.

Good health and wellbeing are critical for both people and the planet. The world is changing and it’s time to adapt to more sustainable ways of leading people and conducting business. Leaders must have the courage to create a “secure base space” that stimulates a play to thrive mindset.  


Susan Goldsworthy

Susan Goldsworthy

Affiliate Professor of Leadership, Communications and Organizational Change at IMD

Susan Goldsworthy OLY is an Affiliate Professor of Leadership, Communications and Organizational Change at IMD. Co-author of three award-winning books, she is also an Olympic swimmer. She is a highly qualified executive coach and is trained in numerous psychometric assessments. She is Director of the IMD Executive Coaching Certificate.


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