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How To Be The Best Version Of You

Counselling psychologist Dr Vassiliki Simoglou of Thrive Wellbeing Centre shares tips on staying motivated, maintaining a healthy work-life balance, prioritisation and increasing self-love.

How can one thrive in their personal and work life simultaneously?

Striking that work-life balance can be different from one person to another; even with a specific person, it is rarely represented by a fixed percentage of time devoted to work versus time devoted to personal life. Rather it is a constant reassessment of what is important for the individual, what requires their attention, and prioritising accordingly, finding a balance between duties and pleasure.

What is one way we can channel our inner strengths when feeling down?

Meditation and deep breathing can be very powerful tools in channelling our inner strength. Combined with a gratitude journal or a daily gratitude exercise, they can allow a person to shift their emotional reaction and become more aware of what it is that works well in their lives.

How can one maintain a positive mindset amidst unpleasant external circumstances?

By focusing on one’s accomplishments, on what we are proud of in our lives, by embracing the challenges and finding meaning in navigating through them, we can stay positive even when things are negative around us. Staying positive also invites us to recalibrate our values based on our desires - what matters the most for us, what drives us in life, and not on our so-perceived needs. Through a crisis, differentiating between a person’s needs and their desires can become a liberating experience.

Psychologist Dr Vassiliki Simoglou. Courtesy of Thrive Wellbeing Centre by Dr. Sarah Rasmi

Your advice on increasing self-love?

Increasing self-care and self-esteem can be two good ways to start. Self-care is a consistent effort to cater for one’s own emotional, physical, social and spiritual wellbeing, and is very different from self-indulgence that can become like a bottomless pit: one might be feeding it, still it craves for more. Increasing self-esteem can translate in becoming more assertive, less defensive, more in tune with one’s inner worth.

What is the most efficient way to overcome negativity and stay motivated in life?

We can overcome negativity when we see life as a journey: obstacles along the way do not define the whole journey, they are pitstops for reflection and reassessment of goals. We can stay motivated when we aim for internal rather than external motivation: internal motivation, for example achieving a goal for one’s self, is more sustainable and more meaningful than external motivation, for instance, purchasing a material reward. Motivation does not come in a big block that pushes us to achieve our goals all at once. It rather is the strength that comes from taking one small step that can bring us closer to a specific goal.

Anything else to remember?

As Jacques Lacan, the famous French psychoanalyst, pointed out: “The only thing one can possibly be guilty of, is to give up on their desire.” Not giving up on one’s desire, that’s the ethics of psychoanalysis, as a process through which a person becomes able to articulate their desire and live by it. How do we access this desire? By loving, working and playing, experimenting and failing, that’s how the desire is sketched out. thrive.ae

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