Do you find you think yourself out of action?
Are you paralyzed by decision?
Would of, could of, should of – sound familiar? – Spending hours thinking about how things could have been different…….
All symptoms of a classic over-thinker.
But, it’s hardly surprising when we live in a world crammed full of overwhelming choices.
Self examination and self awareness is healthy, and should be encouraged, whilst ruminating or obsessing over a problem can be detrimental to our health, both physically and mentally.
When Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living,” he wanted us to challenge our beliefs and take the time to examine and reflect upon our lives. However spending hours creating a distorted reality in our minds is counter-productive.
Luckily there are ways to help……
Create A Calm Workspace
Make sure your desk is neat and tidy and that you have easy access to everything you need. Adding personal touches such as family photos or mementoes can be inspirational, reminding you why you are working so hard.
Daily Organization / List Making
Trying to remember a thousand things to do in your head is just setting yourself up for disaster – write them down! It’s amazing how the simple act of making a daily to do list can help you achieve clarity.
Once you can see exactly what you need to do laid out in front of you, you can take a methodical approach of organizing your day based on the importance of the tasks written down. Break your day up into manageable tasks, something you can tick of the list and feel a sense of achievement having accomplished it. This way you focus on what is important right now, not on pressure of all the the things you have left to do.
Turn Off The Screen
I regularly spend 16 hours a day at work, 99% of it involves a screen. Bombarding our brains with electronic devices hour after hour impacts our eyes, thoughts and sleep. Take time after work to clear your mind of all this excessive stimulation.
I love to get outside with the dogs, reconnecting with nature instantly makes me feel less stressed and gives me the ability to calmly evaluate my day, or whatever has been worrying me. Reading a book is another great way to unwind, I like to read business based books but find they spark my imagination more, so to relax I choose a good thriller I can get lost in.
Practicing altruism is great for the soul! Spending time assisting and listening to others can help us to reflect on our own problems and put them into prospective. It can be something as simple as REALLY paying attention to your family and friends, and REALLY listening to their thoughts and needs (rather than the usual nod and back to Facebook). Or maybe volunteer at your local soup kitchen, help your elderly neighbor with her groceries or run for local council, they all can have a profound effect. Once you get into the habit of thinking of others your problems will stop consuming you and your mind will achieve a happier balance.
Exercise is essential for maintaining mental fitness. It can reduce stress and fatigue whilst improving concentration, alertness and cognitive function. If you find yourself sat at your desk frustrated and unable to progress, take a break.
Just a ten minute walk can clear the cobwebs and alleviate tension and anxiety. For optimum benefits try to incorporate some kind of exercise into your weekly routine, as regular participation will elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and self-esteem.
Learn to clear your mind of the days clutter and focus on what is truly important. Take 5 minute breaks throughout the day and visualize a situation or place you find relaxing. For a lot of you this could be a beach or forrest, take your imagination on a journey using as many of your senses as possible: sights, smells, sounds and touch.
Another way to mediate is using a mantra, this can be any word or phrase you find calming or inspiring. Repeat the mantra over and over blocking out distracting thoughts.
Writing a journal everyday for some will be a pleasure, for others it may seem a chore. However, I can assure you it’s worth getting into the habit of it. Spend 20 minutes at the end of the day writing, and not on a computer, use a real pen and paper! Just write down everything that comes into your mind, quickly with no censorship. Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation or presentation as this is just for you to keep private.
Writing helps to free the mind from blocks and allows you to connect with your internal thoughts and emotions. Once you have it all down on paper read back what you have written, you maybe surprised to find that you have purged yourself of the negative feelings that you had when you started writing.
Have Some Fun!
As children we are filled with uninhibited curiosity, we find joy in the smallest discovery. As adults we look at the world from a completely different vantage, bogged down with work commitments, financial worries and so much negative influence that we forget life is for living.
Releasing control for a short while can have enormous restorative effect on mental health. Do something you wouldn’t usually do, go on a roller coaster, see a scary movie, bungee jump, climb a mountain! It isn’t important what it is, what is important is how it makes you feel.
Recently I went on a trampoline with the kids, something I hadn’t done in years. WOW I’d forgotten what that rush of adrenaline feels like from doing something like that. I’d been having a bad morning when suddenly there I was laughing and enjoying myself like I hadn’t a care in the world. I had an awesome time and for the rest of the day I felt enthusiastic and more carefree. Obviously my problems were still the same but my attitude and my approach to them were altered.
Remember life is not a rehearsal, and it goes in the blink of an eye. So squeeze every last drop out of it, through business, through family, through care free enjoyment….. through living.
To your successful online adventure,