You will probably roll you’re eye’s when you read the solution I’m suggesting because… it’s so “old news” and maybe even promising things you think are a little bit hyped. SO! Before I say what I’m suggesting you try to mentally train yourself to be more present to the task you are on instead of the one you just left, I’m going to tell you the benefits I’ve experienced first!
- I learned to quiet my brain down to take an afternoon nap.
- Responding to stress, instead of reacting to it. Catching myself mid-freak-out-mode when stress has reached it’s peak and remind myself who I want to be instead of reacting.
- Take a break from a frustrating problem by taking my mind off of it, then resume back later with a clearer mind.
Yoga! That’s it! After taking a class once a week for a year or so, I had been trying to continue afternoon naps, post-pregnancy, but could no longer quiet my brain and relax enough to shut down for 10 minutes and get that “second morning”. I’ve never been a napper, except while pregnant, but had learned from someone I respect it’s the ticket to a more productive day. But as I laid on my couch thinking I couldn’t possibly fall asleep, it dawned on me that the end of class routine in yoga is exactly what I needed to quiet my mind and relax my body, and the skill I had already been practicing there. I’ve been able to shut down and get that second wind since I put that together. It’s a 5 minute mental practice that can make the world of difference in realizing how much control you can have by thinking different, to feel different.
This simple tool really does translate into a solution for tearing yourself away from the frustrating day at work to connect with your loved ones at home. I believe in the yoga world it’s called “Mindfulness”. Steven Covey writes about a similar concept in the 7 Habit’s of Effective People, comparing responding to a stimulus (someone or something you can’t control), as opposed to reacting to it. He says people who are response-able (get it?) have developed the mental strength to focus on their sphere of influence (what they can control), instead of being distracting by other people or things that are concerning,… but they can’t control! Sounds simple enough, but get our emotions involved and we can look back 5 minutes later on a stressful situation and list 10 different ways we could have responded better.
Yoga not only gives you physical work out that is so crucial to peace of mind, but a 5 minute, mental work out to practice choosing… our thoughts and our stress. Becoming aware of all the stress we hide in our neck and eye brows, and then practice releasing it, so it’s not driving all our decision making the rest of the day!
If you can’t imagine sneaking in a mid-day nap, here is an article from the author who persuaded me to make the effort to learn how. 5 Reasons Why You Should Take A Nap Everyday. It’s now a routine part of my day, and I notice the difference when I skip it.