This is so typical in our over-stimulated and over-worked lives:
We wake up to a loud and rude alarm tone. We gulp down scalding coffee, jump in the shower, rush to work in the car and find ourselves stuck on the interstate that has quickly become a parking lot. As we sit behind the steering wheel, we drum our fingers, we fiddle with the radio, trying to find music or news. We think of the things we need to do for the day which involves tasks for both home and work.
While at work, there are a million little details that require our attention:
Incoming email to sift through.
There are chat messages, instant messages and short messages to reply to.
There are meetings to attend, documents to sign and projects to conceptualize.
There are letters to write and people to talk to.
Our head is in a whirl and our mind is about as cluttered as our office desk. We wince, but plod on.
To top it off, there is the irate client and the equally irate boss.
There is a co-worker who dumps extra work on us and a clerk who is trying to shirk off work.
There is a whiny toddler, a critical teenager and a needy spouse.
And then there is the guy who cuts us off on the highway or steals our parking spot.
In the meantime, we need to figure out what to have for lunch. We live and face so many demands everyday that our stomach acids are constantly churning from skipping meals or overeating and our hearts are about to beat out of our chests. We grit our teeth and mutter under out breath, as we remember that dinner needs to be prepared when we get home, but we go on.
The checkbook has to be balanced and the mortgage has to be paid.
Our neck is stiff, our shoulders ache, our back feels sore and our mind is a jumbled mess.
Still, we go on.
Sensory overload and chronic stress have been known to weaken the immune system, disrupt sleep and cloud our judgment. We become anxious, jittery, irritable and accident prone. And we wonder why we are miserable. We lead lives that are far too complicated and we wonder why we don’t even have time and space to think.
And, don’t forget that all the anxiety, stress and the emotions that stem from that diminish our abilities to deal with life on a daily basis, causing more chaos, and more feelings of being overwhelmed.
10 Ways To Restore Calm, Focus And Clarity
1. Breathe deeply to regulate the heart beat and the blood flow and to help you connect to your “center”.
2. Stop and look up from our computer screen. Look out the window and gaze at the treetops and the sky. Or even better, get up from your desk and go for a short walk. The time away from your computer will give you a reboot.
3. Take a minute to drink some water. Don’t gulp it down…drink it slowly.
4. Turn down the blinds, turn off the lights, close the office door and enjoy some dark quiet.
5. Electronic gadgets often set the pace of our lives. Turn off the TV, hibernate the computer and put the cell phone on silent mode. Take some time to be still and NOT think.
6. Meditation works for many to calm the mind and create an inner peace needed to deal with busy lives. One can meditate for 10 minutes and restore balance to the mind that brings clarity and focus. Once again, the breathing and stillness that is part of meditation is essential to restoring clarity and alleviating stress. Guided meditation can be a lifesaver and can be used during a lunch break to detach from the world and find solace in a beautiful place that is stress free, again, diverting the mind’s attention to a better place, which removes the chaos for a while. You can find several guided meditations in my FREE 5-week online course.
7. Take a walk to clear your mind. Get outside and take a quick walk around the block - leave it all behind for a few minutes.
8. Sleep! Sleep is essential to provide the proper rest for the mind and the body. Are you getting enough sleep? 8 hours nightly is ideal. If you have trouble sleeping, try meditation to calm the mind.
9. Vigorous physical exercise (like climbing the stairs instead of taking the elevator) often de-clutters the mind.
10. When attempting to find solutions or make decisions or choose between conflicting ideas, we have to learn to label feelings and thoughts, list down priorities and sort through thoughts as one would sort out a sock drawer: we dump all the socks on the bed and arrange the socks in piles (whites and darks or sports socks and dress socks). Then attempt to find the pairs and bring them together. Those socks without pairs, we put in a garbage bag, which we can then use to wax the car or make sock puppets for the kids. Much of the things we need to do can be mentally sorted out in this way. Looking at our thoughts and emotions as pieces of a jigsaw puzzle enable us to control the way we think and feel.
Those that think they may not have the time to take the action steps describe above, please think again because not taking action will only lead to burn out and effect the productivity in all parts of your life, including, work and personal.
You are worth it, take the time to make yourself whole, and bring clarity and focus back to your mind.