Our body acts like an instrument, aiding us in whatever we do throughout the day. Do you think it’s the hands that do the work? No. Not quite. Our hands are just the medium through which we act. It’s the mind that does all the heavy lifting.
And just like there is no debate over how important physical health is to us, the same way, mental health and well-being cannot be underestimated. After all, it’s mind over matter!
If you want to build muscles; you go to the gym. In the same way, the mind is also like a muscle that needs regular exercise. The more you train it, the healthier it will stay. And who doesn’t want to unleash their mind’s fullest potential?
Truthfully, however, it does require some serious effort. It’s frustrating when we are not able to focus on the stuff that needs our undivided attention. This happens when we are either dwelling on the past or thinking about the future. Our minds are rarely in the present and that is what kills productivity.
If you want to turn things around, it’s about time you started paying attention to your mind and engage in a few mental exercises to stay insanely productive.
Let’s take a look at few simple yet incredibly effective techniques anyone can practice to take charge of their daily workflow and retrain their brain.
1. Visualization technique
If you pay close attention you will notice that every single thought is accompanied by a corresponding image that comes to mind. And, every thought coupled with that image triggers an emotion or feeling which manifests itself through our actions.
The visualization technique helps you take control of what you think and feel. It involves visualizing success.
Each day try to imagine yourself meeting goals on time and being productive, along with desired results. When you do this you will experience a series of extremely powerful and encouraging emotions that will ward off limiting thoughts. You will also feel more in control of your subconscious mind.
Your ability to instantly recognize the interference caused by doubtful emotions will increase.
The power of imagination, coupled with clarity of goals, and an affirming attitude will manifest itself through whatever you do. You will notice that whatever you imagined and thought is actually becoming true. Arnold Schwarzenegger, five time winner of Mr. Universe title and an actor revered by millions, is the best example of an achiever who credits his visualization technique for his achievements.
2. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is the key aspect that helps us drive safely and not run into the cars cruising past us. When we drive a vehicle, we are extremely mindful of every single move. And just like we do on the road, mindfulness is something that can be practiced throughout the day. It’s much like meditation, except it’s constant; meaning you do it all the time.
Don’t worry. I’m not asking you to ditch your work, close your eyes, and chant all of the time! You just have to try and be more observant of yourself and what you are thinking, doing, and feeling.
Focus on what you are doing right now. As you read this article, slow yourself down. Pay attention to the emotional and physical responses happening in this very moment.
This practice will make you aware of the numerous trivial distractions that can occur throughout the day and how easily you let them impact your focus. Clarity of thoughts and emotions will make you better equipped to give one hundred percent of your attention to being efficient and productive.
Like any new skill, mindfulness is also something that takes practice. And it’s fun too! The next time you eat, try to identify the taste of herbs as you chew the food. Notice it’s flavor and texture.
When you’re online, pay attention to why you find a particular font style more reader-friendly. The examples are numerous. After a few days of practice, you will begin to feel more in control of your mind. Your attention span will increase and so will your productivity. You won’t feel distracted by every trivial interruption.
3. Practice silence
Without a doubt, this one is the most powerful exercises of all. Silence is golden, but the hardest method to practice. To channel your mind’s fullest capacity you need to start practicing silence more often. Being silent does not mean not talking, but having minimum thoughts.
A lot of times when we talk about meditation or being silent, people think they have to achieve an absolutely thoughtless state of mind. This is impractical because that’s the job of mind — to create thoughts. Just like the job of our heart is to keep blood pumping non-stop.
Think about it. Trying to have zero thoughts is a thought too. Isn’t it?
So while we cannot achieve an absolutely thoughtless state, we can take control of what we think about and how much we think about it. Having too many thoughts at a time drains your mind’s energy. It leaves you feeling exhausted and incapable of concentrating. It kills your focus.
So, try practicing silence. If you happen to have a creative business which involves hours of thinking, then it’s all the more crucial that you take at least two to five minutes every hour and practice silence. Two minutes are not too much to ask for from your daily routine. Everyone can afford that much time.
During that period, put all your focus on one thought and ensure that it’s an empowering and positive one. You will feel as if you just took a power nap. Not only will it leave you feeling fresh and recharged; you will in a better position to resume work with improved focus.
One does not have to be a brainiac to be able to practice these three exercises. All of them are extremely simple ones that anybody can easily do anytime. But the results will be astounding. You need no investment, no special tools, and no special place to practice them. The only prerequisite is the willingness and desire to become a better version of yourself.
Originally published at yfsmagazine.com on May 30, 2016.
A version of this post was previously published on Medium and is republished here with permission from the author.
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