How often is your mind at peace?
Do you ever sit still?
Must you always thumb through your phone to catch up on the latest news?
We live in a world that is increasingly more distracted and more busy. We have unlimited opportunities to remain in a busy state. But the problem is, if left without controls, our mental and emotional strength weakens.
But no worries … This change is happening across the board, so you don’t have to worry. Your decaying intellect is on par with the rest of society!
Seriously though, there is a lesson here.
I am reminded of a success quote that says: “If you want to know how to be successful, find out what everyone else is doing, then do the opposite!“
I think there is truth to that.
Most people are slaves to their devices and their social environments. And I believe the leaders will be individuals who understand how to use technology and also how to disconnect.
The reality is that your mind functions best during deep work. Concentration and imagination. And that mental muscle needs breaks. It needs a rest.
Like an athlete who needs adequate rest nightly as well as recovery days, so does the mind.
So coming back to my original questions: Let’s ask ourselves, “How often is your mind at peace? Do you ever sit still? Must you always thumb through your phone when nothing else has your attention?”
Now, I’m no Buddhist, but I have heard of the idea of “monkey mind.” After you read the definition, I think you’ll agree it is a real issue that needs to be addressed.
According to Wikipedia, monkey mind is being: unsettled; restless; capricious; whimsical; fanciful; inconstant; confused; indecisive; uncontrollable.
(For additional reading of a Christian perspective, I found this article fascinating. )
How Can You Manage the Monkey Mind?
Here are four ways you can managed your restless, unsettled and inconstant mind:
1. Media Fast (Monthly): Consider taking a break from all forms of media for at least a week. Consider making this a practice once a month. With sensational headlines, click-bait and political extremes, you would do your brain well to simply take a few days off. Yes, you might experience withdrawal, FOMO (the fear of missing out) or other forms of psychological temptation, but fight it. Train yourself to live above the fray and you’ll be more discerning when you return.
2. Meditation (Daily): According to many sources, taking 10 minutes per day to meditate can help you gain control of your thoughts. By simply breathing and taking a backseat as thoughts go by, you will be able to manage stress and anxiety much better. In fact, mediation seems to change the brain directly – improving creativity, sleep, memory and more! (see more stuff here)
3. Dilution: My friend Blaine Oelkers has this great saying, “The solution to pollution is dilution.” Taking a break from ravenous thoughts, media and negative news is good, but you can’t operate with a vacuum. An empty mind will be filled with worse junk if you are not careful. Thus, you need to dilute your mind with healthy thoughts. Personally, I read the Bible and listen to worship music daily. And I also play podcasts and audiobooks while working out and when driving. But understand, the media fast and meditation help you be more prepared for the good information too! They all work together.
I recall, before meditating, I would spend months going through the motions of prayer and study, but honestly my mind was frantic about generating leads for clients or remembering to accomplish other work for clients. So, we need both. Clearing the mind, strengthening the mind and feeding the mind and spirit.
4. Morning Routine (Daily): Finally, I suggest you develop a morning routine. Come up with a set of actions you do every morning that incorporate all the above items, as well as taking care of your body, preparing your work day for your most important activities.
The power of a morning routine is that (a) You don’t have to think about what you do every day. And (b) When you do healthy and impactful activities in the first few hours, you will also feel charged and accomplished for the rest of the day. And small successes like a morning routine will spill over into other areas and can make more successful days almost automatic.
For example on morning routines, check out the website: mymorningroutine.com and see how hundreds of people make success a habit and reduce the stress of deciding and over-thinking what they do.